Do you know these 10 Amish terms? (Quiz 4)

I think (or maybe just hope) this is the hardest quiz yet.

The last one was solved pretty quickly.  Hopefully this will stump you for a little longer.  Either way I’d recommend making your guesses before you check the comments section.

Special thanks to Linda for suggesting some of these terms.  We did the best we could spelling the PA Dutch words.

What do these terms mean or have to do with the Amish?

1. Sei fass

2. Whiffle tree

3. Sleep two rows at a time

4. Letart

5. Shtill hokka

6. Uria

7. Lifetime table

8. Midway

9. Crystal Cold

10. Shuldiner

Previous Quizzes:

Quiz 1 (Mountain Pies, Council Service, Galluses…)
Quiz 2 (Wedding Wagon, Truck Patch, Dach-Weggeli…)
Quiz 3 (Charming Nancy, Inverter, Organdy…)

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    1. Batting zero

      For a minute there I thought I had # 6—something you spread on the soil–but, nah. Don’t know any of them. Got so frustrated I stribbled up my hair. Looking forward to enlightenment.

    2. Some real stumpers this time if you dont know PA Dutch.
      I can guess at some of them but wont display my ignorance too far. As mentioned, #6 may be urea fertilizer. #9 I believe is the Amish-made freezer/refrigerator company?

      1. PC you are correct about Crystal Cold, they make fridges and freezers that run on natural gas or propane, Mark/Don Curtis have this right too, however extra points if you can name what state they are located in (not Indiana though they have a number of dealers there).

    3. Osiah Horst


      Shtill hokka – sit still
      Uria is a man’s name
      sei fass – the tub used for scalding hogs for butchering
      whiffle tree – the part on a wagon or buggy you hook the horses’ traces to.
      shuldiner – debtor??
      some of these terms must be unique to the Amish – not Pa Duetch. Perhaps even unique to one gehend.

      1. Uria

        You’re probably right. Uria is the (Biblical) German way of spelling Uriah, or even Urias. (He’s the one David had killed so he could have his wife …) Urie is probably what most of them go by I suppose. I know a few men named Urie, just never put it all together that it is probably short for Uria(h).

        1. Man's name

          That is what I had in mind,the name. Uria, Uriah, Urie. I never know if the ie ending is someone’s official spelling or just how it is pronounced. Orvie, Obie for instance.

          1. Linda

            Ura is another version of Uria. Ura can be spelled out, such as U. R. A. (“You are a”). Ura is often pronounced “Urie.”

            Orvie may be the Pennsylvania Dutch pronunciation of Orva, and Obie the Penn. Dutch for Oba.

      2. Osiah “Sei fass” was described to me as a swill barrel or slop barrel for pigs. Could it refer to both?

    4. Michigan Mary

      I know one anyway

      Lifetime table – that is the white plastic folding table tha is sold at many dry goods stores in Amish Country. They range in size from personal “TV” trays to the 8′ banquet tables. The tops are white and the legs are black or dark gray.

      1. You’ve got it Mary. Like Don writes below I notice these tables often noted in the wedding wagon advertisements. Handy.

    5. Michigan Mary

      Maybe another one....

      Sei Fass = a barrel???

    6. Laura

      The only one I’d ever even heard before was whiffle tree, which I knew was part of a harness (but that’s all; thanks, Osiah Horst, for the more accurate description)! I’ll be interested to learn what the rest are.

    7. Debbie

      I think the lifetime table is the table for the older men at Sunday meals. Others are way beyond my guessing.

    8. Char

      Wow! I’m WAY out to lunch on this one!

      I believe Letart (4) is an Amish community in West Virginia.

      Other than that, I await the answer key1

      1. Well done Char. In Mason County I believe. No idea where that is without checking a map. I tried to visit a West Virginia Amish community once, not this one, but relying on my gps got completely lost. That’s what I get for abandoning the map.

        1. Lydia Wallace


          Letart is a daughter settlement of Somerset County. My Somerset County Amish friends have spoken of it, and it is included in the Somerset County church directory I have. Now I have been to some very remote Amish areas and never gotten lost, BUT I have twice gone in search of Letart, and have never been able to find the Amish settlement, even with local advice from folks who have claimed to know where it is. Has anyone ever been there, or have any advice on how to find this mythic place? I’ve approached it from several different directions, but with no success!

    9. Ivan Gromling


      No 8 in english is midway and in PA Deitsch means mitweegs

    10. Don Curtis

      Mark's answers

      I’m not even going to pretend that these are my answers. I had to ask my son, Mark, on all of them.
      1. sei fas – He said that translated literally, it means a pig barrel. He said it is probably the scalding hot kettle that they dip the big in after it has been slaughtered to help soften the bristles to scrape off.
      2. whiffle tree – This is the part of the buggy that the horse tugs are fastened to
      3. sleep two rows at a time – Mark was sure about this one. He wondered if it might have to do with plowing.
      4. Letart – An Amish community
      5. shtill hokka – This is when the Amish have a members’ meeting after church. The bishop asks for the “brothers and sisters to please “shtill hokka.” Translated literally, “stay seated quietly.”
      6. Uria – A common first name among the Amish men.
      7. Lifetime table – The brand name of the folding table found in most Amish homes and in wedding/funeral wagons. They are very common among the Amish. Easily set up and easily cleaned. Can accommodate maybe ten people.
      8. Midway – Mark didn’t know this one.
      9. Crystal Cold – The brand name of a gas/propane refrigerator and freezer manufactured by the Amish in Indiana, Mark thinks.
      10. shuldiner – debtor.

      1. Erin

        Thanks for asking Mark, Don! I had absolutely no idea other than Uria being a man’s name.

      2. Good answers from Mark. He of course knows what “shtill hokka” is firsthand. If I am visiting that is the time I go outside. Thanks to Linda for pointing this term out to me.

        1. Linda

          “Shtill hokka” may be more of a mid-western term. In Pennsylvania, for the word “sit,” some people don’t say “hokk”; they are more apt to say “sitz.” So the Pennsylvania term for the church service time when the visitors and children go outside is “sitz gmay” (sit church) instead of “shtill hokka.”

          1. Linda I was on the phone with a PA Amish friend yesterday and he had no problem with shtill hokka. However he paused at sei foss, though I think that was my pronunciation b/c he eventually figured out what it was.

            The expression he didn’t know, and thought might be a Midwestern thing, was “sleep two rows at a time”.

    11. Don Curtis

      Mark's answers

      Sorry, on number 3 that should have stated that Mark was NOT sure about this one.

    12. stephanie

      I just know.lifetime cookware and tables are given at every wedding as a gift by someone. I always see them.

    13. OldKat

      I knew one: whiffle tree

      In Mark’s answer via Don the term “tugs” was used. In Osiah Horst’s answer he said “traces”. The terms are interchangeable.

      Tugs (or traces) are part of the harness. They are heavy leather or a synthetic material (belting, bio-thane etc) that run from the horses collar or breast strap depending on the type of harness being used back to the “whiffle tree”, which is part of the shaves (aka “shafts”). The shaves are a set of wooden on metal poles that attach to the buggy on the front axle and one side runs down either side of a single buggy horse and terminate at about the point of the horses shoulder. The “whiffle tree” pivots on the cross member that ties the two halves of the shaves together. The pivot action allows the “whiffle tree” to flex or swing front to back on a horizontal plane with each step the horse takes.

      If a team is used on a wagon, mower, sled etc there is a tongue or pole instead of shaves and a double tree that does the same thing for the team as the whiffle tree does for a single horse. Interestingly, on the double tree is a set (pair) of pivoting arms that you would probably assume would be called whiffle trees.

      Generally, you would be wrong. Typically they are called “single trees” rather than “whiffle trees”, though they do the same thing. I have heard people refer to the “single trees” as “whiffle trees” though. Confusing enough for you?

      1. Confusing, but without a visual I was confused already. “Whiffle Tree” was suggested as an alternative name to single tree, so I thought that would obscure it a little more. I have a pile of other buggy related terms that I thought would be stumpers but not with OldKat on the thread!

    14. Still unguessed

      It looks like we have answers for 6 or 7 of these. Good job. Still on the table:

      3. Sleep two rows at a time

      8. Midway

      10. Shuldiner – “debtor” was suggested, I am actually looking for something more specific to the Amish.

      Bonus if you know where Crystal Cold the Amish-made fridge/freezer company is located.

    15. Erin

      Does Sleep Two Rows at a Time mean getting to bed late? My Mom always said “Sleep Fast!”

      When I hear Midway I think of the rides and games at a county fair. I don’t think this has anything to do with the Amish, however. Is Midway the name of a big company that builds and sells Amish sheds and cabins?

      Is Shuldiner the last name of someone that did genetic research of the Amish?

      1. Erin

        Crystal Cold is located in Medford, MA

      2. Erin you are right on Shuldiner, it is Dr. Alan Shuldiner who founded the Amish Research Clinic at the University of Maryland. He’ll be speaking at the Elizabethtown Amish Technology Conference:

        I think you’ve discovered a different Crystal Cold. There are actually no Amish in Massachusetts.

        1. Erin

          You’re right! No Amish in MA. Is Crystal Cold in Arcola, IL?

          1. You got it! Another such company is E Z Freeze in Shipshewana, Indiana, owned by the Daryl and Naomi Lehman family, originally started in Shipshewana in 1993. They took over a freezer company making the Blizzard line of freezers. The Connection magazine has a nice profile on the company in the August 2011 issue.

      3. Sleep two rows at a time

        And I think your sleep two rows is about on the mark. Here’s the description:

        sleep quickly, sleep doubly fast if you are behind or getting to bed late, rows referring to a corn field

    16. Linda

      Are you talking about the Midway Mennonite Reception Center in Lititz, PA?

      1. That’s not the Midway I had in mind, it’d be more specific to the Amish.

        1. Erin

          I’m going to take another stab at midway. Does it mean when a person is trying to make a decision whether they want to be baptized Amish or enter the English world? They’re between both worlds?

    17. Char

      Would ‘sleep two rows’ refer to cramped sleeping quarters, like when a family of 10 comes and stays at your house for a funeral, etc.?

    18. Don Curtis


      Mark says that there is an Amish community in Kentucky near Midway. Also, he thinks the Crystal Cold comes from Arcola, Illinois. He has one. It’s the freezer in his basement. Also, Mark said “No fair!” on the Shuldiner one. Shuldiner is a proper name, not a term. But puzzling all the same. He had never heard of him.

    19. Tom

      Should have known Shudiner

      Dr. Alan Shuldiner was my guest speaker at an event last year. He had me very interested because of the work he does with the Amish. I work at a hospital that is affiliated with the University of Maryland. Actually we are right across the street from each other in downtown Baltimore. The lecture he gave last year for my event was very interesting. He also mentioned the center that is set up in Lancaster. I find his genetics work very interesting.

    20. Linda

      Is it Midway philosophy? Using your Google Custom Search on Amish America, I found
      where it talks about Old Order Amish with New Order “ideas” in Holmes County. It was the fourth question on that page.

      1. That is it Linda, well done. I think that is all of them.