Mountainese Dictionary

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Mountainese Dictionary

"Mountainese" Dictionary"
Ain’t-(a nt) Is not or are not. Ain’t you cute.

Batchy-(bat chee) dirty. Put down that old rag, it is batchy.

By in by (by in by) A time reference. I'll be back by in by.

Cabbige-(cab idge) to take something that isn’t yours. Did you cabbige my pen?

Churry-(chur ree)a small red fruit. George Washington cut down the churry tree.

Dang it-(da ing it) Well shoot. Dang it, Sam behave yourself.

Directly (di rekly) A time frame. I will be back from town directly.


Fair to middlin-(fare t’ mid lin) Not too bad. How are you? Oh, fair to middlin.

Fixin (fix in) A noun, a verb, or an adverb. I have all the fixins for a pie. I'm fixin the motor. I'm fixin to go to town.

Flar-(fla R) A nice smelling plant. My boyfriend bought me a nice flar for our date. Ground up wheat. Get me some flar so I can bake a cake.

Gimme (gi mee) Give me. Gimme a hand with this.

Gonna (gon na) Going to. What are you gonna do now?

Hain’t-(h A nt) Has not or have not. Hain’t you done the dishes yet?

Irn or Arn (a rn) To press clothes or a local beer. I am arnin’ the wrinkles out of these pants. I'm gonna "Pump an Arn" (Drink an Iron City Beer)

Juke (j U k) To move out of the way. Quit jukin’ around, I can’t cut your hair straight.


Lickin (l ik N) To hit or smack. You two quit your fightin’ or you’re gonna get a lickin.


A mess ( a mess) An amount. Only mountain folk know how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc. make up a mess.



Plantnin (plant N) Green leafy plant. Did you feed the plantnin leaves to the hog yet?
Pole Cat (Pol cat) Skunk Tell Sam to quit chasin’ that pole cat.


Ritch-(rich) to squirm around. Will you quit your ritchin’ around and sit still?

Red-(red) to straighten up. Go red up your room.

Shar-(sha R) The thing you use to take a bath standing up. Go take a shar, you stink.

Shine (sh I n) Short for moon shine. Is the shine ready yet?

Sang (s ang) Short for ginseng. Are we gonna go look for some sang today?

Still (st i l) Distillation device for making moonshine. The dang still dun blowed up again.

Sugar (shu gar) A kiss. Gimme some sugar pumpkin.

Tomarra-(ta mar ra) Day after today. I’m going to town tomarra.



Worsh-(war sh) To clean. Did you worsh the clothes yet?

Whistle Pig (W istle P ig) Ground hog. Did the whistle pig see his shadow yet?

Whitetail (white tail) An Eastern US deer. He got himself a 12 point whitetail.


Yep (y ep) Yes. Is Tatter home yet? Yep.

Youins (you ins) You all. Youins goin fishin today?

Yonder (yawn dur) A general direction. There is a whitetail yonder in them briars.


Only Mountain Folk know the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them but "PITCH" them.

Only Mountain Folk know how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc. make up "a mess".

Only Mountain Folk can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder".

Only Mountain Folk know exactly how long "directly" is - as in: "Going to town, be back directly."

Even Mountain babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl on the middle of the table.

All Mountain Folk know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

Only Mountain Folk know instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. (If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large apple pan dowdy or banana puddin' if yur from the South!)

Only Mountain Folk grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the "road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Only Mountain Folk both know and understand the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Mountain Folk would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

Mountain Folk know that "fixin'" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

Only Mountain Folk make friends while standing in lines. We don't do "queues", we do "lines"; and when we're "in line", we talk to everybody!

Put 100 Mountain Folk in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

Mountain Folk never refer to one person as "ya'll", however "Youins" may be singular or plural.

Mountain Folk know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Mountain Folk know tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin' .... ," you know you are in the presence of genuine Southern Mountain Folk!


Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful kind of insult just as long as it's prefaced with the words, "Bless her heart" or "Bless his heart." As in, "Bless his heart, if they put his brain on the head of a pin, it'd roll around like a BB on a six lane highway." Or, "Bless her heart, she's so blind, she couldn't see the moon shine."

There are also the sneakier ones : "You know, it's amazing that even though she had that baby 7 months after they were married, bless her heart, it weighed 10 pounds." As long as the heart is sufficiently blessed, the insult can't be all that bad.

I was thinking about this the other day when a friend was telling about her new Northern friend who was upset because her toddler is just beginning to talk and he has a Southern accent. My friend, who is very kind and, bless her heart, cannot do a thing about those thighs of hers, was justifiably miffed about this. After all, this woman had CHOSEN to move to the South a couple of years ago. "Can you believe it?" she said to her friend. "A child of mine is going to be taaaallllkkin' liiiike thiiiissss."

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my dearest friends are from the North, bless their hearts. I welcome their perspective, their friendships andtheir recipes for authentic Northern Italian food. I've even gotten past their endless complaints that you can't find good bread down here. And the heathens, bless their hearts, don't like cornbread! The ones that really gore my ox are the native Southerners who have begun to act almost embarrassed about their speech. We've already lost too much!

I was raised to swanee, not swear, but you hardly ever hear anyone say that anymore, I swanee you don't. And I've caught myself thinking twice before saying something is "right much"; "right close" or "right good" because non-natives think this is right funny indeed. I have a friend from Bawston who thinks it's hilarious when I say I've got to "carry" my daughter to the doctor or "cut off" the light. She also gets a giggle every time I am "fixing" to do something. And, bless their hearts, they don't know where "over yonder" is, or what, "I reckon" means.

My personal favorite was my aunt saying, "Bless her heart, she can't help being ugly, but she could've stayed home." To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Mountainese and Southern stuff, bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Mountainese and Southernese as a second language!


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