Durham & Tyneside Dialect Group / Word Lists /


The following list is extracted from Bishop Kennet's 'Etymological Collections of English Words and Provincial Expressions', a manuscript dictionary surviving as British Library MS Lansdowne 1033 (vol. 99 of Bishop Kennet's Collection). While its main purpose was to study the origins of less standard regional words, it provides useful material for dialect research today.
White Kennet, 1660-1728, Vicar of Amersden, Oxfordshire, between 1685 and 1700, and later Bishop of Peterborough, constructed this word list from ca.1690 onwards, using printed sources and correspondence with e.g. George Hickes (the Anglo-Saxonist, and for a period Kennet's friend and tutor, though later disassociating himself from Kennet's Whig politics). Kennet's list appears to depend mainly on printed sources, while Ray seems to have been doing original research, so that terms common to both lists (often with identically worded definitions e.g. John Ray, s.v. wind-berry, wonne) ought to originate in Ray; but Ray gives no specific location for the currency of any of the words he prints, whereas Kennet does give location for a number of these words, common to both their lists. Either Kennet had access to Ray's more detailed notes or they shared an unidentified common source or contact.
To add to the similarities, the 1737 edition of Ray uses some terms found in Kennet (e.g. clock, maddle, runches)...
Words below are those distinguished by Kennet with the tag 'Dunelm' (for Dunelmensis, Durham), others as 'Northumb' for Northumberland, with examples from a third type, noted only as 'Bor' (borealis, Northern), given here where relevant to the North East.

aboon, abeun - above. she's aboon ith' chamber [Yorks]
airt or art - corner. the wind is in a cold airl. [Yorks]
amell - among [Northern]
arf - afraid [Northern]. Ise varra arfe [Yorks]
arles or earles - earnest, servants vails etc. [Yorks]
awin, awn - adj. own [inc. Yorks]
axen - ashes {Northern]
ay - ever, all waies [no attribut.]

barre - gate of a city, as in the city of York
barrow - in Dunelm. a grove
bath - both [Yorks]
beauk - book [Yorks]
beck - rivulet or small brook [no attribut.]
beeld - a high fence or skrean to defend cattle from the cold [Northern]
beslarted - besmear'd, bedaub'd [Yorks]
beeslings, beestlings - the first milk which a cow gives after her calving [Yorks]
big - barley [Northern]
blea - yellow (Northern]
blithe - brisk, jocund [Yorks]
brade - broad [Northern]
brees - brows, e.g. eye-brees [Northern]
brew - [ale]wife [D'm]
bumble-kites - bramble-berries. [Yorks] A bumble-bea in Yorksh is what we call a humble-bea or mild bea.
to byg - to build [Northern]

cawel a basket in the North, hence a Cawel is a chicken-coop [D'm]
to caup - to exchange or swap. Yorksh as Horse-Caupers
To chop - to exchange goods or commodities upon equivalent consideration [Northern] to kowp
cist, or kist - in Yorksh a chest
cled - clad or cloath'd [Northern]
clæggs, cleggs - Flies in Yorksh with short bodies and broad wing...that sting beasts and particularly horses
to cleg - to cling or stick close
a clock - a beetle or dor, a hot-chafer [Northern]
cobby - stout, high, proud [Northern]
cruse or crous - saucy, malapert [Northern]... crous as a new washt louse [no attribut.]
cushat - a wild pigeon [Northern]... a cushot - a wild pigeon [Northern]

daft - fond, doting [Yorks]
dather - to quake or shake with cold. my teeth dather in my haad [Yorks]
daw, dou - to be able. "I did as I dught" [D'm]
dene - a valley [D'm]
a dike - a dry hedge, Cumberl. Any little pond or watering place, Yorksh.
to ding - to beat out, or knock, or strike [Yorks]
dowly - melancholy [Northern]... lonely, melancholy [in appendix]
to dree - to reach [Yorks]. I cannot dree thither [in appendix]

eam - an unkle [Northern]
eard - the earth or ground [D'm]
earfe - fearfull, timerous [D'm]
eath - easie [Northern]... Dunelm. eathy.
eld-father grandfather. Dunelm. eld-mother
eod - he went [Northern]

fader, fadder - [father] [Northern]
fause - false [Northern].. faws - fox [Northern]
fax - hair [Northern]
to fea or fow - to cleanse or empty, as to fea a Pond, a Privy etc. [D'm]
feal - to hide [Northern]
feck - the most or greatest part [Yorks]
fend - make a good shift [Northern] e.g. a fendable fellow
fettle... [Northern]
flaid... [Northern]
fligger - young birds ready to fly [Northern]
foist - fusty, musty [Northern]
frosk - frog [Northern]

gain(ly) - expert (person), nearer (way) [Northern]
to garr... [Northern]
garth - yard or backside, a croft [Northern]
gaum, goam - to gaze or stare at in an indecent way [Yorks/Northern]
gaveluk - an iron bar [Northern]
to gear - to dress [Northern]
gers - grass [Northern]
gill - a ditch [Northern]
gimmers door-hinges. Dunelm. & jimmers esp. of a pair of doors
gimmer-lamb - ewe lamb [Northern]
a gimmer tree - a tree that grows double from the root [D'm]
to girn - to grin [Northern]
a gliffe - a glance [Northern]
glore - glower [Yorks]
gob - an open or wide mouth [Northern]
gowk - cuckoo [no attribut.]... gouk, gowk [Northumb.]
to grath(e) a hous or room - to deck it or dress it up neat and fine [D'm]
to greet - [to cry or weep] [Northern] [in appendix]
grice, grise - a pig [Yorks]
gully - a knife [Northern] a common hous-knife
I am gang hame - I am going home [Northern]

it haggles - it hails [Northern]
to happe - to cover [no attribut.]
har - small rain [D'm] it harrs - it rains in small drops
a harl - a mist [Northern]
haver - oats [Northern]
haws, hause, hose - throat [Northern] Sax. hals, collum, which is therefore still halse. Dunelm.
to heald - to hold downward, as when you pour out of a pot or other vessel [Northern]
a heckle a corslet or any covering, as the heckle of a fighting cock. Dunelm. Sax. hæcile, hæcla, hecele...hence the skin or outside of an ox is call'd his hachle or hackle. Dunelm. a rough-hackled or smooth-hackled Ox
hefled ***ted, as in a heffled manner. Dunelm. Sax. hæfed, [Lat.] habilus [but Wright, Dialect Dictionary: haffle/heffle - to stammer, falter, prevaricate]
a hemble or hemle - a hovel or house [Yorx]. And in Dunelm. any place covered over head and open on both sides is call'd a hemle or hemble.
hen-bawks - the hen-roost, the bawks or cross poles or sticks in a hen-house [Northern]
hobb - Robert [Yorks]
holkit - made a way by digging or otherwise [no attribut. ?=howk]
the hough - the ham or upper joint of the leg [Northern]
huly - peevish, fretfull. When a man is not easily plaes'd or seems captious and forward, then is said to be 'huly', and a 'huly man' [D'm]

kale - coleworts [Northern]
ken-specked - markt or branded with spots or speckles [Northern]
a kerne - a chern or churn
a kevell, a kafil - a great lout, or heavie ffelow [Northern]
a kist - a chest [Yorks]
a kite or kyte - a belly or womb [Northern]
to kittle - to tickle [no attribut.]...[Yorks]
to klick - to snatch, or catch up. as the glede [kite] klicks up the chicken [Northern]
to knack or nack - [Northern] to speak finely or affect a fine soft pronunciation. applied to those who speak in the Southern dialect
kodd - a pillow [Northern]
to kowpe - to chop or exchange [Northern]
a kurl - a clown, a rustick [Northumb.]
kye - cows, kine, cattle [Northern]

the lafe [D'm] or lave [Yorks] - the residue or all that is left.
to latch - to light, to fall, as a Cat latchath upon her feet. [D'm]
leach - hard-work, great fatigue, a word frequent among the miners in the North
a leak or leche - a gutter [D'm]
Leath-wake... flexible [re Cuthbert's body]... a Lith-wake Man, a clever nimble fellow [?confusion of lithe and lych/lyke i.e. OE lic 'body']
lide in the North signifying soon
liever - rather [Northumb.]
to lig - to lie [Northern]
lisk - that part of the side which is between the hips and the short ribs [Yorks]
to lithe - to listen, to haurken [Northumb., Yorks]
a loom or lumm a chimney [D'm]
lough - a pond or standing pool [D'm]
low - to flame in Yorksh, as the fire lows... low - flame, fire [Northern]...lowe in the North - the flame of fire
luggs - ears [Northern]

to maddle - to be fond, to doat upon [Northern] as, she maddles of this fellow
to mal - to dress carelessly [Northern]
a marrow - in Yorksh, a fellow or companion, and the relative term in pairs, as one glove or shoe is not marrow to another
maug, meaugh - a wive's brother [D'm], maugh [Yorx]
maut - malt [Yorks]
mawks - maggots [Yorks]
to mell - to meddle. Ise nouther mack nor mell [Yorks]
a mell - a wooden sledge or beatle [Northern]
mensefull - comley, graceful, manly [Northern]
mickle - much [Northern]
midden - a maxen or dunghill in the North... midding [D'm, Westm'land]
midge - in Yorksh. & Lancash. a gnat
to ming - to mind or observe [D'm]... minging - a mentioning or putting in mind
a mizzy - a quagmire [Northern]
to mow a woman... as he mow my Meggy [Northern]
mun - must [Yorks]
mold-warp - a mole i Yorksh.
neaf - the fist [Northern]... a neaf or naife - a hand or fist [D'm]... neif - hand or fist [D'm, Westm'land]...neaves - fists [Yorx]

neauk - nook or corner [Northern]
nesh - soft, tender [D'm]. Flabby, as a nesh man, nesh grass.
to note - to eat [D'm]

oky, ouky, ooky, woky, wooky - moist, sappy [D'm]...weaky - moist [Northern]
ome - the smoak, reek, stith or vapour of hot liquids is call'd ome [D'm] as the ome of salt pans
oumar - a shaow [Northumberland]
oxter, oxterns - [Northern] an armpit, the armpits. Oxtar, Oxtars [D'm]

paddock - a young frog [D'm]
Pase Day - Easter Day [no attribut.]
pate - a brock or badger or gery [Northern]
plashy - wet under foot. to plash in the dirt... in the North pl*shy
a poke - a sack, a bag [Northern]
to punne - to pound or beat in a mortar [D'm]
to putte - to push with head or horns as a cow [Yorks]

a quean - a drab, a slut, a base woman [no attribut.]

racen, a racken or racen -pot-hangers in Yorkshire; in the bishoprick of Durham a racen-crouk
to rame - to weep or cry [D'm]; to reem [Lancs.]
ream - cream [Northern, D'm, Yorx, Westm'land]
reaut - root [Yorks]
reek - smoke...in the North they pronoune it reek and use it indifferently for all sorts of smoak
rencky - great and boisterous [Yorks]
to rine - to touch [Northern]
to rip - to rob or spoil [D'm]
to rive - to tear [Northern]
a roop - of the North a hoarsness, and hoars voic[e]s occasioned by a cold
to rowt - to roar [Northern]
runches. runch balls - charlock when it is dry and withered [Northern]
to ryple - to lie, to romance [D'm]

a sark - in Yorksh, a shirt
to saw - to sow corn [Yorks]
seaves - rushes [Northern]
to skif - to change, to shift [Yorks]
a skipp - a ship. a skipper - a ship-man or sea-man [no attribut.]
to skud or skud away - to make haste [Yorks] [appendix]
to sipe - to soak or drain. to sipe thro [Northern]
to slant - to mock or lie or dissemble [D'm]
to slocken - to put out or extinguish [Northern]
a snædd: a sithe snædd [D'm] the handle of a sithe [scythe]
snaw - snow [D'm]
to snawk - to smell [Northern]
to sneck a door - to shut it, or latch it [Northern]
snedder - slim, slender [D'm]... snether or snedder - slender: a snether woman [D'm]
snell - sharp, cold, as a 'snell wind', a sharp piercing wind, 'a snell morning', a bitter cold morning [D'm]
snod, snog - smoothe, sleek... as He is snodly gear'd or snogly gear'd... wheat ears are said to be 'snod' when they have no beards or awms [D'm]
snurls - nostrils [Northern]
soo, soe, sou, sow - a tub with two ears to carry on a stang or...staff [Northern]
soss - a mucky puddle [Northern]
a spa*e of water - a little standing pool of water [D'm]
[spelk]: the splints or splinters of wood used in binding up of broken bones are called spelks [?Yorks]
a spink of fire - a spark [D'm]
a sprete - a pole, a long staff [D'm]
stithe - hard, strong, stiff [Northern]
a sturk, styrk - a young bullock or heifer [Northern]
to swale - to kindle, or set on fire [Lancs]
a swarth - the spirit or ghost of a dying man. [Cumb'land] called in Yorkshire a waft
swealing of a candle: meeting or guttering of a candle, as proverbial saying in the north, see how the candle sweals [cf. John Ray;s list#]
swere - dull, heavy, as, a swere fellow [D'm]

tak - take [no attribut.]
to tawk - to talk [Yorks]
tenged - stung [Yorks]
teum, tum - empty [Northern]... toom, teum, tume - empty, void [Northern]
thur - these [Yorks]
a thurse - an apparition, a goblin. Lanc. Thurs-house, thurse-hole - cave, cavern etc.
to toom wool -to card it [D'm]
a tup, a teup - a ram lamb within the first year [Oxon]. The word is applied to rams in Yorksh.
tyke - a dog [Yorks] [in appendix]

wankle - loose, limber. Fickle, weaving. [Northern] wamkle weather - uncertain, changeable
a want - a mole in the North... a want-heap or mole-hill
warse - worse [Northern]
to werke - to ake or pain. As, my head werkes, my teeth werke [D'm]
whilk - who, which what. Scot. quilk. whilk - somebody, a certain person [D'm]
a wind-berry - a whortle-berry or bill-berry [Northern]
to wrusle or russle - to move up and down, to goe backward and forward [Northern]
to wunn - to dwell or reside [D'm]... to woon... where woon you? i.e. where dwell you? [D'm]

yade - a horse [Northern].. yaud - a horse in Yorkshire
yan - one. uance - once [Northern]. so yarth for earth, yerbs for herbs etc.
yary - sharp, ready. a yary fellow [Kent], yare [Durham]
a yate - a gate. a yat-post - gate-post [no attribut.]
yewk - the [itc]h [D'm]... to yuck - to itch, to have an itching in the skin [Northern]
to youl - to howl [Northern]... to yowl
to yowster - to fester [Northern]
yoxing - the hickup [Yorks]
to yuck- to itch, to have an itching in the skin [Northern]

We respectfully aknowledge permission from the BL to make use of the manuscript