Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Phrases of Appalachia: Cooterin' Around



cooterin' around 
hanging around, doing nothing
Example: What are you doing on your 
day off? Ah, I'm just cooterin' around. 


According to Smoky Mountain Voices: A Lexicon of Southen Appalachian Speech Based on the Research of Horace Kephart, a cooter (noun) was a box-tortoise. "The noun is turned into a verb with an ease characteristic of the mountaineers." It is chiefly a southern Appalachian word and believed to be a Scotticism which is a phrase or word that is characteristic of dialects of the Scots language. It makes perfect sense that it would be a Scotticism since so many Scots settled in the southern Appalachian mountains. 

According to Kephart, in Our Southern Highlanders, similar terms include: broguin' about; loaferin' about; prodjectin' around; santern' about; shacklin' around; spuddin' around; and traffickin' about. .

A few more that I've heard and occasionally use:
lollygagging; dilly-dallying; dawdlin'; piddlin'; assin' around (sometimes pronounced asslin'); monkeying around; and my personal favorite and most used, fiddle farting around. 
Example: Son, I told you to turn that video game off 30 minutes ago. Now stop fiddle farting around and get ready to go! 

Appalachian vocabulary sure is colorful, ain't it? Have you heard any of these phrases in your area? Did I miss any that you've heard or still use? Let me know in the comments!