pert near (pretty near) regional usage.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Yôn, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Yôn Senior Member

    This word isn't proper English as far as I'm aware, but it means (I think): pretty near, as in "almost".

    "You pert near hit me with the broom handle."

    So, my real question is wondering who uses this? I used it once in 4th grade and the teacher seemed baffled. I haven't used it since (at least not fomally). Does any one else here say this? Is it a U.S. thing? An uneducated thing? A "hill billy" thing?

  2. mjscott Senior Member

    To say it is a hillbilly thing is pert near right!
    Said by old country folk. I'm pretty sure my grandmother said pert near.
  3. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    I'd call it a "regional colloquialism."

    I certainly associate "pert near" with AE, and, specificially with the hillfolk of West Virginia. Southwestern Pennsylvania (where I live) is close enough to W. Va. that you will sometimes hear the expression here as well: "I pert' near busted a gut laughing!"
  4. mastermindceo New Member

    I just listened to an audio of my grandmother recorded in 1985 where she used the term "pert near" several times. Her usage definitely could be substituted with the word "almost" or "pretty close". She was born in Oakridge Missouri in 1900 and later moved to California. The family had lived in Oakridge Missouri since the early 1800's and had moved there from Kentucky and North Carolina.
  5. drenacide New Member

    American English
    Apologies for gravedigging, but I do have a serious contribution.

    The phrase "pert near" was fairly common where and when I grew up, namely South Dakota in the '70s. Since then it has seen a fairly stead decline in usage with the ensuing generations.
  6. mcrowley New Member

    I remember my grandmother using the expression. She came from western part of South Dakota in the 1940's.
  7. london calling Senior Member

    Not only is it a regional colloquialism, as Joelline says, it's an American regional colloquialism. No Brit would ever use it (but we'd understand it for sure, what with all the US TV series and films we get on this side of the pond).

    Just a note for those who may stumble on this thread and whose native language isn't English.:)
  8. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    My mother-in-law (a native of Indiana) still uses this expression, and not only has she never been anywhere near South Dakota nor West Virginia, but she's only 78. But she does use a lot of very old-fashioned words and expressions, often more typical of people a generation older than she is.
  9. josie magee New Member

    My Grandma taught me the term pret near and she was from the Lathrop, MO (between St. Joe and KC), born circa 1910. I happened upon this forum because I am trying to determine how to spell pret near - thank you for the input on the regional use.
  10. joelthesecond New Member

    American English
    I, too, found this post having done a google search to see how 'pert near' might most commonly be spelled. I grew up with the expression and I am from North-Central Minnesota. While it is risky for me to assert that a colloquialism is common to an area simply because I grew up saying it, I'd wager that many Minnesotans use 'pritnear', as I would say it.
  11. Vienna13 New Member

    English - United States
    My grandmother was born in San Francisco in 1900, educated to eighth grade, family with German as their first language. She used this expression all her life
    and I like to use it! Was wondering about its origins..... Sounded like "pert-n-ear" used like "pretty near".
  12. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    DARE (the Dictionary of American Regional English) tracks it to eastern Kentucky, early 20th century.
  13. Vienna13 New Member

    English - United States
    Interesting. By "tracks" do they mean to say that is the earliest reference? And then the usage somehow migrated to the West?
    My family had no connection to Kentucky. My grandmother's parents were immigrants from Germany to San Francisco.
    Of course I do not know when my grandmother first started with the phrase ! :) ("All her life" would refer to over age 55+ when I knew her :)
  14. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Welcome to the forum, Vienna! :)

    Yes, that's the earliest reference and location they cite. All subsequent cites also specify eastern KY, except for a single one in Utah.

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