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Appalachia Through My Eyes - Plowing

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 65

Words commonly used in appalachia

It's time for this month's Appalachian Vocabulary Test-take it and see how you do.

  1. Jaggedy
  2. Jew down
  3. Jim jams
  4. Job
  5. Josie

Words commonly used in appalachia 2

  1. Jaggedy: having a jagged edge. "I tried to hem my dress but I couldn't find my good scissors and my old ones left the material all jaggedy. Now I'll never get the hem straight!" 
  2. Jew down: to haggle. "Why did you let him jew you down? Selling a car for that price you might as well have given it away!"
  3. Jim jams: to be restless or feel anxiety; nervous. "I had the jim jams so bad last night I couldn't do nothing but walk up and down the house I didn't sleep a wink."
  4. Job: to stab or thrust. "Don't run with sticks you're liable to job your eye out."
  5. Josie: a woman's undergarment. "Momma sewed me new josies before I was married she embroidered the prettiest flowers around the hems."

I didn't do as well this month as I usually do. I hear and say-jaggedy, jew down, and job on a regular basis. But I've never even heard jim jams nor josie. How about you how did you do?


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Tipper , you almost caused me to flunk this test. We commonly use
Jew Down and Job ( or poke) but I am not acquainted with the others.
Larry Proffitt

I knew the first two, but wonder if the others are more southern than where I am. I've heard job from North Carolinians, but not, I think, from anyone in WV. Love josies! That's a neat word for unmentionables.

I know the first two, although at some point, I believe it was our Mother who discouraged us from using the second one because it offended some people.
For number four, we always said "jab" instead of "job", and I wonder if that's a mispronunciation perhaps.
Never heard three and five before, but JimJams sure describes how I feel when I'm dealing with insomnia, and I just plain like the gentile word Josie for a "lady's unmentionables". LOL

God bless.


It is a shame we have to research everything we say for fear of offending somebody somewhere. After all the offensive jargon we have endured here in Appalachia, we should worry about offending someone else? How can we, who are considered by most of America to be the settlings in the slop bucket, offend anyone?
We in Appalachia have not been a part of most squabbles between ethnic groups because of our isolation. Most of our ancestors were drawn to the mountains to get away from such. Pardon us if we are naive to the workings of the "real" world. Maybe someone could come up with a list of words that could be offensive to somebody somewhere. We could laminate it and keep it handy at all times in case we need to say or write something.
Tipper, I recognized the log chain in the bed of your husband's truck immediately. I have two in mine but I keep them in a box because I am afraid someone might want them more that me. They are awful handy to snatch somebody out when they have slid off in the ditch.

I'm with you. And by the way, did you know "Jew down" is considered a racist phrase now? Things are so complicated these days.

Mrs. K-Thanks for the comment! I would never want to be offensive to anyone! I've heard jew down my whole life and never knew it had anything to do with Jewish people. I'm betting most Appalachians don't know it either. The original connection was most likely lost long ago-since not even my Appalachian dictionaries have the Jewish connection. Thanks for sharing the history of the word with us!

Dolores-Thanks for the comment! Those squiggly things are the links to a chain in the back of The Deer Hunters truck : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Ava-Thanks for the comment! I've heard jew down my whole life and never knew it had anything to do with Jewish people. I'm betting most Appalachians don't know it either. I would never want to offend anyone-so thanks for pointing the connection out : ) Im betting the original connection was lost long ago-since not even my Appalachian dictionaries have the Jewish connection.

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Hi Tipper,I use one and two,as for number three I say heebie-jebbies. I so enjoyed your Cora Lee Mease story,can't wait for your next book.Great job on singing Girls.God Bless!Jean

I never heard of Jim Jams or Josie, but
my 2nd oldest brother use to say he got
the "Emmy Jimmies". Knowing that he was
"nervous", when I worked with him I'd
sneak up behind him with an empty 5
gallon bucket and drop it, just to see
if he could climb whatever was in front
of 'em. I was a Bad Boy!...Ken

Josie is new to me and job I've heard, but never used

I hate to see that you listed jew down, even if it is still in use, since it refers to the stereotype of Jewish people being miserly and driving a hard bargain. I have heard it used and seen people be offended by it. I am all for keeping our special dialect alive but that is an expression I would like to see go.

I think we said heebie jeebies instead of jim jams. Been told a million times I'd job my eye out.

I am the same as you. I have never heard josie or jim jaws!!

I used to say "jewed him down" but one day I said it and saw the look on the other person's face and it suddenly dawned on me that I had insulted her and her religion. That cured me!

I have never heard jim jams and josie, but I have used the others often! :)

Jimjams and Josies are new to me. We say "jab" instead of "job" in the use you mention. We "jimmie" something when we have to pry and wiggle something to get it open or get it to work (like a gate, a door, a window, a drawer, or a tool box) which often leaves it not closing properly or "jimmy jawed". And "drawers" are not only those "boxes" you store things in in the cabinet, they are also both men's and women's underwear - hmmm - perhaps most commonly men's because they have to pull them up to hide their "junk" ?! (can that be published?!)

Jew down is a very offensive term to Jewish people, and for that matter, all people since it promotes a negative stereotype. I would hope people reading this would never use. I love Blind Pig, but this term would have been better left out of the test.

Traditionally at flea markets and garage sales, pretty much any place where sales price is negotiable, it was common to hear references to someone “jewing down” the cost of something. The term is offensive because it plays on the stereotype that Jewish people are tightwads who are so good at haggling they can easily talk someone into selling something for less than the asking price. Today, it’s uncommon to hear younger generations using the term, but the elderly may still use it, as it didn’t raise eyebrows in the past.

I'm not familiar with 3 & 5 but I am with the rest. I'm not very good at jewing anyone down but I've been lucky not to have ever jobbed my eye out!

I never heard "jim jam"or "Josies." I have heard "jew down," but Mama didn't permit us to use that term as she considered it disrespectful.

I only got four out of five. I didn't realize I use these words so much.
Interesting Tipper, thank you for your post.

I have never heard jim jams,although I have heard the same condition referred to as the heebie-jeebies. I have heard my grandparents use job, but I never hear it used now.

First of all, what are those squiggly things in the first picture? Are they homemade sausage, elongated potatoes, or ?????? from an animal?
Three of the words were familiar - job, jew down, and jaggedy. The other two -jim jaws and josie are not in my vocab. Job, I used jab. Happy new words Monday!

Same as you, Tipper. I've never heard of Jim Jawed or Josie. I've also heard jagged used to describe nerves as in "my nerves was so jagged I could thread a sewing machine needle with the machine running!"

I've never heard Josie or Jim jams. I say the other three words all the time.

I knew them all except Josie. Have had the Jim jams a time or too. Interesting choices. Haven't heard job in a long time, but remember hearing it from grandparents. " You are gonna job your eye out if you don't quit runnin with that there stick!"

Just like you, I never heard jim jams or josie

3 and 5 throwed me too. I have heard jimmy jawed, referring to something that's bend or twisted.
I thought womens' undergarments were called drawers. A woman at work said one time "If they make me any madder I'll pull up my drawers and go home!"

Same as you, Tipper, I've never heard of Jim-Jams or Josie.....but still use the others regularly ...

We use all but jim jaws and josie also,, I've had the jim jaws but didn't know anyone called it that.. not a good place to be...

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