Appalachian Grammar Lesson 18
Eggs With Tomatoes And Cheese - And A Giveaway

Appalachia Through My Eyes - Bow Up

My life in appalachia bow up

Yesterday afternoon me and the girls were on our way home. It was raining fairly hard and as I topped a slight hill there sat a car in the road. As I looked in my mirror to make sure no one was about to rear end me I said "Good grief you can't just bow up in the middle of the road!" The car began to creep along, slowly moving ahead. After a few more stops and starts it thankfully pulled off on a side road. I'm thinking they were lost and not used to our curvy hilly roads-where it never pays to bow up and stop in the road.

Sometimes I bow up myself-which means I let my stubborn streak show.

How about you ever bow up or have someone bow up in front of you?


Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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I have a friend who is now retired from the NC Highway Patrol. He's from WNC. During a presentation to new recruits, he used the term, "bow up and stop". After the presentation, one recruit approached him to ask him to explain the term, "bow up". We always had a good laugh about that.

I've never heard that term, but it happens ALL THE TIME here, with people "rubber necking" at the Amish! :)

Hear it and use it in Oklahoma!

Mike-I think if the scene were looking west, you would see the old courthouse on the hill in the background wouldn't you? I could be wrong.

I've heard and used 'bowed up' all my life but in my area, rather than just showing a stubborn streak, it means that you better get ready to fight. The person or animal that is bowed up is past anger, he's on the 'necked edge' of fisticuffs.

When I was a child, I would get all uppity about something and go pout and my dad would say "Well, ain't you just sight sitting there all bowed up." :D

Hey one more time,
In the instance of the woman that was nuttin' up and then fuzzin' up...
Well my Dad used to tell us before leaving for work
"You better behave today, 'cause your momma is gettin' "all puffed up" and madder than a wet hen....And you know what....A hen will get all puffed up looking after her eggs and little chickens, if she suspects danger is about or they stray to far...
Thanks Tipper,

I bow up more than I should and I've been using that term all my life. Also, when someone is about to cry, I call that puff up.
You better back off, he's about to puff up.

I know the term "bow up", but I am intrigued by the picture. Looks like Main Street in Sylva looking west? My Dad is from Sylva and it is a favorite place of mine. Go out Cope Creek Road and you will see an old barn across the creek on the right. My granddad built that barn with my Dad's help when Dad got out of the Navy after WWII. I have great memories as a little boy playing in Cope Creek...

Ed-yes it is a 3 wheeled motorcycle : )

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Karen-like the ribbon : )

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Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Don-I was wondering if anyone would recognize where the photo was taken-I should have known it would be you : )

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Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Dorothy-yes it means stop : )

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Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Howland and Ed are right-it's a car deodorizer hanging from the mirror-it's just been hanging there for the last 4 or 5 years LOL!

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Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Bradley-I've never heard that one either! But I have seen some folks fuzz up : )

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Celebrating and Preserving the
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I've heard the terms bow up and rare up but not until a few days ago did I hear this one. It is a term that implies either actual or anticipated defiance. It is called nutin' up. This guy says that he stopped by the BP and and got a can of Beenie Weenies today cause I knowed she wasn't gonna cook supper fer me tonight. I knowed she wasn't cause she started nuttin' up on me this mornin' before I left. Shorenuff, this evening, hadn't no moren' got my coat off when she fuzzed up on me. I think he got a little pack of peanut butter and cheese crackers too.

I've heard and used "bowed up" a lot without knowing from whence it came. Now I know.

"When Uncle Simon came to collect the rent, Bill told him he didn't have it and then Simon got all bowed up about it and told Bill to pack his stuff and get gone."

The black thingie? Maybe one of those sweet-smellin' tree-lookin' things hanging from the car's mirror?

I'll bet if you were up in front of the old Jackson County Courthouse and took a picture down Main Street with those billowy clouds in the background it would have been spectacular.
The black thing looks like a deodorizer hanging off the rearview mirror to me. Maybe a "Lil Tree"

"Rared back" and "bow up" are two of my favorite expressions. Thanks.

That's a new term for me! However, the person may not have felt comfortable pulling off to the side - not knowing what waited for him/her along the side of the road. OR - Maybe he/she just wanted to get the dang car working; just couldn't believe it was happening.
Big black thing - hummmmmmm? It looks like a head to me.

if you click on the picture above you can see details in it better because it enlarges it considerably.

553 West Main Street
Sylva, NC 28779
is as close as I can get Google to go. You can see the two red awnings.


It is a new expression to me, and I am learning in with perfect timing, being that this morning I bowed up with my husband as we discussed the final posts of our deck plan, and I want them to go where I want them to go, ha ha!

I think maybe "bow up" came from the way an animal will act when it don't want to go where you want it to. It will bow it's back and plant it's feet and no matter how hard you try to push or pull it, it won't move.

Bow???? Now that is a new one to me. Does it mean STOP?

Late one evening I was coming down a sharply curved on-ramp to I-75 in my old Datsun 310GX when the axle literally broke loose and jammed under the front of my car. I had an 18 wheeler right behind me and I barely managed to hit the emergency flashers and pull as hard as I could to the right side of the lane to keep from getting killed. When the police officer came up he bowed up and started calling me names and barking at me to get the car off the road and on to the shoulder. I returned the favor and bowed up, threw the keys at him and told him to get his bright-boy ^&*(**&^*%&^$% _ss in it and move it then. Needless to say, he did not apologize and neither did I when he tried to move it and brought me the keys back. I did however tell him that just because he deals with imbeciles everyday did not give him the right to assume that everyone was one.

Mama was the only family member I heard use the term 'bow up.' She grew up in the Vale community of Lincoln County while Daddy's people were from the Flat Creek area of Buncombe. Wonder where the term originated......

Anyone who has ever plowed a mule has better understanding of the term "Bow Up". Mules are great work animals and generally smarter draft animals than horses in that they tend not to injure themselves by overeating or overdrinking know as foundering themselves. This is also applicable when it comes to overburdening or overworking. When they reach their limit they tend to bow their backs and refuse to proceed hence the term "Bow Up". If you have ever tried to convince a "Bowed Up Mule" to do your bidding rather than their's you will understand where term originated as well as the expression "Cuss like a Mule Skinner" or "The Mule Skinner Blues".

I used "bow up" all the time, mostly to describe an attitude rather than an action--my attitude!

What is that big black thing on the left of the picture. It looks like it is attached to the building. I thought at first it was just dark leaves hanging down, but now I'm not so sure.
But, with my just could be a sign of sorts...anyway after looking a few minutes my brain bowed up and I gave up pondering about it, so thought I would ask.
Thanks Tipper,

I've had to laugh and laugh at that one..We just about kissed the rear end of a little red truck that decided to bow up on the freeway...I think his truck just up and quit.. I think I said something like "why in the world did he bow up in this fast traffic?"
We've used or I have used that sayin' for years. Got it from my Mom that got it from her Mom...One time my Grandmother was going to move a very spoiled calf to pasture after having it gated up a while...She said, "There was no way I can move it, for everytime I try, she bows up on me!
I heard one of our po-lice say,
"After the least wreck, them rubber-neckers bowing up cause more wrecks, which can be worse than the first one"
Then there's the bowing up from folks checking road signs on which they thought they left their cell phone!
Thanks Tipper, PS...Don't forget the passenger side drivers warning, which my husband absolutely hates..."WATCH OUT HE'S A GONNA BOW UP!" Which he responds with, "I see him, please let me drive!" Which ends in silence and me bowing up! LOL

I know the term and use it too. To me it means hold your ground and not give in or just plain old stubborn. And yes, those pesky drivers who just bow up and stop in front of you like they are the only people on the road!

Mostly recall "bow up" as getting ready to fight. I've heard stories where someone was describing saying he was all bowed up and ready to fight.

Tipper--although I've certainly heard (and used) "bow up" in the context you describe, I more commonly associate the phrase with stubbornness, orneriness, or pugnacity, such as "That Casada fellow, he'll bow up in a heartbeat." To some degree "bowing up" in the sense of being inordinately inflexible is a trait in our family. Our paternal grandfather was stubborn as a mule, and some of it got passed down. If any of your readers want much more along this line, they should read Emma Miles Bell's "The Spirit of the Mountains." She captures the perspective of mountain folks, including an inclination to "bow up," far better than more celebrated writers such as Horace Kephart. That might just be because she was more firmly rooted to the mountain soil

Jim Casada

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