Sunday, December 23, 2012

NOT a helter skelter, then?

Just when I thought I might have had this Britishspeak thing  conquered, I ran across another bunch of words last night, printed in the Mail online back in 2011 - The Mail is that most reputable and accurate of sources, you'll remember. Even the Brits are not likely to get any/many of these, though, because they are local words and phrases. And American readers? Forget about it! Even when you have the answers, you won't know what THAT word means. ;)

As mentioned above, these words are regional and even local, not UK-wide. I don't know any of them. I don't even know many of the local areas mentioned. For example...

Black Country

No matter. Be that as it may, unless you are from the area where the following words are used, you won't know what they mean. Worse than Geordie? It's true. You'll be happy to know the British Library is collecting, investigating, and carefully cataloguing these words. A good use of tax dollars, if you ask me. But then, I like to collect words too.

baffies (East Coast of Scotland)
bishybarnabee (Norfolk)
bobowler (Birmingham)
brash (South Wales)
brozzen (Swalesdale)
coopers ducks (Black Country)
deff (Birmingham)
dimpsy (Somerset)
dodderman (Norfolk/Suffolk)
dreckly (I think that one is a joke. Gottabe. Cornwall)
gambol (No, not what you think. Birmingham)
ginnel (West Riding of Yorkshire)
gopping (Manchester)
guddle (Northumberland/Scotland environs)
gurtlush (Bristol)
gully stottle (Ashington/Northumberland)
kets (Darlington)
ladgin (York)
nesh (Nottingham)
on the box (Black Country)
on the huh (Norfolk)
pitch (not soccer grass. West Country)
spoggy (Grimsby) (Assume Greater)
ronking (Black Country
tittermatorter (Norfolk)
tiss up (Leicester)
tranklements (Black Country)
twag (East Riding, Yorkshire)
twitchell (Nottingham)
while (Yorkshire)

There's BIG MONEY** in it for the reader of this blog who can give all the answers to the above words correctly without checking the Mailonline at

**Definition of "big money" varies.
Did you know you are paying the salary for the person who fills the position of "curator of sociolinguistics"? Bet you are proud.

Some of the comments were harsh:

"Kardashian means a semi-famous entity that acts as a life support system for a failing newspaper."


"We use 'Simples' as a collective noun for people who buy the DM."



  1. Well, some of those defeated me, and some were clearly inaccurate. Nesh, for instance, is widely used in Yorkshire. Ginnels are the same as snickets. Snickelways, in York.
    Brash is a widespread term, not just Welsh, also refers to loose sea-ice.
    Spuggies in Yorkshire, means house-sparrows.
    Tranklements, in Yorkshire is not the same meaning as given for the black-country.
    Dreckly. definitely common, not obscure at all, cornish.

    let me see, it's so widespread. nominally it means, straight-away, ~(directly) but in actuality, is more like mañana. As in, don't hold your breath, as in, well, eventually, maybe. Dreckly means, definitely, you'll be waiting a while.

    1. Snickets. I knew a Lemony Snicket once. :) Tranklements might be what Americans call trinkets. Bits. Ornamentation. Bling. In Yorkshire? I dunno. Icicles. I don't even know if water freezes in Yorkshire. Do you go skating on the ... Hum brrr? Like Hans Brinker? Well, of course not since it's not really a river and very salty. Let me think. No, none of the rivers in Yorkshire freeze.

      Directly is used in the U.S. mainly in the South, but means what it says instead of meaning manana. Usually it means "I'll be right there" or, I'll be there after I finish what I'm doing now. Not meant as a put-off. I don't think. My mother (from the South) used to tell me to come home directly.

      No spuggies.

  2. I think you're inviting trouble if you say you don't know where Darlington is.

    1. Well, I know the main one is in South Carolina. That's where the famous NASCAR speedway is. Is there one in England as well?

  3. I haven't heard spoggy in donkey's years! I can still remember my room-mate offering someone a piece of spoggy, causing great consternation among the Liverpool locals. I did know the word from Grimsby but my room-mate was from Immingham so it must have travelled a bit.

    1. Donkey's years? :)

      I might pay to see a consternnated Lilipudlian.

      I don't know about Immingham. I know Grimsby. Birdseye, right?

      Lonnie Donnigan: "Does your spoggy lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? If your mother says don't chew it, do you swallow it in spite? Can you catch it on your...."

    2. I mean Liverpudlian. FreudSlip.

  4. I know baffies and guddle, but then I did grow up in the North East of England and then East Scotland!

    Does the US have as diverse localized slang? As a Brit in the USA I do trip up sometimes using British turns of phrase, but I haven't noticed any local slang, really.

    1. That's amazing! Baffies and guddle, I mean. There are lots of words Americans use in different parts of the country, that mean the same thing. Like faucet vs spigot vs tap. I'm from the North, so it is a faucet to me. :) In the North we would call a sack a bag (or a sack), and some places in the south are used to calling it a poke. A gutter in many parts of the USA would be an eaves trough in Michigan. One of the words in this post means a seesaw, which Americans also use, but some call it a teeter-totter. I did. :)

      There is specialized folksy talk in the American West, especially in Texas and around cowboys anywhere:

      Frog strangler (or toad choaker) means a heavy rain.

      Tump means to tip over accidentally. As in "he just tumped over my beer."

      A fur piece isn't a mink coat in Texas or NM. It's a long way to travel.

      "We howdied but we ain't shook yet." Usually this is said in response to someone asking if you two have met yet. It means not formally introduced.

      There may be even more... :) thank you for stopping by.

  5. Tranklements. ~(yorkshire) yorkshire puddings, side-dishes, sauces, garnish, all the extras on a meal, cream sugar etc on the table.



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