Durham & Tyneside Dialect Group
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A GLOSSARY OF DIALECT WORDS AND PHRASES IN COMMON USE IN THE STANLEY AND ANNFIELD PLAIN DISTRICTS UP TO AND AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE 19TH CENTURY [By Fred Wade]
Fred Wade (1886-1978) lived at South Moor, and worked at the Morrison Busty Pit. As well as vivid histories of South Moor and Annfield Plain, he filled a notebook with dialect words and phrases; this is presented below, courtesy of his daughter Jenny Wade.
Aal-a-wand I suppose or pesume
aad man old man
Aad I had
Aas I is or I am
Aah Aah cudnt had mesell for laughing
Aah'm Aahm all te bits
aal all me eye
aalways always: she aalways clashin (gossiping)
Aase - I am. Aase weel shot ont (I am well rid of it)
aal me eye aal rot, nonsense
awful a word mush used to denote anyone's short-comings
as than, as: mair ar seven
as tite as as soon as: I would as tite go this way
a thegither altogether
awe to owe
ask lizard or newt
alley a special marble, used in the game of shooting ring
aheet a-height, up-a-heet meaning high up
airt direction from which wind blows
barmy daft or silly
baring the earth removed ina quarry to lay bare the stone
batch a party or quantity
bleese a blaze; bleesing
boggle in a difficulty; a ghost
britched first trousers
brattish cloth coarse cloth used in the pit to form a temporary airway
biddan told: Do as you're bidden
bidder a person who formally went round a village and bid folk to attend a funeral
bide Aah can't bide her (I cannot endure her)
bum a bailiff; the backside
bumming trying to get something or drinks for nothing.
baff weekend no pay that weekend
back up put coals on the fire for the night
bare buff naked
backley late in the season
bleck dirty oil or grease
bord bird or board
bord a working place in the pit
bob-each-way evening dress collar
boiley bread and milk boiled
busking playing an instrument and begging for money
black pints beer drunk by a pitman black from work
boudie piece of brocken [sic] crockery
boudie duck a plant pot shaped like a swan
bubbling crying or weeping
brokken no money; hard up
brattle loud noise as thnder
brassent impudent; forward
bumlerkite the bramble berry
bray to strike or beat: Ah gave him a good braying (beating)
brimming in season
bussle a bustle
but without, or wanting
brussen-guts a glutton
bidden to do as told
bunch to kick: I'll bunch thee backside
Back-end the Autumn
bit small, as: a bit lass
bit portion, as: gie me a bit pie
blare to weep with a noise
bleb blister or bubble
bleeze to blase
bleeser a piece of sheet iron put in front of a fire to blase it up
bobby dazzler anything, clothes etc., brightly coloured: 'man, thou (or it) ['s] a bobby dazzler'
blether always talking: he es always blethering on
bodder to bother
boggle ghost or goblin
bonny a bonny gan on (serious trouble)
boose intoxicating drinks
bowdikite a good for nothing fellow
brat a pinafore
brat a child; a pinafore
bebber a helper at Pitch and Toss
brick to break
brock the badger
black road old waggonway
bray away to move quickly, as: bray away to there as quick as you can'
burtree the elder tree
bus to dress: 'look sharp and bus thysel'
brought up to be brought up before the Court
bide to stay; wait
baccles old shoes
bait a packed meal
bait poke bag in which the meal is carried to the pit
bait tin tin for above
bing box in which corn is kept: corn-bing
brechons [sic] bracken
braffen horse collar
bonny pout cynical description of anyone
bowt spice fruit cake bought from a shop
blinkers the eyes
brash a sudden short illness
brechin part of harness
blaw to brag; to rest: 'get thi blaw'
beaten done in
carry on a fight, fun or frolic
cant to lean or slope slightly; anything leaning over is said 'to be on the cant'
caller harn fresh herring
canny a nice person; used also to qualify the idea of time and quantity: 'he was a canny bit late'; 'there were a canny few'; degree of drunkeness, as: 'he was just canny when Aw left him'; softly, carefully.
cree a hen, rabbit or pig house usually made of wood
cat-haws fruit of the hawthorn
cat-heid nodule of iron ore found in coal seams
chimmering bright, very clear
chinglees pieace of coal the size of marble that fall to the bottom of a pile of coals
chummin empty coal tub or other receptacle
clarty muddy; sometimes used to express a person's habits: 'he es always clarting on' or a clarty job ( a messy job)
clamming starving for food or drink
chun taken away: 'wees chun that away'
chun up pleased: 'he es chun up wid'
chollers double chin or underneath comb of a cock or hen
claggy sticky, adhesive
claggum toffee made with treacle
claggy very sticky
clagger jolly person who does not stand on ceremony
clemmed pinched with hunger; very hungry
clocker a broody hen
cleg a horse fly
corve wicker basket once used in coal mines prior to the tub era.
corve to undercut coal about to be blasted down
clash gossip, as: I'll not believe it, it's just a lot of clash
clash a noise as 'divvent clash the door'
Clowie happy as Clowie; a drunken cobbler's wife
clatter a loud noise
clattering shifting s.thing with a lot of noise
cowl to rake over
coin to turn or steer in gradually from the straight
crunch crush a hard substance with the teeth
coign a right angle corner of a building
couter a knife like fitting on front of a plough to cut the sod; a blunt knife is said to be as blunt as a couter
cod-up to level anything by propping up with wood
coddin to pull your leg
cogley unsteady, likely to fall
cockley an easily turned stomach
crowdy oatmeal poroidge made by pouring boiling water on the meal
cracket a low stool; a pit craket [sic] is a low stool the hewer sits on while undercutting or corvng the coal before blasting.
clicked to catch or snatch
caller a knocker up
crack conversation, news
cramley uncertain on foot: 'he walks verra cramley'
cocked his toes has died
Cud short for Cuthbert
cuddy-wifted left handed
cowie-handed left handed
couped over - upset
couped swopped, exchanged
crusses crusts of bread
chafts the cheeks
chipped tripped: 'chipped his sel up'
clouts clothes; also a blow, as 'I'll clout thi lug'
craw to crow
chow to chew
clap-benny children in arms are told to clap benny to clap their hands
clog a lump of wood as Yule clog
crack a bat or a blow
croft a small field near a house
crouse lively, in good spirits: 'he was gay crouse when he had a bit of brass'
cud to curdle; fondle
cuddle to embrace
cavil a working place in a coal mine, selected by drawing a number from a closed receptacle
chairl carrier a tale teller
claw-hammer coat tailcoat
clechen of eggs a setting of eggs
cankery water impure, poisonous water
cushat a wood pigeon
custock the stalk of a cabbage
chaff husks of corn
claut to snatch at
collie sheep dog
corbie carrion crow
cronie an intimate friend
cock to erect
crud to curdle
carling a brown pea, fried in rum and eaten on Carling Sunday
daft foolish or silly
dee to die
delve to dig
doff to put off
don to put on
dossent drunk or foolish
dother to shake or tremble; to anyone getting a fright: 'that's put the dothers on him'
dour sour looking, forbidding
dowly lonely, melancholy looking
dreepin dripping with water
drucken - drnuken
Dorm - Durham
dunno do not
dyke hedge or wall
daddin daddin the pit clais is beating them against a wall
dut bowler hat
dickerses school children in trials of strength jumping over hedges, ditches, walls or water
dad to shake or dash clothes against a wall
ducket a pigeon house
dunched to bump into with force
duffer dull; not a tryer 'Mind thou was a duffer at school'
daffley silly, daft
dovered off fell asleep
dinna dee that don't do that
dinna forget don't forget
dook to dip the head in water
doggered to lose all
dummicks to beat; a punishment
dorsent dare not
diddint did not
dab hand capable or efficient worker: 'He's a dab hand at it'
dinky neat or trim
dowie faded or sad
dunt blows, knocks
dowdy dressed shabbily
dunch to bump, as: 'Divint let them waggons dunch'
dunched to bump into with force
ducket a pigeon house
drookit very wet
Devil's picture book card
deave to deafen
didd[l]e to jog, or fiddle
din row, or loud sound
drauged wet, drenched
discomboblerated at a loss for words' discomfiture [sic]
dee'd did it
egg on to excite or provoke
ee, een eye, eyes
esh the ash
ettle intend; to arrange or scheme beforehand
eating house cafι
eerie dismal; producing a superstitious feeling of dread
fair very: 'Aw's fair lost'
fash to trouble; anyone getting into trouble is said to be had in fash
femmer weak or delicate
fernenst opposite to
fettle to repair or mend; also used as a salutation: 'what fettle the day'
few used adjectivally, as: 'a few broth'
flayed frightened; very frightened: 'Aa's flayed to deed' (death)
flee to fly; also the house fly
fond foolish or daft
fother to feed or bed up cattle
firing throwing, as: firing stones
foumart the polecat or foul-martin
frae, frev from
fresh well in health and spirits
fainty bout fainted or dizzy
flags paving stones or pavement
foisty bad or smelling sour and mouldy
fizzled out the end
fullick with great force; in playing some marble games one player will say to the other 'Ne fullicking'
fadge a loaf baked on an a flat cake tin about 15 dia[meter], and 3 or 4 inches thick
fliggied when young birds leave the nest it is said to be fliggied
fosey half rotten vegetable
fix fax gristley sinew
fissing a person fussing about without aim or reason
flipe brim of a hat
fairly entirely, completely
fullen full tub
fend to look after oneself: 'Let him fend for isell'
flusher a squib that fails to do its work
flackered about finished, paid
flacker to flicker; to flag; to flinch back
fidge to fidget
flity unreliable; unsteady; giddy
fettild fettled, made
feulling snareing [sic] birds by means of a call bird and bird-limed twigs
freeten'd - frightened
gowk a foolish fellow
gan, gannen go, going
garth a small enclosed yard as Staggarth Stack Yard
gay very, as, a gay few is a large number
gibby stick a walking stick with a bent handle
girn to grin or grimance [recte, grimace]
gob the mouth
gollerin shouting loudly
graithe to make ready; a workman making ready will say 'I'm in for a grathing shift'
grund the ground
gully carving knife
gobby cheeky, impudent
gan on go away
gliff sudden fright
glaky foolish behaviour or talk
gam-on fun; fight or frolic
gis a low give me a light
gannen yam - going home
gove space in coal seam after coal has been extracted
gripe garden fork
gurney to steal marbles
gee stubborness; unmanageable, as 'he teuk the gee'
gammel gamble: 'gammel me pay ont'
gulpin fool or silly man
gorth a hoop
gumption - understanding, as: 'Have you no gumption'
gait manner, way or road
gear tools to work with; goods or wealth
girdle a round plate of thin iron for baking cake on a fire
gist give it to me
grape to grope
gaup to stare vacantly
gob mouth; as a threat: 'I'll skelp thi gob'
gar to make, compell
glishy very bright: 'It looks a bit glishy this morning'
get thi pipe take a rest, or wait a while
get thi blaw to take a rest, to regain your breath
groonungin growling; when a dog or cat utters a low growl it is said to be groonungin
gill half pint
hap, happed up wrap, wrapped up
haud to hold
had on to hold back; stop
had up ease up; to be brought before the Court
had the hand wait a minute
hacky dirty, filthy
heckberry the birdcherry
hemmele a cowshed
hesp a hasp or sneck
hev to have
hing to hang
hinney, honey a term of endearment
hoggers pit hoggers, shorts miners wear in the pit
humleck a hillick [hillock]
hang a rabbit snare
howk to dig or scoup [sic] out
how-way come away
hug to carry
hike to jerk a child up or down
hikey a see-saw
hang-up to agree to share
harn coarse cloth or jute
harp on complain repeatedly
hinderence [sic] a hinderence is a person who keeps you back
hoy throw out: 'hoy it away'
hoyers the two pennies thrown in the air in the game of Pitch and Toss
hempy impy, mischievous
high shinie high silk hat
had away man go away man
hind farm servant
had on to hold back; stop
how way to come along
hitchy bays hopscotch
hitchy dabber flat disc usually the bottom of a jam jar used in playing hopscotch
hen cree hen house
hed have it
hunkers the buttocks; hunker sliding to slide in a crouching position
hidey hole hiding place
heck nor gee go neither right or left; stubborn
hing to hang
hagg ugly old woman
heck an exclamation of surprise
hash a poor job, spoiled: 'thou myed a hash of that'
heughs low lying land by the side of a river
heck an exclamation of surprise
heuk a hook
hitch a loop or knot
harn coarse cloth, hessian
harp on always complaining
heart rendering heart-rending
hyte mad: 'he is right up a hyte'
hey or hoy loud shout to draw attention
hard up no money
hag a pit on the moors, as, peat-hag
I'd as leaf I'd as soon
I'd leefer I'd sooner
in a boggle in a difficulty
. - in the back shift [etc.]
in the family way pregnant
inpident fond very cheeky
I's I am
ist are you
jiggery pokery underhand tricks or rogery [sic]
jowl to test roof in pit by sound with a stick tapped against the roof, also used as a threat: 'A'l jowl tha if tho dossent shut up'
jaup a blow
jauping at Easter, paste eggs (hard boiled dyed eggs) are knocked together end on, the loser is the one whose egg is broken; also used as a threat: 'A'l jarp the just now'
jinny houlet the owl
jerry a public house with a beer licence only
jealoused anticipated, as 'Aw jealoused it would happen'
keeal pot pan used for making broth
ken to know people or places
kep to catch; the keps at a pit shaft hold the cage in position while the full tubs are replaced by empty ones
ken speckled known by some particular mark or colouring in the coat of an animal
kest up something lost that has been found is said to have [been] kest or kessen-up
ket filth or rubbish; ketty stuff is impure food or anything that has gone bad
kist a box or chest as meal kist, or deputy's (underground official) kist (chest)
kittle unsafe, as: 'it's stannen very kittle'
kizzened burnt or dried up in cooking, as: 'it's all kizzened up'
knap a blow; to strike
knaw to know
kyte the abdomen
kellick a bird just out of the egg
kink a twist in a coil of rope that would severely damage it if pulled tight
kink a fit of temper in which a child holds its breath while crying
kit a wood tub in which a pitman washed, when he came home from the pit
kenner the time the pit finished work for the day
kennen - altered, as: 'thoo growen oot o kennen' [strictly kennin' is 'recognition']
kneef the closed fist
keeker foreman who deals with the coal when it arrives at bank
kitty the money in a gambling game; a place where money is kept
knacky kneed knock-knees
keckle to laugh
knapping hammer for breaking stone
knapted hit: 'that's knarped him'
kept knacking kept very busy
kilt to tuck up
kimmer a gossiping old woman
kisser the mouth
keep ahaad when two pitman part one will generally say 'Keep ahaad'. This remark goes back to the days when pitmen travelled the pit shaft with one leg in a loop and holding on to the rope with the hands. When men were about to descend the banksman would say 'There's away, keep ahaad' and 'keep ahaad' has survived form the early days of coal mining and is now used as a parting remark.
kitty-cat tipcat; a game played with a sharpened piece of wood and a stick to make it bounce.
larn to learn
lap wrap: 'lap (wrap) it up'
lay away a hen that lays its eggs away from its house
leed lead [the metal]
let on to meet or fall in with a person; also used if anyone tells something to another he wants kept quiet he will say 'divint let on to anybody'
let wit to make known if not wanted to be known: 'divint let wit' [with it]
lick to beat with blows
ling the heather
lough a lake
lintee the linnit: 'he sings like a lintee'
limmers limbers, cart like shafts to clip on to a pit tub so that the pony can pull them: 'ne ridin on the limmers' . a warning to driver laddies in the pit. Used as a term of ridicule: 'thou's gannen about like a pair of brokken limmers' meaning a pair of broken limbers are no use for their purpose.
lieve as soon: 'Ah wad as lieve walk as ride'
lish active, supple in mustle [sic]; lively, spritchy
liver to deliver
lonnon a lane
lowe a light, as: 'gis a lowe (light) marra (mate)'
lowse loose; to loosen
lug the ear
light queer; slightly insane, as: 'hees gannen a bit light'
lop a flea; loppy-lousey
looksta look you
lang legged tallear [taylor?] daddy long legs
loft upper floor
laddie a young lad
lowence allowence [sic]
leuk look, appearance
liein telling lies
lops and lice the seeds inside the rose hip
laid double way into him a pit saying for anyone who has been found fault with or told off
leeves lives [verb]
marrer when two men work together, each calls the other his marrow
meer a mare
mell a wooden or iron hammer with a long handle
menceful decent; tidy
minch pie mince pie
mistetch'd defect of temper in horse or cow
mittens gloves without fingers
mizzle a fine small rain
mizzling on continuing with fine rain
mucky dirty or muddy
marky markey cheese maggotty cheese; also used to mean germs on hands or feet: 'get yer marky hands washed'
mun must, shall
mush slush or wet dirt
mizzled off gone away
mind to remember
midden place of muck or refuse
middling fairley [sic] well or moderate
moonlight flit to move by night or moon without paying the rent or letting anyone know
midgey open fronted lantern once commonly used in the pit. A knat [gnat]
messing about interfering with: 'he'es always going messing about'
mash to make tea is said to be 'mashin the tea'
mortallious very drunk: 'if we stop in this pub we're gan er get mortallious'
met a measurement; all the same length
mak a lowe make a light
midgey knat [gnat]
minni lowest wage for a coal hewer: 'Aa['s] on the minni'
makken gam pretending
maisor queer or excentric person
muggy game played with a lighted lantern called 'Jack shine the muggy (light)'
montoneous monotomas [sic]
menage man travelling draper or salesman
metter a measure in a quoit game
moop moody, sour looking
midden steed an open ashpit
mun-na must not
metter measurer. If a dispute arises in a quoit match as to which quoit is nearest the hob, the man who measures them is called the Metter
mizzled off gone away
naff nave or boss of a wheel
naup to strike
neb bird's bill
neuk nook, corner
nobbit only, except
nowder, nowther - neither
nowt nothing; worthless fellow
nowling constant pain bad to bear
nowled a person kept down by bullying is said to be 'nowled down'
nowt a good for nothing fellow is discribed [sic] as a 'nowt'
nigh hand gannen a shorter or easier road
nowt flash not very well or not satisfactory
nebbing courting or flirting
norration a great noise, row or confusion
nab 'A'l nab thi' (I'll catch you)
nolidge box the head
nickin a cutting
nick to mark notches
nits lice eggs
ner than: 'mair ner that'
na not; no
natch hold or grip
nigh hand as bad nearly as bad
noodle a volunteer horse soldier
nettie an earth closet, probably derived from 'house of necessity'; a w.c.
nessie similar meaning [to above]
nailed caught: 'Aa nailed him'
ner de weel a good for nothing fellow
needle full o' thread a threaded needle
nickering laugh a silly laugh when a person is thought no to be telling the truth
nag a horse
naf the nave or hub of a wheel
nudged to get ayone's attention by a push with the elbow
on of: 'they mak a deeal on him'
oot out; ootbye going towards the shaft
owe own: 'whee owe it'
oxter the armpit
oxter bun stiff arms
old standard a well known inhabitant who has lived most of his life in the district
o't [on't?] of it
obstrockolos clumsy, nosiy, awkward: 'divint be see onstrockolos'
pipe stopple a broken clay pipe stem
pan to fit or agree with: 'he pans weel tiv his wark'
peer a pear
pash - a heavy fall of rain: 'a plash of rain'
plet to plait
plowder to walk or plunge amongst snow
podge to stir the fire violently
pund a pound
paishantly patiencely [sic]
Pitmatic pitman's dialect
penker iron ball used to play some marble games
pasty looking pale looking
plote - pluck
put the bait up to prepare a meal to be taken to the pit
peeper the eye
prig a thief
paddock stools toadstools
pawkie hard to please with food
pigeon toed toes turned in
proggle prickle: 'keep away from them whins or tho'll get proggled'
progger tool used in making mats
proggy mat mat made with a progger and cloth clippings
proggley the hedgehog
prishen perishing [i.e. cold]
pluffen blowpipe made for the hollow stem of the hemlock, haws for pellets
pop alley glass marble taken from a pop or lemonade bottle
pee-dee small marble or small man
portmantle portmantau [sic]
pultry - poultry
polis pleeceman [sic]
plodge to paddle
pouts young hens that have not yet begun to lay
paw hand: 'gie a wag of the paw' means shake hands
plumper if a voter in an election has a number of votes and gives them all to one candidate he is said to have given hima plumper
paid to be beaten in a fight. A man fatigued would say 'Aw's fair paid' meaning all in.
poss tub a wood barrel in which clothes are washed by beating the with a poss stick, probably nemed by the sound it makes
possticke the stick used as above, has a wide base and a crosshead handle
quessing seeking confirmation: 'we've neem quessing him'
quoin a corner of a building
quean a young woman
quack doctor a sham doctor
ram acrid, often applied to rancid butter or partly rotten cheese
rax to stretch
reever a Border robber
reesty rancid generally applied to bacon
ridden comb a dressing comb
rive to tear
rowen the mountain ash
rud to mark to stain red
rib to be the winner in a fight: 'he ribbed him'
roven off torn off
Ranter noisy Methodist name usually given to P.M's [Primitive Methodists]
rash to come out in spots, as: 'she['s] all out in a rash'
roupie hoars with a cold
rued not satisfied: 'I rued of me bargin' [strictly, to regret]
randie quarrelsome person: 'she's a proper randie'
ragweed the ragwort
rakes roams: 'he is always raking about'
rendering scraps of fat meat melted down to get fat to bake with
rammel stone that gets mixed with coal in the pit
roundy coal large lumps of coal
rodney a worthless fellow, a neer-de-weel [sometimes a homeless person, a tramp, JW]
roddening to live rough and beg for a living
reest horse that will not go or work: 'the horse hes tuan the reest'
reek smoke; the pitman calls the smoke from his shot, powder reed
ructions on high words, quarrels or fights
raa - row of houses
reckling the smallest and weakliest pig in a litter
rowl roll; fall
rid up to tidy a room or a place
ridden to clear a place through [to] an old working
reeaming on always complaining
rapped him to bank a pit saying for anyone who has been reprimanded or told off
rowl yer powleys to roll over and over sideways
rapscallion a wild uncertain fellow
raker swift moving is said to be 'going a raker'; anything used quickly, as: 'mind thou['ll] gone a raker with them'
rozzler hot; a hot day would be described as a rozzler
sackless silly, lacking sense
saff the willow tree
sair very: 'Ah's sair tired', 'Ah's sair paid'; sore
sair a sore
sarrow to serve
sannot shall not
sark a shirt
sattle to settle
settle a seat, long-settle
saw to sow
scadd to scald
scraffle 'to scraffle on' is applied to anyone who seems to work hard but gets little done
scrat to scratch
sappy land wet or bog like
swathe the grass cut and laid by the scythe
sweltered to be overpressed with heat
slaverin soft, silly
spelk splinter of wood
scallions spring onions
shades window curtains
slurch to trail the feet
splaw-footed feet wide apart
sheffioneer box or secret bed
shuggy ride on a swing
shuggy-shoos swing boats
sistha look here, or this way
scrat applied to anyone who has a hard struggle as: 'she had a bonny scrat to bring them bairns up' or 'they've had a bonny scrat to pay their way'
scrowlin a term of disdain, vexed look: 'what's tha scrowlin at'
scumfish to suffocate
seck sack or poke
seck anyone given notice at once from work is said 'to have got the seck'
staup to step heavily with the feet, as: 'he is gannen stauping aboot'
steg a gander
stob a short stick with a sharp point
stour dust or smoke
strinkle to sprinkle
stub to cut off the roots, as: 'to stub a hedge'
swag to sway or bend down, as 'it's swaggering down at the back end'
sweal to waste away, as a candle in a draught
shap shape; 'neither shap nor mak' (anything ugly or out of shape)
shive slice: ' a shive of bread'
sike like such like
sile - a milk strainer
sind to rince [sic] or wash
sipe to leak or ooze out; anyone getting very wet is said to be 'siping set'
skeel a wooden vessel for holding water
skelp to slap with the hand: 'I'll skelp (slap) the lug (ear)'
skelp hard going, as: 'skelpin away'
skrike to screeth [screech?]
sned to cut off, as 'sned thisel a bit off there'
slot to bolt, as 'Put the bolt in the slot'
sook to suck
soss when one falles heavily 'he cum doon with a bonny soss'
sprag to brake wheel by using iron or wood stave between the spokes thereby preventing it from revolving
spurlin wheel rut
slack a hollow between two hills
slaistern trailing along behind
slipe to cut of peel off; sometimes used as a threat, as 'A';; gie the a slipe ea the lug' (ear)
slirp to make a noise with the lips when drinking
slocken to quench; often used on buildings, as 'slocken the line' i.e. quick lime
smittle infectious; anyone infectious is said to have 'got the smit'
snag to lop off branches
short or shart shirt
stotty kep to catch a ball on the rebound
stramped on stepped on
shogils icecicles [sic]
scud a blow: 'I'll gie him a good scudding when I catch him'
shimmie shift or shirt
snoot snout, the nose
swallow lapped coat, tailcoat
sang song; the word is also used as an aoth my sangs [!]
snot mucus from the nose
spit an image likeness, as: 'he'es the spit an image of him'
split inform, as: 'mind thoo dosent split on him'
strag a stay pigeon
skemmy a young pigeon not yet pen-feathered
skint no money, lost all or cleaned out
snot soot on a candle wick or lamp, as: 'snuff the candle'
snotty bad tempered, or gives a short reply
smatch a bad taste in eating: 'that meat['s] got a smatch with it'
sconce a sly action
scringe to grind the teeth
shine a low shine a light
summerset summersalt [sic]
stew bother or trouble: 'yer all in a stew'
shaver a wag
stitlt hande, as a barrow stilt
sugh a rumbling sound
slaveron soft, silly
set on burnt to bottom of pan, stopped growing
shiverun bout a shivering fit
spelk a splinter of wood that has stuck into the skin; a small person
scarrmey half done, roughly: 'thou made a scarmey job of that'
slog flog away at work
strap beer on tick; strap chalked up against the customer
snecklifter the price of a drink to get into a pub; once in the rest was easy in getting drinks
stinging ether the dragon fly
springey mean, greedy and near
stotty kyek a flot oven yeasty cake
striddle to strand with legs apart
striddlers sticks in a bird trap, or three strong poles in the for of a triangle bolted at the top for lifting heavy loads by means of a black and tackle
sconce sly action
sairly sorely; very trying
shaver a wag
skirl - to shrieck [sic]
slee sly; clever
sneck the latch on the door
skimpy mean and greedy, or short as: 'the frock's very skimpy'
taistrel an idle fellow, good for nothing
tan to thrash: 'I'll tan the hide if A catch tha'
teem to pour out: 'teem the tea out'
tew to fatigue: 'I'm sair tewed wi the bairn', 'It's been a tewing job'
thrang busy: 'we ar [sic] very thrang at our house the day'
thud noice [sic] caused by a blow
tinks gypsies, tinkers
tied te knaw bound to know
tot a gill
Tot short for Thomas
Tommer short for Thomas
tip-up give up, as 'he tipped up his pay' or 'he tipped the lot up'
thropples the throat
tommy shop a tommy shop was a shop run by some colliery managers where a pitman was compelled to buy his groceries. The cost of these goods was deducted from the miner's pay note before he received his wages. Tommy Shop Row.
tied obliged: 'he's tied to gan'
tike a mischievous youth
tite as soon: 'Ah'd as tite gan this way as that'
trimmle to tremble
twilt a quilt
tummeled understand: 'Ah'd timmeled to it strite away'
thraw to throw
tokens pitmen's tallies
tyuth wark toothache
trailing to move with an effort: 'sum on stop trailing along'
tight drunk: 'tight as a lord'
tare on trouble, as: 'we had a bonny tare on wid afore we got it to gan'
topping a haircut in which the hair is cut close except a tuft of hair above the forehead: this is called the topping
turn his hand to owt this expression refers to a man who makes a workmanlike job of anything he takes in hand
tappy-lappy head over heals [sic]
tittie bottle an infant's feeding bottle
dumb tit a teat not attached to a bottle
tuem 'un empty; usually pronounced chum-un; the usual name for an empty pit tub
trasshing tiring: 'mind we've had a trasshing time'
twisty grumbling: 'he es always twisting on'
tar thanks; a special marble for playing shooting ring
toeing the mark to answer for a misdeed [?]
trotters pig or sheeps' feet
tart a young girl
twitch bell the earwig
twilter large, outsize
take alenn borrow: 'I'll just tak alen o your spade'
think on used to emphasise a point as: 'think on it's my ball', 'think on he'es my brother', or 'it's our house, think on', 'it's not mine think on'
tappy lappy to move quickly, as: 'he'es off tappy lappy down the street'
told off to be told of some unpalatable truth in no uncertain manner
thiver a stick for lifting clothes out of a pan of boiling water. Sometimes used for correcting unruly children, as: 'if I catch you I'll give you a taste of the thiver'
twad it would
teukt took it
todlin walking unsteadily
tout the blast of a horn
touter any who spied on lovers
tyke a vagrant dog
tyke a shady character: 'that fellow ['s] a proper tyke'
twilter outsize, very large
teks after takes after. A young child showing characteristics of ith[er] parent is said to take after
two tailed un a wrong one. In the game of Pitch and Toss a cheating player will introduce a penny that has a tail on both sides. He backs tails knowing he is bound to win. Most of the other players are unaware of this manouvre [sic]. So from this trick a dishonest person is called a 'two tailed un'
trashing tiring: 'we've had a trashing time'
taging a hard arduous time at work
toop a ram
touzle to rumple
unkers squatting, sitting on the unkers [sic], a favorite posture of pitmen
useter used to
up to the mark well, jealthy, a job well done.
vast set bi highly thought of
vast large number or quantity: 'there were a vast o folk there'
viewer an obsolete term for a colliery official underground
vow an interjection of admiration or surprise
vine pensil lead pencil. The name vine probably refers to the unpolished cedar wood resembling the shoot of a vine. Now pencils are painted various colours covering the plain wood.
varney very near or nearly, as: 'thou's varney ten minites late'
wid with it, as: 'what hey ye done wid'
wabble to sway from side to side
wallet a long linen bag with the opening in the middle, used by men working away from home to carry a week's supply of food. The ends of the wallet are filled with provisions and the middle left empty, so that it can be slung over the shoulder. Once quite common but very rarely seen now. The motorbus now transports workmen to and from their work where formally [formerly] a man stayed on the job for a week owing to lack of transport.
whistle wood shoots of the sycamore tree used by boys for making whistles
washed out pale or ill, as 'thou hes a weshed out like look'
wag playing the wag (tru[a]nt)
warsh insipid, tasteless
waster a worthless fellow
wee little: 'a weeney little bit'
weetin a small rain like heavy mist: 'it's not raining just weetin on'
wesh to wash
we'el we shall
whemmel to empty by upsetting, as the following shows:
There was an old man of Jarrow
And he had nowt to dee
So he put his old woman in a barrow
And whemmeled her over the quay
whacking sharing. If two persons playing in a game share their winnings they are said to be whacking
wag tru[a]nt, as: 'playing the wag'
waddent would not
woorm worm; also screwed part of a hand drilling machine as used in a coal mine
whimsey a turntable from which to uncoil a coil of rope or wire
weel put on a well dressed person
waster a ner de weel fellow
waffler an inefficient workman
whats up what's wrong
Wesleyan hammer two-face hammer
whick quick, alive
whins gorse bushes
whinge to cry with a whining noise
whist hush or hushed
whist up hold your tongue
winnot will not
wit with the
weel kent well known
whissel the throat:'wet the whistle' (take a drink)
whup a whip
warnit where [were] not
wedging a beating, as 'he gov him a good wedging'
wedger - anything large or outsize. The miner would say, 'mind it's a wedger'
winkers the eyes
whack share; when anything is shared each portion is called a whack
wivoot out without anything
weeken lamp or candle wick
wraxed streatched [sic]
whats-a-ma-calli[t] when a word is forgotton [sic], or the name of anything
welt a blow: 'I'll gie tha a good welt when Aa catch tha', 'Aa gave him a welt in the lug'
wey aye an affirmative answer
wid with it
wallop a strong blow, as 'wallop them posts in'
wow an exclamation of surprise or wonder
wyte to blame, as 'Thou's not gannen to put the wyte on me for this'
qye aye yes
what cheer a greeting
waffling aboot a person fussing about without aim
waffler an incompetent person
waffle a drunken person is said to be on the waffle
waff a puff of air
warlick a goblin
yammer to talk noisily: 'what ta yammering at', 'hees always yammering on'
yark to thrash: 'thou'll get a good yarking'
yee's ye shall
yelp to bark
yool to howl: 'stop that youling'
yair watter heavy rain
yoke - a pony and trap
yellow yowley the yellowhammer
yestie kyek flat bread cake
yarping complaining, as: 'he'es always yarping on'
Yule-do a cake made in the form of a man, a present to a child at Xmas; also means a present at Xmas
yammering on to ask or complain repeatedly
yard wand a Deputy's stick
As wick as a lop
As thick as a bull's lug
As thick as thieves
As green as grass
As lousy as a cuckoo
As tender as a chicken
As sore as a bile
As cruse as a peacock
As sound as a bell
As drunk as a noodle / owl
As tight as a lord / drum
As black as a craw
As black as the ace of spades
As clean as a whistle
As flat as a pancake
As blind as a bat
As blunt as a couter
As daft as a brust
As soft as a turnip
As sweet as an apple
As pleasant as a cow's husband
As black as a nigger
As pleased as punch
As pleased as a dog with two tails
As quiet as a lamb
As steady as a rock
As bald as a coot
As bald as a bladder of lard
As thin as a lat
As fat as butter
As ugly as sin
As fresh as a daisy
As straight as a rash
As loose as watter
As clear as crystal
As blue as the sky
As fast as lightning
As smooth as silk
As fine as silk
As sharp as a needle
As strong as a bull
As sly as a fox
As hard as the hobs of hell
As grey as a badger
As hard as flint
As bitter as gall
As sweet as a rose
As green as a cabbage
As happy as a clowie
As sweet as honey
As soft as clarts / muck
As cold as ice
As cold as charity
As hot as fire
As brave as a lion
As playful as a kitten
As black as ink / midnight
As white as driven snow
As sour as a lemon
As dead as a door nail
As lively as a cricket
As awkward as a lefthanded fiddler
As clever as eggs
He drinks like a fish
He runs like a hare
He-es off like a shot
He-es off like a lamplighter
He swims like a fish
He talks like a ha-penny book
As brown as a berry
As poor as a church mouse
As spotty as a pollis
As happy as a sand boy
As happy as a pig among muck
As dry as sticks
As awd as the hills
As cauld as clay
As yellow as clay
As hard as bell metal
As hungry as a hunter
As deef as a post
He stinks like an otter
As tough as leather
Like a bull with a sair heid
Always last like the cow's tail
As white as a sheet
As easy as an old shoe
As hollow as a drum
He curses like a trooper
As hot as fire
He's got the dog to haad
Anyone who has a reponsible job and has to take the rap for anything that may occur.
Dogs are sometimes awkward to hold at a coursing meeting when the quarry comes into view.
Not Shift Wark
A shifter (off hand man) is paid the lowest wage in the pit, so any work [outside the pit] that is poorly paid is discribed as 'Not [sic] being shift wark'.
A talkative woman with a sharp temper was said 'To have a tongue that would clip clouts.'.
A person with a miserable look is said 'To have a face like a mile of bad road'.
An unpopular person is said 'To be as weel kent in this town as a bad ha-penny'.
Hell on at the Hobson
In pit villages like the Hobson people were at one time much related. If two men started to fight it was not long before the whole of their relations joined in; what had started as a fight between two men developed into a riot with fights going on all over the place; such an occurrence as this was described as 'Hell on' and as the Hobson was the place where these riots were the wildest, the saying 'Hell on at the Hobson' was used to denote a disturbance that had been of the wildest character no matter where it had taken place and would be described as 'There's hell on at the Hobson over there'.
beef to the heels generally applied to laides with thick ankles; sometimes added 'like kerry cow' or 'like a durham heifer'
Looks as if butter would not melt in the mouth looks innocent
A stout woman was said to have a hint end like a fifty shilling galawa.
A thin man was said to be like a pair of tongs. If tall, like two yards of pump watter.
Let the Dog see the Rabbit: in rabbit coursing the dog that can see the rabbit has a better chance when anyone has an awkward job he should be given a fair or equal chance.
awfully very. This ia s much over-worked word, as 'Thanks awfully', 'awfully nice', 'awfully pretty', 'awfully dear' etc. There are many other perversions of this word.
argue the toss a heated argument probably drived from quoit playing or pitch & toss. If a player was suspected of an unfair toss while playing either of these gaes a heated argument ensued.
arnicks earth nuts
all the go in the fashion
have I have
a bonny lad anyone dirty with mud or clay
britched when a boy first wears trousers he is said to be britched
brave strong, handsome
budged stirred: 'he never budged'
blair cry with a loud voice
bonny lot better anyone recovering from an illness is said 'to be a bonny lot better', also work.
bonnie alley glass marble with a twisted design in the centre
barney a row or disturbance
beastly not nice, an abused way to describe anything that does not meet with approval
body person, as poor body, awd body
ball-alley fives court
bum the backside
bum a bailiff
buckstick a game of ball players with a ball thrown in the air by a spring contrivance and hit by a club with a long cane handle.
bags the stomach
busiker a large oversized woman
bone question, as 'Aa boned him about it' or 'If he says that again, bone him straight away' [i.e. hit?]
blackclock a cockroach
booled out to leave a building hurriedly, as 'He'es just booled oot the door'
booling a game played with a stone ball thrown underhand. the winner is the player who covers the greatest distance. One time a favourite pitman's game.
bully bacon the young tender shoots of the wild rose bush peeled and eaten by schoolboys
bumlar bumble bee
brassent a cheeky impudent person
bubbly-jock turkey cock
bunked up pushed up. A child wanting something he cannot reach will say to his chums, 'giv us a bunk up'
blaa-oot a drinking bout
blaab [sic] to talk indiscretely or silly
brattish a wood screen
bran new quite new
bare buff bare skin
bile a boil, inflamed swelling: 'as sair as a bile' (very painful)
burtree - elder
commines common marbles
canvas floor covering
cat-haas the fruit of the white hawthorn
clagged to strike a sudden blow as 'he went ower and clagged him'
callithumpian a parson asked a pitman what a callithumpian was. 'One who gets plenty of meat and drink and no grumbling' was the pitman's reply
cudint could not
clocker a broody hen
clocking a person who spends much time in a neighbour's house
or any other place is said to [be] 'always clocking in there' or 'always clocking about the place'
candyman a bailiff
clotting to throw as clotting stones
cow a device attached to the back of a set of coal tubs in a pit, to prevent any backward movement should the rope break or become detached.
cuts in put the cuts in is a form of lottery to decide anything where a decision is not fair to all. It is usually worked by sticks of different lengths held in the hand with the ends even. The one picking the shortest gets his choice; or marks put on a piece of wood with numbers on the opposite side the lowest to decide the winnder or loser
cavil a ballot by which the working places in a pit are allotted
canch the sill of a narrow coal seam which has to be removed before any more coal can be hewed
chowked - choked
click clutch, as 'he would have fallen if he hadent clicked the rail'
cheese & bread the Spring leaves of the hawthorn
cleg horse fly
chin ender upper-cut [blow]; also a name given to a beard grown on the chin end
clap fasten; also sit down quickly; act hurriedly
codney clay marble
cushy coo lady the lady bird
chunter grumbling and complaining
clip to strike, as 'clip yer lug'; to sheer sheep
canny bit sin a long time ago
dolled struck as 'Shift that or it will be falling doon and dolling tha'
devil a device for detatching a rope from a set of coal tubs whilst in motion
dull o hearing hard of hearing
doated very fond of as 'he fair doats on the bairn'
doating an old person with childish ideas is said to be doating
dickies head lice
dickey a coller [sic] and front combined to be worn with an ordinary shirt
dollying blasing down the coal without dunercutting; in pit parlance, dolly shutting
dykes hedges dividing one field from another
drive me past mesell drive me mad. Anyone viexed or annoyed by the conduct of another will say 'If you go on line this you'll dirve me past mesell'
firzzled hair frizzy hair
felly wooden felloe or rim of cart wheel
fadge round loaf baked on a flat tin
frenchie any bird of the finch species
fyace in tow men standing facing each other as near as possible singing different songs trying to stopone or the other singing his song.
fratching quarrelling; fault finding
gobby tyed a cheeky impudent child
get wrong will be punished
grey-hen stone earthenware bottle
gaff a cheap place of entertainment as 'a penny gaff'
gollered shouting: 'what's the gollering at?'
had on hold on, stop, wait, as 'had on a bit' (wait a bit)
hails fra belong to, as 'where does he hail fra?'
hankey pankey conjuring. Used as a saying meaning no [to] underhand work as, 'Mind nane of thi hanky pankey tricks'
hing-lugged a slovenly dirty slow-moving fellow
haad yer gob shut your nouth, be quiet
hipping baby napkins
houk a beating: 'he gave him a good howking'. To dig
hang a rabbit snare.
hippen baby's napkin
hemel a cattle shed
hellcats mischievous children
hed have it, as 'you hed'
halvers divide in halfs, as, 'we'll gan halvers'. Children finding anything will say 'ne halvers'
hena have not
hitchy bays hop scotch
pinney pinafore or apron
pasties the feet
penker small iron ball used in playing marble games
powder reek smoke caused by firing a blasting shot in the mine
paddingean a tramps' lodging hosue used to describe a dirty or untidy house
pantomime pollis comic policeman who plays in a pantomime
pauped struck or hit
playing the band making unnecessary fuss
rowen-tree mountain ash, witchwood
raw gobbed cheeky and impudent
set his gob up a cheeky impudent person is said [to] 'set his gob up'
scabby nannie current loaf
spice cake fruit loaf
strites equal. When a person pays a debt, he will say 'we're strites noo'
shutten shot: 'he'es shutten a rabbit'
skeets guides for cages in a pit shaft; also ice skates
sooker an iron plate fitted to an old fashioned kitchen range to restrict the flue opening
sloven a dirty untidy person; [plus] slovenly job
stoothing wood and plaster partichons [sic]
spice whigs - teacakes
spoats eaves gutter
swapes tub rails bent to go round a turn are called 'a pair of swapes'; anything bent as part of a circle is said to be 'on the swape'
stowboard an old working in a coal mine into which refuse is put
straringin [recte, stravingin] wandering
shanna shall not
sike sush [recte, such]
snib window fastener
sappy soft and muddy
swally swallow; throat
shakey down a bed on the floor
sudint suddent [sic]
swaddy foot solider
sluthery soft, muddy, as very soft melting snow, slushy
snots mucus from the nose
slept the caller did not waken soon enough to go to work
stopped his tap when a publican refuses to fill any more drink to an inebriated person, he is said 'to have stopped his tap' [also to refuse credit?]
starvation used to denote hunger as 'A'm starving wi hunger' (not cold)
snadger raw turnip
slab-dabbing painting railings or walls with coal tar
slush hewer a hard working coal-hewer
shade shed, as 'hay shade', 'cart shade' etc.
shutty in a marble game in which each player shoots his alley into a ring to try to knock out other marbles in the ring
shorley to play your marbles with a gliding motion is described as shorleing
stythe bad air in mine
swig a long drink
sponging living by begging or cadging
stumour a queer or shy person, as 'mind, he'es a stumour'
scalapen hewing coal by hand
sqelching [sic] sound made by walking through thick mud or water as 'he went squelching strite thro there'
screen 'Aal not screen (excuse) him'
spifflicated beaten up
spurtle a cake turner made of wood with a handle on one end. The other end is tapered to a fine edge.
spile a vent peg in a barrel
spiling shoring up a loose place or fall in a coal mine
spigot and [f]awsit a mining term for joining pypes
stub and feathers stub is a wedge to be driven in between two tapered round side wedges inserted in a hole to burst rock apart
tilings a name given to all kinds of roof coverings
taws a leather strap, one end cut into four tails. Used for chastizing unruly children
tommy-shop a shop at which a miner was compelled to buy his provisions
tommy-hack a combined hammer and chisel-ended pick used by wagonwaymen
thraw up - vomiting
thrawn ower upset
tredgee a plate spun on the rim has to be caught by a player whose number is called by the spinner; if he fails to catch it before it falls flat he loses.
A man who works hard is said 'to be gannin a it like a dog at broth'.
A small person is described as 'not as big as big as sixpennorth of copper'.
A policeman dismissed from the Force is said 'to have lost his coat'.
Anything re[a]sonable in price is said 'to be not out of the way' [meaning not too expensive JW]
Fyace on: two men singing different songs in their faces as close to each other as possible, trying to prevent each other from singing his own song.
A man who has done heavy work will say, 'Aw varney pulled (or pushed) me pluck oot at that job.' Pluck is the heart, liver and lungs of an animal.
A man who has worked hard and is fatigued will say 'Aa's paid te the wide'
As this week answers this week
You'll get wrong be punished
Anything broken beyond repair is said to bel ike 'Barney's bull' beggered. A man who is very fatigued incapable of further effort will say, 'Aws like Barney's bull, beggered'.
Box a beneficial society. A box was held in a public house to which the members paid a weekly contribution. The landlord acted as treasurer; it finished at the end of the year and what money was left in the fund after sickness, accedident and death benefits had been paid was divided among the members in equal shares. If during the year there had been many calls on the fund it was said to have been 'heavily laid on' and in consequence there was only a small sum left for disbursement. On the other hand if the funds had been lightly laid on, there was a decent amount for each member and in these consequences a jovial night was spent at the public house where the box was held. A new box was then started to run for the ensuing year. The benefits as far as I can remember were something like five shillings a week for a certain length of time for sickness or accidents, one pound on the death of a member's child, two pounds on the death of his wife and three pounds on the death of a member himself.
Sometimes the membership was confined to ladies only; this was known as a woman's box. The benefits were similiar with a special allowence [sic] for confinement cases. In some cases these boxes carried on after the introduction of National Health Insurance.
A threat: 'I'll knock him into the middle of next week.'
It was said of a pushfull inquisitive person: 'you cannot bray him back with a mell' (a large hammer).
A person when tired and fatigued will say 'Aa's about brokken off bi the pockets.'
A person early astir in the morning will be asked 'If he has getten up before his clothes were on.'
A miserable looking person is said have a face like a baff weekend (when fortnightly pays were the custom the baff weekend was the one when there was no pay).
A determined person not afraid of set-backs is said to be 'as game as a pebble'.
A sick person will say 'Aw feel arl out o' sorts', or 'I don't feel very cleaver'. [sic] A person spewing is said 'to be bowking his boiley'. Boiley is bread and milk mixed together to feed an infant.
Sair sore. Also 'very' as 'Aas sair [tued]' (very fatigued), sair 'felled' (very old or feeble)
Hauled oer the coals. To be reprimanded severely. The possible origin is supposed to be, a sacrifice to or passage through the Bail-fire.
Any indefinite colour is referred to as sky blue pink.
Bump the set. Anyone taking unnecessary risks, is described as 'He'll be bumping the set some of these times.' Set is an expression for a number of trucks pulled by an engine by means of a rope and usually travel at a fast speed
Ne halves no sharing
For fairs no trickery or un[der]handedness