Durham & Tyneside Dialect Group / Word Lists /


This list is derived from a series of short stories as telled by James Hay and featured online at Jim Hollingsworth's website - with glossary in place. Though the glossary here is an independent work, we acknowledge gratefully the availability of rare texts like this.
There is comparatively very little historic Co.Durham speech on record, and though this was taken down in James Hay's old age, it forms a unique example of early 20th century mining talk, covering the 1910s and World War I period, round Ushaw Moor and Bear Park Colliery.

Aa - I: "Aa gets..."; "we gets..."
aad - old: "a lovely aad feller"
aaful - awful
aalways - always
aan - own (adj.): "me aan bairn"
afore - before: "divvent tell Mr Hairvey afore we gan"
ahaad - hold: "Aa gets ahaad on't"
airse - backside
alang - along
an - and

bairn - child: "me aan bairn"
bait box - much box: "a sandwich outa me bait box"
baits - lunches: "when we were hevvin our baits"
bank - surface at pit: "the' rapped the cage ter bank"
be - by: "aall ower be Christmas"
behint - behind: "behint the back door"; "So Tommy Nixon wes reet behint wi he's gallowa"
blaan - blown: "blaan ter bits"
bleezer - ? "a bit o land round the back o the bleezer"
brok down - broke down
bubblin - crying: "me mother wes bubblin aall morning"
bugger - [term of disapproval, without sexual connotations]: "he wes a bad bugger wi pownies..aalways whippin them."
sugar bullets - sweets
by! - emphatic word: "By, he wes a beauty!"
by lad! - (mild oath)
byeuts - boots

caalled - called
cause - because
come - came
craalin alang - crawling along
cracked - ?challenged - "cracked him out"
Aa cried - cried/wept

deed - dead: "deed on six ivvery night"
deein - doing
defnally - definitely: "it'll defnally be owwer be Christmas" deppities - deputies (mine officials)
desorve - deserve: "Yer desorve the sack" divvent - don't" "Aa still divvent knaa"
draa - draw: "draa me whip" (i.e. from stores)

efternyeun - afternoon
enyeuf - enough: "sure enyeuf..."
eyeteen - eighteen

fairtin - farting
fatha - father
fer - for: "sent fer me"
fergetten - forgotten: "Aa've fergetten it"
fleein - flying, rushing: "come fleein out"
fotty - forty
fower - four
fust - first: "fust time"

gairden - garden: "the gairden an the allotment"
gallowa - pit pony: "Aa had this aaful gallowa caalled Spider..."
gan on! - stop that
ganna - going to: "ivverybody knew what wes ganna happen"
gannin - going: "ter see what wes gannin on"; "one day we were gannin alang the flat"
tak the gee - get upset
gi, give - give: "gi them a good clean out"
git - great: "git big gallowas"
gorrim - got him
greet - great: "a greet rumblin up aheed"
grund closet - earth closet, toilet

haal - haul (inf.)
haird - hard
heed - head
he's - his
het - hot: "reed het it was"
hevvin - having
hingin - hanging
hint - hind: "he's hint leg"
hivvy - heavy
hoggers - pit shorts: "Jonty had ter rive he's hoggers down an hev a shite"
hoolida - holliday
hord - heard: "just then we hord it"
hort - hurt: "it hort an aal"; "neebody got hort"
hosepipe - hosepipe
hosskeeper - horse keeper
howldin - holding
howway! - get moving

inter - into
ivver - ever
ivverythink - everything: "the' wes a band an ivverythink"

jallup - "openin medicine", a purgative: "Noo jallup wes the stuff the' use ta give the gallowas ivvery weekend ter mak them shite"
Jarmans - Germans

knaa - know

loup - jump: "loup a five-bar gate"

mair - more: "Aa got mair money" mairk - mark
makkin - making: "makkin things worse"
marras - workmates, friends: "me an me marras got the two o'clock train inter Durham"
marrer - matter: "What's the marrer?"
me - my
mesel - myself
mind - take note: "An mind, Aa felt sorry about it"

narvous - nervous
naw - no: "'Naw,' sez Ramsay an Tommy, 'we'll say nowt...'"
nee - no: "nee effect"
neebody - nobody
neewhere - nowhere
the neet - tonight: "Aw hell, lads! Not the neet"
nigh hand - nearby: "yer couldn't leave a watter bottle neewhere nigh hand"
nivver - never
noo - now [at start of sentence. explanatory]
nowt - nothing
nyen - none: "hevvin nyen on't" (wouldn't stand for it)

o - of: one o the deppities"
on - of?: "Aa got rid on him"
one - one
onsetter - "the onsetter tyeuk the tubs outa the cage and put Jonty in"
on't - of it
oppened - opened: "oppened its mouth"
oursels - ourselves
ower - too: "ower hivvy"
ownly - only
owt - anything: "...or owt like that"

in partikler - in particular
pollis - policeman: "Tegger Wilson, the pollis"
purrit - put it

rap - to signal: "the' rapped the cage ter bank"
reeked - smelt: "the bloody pit reeked on't"
reed - red: "reed het it was"
reet - right: "Reet, me lad!"
riddy - ready

Sarrada - Saturday
see - so: "a couple o months or see"
seen - saw: "then we seen the lancers"
shite - shit (vb and noun)
showlda - shoulder
since - since
sivventeen - seventeen
skelp - slap: "skelp his airse for him!"
stairt - start (vb)
steed o - instead of
stottin - jumping up and down with anger: "By, he wes stottin"
straaberries - strawberries
strang - strong
strite - straight: "went strite from the station ter the Drill Haall"
summing - something
swipe - to swipe, steal: "Jonty nivver swiped nee mair watter"

ta - to: "he used ta kick"
taaks - talks: "Aa...taaks tiv him"
tak - take: "[he] taks a bite"
telt - told: "Aa telt them what wes wrang"
termorrer - tomorrow
the' - they
the' - there: "the' wes a band an ivverythink"
thorsty - thirsty: "aalways thorsty"
thowt - thought: "Aa thowt"
thutty - thirty
ti't - to it
tiv - to: "an taaks tiv im"
tyeuk - took

var nigh - very nearly: "the sergeant var nigh had a fit wi laughin"

waalked - walked
waddn't - wouldn't: "he waddn't move"
ware - were
warnt - weren't: "when yer warn't lookin"
watter - water: "two pit bottles full o watter"
weel - well: "just as weel"
wes - was
warra - what a: "Warra mess!"
why... - well,... (explanatory) "Why, one day we were pullin alang..."
wi - with: "what's the matter wi ye?"
winna - will not
wirra - with a
wrang - wrong: "there's summing wrang"

yem - home: "off we went yem"; "gerraway yem"
yer - you (nom/acc.sg.)
yors - years