Do you know these 10 Amish terms? (Quiz #2)

Do you know these Amish-related terms?  Why are they important to the Amish? Thanks go out to Linda for suggesting some of these terms.  And if you missed it the first time, here is the original 10 Amish terms quiz (with answers in the comments section).

1. Wedding wagon

2. Truck patch

3. Dach-weggeli

4. Crowding the fence

5. Cockscomb

6. Zeugnis

7. Eck ball

8. Diener

9.  Affiliation

10. In a family way

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    1. sharon cawley

      I think I know them

      1. wagon with benches and supplies in it for use at weddings
      3. wagon
      4. being frugal
      5. flower
      6. reliable
      7. football
      8. mortician
      9. belonging to a group believing in the same thing
      10. pregnant

    2. Tom

      Good morning,
      I wonder if #4 crowding the fence is the same as “fence jumper”. In the Amish settlements I have visited the term fence jumper is used to describe someone that stretches the rules.

      1. fred

        crowding the fence

        me thinks crowding the fence would be the step previous to jumping it.
        Like ‘they are crowding the fence, next thing we know they will be jumping it’.

      2. Ina

        From where I come when they referred to someone “jumping the fence” it meant that they left the church for another church usually….

    3. Osiah Horst

      Answers to 10 Amish Terms

      1. The wagon used to carry and store the tables, benches and other items needed for a wedding.
      2. A truck patch is where garden produce is grown, usually for sale.
      3. Covered buggy
      4. Pushing the limit of church standards
      5. Cockscomb – I would guess it has something to do with unruly boy’s hair.
      6. zeugnis is the testimony given by other ordained men or by laymen after the sermon.
      7. eck ball is a game similar to dodge ball, popular at weddings or wherever the youth gather
      8. church official, bishop, minister, or deacon. (one who serves – in English, a servant.)
      9. affiliation in Amish useage would refer to what other groups of Amish they will exchange diener with.
      10. with child

      1. cockscomb

        I think you have them Osiah, but I wonder if the cockscomb is simply the flower with that name?
        Most of them are red that I have seen, the photo in wikipedia is a yellow variety. I have seen them growing in Amish and Mennonite gardens fairly often. A fall flower, quite beautiful.

        1. That’s correct, it meant the flower. Kind of an automatic sign of an Amish home in some communities. I have always been partial to it.

      2. Jeanette Titov

        #8 diener

        In my Moravian church, Dieners are the men and women who serve the coffee and buns at our Lovefeasts, a fellowship service. The Moravians in my area were originally German speaking. My understanding of the word diener is that it means one who serves.

        1. Mark -- Holmes Co.

          You’re right. “Diener” means one who serves and the ministry serves the church.

    4. I know just # 10.

      It’s what my grandfather called being pregnant. I’ve got one to try on you: “stribble.” Also, is anyone familiar with the term “pawn hoss?” I don’t know if it’s a PA Dutch word or not, but I’ve never heard anyone but my grandfather use this term for a certain food. (He was German, not Amish.)

      1. Karen Pollard

        Pan Hoss

        I’m not sure exactly what it is, but the Amish Cook gave a recipe for it not too long ago. Seems like it was something they made from scraps when butchering meat.

      2. Linda

        The literal translation for pon hoss would be “rabbit in a pan,” although it doesn’t have anything to do with a rabbit. Both pon haus and Dach-weggeli are used much more in Pennsylvania than in Indiana or Ohio, in my experience. Amish Hoosiers use gaul und bucki (horse and buggy).

        It’s anybody’s guess how to spell (and sometimes decipher) some of these Pennsylvania Dutch words, so thank you, Teacher Erik, for being lenient in grading our spelling.

      3. Rex


        A meat-based cornmeal mush which is sliced thin and fried.

    5. Osiah Horst

      Pa German Dictionary

      For help with some Amish/Pa German words, spelling, pronunciation, etc you might try C. Richard Beam’s Pa/German dictionary. My father, Isaac Horst, contributed considerable effort to providing north of the border, Mennonite, understandings to the work.
      A new copy of his book, a Revised Pennsylvania German Dictionary is for sale on e-bay for $269.78. I believe there is a newer version as well.

      1. Linda

        Osiah, it’s interesting that your father helped with the Dictionary. Masthof Bookstore of Morgantown, PA,, phone 610-286-0258, also sells the Revised Pennsylvania German Dictionary. It’s a little bit cheaper, actually, quite a bit cheaper, than the eBay quote. The direct link is

    6. Osiah Horst

      Stribble – trying to squeeze the last few drops of milk from a cow’s udder.

      1. Evelyn Blau


        Refers to messy or untidy hair. As in my hair is really stribbly this morning.
        Anyone ever hear of a ruchie? Hint: it needs to be snowing.

    7. Alice Mary


      While I’ve “encountered” most (if not all) of these terms in reading about the Amish (including fiction), I’m still not sure of most of them. I know #1 (thanks to a photo in The Connection) #2 (learned about this one growing up) and grew up hearing #10 mentioned frequently amongst family/friends. I figured #7 would be some sort of game involving a ball, but I’m not sure which “sport”! It’s easier to figure them out when they’re used in context (as in Amish fiction). But I appreciate this challenge (and I hope to remember their meanings once and for all, now that I’ve been struck clueless!) 😉

      Alice Mary

    8. Denise

      I agree that cockscomb most likely is referring to the flower. A beautiful garden flower that dries well for arrangements.

    9. Rita

      We eat “pom hans” regularly around here – another word for scrapple, the ingredients of which you might not want to know if you plan to eat it. Love it with King syrup – yum! Stribble – if that is the same as “Stribbly”, it describes my hair perfectly when I get up in the morning. I’ve only heard it when referring to messy hair. Another common word here in York and Lancaster counties is “reutch” and “gretse”. I have no idea how they are really spelled, but that’s how we pronounce them. Any guesses?

    10. Rita

      OOPS – spell correct doesn’t like Amish words. That should be “pon haus”. Also, add “Brutse” to the list to guess.

      1. Linda

        Rita, do you use brutze like brille, heile, & weine, or more like pouting?

        1. Rita

          Linda, we use it for pouting or complaining. I work in a school and we hear a lot of brutzing and grezting during the day. Also, the “sigh-kee” is the hair bun at the nape of the neck. I used to work in a nursing home and a lady would ask me to fix her’s every morning.

          1. Rita there was a word I picked up in Amish Lancaster Co. which sounded similarly (grecksen?) and which I understood to mean something like grunting or complaining. Maybe it is the same/similar word or I might have misheard. You see I am of little when it comes to the PA Dutch language 🙂

          2. “sigh-kee”

            A “sigh-kee” is plainly a Psyche Knot! Google it …

        2. Kat


          My mother’s father was direct descent from Germany..My grandfather was full of love, laughs and humor..he used to purposely mix up German, Latin and American English words and songs and would say/sing them to us, plus would say things that we never knew if they were real words..Calling young kids ‘brutze’ (sp?) when we would act up got me and my mother wondering recently if this was real word…seeing response as to ‘pouting’ would make perfect sense. Any insight?? Thanks.

    11. Linda

      Truck patch

      Does anyone know why it is called a truck patch? My grandparents had a garden, but also a much larger garden, a truck patch. They plowed the truck patch with a one-horse walking plow. One man walked behind the plow, holding onto the handles. Maybe enough produce was raised in the truck patch that it could have been sold by the truck load. That was in the days before produce auctions.

      1. Leon

        truck garden answer

        I believe the term started when you grew the produce from your garden used the truck to take it to town and offer it for sale. I can remember very well during the 1940’s when the trucks would pass by our home and hear the drivers calling out their wares. Then they would park near by also after driving around the neighborhood.

        1. OldKat

          Well, maybe ...

          Leon, that was always my understanding of the term “truck garden” or “truck farmer” as well. However, I have a whole bookcase full of agricultural books; USDA Yearbook(s) of Agriculture, etc with some written as early as the 1870’s. Well one time I was browsing around through one of them that was written well before 1900 (maybe in the 1880’s or so)and there was an article about “truck gardens”.

          Well obviously that pre-dates what we now call a “truck”. There was an explanation of the term; the exact specifics of which I have largely forgotten, but the gist of it was that “truck” was largely an archaic term (even then) for the act of freighting or shipping anything.

          “Truck farmers” in the article were ones that grew produce crops; fruits, vegetables etc within easy shipping distance of population centers. So it seems that our modern trucks got their name from being vehicles suitable for engaging in the act of freighting /shipping and not the other way around. At least that is what I got out of it.

          1. Interesting. “Truck” is something that carries. A pallet jack is sometimes called a “pallet truck.” A “hand truck” is another name for a dolly used to move appliances.
            So you are probably correct OldKat. A “truck patch” was always a patch used to grow produce for sale in my understanding. This was in comparison to the not-for-sale patch which was always referred to as a plain old garden.

          2. truck

            Yes, that original meaning of “truck” goes back to medieval English “trukken ” meaning “to trade.”

      2. Origin of "Truck Patch" name

        I was hoping to get an answer to this same question (origin of the name), which is why I included it 🙂 Leon’s explanation is what I always thought but Oldkat yours is quite fascinating…sometimes the real reasons don’t always match the most obvious explanation.

        This reminded me, on a similar note, I had always assumed the early Americans sounded like their British counterparts and gradually the accents morphed into the ones we know today. Apparently it went more the other direction, with today’s British accents developing in the years after the Revolutionary era. Brits of those times apparently sounded closer to Americans of today (pronouncing the “r” in words like “cart” which they generally do not now).

    12. "Stribble" and "cribber"

      The “stribble” I know about came from my grandmother, who used to tell me not to “stribble up” my hair, meaning not to mess it up after she’d combed it.

      Here’s another puzzling word. I already know the meaning of this one, but I want to know if anyone else knows what it means. I had to ask a Knox County, OH Amish person about the meaning after reading in a horse ad that the horse was a “cribber”.

      1. Linda

        Forsythia, we would pronounce your stribble with an oo sound as in moon, or a long U sound. And either the b or v sound. But always to do with the hair.

        I have a book from about 1967, titled STRUWWELPETER, by Heinrich Hoffman. Peter’s hair in the picture is standing up and out, and part of the poem says,
        “And the sloven, I declare,
        Never once has combed his hair;
        Anything to me is sweeter
        Than to see Shock-headed Peter.”

        unkempt = SCHTRU-wel-ich

        Schtruwwelkopp = person with disheveled hair
        schtruwwli(ch) = 1. disheveled, 2. unkempt, 3. uncombed
        schtruwwlich = uncombed

    13. Rita

      Anyone know what a “sigh-kee” is? I have no idea how to spell it – it doesn’t refer to anything with the personality. A Pa dutch lady and I used to discuss her’s – haven’t heard anyone else talk about it since.

    14. Alice Mary

      Is this close?

      OK, I’m at work, so I’m pretending your query, forsythia, is a “reference question”, so I looked it up, and this is what says:

      Definition: A cribber is a horse that grabs a solid object with its teeth while gulping air into its stomach. Cribbing is known as a stable vice or bad habit.

      AKA: windsucking

      Is that it? I personally have never heard of it, so I’ll be interested to know the Amish definition.

      Alice Mary

    15. Cribber

      That’s exactly it. I saw this term in a advertising circular for the Amish community. The Amish person I talked to said that a “cribber” is a horse with bad habits. It is liable to chew up the wood in its stall. The person said, “You don’t want a cribber.” Interesting that the seller included this information in the ad.

    16. Carolyn B

      Wow, Erik, this thread has grown into a great game with words. Being an English major in college, I am partial to word games. Glad to see everybody at AA having so much fun here.

      1. Agreed Carolyn…looks like I’m not the only one with an interest in odd words 🙂

    17. Mary Yoder

      10 Amish terms

      This is funny, coming from all kinds of terms…. keep going, you are getting there.

      The cockscomb is a favorite and so regal, especially the huge red one. There is also narrow, taller cockscomb or “honnacumb” these flowers have a small black ball of seeds right in the head. When taking them into the house to display, they will shed the seeds. I don’t know the sigh-kee but my hair bun is called just that. ‘hauw-balla’

      Tell me what ‘kelah’ means? Or ‘sees-velsconn’ Happy New Year!

      1. Rita

        Mary, I was having a senior moment, trying to spell it, so I just “sounded it out”. Yes, the hair bun is what I know it as, also. What is “Hauw balla?

        1. Christine

          Rita…“Hauw balla I think that is what the cat brought up

          Hair Ball….. sorry it it late as I was reading these terms.

      2. Linda

        It makes it interesting when readers try to guess what a word means.

        Mary, I wish I had some “sees-velshkann” (sweet corn) in a freezer in a “kellah” (cellar). You’re “velshkann” (‘welcome’).

    18. Bob Rosier (Bob the Quaker)

      Hi Rita
      My daughter is a Psychologist and if it is “Psyche” you refer to, it is the totality of the human mind….both conscious and unconscious. Hope that helps.

      1. Rita

        Bob, the one I’m referring to means the hair bun the women wear. A Pa Dutch women I worked with many years ago used to ask me to fix her “psyche” every morning for her. I don’t if they spell it the same, but it’s pronounced the same. Never heard another lady mention it other than her.

    19. Terry Berger

      Just to add a little more

      Where I live brille means reading glasses and sohnebrille are sunglasses. Geb mich meine brille so Ich kann sell schild lehse. Frohliche Nei Yahre alle!!


      1. Linda

        Very good, Terry! Our family would say brill for reading glasses, or brill-uh (or brill-a) for more than one. For cry, we would also say brill-a or heila. Ich dayt brilla vann mei brill ferbrecht. (I would cry if my glasses broke.)

        I don’t know if I ever read a schild or not! Tell me, what is schild?

    20. Al in Ky.

      I always enjoy the quizzes — only knew six answers to this one.
      I’d like to see another one of those quizzes with the pictures –“Guess where this is?” I think the Amish America quizzes are
      very educational and make us think.

      1. Duly noted Al, I enjoy them for the same reason.

        Also, glad you reminded me of the photos quizzes. Might have something in the works for you 🙂

    21. Bob Rosier (Bob the Quaker)

      Amish always seem to have chickens, so a quiz could be:

      If a chicken and a half laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs would one chicken lay in one week? ….Or NOT

      (The answer is not 7)

    22. 10 Amish terms answers

      Great thread of responses with quite a few new terms added, I hope we’ll get answers for some of the unanswered yet. As for the original 10, Osiah Horst’s answer list you see at the top is quite close, I would just add the following:

      1. Wedding wagon–this may have been confusing as I had in mind rather the “wedding trailer” which is essentially a mobile kitchen and rented out to be used to prep food for Amish weddings. I have heard it described as both a wagon or trailer.

      5. Cockscomb–as noted I meant the plant here, though sounds like a good description for a mussed-up head of hair (“rooster-head” being another? 🙂 ).

      8. Diener– as Osiah said one who serves, church minister. I also wondered if someone would note that this is also a not too common Amish last name seen in the Midwest (maybe elsewhere I’m not aware of).

      9. Affiliation– It seems to me one of the best descriptions I’ve read of this term was given by Steven Nolt/Thomas Meyers in Plain Diversity. The authors elaborate further in the book, but the gist of it:

      While settlements describe spatial relationships among districts, affiliation describes their spiritual links. Church districts that recognize one another’s discipline as valid constitute an affiliation and are said to be “in fellowship” with one another. 14 Districts of the same affiliation allow ministers to preach in one another’s church services.” More conservative affiliations may strive for affiliation-wide standards on, say, the use of telephones, while other affiliations allow much more leeway for each district. In any case, an affiliation is hardly a structured organization. Rather, it is the informal but very practical result of local districts finding like-minded relationships within a wider Amish world.

      Steven M. Nolt;Thomas J. Meyers. Plain Diversity: Amish Cultures and Identities (Kindle Locations 142-146). Kindle Edition.

    23. Ava

      Going back in time, without cheating! 🙂 Don’t worry, I’ll grade my own “paper”!

      1. Wedding wagon — It is a special wagon designed to help with the cooking and meal preparation for Amish weddings, which are typically very large. I believe they offer stoves and ovens and also cooking implements, and possibly dishes.

      2. Truck patch — I’ve no idea. A guess would be either a slow moving vehicle sign, or something designed to patch nicks or slight damage to a horse-drawn vehicle?

      3. Dach-weggeli — I think this would be a buggy, in Amish.

      4. Crowding the fence — Someone who conducts themselves right at the line between Amish and English, pushing the boundaries of his or her district’s Ordnung, without overtly crossing the line.

      5. Cockscomb — I think this is a type of perennial flower, one which I’ve no experience with.

      6. Zeugnis — I have no idea!

      7. Eck ball — Corner ball, I know it’s a game, I believe similar to kickball?

      8. Diener — I should know this, I know I’ve seen this word. I’ll just go with, it’s a surname.

      9. Affiliation — Affiliation would be a group to which one either belongs or is thought of as belonging to. This might be when a person is “affiliated” with the Old Order Amish church. Various districts may be affiliated, even if not having identical rules; others may not be affiliated, and refuse things like Communion to individuals not affiliated with its denomination.

      10. In a family way — This would be when a woman is expecting a baby 🙂

    24. Ada/KJV Conservative

      Cockscomb: That little brush on top of a chicken’s head? I’ve always called it a comb…

      A wedding wagon might be the line of wagons going to/from a wedding.

      Eck ball: Softball? Tee Ball?

      In the family way: A woman is expecting?

      Affiliation: As in “I am affiliated with the Amish church”? “I am affiliated with the New Order Amish”?

    25. Herman Zimmerman

      Velshkahn (Welschkorn) means corn

      Welsh means foreign

      Kahn or korn means rye (ie. grain)

      So Welschkorn means foreign grain

      Likewise Welschhahn means foreign rooster (chickens) = turkey

      Cornerball is a Pennsylvania German game played in the spring farm auctions amongst youth. It is called Eckeballe in Lancaster County, PA
      Dragich (Tragig) is the term we use for being pregnant means to be carrying.

    26. Mitchell Turner

      Origins of truck

      An older meaning of truck is to barter or exchange, per the Oford English Dictionary. Similarly, the phrase “to have (or want) no truck with” means to avoid or wish to avoid dealings or being associated with, as in ” we will have no truck with those mischief-makers.” The ultimate origin is probaby the Latin verb trocare, to barter….