“An Amishman’s Guide To Computer Lingo”

“Modem” and “Log on” are my favorites. I came across this old Facebook post by Sol’s in Berlin, a store in the heart of Holmes County, sharing the “Amishman’s Guide to Computer Lingo“.

I’m not sure who the original author is, but this appeared in the Vendor, a Plain community newspaper. It was passed on to Sol’s by one of their Amish employees:

One of our Amish employees saw the Amish-man’s Guide to Computer Lingo in the popular Amish publication ‘The Vendor’ and wrote it down to show us.

We got such a kick out of it we decided to make it a picture for your enjoyment, too!

I got a chuckle out of this, and I can see plenty of Amish readers who know something about computers enjoying it too. Here’s the guide:

An Amishman’s Guide to Computer Lingo

Modem: What you did to the hay fields.
Keyboard: Where you hang your keys.
Windows: What to shut when it’s 30 below.
Log On: Making the wood stove hotter.
Hard Drive: Getting home during the mud season.
Micro Chip: What are left in the bag when the chips are gone.
Download: Getting the firewood off the wagon.
Megahurtz: What you get when you’re not careful downloading.


For that matter, are these computer terms really so unknown to Amish people? I think that for many, especially in more conservative places, at least some of the above terms would not be familiar.

But with smartphones prevalent among youth in some communities – and some adult Amish using computers at their workplaces (and smartphones in some businesses) – that may be less and less the case. Not to mention the use of quite high-level technology in some Amish companies.

Either way, Amish people typically have a healthy perspective on how their relationship to technology might look to outsiders. And they aren’t afraid of enjoying some humor about it.

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    1. Joe

      Another term

      Megabyte – what you take out of your shoofly pie when you are really hungry.

    2. Geo

      high tech jobs

      I wondered about Amish doing employment requiring use of modern technology like computers. Seems to me Amish working at computers is essentially like Amish driving trucks or taxis as employment. Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions that Amish can’t or don’t do jobs driving motor vehicles?

      1. As you probably know, usually when an Amish business person needs transport, he’ll either hire an “Amish taxi” driver or have a non-Amish employee who can serve as driver. Driving is not permitted and traditionally neither is motor vehicle ownership.

        However, there have been some exceptions where Amish have permitted limited driving of vehicles, like a work truck for instance, for work purposes. This used to be the case in Arthur, Illinois, and is still the case in at least one community in Kansas.

    3. Nell B

      Amish computer

      Back in the days of Windows 3, I was tasked with maintaining a data base for an Amish business. One afternoon I arrived at the office to find the owner transfixed by the little flying file crossing the screen again and again while an update took place.
      “Elam, what are you doing just sitting here staring at the screen?” I asked.

      “I’m Amish.I’m easily amused,” he replied.

      1. I had to check what Windows 3 was. The first version I really remember (well, the first whose name I remember) was Windows 95. Looks like Windows 3 and 3.1 just preceded it, with a several-year run. It was fun to look for photos of old PCs for this post. We had a Gateway 2000 for awhile growing up. I remember there was the 386, then there was the 486, which sounded pretty fast at the time (“100” faster!).

        1. Joe

          Ah, youth!

          Showing your (young) age, Erik. Do you even know what DOS was? I still have one of the original IBM PCs up in the attic. I think it even still works, if I can find the 5.25 inch floppy disk with DOS on it.

          1. Ha ha, yeah I know what DOS was:) I even learned a few basic commands in my 7th or was it 8th grade computer class. I also remember the DOS game Oregon Trail, loved playing that one on the rare occasions the teacher allowed it.

    4. Debbie

      Funny, but...

      This is cute. However, I continue to be puzzled about Amish & the internet. I realize some are more “progressive” such as the Mennonites. Still, in the past Amish wouldn’t touch television & certainly not something like computers with a ten foot pole! Are they leaving their ways?

      1. Well, it’s a good question. So first, Amish people are not embracing television. Computers on the other hand have a practical usage. They can be leveraged to sell their products or even to design and produce them, as is seen in some of the more sophisticated manufacturing shops.

        In answer to your question, yes some among the Amish would think that permitting some computer use and the smartphones which have entered some communities would represent leaving their ways. Those who do accept those things usually have an economic rationale for doing so (though of course these technologies can be overused and abused).

        In some places it’s not so simple to make a living as it was in the past, due to high land prices and other factors. Sure, you can move away from a place like Lancaster County, but that’s leaving a lot of family and roots behind. And it’s easy for outside people, including other Amish, to say that’s what they should do. Harder when that’s the place where you grew up and all your family is there, and you’re looking at farms with million-dollar-plus price tags.

        Leveraging some technology in a limited way is one way some Amish have tried to help themselves make a living and yes, keep up with the Amish rat race, which is what it is in some places. Not all Amish are going to agree with it. But the fact that there are different ways of being Amish, as seen in the different churches and affiliations, some more conservative and others more materially progressive, has permitted more Amish to remain Amish.

    5. Pat Monti

      Many Amish in Our Area Have Cell Phones

      Many Amish in our area (central, Illinois) have cell phones for a variety of reasons. However, very few of them openly admit that they have them.

    6. Ray Miller

      Thanks for mentioning my magazine, The Vendor. Perhaps you should add some contact info. Anyone interested in subscribing can call 330-276-6508 or email me at thevendor101@yahoo.com

      1. Sure thing Ray, any other info I could share (eg, subscribe cost or other details)? I can update the post with that as well. I googled it as I was doing this post, but I couldn’t find a whole lot of info to pass along or link, though I might have been looking in the wrong place.