NLS Words – 2020

Words are the lifeblood of language, and we present a curated list of Northumbrian Words.   The Northumbrian Language Society has been collecting and researching since its formation, publishing and refining definitions in the pages of Northumbriana magazine.

Since the days of The English Dialect Dictionary the start of research into dialect has been to collect words and pronunciations from ‘native’ speakers, and to classify, refine, spell, and record them.  Brocket and Heslop are the standard reference works used for Northumbrian.


aad-farrened – old fashioned : “Ee’s aad-farrened, him”
ahint – behind : “look ahint thi telly, will yuh”
ax – ask : “Aah axed him whaat ee was deein”
aye – yes : “Aye, Aah’s gannin ti thi match”
ayont – beyond : “Me mam’s ayont yon gallowa”
bagies – turnips : “Yon bagies’ll syeun be howked”
bairn – child : “Wor Jimmy’s a reet impittent bairn”
bait – food, lunch : “Whaat’s in yor bait, marra?”
blashy – poor quality, weak and watery : “Aah’s proper blashy thi day”
blether – talk, chatter : “Ees blether is full o nowt!”
borstin – desperate for the toilet : “Aah’s fair borstin!”
bray – hit, thrash : “Aah’s ganna bray ye”
bullets – sweets : “Mam, can Aah hev sum bullets?”
canny – nice, friendly : “She’s a reet canny wifie, yuh knaa”
chare – narrow alleyway or street : “Divvent gan doon yon chare”
claggy – sticky : “Whey, pet, yor aall claggy wi yon glue”
clarts – mud, mess : “Hev yous been plodging i thi clarts agyen?”
cloffy – feckless, useless : “Yor a reet cloffy bairn”
cloot – clout, hit : “Mam, ee gov is a cloot roond me heed”
coggle – shaky, wobbly : “Aye, me dad’s awfu coggly just noo”
cowp – fall over, overbalance : “Yon bucket’s cowped ower”
cracket – three-legged stool : “Thi cracket’s lost a leg, dad”
cree – a pen for animals : “Gan an shut the gyet in thi cree, will yuh”
cuddy – donkey : “Tek a deek o yon cuddy”
divvent – do not, don’t : “Divvent dee yon, man”
dowly – miserable, doleful : “Whaat for are yuh se lowly, hinny?”
duds – smart clothes : “Di yuh like me new duds, then?”
dunsh – collide with, crash into : “Divvent dunsh wuh, hinny”
dut – hat : “Whe’s pinched me dut?”
een – eyes : “Yor een’s aall black an blue”
ees – his : “Ee’s lost ees penka!”
fadge – flat-bread cake : “Mam, wheor’s thi fadge gon ti?”
fash – bother, trouble : “Divvent fash theesel, pet”
femmor – weak, fragile : “Yon chair’s geet femmor, yuh knaa”
fettle – make, sort out, health : “Hoo’s yor fettle thi day?”
fligarishon – celebration : “Yon disarves a reet fligarishon”
forbye – also : “Wor bairns is gannin forbye”
fornenst – opposite : “Thi hoos is fornenst thi park”
gadgy – old man, any man : “Ee’s a reet radgy gadgy, him”
galloway – horse : “Yon’s a canny gallowa”
galluses – braces : “Me galluses is brokken! Whaat’s Aah ganna dee?”
gan, gannin – go, going : “Aah’s gannin ti thi toon thi morrra”
ganzie – pullover, jumper : “Mam, wheor’s me ganzie at?”
gee – huff, sulk : “Ee’s tekken thi gee agyen”
glaikit – clumsy, inattentive : “Wor kid’s a reet glaiky gowk!”
glaur – foul-smelling liquid manure : “Mam, me dad’s sittin i thi glaur!”
gliff – fright, scare : “Ee, yuh gov is a reet gliff!”
gob – mouth : “Yon bairn’s got a reet big gob on im”
gog – berry : “Mista, hev yuh ony gogs on yuh?”
gonniel – fool, weakling : “Yor a reet gonniel, ye!”
gowk – apple core, fool : “Aah divvent like eatin gowks”
hacky – dirty : “Wor bairn’s aall hacky dorty”
hadaway – get away! I don’t believe you! : “Hadaway an tittle!”
hap – cover, wrap-up : “Jacky, hap thi bairn will yuh”
hikey – carrying someone : “Dad, Aah’s knackered. Giz a hikey”
hinny – term of endearment : “Is yuh alreet, hinny?”
hoppins – a fun fair : “Mam, can wuh gan ti thi Hoppins after skyul?”
howk – dig up : “Ee! Lukka whaat Aah howked up i thi gardin just noo!”
hoy – throw : “Giv ower hoyin styens”
hyem – home : “Aah’s gannin hyem”
impittent – cheeky, rude, impudent : “Yon’s an impittent bairn!”
in-bye – close by, near by : “Thi hoos is in-bye, Aah reckon”
jaloose – work out, discover : “Aah canna jaloose whaat it’ll cost”
jarp – hit at an angle : “Haway, man! Let is jarp yor conker!”
keek – look at : “Tek a keek at yon!”
ket – rubbish, sweets : “Hev yuh ony ket on yuh?”
kizzen – dry up, over cook, shrivel : “Mam! Thi tetties is aall kizzened!”
larn – teach : “Aah’s ganna larn yuh ti taalk proper”
liggies – game of marbles : “Haway, man, let’s play liggies
lowp, lowpin – jump, jumping : “Them lambs is lowpin aall ower”
lowse – loosen, release : “It’s lowsen time at thi skyul”
mair – more : “Aah’s got a lot mair ti dee noo!”
marra – friend : “Hey, marra, lend is a pund will yuh?”
mask – brew tea : “Whe’s maskin thi tea thi day?”
mazer – amazing, unbelievable : “Wor Nanny’s a mazer!”
mell – a big hammer or mallet : “Ee waas brayin it wiv a mell”
mowdiewarp – mole : “Yon field’s full o mowdiewarps”
muckle – big, great, enormous : “Let’s hev a muckle fligarishon!”
mun – must : “Yuh mun larn ti say nowt when ee’s aboot”
myek – make : “Whe’s mekkin thi tea thi day, then?”
na – no : “Divvent ye say Na ti me, bonny lad”
netty – toilet : “Aah’s gannin ti thi netty”
nigh-hand – nearby : “Thi Co-op’s nigh-hand thi Club”
nooled – dispirited, defeated, downcast : “Aah’s fair nooled thi day”
nowt – nothing : “But Aah’s dyun nowt wrang, mista!”
nyen – none : “Nyen o them waad lend a hand”
oot-bye – over there, some distance away : “Thi ewes is oot-bye”
oozly – miserable, knackered, worn out : “Aah’s fair oozly thi noo”
ower – over : “Giv ower bubblin!
owt – anything : “Is yuh gannin ti giz is owt?”
oxter – arm pit : “Me oxters is aall sweaty an stinky noo”
palatic – completely drunk : “Wor Tom waas palatic agyen last Satda”
penka – a marble, usually made of glass : “Hev yuh seen me penka?”
pet – term of endearment : “Is yuh alreet, pet?”
(playin thi) wag – playing truant : “Wor Billy’s playin thi wag agyen”
plodge – walk in water : “Thi bairns is plodgin i the wettor”
pollis – police : “Hey up, heor’s thi pollis”
pund – pound (money, weight) : “Aah hatta pay fowerty pund for yon!”
raa – a row of terraced houses : “Ee lives at thi end o thi raa”
reet – right : “She’s a reet bobby-dazzler, isn’t shu?
rive – tear, wreck, break : “Divvent rive yor ganzie, man!”
sark – shirt : “Ee waas wearin ees Sunda sark, an all”
scranshums – bits of fried batter : “Div yuh want scranshums as weel?
scrunty – poor, barren, poverty-stricken : “Yon derg’s a scrunty thing”
scumfished – smothered, unable to breathe : “Aah’s reet scumfished!”
sic – such : “It was sic a champion weddin”
siddle – slope down : “See the siddle o yon roof”
skelp – hit, beat, slap : “Aah’s ganna skelp yor lug!”
skep – basket : “Billy! Hev yuh seen me skep?”
smit – illness, infection : “Thi bairn’s got thi smit”
spelk – splinter, weak child : “Mam! Aah’s got a spelk in me finga”
spuggie – sparrow : “Thi gardin’s full a spuggies”
stot – bounce : “Giv ower stottin thi baal!”
stotty-cyek – oven-bottom bread : “Heor, pet, hev sum stotty-cyek”
stumer – an outrageous plan : “Yon’s a reet stumer”
styen – stone : “Hev yuh seen the size o yon styen?”
sweir – unruly, difficult, obstinate, awkward : “Ee’s a sweir bairn, yon”
syeun – soon : “Aah’ll cum as syeun as Aah can”
tab – cigarette : “Hev yuh ony tabs, marra?”
teem – pour : “Can yuh teem thi tea, pet?”
tettie – potato : “Aah’s howked up sum tetties for wor scran”
thor – their : “Hev yuh seen thor hoos! It’s geet massive!”
tret – treated : “Wor Bella tret is tiv an ice-cream”
tyek – take : “Can yuh tyek is ti thi bus, pet?”
upahite – up there : “Aah’s not gannin upahite!”
varnigh – nearly : “It’s varnigh fower o’clock”
varry – very : “Bye! It’s varry caad the day!”
vine – pencil : “Please Miss, Aah’s lost me vine”
waddent – would not : “Aah waddent dee yon if Aah was ye”
wettor – water : “Thi beor ower heor’s better than thi wettor i thi Wear!”
wark – work : “Aah canna wark thi day, mista”
whaat cheor? – how are you? : “Whaat cheor thi day, hinny?”
whisht – be quiet! : “Whisht lads, had yor gobs … “
wick – dirty, untidy, smelly : “Hor hoos is gey wick!”
wifie – woman : “Yon wifie’s a reet bonny lass”
yammer – talk incessantly : “Ee yammers on thi yell day”
yorsel – yourself : “Gi yorsel a pat on thi back”
yowl – cry, howl : “Yon derg’s yowlin agyen” 

Share this content