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15 Expressions You’ll Only Understand if You’re From West Virginia

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Get ready to dive into the heart of Appalachia with these uniquely charming expressions straight from West Virginia! From living “up the holler” to “fixin’ to” do something, the Mountain State has its own special way of talking that you’ll find as colorful as its autumn leaves. So, sit a spell and learn 15 phrases that’ll have you talking like a true West Virginian!

“Holler”

Refers to a narrow valley between mountains. In West Virginia, people live “up the holler” rather than in a valley.

“Y’all”

A common contraction of “you all,” used to address a group. It’s a staple in Southern and Appalachian dialects, including West Virginia.

“Fair to middlin’”

An expression to describe something as being average or okay. It’s often used in response to questions about how someone is doing.

“Bless your heart”

A phrase used to express sympathy or sometimes to soften an insult. It can be sincere or sarcastic, depending on the context.

“I reckon”

Means “I think” or “I suppose.” It’s a colloquial way of expressing an opinion or guess.

“Fixin’ to”

Similar to “about to” or “preparing to.” It’s commonly used to indicate an imminent action, as in “I’m fixin’ to head out.”

“Ain’t”

A contraction for “am not,” “is not,” or “are not.” It’s widely used in casual conversation despite being grammatically non-standard.

“Red up”

Means to clean up or tidy. You might hear someone say, “I need to red up the house before company comes.”

“Crick”

The local term for a creek or small stream. West Virginians often pronounce “creek” as “crick.”

“Tarnation”

An exclamation of surprise or frustration. It’s a mild curse word that reflects the region’s colorful speech.

“Pert near”

A phrase meaning “almost” or “nearly.” For example, “It’s pert near time to go.”

“Over yonder”

Refers to a location in the distance. It’s a directional term indicating somewhere nearby but not within immediate sight.

“Dope”

Refers to soda or soft drinks. Asking for a “dope” in West Virginia might get you a cola.

“Ginseng”

Pronounced “sang,” this term refers to the wild ginseng plant, which is commonly foraged in the state. West Virginians often talk about “digging sang.”

“Cut a shine”

Means to show off or act up. It’s used to describe someone making a spectacle of themselves.

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and Pomeranian, Mochi. Leo is a lover of all things travel related outside and inside the United States. Leo has been to every continent and continues to push to reach his goals of visiting every country someday. MuckRack Profile

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