‘The North’ words – 1787


Francis Grose’s Provincial Glossary of 1787 contains some clear definitions and examples of word-use, and contains a good deal of Northern material, but does not consistently distinguish the area a word comes from.
‘N’ in the list below represents Grose’s ‘North’, suggesting that to some extent he thought in terms of a general ‘Northern’ speech. Other tags represent various counties. Untagged words relevant to North-East dialect are also included here.

aboon – above (N)
aey – yes (N/S)
aftermaths – pasture once mowed(N/S)
agest, agast – afraid (N)
to look agye – to look aside
aixes – an ague(Nb)
alegar – wine vinehar (Cd)
amell – between
anauntrins [perhaps] (Nb)
anent – opposite (Derby & N)
arain – spider
arders – fallowing or plouwing of ground (N/S)
art – ‘Ise arf’ I am afraid
argol – lees of wine (N/S)
ark – large chest (Nd)
arles or earles – ‘an earles penny’ money paid to bind a bargain
arsewards – backwards (Cd)
arsy-varsy – head over heels (Devon & N)
arvill sipper – a funeral supper
ash trug – a coal scuttle (Cd)
ashler – large free stone (Cd)
ask, asker – newt
asley – willingly (Nd)
astite – anon; shortly; as soon as
aud – old
audfarand – old fashioned, old like
aum – elm (Nd)
awf – an elf, a fairy (Derby & N)
awns – the beards of wheat or barley
awnters – peradventur, in case; ‘he is troubled with awnters’ scruples (N)
aye – always; ‘for ever and aye’ (Nb & N)

bain – willing
bairn – child
bairn-teams – broods of children
to ban – to curse
bar-guest – a ghost, all in white with large saucer eyes, commonly appearing near gates or stiles, there called bars (Y)
barr – a gate of a town or city
bauk – …a pole or beam, such as are used under the roofs of small buildings; land left unplowed, to divide the property of different persons in common or open fields (Nb)
beck, beek – a rivulet or brook
beclarted – nesmeared or bedaubed
beeld – shelter
band-kitt – a sort of great can with a cover (Nb)
big – barley (Cm)
big – to build (Cm)
birk – a birch tree
bizend, beezen, bison – blind [sic] (Nb)
blake – ywllor of butter and cheese
blashy – thin: ‘poor blashy milk or beer’ (Nb)
bleare – to roar and cry
bleb – a blister, also a bubble in the water
blee – blueish, pale, blue
bleit, blate – bashful
bloacher – any large animal (Nb)
bluffe – to blinfold (Nb)
boggart – a spectre: ‘to take boggart’, said of a horse that starts at any object in the hedge or road
boggle, boge – a ghost
boll of salt – two bushels of salt (Nb)
boor – parlour, bed-chamber, inner room (Cm)
boose – an ox ro cow stall
bore -tree – an elder tree
boun / unboun – dress / undress (Nb)
bowke – to be ready to vomit… to belch, sometimes pronounced boke
bout – without (Nb)
bouted-bread – bread made of wheat and rye (Nb)
brant – steep: ‘a brant hill’ (Nb)
brash – a fit or tumbling about (Nb)
brat – a coarse apron (Lincs.)
brauchin -a horse collar made of old stocking stuffed with straw (Cm)
brawn – boar (Cm)
breade – to spread or make broad (Nb)
breeks- britches
to brian an oven – keep it alight by a fire at the mouth of it (Nb)
brigg – bridge
brock -a badger or grey
brucke – to make dirty (Nb)
brusle – to dry: ‘brustled pease’ (Nb) French brusler
bubbly – snotty: ‘the bairn has a bubbly nose’
buer – a gnat (nb)
bull-stang – a dragonfly (Cm)
bummel or bumble-kite – a bramble or blackberry (Cm)
bunnel – a dried hemp stalk, sued by smokers to light their pipes (Cm)
burne – a brook, a small stream of water
burtle – a sweeting (Nb)
bur-tree – an alder tree
bus – to dress
byer – a cow-house (Cm)

ca – to drive
callar – fresh, cool: ‘callar air’
calleting – scolding: ‘a calleting housewife’
canny – nice, neat, housewifely, handsome (Newcastle, Nb & N)
cap, cob – head, chief, master (Cb)
carle – a clown, an old man… a carl cat
car-hand – the left hand
Carling-day or Carling-Sunday – The second Sunday preceding Easter, when parched peas are served up at most tables in Northumberland
carre – a hoolow place in which water stands (N); also a wood of alder or other trees, in a moist, boggy place
casing, cassons – dried cow-dung used ofr fewel (Nb)
cats-foot – ground-ivy (Nb)
cat-with-two-tails – earwig (Nb)
cavels – lots; casting cavels – casting lots (Nb)
chare – to stop or turn: chare the cow
chase-but – avoid (Nb)
claity – dirty (Cb)
clam’d, clem’d – starved: I am welly clem’d
clamps – andirons, creepers, or dogs (Nb)
clarty smear’d – sticky
cleam – to glue together (Lincs.)
to clever or claver – the endeavour of a chld to climb up anything
click – to catch, or snatch away (Cb & N)
clock – a dor or beetle
clocking or clucking hen – a hen desirous of sitting to hatch her eggs
cloggs – wooden shoes (Cb)
clough – a valleybetween two hills (Nb)
cloughy – a woman dressed in a tawdry manner (Nb)
cobbs – testicles (Cb)
cobble – a pebble; to cobble with stones – to throw stones at anything (Nb)
cole, keal or kail – pottage or broth made of cabbage
cocket – brisk, apish, part (Nb & N)
cod – a pillow or cushion
conny – brave, fine, the same as canny
cope, coup – to chop or exchange, used by the coasters of Norfolk and suffolk, and also Yorkshire, probably from the low dutch word, copen, to buy, sell or deal
corby – a crow
cotter, cottril – a linch pin, a pin to fasten the wheel on the axel-tree
coup, coop… a lime coop – a cart or wain made close with boards to carry anything that would otherwise fall out
cow-scarn – cow-dung (Cb)
crack, crake – to boast (Norfolk)
crake – a crow
cranky – ailing, sickly, from the dutch crank, sick
crevizes – cray fish
cricket – a small three legg’d stool
crowdy – oatmeal, scalded with water and mixed up into a paste
crowse – brisk, lively, jolly: as crowse as a new washen house
cushets – wild pigeons (Yorkshire)

dad – a lump
dau, dow – to thrive: he neither dees nor daws
deeave – to stun with a noise
desse – to lay close together [trans.], also cutting…hay for a stack; in Cb to put in order
didder, ditler, dather – to quake or shiver
dig: to dig is with a mattock, to grave with a spade (Yorkshire)
dight – to clean: dight the snivel from your neb
ding – to beat: Ise ding him, I shall beat him (N)
diting – whispering
dovening – a slumber
dowley – melancholy, lonely
drope – a crow (Yorkshire)
drumley – muddy or thick water
dub – a pool of water
dudds – rags (N), also clothes…

eam – uncle, also friend
eckle or ettle – to aim, intend or design
eddish – roughings
een – the eyes
elding – wood and sticks for burning

farand – disposition: fighting-farand
farn-tickled – freckled
farrantly – neatly
fash – to trouble or tease: donne fash me
feal – to hide: he that feals can find
feaws – ragged beggars or gypsies (Nb)
fell – a hill or mountain
fend – to shift for…
fettle – to set or go about any thing; to dress or prepare
flacker – to flutter [sic]
flaid – afraid
flaite – to scare
flaun – a custard
flay – to fright
flit – to remove: two flittings are as bad as one fire
fluck – a flat fish
flyte – to scold or brawl
foist – fusty
fondly – foolishly
foutnart, fowmart – polecat
frem’d, fremt – far off, not realted to, strange or at enmity with
fuzz-ball – a species of fungus
fuzzen, fuzen – nourishment

gan – imperative mood of the verb to go
gand – to go, to wolk: ‘gang your gait’
gare – to cuase or force: ‘I’ll gar, or gar him to do it’ (Nb and Scot)
garth – a yard, a backside, a croft
garzil – hedging wood
gate – a way or path
gavelock – an iron bar to make holes for fixing stakes
gin – if
gliff – a fright
gob – the mouth
gowk – a fool, also a cuckoo
gowping or a goppen-full – as much of anything as can be held in both hands
greathely – handsomely
grey-bird – a thrush
griet – to weep
grosers – gooseberries
guizend – of tubs or barrels that leak through drought
gully – a common knife

hack – a pick-axe, a mattock made only with one end, and that a broad one
it haggles – it hails
hag-worms – snakes of all kinds (Yorks)
happe – to cover for warmth
harl – a mist
harns – brains
haver – oats
haver-meal – oatmeal
haver-bread – oatmeal bread
hause, hose – the throat
heald – to pour out: ‘to heald the pot’
heck – the door, also a latch: ‘steck the heck – pull the latch’
hind – an husbandry servant
hinny – my honey, a term of endearment: ‘my honey bairn’
hippings – clouts for infants
hoit – an wakward boy
holly – tenderly
howdy – a midwife
howking – digging
howlet – an owl

jimmers – jointed hinges
ingle – fire or flame
ing – a common pasture or meadow
ju-um – empty

kale or keal – pottage
kale-pot – pottage-pot
kelter, kilter – condition
ken – to know, as also to observe at a distance: ‘out of ken’
kenspecked – marked, or branded for distinction
kep – to reach or heave…also to catch a ball
kern-baby – an image dressed up with corn, carried before the reapers to their mell-supper or harvest-home
keslop – the stomach of a calf
Kesmas – Christmas
ketty – nasty
kickle or kittle – uncertain, fickle
kink – laughter; to kink, as spoken of childrem when their breath is long stopped, through eager crying or laughing. Hence the kink-cough
kit – a milking pail, like a churn, with two ears and a cover
kittle – to tickle
kive I – quoth I
knack – to speak finely, or affectedly
kye – cows
kyrk – church

lait – to seek anything hidden
lake – to play
lass – a girl or young woman
lave – the remainder or leaving
le-ach – hard work, which causes le-ache in the workmens joints, frequently used by the northern miners #cf. Kennet
lease – cow pasture
lib – to castrate
lick – to beat (N & S)
lig – tolye: ‘lige ye down there’
limmers – a pair of shafts
ling – heath, heather
lonning – lame [error for lane]
lop – a flea
lope – perfect tense of leap
loppered-milk – sour curdled milk
lowe – flame: ‘to make a lowe’ to stir the fire in order to make it blaze
lowk – to weed: ‘to lowk corn’
luggs – ears

mab – a slattern
maddle – to be fond of: ‘she maddles after that fellow’
marrow – a fellow or companion (Exmoor); a pair, matches: ‘this pair of gloves or shoes are not marrows’ (N)
mauks – maggots
mell or maul – a wooden mallet or beetle
mell-supper – harvest-home
menseful – comely, graceful, creditable
mickle – much
midden – a dunghill
midge – a gnat
mistecht – that has got an ill-habit: ‘a mistecht horse’
mizzy – a quagmire
moulde-rat – a mole (Bedforshire)
mould-warp – a mole (N)
mun – must: ‘I mun go’

nab – the summit of a rock or mountain
nay – no
neb or nib – the nose. Also the beak on a bird
neeve or neiffe – a fist
netherd – starved with cold
nook – a corner
cor – than
note – to push, or gore with the horns, as a bull or ram
nought – nothing
nowt – cows and oxen

omy – mellow (of land)
ousen – oxen
octer – the armpit

paddock or paddick – a frog (N & S)
paigle – a cowslip
pate – a brock or badger
ploat – to pluck
plodge – to plunge
poke – a sack or bag
pubble – fat, full, usually spoken or corn or fruit

quy-calf – a cow-calf

rack – to care: ‘never rack you’
rasps – raspberries
ready – ‘to ready the hair’ to comb it
reckling – an unhealthy child, pig or lamb; the nestling, or smaller bird in a nest
reckans – hooks to hang pots on
redd – to untangle, or separate
reek – smoke: ‘reeking hot’
reesty – rancid
renty – well-shaped…of horses or cows
rive – to rend or tear
roop – a hoarseness
rowt, rawt – to lowe like an ox or cow
runches – charlock

sackless – innocent, faultless
sark – a shirt
scadding of peas – a custom in the North of boiling the common grey-peas in their shell
scarre – a cliff or lone rock on the dry land
scumfish’d – smother’d
seaves – rushes
sel – self
sen – since
seugh or saugh – a wet ditch; also a subterranean vault or channel, cut through ahill to drain a mine
shale – to slide down the side of a bank
shool – a shovel (Exmoor)
shippen – a cow-house
shuggy-shew – a swing
sike – a little rivulet
skelping – full, bursting, very large; also a hearty beating
slake – very small coals
slape – slippery
sleck – small pit-coal
slockened – [quenched]
to smittle – to infect smittleish – infectious
sneck – ‘sneck the door’ latch the door
a snithe wind – cutting orpiercing
snod and snog – neat, handsome; as, ‘snogly gear’d’
snurles – nostrils
so, soa – a tub with two ears, to carry on a stang
soncy – lucky, fortunate
spancel – a rope to tie a cow’s hinder legs
spink – a chaffinch
stang – a wooden bar
stansions – iron bars that divide a window
stee – a ladder
steg – a gander
stithe – strong, stiff e.g. stithe cheese
stot – a young bullock or steer
sturk – a young bullock or heifer
swache – a tally, that which is fixed to cloth sent to dye, of which the owner keeps the other part
swale – windy, cold, bleak
swale, sweal – to singe or burn, as to sweal a hog. Also to waste or blaze away, as, the candle sweals; ‘a sweal’d cat’ a cat whose hair or fur is singed off by sleeping in the ashes

tang – to sting. Tang also signifies a sting
tasrill – a cunning rogue
team – to pour out, to lade out of one vessel into another
temse – a small sieve
tew – to work hard, etc.
tewfet – a lapwing
thack – thatch
theak – to thatch
threap, threapen – to blame, rebuke, reprove or chide
thropple – the windpipe; to strangle (Yorks)
throstle -a thrush
tider, tidder, titter – soon, quicker, etc.
tike – a dog
till – to
tip or tup – a ram
toom or tume – empty
tome – a hair line for fishing (Cm)

urchin – a hedge-hog

vokey – moist

wain – a waggon
walch – insipid, waterish
wankle – weak; limber, flaccid, etc.
wang-tooth – the jaw-tooth
want – a mole
waps – a wasp
warch or wark – to ach
wark – a pain
wee – little
weekey – moist
weel – well
whangs – leather thongs
whee, whi or whey – an heifer (esp. E.Yorks)
wheen-cat – she-cat
which – quick, lively
whins – furze
white – to requite
white, wite – to blame
whiz – to hiss like hot iron in water
wealk – a wilk
why-calf – a female or cow-calf (Cd)
win- or wind-berry – a bilbury or wortleberry
wizzle – to get anything away slily
wonne or wun – to dwell #Kennet

yane – one
yance – once
yate or yeat – a gate
yetling – a small iron boiler
yets -oats (Nb) yowl – to cry or howl
Yu- or Yule-tide – Christmas
yuck – to itch (Lincs.)


The above material reproduced by kind permission of Tom Richardson.

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