Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Sayings from Appalachia

What’s Your Name? Puddin Tame



When I was a little girl hiding behind Pap’s britchey legs or Granny’s dress tail someone would say to me: “What’s your name? Puddin Tame? Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” I was so backward the teasing only made me try to hide my face deeper in the fabric of their clothes.

Here are some other folks’ memories of the saying.

Judy Imanse:  My mother, who died last year, was 98 years old. She used to recite this when I was little, I’m close to 77, and I believe it came from her mother. My grandmother’s family moved to Indiana from North Carolina. What’s your name? Puddintane. Where do you live? down the lane. What do you do? teach school. How many students? 22. What do they sit on? little stools. ‘What do they look like? little fools!

Quinn: What’s your name? PuddinTane! Where do you live? In a sieve! What’s your number? Cucumber! I learned it as a rhyme for jumping rope and clapping games and such. Really answering like that would have been very fresh…and probably not something I’d have tried a second time!

Bob Adcock: Down in “wiregrass country” it was common. Also, the esteemed Barney Fife used it in an Andy Griffith episode!

Bill Danner: It is from “The King of Boyville” by William Allen White, which is part of “The Court of Boyville” written in 1899. It is in response to an inquiry to the main character Piggy Pennington inquiring as to his name and the answer got the smaller new boy soundly thrashed. Well worth the read – good 1899 slang.


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  • Reply
    February 12, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    I learned the phrase from The Muppets.

  • Reply
    nancy biggs
    March 30, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Hadn’t thought about Puddin Tane for a very long time. Used to recite it in north-central West Virginia ( Harrison County) as a child 1935-45. Various question/answer rhymes followed the initial question. If I recall one child asked the question, other child had to answer with a rhyme answer or get pinched.

    Is there a place to ask the etymology of “A whistling girl and a crowing hen always come to some bad end.” ?

    • Reply
      John Adsms
      May 17, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      My Mom used both of your sayings. She lived for a short time with my older brother in Ducktown Tennessee. Pudnin’ Tain was like a nursery rhyme, she asked the questions and I answered. “What’s your name?” Pudnin’ Tain. Where do you live? Down the lane. What’s your phone number? Rotten cucumber. Mom said that “A whistling woman and a cackling hen came to the same bad end.!”

  • Reply
    August 24, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Does anyone remember using someone’s name & saying: Tipper go bipper, tee-ipper, go fipper, tee-legged, tie-legged, bow- legged Tipper. It has to rhyme with their name. Jan go ban, tee-an, go fan, etc….

    • Reply
      reba cole
      February 21, 2022 at 2:34 pm

      My grandmother sang this little rhyme out regularly using various names. She said it a little differently (Fred-bum-bed, tee-annie go said, tee-legged, tie-legged, bow-legged Fred). She grew up in various parts of the western US, so I haven’t any idea where she learned it.

  • Reply
    Janie Poston
    August 14, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Tipper, thank you for sharing this little ditty from way back when. When I read it, I got a shiver and my skin tingled as I recalled my mother saying it to us when we were children. I heard it in her voice as I read it and it brought her back to me just like when I was a kid. How wonderful that you somehow dug this up right out of a past that we somehow all have shared! I’m from Kentucky and my mother was born in Guthrie but we lived in Covington when I was a kid. My Mom died 35 years ago but before she did she taught me of the many things to love about Appalachia. I share your interest and love of this rare place and it’s truly remarkable history and rich heritage. I’m so glad to’ve found The Blind Pig and the Acorn.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I always thought it was pudding tang, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.

    • Reply
      Kelly Williams
      April 22, 2021 at 12:43 am

      Ellen, this is exactly how we heard it, growing up in the Monroe / McMinn Co, TN area.

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    September 19, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Aw, I like that little saying. When I was being nosy and asking Mama what she was doing, She’d tell me “sewing buttons on ice cream”.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 19, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I’d like to tell a little story: In 2015 I had cataract surgery on both eyes. After the second surgery, they rolled me into another room, had a patch over my left eye, but there was a Candy Stripe girl who fed me a pack of crackers and a cup of coffee, as she checked me out. When she finished, I got down off the gurney, makin’ a sound, and she said “you alright”? I said “yeah, but I think the “colonoscopy” was a bit much.” The Candy Stripe girl said they weren’t suppose to do that.

    Now I don’t need glasses to see, unless it is very small. …Ken

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      September 19, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Mahahahahahahaha… funny…bless the little candy stripers heart…can you imagine…

  • Reply
    harry adams
    September 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    The first time and probably the only time I heard the rhyme was in a Little Rascals episode when I was growing up. Does anyone remember the Little Rascals? The originals not the lousy remade movie.

    • Reply
      Elijah Lewis
      October 18, 2021 at 7:31 pm

      Yes! I came here looking for that!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I have heard that all my life. My daddy would call me little puttin tane and ( spider) . I climb everything. Thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

    It goes back as far as 1603. I just lost the page, but I’m sure it can be looked up again on Google.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 11:42 am

    As usual the best of my childhood was heard on those dusty roads in McDowell WV in a little coal camp in McDowell County, West Virginia. We children ran in harmless gangs, as folks had many children back then. What a wonderful time! That is where I first heard “What’s your name Puddin’ ‘n’ Tane. I don’t ever recall hearing it once we moved from there. Some of it was sad, as I recall my dear uncle pacing our floor before he was to leave next day to serve in the Korean War. That is where I read every book in every room in our little schoolhouse, learned to tie a string to June Bugs, and make mud pies. Oh yes, I learned to make Jacob’s Ladder with string back in those days before life became rushed. Youth is not wasted on the young, but gives them the time and energy to develop in an unrushed manner.

    We moved to the country, and later I learned much from nature and country life. Those random games and rhymes from childhood are so interesting, Tipper. It is especially interesting when you have a post I have not thought of since those long ago days.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 19, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I loved “Pap’s britches legs and Granny’s dress tail”. Haven’t heard those in a long time.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 19, 2018 at 11:15 am

    We said it as “Puddin’-tain” ask me again and I’ll tell you again! Also made up several following sentences with rhyming words…
    Loved all these comments…
    We used this little ditty for jumping rope too….and sometimes as a clapping rhyme…

  • Reply
    Jeanie Crutchfield
    September 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

    My mother always said when she got aggravated about something, “Oh the devil and Tom Bell”. I have always wondered who Tom Bell was. She never said a bad word so that was her thing. Anyone know who Tom Bell was?

    • Reply
      Wanda Devers
      September 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Reminds me of my precious Aunt Gladys who never said a bad word..But, one night my brother was taking her home and she couldn’t get the key in–after several tries she exclaimed, “The Devil”. Of course we got a kick out of it and now it’s one of the family stories.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      I looked it up and I guess this was him. His real name was Thomas J Hodges and he was a Dr. and surgeon but became an outlaw and stage coach robber. He took the name Tom Bell. His gang robbed a stage coach and a woman was killed. He was hunted down and hanged in 1856.

      • Reply
        Jeanie Crutchfield
        September 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

        Thanks for looking this up for me. Makes sense as both were bad folks—–the devil and Tom Bell.

        • Reply
          Aaron Patterson
          March 25, 2019 at 6:18 am

          Pudding ‘n tain was a record by the Alley Cats back in 1963. Phil Spector productions ! Listen on you-tube. Cute song. I was in 10th grade and remember it well.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Where’s you get that? At the gettin place!
    How old are you? 2! You’re older than two! Yeah, too old to tell YOU too.
    What? Chicken squat, pick it up and see what you got!
    Where are you going? Wouldn’t you like to know?

    Here’s one I made up:
    You “What do you think?”
    Me “I don’t! I am not equipped for that!”

  • Reply
    Jane W Bolden
    September 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I was told by my mother to not say it because the P word was the name some people used for a female body part.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 19, 2018 at 8:25 am

    We said that, except we said Puddintane with an n. If you asked a boy his name, he said, “John Brown. Ask me again and I’ll knock you down.” My mother said, “My name is Mayro sayro elizabeth jane eda beda ri-si katherbine payne.”

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 19, 2018 at 8:20 am

    All I ever knew was the “ask me again and I’ll tell you the same” answer. Never knew there was any more or other versions.

    By the way, how many of your readers, I wonder, used the expressions “like Peck’s bad boy”? (We actually said “Heck’s bad boy”.) I stumbled across the source of it browsing through Amazon electronic books. There was a series of Peck’s Bad Boy books in the 1880’s I think it was and written by a Mr. Peck. They are hilarious. The Bad Boy was always getting his Dad or others into trouble. He was very inventive about ways to be “bad” (though his 1880’s version is so different from today). Much of the time he starts out to do what he thinks is a good thing but it turns out hilariously wrong.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I heard “What’s your name? Pudding Tane, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” That was the entirety.The other ditty I grew up hearing was at meal times: “Carol, Carol strong and able; keep your elbows off the table..This is not a livery stable; but a first class dining table!”

  • Reply
    Brian P.T. Blake
    September 19, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Oh, dear! These graphic children’s games are new to me. What a fun heritage!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 19, 2018 at 7:40 am

    I remember that little ditty. I googled it and found this:
    “What’s my name? Puddin’ ‘n’ Tame.
    Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.
    Where do I live?
    Down the lane.
    What’s my number?
    And this is the way I heard it but I don’t remember where I heard it.
    Isn’t it a peculiar thing how kids hear little things like this that rhyme and remember it, without ever giving a thought to where it came from or what it means. I’m afraid I was the kid who wondered where it came from and what in the world it meant!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 19, 2018 at 7:38 am

    We had a much shorter version. What’s your name Puddintane, ask me again I’ll tell you the same

  • Reply
    September 19, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I can remember kids saying this back went I was a child in school, probable elementary, girls use to do all kinds of rhymes while jumping rope, us guys were to busy wrestling or playing cops and robbers or cowboy and Indians stuff like that.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 19, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Grandmother thought all little boys should have their shirttails tucked in so when my brother did not adhere to the rule she had this little ditty. “Here comes little Dickie Dout with his shirttail out”.
    My Brother usually just rolled his eyes and kept going.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 19, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Tipper, the part of putting tame you wrote is the only part I’ve ever known. I heard that from the time I was a boy and didn’t know there was any other parts of it.
    I use to hear this years ago. It too was used when someone ask your name. What’s your name? You reply John Henry Hoe Handle. What about when somebody ask where are you going. Going to town riding goat and leading a hound. The hound barked and the goat jumped left me a straddle a stump. Or going to the getting place. Or going to Bud’s. I never did know where Bud’s was.

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