need origin/various meanings ASAP. Debate interchangeable meaning of "hillbilly" vs. "southerner" Need responses by end of day for article
No, apart from "hillbilly" being specifically derisive, and "southerner" not, the hill- reveals a particular geography from the backwoods, perhaps the Apalachan mountains. The "Billy" is just an arbitrary proper name used to personalize, as "Jack" is in a number of other phrases and other names are also sometimes used in such formatations.
Hi CodyJoe. Hope this isn't too late to help ~ I just read a post about hill billies yesterday. You can find it under "Origin of red neck" posted on 13-11-01. Member Lewis Joplin II responded in part:

"HILLBILLY -- "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976): "...Mountaineer, 1834, first applied to one who hunted, wandered, or lived in the Appalachians; hillbilly (1900), as Hill-Billy)."

By the way, the West Virginia motto is "Mountaineers are always free."

"Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988): "hillbilly is exactly what the word implies - a rustic from the hills...The earliest example of its use comes from the turn of this century and from the vicinity of Arkansas. Then its use spread throughout the south and it became especially common in Kentucky and West Virginia."

But NOT where we can hear it. Hillbilly is one of them fightin' words.

"Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994. "1900...In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he please, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him."

Lord, that makes me homesick."

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