Saturday, May 14, 2011


My brother Norman used the word "fetid" in conversation yesterday and my husband said he'd never heard the word before. Norman and I both laughed and said we'd heard it from our mother all of our lives. It is such a PERFECT word because it totally conveys what one is thinking!

I think back to my mother's wondrous vocabulary! My brothers and I have a myriad of words which she used which cannot be found in any dictionary. Oftentimes we'll use a word and ask, "Is that a real word or one of Mother's?" For years, I thought the word "BOLLIX" was just one of my mother's words, but I was looking for another word in the dictionary and there was "bollix"--a perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word--I called Mother and exclaimed, "Mother, bollix is a real word!" My mother would always say we were "bollixed around from pillar to post" after the tornado destroyed our home.

Some of my mother's words which are NOT in any dictionary:

TOPLEY: When cooking, that's the amount of flour or other dry ingredient which is left when you grab an amount from the canister--it's the amount left in your cupped hand--when making pie crust it's the amount put on the bread board between rolling the crust.

BRIGGITY: Norman says it means smart-assed; I think it means that one is "too big for one's britches", but you get the meaning! Duke agrees with me.

HOIKY: My mother told the story of how someone spat on her sister's new purple coat and their mother wrote a letter to the school complaining about the person who'd committed the disgusting act; she wrote that it was a "hoiky gob". EEEEEEOOOOOW! Oh, it certainly conveys the disgusting act! Norman said he used "hoiky gob" at work quite often.

CHATTAMATOOGY: That was a "bridge" or "riff" when Mother would be "scat" singing! Oftentimes followed with "PURTY YEA HOO"!


Mona Lisa said...

I had to look up fetid!

MiracleMommy said...

Hi Sue,
I came across this post while Googling the word "briggity" after a recent conversation with a friend and reminiscing on the common accents and phrases of both our eastern Kentucky grandmothers (of Scottish descent).

I mentioned that i'd been searching for the meaning and origins of that word for a long time and couldn't even find any reference on the internet. Well I decided to do another search again, since things may have changed since the last time I looked.

My grandmother always told us kids that we were being briggity, but it seemed to mean that we were being sort of rambunctious or even a little mishcievous.