Boondocks are areas of underdeveloped backcountry woods and dense brush, also called the sticks, a term that came into use in Kentucky in the 1800s when large poplar forests were being logged. Boondocks is an American adaptation of the Tagalog word bundok, meaning “mountain.” Filipinos fighting the United States for their country’s independence in 1899–1902 established bases for their resistance in mountainous terrain, forcing the U.S. military to regularly patrol the boondocks. Boonies became a clipped form of the word. The term is often used pejoratively; to be labeled as coming from the boondocks is synonymous with being called backward, clumsy, ignorant. To boondock means to make love in a car: whether amid summer sounds of crickets, the rustlings of night creatures and restless grasses or a small creek, or in the cold silence of empty trees and blue shadows on snow at midnight, some people believe a secluded backroad in the boondocks provides the perfect place for this activity.

Pattiann Rogers