Are You A-Where of These Regional Terms?

Rob Kyff on

Despite the homogenization of American language during the past century, many delightful words unique to a certain region survive. Can you match each regional term with its definition AND select the region or state where it flourishes?

Regions: New England, New York, Pennsylvania, South, Southwest, Alaska.


1. Intervale.

2. Tumbleset.

3. Stateside.

4. Stob.

5. Mozo.

6. Slatch.

7. Stoop.

8. Hosey.

9. Gum band.

10. Wanigan.


A. A lull between waves or wind gusts.

B. "Choose" in "I hosey" when choosing sides in a children's game.

C. A somersault.

D. The 48 contiguous states.

E. An addition to a trailer.


F. An assistant.

G. A tract of low-lying land, especially along a river.

H. A porch or staircase at the entrance to a building.

I. A wooden stake.

J. A rubber band.

Answers (with help from the fascinating Regional Notes in the American Heritage Dictionary):

1. Intervale: G. New England. A village on flat land along the Saco River in northern New Hampshire is actually named Intervale.

2. Tumbleset: C. South. "Set" is a variant of the French "sault," from the Latin "saltus" (a leap), hence, "tumble leap."

3. Stateside: D. Alaska. "Stateside," often used by Americans abroad to describe their home country, is also an Alaskan term for the Lower 48.

4. Stob: I. South. "Stob" is a variant of "stub"; both derive from the Middle English "stubbe," a tree stump.

5. Mozo: F. Southwest. Spanish for "young man," "mozo" originally denoted an extra hand on a cattle roundup or ranch; it has evolved into a general term for an assistant or helper.

6. Slatch: A. New England. "Slatch" derives from the Old English "slaec," the same root that gives us "slack."

7. Stoop: H. New York. "Stoop," from the Dutch "stoep" (front verandah), survives from the 17th-century Dutch settlement of New York City and its environs.

8. Hosey: B. New England. "I hosey" may come from the French "je choisis" (I choose) or the pronunciation of "choose" with a heavy Irish brogue.

9. Gum band: J. Pennsylvania. Many Pennsylvanians are of German descent, and "gum band" is a variant of the German word for rubber band -- "Gummiband."

10. Wanigan: E. Alaska. "Wanigan," derived from the Ojibiwa "waanikaan" (storage pit), originally denoted a small shed towed behind a tractor or train as a shelter for a work crew. (In New England, a "wanigan" is a boat or chest filled with supplies for a cabin or lumber camp.)


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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