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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 18, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I recently read Mother of Rain by Karen Spears Zacharias.  There’s a glossary in the back of the book since much of it is written in the vernacular of Appalachia.  I knew, or was able to figure out, all of the words, but I thought it would be fun to feature a few of them today.

1. shitepoke – “Jimmie Price was a shitepoke town kid, from up at Johnson City.”

Shitepoke means long-legged, like a heron.


2. quare – “’I cain’t describe it good, but she’s got this quare look, like somebody took an eraser and wiped her clean of any remembrances.'”

Quare means queer; mentally unbalanced; senile; defective, oddball.


3. poke – “Miz Janny handed me the poke of nuts.”

A poke is a paper sack.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2013 8:23 am

    I suspect I’d be totally lost in Appalachia!

  2. September 18, 2013 8:49 am

    What lovely words, I wouldn’t have guessed any of them. It’s interesting when you find a completely new (and unexpected) usage for a common word like poke isn’t it. I did that today with crocodile.

  3. September 18, 2013 9:37 am

    growing up in TN & GA has helped me to be quite familiar with these words AND we have an Appalachian Studies program at the college in our small town that opens up numerous events community-wide. . .lots of fun words. . .I especially like shitepoke and quire!

  4. September 18, 2013 11:38 am

    Good thing this book has a glossary. Very fun words!

  5. September 18, 2013 11:42 am

    I also live in Appalachia, and I guessed that QUIRE was queer- I can just hear some of the folks in town saying that word. The other two were new to me. I love the phrase: “like somebody took an eraser and wiped her clean of any remembrances”! How descriptive and poetic in a simple way!

  6. September 18, 2013 12:33 pm

    I like shitespoke and it’s not the meaning you would imagine either 🙂 More for the dictionary or my list of new words.

  7. September 18, 2013 12:40 pm

    You’re right – those are fin words. Poke is the only one I know. One of my husband’s phrases is “It’s like buying a pig in a poke.” His mother’s family was from Arkansas.

  8. September 18, 2013 12:40 pm

    I would have had to look all of these up.

  9. lab1990 permalink
    September 18, 2013 1:44 pm

    Oh, interesting! I was only able to figure out the second one from context.

    Lauren from

  10. Beth Hoffman permalink
    September 18, 2013 2:51 pm

    Shitepoke wasn’t familiar, but I knew the others. Fun words, Kathy! I just bought “Mother of Rain” and plan to read it soon.

  11. September 18, 2013 3:40 pm

    I knew what poke meant, but the other two were new to me.

  12. September 18, 2013 3:44 pm

    I wish I had a poke of apples right now to bake a pie, interesting words.

  13. September 18, 2013 5:27 pm

    These are great words, Kathy! I never would have guessed what they meant. Thank goodness the book has a glossary!

  14. September 18, 2013 5:58 pm

    Excellent words from your reading! I did not know these words.
    I have finally posted my own WWW. 🙂

  15. September 18, 2013 6:04 pm

    interesting new words. I’m afraid I haven’t heard of them. 😉

  16. September 18, 2013 7:14 pm

    Some of my relatives use poke for a paper bag!

  17. wcs53 permalink
    September 18, 2013 8:51 pm

    ‘poke’ was a word we used in Scotland growing up, but I’d never heard the others before. Coincidentally my WWW post this week is of words used in the dialect where I grew up.

  18. September 18, 2013 10:13 pm

    Interesting words! I like them all, especially shitepoke.

  19. September 19, 2013 1:40 pm

    I knew pole but the others are new. I like them though, useful.

  20. September 20, 2013 12:11 am

    I like:
    Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained
    Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. AND
    Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline

    Hee hee

  21. September 22, 2013 11:44 am

    Hi Kathy,

    I do enjoy books written in the local vernacular, although some of the words can be open to quite varied interpretation!

    I knew of the word ‘poke’ and was able to work out what ‘quare’ meant, however ‘shitepoke’ was completely new and unknown to me.

    There are several, not quite so savoury definitions for all of your words, depending in which reference material you are searching, however yours fit in beautifully with the essence of the book’s dialogue.

    This sounds like a fascinating book and Karen, such an interesting author. Thanks for sharing.


  22. October 28, 2013 8:06 am

    I think a Charlie Brown Christmas would be fun.

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