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Courtesy of the Logan County Genealogical Society



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People living in the Appalachia region in the eastern part of the United States descend from ancestors of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and other areas. Their blend of languages made way for dialect that was unique and spoken for hundreds of years. Much of it is still spoken occasionally by many of the older mountain residents. Just remember, it’s not a distortion of the English language by ignorant mountaineers. Most has its roots from the original language of our ancestors. Believe it or not, if you listen and do enough research you will find that some of the older expressions were actually used by some of the old English authors.


However, it’s fun to read and listen to when spoken. This list is just a very, very small number of vocabulary handed down to us by our ancestors.


A-fixin – getting ready “We’re a fixin to go see Aunt Josie.”


Aim – intend or make plans “I aim to buy myself a new hat.”


Airish – breezy “It’s a little airish outside today.”


Askeered of – afraid or frightened of “Uncle John is askeered of his own shadow.”


Atter – after “I’ll be over just atter the sun goes down.”


Awful poorly – very ill “Charlie is looking awful poorly lately.”


Ballet – ballad “That young Bryant boy can sing all them old ballets.”


Biggety – stuck up or acting big “The Jones sure are acting a little biggity lately.”


Book read – educated and informed “Some of these Logan County folks are well book read.”


Briggity – pretentious of smartness and cleverness “Jane is sure a briggity little girl.”


Chuffy – short and stout “Mr. Charlton is a chuffy man.”


Clum – climbed “I clum that tree for the last time.”


Crick – stiffness “That crick in my neck just won’t let go.”


Cuttin up – acting silly “He sure was cutting up down at the dance last night.”


Dask – dare “Don’t you dask go over to Jennies no more.”


Doless – lazy “That man is nothing but doless.”


Doin’s – a function “Are you going to the doin’s at the lodge tonight?”


Et – eaten “Have you et yet?”


Fetch – to bring “Fetch me a drink of water.”


Fireboard – mantle “Just hang that picture over the fireboard.”


Fur piece – long distance “He lives a fur piece over the mountain.”


Gander – to look at “Take a gander at that new bridge.”


Gully washer – a hard rain “Mingo County had a lot of gully washers lately.”


Haffter – have to “I just haffter get that done before next week.”


Hesh up – get quiet “Tell them kids to hesh up out there.”


Het – become angry or upset “Don’t get all het up over something you can’t do nothing about.”


Hippoed – hypochondriac “He’s not sick, he’s a hippo.”


Holler – a small valley “He lives just over in the holler.”


Jag – a small amount “Take just a jag of that cough syrup it’ll cure anything.”


Kivver – covered “Them poor dogs are just kivvered with fleas.”


Lessee – thinking about it “Lessee, I believe that’s Uncle Zeke in that picture.”


Lollygag – to loaf or loiter “All he does is just lollygag around.”


Naw – no “Naw, I didn’t do that to the car.”


Parts – area or neighborhood “Naw, he don’t live in these parts.”


Peaked – pale or sick looking “Bob’s looking might peaked these days.”


Pizen – poison “There’s a lot of pizen snakes in these parts.


Play-pretty – toy or plaything “Give that play-pretty to that baby.”


Plumb – completely “I’m plumb upset with her actions.”


Poke – paper bag “Put them apples in that poke.”


Prettyfy – make beaufiful “She is just prettifying herself before she goes out.”


Purt’nigh – almost “I purt’nigh went over that hill last night in the dark.”


Put out – angry, annoyed “Patty was sure put out with that decision of the society.”


Red – to clean or tidy up “Red up your room before your Aunt gets here.”


Ruint – ruined “She just ruint my new dress.”


Sallet – greens “That poke sallet sure is good.”


Shed of – get rid of “You’ve got to get shed of that old mule.”


Sight – very much, many “He’s a sight better today than yesterday.”


Skittish – nervous “I get a bit skittish here at night alone.”


Smack-dab – exactly, on the dot “He was shot smack-dab between the eyes.”


Smart – to hurt “It sure smarts where I got hit with that limb.”


Upscuddle – a quarrel “That was a quite an upscuddle between ma and pa last night.”


Vittles – food “Hope they got the vittles ready when I get home, I’m hungry.”


Whupped – whipped or spanked “Paw sure whupped the heck outa me last week for lying.”


You’ns – you or you all “You’ns ain’t going no where with that load.”


By Eldean Wellman


As published in Logan County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 33, Issue 1, 2010


— Logan County Genealogical Society meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Logan Area Public Library at Logan. Anyone wishing to learn more about researching their ancestors is welcome to attend the meetings or follow them on Facebook at Logan County WV Genealogical Society.

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