Northumbrian Farming Glossary

Northumbrian Farming Glossary

NY Times reports Professor Harold Orton Cataloguing English Dialects

One of the most important considerations of the Northumbrian dialect to emerge in the 20th century was Harold Orton's study in the 1950s, when Northumberland was included in his national "Survey of English Dialects" (SED). Clive Dalton reports a crossing of paths when they both taught at Leeds University.

The late Harold Orton was a Professor in the English Department at the University of Leeds where his students used to go out during the summer vacation into rural areas to interview and record folk such as farm workers, game keepers and other rural workers. The English Department was near the Agriculture Department where I taught, and it was a great experience meeting Harold. He told me he had done some of his own student study in Bellingham and had recorded Jack Telfer the tobacconist and watchmaker.

We talked of the North Tyne accent and he assembled some students to hear me give an example of the lingo! Choosing a subject was easy as I just imitated some of the grand old folk I worked for. I gave them a treatise on how to judge Blackfaced tups!
Prof Orton played me recordings of rural folk from the East Riding and West Riding of Yorkshire and it may as well have been a foreign language. He then played me a discussion between two rural lads from around Wooler arguing about the merits of their Border "tarriers" (terriers), and to sort it out they were going to let them have a "whorry". It took me some time te get me lugs tuned in illustrating the changes in speech over very small areas of the county. The material collected by Prof Orton is now famous world wide as a source of English dialects.

An update from 1980 on Orton's work is presented on the Woolshed 1 blog in two parts:

Part 1:
Part 2:

In researching images for the blog related to this project, I found this article reporting the study is from the 1956 archives of the New York Times, who have a unique (and amusing) take on the study (click on the image to expand in size and make it readable):

A to Z of Northumbrian Farming Language

In preparing the book Daft Laddies - Farming Tales of North Tyne and Rede 50 years on, Clive Dalton and Donald Clegg assembled an extensive glossary of farming terms. Of interest to linguists, students of farming and history alike, this collection is a useful companion to the many stories of the North Tyne on the woolshed 1 website.


Aad        Old
Aall        All
Aafull        Awful
Aafu        Awful
Abun        Above
Aert        Direction of the wind
Afore        Before
Ahite        Up above
Ahint        Behind
Aixe        Axe
Akin        Alike
Akwaad    Awkward
Alridy        Already
Alwes        Always
Amoont    Amount
An’aal        As well
Ashees        Ashes
Atween    Between
Artifishel    Artificial
Aye        Always or Yes


Baalks        Hen roosts
Baccy        Tobacco
Backend    End of year/Autumn
Baeth        Both
Bait        Lunch/Snack
Barra        Barrow
Bease        Cattle beasts
Beators    Beaters
Becum        Become
Beddin        Bedding
Buist        Mark of ownership
Belaa        Below
Bent        Moor grass (Molinia)
Bissom    Awkward animal
Bittle        Round headed mallet
Bitty        Small
Blaain        Blowing
Blackie    Scottish BF sheep
Blowd        Blinkin or total
Blunteed    Blunted
Bonny        Pretty, nice, well
Booncy    Bouncy
Bord        Bird
Borstin        Bursting
Bottle        Bundle of straw
Bowked    Blocked
Bowlts        Bolts
Bowt        Bought/purchased
Boxees        Boxes
Braird        Germination
Bray        Hit or knock
Brayed        Beaten/knocked
Breed        Bread
Breeks        Trousers
Brimmin    On heat (pig)
Broughtinsup    Up bringing
Brokken    Broken
Brum        Broom
Brussen    Full
Bull snoots    Tufts of grass
Bullin        Cow bulling or on heat
Bullock    Castrated male in cattle
Bund        Bound
Burn        Small stream
Butt        Bottom
Butends    Bottom ends
Butt & Ben    Cottage
Byor        Byre where cows tied
Byorman    Worker who tends cattle


Caa        Call.  Turn
Caad        Cold
Caalf        Calf
Caall        Call
Caek        Cake/Concentrate feed.
Caep        Coping or top stone
Caert        Cart for horse
Canny        Good, nice, agreeable
Carryall    Box fitted to tractor
Cannyen    Canny or good one
Cassey        Causeway or path
Cast        On the ground
Cassen        Cast
Catchy        Unsettled
Chain        22 yards
Chine        Chain
Chowin    Chewing
Chowkin    Choking
Chimbley    Chimney
Chivits    Cheviot hills/Sheep  breed
Claes        Clothes
Clagged    Stuck
Clap        To pat, eg, a dog
Clapped    Made flat
Clarts        Mud
Clarty        Muddy
Clashed    Washed
Clashy     Cold wet and windy
Clim        Climb
Clippor    Clipper
Clivor        Clevor
Clocker    Broody hen
Cloot        Cloth
Clooty hat    Cloth hat
Coll        Draw hoe
Colleege    College
Coonty        County
Cotteed    Cotted, matted
Couter        Coulter on plough
Cowp/Coup    Tip or turn over
Cowp creels    Go head over heels
Craas        Crows
Cree        Pigstye for pig
Crine        Dry up, shrivel
Croose        Bright/on the mend
Crowdy    Oat meal porridge
Cruttin        Improving
Cuddy        Horse
Cum        Come
Cundy        Drain of loose stones
Cut        Area where sheep graze
Cut-oot    Cut out.  The final cut.
Cuw        Cow
Cuwman    Cowman


Dadd        Bang or press
Dadded    Banged or pressed
Daen        Done
Daft        Silly
Daft laddie    Inexperienced lad
Dee        Do
Deed        Dead
Dein        Doing
Dess        Area of cut hay in shed
Derg        Dog
Dibble        Dig or plant
Dinmont    Young ram, 14-20m old
Dippor        Bath to dip sheep
Dissent    Does not
Divvel        Devil
Divn’t        Don’t
Doon        Down
Dorty        Dirty
Dosin’        Administer medication
Dottle    Piece of baccy/dung
Draas        Draws
Draan        Drawn
Dressin’    Dressing
Drift        Tool for enlarging hole
Drowt        Draft or culled sheep
Dyke        Stone wall


Easin’        Easing
Edgees        Edges
Edyecateed    Educated
Eeze        Ease or release
Eftor        After
Eke        Lanolin from the wool
Eild        Barren
Enuef        Enough
Ewer        Udder
Exsanguination Blood letting
Eye        Section of hayshed


Faall        Fall
Falley        Follow
Fannors    Fanners, wooden blades
Fell        To knock down or over
Fell        Moorland
Femor        Weak
Fettle        Mood/condition.
Fettle        To mend
Fettlin        Mending
Fiddle        Device for sowing seed
Fillors        Fillers
Fingor        Finger
Flagged    Stone tiled
Flittin        Moving house
Fly        Crafty
Flying bent    Molinia grass
Fog/fogg    New grass
Foondard    Chilled and near death
Foonds        Foundations
Forkfu        Forkful
Forrard        Forward
Forst        First
Fortilisor    Fertilser
Fowerth    Fourth
Forkfus    Forkfull
Frae        From
Fummlin    Fumbling


Gan        Go
Gat        Got
Gay        Very
Gey        Very
Geld        Barren
Gethored    Gathered
Gey        Gay
Gimmer    Female sheep 14-20m
Git        Get
Gitten        Got
Glaikit        Stupid
Glaur        Mud
Gleet        Thin slippy layer
Gliff        Fright
Gliffed        Frigthened
Gnarly        Gnarled or rough
Gob        Mouth
Gollands    Buttercups
Gollar        Shout
Gollarin    Shouting
Grate        Great
Greet        Great
Grip        Channel behind cow
Gripe        Fork
Grape        Fork
Grit        Old ewe
Grund        Ground
Grundeed    On the ground
Guddling    Feeling with hand
Gully        Knife
Gye        Twisted


Haad        Hold
Hack    Long bent handled fork
Haad        Hold
Haadin        Holding
Haeme        Home
Hadaway    Go away
Halff        Half
Happed    Covered over
Haugh        Fields near river
Heed        Head
Heedrig    Headrig or side of field
Heedland    See Heedrig
Hefted        Adapted to an area.
Heor        Here
Heord        Herd or shepherd
Hemmel    Covered cattle building
Het        Hot
Hike        Lift or heave
Hind        General farm worker
Hing        Hang
Hingin        Hanging
Hint        Hind
Hint end    Hind end, backside
Hoose        House
Hopin        Hoping
Hor        Her
Horsel        Herself
Hirrord        Hired/employed
Hott, Hutt    Heap or pile
Howk        Dig
Hoy        Hoy
Hund        Hound or move
Hungor    Hunger
Hutchees    Hutches/small pens
Huw        How


Illiven        Eleven
In-bye        land close to the farm
Inte        Into
Intiv        Into
Iv        In
Ivribody    Everybody


Jaa        Jaw


Keb        Abort
Ket        Rubbish
Kile        Small heap of hay
Kilin’        Making kiles
Kinlin’        Kindling wood
Kist        Chest
Kittle        Ticklish
Knaa        Know
Knapping    Knocking or breaking
Knowes    Hill tops
Kositos    Feed supplement


Lambin’    Lambing
Lang        Long
Langor        Longer
Larn        Learn
Lass        Young girl
Lashin’ on    Working hard
Leish        Fit and active
Lethor        Ladder
Leuk         Look
Lonnen    Lane/road
Lowp/loup    Jump
Lowse        Finish work
Lowse        Unyoke the horse
Lugs        Ears


Maaks        Maggots
Mashinorry    Machinery
Maede        Made
Maeke        Make
Meare        Mare/Female horse
Maest        Most
Mare        More
Mebbes    Maybe
Mek        Make
Mell        Large hammer
Mesel        Myself
Midgee    Midge insect
Middlin’    Fair
Milk sile    Metal bowl & filter
Moonted    Mounted
Moose        Mouse
Mooth        Mouth
Moornin’    Morning
Morneen    Morning
Mooth        Mouth
Mow        The hay level on a stack
Muck        Cow dung & bedding
Muckin’ oot    Cleaning out
Muckle    Large or big
Muffler    Scarf
Mule        Crossbred sheep


Neb        Nose
Nee        No
Neebody    Nobody
Neewhere    Nowhere
Nettie        Toilet
New Fangled    Hi-tec
Newland    New resown pasture
Newland hay    Hay from new pasture
Nivor        Never
Nowt        Nothing
Nowt a’maest    Not much
Nuw        Now


Ony        Any
Oot        Out
Oot-bye    Out-bye, isolated hills.
Ootlyers    Cattle not housed
Ootside    Outside
Oppen        Open
Orly        Early
Oweld        Sheep cast on its back
Ower        Over
Owld        Old
Owt        Anything
Oxters        Armpits


Paaky        Not eating
Paerts        Parts
Pailfu       Pailful
Particla    Particular
Pestor        Bother
Pinch bar    Crow bar or lever
Pinney        Apron
Pitchin’    Throwing
Plew        Plough
Ploat        Pluck
Poke        Sack
Pomor        Very large object
Porpose    Purpose
Pooch        Pouch
Pooky        Pokey
Porpose    Purpose
Porse        Purse or scrotum
Possin’ doon    Possing or pressing
Proggy     mat    Rug of cloth pieces
Prongs        Tines
Pund        Pound


Quart        Measure of two pints


Rake         Move sheep over fell
Rakin’        Raking
Rash        Wild
Rax        Strain or tear
Reapor        Reaper
Reek        Smoke or smell
Reshees    Rushes
Ridded        Empty
Ridden        Emptied
Riddy        Ready
Rigg/Rig    Ridge
Rise    Growth of new wool between skin and last year’s fleece
Ritin’        Writing
Rittor        Spade for cutting drains
Rive        Tear, work hard
Rive up    Mess
Roond        Round
Rowin’    Rolling
Rubbeesh    Rubbish
Rushed    Afflicted with diarrhoea
Rutts        Roots


Saa        Saw
Saen        Soon
Sair        Badly or very
Sairly        Badly
Sartainly    Certainly
Sarvant    Servant
Settin’        Setting
Settle        Settee
Scalin’        Spreading (muck)
Scartin’    Scratching
Sceul        School
Scuffler    Machine for weeding
Seuw        Sow
Sharped    Sharpened
Shearling    Once-shorn sheep
Shekin’    Shaking
Sheors        Shears
Shud        Should
Shuttin’    Shooting
Shilleen    Shilling
Shooder    Shoulder
Shooer        Shower
Shooery    Showery
Soorch        Search
Shoot        Shout
Shootin’    Shouting
Shoel        Shovel
Shoelfuus    Shovelfuls
Sic        Such
Sind        Wash/Rinse
Singlin’    Singling
Sizees        Sizes
Skelp        Lump or blow
Skittad        Scoured or diarrhoea
Slack        Hollow ground/loose
Slaistor    Mess
Slopin’        Sloping
Smaa        Small
Sneck        Latch
Sods        Lumps of turf
Sook        Suck
Soond        Sound
Sooth        South
Spalorin’    Falling about
Spang        Jump
Speel        Climb
Splet        Split
Squeshed    Squashed
Squart        Squirt
Spreddin’    Spreading
Staals        Stalls
Staen        Stone
Stannin’    Standing
Standin’    Place where cow stands
Steddin’    Steading/farm buildings
Steed        Stead or stand.
Stell        Round stone shelter
Stiddy        Steady
Stirks        Cattle under 12m old
Stooks        Groups of sheaves
Stookin’    Building stooks
Stoor        Dust
Strite        Straight
Summit    Something
Suw        Sow
Swalleed    Swallowed
Sweape    Sweep
Sweeth        Swath or swathe
Swill        Basket for carrying
Swillfu     Swillfull
Syke        Small stream or burn


Taalk        Talk
Tek        Take
Telld        Told
Telt        Told
Tettie        Potato
Teuk        Took
Tewin’        Working, hard or strong
Tewsdey    Tuesday
Theak        Thatch
Theaked    Thatched
Thor        Their
Thorsels    Themselves
Thorty        Thirty
Thow        Thaw
Threttnin’    Theatening
Throckin’    Panting
Thockin’    Panting
Tilleege    Cultivated/arable land
Tiv        To
Toppin’    Topping
Torn        Turn
Towld        Told
Trail        Hay swept into a heap
Trow        Trough
Treakel    Treacle
Tup        Ram or male sheep
Torn        Turn
Turnoot    When cattle go to grass


Waall        Wall
Waallin’    Building walls
Waalk        Walk
Wad        Would
Wadn’t        Would not
Waffy        Wobbly
Wale        Sort
Walin’        Sorting
Wan        Poorly
Wapped    Wrapped
Warse        Worse
Wastor        Waster
Wattor        Water
Wearsh    Tasteless/Bland
Weel        Well
Weshoot    Washout/failure
Weshors    Washers
Wethers    Castrated males
Whacked    Hit/Beaten
Whap        Wrap
Whaat        What
Whelt        Blow
Wi’        With
Win’row    A row of raked hay
Winnelstraes    Straws/dead grass
Wor        Our
Woo’        Wool
Woork        Work
Woorldly    Worldly
Wrang        Wrong


Yarkin’    Scratching, heaving
Yeddle        Urine and liquid dung
Yen        One
Yence        Once
Yi’ll        You’ll
Yit        Yet
Yi’ve        You’ve
Yon        That over there
Yookey    Lousy
Yorsel        Yourself
Yowe        Ewe or female sheep
Yowens    Ewe lambs

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