Twanglish Lesson: Tump (Featuring a Monkee!)

In a high school psychology class, we spent a day or so studying regionalisms and their effects on the psyche. (At least I assume we studied the effects on the psyche. Otherwise, why would we be discussing them in a psych class? Don’t make me question the worth of my public school education.) During those days, we talked a good bit about certain words that we use here in the South that either have different meanings in other regions … or don’t exist at all.

It was my first formal Twanglish lesson.

We talked about the difference between spigots and faucets, fountains and bubblers, pails and buckets, and hose pipes and garden hoses. (I can’t explain why so many of these were water-centric. Perhaps a deeper psycho-analysis of my teacher was in order.)

However, the ultimate Twanglish term we discussed that day was…

Tump –verb  1. To tip over, typically dumping out the contents of a container, perhaps originating as a contraction of “tip” and “dump.” Usually combined with the adverb “over.”

Baby, run git me some more beer at the Walmarts; I done tumped mine over.

I know “tump” is huge in Alabama. And I have it on good word that it is commonly used in Texas as well. I had assumed for decades that it was about as universal a Twanglish term as “y’all” or “fixin.” However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Recently, I mentioned “tump” to RSM Kris Wheeler. He had never heard it before. Ever! He checked with friends and family in north Georgia. They had never heard it before. What was going on here? It was like some alternate universe. I half expected Rod Serling to walk in wearing overalls and chewing on a hay straw. “Y’all done wandered into the Twailaht Zone.”

Maybe they had never tumped anything over in their lives and had no need for the word. Sort of like Eskimos having 600 words for snow, but no word for love … or however that nonsense goes.

I suspect, at first, Kris thought I was making it up. Then he thought it was just a south Alabama thing. Fortunately, we stumbled onto this video of Mike Nesmith’s screen test for The Monkees. Pay close attention to his story at 41 seconds:

I love how Nesmith immediately realizes that the L.A. producer has no idea what “tump” means and corrects himself.

How about you? Is “tump” standard Twanglish where you are? Tump over a few words in the comments section below and let us know.

8 Responses to “Twanglish Lesson: Tump (Featuring a Monkee!)”

  1. This made me smile. I’m from Huntsville, Alabama originally and I do use the word “tump” from time to time. After reading this post, I just put the question out there to my friends on Facebook asking if they knew what the word meant. I’m awaiting responses. I did let them know it wasn’t anything dirty for the few who would ask. I have almost 300 friends on Facebook and I would say about half are from Alabama. I’m looking forward to the responses. 🙂

  2. I am still teased about using ‘tump’ but what else would one say? Raised in TX by folks who tump out stuff! K

  3. Never heard it before now……hmmmm I’m tumped

  4. “Shug, tump over the horses water trough so I can wrench it out good.” I’m sure my husband has heard me say this more than once.

  5. Sorry I haven’t replied to all of your comments. For some reason, I’m no longer getting my email updates. I think somebody done tumped over the WordPress servers and near ’bout rurnt ’em.

  6. The video link above doesn’t work anymore. Here’s a new one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63nhSFFFfJ4

    I grew up in Texas using “tump over,” but I wouldn’t have inserted a modifier the way y’all did “tump mine over,” instead it’s always “tump over” or “tumped over,” like the two words are one (like “stand up” or “Throw Up” or “move over”).

  7. Have used “tump” all my life and I’m from North Florida. I was told it wasn’t a word by my English-major sister-in-law…told her it should be. One of those words that says exactly what it means!!!!! Love it

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