PatronPATRON + “Warshing” Clothes Recipe – Believe it or not – there really is one! October 19, 2021 December 22, 2021by Donna R Causey To view this content, you must be a member of Alabama Pioneers Patrons's Patreon at $2 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content. Tags: Alabama historyGENEALOGYhumorrecipes humor
No cooking on Warsh Day!
I am from Georgia. NOBODY here says or ever said WARSH! It is not a “Southern Thing.” I did have two uncles who married sisters from Louisiana, and THEY said WARSH AND WRENCH. People in Georgia have always said wash and rinse.
I love reading these stories! Being a bit of an old soul, I often think about how people would react if they were plucked from our current “modern” world and placed back in the day. Oh, how I would love to be a fly on the wall. 🙂
I vaguely remember my grandmother using a large iron kettle in her back yard to wash clothes. She would build a small fire under the kettle to heat the water before putting the clothes in to soak. I do not remember if she transferred the clothes to another tub to scrub, but she probably did. She later got a Maytag wringer washer and I am sure her wash day was a whole lot easier.
The “Warshing” word is one that has been passed down from the Anglo-Saxons. One hears this word more often in the areas where the dialect is Mountain Southern,but among my childhood days,I often heard this “Warsh” used by my Coastal Southern speaking ,19th Century born, older relatives .
My grandmother bathed me in the kitchen sink when I was little. I remember her saying, “now, let’s wrench you off”.
My mother would have never bathed a child in the kitchen sink! The kitchen was kept clean.
I beg to differ. The majority of Southern people say it correctly, There is no “R” in washing! (And my grandmother was a country person from south Mississippi and she said “rinse” not “wrench”. Just because you’re southern and speak with a drawl does not mean you use incorrect pronunciation.
You aren’t even old enough to remember past generations pronouncing words in this way. No one is saying that this is the case today.
Thank you! I’m 64, and my grandmother was born in 1907.
“Wrench” and starch. I love it!
I love this ! This brings back some very precious memories of my childhood ! My Grandmother used this word among others and she was without a doubt the strongest lady I ever knew and could work circles around most people..
I remember the big black pot of water over the fire, my granny still used it when I was young.She did have a wringer washing machine. I loved to feed the clothes through the wringer.We got our baths in the big metal tubs!!! to me it was fun!!!
Using words like warsh and wrench were Elizabethen Old English and correct in its day…
back woods hillbilly talk. they were my people grew up there.
some of them could not read or write. but they built thiscountry.
Mine too! But they way they talked and still talk today …sometimes including me …was authentic correct original Old English
My great grandpa used to say ..Youins better git in here. .i am gonna whoop you with my strop. .
Which he never laid a hand on us ever…lol
But that was pure passed down Old English
This is the way my mother washer for many years when I was growing up, and water was drawn from a well with a bucket!!!
When I was young, I watched my Mom boil our clothes in a big black pot in the backyard, wash them and hang them out on a clothes line to dry. Used an outhouse too. Can you say “dinosaur”?
I remember this as a little girl. Some of the women that lived on our farm would help Mother on wash day. Pots to wash and pots to rinse and then hang the clothes on the line to dry. When I was 4 or 5 Mother got a wringer washer that was on the back porch. Made life much easier, especially in cold weather.
I was born and raised in Alabama and moved to Kentucky about 4 and half years ago.My grandparents on dads side was Bonners and lived in Tuscaloosa county in a place called Flat Woods.They lived on dirt roads and had a well and had wash tubs and wash pots.The wash pot was black not like a wash tub.My moms parents was the Jones and lived in Walker County in a place called Gibson Hill.They also had a wash tub and wash pot.I can remember my moma Jones building a fire in the yard and washing in the black wash pot.The sheets would be so white not like now in washers and dryers.Words was country and possibly not the way of now.How I love to go to both my grandparents house.I could write small stories of my memories.I’m fixing to be 63 and have wonderful memories of those days and miss them so.The home places is still there.The Jones place was sold.The house was redone years ago.The Bonner place is still the same.Oh what little stories to tell.
I was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee. It is where I learned to talk. Warsh and Wrench is all I knew until I went into the Navy at age 18. The transition from Southern hillbilly to “normal” was difficult for me. T.I. Dennis was correct. The words “warsh” and “wrench” migrated with the Scotch Irish from North Carolina south through Tenessee and on south and westward. The only mistake in this story is “heating water over a fire”. This should have read “heating water over a “far”.
Mom in law, 81, tells of the entire community turning out for warsh day. First, the boys took the washpots to the creek bank, swept the work area, gathered wood and hung the pots on posts previously placed. Next, the men joined them, lit the fires and they all started hauling water from the creek, poured it in the pots. Meantime, women and girls stripped beds, took down curtains, gathered rag rugs, soap, clothes ‘pegs’ and scrub boards and loaded them into the wagon. One family had 9 daughters and they loaned out girls to help others with no girls. Finally, the boys came back, hitched the mules to the wagon and they went to the creek. Every body! Everyone had a job. In spring and summer they took picnic lunches and the youngsters swam in the creek as they wrenched the laundry. The lines were strung on a hill. The fresh wrenched items were secured to dry with pegs. I’m sure it was hard work, but in warm weather they made the best if it. She said they sang hymns, the preacher would cut loose every now and then, kids playing, dogs and cats running underfoot, and if it weren’t for the red lye-scalded hands of the women and older girls come sun down it would have seemed like a ‘social’. Times were simple, back breaking, and uncomplicated by trying to keep up with the Joneses. I wouldn’t want to go back, but the co-op developed by the people was amazing!
What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Count your Bessing,they still wash like that Brazil !
Girl you need to ask your Mom this is how we used to do washing until Dad bought us a electric washing machine with a ringer on it. Washing was one of my chores that I had to help Mom do. Boiling water in the wash pot because Dads cloths was so dirty from being a Mechanic.
I have lived in Baldwin county lower Alabama my entire 32 years on earth… Never have I heard anyone I know …from here anyways… Say “Warshing”
Depends on the area of the south. I’ve heard people say that in my lifetime as well.
I live in rural west Coffee County, Alabama. My mother-in-law and some members of her family often use words like warsh and wrench. I think certain southern words are kinda like a dialec. If you live in a community that has not been effected by transplants from other regions or states you are more likely to hear words like this from people over 75.
My mom always said “it’ll all come out in the warsh” every time we had a problem
My mother, a Kentuckian, said warsh! I suppose she got that from her mother, who was from Ohio.
laundry was “wars” and always done by “her”… thus warsher…
My mom was raised in Loango/Red
Level, Alabama. Even as an older woman, living many years away from Alabama, she would often say ” rinch and warsh and winders.” I wrote down the story she told me about her and her older sister having to do the family washing starting from age 10. They had no well, just a spring that was past the backyard, over the style and on the other side of the back pasture. They had to gather sticks to make a fire in the pot that stayed there. They used a special stick, that looked like a paddle, which belonged to their G-Grandmother Pate, to,stop,the,clothes in the pot. They did this every Friday after their Mother had to go to work in the shirt factory. She would reward them by bringing home some light bread to make tomato sandwiches–and a candy bar!
Saw my grandmother do this before!
My mama tells about having to go down to the creek and haul water for wash day. Imagine having to break the ice to get a bucket of water on a cold day like this! Brrr!!
I remember my mother washing clothes like this using a washboard. She washed clothes for the neighbors to buy food.
What an Eye Opener!
I was born in 1944. Everybody said warsh for wash. They said wrench for rinse. They said orn for iron. Also our chimney was a chimley. The fireplace was a farplace. The hearth was a herth. People were cuored instead of cured. We had car tares, not tires. A sprained ankle was a sprung ankle. It was shore, not sure. Lots of people said aig instead of egg. It was not your hat, it was yore hat. The hat wasn’t yours it was yorn. We didn’t eat at 6, we et at 6. It was what fer not what for. We would git something, not get it. I love the old speech. It was sech, not such.
Amen, due to the lack of transportation even within certain rural localities, intermingling of dialects were different., not to mention from state to state and regions within the south. The cartoon “Barney Google” by Fred Lasswell is an example of ‘some’ rural south speech patterns.
Never once called it warshing. Never heard someone call it warshing. I’m from Semmes Alabama. L A. That’s lower alabama. Doesn’t get any deeper in the south.
My grandmother let me play in the big warsh tun in the summer, like a pool. I believe it was the best times I ever remember having. Maybe with exception of swimming in the creek with my cousin. Great memories.
You may be from Mississippi but beg to differ with you those words, many, many years ago in Tennessee were pronounced as warsh and wrench.
I remember my mother washing clothes this way. We didn’t change clothes two or three times a day back then! Lol
Years ago I had a supervisor from North Alabama that told me that every Monday morning his Mom would “warsh” clothes and his Dad made moonshine. Dad had his whiskey still inside the smokehouse with the smoke pipe running underneath the edge of the building and then on to underneath the “warsh pot”. No problem with the “reven newers” looking for smoke back in the woods. Mom got the clothes cleaned and Dad got his “likker” made.
Some people say warshing and some don’t …….we said wrentch instead of rinse lol .
My Momma told me that’s why back when she was little the kids always ran around in the yard ‘nekid’.
I still remember going down to the creek to ” warsh ” clothes. As a child we called it the spring and we also used it for a swimming hole. We carried all the clothes and ” lie ” soap down to the spring and washed the clothes then toted them back up the hill to the clothes line to dry. We got a washing machine with a wringer that we had to turn by hand. I got my long hair caught in it and almost made myself bald. Lol we washed and wrenched our clothes. Lol I’m only 72 years old.
this bring bad memories for me i had to help mama and when it was cold the clothes froze in your hand when you hung them on the line
I REMEMBER THOSE DAYS WELL, BUT DO NOT SEE THE WASHPOT WITH THE FIRE UNDER IT. IN THE 30S AND 40S.
Back in the late 1920’s and early 30’s, my mother washed clothes at the creek. This was before my time, but I have seen pictures.
We don’t “warsh” clothes or “wrench”dishes in the Black belt.
There were 4 siblings in my mother’s family. Of the four, one said warsh and wrench, but the others didn’t. My grandmother said wash and rinse, but perhaps my grandfather did not; he died long before I was born.
After we warshed the clothes, we ranched them off.
We did and I am proud to say we did even though I don’t say that now. Makes me a little sad to realize that the language of the South that I grew up with is slowly fading.
Thanks for sharing. This is so good!
My grandmother said wrench, winder, camry(camera). I read it came from Scots/Irish influence, from the Appalachian area.
Angie Womble Moody
I was born in Alabama 65 years ago. I nor my neighbours have ever pronounced washing as WARSHING!! Get your facts straight before you write an article for publication.
depends on what part of the state/region one is from!!
I’m from Alabama and I’ve only Heard Warshing your clothes and wrenching them out. Not so much since my Grandmothers generation have passed. I’m going to forward this to a friend because we talk and laugh about how we said things back then. Your only 11 yrs older than me. You might need to do your research first next time.
I love my southern accent & am very proud of it. I get funny looks & some folks automatically think I’m ignorant but that’s fine they can think what they want. I don’t live to impress them, you or anyone else. I love the south!
Right Jennifer Tudor
I’ve lived in Alabama 70% of my years, and nope, I’ve never pronounced it as “warshing.” Nor did my parents or grandparents. I have heard someone from Massachusetts mispronounce it that way, however.
the word washin has no g in it that i ever hurd but i only been listenin 81.5 yrs.
hey we forgive you AP et al…otherwise y’all doin a bang up job… yep.
Remember as a boy hearing my grandmother say “warshing” and “ranched them off”…West Alabama (Fayette County).
I’m from Alabama and I’ve only Heard Warshing your clothes and wrenching them out. Not so much since my Grandmothers generation have passed. I’m going to forward this to a friend because we talk and laugh about how we said things back then. Your only 11 yrs older than me. You might need to do your research first next time.
All of my relatives grew up in Alabama and none of them ever said “warshing”. I’ve heard that in MT but not in Alabama. I don’t recall anyone I grew up with saying that either.
I have lived in the south my whole life and I have never said warsh. The only person I have ever heard say it is a woman from North Carolina
Yea I lived the first 43 years of my life in Alabama and no one said that. LOL
I’ve lived in Alabama my whole 37 years and the only time I say I’m warshing my clothes is when I’m aggravating my mother. My grandmother is 81, and she doesn’t even say warshing! Lol
Sounds like East Texas to me!
I was born in AL. Still live in AL. I am sure there was/is a recipe for washing clothes. I have never said WARSHING or does anyone I know.
When I lived in Ohio I heard this term. It was usually spoken by people from West Virginia.
I live in Alabama, grew up in Mississippi – never met anyone in either state who said “warsh” – not until I met my husband. He is from Iowa! lol
Up here in the NE mountains, they shore ’nuff say “warsh.”
I have heard it. I think it is from Scotch-Irish dialect. Probably runs in families.
That’s my family’s lineage and I’ve never heard it used.
I use it unconsciously. As in “warter”. Someone noticed and called it to my attention.
We call it warshin. That’s all we’ve ever called it.
One of my grandma’s said warsh….she was from Oklahoma!
I grew up in the South and we were very well educated and we never said warshing instead of washing.
I have cousins from Baldwin county, they’ve always said warshing
Maybe they said it 100 years ago, but I’ve never heard anyone say it that way.
Born and live in Alabama and I have heard people use “warshing” . Maybe it’s because we’re on the MS,TN state line.
warshing==sounds more Kentucky ==Loretta Lynn style
I’m from SE Ky. We never said “warsh”! That’s not normally a Ky. Way of saying it.
well however Lorretta Lynn said it.I just remember it not being washing.Will have to listen to the song again.BTW I am from Philly and the people outside the city 1 county away dident speak like us either.We said Krik they said Creek and many other different words
just listened to ‘Ones on the way’ and Lorretta deffinitly says warsh
I’m from south Alabama, now live in central Alabama, and I have never heard anyone here use “warsh”. I’ve heard folks from Missouri use it.
It’s all about where you live if you or your family ever said “Warshing”. None of my relatives ever did but we live in the very lower part of Alabama…other places are different.
My roots are very deep in Alabama. I grew up in northeast Alabama and my husband grew up in southeast Alabama, and neither of EVER remember anyone saying “warsh” instead of “wash.” When we lived in Louisville, KY for about 5 years, I ran across a few folks from across the river in Indiana who said “warsh.”
Back in the days people actually spoke words.
Jeff Owens–HA!! I’ve been right all along.
From the looks of the comments you guys are in the minority when it come to “watching” clothes.
One of my grandmothers was born in 1875 and the other in 1888, neither of them ever said warsh or whench for wash or rinse. Some people may said warsh, but not everyone.
Stop making people in the south look stupid we know how to say washing clothes.
There’s nothing stupid about having an accent. The “r” is a remnant of a dialect. Not stupid.
Putting letters in words that don’t belong is not an accent it’s a speech impediment.
My friend’s mother from Locust Fork says warsh. That doesn’t make her stupid, it is just a dialect. No harm in acknowledging it; there is harm in labeling it a speech impediment. How oddly rigid and rude of you.
Thanks for the correction you really nailed it on the head it’s rude of me I really think you are the smartest person I know. If the people in the south can’t speak plain English that doesn’t make rude. But hey I never Called any one stupid I said they were trying to make people from the south look stupid. What is rude is taking people’s words and twisting them. If the teachers did not correct the dialect then that’s not a southern thing.
Oh and if she went to school today they would put her in speech.
Marlene Lazenby Bradford==even newscasters have accents.Its called the newscasters accent==besides that none of us speak proper english==Right Britain.
Marlene Lazenby Bradford try going to Philadelphia/Boston or even NYC==You will never hear the heavy midwestern accent[newscasters dialectrics] spoken there either
Joseph Santangini are you really scolding me please. Maybe not because a few people speak that way doesn’t mean all southerners do Yes I have an accent I was born and raised in the south but to throw me in a category with people who talk like that is wrong.
like it or not some southerners prefer being midwestern wannabes for some reason.They are as phony as a $3.00 bill
Well you lost me there I don’t try to change my accent but I did learn English in school and there was never an r in wash. And my grandmother had 13 children all of them born in the south some of them never finished school and none of them ever put an r in wash eithier
Marlene Lazenby Bradford Why you insist in labeling others is beyond me. I like dialects and accents, it’s part of what defines an area’s characteristics. Not everyone in the South says they are ‘fixin’ to do something’, but it’s still common here, and recognizable as a Southern thing. And it’s fun.
I am 72 years old , when I was a child my grandma had a neighbor friend who said warsh , my grandma boiled her white clothes in a big black wash pot in her wash house ,heated with natural gas, also as I remember it she had a big stick called a battling stick , which she stirred the clothes. She used Clorox and bluing on white clothes, I remember ” helping” her wash. Happy Memories. She has been gone for 53 years, and I miss her every day . All of us were born in Alabama , we are all still here, no better place on earth , in my opinion.
Never heard it. Born in Al. “Wash”.
Cute story. Never heard Warsh here in Bama, but I’ve heard of ‘renching’ something off. And Arning the clothes. ~Amber
Definitely heard of renching. My Grandmother renched her clothes.
I lived in Cullman County, AL and Monday was warsh day, an all day job and we kids had to do our part (and we better do a good job).
I am from Al, and I don’t care how it’s pronounced,I am just happy we don’t do it that way today!
I remember being a little girl and living in grandpas old house with no gas or electricity. Mom use to lite a fire in the middle of the yard under the very tub that us kids took a bath in and would wash clothes with a scrub board and lye soap. My family was from Alabama and yes depending upon where you were from warsh was quite common.
After reading it this is exactly as my mother did it for a family of 11 kids..
I,ve never said warsh,,and I ,ve live in Alabama all my life in the country too,,,
I remember my mother and grandmother warshing clothes. Yes, warshing. Sometimes i still catch myself saying it. My mother was born in Alabama, but has since passed away. I live in Ohio but still have the old memories. Dad came north after the war looking for work and we stayed after he found a job with the railroad. I love it here, but miss my families in the south, Tn, Ga, and Al. Go back about every year. You don’t have to do all that fast living. everyone is always in a hurry up here to get nowhere. LOL
I catch myself saying warsh too. I’m from TN
My dad was from TN also. My family lived in Ga too
Saying “warsh” instead of “wash” is not a pronunciation that I have heard from people who are native to south Alabama.
I worked with a man in Indiana and he said warsh, but I’ve not heard anyone in the South say it
Neither I nor my family- all from Alabama – ever said “warsh,” but the washing process described in this article fits what I was told about how things used to be done.
Maybe it was written by a Sand Mountain woman. I’ve heard “warsh” and “wrench” all my life. At times I even catch myself pronouncing it as such. I don’t hold a Ph.D. but I’m not uneducated either.
There ya go. I just commented that here in the NE mountains I’ve definitely heard “warsh” and “wrench.” Especially from the old folks!
My folks said wranch and arn.
We not only warshed clothes, we had to rinch them out.
never said “warshing”, born and raised in the backwoods of Alabama, and yes, I had to wash clothes in a tub with a washboard for a few years during the late 50’s
I remember one of my grandmothers doing just that. And she made her own lye soap too.
Yep I’ve heard warsh and far for fire.
My folks used to say wranch, arn, tomaters, potaters, bananers, and far just to name a few. It used to embarrass me but they’ve been gone for a while now and I would love to hear them talk again.
Yes , I would like to hear mine too, wouldn’t matter what they said.
Wonder what they say in Chicargo ?
I was born and raised in Alabama. I have never in my 56 years said, “warshed” for washed.
Pennsylvania folks pronounce washday the same way, warshday. I miss hearing that.
OMG Julie Cummings Sands Reminded me of the “scrubbing board my mom used to use when she washed clothes in the zinc tub of hers, that used to be my “swimming pool” in the summer. Hadn’t thought of that for years.. Thanks for the memory!
My family is from West Virginia, and that is how my Mom still pronouns it today. I used to try correcting her. But the old ways of speaking has stuck with her all these years. She’s highly intelligent, but refuses to let go of the old way of speaking. And other old fashioned ways. I’m proud to be the receiver of all this information that you can’t get in books.
Born and raised in Alabama and the only person I’ve heard say warsh was my sister in law and she was from Arkansas!
I remember my grandmother washing in a big black pot in the back yard with wood fire under pot.
Wonderful story! Brings back ,memories.
My boss, in Colorado has lived here his whole life, and says warsh…
Mom was from Statesboro Ga. . That’s how she pronounced it. Whench for rinse as well.
I am from the south, and I have never pronounced washing with an R in it.
I don’t either, but I have family in Tennessee who do. I think it’s more of an Appalachian pronunciation.
I was raised in East Tennessee. I married an Alabama girl and live in Alabama. She spent our first twenty years together getting me to not say warsh and wrench.
The older folks in my part of Al says it. ie warsh rags.
Totally hill talk. My folks were from northeast Alabama-Marshall, Jackson, DeKalb (emphasize the DE) – and the R’s came out very hard in our language. No sweet, soft southern drawls up in these hills and valleys. They had an accent as hard as the lives they lived.
Two other favs: head rags: scarves. Racks: metal clothes hangers. (Sand Mt.)
Like David Letterman always said …” that’s the way they say it in Indianapolis” believe me it’s more of a northern thing to say warsh.
& then they had Warsher Teers, ever heard that!
i kbow ppl that still say worman, for woman
I remember my grandmother preferred her big outdoor kettle to her wringer washer.
I’ve lived in the South all my life; my Mom’s family is from SE Alabama, my Dad’s from SW NC. None of those family members on either side used ‘warsh’. I’ve only heard it from people who come from Walker County, AL.
It is a thing with rural folk who live in counties with no large town. Common in the northwest and northern part of Alabama.
My family lives in Dothan but originally we are from Fayette, north of Tuscaloosa.
Same here, been here all my life except 7 yrs. I’m 73.
I don’t remember my grandma ever saying warsh…
Warsh is hill county.
I was born and raised in the deep south and the first time I ever heard someone say “warsh” was in Washington DC when I was 35! He was our tour bus driver who was from West Virginia! He pronounced Washington “Warshington”. The last day of our trip one of the ladies in the group ask him to say Washington (Warshington) one more time before we left!
Exactly- West Virginia is Appalachia. North Alabama is Appalachia. Same pronunciation.
I’ve heard drastically different pronunciations of certain words from people in different families who were all in the same part of Alabama. Maybe their grandparents or great-grandparents came from different places. A large number of people in parts of southern Alabama are descended from people who came from South Carolina in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Other families came from Georgia and others from North Carolina in that same time period. Parts of Alabama probably have more people who have ancestry in Alabama going back much further in the past.
my family said Warsh – warshing machine and a wrench for your hair color
Warshing? Don’t think so.
My mother said “warsh” and she was born in Walker Co, Al in 1909. My daughter playfully accused me of saying it. We’ve laughed about it after I realized I did actually slur it a little in that manner. I’ve tried to correct it through the years.
Just like I have two college degrees and still slip into “open up ‘at winder” or “arn me that yeller shirt” or “change the oel in the moder” or “tard” for “tired” and “far” for “fire”. Listen closely in north Alabama for words that end with a consonant follow by the word “that” and the “th” is always dropped. “Like that” becomes “lik’at”. Then there’s the “Ima gonna, Ima gonna” over and over. Sorry, Betty, it’s just who we are. But is there something wrong with that, lol? 🙂 🙂 🙂
My son-in-law says warshing and hes from Texas
I’ve lived in .South all my life, only heard one woman say “warsh” and that was over 65 years ago!
I say warsh, alway’s have and I was born in California
AND don’t forget after you “WARSH” you MUST remember to “WRANCH” off – lol
Is there a difference between “warshing” and “worshing” or “wranching off” and “wrenching off”? I really always heard “worsh” like a “worshrag” but I didn’t want to further confuse this conversation.
I didn’t hear anybody originally from southern Alabama say, “warsh”. I have heard “wrench” for rinse, but I can only think of one person who said it that way.
No you don’t
Born and raised in Alabama and never heard that!
What part of Alabama, north or south?
See Christy I am not the only one
My grandmother (1897-2000) said the greatest invention in her life time was the washing machine.
And she also said “warsh” and “wrench” (for rinse). Born and raised in the country in Pickens County and later moved to Tuscaloosa County, AL.
59 years in Mobile, Al and have never heard a soul say warsh. I guess I might be too sensitive, but this story characterizes Alabamans negatively. Does the writer actually live in or ever been to Alabama?
Funny how people show up here and start digging up bones, they think! Most know absolutely nothing about Alabama or the people here.
June Price Herron – exactly. I have been to a lot of states in this union, and by far-Alabamians are the most congenial and outgoing people. The characterization of our neighbors being uneducated and toothless is as absurd as can be.
You’re from Mobile. Alabama covers a large area and not all people- especially before the era of mass communication- spoke the same. I’m from the very northern counties on the opposite end of the state and heard this pronunciation of “wash” all my life along with other pronunciations you never heard in the coastal region.
Charles Moore – dads family is from Cullman. Still, never heard them say it like that.
If this characterizes Alabama negatively, does that make Bostonians ignorant for dropping the “r” from words? Are Londoners ignorant for their cockney accent? …Canadians with their sing-songy rhythm, eh? I have no idea what the heck people from Maine are saying!
Charles Moore – like I said, I might be ultra sensitive about the subject. But, I have believe that -especially the far west and northern states -unfairly characterize Alabamians as uneducated and illiterate. Every region has its own special dialogue and cultural differences, but that doesn’t mean the people as a whole are uneducated.
Charles Moore Don’t think it says anything negative about any particular group. JFK pronounced Cuba as Cuber. Hardly a man that could be construed as ignorant.
From Mobile also. My family did not say warsh but my bff did just like her Mom. BFF, bright as any, went through journalism degree and edited newspapers and magazines. However, she still warshes the dishes just like her Mom. I don’t take colloquial language as an insult. They are just familiar words that come to live with us.
Don’t know what part of the south that you are from but I have been living in the South for almost 70 years and have never heard the word warshing. If it is misspelled just say it is misspelled.
“The South” is a large area. There are a variety of dialects throughout the South.
I have heard most of them.
It is the way my Mother in Law said it from HOkes Bluff , AL . And a few of my relatives in Centerville, TN
AP is full of ignorance. At least that’s the way we say it in the south.
“Warsh” is more common in hill country in the northern third of the state, especially northeast. My grandmother, who was from an isolated region between Guntersville and Scottsville used this pronunciation. I heard it from a lot of other country people when I was younger. Appalachian hill folk use a more hard, direct accent instead of the slow drawl lowlanders in the South use. There are a variety of so-called southern accents. We ain’t all alike.
From Fort Payne and rarely ever heard “warsh.”
Older dialects have changed. The more rural people from my parents’ and grandparents’ generations spoke with more regional dialects. My grandmother Moore had a very pronounced way of talking. Our modern language, even in the deep South and Appalachia, is affected by mass media where everyone speaks almost the same. Yep, it’s been a while since I’ve heard “warsh” or “worsh” or even “heerd ” instead of “heard “. PS – Fort Payne is beautiful!!
this is the way we washed our clothes
A good article from Wikipedia about the way we hillbillies up in north Alabama traditionally speak (note that I used double prepositions- “up in”- like an ignorant hillbilly, lol). Under “Pnonemic Incidence” it states “An intrusive R occurs in some words such as wash, leading to the pronunciation /wɔɹʃ/ (which means warsh or worsh).” It says also that we say “hit” for “it” and “haint” for “ain’t”. My granny spoke that way but any JSU graduate knows that “ain’t” is proper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_English#Phonemic_incidence
Not only did my beloved and very prim and proper Grandmother use these words, there were many others. And I was fortunate to have my great grandmother until I was 12. If they caught you laughing a history lesson followed by being taken down a few notches was issued. Fahr wagons, ear mops and dungarees are some that come to mind also
“warsh” is the predominant characteristic of what linguists call America’s midland accent. The accent can be found in the swath of the country that extends west from Washington, taking in Maryland; southern Pennsylvania; West Virginia; parts of Virginia; southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; most of Missouri; and Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, much of Kansas and west Texas.
I’m from northeast Alabama, and have lived in Tennessee or Kentucky most of my adult life. The only people I heard say warsh were from Indiana and visiting across the river in Louisville, KY. I’ve never heard a true Southerner say “warsh!”
Elisabeth Saffels Spicer As far as Alabama is concerned, I think it is likely an older phrasing from the northeastern region of the state. Not too many folks say hose pipe anymore but that phrasing use to be common play.
Exactly! My sister in law said warsh. She spent most of her life in Indiana, near Indianapolis.
It said in East Tennessee.
I’ve lived in Alabama and Georgia all my life and no one I know says “warsh”.
Yup that’s what I say …
The only person I know who ever said warsh is my husband, and he is from IOWA! I have successfully trained him to say “wash” just as all the Souterners I know pronounce it! We don’t say “crick” for creek either!
I’ve never said warsh, and none of my family has. I do have cousins that used to attend “sangin” school in the summer. They probably warshed their clothes also.
I’m from KY and I am familiar with all of these terms even though I grew up in the second-largest town in Kentucky. And it was nowhere near Hill Country. It was in the heart of the Bluegrass, horse racing country.
And that’s why they did all their “warshing” on one day. It was too much dang work to spread out over the week. 🙂
She left out the ‘batter board’ for beating the boiled clothes on a flat stump. My grandmother did that.
And Tacoma Warshington..but my mom and dad born 1915 and 1919 never said warsh
I was surprised when I moved to Washington state
Only in the hills of north AL. They say warsh in TN. It’s vs hillbilly thing.
Paula J. Payne Jones, reminds me of your Monday morning reminders to do our wash! Sure glad I have a washer and dryer inside! Ha!
Jessica Jessica Howard
No one in my family from north Alabama say or said “warsh”. I heard it in western PA but never in the south.
I’ve Lived in the south all my life. NEVER said warsh in my life. No one I know says it that way. However, I Have a friend from Boston who pronounces it that way.
Lots of people in Chilton cty said warsh farm country but it was used often!
Born and raised in Alabama, now 58 years old and have never said “warsher”.
I’ve actually heard more Yankees say warsh than southerners
I’m from the south and not me but I had friends from Maryland that said it
“Warsh” is how wash is pronounced along the Ohio river through Maryland ( basically the Mason Dixon Line). Actually it’s more like “worsh”.
I am 56 from Alabama and I say warsh but not wrench lol but granted I do have a lot of Appalachian ancestors.
Born in raised in Southern Middle Tennessee, across the state line from Alabama and have never said warshing, nor did anyone I knew.
Lori Wilder Cline Absolutely!
I have heard it pronounced “worsh” in the Baltimore area. Never in the South.
Never heard that until now.
I hate this insult to Southerners
Why is this an insult? Nearly all areas of the country have speech patterns particular to those areas.
Laura Tombrello Franklin I was born and raised in the south and I have NEVER heard anyone use the word WARSHING. It is a total insult and slur and the southern accent. You evidently don’t know anything about the south.
Those of you born after the 50s, probably never heard these words. They are a dialect that was common in Alabama before then and has now mostly faded away.
i am sorry. I did not mean to insult you by expressing my opinion. I really wanted to know why you felt that way. I have lived within a five-mile radius of where I was born in Alabama my entire life. So, yes, I know something about the South. My pastor is a very educated man who formerly was a lawyer from Tennessee, and I have detected the “r” sound in “warsh” when he speaks. He uses very correct grammar, otherwise. God bless you.
Dianna, I remember old timers (now I am one!) using the word “hope” in place of the word “help.”
I was quite young at the time and judged them inappropriately.
I later learned that “hope” was a carryover from an Old English word for “help.” I find it interesting that these dialectic patterns still exist in certain areas of the country.
It’s just a dialect, not an insult!
Tibi Heims I was born and raised in the South and I have heard these words used many times by my grandmothers and aunts. I am now 69 years of age and proud to be associated with the language of my ancestors!!
Nor have I.
Nope not that word it washing
I’m from the south. And it’s a washer!
I have heard both wash and rinse spoken as they were spelled in this article. Probably back in the 50s in lower Alabama.
It shows you have never traveled or been out of your own area. The word in Alabama is WASH AND RINSE. We are not redneck hillbillies as this article is implying and people automatically believe
LOL! Born, most likely before you, in Alabama, my ancestors arriving here in the 1830s! Heard these words many times, like I said before, mostly in the late 40s and 50s. I believe this dialect originated in Ireland. And yes we are rednecks, but not hillbillies! Actually here is a PBS program on South Alabama Dialects: http://www.pbs.org/video/alabama-dialects-south-gynoiu/
Did u notice that he stated he was a folklorist which explains why he did this documentary …
Actually he goes around the state recording events that someday will no longer be celebrated.
Y’all must be young. Or from a city in the south. Trust me, I heard warsh until I thought I would scream. I hear it today from some people. Weird how that word lingers… Yes, I remember wash tubs, scrub boards, and even taking the clothes down to the creek to clean them … and take a bath at the same time. Great memories for me b/c it involved my Grandmother, Mother and others who are no longer with us, but lived to use both a washer and dryer.
I grew up in the country, never said or heard warsh used. I’m old not young.
I never heard warsh in Alabama, but at Southern Seminary, I had a friend from West Virginia, who always said Monday was her warsh day.
Whatever you call it don’t do it on New Years Day!! We had wash rags not wash or bath cloths and it was always pronounced “wash” in our house. We did “wrench” out our clothes though! The first person I ever heard say they “warshed” clothes was my mother-in-law from Utah.
My mother always believed that if you washed clothes on New Years Day, you would wash away a family member.
David Rabren, that’s kind of the same thing I was taught but moms belief was it also meant no bed clothes or linens either and I still abide by that rule to this day.
Never ever would a southerner pronounce it that way. Only in Oklahoma!!!
I said warsher for years, and I’m not from Alabama, Illinois is my home state. Learned to pronounce it as wash as an adult. Did regions and groups will often pronounce the same word differently. The east coast pronounces words differently from the West coast, since the onset of TV and social media, has pronunciation come closer together and made it more homogeneous.
Think it a little sad to see regional accents disappear. The “like” thing spoken by kids across the nation makes me grind my teath
I’m 84 years old born and raised in Alabama never said wars her in all my years!!
Well, I’m 66 and born in Bama and reside in SC and nerve heard it pronounced that way except in jokes..My Granny and Mom always said wash..Happy New Year to all..
Me too Ann.
The hard “R” pronunciation is particular with the northeast mountains in Alabama, part of southern Appalachia. I remember both my Grandmothers speaking that way.
I heard the “warshe and wrench” growing up in Tenn. Remember haveing rinse as a spelling word in 3rd grade and recognized the difference. Been mindful of correct pronunciation since
I’ve heard “warsh” in a few people from people who descended from original settlers of north Alabama. I’ve also heard it in folks from Missouri
Your great aunt Pearl would’ve used that pronunciation.
Charles Moore yes, that’s who I was thinking of. There’s a few more cousins I’ve met from Boaz and Albertville that also did. But, I’ve met a lot of people from those areas who say “wash”. Guess the influence of the accent neutral TV folks is dissolving our regional dialects
And, I’ve noticed the Appalachian dialect folks in Alabama spoke with a very choppy rhythm in their speech
Crystal Rogersers & Jennifer Conner. Told you that’s how to say it
It also says washing is misspelled….
My mom said it from the Appalachians
That sounds like my something my grandma who do. It reminds me of her
Carol Zurbrick Gibson
Grew up in the Black Belt of AL, never heard it.
My dad, from Decatur AL, always said warsh. When I went to school and learned spelling, I could not reconcile what Daddy said with the words I saw. LOL
My Kentucky grandmother said warsh but I never heard it in Alabama and I have spent my whole life here.
Well he couldn’t spell “shirt” either. Remember?
I have never said warsher in my life and I am from the south!!!!!
Have never known an Alabamian to add an “R” to anything. We always take them out.
I never said warsh! A friend of mine from New York said it.
I’ve only heard people from Walker County, AL say ‘warsh’.
Pittsburgh, PA also.
ONLY NORTHERN FOLKS SAY WARSHER …..WE SPEAK PERFECT ENGLISH HERE IN ALABAMA….
Warsh?? Where are you from? I was born in Alabama and lived here all my life and never heard anyone say warshed their clothes.
That is how my grandmother pronounced it.
I have never warshed clothing and never heard anyone else use it. I’ve lived in Georgia. Florida, and Alabama.
I love this discussion.
I had not realized how wide spread the readership of AP has become. Our language patterns have been altered by listening to radio and television and regional differences have lessened.
My daughter called IRS recently and was answered by a male voice speaking standard English. After prompting to enter her zip code, the voice changed to a southern dialect. There are many dialects in this country and many languages. Many of us have several at our disposal. Enjoy the variety.
In NE Ala., Appalachian foothills you used to hear “worsh” or “warsh”. Lowlanders drop their R’s, hill people have distinctive hard R’s. There’s a lot of difference between southern hill talk and southern lowland or tidal basin talk.
Never knew “warsh” was a real thing – grandfather wrote as such in his journals that he kept for years!
Ellen Little we like to add r’s
After a warsh you rench off
Lynn Browning. We know some one
Sometimes you’d warsh ‘em in the zank.
My grandfather said warsh and my granny did call it a zink!
Kristin Morrison-Greenday,Dawn Grady Burr
See…..I’ve been saying it right all along!!! Lolol
I had a friend in Seminary who said warship
It posted it as soon as correcting my word. She would say Monday was her warshing day. She was from West Virginia.
Took 20 years, but my wife of almost 43 years finally got me to say wash instead of warsh.
Also my grandmother did her warsh like this, but she had cast iron cauldrons instead of wash tubs.
My mother-in-law in Ohio pronounced it that way too. Have also heard that in PA. My Grandmother from Sweden said “batroom” as the “th” sound was not part of her native language and she could never learn it.
Grandma H referred to the main street of Oakmont as “downstreet” and Auntie referred to our local shopping center as “upstreet”.
Warsh is local to the Southside of Pittsburgh but my father did not say it that way. His mother (German) always said, “mit” instead of with. I have heard that a lot of people that emigrated from Europe can not say the “th” sound. Another local one is “Picksburgh” instead of Pittsburgh.
If you are going to use lye soap, you better wrench em good.
No it’s not. We said washing.
Linda McKinley Pinto my grandmother in WV said “warsh” for wash and “Warshington” for Washington. She was the only one in the family that did that. I’m not sure why. I haven’t noticed the southerners I know saying it, either.
I had a friend from West Virginia who said warshing.
I heard “warshing” a lot as a kid in rural Alabama and northern Florida.
Marie Harrell are ye searce? Well I did too by Ned!
(Always wondered who Ned was.)
I remember hearing warshing and zank instead of sink.
Not any waste there! Wrench (gray) water went in flower beds. Hot soapy water used to wash poarch. Mosquito control- turn tubs upside down. Wish all these green people could see this.
Absolute truth on wash procedure…