Appalachian Dialect

Terriblest and other est words in Appalachia

tipper

Tipper – sitting in one of her favorite places, the front porch

Adding est to give emphasis to words is beyond common in Appalachia…even when it’s grammatically incorrect. Here’s what the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English has to say about it:

-est suffix
1 added to words of two or more syllables, esp -ing participles.

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I was reminded of adding est to words a few weeks ago when I said “I’ll try to take a picture of all of you, but the girls say I’m the terriblest at taking cell phone photos.”

Here’s a few other examples for you.

huntingest: Old Blue was the huntingest dog you ever seen. He didn’t even care if anyone followed him to the tree when he treed. He was all about the chase.

beatingest: I wouldn’t stop down there if I was you. He’s the beatingest man in this settlement. Why before you know it he’ll steal your britches.

cheatingest: It was all part of a joke, but now you’ve got the name of being the cheatingest man in Clay County and I don’t know what you’re going to do about it.

firstest: The firstest beans that come in are always the best of the year.

bestest: Papaw Tony is the bestest at making pickled beans and corn of anybody I know.

importantest: Once she became the head of the place she started thinking she was the importanest person in this part of the state. I hate to break it to her but I know where she was raised up and she ain’t no better than I am.

aggravatingest: You just got to love him you can’t help it, but he can be the aggravatingest person you ever met.

fightingest: That boy was the fightingest boy in school. That’s all he wanted to do was fight. One time he even tried to fight the janitor.

thinkingest: Pap was the thinkingest person I’ve ever known.

workingest: Pap was also the most workingest person I’ve ever know.

singingest: I’m glad I live with two of the singingest girls around.

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I’m sure I left out some est examples. Help me out and leave a comment with any that come to mind.

Tipper

 

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa Weese
    May 16, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Dangedest (or its adult version damnedest) — When that dog climbed that tree, it was the dangedest thing I ever did see!

  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    May 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    “He’s the eatinest fool I ever saw!”
    That’s the awfullest thing I ever heard!

    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    July 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

    One of the bestest columns in right smart of a time.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

    And there is my favoritest: He’s the one who always gets there firstest with the mostest!
    Ann (who thinks this contraption is the aggravatingest machine on earth!)

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

    And there is my favoritest: He’s the one who always gets there firstest with the mostest!
    Ann (who thinks this contraption is the aggravatingest machine on earth!)

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

    And there is my favoritest: He’s the one who always gets there firstest with the mostest!
    Ann (who thinks this contraption is the aggravatingest machine on earth!)

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

    And there is my favoritest: He’s the one who always gets there firstest with the mostest!
    Ann (who thinks this contraption is the aggravatingest machine on earth!)

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 1, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Tipper,
    It looks like from the picture you was still a’ponderin’ the “Whip-poor-will”?
    However, I think if a bird should come in close to that red nectar feeder a’hangin’ there in broad daylight, it would be the “hummingest” bird your ever did hear!
    Tipper, loved this post!
    Ed…those bright red shotgun shells also attract hummers to the porch as well as the nectar feeder…a sort of a fake “bloomin’ shell vine”! ha

  • Reply
    TimMc
    June 1, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Down on the Creek where we useta swim, it was the bluest water you ever saw.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    May 31, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    My favorite one is aggravatingest. I have used it many times.

  • Reply
    Ken
    May 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Tipper,
    As Donna Lynn went off today, she played “New Birth” from that Cd. It’s one of my Favoritist songs and Paul and Pap did a wonderful job singing and everyone else too. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bob Wasmer
    May 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    How about “The firstest beans that come in are always the bestest of the year.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    What is the purpose of shotgun shells strung up on a string like that? It can’t be a wind chime ’cause they don’t hit one another and they are plastic which would only make a thud if they did. Maybe it is art!
    My grandmother Cora used to put her finger under her nose like that when she was trying to think of something!

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Jim Casada, those are the stingyest people I ever heard of. I bet they would have skinned a gnat for it’s tallow.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Jim Casada, those are the stingyest people I ever heard of. I bet they would have skinned a gnat for it’s tallow.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Jim Casada, those are the stingyest people I ever heard of. I bet they would have skinned a gnat for it’s tallow.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Jim Casada, those are the stingyest people I ever heard of. I bet they would have skinned a gnat for it’s tallow.

  • Reply
    Ken
    May 31, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Tipper,
    That’s a nice picture of you sitting in the porch swing, just pondering. I thought my little dog, Whisky was about the barkinest thing I ever seen. He sees everything and hears stuff I don’t even know about. Sometimes I think he’s Jealous of me on the telephone and I can heat up my coffee in the microwave and he lets me know when it’s finished. He’s got all the neighborhood dogs joanerd, looks just like a little brown Lion with his Mane raised. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    May 31, 2017 at 10:44 am

    That dog must have found a skunk cuz he’s the stinkingest thing I ever smelled!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I used to be the runningest boy you ever seen. There ain’t no other way to say it. Most running? No! Got the runs? No! WHAT?
    I bleive I know the boy that fit the janitor. I know I know the janitor. He was my uncle Jesse. I think the boy quit a lot of that fightin after Uncle Jesse beat him over the head with a broom and stuffed him in the incinerator. Uncle Jesse was just funnin. He wudden gonna burn the trash right then no way. Uncle Jesse really shouldn’t have done it. That broom was dirty with that oily green sawdust stuff they used to sprinkle on the floor before they swept. When that oil got mixed in with that sut from the incinerator that boy was a sight. He stunk too. I bet he got his butt beat agin when he got home too, don’t you know!

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    May 31, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I use most of them words but without the g in the middle ; )

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    May 31, 2017 at 9:04 am

    That there’s a real good list of -est words, but them ain’t the onliest ones.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Tipper–Here are some other uses of “est” to render words in superlative form.
    Talkingest–Chitter and Chatter are the talkingest pair I’ve ever known.
    Fishingest–When I was a boy I was the fishingest fool you’ve ever seen.
    Arguingest–My Grandpa Joe was the arguingest man I’ve ever known, and when someone didn’t buy what he was saying, Grandpa would just opine: “You’ll larn.”
    Savingest–Our next-door neighbors when I was a boy, Stanley and Marianna Black, were the savingest folks I’ve ever encountered. They had egg and toast for breakfast every day–a half egg and a half piece of toast each. He was a banker, and being the savingest man around worked out well in the Great Depression. His bank survived, the other one in Bryson City failed and cost lots of folks everything they had. Doubly sad was the fact that many of them lost money they had recently received from forced sale of their land to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That was the exasperatingest situation imaginable.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 31, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Sue got mine to! As soon as I saw where you were going I thought of “worstest”. My head knows those ‘est’ endings are not correct but my heart doesn’t always. I had not realized it before but I commonly use ‘aggravatingest’, such as my grass chute popping off my lawnmower multiple times when I’m mowing. It relieves my feelings to fuss at inanimate objects when there are no earthly witnesses.
    Jesse Stuart wrote a book entitled “The Beatingest Boy” so I guess the use of ‘est’ goes up through Appalachia at least to the Ohio River.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 31, 2017 at 8:51 am

    One that comes to mind is “Shootinest”,ie Ole Clem wuz the shootinest feller I ever seed, he kilt more bars than anybody else in this end of the state.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    May 31, 2017 at 8:09 am

    My mother’s word she used the most was outbangingest. She pronounced it ‘out-bangin-est.
    “That was the most outbangingest thing I ever heard tell of.”

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    May 31, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Adding the -est was one of those things, so common, I didn’t realize it was an Appalachian thing until I went to college.
    After my first few weeks, a girl I sat next to in Western Civ asked me what I did on the weekends. I told her not much “on account of this was the drinkinest place I’d ever seen.” She said I talked cute. I thought that was nice.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I called him old hateful gut. He’s the hatefulest man I ever seen.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I called him old hateful gut. He’s the hatefulest man I ever seen.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I called him old hateful gut. He’s the hatefulest man I ever seen.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    May 31, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I called him old hateful gut. He’s the hatefulest man I ever seen.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 31, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Yoda is the lovingest cat I’ve ever had, except Stumpy.
    Ruby Sue is the barkingest dog I’ve ever seen.
    I could go on, the est addition is commonest!

  • Reply
    Sue W.
    May 31, 2017 at 6:04 am

    My Aunt and I useta say “Worse, Worser, Worsest. ” I feel worse than you do. Yes, but I feel worser than that. Yeah, but I feel worsest!!

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