BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
BBC Northern Ireland Voices

BBC Homepage
Northern Ireland

Ulster Scots
A Til Azed
W F Marshall
English Today
Irish Today
Ulster Scots Today
More Voices

Contact Us

A Til Azed





























Ach: Expression of annoyance, frustration, reassurance and more.

'Ach sure, we nivver died o winter yet.'

'Ach, y'stuke ye!!'

'Ach alright, 20 quid and it's yours.'

Note: Pronounced with a tight Belfast ah, not as a Scottish och.

Louise writes: actually, 'ach' is pronounced the same way as the scottish way. it is said phonetically, not the way it is claimed here. Jim Gawn adds: some people in Co. Antrim (at least) pronounce it "och"; others with a short "a" as the original definition says.


Ay: Yes. Again, pronounced with a side-of-the-mouth Belfast ah, not as a Scottish aye. uubrey adds: Ay: this ones a bit different, its "ay" said with an intake of breath, might be a tyrone thing. Sounds a bit like an asthma attack.


Ach ay: Certainly.

'Ach ay, it'll be ready for you at six.'


Ay right: You must be kidding.

Said in a sarcastic tone: 'No, I most certainly will not be doing that.' Claire McCauley adds: 'Ay right' is usually said with an upward inflection.


Afeard: Scared, timid.

'See her, she's afeard of nathin', she'd face Goliath.'

Alan J. Armstrong adds: also ascared


Awanting: Being sought.

'You're awanting, so y'are. Yer ma's callin' ye.'


At myself: Well.

'Ah had the flu but ah'm more at myself ni, so ah am.'

'He hasn't bin at himself for weeks.'


Away: Go, going.

'Away to yer bed.'

'Ah'm away to the shaps.'


Away on: 1. I don't believe you.

'£30? Away on!'
2. Go, going, gone.

'A'm away on home.' 'She's away on.'

Claire McCauley adds: "Ach, away with ye!" means "you're talking rubbish".


Ampta/aminta? Aren't I?.

'Are not I' makes less grammatical sense to Irish ears than 'am not I' so 'aren't I' becomes 'amn't I', though it sounds like ampta or aminta, probably because the arrangement of consonants was alien to those who had to suddenly stop speaking Irish and start speaking English and we have inherited their pronunciation.

The (double) negative sounds like amptanat or amintanat.
'A'm comin' w'ye, ampta?' 'A'm not being charged, amptanat?'
Note: Amptamat, said with attitude, also means 'I most certainly am' as in 'Ye're not gettin in.' 'Oh, amptanat?'.


Expression of regret or longing.

'Achananee, I mind when ah had a whole squad of childer round m'feet. Ni, ah nivver see the face of one.'

Laura Steward adds: Poem I learned as a child, dandlin' a child on your knees:

"Achanee when a wuz wee,

a ust te sit on ma granny's knee.

Her apron tore an I fell on the floor (Open you legs and the child falls through!)

Achanee when a wuz wee!"

You've Added

Azed - compare the spelling of the name of the letter Z in Shakespeare's time: izzard. From Jim Gawn


Ardglass Herrns - The call of a man many years ago selling fish (Yes I do remember him). From: Alan Armstrong


Arns - as in 'our ones' any member of your family, includes second cousins 3 times removed. From Pat


Aprile: to rhyme with pile. Month before May. From: anon


Ay yer ma:- I don't believe you. From Louis Hawthorne


Ay Yo: A statement made when one is asked to do something that they cant or won't do. From John Mulholland


Awunderwudye. A rebuff to someone who has asked you to do something you do not wish to do. From Kenny


Affronted, it means scundered or to feel embarrassed, its usually used up the north Antrim coast. From Joanne Campbell


Away with it : long gone, shattered, wrecked. eg: "His head's away with it" - he's lost his sanity. or "I've had so much torment from them that me nerves are away with it" - My nerves are shredded. From Dominic Campbell


Amn't: I amn't as opposed to I'm not. (Mid Ulster not Belfast) From: Paul


All of a piece - stiff, sore
'Am all of a piece since I washed them windas yesterday' From: R Stevenson

Act the maggot: To be annoying. From: Brian


Ayedonoh: I do not know. From Paul


Away wi the fairies - someone not totally mentally capable, 'not right' From: Barbara


Afters: Dessert, pudding. From: Sally Kelly


Airlocked: Drunk, inebriated. From: Sally Kelly


Althegether: Northern Irish [particularly rural] for altogether
From: Sally Kelly


Am Are: Derry City distortion of "I am" - customarily used in responses to enquiries/questions. From: Sally Kelly


Away in the Head: Mad, manic, suffering from mental breakdown/illness
From: Sally Kelly

Afther: I'm just afther comin' through the dure: I've just come in.
From the Irish idiom "Ta me i ndhiaidh....." From Jack


go to B »

Have your say

If you have a contribution, you can email it to us using the form below:

Email Address
Map showing Northern Ireland.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy