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FREY: Hilarious book of Hoosier slang a real humdinger |

FREY: Hilarious book of Hoosier slang a real humdinger

How can anyone in the women’s locker room at the Frankfort YMCA pass up a book called “How to Talk Hoosier?”

The back of the book says it all: “When the railroads in Indiana brought the early Hoosiers north from the Ohio River, those folks brought more than their wagons and skillets. They brought their language.”

And indeed they did.

Some of them are commonplace — phrases and words I have heard or read before.

Others, not so much.

Here goes.

Back tock is impudent talk.

A bullyrag is to abuse or scold vehemently.

A chimley is a brick, four-sided thing up on your roof that Santa Claus comes down at Christmastime.

An Indiana Swinger is a man who wears bib-overalls and no underwear (Is that really a thing?).

A bubgaboo is a small, evil creature that comes down chimneys and kidnaps naughty children.

Deep-po: “We had ta go down to the deep-po to meet the train from Lafayette.”

Droors are underpants.

An Irish nightingale is a bullfrog.

Pee-kid: ” You poor child, ya suhr do look pee-kid this mornin’.”

A poke is a brown paper bag in which groceries are put.

A blatherskite is a person who talks way too much.

And for those who would like a list of genteel curse words during times of aggravation, read on: by cracky, by gravy, I’ll be dogged, I’ll be jiggered, gosh all fishhooks, hot-diggity, what the blazes, I don’t give a hoot, tarnation, thundernation and phooey.

And finally, this question from an amorous woman to her husband: “Is your rhubarb up?”

Can’t make this stuff up, folks!

Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at

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