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CoalSpeak
The Official CoalRegion Dictionary
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da back : woods and/or mountain brush outside of town.
babka : a pie made with potatoes, eggs, onions, milk, etc. Probably part of some kind of Eastern Europe cuisine.
babci : (pronounced "bob-shee") An elderly woman. A Polish word for granny or gramma.
babushka : cloth worn on the head of elderly ladies, usually garish colors and horrible patterns
baden suit : bathing suit. "I wanted ta go swimmin'up da Greenie, but I forgot my baden suit, da frick!"
barbecue : Sloppy-Joe-like but much tastier concoction served on hamburger buns at block parties
barley candy : an opaque hard candy, sort of off-white or yellowish in color. Similar to mozhee candy.
barney : a heavy, plated vehicle which ran on a narrower guage of tracks than did the lokie. Near the bottom of the plane the "barney" ducked into its hole and the cars ran by gravity to a collection track.
barrel : a keg of beer.
barroom : bar or drinking establishment. Many times a barroom is the first floor or basement of someone's house, hence the reference to it as a room of the house.
batroom : bathroom. "l'll ketch up wit yiz; I gotta go ta da batroom."
battree : battery. "I can't start my car; da battree's dead."
be's : is. "He be's talking on the phone."
beamer : No, not a BMW. A sunfish (a small fish, usually found near the shore of ponds).
beddies : bedroom slippers, usually women's and usually made of terrycloth with a padded bottom. "The floor's so cold at night, I can't even take two steps without my beddies."
bee-you-dee-full : beautiful. Used when something is really bee-you-dee-full.
beer garden : another name for a bar. In other parts of the country beer garden has a more specific meaning, like maybe the bar has outdoor seating. Few bars in the coal region have outdoor seating.
benda bida : (pronounced "BENJ-a BED-a") a Polish phrase, loosely translated as "get outta here before I hurt you!" quoting from Andoshen by Darryl Ponicsan: "'What's the goddam noise? Benda bida!' he growled, shaking his fist at them."
Ber'k : local pronunciation of the town of Berwick
bet : past tense of "beat". "Who got bet up in dat fight up R.J.'s last night?"
biatny : (pronounced "by AT nee") on an angle, diagonal. "Yiz know what bar I mean, it's da one on a biatny from St.Mike's"
biffle kapicked : used like a threat, like you were going to get a spanking or a whipping. Anyone know the derivation of this term? "If you don't behave, you're going to get your biffle kapicked!"
Bimmington : Binghamton, NY (CoalRegion pronunciation)
Birchola : A local Scranton brand of birch beer
Black Maria : (pronounced "black ma-RYE-a") A horse-drawn ambulance that took miners to the hospital after a mine accident. A modern usage of the term sometimes refers to a funeral hearse. Other usage is for a paddy wagon.
bleenies : potato pancakes. Sometimes called "peyatskis". "Yo, get me some bleenies at da block party." See recipe.
block party : bazaar, street fair.
blowie : a hamburger with the works from da Coney in Shamokin.
blue drillins : another word for blue jeans. Probably a mining term. "Put yer blue drillins on, we gotta do some work out in the yard."
boilo : a popular homemade Yuletide beverage. Ingredients include orange and lemon juice, honey, cloves, caraway seeds, and large amounts of whiskey. Served hot in shot glasses. Many families have their own particular recipes. Making boilo was a leading cause of fires in the region, since the whiskey is added while the mixture cooks on the stovetop. If any of it splashes on the stove, look out!
The original Lithuanian name for boilo is "Krupnickas".
"C'mon over da house after Midnight Mass and have some boilo!"
boogie-lice : those weird seed pod things that got stuck in your clothes, especially sweaters and socks, and were nearly impossible to get out. A note from our "Dutchman" friend: this word derives from the German dialect word, Buwwe-leis. Also called "boo-jaggers" or "booba-lice". In South Carolina, these are called "beggar lice".
boontie : a rock about the size of a baseball. Used for throwing at stuff.
bootlegger : person who runs illegal coal mining operation. Not a common occupation anymore.
borry : borrow. "Ho, butt! Lemme borry yer Hurld, I wanna check da Mass schedules."
bott - l : glass container: "Yo, f***face, gimme dat bott - l."
 
bottla : glass container containing something. "I'll have a bottla beer."
braitch hole : abandoned coal mine tunnel. Sometimes called an 'airhole'. "Be careful when yiz are walkin upda mountain so yiz dont fall in a braitch hole and get kilt!"
breaker : a huge building used to process (i.e. "break up") newly mined anthracite coal. There are a number of coal breakers (most of which are abandoned) dotting the region. Essentially it worked like this: Big, dirty lumps of coal came out of the mines and went in one end of the breaker. Clean, smaller size pieces of various sizes came out the other end. The breaker also filtered out slate and other rock from the coal. Machines have taken over most of the work that was done by hand for many years by men, women, and children. Breakers typically have hundreds of small windows in them. Not surprisingly, at least 50% of them are broken at any given time.
Bridal Dance : Also known as the "Dollar Dance". Popular at Coal Region weddings, everyone takes a turn dancing with the bride and contributes a dollar or more as a gift for the newlyweds. Sometimes a donation will buy you a shot of whiskey. Click here to hear the song and read about the Eastern European history of this tradition.
bring, bring-gingg : take, taking. " Can you bring me over my kuzzints house?"
brogue : a heavy shoe or work boot that reaches to the ankle. The dictionary defines brogue as a "stout coarse shoe worn formerly in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands". This may be why an Irish accent is referred to as a "brogue".
Comment from a viewer: in North Carolina, this type of shoe is called a "brogan". Probably the same derivation.
Another viewer contribution: The word "brogue" was originally a very unkind and derogatory word. It meant the person spoke English so badly it sounded as if the person had a shoe in his/her mouth, which is why my grandmother cried in anquish when I called her "brogue" beautiful. To say someone "spoke English with a brogue" was a nasty comment, used primarily by the English to insult the Irish. Unfortunately today, most people think they are referring to the Irish lilt when they use the term "brogue;" instead they are continuing an historic wrong.
The dictionary gives another definition of brogue as "an Irish accent". The etymology says "from the idea that unfamiliar features of pronunciation must be the result of a physical impediment of the tongue".
brudder : brother "I asked my brudder fer some money but he dint have none."
brung : past tense of bring. "I brung it wit me".
BTs : Butler Township Police. "Hide your kortz, it's the BTs!"
a buck two-eighty : slang term to describe an unspecified or unknown amount of money. "Yo, how much did that cost ya? Oh, about a buck two-eighty."
bucketaday : The small, coal fueled water heaters that never stayed lit. Comes from the idea that for a bucket of coal a day one could provide sufficient hot water for cleaning and bathing.
bucket of cheer : A basket of assorted alcoholic beverages (beer, whiskey, etc), most times used as a raffle prize.
buddy me : accompany me. "Yo, buddy me up town; I need ta play da number."
bugger : mischievous or bad person. This probably comes from Irish or English, to whom this is another word for sodomizer, (and it's a really bad thing to call someone over there!) But its no big deal to call someone a bugger in the Region -- my mother says it all the time, or did, until I told her what it really meant...
buggy : a grocery cart at a supermarket. "We was upda Ack-a-me and Mom said 'grab me a buggy'."
bum a ride : to hitchhike. "How'dja get there? We bummed it."
da Bunker : Shamokin's "Bunker Hill". Highest place in town, with a good view of the culm banks.
the Burma Road : the road between Morea and St. Clair. One viewer says "the name derives from the desolate and winding of the road combined with the fact that the far end outside of St. Clair always looked like it was bombed out due to strip mining." Another viewer says it was named by World War II veterans returning from the Burma campaign (the Burma road was a main supply route between China and Southeast Asia).
burnie : hot and spicy (burning). "Boy, dat chili is burnie!"
bush : woods. Also the southside section of Carbondale. "What are yez doin tonight? Were gettin some kortz and goin upda bush."
bush party : A beer drinking party in the woods.
butt : you, friend. "Yo, butt, hand me dat hammer." Often used as "Ho Butt!" when calling out to someone. "Yo" meaning "you". "Ho" short for "Hello".
butterene : margarine, oleo
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