The Local Dialect



When visiting the Halifax and Calderdale area, you will encounter local variants of standard English words and linguistic forms

Some of the words shown below are standard English forms – and meanings – but are used more frequently here than in other parts of the country

I also include some older terms which may be encountered when researching local and family history

As with most regional dialects, the local forms are more likely to be used by the older population, as the young adopt the received forms from radio, television and popular culture. The well-tuned ear might detect some variation in the dialect – and the pronunciation – in the various parts of Calderdale, but what follows will suffice on first contact

In the examples below, I have used:

t'

to represent the word the when it is pronounced as a glottal stop, as described in the Foldout on Pronunciation


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

A-gate
To start, get going, on the way.

Get a-gate! »» Get going, on your way

The word is also used as an auxiliary verb meaning To start, to begin doing something, as in She's getten a-gate cleaning »» She's started cleaning

The stress is on the second syllable.

The word may be related to the Old Norse gata [a road, a journey] – as in the element gate

Abide
To bear, endure, suffer.

I can't abide to hear that child cry; I can't abide the new vicar

Aboon
Above

Addle
To earn, to acquire.

The word comes from the Old Norse ødla

Again
Near to, close by, against

He lives again t' mill

Although the word is usually pronounced in the standard manner = a-genn, it is often pronounced ageean with 3 syllables

Allus
Local pronunciation of Always

An' all
And all, also, as well, too.

He's coming an' all

Arrand
A spider

Article
An unpleasant or undesirable person.

He treated his kids cruelly ... the article

At
A contraction of that. That's 'im 'at she married »» That's him whom she married

Aumery
A food cupboard. May be related to Aumbry

Awkerd
Aka Okkerd. Local pronunciation of awkward. The word also has the sense of being intentionally difficult.

When he got older, he was an awkerd bugger

Ax
A form of ask. Other forms are encountered:

ax
axed
axing

B

Baan, bahn
Going, bound for, heading for, will.

Where are you baan?

Am baan to 'it 'im if 'e doesn't stop

Babby
A baby, child

Back-end
Autumn

Back-word
To give back-word is to cancel

Badly
Ill, sick

Badly off
Poor, hard up

They're not badly off, they've got a bit of money

Baht
Without. As in On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At and Baht meat week.

The word may be a form of bar – as in


it's all over bar the shouting
it's all over bar t' shouting

Bairn
Child. From the Scandinavian and Old English

Bait
A snack, food eaten at work.

The word comes from the Old Norse beit

See Jock

Bang
An old term for a drinking binge

Bar
Except, but.

I can stand anything bar the hot weather »» I can stand anything except the hot weather

Barm pot
A foolish person

Bield
A shelter for sheep

Black-bright
Very dirty.

He was playing outside and now he's black-bright

Black clock
A black beetle.

The word comes from the Scandinavian kluka [a beetle]

Blaeberry
A bilberry.

The word comes from the Old Norse bla [blue]

Boggart
Used in place names, the element means an imp or a spirit.

See Hob

Bottom
To clean thoroughly.

When we get a warm day, I'll give the kitchen a good bottoming

Brass
Money

Brat
Apron, pinafore

Bray
To hit, beat, fight.

He was braying on the door »» He was knocking on the door

Also Yer dad'll bray you when he gets home »» Your father will hit you when he gets him

Brig
Bridge.

Sorby Brig »» Sowerby Bridge

Briggs
Fire irons to support pots and pans during cooking over an open fire

Britches
Trousers, breeches, knickers

Brush
See Living over t' brush

Brussen
Full (of food); Bold.

See Pogged

Buck-stick
A playful or cheeky child

Buck up
Cheer up, got better.

He bucked up when he heard the news

Buffet
A small stool

Bully Bowl
A large hoop which a child rolled along the ground, propelling it by means of a stick or a hook

Bun
Any cake, tart or bun. The word does not specially mean a plain bun

Bup
Drink – when talking to a young child.

Have a bup of your milk

Burden
A measure of hay. 5 or 6 laisins make one burden

Butty
Recorded in August 1874, when it meant
to divide the prize money for a cricket match which had been abandoned

Byre
A building to house animals, a shippon

C

Cack-handed
Also kack-handed, Caggy-handed. Left-handed; clumsy

Cadge
To beg.

See Cadger

Call
To chat or gossip, especially as with a group of people standing in the street.

The word is pronounced with a short a to rhyme with shall.

She's out calling »» She's visiting a friend and gossipping

Call
To criticise someone behind their back.

She's always calling her sister

The word is pronounced as in standard English

Cap
Be superior.

He caps our Billy at football »» He is far better than Billy at football

It caps owt I've seen before »» It beats anything I've seen before

Capped
Surprised.

I wer' capped when she told me

Carr, cahr, ca'
To sit, to settle, to become quiet.
carr quart »» be quiet

See Carr down

Carr down
To bend down, stoop.

This may be related to cower

Causey
Pavement. The kerb is the causey edge

See Causey

Chats
Small potatoes fried whole

Childer
Children. From the Middle English

Chime in
To interrupt someone to get your say.

I was telling my story when she chimes in with 'er two-pennorth

See Chip in

Chip in
To interrupt someone.

You can't say anything without 'er chipping in

See Chime in

Chumping
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Cob-coaling, Plotting and Progging

Chunter
To grumble, mutter

Clammed
Thirsty, hungry.

Is t'tea ready? I'm fair clammed

Clams
A vice, a pair of pincers, or other device for holding things

Cleg
A horse fly.

The word comes from the Old Norse kleggi

Click
To succeed in a relationship with the opposite sex.

She's smiling at me, I think I've clicked

Closet
A water closet or toilet – inside or outside the house

Clout
A cloth or an article of clothing, as in:
Ne'er cast a clout till May is out

The word is still used in dish clout, a dish cloth

Clout
To hit, or a blow.

You'll get a clout if you do that again »» I'll hit you if you do that again

Clout
To patch a garment

Cob-coaling
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping and Progging

Cobs
Sweating cobs »» Sweating profusely

Cockle
To curl up, to bend

Cockled
Bent, uneven, curled

Cocklety
Unstable, rickety, wobbly

Cod
To kid, pretend, deceive

Collop
Also scollop, scallop. Any thick slice or a lump of food.

Also a sandwich – made up of a slice of potato / a piece of cod / a slice of potato – which was dipped in batter and deep-fried

Comer-in
Another name for an incomden, a new arrival in a community

Cow-clap
A cow-pat

Cow Rake
A rake for scraping out the ashes. This may be a shortened form of Coil Rake

Crackin' t'flags
Very hot weather.

It wer crackin' t'flags last summer

Refers to weather which is so hot that the paving stones – flags – crack

Creaking gate
Someone who makes a noise or complains without any due cause

Crown
To hit someone.

If he does that again, I'll crown him

Cuddy-Wifter
A left-handed person, especially a cricketer

D

Danny
Hand – when talking to a young child.

Hold my danny; Wash your dannies

Delf
Quarry

Diddle
To cheat or deceive someone.

Count yer change at t' shop, he'll try to diddle yer

Diddlums
A savings club which collected money on a weekly basis for distribution at holidays or times of need

Ding
To hit heavily, to throw down heavily

Dinner
The word is typically used for the main midday meal.

From the 19th century, the word was used for the evening meal, especially in the middle and upper classes.

See Tea

Do
A celebration, festivity.

We're having a bit of a do after the funeral; They'll be having a do at the pub

See Wake

Dollop
A large amount of, a lump of. Usually something soft, like mashed potato

Dolly blue
A small bag of whitener used in washing clothes

Dolly stick
A wood device – often like a small 3-legged stool on a pole – for agitating clothes during washing.

See Posser

Dolly tub
Aka Peggy tub. A wooden, or galvanised metal, barrel in which clothes were washed. The washing was agitated by a posser or a dolly stick

Dolly yellow
This gave your net curtains a creamy colour

Donkey stone
Aka Scouring stone, Ruddlestone. A soft, coloured sandstone – often white, cream or brown – which was used to draw designs, lines or marks on the steps and flags outside the house. The stone is produced when a geological inclusion in sand-stone – known as an acrespire – weathers. The name comes from the trade-name of Read's Donkey Brand of donkey stone. These were often sold by a door-to-door salesman or bought from a hardware store

Donned up
Dressed up in one's best clothes

Down t' nick
In failing health.

'e's goin' dahn t' nick; 'e's gone dahn t' nick since I saw 'im last

Drawing tin
Or Draw tin. A metal sheet which was held across the fireplace to cause a draught to draw the fire. This would be a fire-proof alternative to a newspaper

Drinking
Also Drinkings. Tea-time, or the meal eaten at tea-time

[Archaic]

Droughty
Or Drufty. Dry. A droughty day »» a day good for drying (clothes or crops)

Druffen
Drunk

E

Eck, Heck
Hell

Een
Eyes.

Use yer een!

F

Fair
Quite, rather.

We were fair flummoxed; We lived at the end house, fair opposite the Vicarage

Fast
Hard put, tried, stuck, dubious, doubtful.

I'm a bit fast what to buy 'er for Christmas »» I don't know what to buy her for Christmas

Fast on
Sound asleep.

'e wer fast on »» He was fast asleep

Also 'e wer 'ard and fast on »» He was fast asleep

See Hard on

Fatty-cake
A small, rich, flat, round bread. Often made from left-over pastry

Feast
The word is often used to mean a fair. A fair ground has been called a feast ground

Fettle
In fine fettle »» In good form

Fettle
To tidy, prepare, clean. Fettlin' day was often Friday.

A fettler was someone who cleaned a machine in a mill

Flaight
A ghost

Flasket
A long, shallow basket, or trug.

See Swiller

Flayed, fleyd
Afraid, frightened

Flaysome
Frightening, threatening.

He gave her a flaysome look

Fleak
A gate which is fitted into a gap in a wall

Fleeting dish
A bowl for skimming milk

Flit
To move house. The word comes from the Old Norse flytja

Flummoxed
Confused, puzzled

Folk
People. There's a lot of folk in the shop

There's folk who don't talk to him

Frame
To perform, get organised, shape oneself. From the Old English, to be helpful.

Frame yourself, you should have been up hours ago

Fratch
To argue, disagree, quarrel.

Her two boys are always fratching

Fresh
Drunk, inebriated, tipsy.

See Merry

G

Gain, gainest
Near, short, quick.

This is a possible origin of the name Gainest

Gammy
Lame

Gaum
Also Gorm Heed, attention.

He paid no gorm to owt I said

The word comes from the Old Norse gaumr.

See Gaumless

Gaumless
Also Gormless. Clumsy, stupid, having no common-sense. Derived from Gaum.

See Sackless

Gavlet

Gawp
To stare, to look at something open-mouthed.

The word comes from the Old Norse gapa

Gill
A half-pint. See the entry for gill in the main Alphabetic Section of Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion

Gimmer
Old person, old woman. The word is also used for an immature female sheep.

The word comes from the Old Norse gymbr

Ginnel
Local term for an alley, a passage, or a narrow lane between buildings.

The word is related to the Swedish gunnel, which has the same meaning

See Snicket

Gip
To stop the breath, as when about to vomit.

T' smell made me gip

The word is pronounced with a hard

g

Gizzened
Full, choked. Used in a situation where you have eaten something, such as a dry cream cracker, which leaves you gasping for breath

Gleg
A small amount. There wasn't a gleg of light in the cellar

Gob
A mouth

Going home
Wearing out, threadbare. Yer gardening trousers are going home »» Your gardening trousers are wearing thin

Gorm
See Gaum

Gormless

Gradely
Fine, excellent. More common in Lancashire and the west of the district

Greet
To weep, cry continuously

H

Happen, appen
Perhaps.

'appen I'll go.

The word comes from the Old Norse happ, as in perhaps

Hard on
Sound asleep.

'e wer 'ard on »» He was fast asleep

Also 'e wer 'ard and fast on »» He was fast asleep See Fast on

Heck, Eck
This is a general exclamation, meaning

  • Hell!
    What the heck is that? »» What the hell is that?

    I don't know what the heck he's doing

  • Goodness! in expressing surprise:
    Heck! Look at that!

Hey up!
Look out, be careful. It is also used as a greeting

Hoblin
A name used in the Upper Calder Valley for a windrow

Hoile
Hole.

The word is used as a general term for a place in forms such as:

back-'oile »» back room, shed

chip-'oile »» fish and chip shop

coile-'oile »» coal house, coal shed, coal cellar

The coile-'oile features in a popular rhyme:

We're reyt dahn in t'coile-'oile
Where t'muck slahts on t'winders
We've used all us coil up
An' we're reyt dahn to t'cinders
An' when t'landlord comes
E'll never finnd us
Other versions use t'bum bailiff in place of t'landlord, and end with repeating the 2 lines:

We're reyt dahn in t'coile-'oile
Where t'muck slahts on t'winders

How do?
How do you do?

Hug
To carry

Huggin
A large amount, an armful

Hummer
Hell.

What the hummer is going on?

Hutch up
To move along a seat, to make room

I

Idle
Lazy (not just unoccupied) 

In up
The terms – in it up and in'd and inning up – are used by several informants during Crabtree's Tour of Calder Dale of 1833. It means the situation in which mill workers have to make up for lost time

Inckel
Thread or tape

[Archaic]

Incomden
Aka Comer-in. Someone who has recently moved into a community. As distinct from someone who was born and bred there.

The term can take many years to wear off a new arrival

Inkum, jinkum
A game in which one player rode on the back of another. The rider held up 1, 2, 3, or 5 fingers of one hand, and the other had to guess how many fingers were raised.

If he guessed correctly, the rider recited


x tha sez, an' x it is,

Buck, buck rise up
and the rôles were changed.

If he guessed incorrectly, the rider recited


x tha sez, an' y it is.

Ah'll learn thi how ta laik at Inkum Jinkum, Jerry mi buck.

How many horns do I cock up?
and another round was played

J

Jiggered
Tired, exhausted

Jip
Pain.

This leg's givin' me jip

Jock
The packed food taken by mill-workers to eat at lunch-time and during the breaks in their shift.

Other parts of the region use names such as snap [South Yorkshire] and pack-up [Lincolnshire].

See Bait

Jollop
A mixture or a medicine I went to the doctor and he gave me this jollop to take

Jump
An apron

K

Kack-handed
See Cack-handed and Left-handed

Kali
Sherbet powder

Kecks
Trousers

Keep t'band in't nick
Maintain a relationship.

I sent her a birthday card, just to keep t' band in t' nick

The expression comes from the mill-worker's task of ensuring that the yarn did not jump out of the guiding mechanism, and the driving rope or belt did not come off the wheel.

See Mill band

Keys
A child's term for immunity from arrest during a game.

For example, during a game of hide and seek, the cry of "Keys on iron" meant that anyone who was touching an iron object could not be caught.

Similar terms are used in other parts of the country: such as kings in Somerset

Knocking on
Old, getting older.

She's knockin' on »» She's fairly old

The term was also used to mean getting on with a job or piece of work.

I can't talk all day, I must knock on; He's knocking on with the wallpapering

L

Lad
A boy, young man. An informal term for any male

Lading can, lading tin
A tin can with a handle – holding around 2 pints – for moving water, or baling out

Laisin
Aka Lazin. An old word for
an armful of hay

5 or 6 laisins make a burden

Lake
Aka laik, laiking, laiker. To play.

The bairns were laking in t' yard

It is also used to indicate a worker who is on holiday or vacation.

The word comes from the Old Norse leika [to play].

See Knurr & spell

Lam
To strike hard, throw hard.

The word comes from the Old Norse lemja

Lass
A girl, young woman. An informal term for any female

Last push up
At the last moment.

He allus does things at t' last push up »» He always leaves things until the last minute

Lazy wind
A cold, chill wind – it is said to be lazy because ...
it goes straight through you instead of blowing round you

See Sneaky

Lig
Aka Ligg. To lie or to lay.

He's bin liggin' in bed all day.

The word comes from the Old Norse liggja

Living over t' brush
Also Living tally. Living together as man and wife but not married

Living tally
See Living over t' brush

Loitch, straight as a
Upright, erect.

A loitch is a wooden spindle used in domestic weaving and spinning

Lop
A flea. There is also the adjective loppy.

The word comes from the Old Norse hloppa [a flea]

Lose
To finish, to close. The verb is used in expressions such as:
T' school's losing »» School is out, the children are leaving school at the end of the day

T' mill's losing »» The workers are leaving the mill at the end of the shift

Lug
To pull or carry something.

The word comes from the Old Norse lugge

Lug, lug-hole
Ear

Lumb
A chimney

M

Mad
Cross, angry, vexed

Mardy
Sulky, spoilt

Mash
To brew tea.

I'll mash a pot of tea

Give the tea time to mash

Mawngy
Aka Morngy, Maungy. Moody, sulky, surly, complaining

Mend
To get better, recover from an illness.

She's been badly ill, but she's on t'mend now

Merry
Drunk, inebriated, tipsy.

See Fresh

Middin, midden
A dung heap or rubbish tip.

The word comes from the Old Norse mykidyngja.

From the 19th century, the name was also used for a dustbin or a small building where refuse was dumped. This would be cleared every week by a gang of men who shovelled all the refuse on to a horse-drawn cart.

See Mixen

Mill band
The rope or belt which drove a machine in the mill.

On bonfire night, this was a popular means of lighting fireworks, because the oil-soaked rope could be lit and would burn slowly during the celebrations.

Keep t'band in t'nick

Mimmymoke
To gesticulate.

She was mimmymoking to draw my attention

Mischief night
The 30th of April, the devil's day, when imps wrought havoc on the people.

It was later moved to the 4th November, the eve of Guy Fawkes's Night

Mither
To pester, fluster. The word is pronounced

my-ther with the stress on the first syllable

Moan't
Mustn't, shouldn't. The negative form of mun rhymes with don't.

You moan't complain

Muckment
Anything unpleasant, or worthless. Also used for any food which is a mixture of tastes and flavours

Mucktub
An affectionate term for a dirty or untidy child

Mucky
Dirty

Muff
A slight noise.

... and I don't want to hear a muff out of thee

Mullock
Aka Mullocks. A mess.

What a mullock she made of t' dinner

Mun
Must, will, shall, should.

You mun be careful, it's slippy outside

The negative form is moan't which rhymes with don't.

You moan't complain.

The word comes from the Old Norse mun

See mungo

Mushy Peas
A popular food made by boiling peas until they become soft and mushy.

See Strongs

N

Nage
To ache, pain.

I've got this naging pain in my back

The g is hard and the word rhymes with vague. The word may be related to nag and gnaw

Neb
Nose, beak, the peak on a hat or school-cap.

The element is also used in placenames

Nesh
Sensitive to cold.

Is it cold today, or is it me that's nesh?

Nobbut
Only. A contraction of nought but, nothing but.

He was nobbut a lad

Nor
Than. See Nur

Nowt
Nothing

Nur
Than.

She's poor, but she's better nur some people; He's warr nur a babby »» He's worse than a child

See Warr

O

Ocker
To stammer

Oil
Also 'oil, hoile Hole

Okkerd
Local pronunciation of awkward, awkerd

Our
Our is used to denote a close familial relationship:

Our Jack, Our Carol

Overfaced
Presented with too much food on a plate They gave us so much meat, I was overfaced

Own
To admit. I'm not the brightest man, I own

Own
To recognise.

He'd grown so much that I didn't own him

Owt
Anything

P

Pan
To become accustomed to something, to set to work.

An extended meaning is To wear-in a new pair of shoes:

Yer shoes won't hurt once you've panned them in

Joe's started courting Mary Jane we s'ell after see a'h things pan out

Panshun
A large bowl for baking or for washing

Peak
To sit, put.

Peak thissen dahn there

The word is pronounced

pee-erk

Peggy tub
Another name for a dolly tub

Pigging
Aka Piggen, Piggin. A wooden pail

[Archaic]

Piss-bed
A dandelion

Pissin' in bed wakken
A futile or tedious task.

Scraping all this wallpaper off with this little knife is like pissin' in bed wakken

Play pop
Get annoyed, complain.

He played pop when she wer late »» he was angry when she was late

Plotting
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping, Cob-coaling and Progging

Pobs
A children's food made with bread and milk

Pogged
Full (of food).

Am fair pogged I'm quite full

See Brussen

Poise
To kick.

It may also be pronounced pawse as in Tuppin' 'n Pawsin' matches

Pop
See Play pop

Posnet
A saucepan

Posser, possing stick
A wood stick for agitating clothes during washing.

See Dolly stick

Pot
A cup.

I'll mash a pot of tea - not necessarily a tea-pot of tea.

In the plural, it means crockery or washing-up:

11 o'clock and no pots washed

Progging
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping, Cob-coaling and Plotting

Puffed
Tired, exhausted, breathless

Pyche
A bee-hive

Q

Queer stick
An odd, unusual person

R

Rawk
To make streaks on something.

He rawked all down the paintwork with his muddy hands

Reckon
To pretend.

Don't reckon to be sick just to get off school

Right
Very.

I'm right glad to see you

Right
Unusual, remarkable, noteworthy.

We had some right weather during our holiday

Rive
To tear or split clothes, clothing.

The word comes from the Old Norse rifa

Road
Way, means, manner.
She's allus mardy 'til she gets her own road »» She sulks until she gets her own way

Any road up »» However, nevertheless

Look at it my road »» Look at it from my point of view

Rooar
To cry, weep

The Room
The front room or sitting room used to be referred to simply as the room and was reserved for use on special occasions – such as weddings, mourning and funerals

Rubbing out and drawing afresh
When someone is suffering from several aches and pains, you might say:
She wants rubbing out and drawing afresh

Ruddlestone
Another name for a Donkey stone

Russom
Or Russum. A small amount, a trace

S

Sackless
Ineffectual, listless, simple-minded.

The word comes from the Old Norse saklauss

Sad
Unrisen, of cooked food.

Yer Yorkshires are sad »» Your Yorkshire puddings haven't risen; These dumplings are sad

Sam
To gather, collect, pick up

Scrape
Butter, margarine.

I'll just have a slice of bread and scrape

Presumably because of the need to scrape the butter or margarine thinly on the bread when times are hard

Scrattle
To move about quietly.

It can also mean to rummage – less quietly

Seg
A small, crescent-shaped metal stud fixed to the heel or the sole of the shoe or clog to prevent the shoe wearing.

In this district, they were usually made by Blakey's of Armley, Leeds. The firm is still in existence, and is now known as Pennine Castings

The word is also used to refer to a hard callous on the hand.

The word comes from the Old Norse sigg

Sen
Self, as in:
MissEn »» Myself

ThissEn »» Yourself

HersEn »» Herself

His'sEn »» Himself

In these forms, the stress is on the E.

See the Yorkshire motto

Set off
To go away for a holiday or a short trip.

Are you setting off this weekend?

Set pot
A large, fixed copper boiler for heating water

Set-to
A disagreement, an argument, a disturbance.

They haven't spoken since they had that set-to at Christmas; Mary and Dave had a right set-to about his drinking

Shim-shams for meddlers
A euphemism for mind your own business.
What are you and dad talking about, Mam?

Shim-shams for meddlers!

Shut of
Rid of, shot of.

Get shut of something, get shut on something »» Get rid of something

Shuttering
Pouring with rain

Sickened
Upset, unhappy.

He wer sickened when he heard the news

Side
To clear the table.

Side them pots then we can play cards

Sile
A sieve which was used for cleaning milk.

The word may be related to the Norwegian sila [a strainer, filter].

See Siling down and Tems

Siling down
Pouring with rain. Comes from the word sile

Sithee
Look here!

A contraction of See Thee

Sken
To look at, peer at. Often with screwed-up eyes.

The word may be related to the Swedish sken [to glare]?

Skerrick
A small amount, a trace.

There's not a skerrick of evidence against him

Skew-whiff
Cock-eyed, not correct

Skinny
Tight-fisted, miserly, mean

Skip, skep
A large wicker basket, such as those used for holding materials in a textile mill

Skitters
Diarrhoea.

The word comes from the Old Norse skita

Slack
Coal which consists of dust and small pieces

Slack set up
Dilatory, ineffectual.

She's a bit slack set up

Slacken
To slacken the dust is to sprinkle water on to the ground or on to a carpet or rug, in order to dampen down the dust when sweeping or beating, in order to prevent it blowing around

Slart
To splash.

When t'cars come past, t'muck slarts up t'winders

Slob
To slip off, as with a badly-fitting shoe.

My shoes are too big, they keep slobbing off

Sluffened
Disappointed, disheartened

He war' sluffened when they didn't ask him to play

Slur
To slide, scrape

See Slurring Rock and Sluther

Sluther
To slide, scrape.

Stop sluthering your feet!

See Slur

Smitten
In love with someone, have a liking for someone. The word has the implication of being struck by love

Sneaky
Cold, chill wind.

It's right sneaky out there

See Lazy wind

Sneck
The thumb-lever which is pressed to raise the horizontal bar of a door latch.

The curved nose-like end of the sneck behind the door gives rise to the dialect use of the word sneck to mean a nose

Snicket
An alley or a pathway, having the implication of being a short cut.

See Ginnel

Soft
Foolish, daft

Spell
A splinter of wood.

I've got a spell in my finger

See Knur and spell and Spell

Spice
The local word for confectionery, sweets and toffees. These were sold in a spice shop

Spice cake
A fruit cake, especially Christmas cake.

This was served at funeral teas. Because of this, an impending death was said to be

looking like a case of spice cake and slow walking

Some families specialised in baking such cake.

See Funeral biscuit and Spice Cake Lane, Halifax

Spurrins
A dialect word for wedding banns

Stalled
Bored, fed up, out of patience

Starved
Cold, very cold.

We were starved when t' fire went out

See Clammed

Stoop
A post, pole. This is a local name for a sign-post or a milestone.

The word comes from the Old Norse stolpi.

In some instances, it had the specialised meaning of a sign-post to mark a path in the snow.

Short, stubby stoops were also used to protect the corners of buildings from damage by passing vehicles.

See Staups

Strongs
A snack comprising a portion of chips and a portion of mushy peas

Suited
Pleased. He was suited when I gave him the money

Summat
Something.

Is summat wrong?

Sup
To drink

Swiller
A shallow basket.

See Flasket

T

Tally
See Living over t' brush

Tallyman
Someone who sold goods and collected payment in installments

Tea
The word is used locally to mean a meal which is taken in the early evening – much like the received english high tea – although the meal itself can be much like a larger dinner.

See Dinner

Teem
To pour out a liquid, to empty.

The word comes from the Old Norse toema.

See Teeming down

Teeming down
Pouring with rain.

See Teem

Tem
A sieve

Tems
A sieve used in brewing. This may have been made of horse-hair.

See Sile

[Archaic]

That
So.

It was that cold, we had to light t' fire

Thoil
To bear, bear to spend money on.

The word may be related to the Icelandic þola.

This is a delightful word for which there is no exact equivalent in standard English.

I couldn't thoil to spend £20 on him

Thou

Thou, thee, thy
These forms are still used in the local dialect, although the pronunciation is slightly different from standard English:

  • Thou

    • Tha knows what to do
    • Has tha seen mi book?
  • Thee

    • Ah saw thi in t'market
    • He'll give it to thi when he gets here
  • Thy

    • Has tha lost thi book?
    • Give us thi money

Thrang, throng
To be busy.

I'm a bit thrang right now.

The word may be related to the Icelandic þröng [narrow, forced, tightly-pressed]?

Thrush
A game in which half of the players stood in a row, bent double. The other half would then leap on to their backs with a cry of

Thruuuuush!

Coming with a long tar brush
If one of the riders was able to touch the ground with his foot, without falling off, then the 2 halves exchanged rôles. If the standing players fell over, the 2 halves did not change rôles, and another round was played

Thy

Tinny
Cowardly, shy, afraid

Tipping down, tipping it down
Pouring with rain

Tipple-i-bum-bi-legs
To somersault

Toil of a pleasure
An irksome task.

It's a toil of a pleasure taking her shopping

Tops
Hill-tops.

There's a bit o' snow on t'tops

Trackless
A trolley-bus, as distinct from a tram which ran on rails

Troughing
Guttering at the eaves of the roof

Trump
To fart

Turnip
A swede is called a turnip, a turnip is called a white turnip

Tussy-peg
Tooth – when talking to a young child.

Clean your tussy-pegs

Tyke

U

Us
Our.

'Ave yer seen us shoes?

V

Voyder
A clothes basket

W

Waff
To fan, wave, waft, whiff.

Waff it with yer 'at; There was a waff of something unpleasant

Wahr, Wor
Worse

Walt, wolt
To overbalance.

Them shoes are too big for her, and she keeps walting over

Wang
To throw

Warr
Worse.

He's no warr for it

He's warr nur a babby »» He's worse than a child - see Nur

Wed
Married. Used more frequently than in standard English

Welt
To hit, beat

While
Until.

Wait while your dad gets home; Wait here while it stops raining

A potential nightmare for any Yorkshire computer programmers!

Whisht
To keep silent or keep quiet.

See Husht and Whisht

Wick
Quick, lively.

Watch that little lad, he's a wick un

Wick
Covered in, or crawling with, insects or vermin

That blanket in the garage is wick with ants

Wicking rake
A rake used in weeding crops

Winter hedge
Aka winteredge, winteredge. A clothes horse or a wooden frame for drying clothes. The term reminds us that clothes could be dried in fine weather by hanging it on a hedge or shrub.

See Tenter and Wynteredge Hall, Hipperholme

Worrit
Or Worriter. Someone who is always anxious, worrying or complaining

Wuthering
Wild, blustery (wind).

In her novel, Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë says the word is


... a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the
atmospheric tumult to which [Wuthering Heights] is exposed in stormy
weather

Y

Yark
To snatch, to pull

Yon
That person (or thing) over there

Yonderly
Distant, wistful.

He always had a yonderly look


See Pronunciation and Yorkshire Dialect Society



© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 18:18 /20th June 2018 / mmd32 / 81298

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