by Matt Bramowicz
A little while back I did a blog post about the Dictionary of American Regional English which is compilation of regional phrases from all over the United States. It has been a 50-year endeavor to capture the diversity of the American English language from cultures from the past and present.
For anyone who’s driven cross country, you know how different each state (and even each county) can be. It isn’t just the landscape, but the people as well, so of course it stands to reason the language becomes as unique as the region.
In the last post I didn’t list too many regional examples from the dictionary, so let me correct that by sharing some of them with you now.
1. jabble (v.), Virginia
Meaning “to shake up or mix,” but it can also be used less literally, meaning “to confuse or to befuddle.” Example? Sure, how about, ‘I was in the trunk, looking for the mosquito repellent, but couldn’t find it, Martha! You got all the suitcases jabbled up back there.’
2. faunch (v.), South Midlands, West
Meaning to rant and rave. Example: ‘Well, I don’t want to faunch all day about this, but dangit Martha, leave my fanny-pack alone. I know what I packed.’
3. snoopy (adj.), Maryland, Pennsylvania
Meaning someone who is picky, especially with regards to food. Example: ‘Martha, stop being snoopy and just order the chicken tetrazzini how it comes…Jiminy Christmas! Can’t even go to the Olive Garden without a whole production!’
4. chinchy (adj.), South, South Midlands
Meaning is similar to “cheap,” but not as direct. Example: ‘I’m not chinchy, Martha! I just know the value of a dollar, and I ain’t spending no $10 on a ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ t-shirt!
5. sneetered (v.), Kentucky
Meaning hoodwinked or scammed. Example: ‘Martha! Call the gas station attendant over here. He sneetered me out of my change!’
6. mizzle-witted (adj.), South
This Dickensian word means “mentally dull”. Example: ‘Martha, I’m looking for the receipt, I don’t see it in your purse. If it was in here, don’t you think I’d see it? You must think I’m some mizzle-witted numb-skull.’
7. snuggy (n.) Iowa, Midlands
It isn’t just a blanket with arms. It also means a wedgie. Example: ‘Aw dangit! I got my trousers caught on a nail while I was climbing over this here fence. Martha! Get my pocketknife out of the trunk. This fence is giving me a snuggy!’
8. bufflehead (n.), Pennsylvania (mountains)
Meaning a fool or idiot. Example: ‘Don’t give the camera to that bufflehead, he’s liable to run off with it. Here, I’ll put the timer on and run into frame.’
9. burk (v.), Georgia, South
Could be used to mean both “vomit” and “fart”. Example: ‘I knew we shouldn’t have stopped to eat at that tourist-trap diner. That ‘America the Burger-ful’ burger is going to make me burk.
10. slatchy (adj.), Nantucket
The meaning describes the sky during that fleeting moment of sunshine in the middle of a storm. Example: ‘Quick Martha! Go grab the cooler. We can have sandwiches by the lake while the sky is slatchy.’