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Seth Tupper

TUPPER: More words, meanings and whatnot

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TUPPER: More words, meanings and whatnot
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

In March, I wrote a column about words and phrases that are specific to our part of South Dakota.

I got lots of feedback, including suggestions of words and phrases that should have been included. I enjoyed reading them all and set many aside for a follow-up.

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Today, perhaps thanks to the holiday lull, the time for that follow-up has finally arrived. Below is an addendum to my original South Dakota Dictionary, with the sources of the new words and phrases credited for their contribution. If no source is given, it means I can't remember where it came from, or it came anonymously, or it came from my own head.

a guy could: The phrase that a South Dakota man, usually a farmer or rancher, uses in reference to himself when speaking of something he knows he should do but wants to avoid. Example: Well, I suppose a guy could go out and fix fence. (Source: Matt Halvorson, of Kennebec.)

country: Depending on the context, either the area outside of a city generally or a specific swath of rural South Dakota. Examples: He lives in the country; or, He lives up in that Meadow-Bison country. (Source: Jon Lauck, of Sioux Falls, adviser to Sen. John Thune.)

crimenetly (pronounced like "crime-uhnetly"; alternative spellings: criminitaly, criminently): An expression of vexed aggravation, used in such situations as when cattle escape multiple times from what seems to be a perfectly good enclosure. It's often uttered as a one-word exclamation and is frequently accompanied by head-scratching. The origin may be the phrase "crime in Italy," as in "this is so frustratingly repetitive, it's like crime in Italy."

different (sometimes pronounced "differnt"): A description believed by many South Dakotans to be more polite than calling somebody "weird." An example from conversation: Person 1: What's he like? Person 2: Oh, he's different.

feed: A gathering where food is prepared by a small group of people and provided to a larger group of people. This is distinct from a potluck, to which everybody brings food to share. Example: We had a feed at the VFW.

ground: The preferred word of farmers and ranchers when describing a piece of land dedicated to agricultural production. Example: He bought a piece of ground over by the Jim. (For a definition of "the Jim," keep reading.)

heavyset: Believed by many rural South Dakotans to be a polite way of describing someone's weight. An example from conversation: Person 1: What does she look like? Person 2: She's a heavyset gal.

I suppose: Uttered to declare a conversation or lunch hour over so that work may commence, or to end a conversation that has run out of steam and become awkward. Example: Well, I suppose we'd better get movin'. (Source: Jon Lauck.)

Jim, the: For many, the preferred name of the James River. Example: We went fishin' on the Jim. (Wendy Figland, of Mitchell, sent me this one and said she heard it so much growing up that she didn't realize until later that the actual name is "James.")

'n that: In certain pockets of rural South Dakota, this phrase is substituted for words and phrases such as "etcetera" and "so on and so forth." An example from conversation: Person 1: What did you do today? Person 2: We just cleaned up around the house 'n that.

outastater: Someone not from South Dakota. Frequently used in reference to a hunter or angler who is doing something so obviously boneheaded to indicate that "he must be an outastater." (Source: Jon Lauck, of Sioux Falls.)

place: Almost always added after a farm or ranch family's last name when referring to their farm or ranch. Instead of saying, "We went to the Johnsons'," one might say, "We had a visit at the Johnson place." (See below for the definition of "visit.")

rassling or rasslin': Believed by many South Dakotans to be the proper pronunciation of the word "wrestling." Example: There's a big rasslin' tournament Saturday. (Source: Brian Corlett, of Norwood Young America, Minn., and formerly of my hometown of Kimball.)

upta: Derived from the phrase "up to" and used when discussing a trip that will consume a significant amount of time. Example: We're goin' upta Mitchell next week. (Source: Jon Lauck.)

visit or visiting: The fullfillment of one's neighborly duty by stopping at another person's residence for forced conversation, usually in a rural setting. Example: We went visiting at the Smiths yesterday. (Source: David Leonard, of Yankton.)

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