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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes 'hillbilly' as a person from a backwoods area.  It's not incredibly informative so here you'll find a more comprehensive definition.  More commonly known as a group of people thought to have originated along a section of the eastern edge of North America, in an area known as Appalachia1, members of the Hillbilly culture tend to flock together in family units.  Other nations boast similar sub-cultures, each with variations depending on that nation's laws, values and norms2.  However, these variations are beyond the scope of this article, which concentrates on the American Hillbilly.

Hillbillies can be collectively identified by the following traits:

  • There are more appliances in the yard than in the kitchen.
  • Vehicles dot the back yard.
  • Most vehicles are located on cement blocks.
  • All vehicles have gun racks in back window.
  • The favourite piece of china is the spittoon.

Three Distinct Varieties

The Hillbilly culture has its own hierachy and distinct groups of which the 'Mountain Williams' group is considered the elite among hillbilly society and can be identified by:

  • The appliances3 in the yard are organized by size.
  • The vehicles are new4 models, and possibly include a non-truck.
  • The spittoon has bits of goldtone5 plating remaining on some surfaces.

Next in the pecking order is the 'Hill Billy', the most common variety: the middle class:

  • The appliances may include an ice-box6.
  • The pickup trucks may be equipped with AM radios.
  • The spittoon is a rusty coffee can.

Last but not least are the 'Stump Jumpers'. These are the dregs of hillbilly society, considered even among other clansmen to be the lowest of the low and can be recognised by:

  • The most modern appliance is an old washboard.
  • The pick-up trucks have no beds.
  • The spittoon is a battered old beer can.
1This region is named for the range of mountains which dominate the area.  The expression, 'Head for the hills!' supposedly originated in this area.2For example, the gypsies that roam about the countryside of Europe.3Some may possess a power cord.4'New' means manufactured circa 1956 - 1972.5Goldtone is not to be confused with gold.6This means one that uses ice for cooling, not a refrigerator.

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