A Yorkshire Glossary
We thought it might be useful to have a Yorkshire dictionary for those not familiar with our language. It isn’t meant to be patronising – even our northern brethren across the Pennines in Lancashire need a translation guide to some of our words.
Please feel free to email me with any words you haven’t heard before that may feature in my books as this page will be constantly updated.
He fell arse over tit down the stairs.
BAIRN – child.
Bairns are waiting to see Father Christmas.
BARMPOT – idiot.
BEGGAR – blighter
You cheeky little beggar!
BLACK BRIGHT – very dirty.
When he came out of the pit, he was black bright.
BOG – toilet .
BRAY – hit, beat.
He’s got the sort of face I’d never get tired of braying.
BUTTY – sandwich.
I really fancy a chip butty.
CACK-HANDED – clumsy.
CAL – chat, talk.
Come round to ours for a coffee and a cal.
CHELP – talking incessantly.
I wish he’d stop chelping, he’s doing my head in.
CHUCK UP – vomit.
He chucked up all over the cat.
CHUFF/CHUFFING – nothing to do with trains, not unless used in the context of ‘that chuffing train is late’. It’s a mild expletive like ‘bloody’. CHUFF OFF = get lost.
Why don’t you chuff off, you chuffing pest!
CHUFFED – pleased.
He was totally chuffed with his new flat cap.
CLAP COLD – very cold.
My tea’s gone clap cold.
CLOUT – hit.
I’m going to give him a clout when I see him.
Also can refer to a woman’s downstairs bits. ie: I’m going to the doctor’s to see about my dry clout.
COCK/COCKER – 1. term of endearment. 2. tough.
1. How are you doing, cock?
Yorkshiremen call anyone cock, cocker without any sexual connotations and it is a term used liberally.
2. Peter was the cock of the school.
In the 2nd meaning, it means the toughest person ‘the cock’ of the school/street/village etc.
COIT – coat.
Grab your coit, you’ve pulled, love.
CUPPA – cup of tea/coffee.
Fancy a cuppa?
DAB ON (to have a) – sweaty.
The menopausal woman had a right dab on.
DAFT AS A BRUSH – stupid or soft-hearted.
He’s daft as a brush with the kids.
DINNER – mid day meal.
Tea is the evening meal (as well as the drink) so meals in order: breakfast, dinner, tea, supper.
EYUP – 1. hello. 2. hang on there (= wait a minute).
1. Eyup, I haven’t seen you for ages.
2. Eyup, I did not murder your mother.
FAFF/FAFFING – 1 messing about. 2. effort.
1. He’s been faffing about with that for hours.
2. I’ve given up because it’s not worth the faff.
FETTLE – clean, tidy.
I’ve fettled my kitchen cupboards.
GET – blighter (see beggar also).
He’s a miserable get.
GI/GIS – give.
Gis it here = give it to me.
GINNEL – a narrow passage between buildings, an alley. Sometimes called a SNICKET.
The burglar went out of the back door and escaped down the ginnel/snicket
GI’OR – stop.
Gi’or making that noise.
GIP – retch.
The sight of black pudding makes me gip.
GOD’S OWN COUNTY – Yorkshire.
In the days of telephone boxes, it was an established fact that a Yorkshireman could ring God for only 10p because it would be a local call.
GORMLESS – very thick, stupid.
Someone who is gormless usually has a dopey expression.
JAMMY – lucky
He won the lottery, the jammy get.
JIGGERED – tired.
I’m going to bed, I’m absolutely jiggered.
KHALI (pronounced Kay-lie) – 1. sherbet. 2. drunk.
1. You can dip your lolly in my khali. (not necessarily a euphemisim)
2. I got totally khalied at the party.
KIDDING – joking.
You’re kidding me – she’s never a size 12.
LAKE, LAKING – play/playing.
Are you laking out later?
Stop laking about!
LOOK SHARP – hurry up.
Look sharp, I’m waiting.
MARDY – grumpy (often accompanied by ‘bum’ at the end).
He’s a right mardy bum.
She’s a right mardy cow.
MASH – as well as being something you do to a potato, in Yorkshire it means to brew tea.
I’ll mash the tea, you get the cups out.
MAUNGY – moaning, whingeing, sulky.
Her husband is a maungy sod.
MONK ON – sulky, annoyed.
She got the monk on with me when I said I wasn’t sharing my buns.
(Note we have a lot of expressions for sulking and annoyance despite being nice people really)
NESH – feels the cold easily.
Why are you wearing a jumper in July? You must be nesh.
NEB – nose.
Keep thi neb out of my business!
NOWT – nothing.
I walked in and he had nowt on.
OWT – anything.
I’ll have owt to eat, I’m not fussed.*
(*I don’t mind.)
OIL/OYLE – hole or place.
Ear oil (or lug oil) = ear hole, cake oil = mouth, arse oil = self-explanatory, chip oil = chip shop, coil oil = place where coal is kept.
PARKY – cold.
It’s *proper parky outside tonight.
*proper in this sense means ‘truly’
POP – fizzy drink or child-friendly drink.
I’ll have a glass of pop as I’m driving.
POTS, to do the (or sometimes side the pots) – wash up.
I’ll do the pots before I go to bed.
Having a pot on his arm = a plaster cast.
PUDDING BURNER – a woman who goes out for a drink on Sunday afternoons and so is likely to burn her husband’s Sunday lunch starter of the Yorkshire puddings.
PUMP – 1. fart (also see trump) 2. plimsolls.
PUT WOOD IN T’OIL – close the door.
Put wood in t’oil on your way out.
REIGHT – right as in good, okay.
Yorkshiremen use ‘right’ liberally in the sense of ‘really’ or ‘very’ as in: it was reight good.
Also: let’s be reight about it = let’s say it as it is.
REIGHT AS RAIN – good, fine.
Don’t worry about me, I’m as reight as rain.
RUER – crying hard.
The man started ruering because someone knocked his pint over.
SCARBOROUGH WARNING – warning that breaking rules will result in a punishment.
I’ve given him the Scarborough warning that he better be in by 6.
NB – the usage has become slightly warped as the original definition is actually the punishment before the warning is given but it is used quite commonly as the stern warning before.
SLAPPING SOME TIMBER ON – putting on weight.
You haven’t half slapped some timber on since I last saw you.
SLING YOUR HOOK – get lost.
Sling your hook you bloody pest.
SNAP – food.
Packed lunch container is a snap box.
It must be snap time by now.
SPANISH – liquorice.
SPUGGY – sparrow.
SUMMAT – something.
TEACAKE – breadcake
In Yorkshire teacakes do NOT have currants in them. Currant teacakes have currants in them. How much easier can it get?
TRUMP – fart.
Those baked beans didn’t half make me trump.
WARM UN – 1. witty, 2. bit of a slapper (female).
Elsie down the road is a warm un.
THA – you.
Tha knows nowt.
THI’SEN – yourself
Gi thi’sen a pat on the back.
TYKE – someone from Yorkshire or the Yorkshire dialect
He’s a proper tyke as he comes from Barnsley.
Ginnel is tyke for a passage.
SPELL – in Yorkshire, as well as being a witch’s speciality, a spell is a small wooden splinter.
I have a spell in my finger.
WAZZOCK – idiot, fool
He’s a right wazzock
YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS – cooked batter that rises in the oven.
These cheap and cheerful puds were served up as a starter to the Sunday roast so the eater would be full and not mind their (more expensive) main course being small.