Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vermont Vocabulary

I’m from Vermont--so are most of my characters. Vermonters, as well as others from many of the 
New England states, have “sayings” not as common in other parts of the U.S. These words and phrases often show up in my writing and my life. Every morning I get up and look in the mirror and think, Wow, I look like I got dragged through a knot hole backwards. A few days ago I asked my husband if a project he'd been working on was finished. In the stoic, short answer form Vermont men are famous for he replied, “Pret' near.”

I want to thank family and friends for contributions to this growing list. If anyone has other words or phrases they think should be on the list, please email me at

So, without further ado, I present Part 1 of “Things Vermonters Say”.

dinner (lunch)
door yard (front lawn or driveway)
dunagrees (blue jeans)
jimmies (sprinkles for ice cream)
johnny cake (sweet corn bread)
long johns (insulated underwear)
nightclothes (pajamas)
pocketbook (purse)
supper (evening meal)
Tarvia (pavement)
tin foil (aluminum foil)
toque (a wool cap)

 Longer Phrases: 
Slower than molasses running uphill in January
There'll be frost on the pumpkin tonight.
Scarcer than hen's teeth
Slicker than snot
I'm so broke I can't even pay attention.
Dumber than a rock
Tighter than the bark on a tree (stingy)
Pret near (almost)
A pissin’ match (an argument)
Right out straight (busy)
Thicker than thieves (close)

Cut cross-lots (take a short-cut)
Doesn't know enough to come in out of the rain
By gory (Damn!)
Sugar snow (big flakes that fall during sugaring season)
I feel like I've been drug through a knothole backwards.(all tuckered out, a mess)

Keep 'em coming....

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