Friday, December 6, 2013

"Cut A Step" And Other Black Pentecostal Words, Phrases, & Sayings, Part II

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest revision: September 1, 2018

This is Part II of a two part series about "cut a step" and other words, phrases, and sayings that are used by African American Pentecostal worshippers in the discussion thread of the video "Foot Work- Praise break, Watch close!!!!"

As such, this series presents examples of words, phrases, and sayings that are commonly used by African Americans who are members of Apostolic, Church of God In Christ (COGIC), and other Pentecostal Christian churches. These terms may also be used by Baptist and other Christian congregations in the United States and elsewhere around the world. Some of these terms come from non-religious cultural sources and are also used in non-religious contexts.

Part II provides terms which begin with the letter M-Z. Selected comments from the showcase video's discussion thread are included for most of these terms.

Part I provides terms which begin with the letter A-L. Selected comments from the showcase video's discussion thread are included for most of these terms.

Click for Part I of this post.

I'm interested in documenting the use of these terms as found in YouTube video viewer comment threads for the folkloric, historical, and cultural record. While many YouTube video viewer comment threads contain profanity, racist, sexually explicit, homophobic, and other problematic content, those same discussion threads and other discussion threads may contain insightful, informative, well worded, and witty comments that I believe should be archived as part of the folkloric record.

I believe that the content of YouTube video viewer comment threads can provide insight about the lifestyles, values, and opinions of persons who posted to this particular YouTube viewer comment thread. I also believe that the way those comments are written (the slang and colloquial expressions that are used, the variant spelling, the inclusion of internet/text writing elements (such as acronyms and the lack of punctuation/capitalization which lead to run-on sentences), and even the commenters' screen names are worthy of documentation and study as part of the folkloric record.

In this pancocojams post, as in other posts such as, I include what I believe are the meanings of the vernacular examples that are listed.

Like other YouTube Praise Break videos's viewer comment thread, the comment thread for this featured video contains extensive doctrinal exchanges, including scriptural references pro and con "shouting". This post does not include any of those comments, unless that comment is used as an example of a vernacular word or phrase.

I'm not now nor have I ever been a member of a Pentecostal church. I have attended such churches a few times, and I have pbserved people in those churches, and in my childhood Baptist church (in New Jersey) doing shout behaviors such as are described in this post.

I don't consider myself an etymologist. However, I'm interested in the origin, meaning, and uses of certain words & phrases.

Some of these vernacular words and phrases are used with the same meanings outside of religious services or religious events.

Additions & corrections are very welcome.

WARNING: In spite of the fact that it is a religious video, this YouTube video's viewer comment thread includes profanity, the use of the n word, and other content that I consider to be problematic. None of that content is included in the examples that are featured in this post.

FEATURED VIDEO: Foot Work- Praise break, Watch close!!!!

DeMario Jives, Uploaded on May 19, 2008

Give God a sacrifice of praise inspite of, just go for what you know!

(With selected comments from

(These words are numbered for references purposes, continuing from the numbers given in Part I.)

a referent and a title (similar to the title "Mrs.") for older females who are members of the church

“samuel surles, 2013
“yes the mothers went to get her and sir you better get in that conner
This is two sentences. The first refers to the actions of women who “based”, put protective arms around the space where the shouter was dancing to protect her from injury or from bumping into others.

The second sentence is a lighthearted, pretend reprimand to the man dancing in the corner. That sentence is based on the practice of a child being punished by having to stand in the corner. Btw, I wonder if that praiser didn’t purposely moved to the corner when he felt his shout coming so that he wouldn’t be in anyone elses' way

to give spoken compliments to God; to give testimonies about how God has blessed you; to do the Holy dance, to speak in tongues, and/or to do other things (such as play praise music and
also read “Got his (her, my, their) praise on”, “got his shout on”, got his dance on”

The related term and title "sister" is found below.

Justina Schrieber, 2010
“I always find myself cracking up laughing at that kind of praising! LOL!! I try not to laugh, but it cracks me up! :) I wouldn't be surprised if that carpet has holes or tears in it. I wish every church would Praise Him this way!!
I added this comment to document that there are a large number of commenters on most Praise Break video comment threads who find watching people doing shouts amusing.* Also many commenters approach videos of holy dancing almost the same as an “American Idol talent competition” where they are critical (judgmental) about a dancer’ performance and where they indicate their favoritism for the best dance. I think that such comments are inappropriate and disrespectful.

*Such comments aren’t done in a church settings as they would be frowned upon public as they would be ingdon rfind that response to be unfodon’t think that tmany of these eat ucmThe reaction of laughing at videos of people oa person theor with
2. the comment about the carpet having holes or tears in it relates back to the “cutting the step”, “cutting the rug” saying
3. The use of the vernacular word “cracking up” for “laughing a lot”

A “praise break” is an unscripted portion of a Christian worship service or Christian event such as a revival when individuals who feel the [Holy] Spirit spontaneously praise God (Jesus) by doing one or more of the following spontaneous actions: holding up one or both of your arms toward Heaven and give verbal praises to God and/or “testimonies” about how God has touched their lives (while seated or, more commonly standing up from one's seat); moving out of your seat and walking fast, running down the church aisle, or around the church sanctuary (the main room where church service are held); doing dance-like movements in the church aisle/s or in front of the sanctuary’s rostrum, and/or “speaking in tongues” (speak words from a language that is not formally recognized by linguists).
Click for a rather lengthy comment that I wrote about praise breaks.

songs and/or instrumental music that is sung or played during praise breaks

Coco Faye, 2012
“So I see alot of people are used to traditional praise breakmusic??? There was nothing wrong with the music at's ok to put a new sound and spin on things.....for alot of muscians who cant really shout the way they play the organ or drums is their way of "shouting" YALL BETTA PRAISE HIM
Notice that implicit in this comment is the fact that there are older and newer forms of Praise break [shout] music. Newer examples of shout music are faster than older forms. Read this comment that refers to that:
amarvinwinansfan, 2009
“LOLOLOL they are going sooooo fast on the instruments!!!! I cant even beat the tambourine that fast and I.m good!!!!”
A number of commenters were critical of the musicians. However, read these comments:
“pytwhoCARES, 2012
“I dont mean any harm, but that IS HOW the music goes. He's just cutting the whole beats into halves and fourths w. a skip technique. Its quite creative if you ask a fellow musician”

Jamie Harris, 2012
“This music isn't that bad. It gives all of them experience and the more they do it the better they'll get. I don't know why some of ya'll act like you all were on it when ya'll were coming up. Some of us have been laughed off, I know I have. But you know what, I went and practiced and got better. Cut these young men some slack and remember where you came from. Keep playing for Jesus Young men@!!!!!
“were on it”= “had it all together”, hit the mark [hit the bull’s-eye], did everything perfectly]

"Cut them some slack" = give them a break [from a fisherman term]

a person who gives praise to God, in particular a person who is doing the holy dance, and/or a person who is known for "shouting" (getting their shout on, getting their praise on), for instance Gospel vocalists Shirley Caesar and Beverly Crawford

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

males and females who are members of Pentecostal churches

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

doing the holy dance, speaking in tongues, and/or doing other Praise actions that demonstrate that the person feels the Holy Spirit

Read the definitions and examples for "cut a step", "get your praise on", "get happy", "went in"

bring down the Holy Spirit (also known as "Holy Ghost fire"] to the church

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

"Sisters (and its variant spelling "sistahs") is a prefacing "title" and referent for adult females in the church, similar to "Mrs" and "Miss", for instance "Sister Jackson", "Sister Jones", "Sister Betty". "Sister" can be used with last names and/or with first names.

Read the related title "brother" in Part II of this post.

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

[when used in reference to a Gospel singer, choir, preacher, or speaker] The person or group singing, preaching, or speaking was so full of the Holy Ghost that it caused women wearing wigs to jump up and do Holy dances, which resulted in their wigs being "snatched" from their heads; also used as "She's [the singer] getting ready to snatch some wigs" [meaning she's getting ready to sang (and, as a result, bring down the Holy Spirit; set the congregation on fire]

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

Speaking an unknown language or a language that isn't known to the speaker as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit

[given without examples from this video's viewer comment thread]

to forcefully hit down hard with the soles of your feet.

"Stomp" is very similar to the word "stamp". However, that word appears to be only rarely used nowadays among African Americans. I think that the sound that "stomp" makes is more forceful (perhaps because it has more bass) than the word "stamp".

Shacara Chrisp, 2012
“he stomped a HOLE in tht floor.! lol amen.!!!!”

a term for the fast paced footwork of shouting (cutting a step, praising, doing that holy dance) which includes the belief that the devil (satan) lives underground and the person doing that holy dance is hitting the devil in the head

asiababiie, 2009
“Whooo!!!! he is tearing that floor up down and all to pieces..Musician...Drummer!! What??!!...well, Bless the Lord!!! But he was Gettin it!!! i con almost hear his sure stomped on that devils head! And Boy I noe it is KILLING HIM!! Bet he won't come back up for a LONG while!! Lol”
This comment includes multiple examples of African American vernacular English. Read other entries in this post for the meanings of those terms and phrases. Also, read the entry for
"tramped the devil under his feet" for another way of conveying the same idea.

Doing something really well (did something really well), in the case of dancing, an extension of the phrase “cut the rug”; in
reference to "holy dancing", this is an extension of the phrase "(to) cut a step”, and "to cut a step" is an updated way of saying "to cut a rug"

Renee Turner-Tavares, 2012
“Wasn't he tearing it up?...You betta Praise Him man...Love it...”

same as "give a testimony"; to publicly tell about your faith in God and share your story about how God has blessed your life

[given without examples from this viewer comment thread]

Read the meaning written for "stomp the devil on his head"

GodsOffspring1, 2010
“He sho nuff was praising God and trampling the devil under his feet.”
I think "sho nuff" is an example of purposely using downhome vernacular African American English. Click for a pancocojams post on "Puttin On The Black - Online Black Talk & Code Switching".

[when used in regards to someone singing [sanging] Gospel or certain other genres of music, especially someone singing soulfully very well (or someone speaking very well, particularly about very emotive subjects); this is very high praise for singing or speaking that reminds a person or persons of a church service that is full of the Holy Spirit; The singing [speaking] was so good that [it felt like or almost like] you felt the Holy Spirit [i.e. got happy; went in]

[given without examples from this viewer comment thread]

48. WENT IN (Go In)
(as in "He went all in." and She's going all in", in the religious context these phrases mean to do the holy dance (to shout, to cut a step) and/or do other actions that are the result of a person being touched by the Holy Spirit.

"Went in" is a shortened form of "went all in". To "go all in" means to show your total commitment to something. These phrases are used in non-religious contexts.

iluvelmo123, 2009
“Alright Now... He Really Went In At The Second Time... Go 'Head! Go 'Head And Praise Him!”.

very good (an extension of the African American slang meaning of the word “bad”)

Jazen B, 2010
“He faced that wall like Hezekiah and went it. These musicians would be wicked if they slowed down a tad...”
The second sentence in this comment refers to the faster tempo
that was used by the young African American musicians in this video. Read the entry for praise break music in Part I for comments about different tempos of that Gospel music.

50. YALL
you all [all of you]

mayroymusik, 2008
This comment is a complimentary exclamation about someone doing the holy dance. It is similar to "Yall better work it" which is found in non-religious settings (and probably also in religious settings). However, the word "skip" may also refer to the way the holy dance was done.

I don’t think that “yaw” is a common spelling for "yall" (you all).

Several commenters identified the recorded song that was played in the introduction to and the end of this video as
Karen Clark Sheard's 2005 Album "Its not over" track #8 ["Hallelujah"]

This concludes Part II of this pancocojams series.

My thanks to all those who were featured in this video, to the publisher of this video, and to all those who I quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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