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Eastern KY Lingo

Whether you plan on visiting, or have already visited the Red River Gorge area, I’m sure you’ve heard about the way in which Kentuckians talk. Can you even say “Kentucky” without sounding a little country?
Like countless other areas, Kentucky (more specifically, Eastern KY) has an extremely unique dialect and lingo that the locals use. The uniqueness of the language comes from a mixture of 16th century Elizabethan English and 18th century Colonial English with just a touch of back-country tang.
Don’t get stumped when a local asks, “Can you pass me a buggy”? while at the grocery store.
Don’t worry! We’re here help you decipher the “burgoo” from the “hollers”!


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Fixin’ – a helping/serving, about to
Skift – dusting of snow
Lay out – truancy, calling off or out of school/work
Scald(ed) – land, fruit, or vegetables in poor state
Plum – completely or entirely
Poke – brown paper bag
Meeting – religious gathering often in churches
Flannel Cake – commonly referred to as ‘pancake’
Palings – fence posts
Toothache Medicine/Jack/Jim/Kentucky Creamer/Redneck Flu Shot/NASCAR Lemonade/Stiffie/Sip/Drink/Liquor – good ole’ bourbon
Burgoo – famously delicious stew
Buggy – wheeled cart usually found in grocery stores
Hot Brown – open faced/closed famous sandwich or casserole
Coke – soft drink of any kind
Y’all – you all, group of 2 or more people
Yonder – point of direction
Bless your heart – multiple meanings; genuine sympathy/empathy, insult/to call someone dumb
Blinds – window shutters/covers
Cat-head – biscuit usually served with gravy
Chaw – a portion of chewing tobacco
Holler – valley
Reckon – to suppose


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While this list is limited and ever-changing, we reckon it will get you started on the right path while you’re in Kentucky. Y’all come on down to the holler, and have yourself a hot brown and Ale-8!

Did we leave out your favorite KY lingo? Comment with your favorite word or saying we missed on our list!