A reader recently asked about the Ocracoke Island word "dingbatter." It is used on Ocracoke to mean someone from off the island who is naive or clueless. For example, an O'cocker might say, "Look at that dingbatter. He's walking right down the middle of the road with his back to traffic!"
As you might expect, it comes from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family.
As Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling-Estes write in their book, Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks, The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue, "Foreigner [or stranger, a word that my father's generation used], the traditional term for 'outsider' or 'someone from off-island,' has been replaced in Ocracoke speech by dingbatter.... Archie Bunker regularly refers to his wife Edith as a 'dingbat' when she displays a lack of common sense. The reason the term seems to be such a fitting replacement for foreigner is that, as used on TV, it not only literally referred to a person on the show but also strongly implied that this character was gullible and naive. Ocracokers took those implications of the word dingbat and applied them to their term dingbatter. They now have a single word that conveys many of their feelings toward visitors who come to the island and get into ridiculous situations because they're unfamiliar with island life."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082111.htm.