Local Dialect

During the last few years I have been collecting local dialect words and saving them for posterity. This is not as easy as it sounds, as its difficult for locals to identify words that they commonly use as being dialect, its only when you mix with others and they look at you in a quizzical manner that you question what you have said!  Some time ago I attended a local dialect class run by John Levit who gave me the derivation of some of the words and I was surprised to learn that most were Medieval or Old English and had just stopped being used elsewhere. Some were Scandinavian and since this area was on the borders of Danelaw its not surprising that some words still exist.

Another interesting feature of the North Staffs dialect is the use of ne at the end of the word to make it negative.  ie Thee shutne goo dinethear sirree, theyt beyt dooin thesell a mischeyf. Common words that have a ne tagged to them are Shutne, Wutne, Conner (should not, would not, cannot)

I have never heared this anywhere else but of course is used in Latin in the same way. I would be interested to hear other peoples views about this.

I wrote the following poem for a Burns Night where its traditional to “find” a last or lost poem by Burns.  I thought it would be fun to suggest that Rabbies dad had come down with the rebellion to Brown Edge before setting off home.

Twas 1745 that my father went south

To fight the English once more

Upon his return strange words came forth

That had never been heard afore

Thee shutne, wutne and conner

Strange words was all we did hear

Father dear Father where have you been?

Sire ear ana shower but arl niver goo theyr ageen.

The Wenches was bosted

Mower fow than the Morridge wow

The Men ad Bellies that wuz reet fat

An just towked abite kikin a bow

Wey decided to goo wom after we climbed up the edge

Afower us were the potteries an siree it did stink

Nowt good wud com from visitin theyr we thowt

But we oughta just stop for a drink

So we steed at a hostelry fair, thee cowst it the Cob a Slack

Thee was sowdust on floower an it was quite rough

A mistress Bates was thee oowner

An thee cust tell er was tough

A gallon uv ale was consumed afore we crossed the strait

By tarm wey  left the holly Bush wey felt wey wuz all in

This strung stuff aduz in a  rite steete

But on to the Corner, the Quart and then  the New Inn

Wey  crawed up thill to the Miners an afower wey reyched the top

Wey met a chap cowed Baccer who stopped uz fow a chatter

And be nar we new wey shud bey goowin bak

Soo wey started Wom, Ten thisand steps too tak

We cudstne say we we wuz goin

Fost it looked up then it was dine

And then……The Rooze an Crine

Wey ad too stop it wud bey unfeer not to sample

The delights of such a plees

The problem was wey wuz soo dronk wey cudsne saty

Thand in front of uz feece

Thee shucne goo dine theyer deerest Robie me sun

Wat a trick to plee,   a reet feetin measure.

Enuf pubs an ale to sink a wheel

Dust noo, theyt waz neyaly a Brine Edger.

Pete Turner

abideStick with or endure Ar conna abide imOEabidan
afteringsthe last milk from a cowOE
aftermathsecond crop of grassOE math mowing
agateBusy or going again  theytl sown bee agate aginNorse gata
airedWarmed slightly
all butNearly eh wuz ailing soo much ey wuz ullbut jyed
and thenused often at the end of a sentence for no reason!
apiecesbreak up  ar dinner touch it it fell apieces
arkkeep corn in it
arnswagesME ernes
essgrid and ess holeIts not just about ashes its really the bottom of a chimney
asidethey cust sit aside meyME
averousaveraciousFr averus
backbitersloose skin on fingernail
backstanwhere you bake breadOE bac stan
baggingTake food to work
baitFood you eat outsideNorse beita
bonkHill or house  Thee cust get thesell off the bonk
bartered-upbautered-upsplashed with mud
basspoor coal
beckpeak of a capME bec
bedfastbed ridden
beestingsfirst milk from a newly calved cow
bellockcow bloating
belongits strange but people belong to a place or property thee cust get back to where you belong dine yen!
beltersomething big and probably good as well
bingtrough in front of cowsNorse bingr
blarta child crying like a calf after its motherOE blaten
blaitchslap or hitME blenchen
blathertalking nonseneMEblather
bloatA cow moowing excessively
bobbing offplaying truantME boben
bodgeto proke a hole
bofflea chimney boffles back
bonny clapperSour milk
boskinstalls or partitions between cows
bottle, not muchnot very good
bull-noggerMillers thumb (type of fish)
cackExcretementME cakkin
cadeweak lamb sometimes child
cag-magpoor meat
caleBeat or get aheadlatin canto
canttell tales
caseyLeather Football
chincoughthink its whooping cough but used when parents are warning children to wrap up in winter.
chunnergrumble Wot at chunnerin at
clemto be hungry Arm clemmed deeth sirry (starving means to be cold)
clog againto get going again
cloutpiece of cloth or clothingOE Clout
cobsweat or angry/agitated  eys got a cob on
cobbed-upcluttered up with rubbish
cockstrideshort distance
codjoke with or to pull someones leg
codgepach up poorly
coffergrain storageME coefre
collywessonAwkward  contrary
craftsmall field near farm
crog-onCheating especially with games involving numbers
crossomicalirritating or perverse
cutherget heads together for a chat
dadeteaching baby to walk by supporting under armsOED dade
deckto stop  deck it
delf ragsPit clothes
dingedbruised apple or car bodyworkME dingen
dinneringofficial dinner
doffera bet type or dare challenge  arl doffer thee
donnyChilds hand
drop onto find something by chance
drumble holewooded valley between fields
ever likelyno wonder
facycheeky child
fangto catch hold ofNorse fanga
farmingused in phrase Wot at farming at ie looking or doing
favourto look like  eh favours is feyther
firkto scratch or probe with a stick usuallyOE fercian
flirtto throw especially with a stick
flitto move houseME flitten
fobto move forward in torrs or marbles
fodder roadtrough in front of cows
fogs, foggyClaiming to go first  bags i goo foggy
foldlittle field
fotherfeeding beast
fotherbingrain store
frankedlate for work
fuffleFussing around
gatherFesterOE gatherian
gaumed-upcovered in dirt
gauptalking loudlyME galpen
gennelnarrow space between buildings
gormershay cart extensions
gosterersomeone who boasts a lot
graunchgrind teeth
grindlestunGrindstomeME grindel-stan
grued-iningrained dirt
hare-shorn lipHare Lip
hullock, a greatFat person
hullock, idleLazy person
hutched-upCrowded together
jibto give in or to resist
jinny spinnerdaddy long legs
jowlHit on Head
just nowlater on
keggyleft handed
kedgeto steal or to borrow also as in to kedge a lift
kigglewobble on a chair
keemersglasses or to peer over the top of glasses
kim-kamgossiping ie kim-kamming
labestir up mud
laggy bags ar goo laggy last
lamphit hard
lay-overs for meddlersstupid answer for a personal question u dont want to answer
leckto waterOE leccan
lecking canwatering can
lickeringwho can jump the furthest run the fastest
lugknot in hairScan Lugga
made awaymade away with a cold
mardyspoilt child
maunchto make a mess of a job
mendingrecovering from illness
mess offgo away
middenMuckheapME midding
mixenMuckheapOE mixen
monstinkunpleasant child
mowed-updirty cluttered
mythermaytherworryDunner mayther theesell surry theytl bay arateOE moither
narkyBad tempered
nebPeak of cap
neckTo drink fast
neshfeeling the cold easily
noggerthe game of football
nowtnaughty boy
octionused in all over the place
oss offgo away
patherlike a dog
pitherpottering about
pobsbread and milk
pouserubbish foodFR pouse
powksty in the eyeOE pocc
proketo poke
puddledsoft in the head
puss-netsrabbit nets
putheryhot sultry weather
queedlesee saw
quigglerock on legs of chair
rammelmongrel dog
ratheshay cart extensions
rattle-chopstalkative person
rawngedstrained reaching up or carring something
razzered (up)worn out
riftbelchNorse Rypta
rindlesmall brook
risen-onfeel cold usually in a morning when leaving home
ronkin a bad temper or simply a bad person
rumpty-fizzer“naughty but nice” person
scento squint
scratscratch like a henME scratten
scrawmmean person getting money together
scrawpscratch or damage
scritweak one in the litter
segcalous on skin
seggyto claim second place
senna-tuckedstiff after sitting down
setto rent out
settlea comfortable armchairOE setel
shape forpreparing to
shippencow shed
sideclear away
slatthrow down
slither puddingslipshod work
slow-walking breadcurrant bread
snapping timedinner time (lunch)
sneapto snub
snide awayoverrun with vermin
snottybad tempered
soakiesbread and milk
sockliquid manure or run off from a mixen
soga good slap
sparrow billsnails
spon-newtotally new
sqitchcouch grass
starveto be cold
staverung of a ladder
stirkoverwintering calf ie less than 1 yr old
straight-backlazy person
struga stranger
supperingofficial evening meal
surree or sirreegreeting for a friend ey up sirree
suttergood hit on the head
tedto turn over hay
thrapeto thrash
thungebumping around
timber-toedpidgeon toed
trappingsbits and pieces. “Thee cust pack thee bags n trappings an gitthee gun nar” Gordon Turner sacking someone!
tow-ragoatcake or naughty boy
tuckslots of it!
tweedlesee saw
unscrewgleto open eyes
waftstrength or endurance
wag, to playbob off school
yawploud mouthed
yorksstring tied below knee on trousers



  5 comments for “Local Dialect

  1. norma kaczmar
    April 30, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Another word for you -“tranklements”-toys. In one of Jane Austin’s novel is the word “tranquillements”. So how posh were we?

  2. December 24, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    We often say “woppie” or “wappie” for wasp.
    “Dust’na” as in “dustna know owt” I.e. don’t you know anything.
    Stevie Robinson.
    Mow Cop.

  3. Norma Kaczmar
    September 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I was born in Stoke but now live in leeds. Grandad Bourne was a Brown Edger. He was Gladys Bailey’s eldest brother. Two words for you, the first “tranklements” -toys. I grew up being told to pack away your tranklements. I almost dropped my Bronte book when I read the word “tranquillements”. Some of my ancestors worked for the Heath family, and I thought the word had been used in their family, but I mentioned it to a Newcastle dweller and she was very familiar with it.
    My second word,sord, or sward was what we cut off the bacon ie-rind. I have read the word in Shakespeare but I think it is an anglo saxon word meaning the edge of something or the skin or the covering. It was used in the past to mean grass.

  4. David Lockett
    September 7, 2016 at 7:01 am

    My mother, who was from the potteries and was born in 1918 told me about going ‘monkey running’ when she was a teenage girl. By this she meant going courting.

    Also, the word ‘strapped’ means to be short of money. As in ‘I am a bit strapped this week’.

    I am originally from Audley and my father was from Middleport in Burslem, although I now live in Perth, Western Australia. I recently met a man here who is of about my own age (70) and who is originally from Talke Pitts which is the next village to Audley. So whenever we meet now our conversation is along the lines of ‘Ayeup how at. At they ow right’ and other potteries dialect phrases. This is to the total bemusement of all around us, including most of the other Englishmen who are in our circle of acquaintances.


  5. Margaret Wright
    July 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    One word I heard as a youngster was MASHING apparently if you went courting Brown Edgers went MASHING often heard it said “HERS GONE MASHING”

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