Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of Appalachian heritage.

I am looking for a term of equivalent meaning denoting the highly loaded emotional characteristic.

share|improve this question

9 Answers 9

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In British English there is the word yokel which has much the same pejorative overtones.

yokel noun
an uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside.

[ODO]

share|improve this answer

While I'd agree that Andrew Leach's answer yokel is a good word for this, perhaps you could also (for British English) consider bumpkin:-

An awkward, unsophisticated person; a yokel.

share|improve this answer

Likewise, in (colloquial) Australian English, bogan can be considered roughly equivalent:

The term bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/) is Australian and New Zealand slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for an individual who is recognised to be from an unsophisticated background or someone whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies a lack of manners and education. (Wikipedia)

share|improve this answer
    
I tend to think of bogans as more suburban than hillbillies, but still a good fit. –  user867 May 31 '13 at 5:07

The previously-mentioned terms bumpkin (“a yokel; a clumsy, unsophisticated person)” and yokel (“(pejorative) An unsophisticated person”, also “A person of rural background”) both appear in the British-equivalent-of-redneck virtuallinguist link given in a third answer. The linked page also states that “The words hick and hillbilly are used too (also pejoratively) but not very often”, and it goes on to mention slightly-less-relevant terms chav (“(UK, pejorative, offensive) A working-class youth, especially one associated with aggression, poor education, and a perceived "common" taste in clothing and lifestyle”) and pikey (“(UK, pejorative) A working-class (often underclass) person; can vary from specifically Irish Travellers to gypsies or travellers from any ethnic background, but now increasingly used for any socially undesirable person, with negative connotations...”), besides some dialectical or little-used but perhaps well-known terms like Scottish heuchter-teuchter and Irish culchie (“(Dublin, slang, pejorative, offensive) A rural person”) and some more-general terms like provincial and parochial.

However, the previous answers and the virtuallinguist link fail to mention the noun rustic, which means “A (sometimes unsophisticated) person from a rural area”. Wiktionary illustrates it via the following quote from Arthur Conan Doyle's story Sir Nigel:

The King looked at the motionless figure, at the little crowd of hushed expectant rustics beyond the bridge, and finally at the face of Chandos, which shone with amusement.

share|improve this answer
2  
But (at least in the US) "rustic" could be positive, much more than "hillbilly". –  GEdgar May 30 '13 at 17:02
1  
So can hillbilly. It is a matter of context and intent. –  MετάEd May 30 '13 at 19:06
    
Rustic charm is well-appreciated. –  Kris May 24 at 12:30

Here's an attempt at the answer: http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2008/09/the-british-equivalent-of-redneck.html

share|improve this answer
2  
England and Australia don't have the right socioeconomic classes to have a term like that. –  John Lawler May 30 '13 at 14:23
8  
Could you please include the text from that link that you think is relevant? Links can (and often do) go dead, so we'd like to try to preserve what we can. –  simchona May 30 '13 at 14:34

Aussies use the terms "redneck" and "yokel". We also can be more geographically specific, and typically inventive. A resident of the rural township of Nerang (Qld) is called a "Nerangutang".

share|improve this answer

I like 'Pictish' used as an adjective, referring to the Picts, barbaric tribes of Scotland during the Roman occupation. But not even the English will have any notion of what you're talking about. I've heard it used by Rupert Everett in the movie 'An Ideal Husband'.

share|improve this answer

One term that shouldn't be overlooked in the context of this question is peasant:

1 A poor farmer of low social status who owns or rents a small piece of land for cultivation (chiefly in historical use or with reference to subsistence farming in poorer countries).

1.1 informal An ignorant, rude, or unsophisticated person; a person of low social status.

(Definitions from Oxforddictionaries.com)

share|improve this answer

Although not strictly what you asked for, I thought I'd add some Irish equivalents. The main ones are:

Culchie - derived from the name of the village Kiltimagh

or

Bogger - because much of rural Ireland is covered in bog(especially those that are traditionally the poorest).

Other words words like hick, bumpkin, red-neck or yokel are used or would be understood.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.