"Slippy & redd up"

Old Dec 8th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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"Slippy & redd up"

I'm from Western Pennsylvania and the words slippy and redd up are common terms where I grew up, and if you use them, people pretty much automatically know where you came from. For the most part, though, I think people tend to think that usage of those words is grammatically incorrect. I've noticed that the two words are used in Scotland (someone on the Snow in the U.K. thread talked about the roads being slippy, and when I was in Scotland, the elderly lady who lived next door to the house we rented mentioned redding up her house).

I've always been fascinated with word origins and assume that our area was settled by lots of Scottish people in the past!
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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I've never heard the term redd up. No idea what it means.
However I use slippy, rather than slippery - and I'm from Middlesex. My husband does too - he's from Lancashire, so I don't think it is exclusively a Scottish word.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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From an online dictionary - [Middle English dialectal redden, to clear an area (influenced by Middle English redden, to rescue, free from), from Old Norse rydhja; see rid.]

Redd up to me means to clean up - get a room ready, so to speak. We always assumed it was a Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish-related, but I guess it's not.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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My husband's family (Eastern Ohio, near the PA border) use the word slippy, which I had not heard before.

Husband's family also would refer to someone as ``gleykit looking'' (kind of sleepy and stupid, e.g. in a bad photograph), which they say is a word from their Scottish ancestors.

My grandmother (Virginia) would redd up a room or house -- to me, its not really cleaning, just picking up and straightening things, sort of like organizing.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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If you're from western PA, do you say ``the cat wants petted'' and ``the window needs opened''? The eastern Ohio inlaws (both with Ph.D's) use that idiom regularly.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Are you referring to our tendency to drop "to be" from our vocabulary? I try not to do that, but my sister, who now works outside Philadelphia, is teased by her co-workers because she'll say, "My car needs washed."
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 01:13 PM
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As a Pgh-er, I felt sure from the title the poster must be from around here, and sure enough! And yes, we do drop "to be"and don't even consider it to be incorrect until someone from elsewhere points it out. However, I did not grow up saying "slippy".
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 01:21 PM
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Redden means to save/rescue in Dutch, nothing to do with cleaning or tidying.
In the context in which you use it sounds more like a mangling of the English to get get ready than a Dutch/German word. Maybe immigrants from Germany misheard it and changed it and that has stuck?
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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My m-i-l, born in Colorado and raised in eastern Kansas used the term "redd up." "Slippy" is a new one on me.

Perhaps "redd up" is an idiom deriving from "ready up?"
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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It is used in the PA Dutch country and in parts of eastern PA as well. Everyone who grew up in my neck of the Billy Penn's woods knows exactly what it means to be told to redd up your room.

Slippy is not a word I remember hearing so I guess that's western PA - or as they say about our great commonwealth, it's Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburg in the west, and Alabama in the middle ;-)

And yes, my parents used to say "make the lights (or the cat) out"
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 02:19 PM
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Other common expressions: "gretzy" for irritable
"rootchie" (spelling?) for itchy, uncomfortable or fidgety.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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My mom is from West Virginia (close to the Ohio River) and she and her relatives all used the word "redd up" the house.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I'm originally from Pittsburgh, and learned to use the phrase "red up" to mean "tidy up." I don't remember people using the word "slippy," but if I had, I would have assumed they meant "slippery."
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 01:34 AM
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I knew you were from W PA as soon as I saw the title!In Pgh we had telly poles too,
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 02:33 AM
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Husband's family also would refer to someone as ``gleykit looking'' (kind of sleepy and stupid, e.g. in a bad photograph), which they say is a word from their Scottish ancestors.

Glaikit is indeed a Scottish word...

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=glaikit

There are many more....
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 03:37 AM
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Redd up is still used in Scotland, there being no exact English equivalent. Means to tidy & clean & sort out. Redd out is the same but a bit stronger.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 12:47 AM
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I wasn't aware that "slippy" was dialect. I would use it all the time.

I was brought up in a house where the expression "go and redd up your room" was regularly in use. It definitely means tidy rather than clean.

As a lawyer looking at old deeds of agricultural land, I commonly see a requirement that ditches be kept "clean and redd"

And here in the north east, you hear country folk say "it's a right redd up" mean "it's in a real mess"

It's interesting that it might have Scandinavian roots. We have quite a lot of dialect words which come from Danish, and the Norse languages.

Glaikit means spaced out, in a dwam. It's not just stupid; but carries connotations of not being focussed in the real world.

There is a famous fictional pub in the north east called "the Glaikit Stirk" A stirk is a bullock.

We'd also use the "needs washed" line. There's usually an implication that the person being told should go and do it.

"make the lights (or the cat) out" is not Scottish. Neither is "gretzy" or "rootchie"


And I hadn't thought about it, but zippo's right; redd out is stronger. You would redd out your garage or store if you were getting rid of a pile of stuff.

Hercules gave the Augean stables good redd out.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 12:51 AM
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"make the lights" sounds like direct tramslation from the German...
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 01:19 AM
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"make the lights (or the cat) out" is not Scottish. Neither is "gretzy" or "rootchie"

Sheila, of course it isn't. I don't know anyone in Pennsylvania who ever thought those phrases weren't related to the German settlers.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 01:27 AM
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Redd up is also Yorkshire
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