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How to speak ‘County’

How to speak ‘County’
Tips for Newcomers & Visitors

How to Speak “County”

Did you know that County residents have their own version of the English language?  Being an island, the County has been somewhat isolated, and over time the locals developed their own jargon.  Below is a list of County expressions ~  if we’ve missed any, be sure to add your “County-isms” in the comments.

Upstreet

Picton only has one main street, and no matter which way you approach from, it’s always uphill. Rather than saying “downtown” County residents go “upstreet” to go shopping.

For example “I took my ma upstreet to buy a newspaper.”

Horn Trip

To party in a car; driving around back roads of Prince Edward County drinking beverages; refers to a particular route in the county.

For example “What’d you do Saturday night?”
“The Hayloft was full so we went Horn Tripping”

Mailbox Baseball

When the Hayloft is closed or full of tourists, or if you’re flat broke and can’t afford beverages for horn-tripping, recreation takes on a different attitude. The annual unofficial tournament of mailbox baseball was the scourge of rural residents in the 60’s and 70’s, but popularity waned when the province imposed its seatbelt legislation, making the physical act of swinging a baseball bat out the passenger window of a moving vehicle physically next to impossible and pricey if you got caught by the local cop.

Cow Tippin

Just like it sounds. Not necessarily restricted to cows, but they are in fact easier to tip than goats and far less ornery than bulls. Something to do in the off season when the Hayloft is closed, you have no money for beer and you lost your driver’s license for playing mailbox baseball.

Acrost

Off the island, this is pronounced “a cross” but in the County, drop the extra ‘s’ and substitute with a ‘t’. No logical explanation. Also heard as a regular part of speech in parts of Windsor and Essex County.

For example “Did you see that elephant go acrost the road?”

We’ve also dropped the ‘t’ from other words …
Submitted by Lesley: It’s pronouced The Coun-EE NOT Coun-TY, at least in our house.

Might Better

The County version of helpful suggestion.
For example “Since Ethel lost her teeth she might better stay away from the corn.”

Right Ready

Submitted by Janice: Right ready. …. “I’ll be right ready

Pretty much

Pretty much, Pretty good,  Pretty near (or abbreviated to pret’near).
For example “I’m pretty near ready.”

Crick
Submitted by Heather
“I am from Toronto and used to have a part-time place in the county. During the years we were in the county we made some really great ‘local’ friends and neighbours. My husband and I used to tease our friends about some of the things they would say as it sounded so strange to us being from the city. One of the things that comes to mind is our friend telling us that the Consecon Lake used to be a “crick”. We weren’t sure what that meant until we figured out that what they were actually saying was ‘creek’.”

Author’s note: Same applies to Black River, or Black Creek – known to the locals as Black Crick.

Submitted by Lesley: Going to Black River. You don’t need to explain you’re going to get curd 

Death notices at the post office

Death notices are posted on the bulletin board at the post office.  Many times I’ve heard locals say, “I saw him dead in the Post Office.”

Giving directions

Locals will tell you how long it will take to get to a destination, rather than the kilometres or miles.

Submitted by ..

.. Gilles: Coun’y folk refer to the roads by local names, rather than the assigned numbers. Fer instance: “Big Swamp Road”, “East Lake” or “West Lake Road”, the “Demorestville Road”, “Anderson Road”, “Glenora Road”, “Long Point Road”. etc.

.. by Bev:  And continuing that, so many of us long timers also say, “you know, the place where ________ used to live”.

.. by Lesley:  If you tell anyone that you’re just past Grumpies they know exactly where you are (even though it no longer exists)

.. by Kirstyn: Saying a street is “something” way as in “Go down Belleville way and turn left” or if someone isn’t from the County, they “come from away”

.. by Sharon: “Up the line”. As in they live somewhere west of county towards Tarana.

.. by Terry: Mary St. Dead End Mary


Do you know of any local sayings that should be added to this page? Reply below with your suggestions.

About Anne (Bongard) VanVlack

Anne is a passionate promoter for Prince Edward County, you'll often see her around The County with camera in hand. Anne has curated the prince-edward-county.com website since 1996, having received numerous awards and recognitions for rural economic development during that time. Anne also enjoys conducting winery tours, it's a wonderful opportunity to meet visitors and to chat with local business owners. Contact Anne at [email protected]

Comments (42)

  1. Thing is, cow tipping is a myth, but the other items have some basis in fact.
    Should note tho, a “Horn Trip” extends from Picton down to Cressy back thru Waupoos to Picton. To be official, it requires not just any beverage, but beer. A case of 24 to be exact. Take as much time and as many people as you need. LOL

  2. I was born in the county, a true county girl. I was never waited on by a cow so never needed to tip one.

  3. @ jim hair. Re:cow tipping a myth…. I’m guessin cuz ‘you personally’ never done it…. Try it, watch out for bulls they don’t give as easily. Need a few guys r’ gals, sneek up in the dark and ya push them ove – they flip right over on ther bak’s… Lol

  4. One thing missing from the official “Horn Trip” description…there must be a stop on the way out at Black Crick for a bag’o’fresh curd.

  5. We used to go fishing at the CRICK (creek).
    In the spring dad trapped MUSHRATS (muskrats).
    A TOURIST is someone that has moved into the county but they haven’t lived there for 3 generations.
    If you are going to the POND you are going to Gull Pond at Pointe Petre.
    We drove to POINT PETER to go fishing not (Petri).

  6. My 4 th great grandfather settled in the County before 1800 and along with his wife are buried in the Conger Burying ground just off hwy 41 near Picton. Many’s the time I heard one or other of my male relatives talk about “peeing off the back stoop” or, when asking about something say, “now answer me this”.

  7. Now, while ‘horn trippin’ you may find yourself ‘pot hole inspecting’. Which can go on for hours. You’ll know when you might better go home when you start cow tripping and horn tipping, resulting in peeing on your own shoes!
    God bless the promised land!

  8. I am from the County & have been told we have a distinctive accent. I say all those things , I am proud of my heritage.

  9. L Germain Mathys

    I’ve been coming to the County for vacation (holiday) for the past 45 years and horn tripping with our friends in the 80s was our favorite pastime.
    (Crick is country slang. I know several people in the states that say it.)

  10. Cow tippin in fact is real! I always say let’s header up street lol. Point Peter is the best place to be in the summer…county is couny and the horn trip route indeed goes through Cressy and waupoos. I’m almost certain every single couny saying I’ve said daily 🙂 also, I’ve always said door yard.

  11. I resided in Prince Edward County for 26 years until I moved away to London Ontario. Yes, I used those redneck sayings as well, now, looking back on those sayings they are hilarious !!! When I come back home to visit I still hear many old sayings & have a lot of laughs, we city folks are no different with our lingo. I hear a lot of redneck talk while riding on London transit. Here is one to add to your list …. I was boarding the transit and I almost bumped my beaner!! You can take this gal out of the country but you cannot take the country out of this gal.

  12. Dad always had some interesting sayings. He would say that he “was fixin” on going into town to get something. Would prefer to go “fishin’ when it was “cam” out. Cow tippin was real as did when he was a kid. Always went to the crik to get some cheese.

  13. Jane Ann (O’Neill) Reeves

    i had never heard of door yard until we moved to the county in 1986. the neighbour two doors down used it toward me. i had no idea what she was talking about lol

  14. What about “He traveled by shanks mare”? Meaning: “He travelled by Foot (use of his own legs”. Shanks mare refers to the part of the leg between Knee and Foot.

  15. We drove down to the end of the point to drag race, drink or make out. Everyone knows fishing is done elsewhere.

  16. SHIVAREE: Lived in County 22 years, got invited to only one Shivaree on a farm near Bloomfield! It’s a Party to celebrate a Wedding. Takes place after the Honeymoon? Everyone welcome! Bring your gift whatever it might be. The Shiveree I attended included turning a young pig loose in the house and then trying to catch it. You can grease the pig to make it harder to catch. Turn ‘em loose and have a good time, get to know everyone especially the pig, Help clean up at the end after food shows up and beer is gone. Enjoy a life-long marriage if Groom survives Shivaree!

  17. This PEC glossary of terms is terrific. Been here 11 years and pretty much know the lingo. The “t” we add to “across” is the one we dropped from “county”. As in: “I grew up in The Couny, eh?”

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