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:


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



A-gateRef 7-93
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

AbideRef 7-187
To bear, endure, suffer.

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

AboonRef 7-291

AddleRef 7-256
To earn, to acquire.

Addling meant earnings.

The word comes from the Old Norse ødla

AgainRef 7-210
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

AllusRef 7-41
Local pronunciation of Always

An' allRef 7-138
And all, also, as well, too.

He's coming an' all

ArrandRef 7-199
A spider

ArticleRef 7-244
An unpleasant or undesirable person.

He treated his kids cruelly ... the article

AtRef 7-293
A contraction of that. That's 'im 'at she married »» That's him whom she married

AumeryRef 7-95
A food cupboard. May be related to Aumbry

AwkerdRef 7-42
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

AxRef 7-292
A form of ask. Other forms are encountered:



Baan, bahnRef 7-2
Going, bound for, heading for, will.

Where are you baan?

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

BabbyRef 7-245
A baby, child

Back-endRef 7-43

Back-wordRef 7-156
To give back-word is to cancel

BadlyRef 7-76
Ill, sick

Badly offRef 7-208
Poor, hard up

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

BahtRef 7-3
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

BairnRef 7-4
Child. From the Scandinavian and Old English

BaitRef 7-319
A snack, food eaten at work.

The word comes from the Old Norse beit

See Jock

BangRef 7-269
An old term for a drinking binge

BarRef 7-241
Except, but.

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

Barm potRef 7-45
A foolish person

BieldRef 7-326
A shelter for sheep

Black-brightRef 7-157
Very dirty.

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

Black clockRef 7-186
A black beetle.

The word comes from the Scandinavian kluka [a beetle]

BlaeberryRef 7-320
A bilberry.

The word comes from the Old Norse bla [blue]

BoggartRef 7-33
Used in place names, the element means an imp or a spirit.

See Hob

BottomRef 7-227
To clean thoroughly.

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

BrassRef 7-5

BratRef 7-173
Apron, pinafore

BrayRef 7-6
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

BrigRef 7-191

Sorby Brig »» Sowerby Bridge

BriggsRef 7-273
Fire irons to support pots and pans during cooking over an open fire

BritchesRef 7-158
Trousers, breeches, knickers

BrushRef 7-232
See Living over t' brush

BrussenRef 7-7
Full (of food); Bold.

See Pogged

Buck-stickRef 7-159
A playful or cheeky child

Buck upRef 7-184
Cheer up, got better.

He bucked up when he heard the news

BuffetRef 7-8
A small stool

Bully BowlRef 7-313
A large hoop which a child rolled along the ground, propelling it by means of a stick or a hook

BunRef 7-131
Any cake, tart or bun. The word does not specially mean a plain bun

BupRef 7-183
Drink – when talking to a young child.

Have a bup of your milk

BurdenRef 7-312
A measure of hay. 5 or 6 laisins make one burden

ButtyRef 7-328
Recorded in August 1874, when it meant
to divide the prize money for a cricket match which had been abandoned

ByreRef 7-434
A building to house animals, a shippon


Cack-handedRef 7-160
Also kack-handed, Caggy-handed. Left-handed; clumsy

CadgeRef 7-9
To beg.

See Cadger

CallRef 7-10
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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Pamela Caldwell

CallRef 7-50
To criticise someone behind their back.

She's always calling her sister

The word is pronounced as in standard English

CapRef 7-237
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

CappedRef 7-11

I wer' capped when she told me

Carr, cahr, ca'Ref 7-96
To sit, to settle, to become quiet.
carr quart »» be quiet

See Carr down

This & associated entries use material contributed by Pamela Caldwell

Carr downRef 7-294
To bend down, stoop.

This may be related to cower

CauseyRef 7-122
Pavement. The kerb is the causey edge

See Causey

ChatsRef 7-66
Small potatoes fried whole

ChilderRef 7-12
Children. From the Middle English

Chime inRef 7-225
To interrupt someone to get your say.

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

See Chip in

Chip inRef 7-224
To interrupt someone.

You can't say anything without 'er chipping in

See Chime in

ChumpingRef 7-246
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Cob-coaling, Plotting and Progging

ChunterRef 7-13
To grumble, mutter

ClammedRef 7-65
Thirsty, hungry.

Is t'tea ready? I'm fair clammed

ClamsRef 7-277
A vice, a pair of pincers, or other device for holding things

ClegRef 7-318
A horse fly.

The word comes from the Old Norse kleggi

ClickRef 7-99
To succeed in a relationship with the opposite sex.

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

ClosetRef 7-161
A water closet or toilet – inside or outside the house

CloutRef 7-238
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

CloutRef 7-239
To hit, or a blow.

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

CloutRef 7-329
To patch a garment

Cob-coalingRef 7-248
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping and Progging

CobsRef 7-218
Sweating cobs »» Sweating profusely

CockleRef 7-258
To curl up, to bend

CockledRef 7-259
Bent, uneven, curled

CockletyRef 7-201
Unstable, rickety, wobbly

CodRef 7-162
To kid, pretend, deceive

CollopRef 7-102
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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Pamela Caldwell

Comer-inRef 7-243
Another name for an incomden, a new arrival in a community

Cow-clapRef 7-211
A cow-pat

Cow RakeRef 7-315
A rake for scraping out the ashes. This may be a shortened form of Coil Rake

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom

Crackin' t'flagsRef 7-181
Very hot weather.

It wer crackin' t'flags last summer

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

Creaking gateRef 7-295
Someone who makes a noise or complains without any due cause

CrownRef 7-226
To hit someone.

If he does that again, I'll crown him

Cuddy-WifterRef 7-213
A left-handed person, especially a cricketer


DannyRef 7-219
Hand – when talking to a young child.

Hold my danny; Wash your dannies

DelfRef 7-64

DiddleRef 7-121
To cheat or deceive someone.

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

DiddlumsRef 7-123
A savings club which collected money on a weekly basis for distribution at holidays or times of need

DingRef 7-103
To hit heavily, to throw down heavily

DinnerRef 7-169
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

DoRef 7-63
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

DollopRef 7-79
A large amount of, a lump of. Usually something soft, like mashed potato

Dolly blueRef 7-119
A small bag of whitener used in washing clothes

Dolly stickRef 7-333
A wood device – often like a small 3-legged stool on a pole – for agitating clothes during washing.

See Posser

Dolly tubRef 7-118
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 yellowRef 7-267
This gave your net curtains a creamy colour

Donkey stoneRef 7-192
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 upRef 7-260
Dressed up in one's best clothes

Down t' nickRef 7-236
In failing health.

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

Drawing tinRef 7-115
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

DrinkingRef 7-302
Also Drinkings. Tea-time, or the meal eaten at tea-time


DroughtyRef 7-330
Or Drufty. Dry. A droughty day »» a day good for drying (clothes or crops)

DruffenRef 7-62


Eck, HeckRef 7-69

EenRef 7-198

Use yer een!


FairRef 7-14
Quite, rather.

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

FastRef 7-222
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 onRef 7-301
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-cakeRef 7-205
A small, rich, flat, round bread. Often made from left-over pastry

FeastRef 7-327
The word is often used to mean a fair. A fair ground has been called a feast ground

FettleRef 7-196
In fine fettle »» In good form

FettleRef 7-60
To tidy, prepare, clean. Fettlin' day was often Friday.

A fettler was someone who cleaned a machine in a mill

FlaightRef 7-F97
A ghost

FlasketRef 7-275
A long, shallow basket, or trug.

See Swiller

Flayed, fleydRef 7-15
Afraid, frightened

FlaysomeRef 7-249
Frightening, threatening.

He gave her a flaysome look

FleakRef 7-281
A gate which is fitted into a gap in a wall

Fleeting dishRef 7-278
A bowl for skimming milk

FlitRef 7-77
To move house. The word comes from the Old Norse flytja

FlummoxedRef 7-16
Confused, puzzled

FolkRef 7-255
People. There's a lot of folk in the shop

There's folk who don't talk to him

FrameRef 7-17
To perform, get organised, shape oneself. From the Old English, to be helpful.

Frame yourself, you should have been up hours ago

FratchRef 7-75
To argue, disagree, quarrel.

Her two boys are always fratching

FreshRef 7-125
Drunk, inebriated, tipsy.

See Merry


Gain, gainestRef 7-104
Near, short, quick.

This is a possible origin of the name Gainest

GammyRef 7-18

GaumRef 7-G82
Also Gorm Heed, attention.

He paid no gorm to owt I said

The word comes from the Old Norse gaumr.

See Gaumless

GaumlessRef 7-G21
Also Gormless. Clumsy, stupid, having no common-sense. Derived from Gaum.

See Sackless

GavletRef 7-280

GawpRef 7-321
To stare, to look at something open-mouthed.

The word comes from the Old Norse gapa

GillRef 7-166
A half-pint. See the entry for gill in the main Alphabetic Section of Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion

GimmerRef 7-19
Old person, old woman. The word is also used for an immature female sheep.

The word comes from the Old Norse gymbr

GinnelRef 7-20
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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Dave Van De Gevel

GipRef 7-97
To stop the breath, as when about to vomit.

T' smell made me gip

The word is pronounced with a hard


GizzenedRef 7-61
Full, choked. Used in a situation where you have eaten something, such as a dry cream cracker, which leaves you gasping for breath

GlegRef 7-252
A small amount. There wasn't a gleg of light in the cellar

GobRef 7-135
A mouth

Going homeRef 7-223
Wearing out, threadbare. Yer gardening trousers are going home »» Your gardening trousers are wearing thin

GormRef 7-82
See Gaum

GormlessRef 7-21

GradelyRef 7-78
Fine, excellent. More common in Lancashire and the west of the district

GreetRef 7-105
To weep, cry continuously


Happen, appenRef 7-94

'appen I'll go.

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

Hard onRef 7-230
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, EckRef 7-70
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!Ref 7-106
Look out, be careful. It is also used as a greeting

HoblinRef 7-317
A name used in the Upper Calder Valley for a windrow

HoileRef 7-221

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?Ref 7-22
How do you do?

HugRef 7-167
To carry

HugginRef 7-98
A large amount, an armful

HummerRef 7-88

What the hummer is going on?

Hutch upRef 7-81
To move along a seat, to make room


IdleRef 7-90
Lazy (not just unoccupied) 

In upRef 7-325
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

InckelRef 7-307
Thread or tape


IncomdenRef 7-242
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, jinkumRef 7-289
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


JiggeredRef 7-58
Tired, exhausted

JipRef 7-168

This leg's givin' me jip

JockRef 7-J44
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

JollopRef 7-308
A mixture or a medicine I went to the doctor and he gave me this jollop to take

JumpRef 7-305
An apron


Kack-handedRef 7-56
See Cack-handed and Left-handed

KaliRef 7-84
Sherbet powder

KecksRef 7-57

Keep t'band in't nickRef 7-44
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

KeysRef 7-193
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 onRef 7-234
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


LadRef 7-137
A boy, young man. An informal term for any male

Lading can, lading tinRef 7-87
A tin can with a handle – holding around 2 pints – for moving water, or baling out

LaisinRef 7-311
Aka Lazin. An old word for
an armful of hay

5 or 6 laisins make a burden

LakeRef 7-23
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

LamRef 7-107
To strike hard, throw hard.

The word comes from the Old Norse lemja

LassRef 7-136
A girl, young woman. An informal term for any female

Last push upRef 7-164
At the last moment.

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

Lazy windRef 7-284
A cold, chill wind – it is said to be lazy because ...
it goes straight through you instead of blowing round you

See Sneaky

LigRef 7-55
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' brushRef 7-231
Also Living tally. Living together as man and wife but not married

Living tallyRef 7-233
See Living over t' brush

Loitch, straight as aRef 7-182
Upright, erect.

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

LopRef 7-204
A flea. There is also the adjective loppy.

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

LoseRef 7-215
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

LugRef 7-322
To pull or carry something.

The word comes from the Old Norse lugge

Lug, lug-holeRef 7-134

LumbRef 7-261
A chimney


MadRef 7-194
Cross, angry, vexed

MardyRef 7-67
Sulky, spoilt

MashRef 7-130
To brew tea.

I'll mash a pot of tea

Give the tea time to mash

MawngyRef 7-24
Aka Morngy, Maungy. Moody, sulky, surly, complaining

MendRef 7-170
To get better, recover from an illness.

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

MerryRef 7-128
Drunk, inebriated, tipsy.

See Fresh

Middin, middenRef 7-108
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 bandRef 7-M1
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

MimmymokeRef 7-178
To gesticulate.

She was mimmymoking to draw my attention

Mischief nightRef 7-197
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

MitherRef 7-74
To pester, fluster. The word is pronounced

my-ther with the stress on the first syllable

Moan'tRef 7-M2
Mustn't, shouldn't. The negative form of mun rhymes with don't.

You moan't complain

MuckmentRef 7-54
Anything unpleasant, or worthless. Also used for any food which is a mixture of tastes and flavours

MucktubRef 7-126
An affectionate term for a dirty or untidy child

MuckyRef 7-25

MuffRef 7-262
A slight noise.

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

MullockRef 7-139
Aka Mullocks. A mess.

What a mullock she made of t' dinner

MunRef 7-109
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 PeasRef 7-266
A popular food made by boiling peas until they become soft and mushy.

See Strongs


NageRef 7-189
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

NebRef 7-114
Nose, beak, the peak on a hat or school-cap.

The element is also used in placenames

NeshRef 7-26
Sensitive to cold.

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

NobbutRef 7-27
Only. A contraction of nought but, nothing but.

He was nobbut a lad

NorRef 7-240
Than. See Nur

NowtRef 7-28

NurRef 7-140

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

See Warr


OckerRef 7-264
To stammer

OilRef 7-265
Also 'oil, hoile Hole

OkkerdRef 7-111
Local pronunciation of awkward, awkerd

OurRef 7-92
Our is used to denote a close familial relationship:

Our Jack, Our Carol

OverfacedRef 7-288
Presented with too much food on a plate They gave us so much meat, I was overfaced

OwnRef 7-253
To admit. I'm not the brightest man, I own

OwnRef 7-29
To recognise.

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

OwtRef 7-30


PanRef 7-120
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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom

PanshunRef 7-116
A large bowl for baking or for washing

PeakRef 7-179
To sit, put.

Peak thissen dahn there

The word is pronounced


Peggy tubRef 7-133
Another name for a dolly tub

PiggingRef 7-306
Aka Piggen, Piggin. A wooden pail


Piss-bedRef 7-53
A dandelion

Pissin' in bed wakkenRef 7-216
A futile or tedious task.

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

Play popRef 7-X8888
Get annoyed, complain.

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

PlottingRef 7-332
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping, Cob-coaling and Progging

This & associated entries use material contributed by Gareth Whittaker

PobsRef 7-297
A children's food made with bread and milk

PoggedRef 7-163
Full (of food).

Am fair pogged I'm quite full

See Brussen

This & associated entries use material contributed by Dave Van De Gevel

PoiseRef 7-195
To kick.

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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom

PopRef 7-X9999
See Play pop

PosnetRef 7-274
A saucepan

Posser, possing stickRef 7-117
A wood stick for agitating clothes during washing.

See Dolly stick

PotRef 7-129
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

ProggingRef 7-247
Collecting wood for a November 5th bonfire.

See Chumping, Cob-coaling and Plotting

PuffedRef 7-298
Tired, exhausted, breathless

PycheRef 7-287
A bee-hive


Queer stickRef 7-91
An odd, unusual person


RawkRef 7-254
To make streaks on something.

He rawked all down the paintwork with his muddy hands

ReckonRef 7-209
To pretend.

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

RightRef 7-31

I'm right glad to see you

RightRef 7-3131
Unusual, remarkable, noteworthy.

We had some right weather during our holiday

RiveRef 7-207
To tear or split clothes, clothing.

The word comes from the Old Norse rifa

RoadRef 7-165
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

RooarRef 7-89
To cry, weep

The RoomRef 7-257
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 afreshRef 7-251
When someone is suffering from several aches and pains, you might say:
She wants rubbing out and drawing afresh

RuddlestoneRef 7-310
Another name for a Donkey stone

RussomRef 7-316
Or Russum. A small amount, a trace

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom


SacklessRef 7-32
Ineffectual, listless, simple-minded.

The word comes from the Old Norse saklauss

SadRef 7-177
Unrisen, of cooked food.

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

SamRef 7-83
To gather, collect, pick up

ScrapeRef 7-217
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

ScrattleRef 7-270
To move about quietly.

It can also mean to rummage – less quietly

SegRef 7-155
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

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom

SenRef 7-1
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 offRef 7-176
To go away for a holiday or a short trip.

Are you setting off this weekend?

Set potRef 7-52
A large, fixed copper boiler for heating water

Set-toRef 7-185
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 meddlersRef 7-300
A euphemism for mind your own business.
What are you and dad talking about, Mam?

Shim-shams for meddlers!

Shut ofRef 7-200
Rid of, shot of.

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

ShutteringRef 7-172
Pouring with rain

SickenedRef 7-180
Upset, unhappy.

He wer sickened when he heard the news

SideRef 7-154
To clear the table.

Side them pots then we can play cards

SileRef 7-304
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 downRef 7-34
Pouring with rain. Comes from the word sile

SitheeRef 7-4770
Look here!

A contraction of See Thee

SkenRef 7-100
To look at, peer at. Often with screwed-up eyes.

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

SkerrickRef 7-171
A small amount, a trace.

There's not a skerrick of evidence against him

Skew-whiffRef 7-153
Cock-eyed, not correct

SkinnyRef 7-314
Tight-fisted, miserly, mean

Skip, skepRef 7-110
A large wicker basket, such as those used for holding materials in a textile mill

SkittersRef 7-323

The word comes from the Old Norse skita

SlackRef 7-202
Coal which consists of dust and small pieces

Slack set upRef 7-101
Dilatory, ineffectual.

She's a bit slack set up

SlackenRef 7-268
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

SlartRef 7-152
To splash.

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

SlobRef 7-132
To slip off, as with a badly-fitting shoe.

My shoes are too big, they keep slobbing off

SluffenedRef 7-59
Disappointed, disheartened

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

SlurRef 7-309
To slide, scrape

See Slurring Rock and Sluther

SlutherRef 7-229
To slide, scrape.

Stop sluthering your feet!

See Slur

SmittenRef 7-124
In love with someone, have a liking for someone. The word has the implication of being struck by love

SneakyRef 7-127
Cold, chill wind.

It's right sneaky out there

See Lazy wind

SneckRef 7-72
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

SnicketRef 7-35
An alley or a pathway, having the implication of being a short cut.

See Ginnel

SoftRef 7-151
Foolish, daft

SpellRef 7-212
A splinter of wood.

I've got a spell in my finger

See Knur and spell and Spell

SpiceRef 7-49
The local word for confectionery, sweets and toffees.

These were sold in a spice shop

Spice cakeRef 7-150
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

SpurrinsRef 7-331
A dialect word for wedding banns

StalledRef 7-36
Bored, fed up, out of patience

StarvedRef 7-37
Cold, very cold.

We were starved when t' fire went out

See Clammed

StoopRef 7-188
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

StrongsRef 7-214
A snack comprising a portion of chips and a portion of mushy peas

SuitedRef 7-286
Pleased. He was suited when I gave him the money

SummatRef 7-38

Is summat wrong?

SupRef 7-47
To drink

SwillerRef 7-276
A shallow basket.

See Flasket


TallyRef 7-235
See Living over t' brush

TallymanRef 7-343
Someone who sold goods and collected payment in installments

TeaRef 7-285
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

TeemRef 7-324
To pour out a liquid, to empty.

The word comes from the Old Norse toema.

See Teeming down

Teeming downRef 7-68
Pouring with rain.

See Teem

TemRef 7-272
A sieve

TemsRef 7-303
A sieve used in brewing. This may have been made of horse-hair.

See Sile


ThatRef 7-51

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

ThoilRef 7-39
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

ThouRef 7-282

Thou, thee, thyRef 7-174
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, throngRef 7-40
To be busy.

I'm a bit thrang right now.

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

ThrushRef 7-290
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

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

ThyRef 7-283

TinnyRef 7-85
Cowardly, shy, afraid

Tipping down, tipping it downRef 7-80
Pouring with rain

Tipple-i-bum-bi-legsRef 7-149
To somersault

Toil of a pleasureRef 7-228
An irksome task.

It's a toil of a pleasure taking her shopping

TopsRef 7-175

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

TracklessRef 7-71
A trolley-bus, as distinct from a tram which ran on rails

TroughingRef 7-112
Guttering at the eaves of the roof to channel rainwater away

TrumpRef 7-148
To fart

TurnipRef 7-113
A swede is called a turnip, a turnip is called a white turnip

Tussy-pegRef 7-220
Tooth – when talking to a young child.

Clean your tussy-pegs

TykeRef 7-334


UsRef 7-73

'Ave yer seen us shoes?


VoyderRef 7-271
A clothes basket


WaffRef 7-206
To fan, wave, waft, whiff.

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

Wahr, WorRef 7-147

Walt, woltRef 7-143
To overbalance.

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

WangRef 7-146
To throw

WarrRef 7-203

He's no warr for it

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

WedRef 7-141
Married. Used more frequently than in standard English

WeltRef 7-145
To hit, beat

WhileRef 7-86

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

A potential nightmare for any Yorkshire computer programmers!

WhishtRef 7-296
To keep silent or keep quiet.

See Husht and Whisht

WickRef 7-144
Quick, lively.

Watch that little lad, he's a wick un

WickRef 7-250
Covered in, or crawling with, insects or vermin

That blanket in the garage is wick with ants

Wicking rakeRef 7-279
A rake used in weeding crops

Winter hedgeRef 7-46
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

WorritRef 7-299
Or Worriter. Someone who is always anxious, worrying or complaining

WutheringRef 7-142
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


YarkRef 7-263
To snatch, to pull

YonRef 7-48
That person (or thing) over there

YonderlyRef 7-190
Distant, wistful.

He always had a yonderly look

See Pronunciation and Yorkshire Dialect Society

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 12:34 / 3rd April 2024 / 108585

Page Ref: MMD32

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