The Disappearing Dictionary: A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words
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fubsy [adjective, Lancashire] Plump, in a nice sort of way.
squinch [noun, Devon] A narrow crack in a wall or a space between floorboards. 'I lost sixpence through a squinch in the floor'.
Wherever you go in the English-speaking world, there are linguistic riches from times past awaiting rediscovery. All you have to do is choose a location, find some old documents, and dig a little. Here, linguistics expert Professor David Crystal collects together delightful dialect words that either provide an insight into an older way of life, or simply have an irresistible phonetic appeal. The Disappearing Dictionary unearths some lovely old gems of the English language, dusts them down and makes them live again for a new generation.
dryth? It was widely used across the South of England. From Sussex, a proverb: ‘Drythe never yet bred dearth’. It even developed some extended meanings, such as ‘thirst’. But it never caught on in standard English. Shame. dumbfounder (verb) Berkshire, Devon, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Scotland, Sussex, Warwickshire, Yorkshire Confuse, stupefy, stun. Dumbfound is such an expressive verb it’s surprising the derivative
such as prockle and proitle. Further north, and into Scotland and Ireland, it was usually proddle. From Leicestershire, of someone searching for an eel: ‘The’ was progglin’ about i’ the mud fur’t best paart o’ haf a hour’. pross (noun) Durham, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire A chat, gossip. The word was widely used, especially across the North Country. From Lincolnshire: ‘Come and smoke a pipe, and we’ll have a little pross’. To hold pross would
Pennines, in Lancashire, a report or statement previously made was a said-so. sammodithee (noun) Norfolk, Suffolk A form of reply to a salutation or toast: ‘the same unto thee’. A traveller in Norfolk reported that, when saying ‘Good evening’ to a ploughman or boatman, this was the expression he most often heard by way of response. sang (noun) Cumberland, Durham, Gloucestershire, Ireland, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Scotland
as ‘snaffing and gurning [grimacing]’. An interesting development was a more positive sense, in the idiom to say snaff if another says sniff. It expressed the notion of ‘consenting readily’, and was especially useful when courting. From Herefordshire: ‘If ’e said sniff, er’d say snaff in a minute’. snaggilty (adjective) Ireland Likely to tear or cut. You might ‘reive [tear] your ould coat-sleeve agin one of their bits of
prickmedainty, rackups, radgy, rifty, rightle, sang, scorrick, scrattle, scroggins, scrunty, scumfish, sillified, slench, sloum, sot-whol, stime, strunt, stuffment, swaggle, tawm, tharfish, thrumble, torfle, tossicated, towardly, toze, trangleys, twanker, viewly, wallowish, whangy, wheem, whemmle, whimmy, wostle, yadder, yar, yonderly Derbyshire