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13 November 2014

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You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Discover Staffordshire > EXPIRED > Local Words > Staffysher Words & Phrases Messageboard (1)

Staffysher Words & Phrases Messageboard (1)

Staffordshire's local Words, Phrases and Sayings - suggested by you! Whether dialect words or the way we say it, we've been hearing from you about the way we speak.

Ajust want goo wom
I was born and bred in Joiner's Square, just on the outskirts of Hanley, Stoke on Trent.
As most visitors to this site will know, the word 'wom' means 'home'. I trained as a mental health nurse in the early nineties at St Edwards hospital where among other duties, I sometimes had to translate when local patients were being seen by doctors.
Once, an Indian doctor was talking with a distressed local man who had been admitted but didn't want to stay. He kept repeating himself to the doctor, "Ajust want goo wom... Ajust want goo wom.", meaning, "I just want to go home." It's perhaps just as well I was there because the doctor was about to recommend that the man be detained under the mental health act because he'd understood this phrase to be a fixation with returning to the womb!

Staffordshire dialect
My workmates use to use the word 'fridging' which meant rubbing or causing you to itch!

Judy Light
Judy Light
Stoek on Trent

Stafordshire dialect
We always used the words 'cob' or 'strop't0o denote someone having a trantum or being in a bad mood!

Brian Pearce-Jervis
Brian Pearce-Jervis
Stoke on Trent

My Mum (Hanley born and bred) used to call it kiddling. She also used to have a firkle in her handbag. (She meant have a root around.)
Paul Juckes
Girona, Spain

Costs no more to speak correctly?
Tell yer this, Derek, it'll cost our langwidge if we dunna towk lark way shud. Potteries, Yorkshire, West country, it dunna matter what area, ower lowcal words are baying killed off bar 'Estuary English'. Whut gud is us aw towking t'sayme wee? Bay prahd ov thar langwidge, it's aw part o a rich an varied vocabulary an it's a shame ta do it in.
Huddersfield (used to live rahnd t'Meir)

cost kick a bo
My mum used to tell me that one, but she'd always finish with 'I cost, cost thay?' (I can, can you?)

dialect book
I found 'The English Dialect Dictionary:' by Joseph Wright in several volumes, in Huddersfield University library. It's quite old, contains dialect words from all areas of England. It was published in New York and London so maybe your local library might have a copy. I haven't yet found any other sources but could let you know if I come across any during my studies.
Paul Birkin

Staffordshire words
Two staffs words spring to mind.One is kale which means housework,the other one is rocks which means sweets.
Clifford Ellis

nosy meddlers etc.
My grandad always said 'lay o's fer nosy meddlers'. Looked it up in a dialect dictionary and apparently it's the diminutive of 'lay overs for nosy meddlers' - as in laying a cane over someone's hand or back for being nosy.
Paul Birkin

A few months ago you mentioned a book which had the potteries dialect in it - I cannot find it any longer can you help me please. My parents live in SOT and could bring it over to me when they come in December. many thanks
Gillie Crowder
Nashville TN USA

potteries slang
Does anyone know if lug'ole (ear) is a potteries word or if it is in more general use across the country?

Staffordshire words
My mum (from Cheshire) uses the word "traklements" to describe belongings if someone was going off somewhere. I thought she made it up! - but it is very similar to the word 'tranklements' a word described by 'algy from Melbourne Austrailia' and seemingly used in the same kind of context! Does anyone know where the word comes from?

living in walsall wood
I was brought up in Walsall wood in the sixties and my husbands from Darlaston.He says I use words that hes never heard of.
Did Trevor who's now in Australia ever comb his feg{hair)or say "It's all my eye and Betty Martin" meaning it's all a load of rubbish?
A ganzy in Walsall-Wood was not a cardigan. It was an undergarment that miners wore down the pit.
Gail Morgan

stoke words
when I was a lad your trousers were referred to as your kecks and your sweater was a gansey.
Clifford Ellis

can anyone tell me what county uses the word bint?

there are loads of words to add to your glossary.. its difficult to know which one's I use are solely 'Stokie' though!
Wherever I have lived and worked I have always been the girl from Stoke, it seems that I'm well know because of it. I'm very proud to be from the Potts, and I love my dialect, but I do get into trouble with it. I seem to be forever translating what I mean!!!
The other day I said to someone that they 'ad more chops than butchers'.. and only this morning I called someone nesh.. they just always look blank at me!!!

One point to make is that 'yer snap' - as in your food, isn't just South Staffs as mentioned in your glossary but North Staffs too. Although, having lived throughout S Staffs, I've never heard it spoken there at all.
Snappin is also used in North Staffs to mean the same, as my dear 'owd grandad' did..
Kelly Maddock-Davies
now in Bristol

Stoke Talk
At up, am gooin to talk stokie, if feenk its dead mint, i gor go anley tod'y, i ate shoppin, anyway you shud try speakin stokie its dead mint.
Newcastle under lyme (Stoke)

i was bringing my new boyfriend home for the first time and tactfully asked my Dad if he would please speak proper english;
"oi wull dew me best wench" i breathed a sigh of relief.
well along came the new boyfriend,my dad was doing his very best when a certain pub was mentioned.My Dad said that he knew that pub so my boy friend said that maybe he knew his father as it appeared that they were both pidgeon fanciers,he asked what his fathers name was,when he heard the name he said:cricky is that thy fether he is a smoshin'bloke e is".... !
Ï thought i should die of shame,it wouldn't upset me now but when one is sweet 16 it is another world isn't it? I have just found this programme on my PC,was quite interested as my very dear friend for more than 66 years lives in lichfield but came from Princes End west mids; when wwe were kids.How we renewed our friendship is an unbelievable story,if you are interested in I will send it .
we hadn't seen or heard of each other for more than 60years.I have live in holland for47 years,my sisters and brother live in wolverhamtonwhom i visit quite often, a visit to see my friend is always one of the highlights of my hols;she has lived for years in lichfield so the chance of ever finding each other was almost nil don't you agree?hope you enjoy my story(true story)
mrs alice dijkstra-shaw
drachten, holland

I have heard that when a local firm was taken over by a French company the French firm duly sent over a director. On being introduced to the director a middle manager said "Ar at owreit?" (How are you all right?). The director asked him to talk a little slower as his English wasn't very good to which the man replied "AAArr aatt oowwrreeiitt?) Said to be true.
Allan Belfield
Draycott in the Moors

You've got me going now, published at last! My family come from Leek and my grandmother was widowed during the last months of the 1st world war, left with 4 lads and another on the way.
Among them was Sid, born 1912 he only spoke dialect until he died recently in his 90s. My father George was born in 1915 and was bilingual, English and North Staffs. At the outbreak of the 2nd world war my dad was conscripted to the Durham Light Infantry, not good news and Sid was conscripted to the Army Service Corps an altogether cushier option.
After posting Sid was sent with a bowser to fetch water for the batallion, on his return he was asked by an officer if the water supply was far away to which Sid replied "S mony a wee" literally "it's many a way" (It's a long way away). The officer was perplexed and asked if anyone could translate. He was told that Sid had a brother in the DLI and father was duly transferred to the RASC and subsequently quite enjoyed his war
Allan Belfield
Draycott in the Moors

Stafordshire Words
When I was a kid I lived in Walsall Wood my Grandad used to say Get some suck before you goo Meaning sweets
Trevor Brown
Narangba, Queensland ,Australia.

stoke talk
wot abowt Gooin' dine stoke or gooin' up 'anley cross off cross the road get on th'bricks get on the pavement stee thee wee thee at stay thou where thou art me dad wuddna let me talk stokie, he used say It costs no more to speak correctly oops!
derek williams
chorley, lancs Ah used live up meir

keyholes for meddlers
The full saying is as far as I know ''Keyholes for meddlers, boxes for fiddlers and crutches for lame ducks.''Its a reply to nosey people who want to know "what you have in that bag", your pocket, etc. In other words, mind your own business.
les hewitt

"kweedlin' / queadling" ...
I don't know how that word is supposed to be spelt, but as a child growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, whenever myself or my siblings took to rocking a chair back and forth as we sat on it we were told to "stop kweedling!". The origins of the word remain a mystery to me. Possibly another derivation of an obscure, traditional pottery industry process? eg. the foot pedal that spun a potter's wheel (or spinning wheel for that matter) ?

keyholes for meddlers
The full saying is as far as I know ''Keyholes for meddlers, boxes for fiddlers and crutches for lame ducks.''Its a reply to nosey people who want to know "what you have in that bag", your pocket, etc. In other words, mind your own business.
les hewitt

more on 'muffin' ware ...
Since I've heard of 'muffin kilns' I did a quick internet search and copied this from the following link: :- In 19th century Staffordshire, the 'muffin maker' was a potteries worker, who specialized in making small plates less then 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter. The plates were made on a mold, in a jigger/jolley fashion. The 'mold runner', usually a young boy of as little as 9-10 years of age, would take the mold with its newly formed plate to a drying room and bring another blank.
Source: When I was a Child, C. Shaw (An Old Potter), 1903.

staffordshire words
one word that's always foxed me is 'tranklements' a term often used by my mother [a derbyshire lady] when referring to a collection particularly, in my case, toys. is anyone familiar with the word?
al gy
melbourne australia

Potteries words
When I was at home my and my mother was doing housework she used to refer to it as Kale. When anyone was courting it was always said that they were mashing
Cliff Ellis

Cos kick a boa
This saying was sometimes followed by - Dunna fash thesen if thee conna. Translated as - don't worry if you can't. Having lived in Brum for 20 yrs I suffered many taunts about the way I pronounced different words and some of the phrases that I used, and I didn't think that I was particularly broad Potteries! One was "Bowk" for book, which when you were doing Accounts was used quite a bit each day...
Annette Cook

Old English?
Ast bin skay-oo? Is this "Hast thou been to school?" At goin' wom? Is this "Art thou going home?"

Mardarse = crying over spilt milk or whining to long over something (summit). Mardy = similar to mardarse, quickly upset ie "stop being so mardy" / dost = do you want / shady = being unfair to somebody, similar to 'being tight' to someone / ow at ner = how you doing and the all time favourite for going shopping or clubbing in stoke on trent..........going up hanley duck!!
stoke on trent

Voices and Dialects
My grandfathers used and my father still uses the word 'thunging' (pronounced thunjing) to describe the sound when someone next door was banging doors or doing DIY. My grandmother used to use the word 'keeming' when someone was pulling faces in a "na, na, na na-na" way.
Mark Lyttleton
Sneyd Green

A few years ago I was general manager of a local car dealership. A customer phoned and asked to speak to Neil the foreman.
The receptionist informed the caller that Neil was not the name of the foreman and that"the foreman's Ged", meaning the man's name. The caller said... he was sorry to hear that!
In the Potteries, people often say someone is "jed" (ie - dead!). Perhaps one to add to your list.
Geoff Aust

Mum and Dad's friends were visiting us in Canada (from Uttoxeter). Another, elderly friend, from Michigan, USA was also visiting. Reg (from Uttoxeter) often referred to Kay (from USA) as "Toad Lady".

Kay didn't understand until my Dad translated that Reg was actually calling her "The old (T'ode) Lady". Neither is very flattering though!
Neville Jones
Toronto, Canada - originally, The Blythe,

'Cos kick a bo agin a wo
My Dad often said that phrase as well - with one variation - 'Cos kick a bo agin a wo, and y'ed it WI' YER 'EAD AND bost it'
Neville Jones
Toronto, Canada (Originally The Blythe - Staffs.)


"KEYHOLES for meddlers and CRUTCHES for lame ducks"
My mom used to say that back in the 40's when I was young. I wonder where that saying came from? Any ideas?
Graham Jones

local phrase
My sister and I, both from Stoke, recently had a night out with a friend from Brum (Birmingham). Apparently us Stokies use the expression "I arn't" quite a lot.
We also refer to close family as 'our ...' what ever their name is.
Stoke on Trent

Saying the time
When giving the time "analogue style" most people would say "ten past four" and "five to three" for 4:10 and 2:55 ("digital style"). When it comes to 11:35 you might imagine that it would be "twenty five to twelve", yet people around south Staffs and north Warwickshire (where I come from) say "five and twenty to twelve". I have not noticed people from other parts of the country saying this.
David Jenkinson
Milton Keynes, but originally Tamworth

Stoke words and phrases
Deck eet, whut? Stop it, please. / Dust ayer? Are you listening? /
Shotties (marbles) / Crogging: to cheat at shotties by moving closer / Dunna they be facey. Don't be cheeky.
Some years ago my father arranged for two visiting Argentinian girls and myself to have a tour of Norton Colliery. By the time they went back home they were able to have this brief dialogue: 'Wees bin?' 'Wane bin dine pit!'
Dave Kendall
Tunstall now Guildford

My granma used to say; 'I were that sneaped!' but usually consoled herself with'You don't have to bother!'
Another common saying was 'Yuh shunna say wunna it tinna polaiht.
Ann Ryan
Long Beach, New York USA

I always thought that this meant that the person was not shy or reticent
Brian Walker
Harrogate ( old Longtonian and Keele)

Staffordshire Dialect
I also remember Where's our kid?, but I think that borders N.Staffs/S.Cheshire
Donna M Deaville
Chell Heath Nr Tunstall

Staffordshire Words
My Dad often said Bonk-(Bank), Fost-(Fast), T'hill-(the hill).
We often played in the Back Alley-(Entry between streets to the back doors.)
Chell Heath, Nr Tunstall Stoke

stoke phrase
This used to be painted as part of a mural on the Potteries shopping arcade in Hanley. Not sure if i've spelt it right tho: "'Cos kick a bo agin a wo and y'ed it till yer bost it" - basically translated means - can you kick a ball against a wall and head it till you burst it.
claire bagnall

deck it
When I was a child i lived in lincolnshire. My father's family all lived in Stoke. When we used to visit them, the way they spoke was always a source of amusement to us.
"Deck it" (pronounced "deckeet" was on of our favourites. Later my family moved to Stoke and I suppose my ear became used to the accent and I didn't notice it so much. About 30 years ago I moved away from Stoke and now, I only have to hear someone say a few words and I recognise it immediately.
Wendy Sutton

Mithered - a state of being confused because one's train of thought has been interrupted. / Ronk - done with a knowing attitude or (in) an ironic manner / Nesh - as in as nesh as a carrot - meaning sensitive to the cold. / To crog in (1060's school slang) - to elbow your way into a queue
Brian Walker
Harrogate (old Longtonian and Keele)

I can corroborate this. My parents (father born 1902) and mother (born 1915) both worked in the pottery industry and referred to side plates as "muffins".
As a child I could never understand why the food item and the crockery had the same name - presumably because the plates were oif a size suitable for serving muffins?
Brian Walker
Harrogate ( old Longtonian and Keele)

Staffs Words
People from North Staffs/stoke always say their 'mithered' when somethings on their mind and worrying them.
Claire Bagnall

Nan's Little Duck
My Nan always called me Duck. She would say "away duck get yesel in" She orginally came from Amble, Northumberland but lived in Smallthorne. Some of the words were similar but accent was not as strong.
Andrea Smith Nee Charlton
Tunstall Now in Portsmouth Hampshire

When I moved to Barrow in Furness from Stafford in 1974, I used the expression "Going round the Wrekin" when someone was making a story over long. Their was a blank look on all my workmates faces, except one and he was an ex-potter.
Alan Budd
Barrow in Furness

Stoke and Yorkshire
I'm surprised that so many stoke words are similar to Yorkshire words, How ever I'm surprised no noe has added "Duck" as in " ow are we duck?" refering to a woman.
I often say as well " Not backwards at coming forwards" meaning they know what they are doing
Audrey Lewis
Cliff Vale

Stoke words
My nan often refers to a small side plate as a muffin, whether this is a Stoke word or not I am not sure.
Jackie Plant

Potteries Dialect story
Hello, It was back in the early 70's whne we were on holiday in the Isle of Wight.
As usual we were on a par three golf course: myself as a young man, my father, his bothers and various cousins. One of his brothers Bernard spoke in a broad potteries dialect. He used to be a dipper in the pot banks. We were on the first tee ready to start when two men cam down the latter part of the fairway on the right hand side of us. My uncle Bernard didn't see them. We had already spoken to them and discovered that they were French.
He hit the ball and sliced it to the right. The ball hit the first French man on his thigh. The man was clearly in pain. My uncle Bernard walked over to him and said "Sorry ar yowth disna sey thee theer" The puzzled look on the French mans face!
The family have laughed about this for years when the subject comes up. Hope this is of interest.
Dale White

Aye, an I bet yer were "reet sneeped by that siree"!
My Grandfayther used to say "At gayen' dayen' Kickcrew?", which meant "Are you going down to Kidsgrove?". He lived up at Mow Cop and was an ex-Miner, at t' footrull (Footrail Mine).
Mike Cope
ex-Mow Cop & Stafford, now Bexhill.

The game of "Marbles"
When I was a child living in Hanley in 1945/6, I remember that Marbles were referred to as "Alleys" - maybe the spelling is wrong but that was the way it sounded
Rob Newton
Newcastle under lyme

use your cheek
He's using his "owd buck" again.It means he is being cheeky
Cliff Ellis

My grandfather used Bont when referring to a piece of string.
Neil Bristow
Swindon (ex-Stafford)

Segs was also used if someone got something fost first) and you wanted to be next in line for it, so you called segs or seggy (second)
Dave Parkes

AKA calluses - but interestingly, did the use of segs as a name for hard skin have anything to do with the fact that they were also variously shaped steel tips for the leather soles and heels of boots - a sort of refined hobnail?
Chris Nixon

Staffordshire words
Nesh relates to someone not dealing with the cold too well.
An example being that as a young teenager, i worked with a local builder in Eccleshall. Jack (the boss) was up a ladder in freezing cold weather in a howling wind. I was was just below him shaking with the cold. He turned to me and said "You're blummin nesh lad"

If I got summat (Something) wrong i would get a rate (Right) cussin (telling off). Suitably cussed it would be time to grab our snap bag and scoff our snappin. Dunna werrit (Dont worry) he would say. I dont use the words now as I have long since moved away, but i still find my self saying dunna (Dont) wunna (Wouldnt) conna (Can't)
mark pearce
Colchester (Ex Eccleshall)

Tamworth words
dancers=stairs, / donnies=hands, / miskins=a samll room for the dustbin, / wooden hill also means stairs, / buzz=bus / ,brewus, brewhouse=wash house in yards of old back to back houses, / cubby hole, cubby house= small storeroom / ,dust-up=fight, / marley =marble, / manky=dirty and smelly, / little varmint=naughty child, / little'un=younger brother or sister, / mawlers=hands, / nicker=£1, / our kid=referred to a brother or close male relative, / our wench= young sister or other close relative, / 'orse road=road, street, / nippers=children, / pumps=canvas, / riffy=dirty,scruffy or flea ridden, / saucepan lids=kids, children, / sharabang=coach, / grizzle, blart=cry, / conk=nose, / choc a block=overcrowded, / dout=to put out, / dripping (or lardy ) cake= sweet, stcky, doughy cake, / la pom=toilet, / woolly bear=caterpillar, / yap=gossip and chatter, / worn't = was not, / stinker=cold or flu, / sucks=sweets, / moggy=cat
Brenda Nicklin

Local phrases
Good grief, theres loads of em! "thee custna if thee wust cust?" meaning, you wouldn't if you could would you?, or "Its as black as Bills mothers over there", meaning, it looks like bad weather over there.
how about," I'm as knackered as a scissor grinders dog!", fairly obvious that one, or to finish,"Aht gooin-on?", meaning how are you?
Thanks for this site, its been a pleasure going through all the different phrases.
Dave Smith
Longton S-O-T

local words
a phrase still quite widely used is,. Wots got fer they snappin. For those not familiar it means simply. What food have you brought to work for your meal break?

I remember during the seventies my dad havin two local books called i think, Afer towk rate. Does anyone know if they were ever republished.
Gary Cope

Staffordshire/cheshire words.
My father often referred to horses as TITS. It was not unusual to hear him say he had seen Mrs Suchabody going past with a new Tit. In the older dictioneries a Tit is a young horse.
Pearl Dunne

Stoke words
I remember my grandmother saying this rhyme: "Sally, me wench, may I come in? No, ye cenna, me fether's in. Ye mustna whistle, ye mustna shout But rattle me clogs, till I come out"
Brisbane, Australia

Local Words
Brummie colloquial words are spelled the same and have the same meaning as our Staffordshire words.
If you follow links to similar sites on the internet - there are thousands! - other districts local words pretty much have the same or similar meanings as we do.
Nearly all our so-called local words have Anglo Saxon derivitives - they are often moorland words from dialects that survived after the Norman invasion. This is what makes English as a language so important - the thing is that it is changing all the time and new words are being added as we speak.
I've noticed that over a couple of decades the Potteries' dialect has changed so much that we are quite surprised to hear words such as lossock, sneep, nesh, werrit and clem et al because they have disappeared along with our factories, potbanks, coal mines and traditional industries. These workplaces were the places we learned the meanings of our parochial language - now they've gone our dialect and accents will go too. This and of course the mass use and availabliity of international communications - the tele and cinema - pop music.
The two words I can remember that may have originated here in Stoke on Trent are keem - meaning to fret (usually a child) and scorp - meaning to shout at somebody.
Fred Hughes

By the way, nobody has yet mentioned the term, 'come keen' which means sharp pain; if, say, you trap your finger in a door an observer might say, "Ooh, I bet that come keen!"
Chris Preston
Meir Park (ex of Joiner's Square)

Ayup wut, What about the verb "to scorp" ? - as in - "...ays bin scorpin an showtin at is wafe o bloody nate!..."
And use of the word -carlo -drunk - as in - "..ay were bloody carlo when he came wom last nate.." Best regards
Mike Myatt
(Hanley 1942 - ' 64)

me and my mates were all discussin what a turnip is - a chonnack or a turnip? i would like other peoples vews on it.


Staffordshire and The Potteries Dialect
I was delighted to note the dialect for this area is being preserved as per the lunch time programme.
I was born in Northamptonshire, my Mother in Gloucestershire, but Dad was born at Longton in the Potteries as were my grandparents. Dad moved away at about fourteen years of age but he never lost his accent.
There are two phrases I remember from my childhood (now seventy-six). If I enquired where he was going to and he did'nt want me to know he would reply "Up Suff". When we moved from Northamptonshire to a small village he advised me to take care when talking about other folk as they are "like botts cotts round here". Gran always referred to Grandad as "The maister" possibly because they had been in the butchering and this is what she would have called him in the shop.
Margaret Biggs
Fownhope, Herefordshire

Potteries slang
My family are all from Fenton and Hanley, I remember a rhyme me Grandad used to say when I were a kid. "Koss kikka bow, genst a wow, an yeddit tillit bost". Translated for those not from this area, "Can you kick a ball, against a wall, and head it until it bursts".
Bit non-sensical I suppose, but has always stuck with me.
Matt Horwell
Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent

Local words
Whatabout the words and phrases used by miners? "Shut yer gob" keep your mouth shut, which I think originated from N. Staffordshire miners - a gob being an area of coal that had been taken out and had a tendency to spontaneously combust or catch fire. The miners would then seal it up - 'shut the gob'.
Also what about "butties" and "doggies" and "tommy shops". are these N. Staffs mining terms?
Rodger Deane

Keyholes for meddlers
Thanks for that. It makes much more sense!
Chris Coates
Perth Australia

alreet - alright / ow at - how are you / wot you on - what are you doing / nithered - cold / bosted - ugly / gangly - tall & lanky.
my folks always used to say off you go up the wooden hills - meaning time for bed / ow at thee ducks - how are you love

staffordshire words
thadge-a lot;smidge-a little bit;bucker-a dare, usually jumping cuts (canals!);buckered -to have failed a dare;cooting-courting;simming-spying on courting couples
david evans

Potteries dialect
My family used "saunded" to mean late for work and also "franked" to mean getting up late.
I got to work 15 minutes late one day and said I was franked but my boss (not from round here) didn't understand, me being only 16 then couldn't work out how to say it different so got docked an hours pay for not explaining properly. Always
used "pops" as name for my dad, don't know if it's pottery but when I moved I said it to someone talking about my dad and she said I must be from potteries as her previous boyfriend used same and he was from Hanley.
Got the complete Grandad Piggott set of tapes the other day - now teaching my 16 year old how to towcrate - he loves it.
Glynn Swift
Oswestry (was born in Northwood, lived in Potteries 35 years.

When a lad calls his mate.
Ah’ll bi cumin run innan’oor u so. Is tha’ goona be in u wha? Yuh mam sed ah’d ketch thi if’n’a culled nah so ah’m cullin thi.
Nigel Hawcroft

A conversation overheard in Hanley (circa 1966)
· Weerst goo fer yer ollydees, Ronnie? · Nooweer, Adger. Just went t’th’Wakes. · Oo me ’n mar lady owiz goo t’Prestatyn. We luv Wales. · May n’ow. Arv sayn Moby Dick seven tarms! · Thee knowst warra meant, dunna be okkud. · Actually, ar wuz thinking’o gooin t’th’Lido next year. · Wost? Near Venice, lark? · Nar, near Bucknall. · O ar, ar’ve eerd it’s a cut above th’average. · Another crack like that’n yer’ll fow in eet. · Just coz thee purrus in a kind slice dunna mayn way conna still appreciate the simpler things in larf. · Well, thar wayfe any road. · What’s mayn bar that? · Well, er appreciates they, ar spose. · Er cud’o done a lot woss’n may! · Oh ah? At sure? Somebody bin towkin, ’av thee? · Wot’s gerrin at? · Nowt, ar dunna mayn nowt. What’s up wi’they? · They’t better watch it, surry. · Oh ar? Wot’s gooin do? · Dost wanna fate? Arm not too owd, thee knowst! · That’s not what I ’erd thar wayf see! · Rate! That’s dunnit! Tak off thee coot, and purrem up! · Dunna be daft! They’t not gooin ter av a fist fate in the middle o’Anley at this tarm o’dee, in front ’o Britishomestooers! · Oh ar? Warnot? At sceered? · Wot? Of they? More lark embarrassed! It’ll bay all over t’Sent’nel termorrer ’n arm runnin fer’t’town council! Look, arm sorry, ow rate? Ar wuz just pullin thee leg. Dost fancy a paint? · Ow rate, arl let thee off this tarm. Ar could use a paint. · Thee musna let theesen get sneaped so easy, Adger! · Arm sorry as well Ronnie, let’s just forget it, ow rate? · Rate! Forgorrit! · Arm not forgettin’ about that paint, though! · Nar remind me, which wee t’th’Waggon’n’osses? · Lark thee dusna know!
Roy Cartlidge

Hard Skin
What's the correct word for lumps of hard skin on your finger due to overwork? I've always know them as SEGS being a Biddulph bloke, but down south they don't know what segs are.
Dave Machin

Two more words I remember: Peggin' - Desperate / Blinse - A glance or quick look
Chris Coates
Perth Western Australia

staffs dialect
my grandad used to call Kidsgrove Kikrew, and Burslem Boslem. When there was pork for tea he always said "a dunner lark poke", and he hated Margaret Thacker!
church lawton

Typical Potteries Conversation
(A young Potteries lad sees his friend standing outside a public house. a conversation ensues:)
- Tow rate ark?
- Ar, at they?
- Arm owrate burrem famished
- Ar, ar am 'n ow!
- Lets goo 'n get some rates pies
- A conna, ar onna gorenny money
- Nar, ar onna ayther
- Weerst toffter?
- Arm gooin wom, at cummin?
- Nar, a conna, arve got stee eer!
- Ast? Warsthat?
- Eest pee dee t'dee, n may mum's bad in bed, n arve gorra weet fer me fayther mak sure ay goos street wom!

Roy Cartlidge
Montreal, Canada

Potteries Sayings
One of my Fathers sayings in hot weather was 'Arm as dry as a Larm Burners clog', Which refered to the clogs of lime pit burners who's clogs would split because of the heat of the pit.
When he came home if he looked worn out I would ask 'At O rait' he would some times say 'No th oppers brok a gen' Which refered to the coal hopper which lifted coal trucks at Stoke sheds to load coal into the steam engine tenders - it was a very tempermental piece of machinery. He was outside forman at one time in the sheds.

Other Sayings 'Our Youth' elder brother / 'Our Kid' younger brother / 'Goin Whom' going home / 'Schraff tip'. where all the pot banks tipped the waste from the factories broken pots and moulds etc. / 'Mar lady' or 'th missus' terms for the wife, Bless em!
Stuart Tunnicliff

Potteries Sayings and phrases
Like a lot of migrants in Oz, (Italian, German, Dutch, etc) I like to talk in my own language with other Potteries folk "ite 'ere", but only for fun! Always end up crackin' up laughin' at some saying.
Try doing biblical stories in Nowth Staffs accent. It's a hoot! The faydin' O the Fave Tharsund is an easy one!

The reduction of two words to one short one shows great talent. Examples being: Wut- will you, Cost-can you, Hast- have you, Didst- Did you, Wenst- when you. No doubt ther are many moer.

A saying I remember for someone who is a nosey parker, goes something like "Leo's for meddlers, and crussies (Crusts) for lame ducks" Can anybody tell me where that originates from??
Chris Coates
Perth Australia via Tunsta', Towk, an' Owsajer

potteries words
This site brought back memories .
Puthery is one of my favourite words , glad to see it in writing.
Mum used to refer to people as being "stiff" if they were squat in build ---at least that's what I thought it meant .
She also used to say "Id as lief "for "Id just as soon"
One word that I've never heard anyone saying since leaving home is "garl" for the crusty bits of "sleep" that collect in the corner of your eye.
No one seems to have mentioned "skeedy" for left -handed
Speaking of hands , Mum used to call them "pidders and "donnies". Maybe pidders was fingers and "donnies" were hands."graunchin'" was crunching food .
"dimpsed"was used for something that was broken (I remember it being used for light bulbs )
My dad always said "Who belongs this ?" for "who does this belong to?"
Also , the bits of skin that can grow up alongside your fingernails were referred to as "backfriends "
To twist a part of your body awkwardly , such as your neck, was "to kench theesen "
To be constipated was to be "bun" or "bun up"
A "rammel" was an unpleasant dog or child .
"Skennin" was frowning , I think.
The word "jerkin" was commonly used for a cardigan and "gansey" for jumper
."Fizzog" was "face "(i'm pretty sure that's from Irish ---any offers?
"Thrape "was used for thrash "I conna be fashed " meant "I can't be bothered " - an extension of this was " Ar onna fashed abite it " meaning I'n not keen on or bothered by. And also "dunna fash theesen " ---don't go to trouble or "werrit "
Tough meat was always "cag ag" according to my Mum
"Stale"was the word for a broom handle
If something was put down in anger , it was always "slat down"
"Flobbing " was a particularly obnoxious male tendency ---that of sptting phlegm, or gobbing
"Tripe'ound " was a derogatory term for people and to "cant "on a person was to tell tales about them (A term that got me in trouble when I went to live in London and called someone a "cant ")
As a primary school child , "cruddy" was rubbishy and "skinny " was mean.
"Foggies ' meant that you had first go in a game and as far as I can remember , "seggies " was second go I think , or was it a term used for marbles ?
We used to go to the "Saffruck " to look for plates
Joan Ginsberg nee Hand

rhetorical questions like: 'e anna as e?' 'e inna is e?' dunner-don't wunner-won't...
Since I am a teacher of English to foreigners I have actually tried teaching my students some Stokie dialect..... amusing to say the least!!
Emma Wright
Milan, Italy

My mum uses mard to mean "spoilt", as in "dunna be so mard" - here in Perth (australia) they say a child's acting "sukey".
Perth, Australia

Owd grandad Piggott
Owd Piggott is a timeless classic and has place in our local heritage. I grew up listening to Piggott stories at 'wom' in the 70's and i still enjoy his exploits as much now as I did then.
My kids, however, David 13 and Lucy 10 cannot understand the dialect used and I have to translate!! What is the world coming to?

I hope that Povey continues to spin us yarns of "th'owd mon" for years to come. (PS, Mr Povey, if you read this, please release your back catalogue on CD format they would sell "faster than potteries demolition workers strip lead from a roof on 'tarm n ayf'")
Graham Goodwin
Longton (neck end)

Lekkin con
Lekkin Con: Old Biddulph Moor word for a watering can. You can also lek th'garden.
Tun dish: funnel
Fermitree: Breakfast cereal before Kelloggs.
Maid Away: As in "It's maid away in here" meaning it's dirty. For some reason, some people say I'm maid away with a cold.
Dave Machin

Dialect words.
When I was at school in Penkhull many years ago, a friend of mine had a very fussy little dog which used to jump up when you entered the hose. My friend would say, "Dunner fer let him scrawp yer" meaning "Don't let his claws scratch your legs."
Viv Butler

Wot 't werritin' about. My grandfather used to say this meaning what are you worrying/bothering about. Very similar to mither.
Tony Babb
San Jose, California

Staffordshire dialect.
There are 2 books called "Arfur Tow Crate" and they were written by Alan Povey & Andy Ridler.There is an address in the back of the book where further copies can be obtained. The Adderley Press, 2 Bambury St., Adderley Green , S-O-T ST3 5BX. Another Stoke word is "dinged" meaning a bruised piece of fruit.
Viv Butler

a couple of things they say
Skew wiff Stee thee weer thee at
Derek Williams
Chorley, Lancs, formerly Meir

Mither and Mardy
to Mither is to disturb someone,,,"dont mither me im busy or stop mithering "
Mardy is to be easliy upset ,"dont be mardy @rse ,it didnt hurt that much,".
ALso to "sneep" someone is too offend them,

dialect in Staffordshire (and Scotland)
"mither" is mentioned twice here. It's a good Icelandic word, (also probably used everywhere else in Scandinavia)which also means to bother and in an expression meaning "sorry" pronounced "thee meethoor", - my Icelandic keyboard is on the blink, so I cannot spell it using the Icelandic alphabet).
Icelandic is full of English language words originally Norse.
John Murray
Seabright, near Halifax Nova Scotia

ronk ,,nesh ,backer
i grew up in Biddulph,,,nesh means you feel the cold easy ,ronk means smells nasty ,and to give someone a ride on your bike (two of you on a bike) is a backer , many more words and expressions still used today

My father used Sam
Sam Sam canna come in, nay begum may father's in dunna ya whisle, dunna ya shart but rattle ya clogs and they'll come art
sharon white
Brown Edge

staffordshire words
Mashing = courting. Peedy =small marble.
Ken Clarke

Old Penkhull Twang
My dad Joe is a bit of a lad (he's 89!). He hails from Penkhull. Just a few of his (probably personal) verbal gems.
Porrich - porridge. / Serrups o'fegs - syrups of figs.
Down Stoke, up 'Anley - as in "I'm going down Stoke and up 'Anley".
Sentnel - Evening Sentinel (newspaper).
My Grandmother Joynson from Silverdale had a few special words like: Ess hole - ash hole under the fireplace / Crodeldy - corregated / curly shaped / Mither - bother or worry,as in "Dunna mither y'sel".
Toke Pits - Talke Pits / Singlet - vest / Perishing - very cold / Blummin 'eck!! - an explicit! / Brickle or brickel - brick kiln / Wieless - wireless (radio) / Penkull - Penkhull / Redpenk - a small fish with a red belly / Thrutch - behave irritatably (especially in babies) / Artsill - Hartshill.
Allan Cartlidge
Inverbervie, Montrose, Scotland

aw ter towk rite
i'm not completley sure if this is the same book but i had a copy of one by, i think, fred leigh?, if not the same then along the same lines. webberleys in hanley is the best place to look, they have quite a good local section (that's where i got mine) if not try putting it into google, i'm relatively sure it's available to buy online
willow minskin

Pottery Talk
When I was young doing something and taking a long time over it my father used to say.'Come ight th road thait actin lark a bloke a'rm th arnt tew' Or let me do it, your acting like a woman!!!
Another Fenton saying ' I'm goin down lido'. Which mean't we were going down Smiths Pool to play or fish
A saying from Heron Cross primary School if you were doing something wrong 'Right o for Miss Fox' who was the head mistress
Stuart Tunnicliff
Draycott-le-Moors.(ex Fenton)

In south cheshire to scrawp is to graze. As in he fell over and scrawped his knee
Chris Bentley
Haslington, Crewe

stoke sayings
When my family phone and ask for me they always say is "is our lynn there" our meaning a family member.
My american husband had trouble figuring out my stoke accent at first and now i live in the USA no one can understand what i say half the time so i sent him this link to use as a dictionary.
Nebraska, previously Fenton

Stoke sayings/words
as skint - I have no money / mardy cob on - a moody person / wom - home / crash - to borrow as in 'crash us a fag'

Lobby meaning a stew, / mard- arse, meaning a cry baby, / frittend meaning frightend, / scrumping meaning pinching apples,
hilda nora timmis

to "knock-up"
This is also used throughout the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire. people used to pay a man, (called a "knocker-upper") a few pennies to tap on their bedroom windows early in the morning, to get them up for work, because if they were late they lost pay.
So this seems to be a general northen expressions, and not just from the Potteries.
Another word I remember was "crocks" coming from crockery - cups, plates, bowls etc . Used as in "put the crocks away after you've washed-up".
Joan Aggett
Stoke - now Leeds

In my part of Stoke-on-Trent, nesh could also mean that your feelings were easily hurt, or that you couldn't stand the slightest physical discomfort
Joan Aggett
now Leeds

Stoke dialect
In Stoke people go on t'buz (bus) up 'anley Hanley,duck. They are weary (wary)
Carol Parker
Cheddleton, Leek

A couple of examples that we use that haven't been mentioned yet - 'doofah' meaning a remote control, and 'sneeped' meaning upset.
Newcastle - Under - Lyme

pottery dialect
Cost kick a bow against a wo and head it til yer bost it: a potteries dialect saying from my partner who comes from Bradeley.
His mum would always say when her feet were cold that they were like a couple of duckers.
His dad always refers to trucks being lurries.
As I come from Biddulph Moor sayings were different; lekkin - watering (the garden) / tit - horse or pony... to name just two.
Wendy Shufflebotham
Biddulph Moor, Stoke on Trent

Pottery dialect
Just a few that I remember: clempt - starving / wolfed-eaten quickly, ie theyt musta bin ungry cuz theyst wolfed that dine thee / doffer-dare / blahting-crying / meek-timid / lossock-to rest in the horizontal position / neck ender-Longtonian / cut-canal / bollokst-extremely tired
Anton Coates
Perth, W.A.

Just a few more words common to the potteries: lamped-thumped / fang-grab / afe ender-half brick / chonnack-turnip / savoury ducks-faggots / trashers-knock about footwear / bossock-mad / mah lady-wife or girlfriend / r'youth-brother / castle black-native of N-U-L / scagging-truant / Ecca-Eric / Adger-Harold
Perth W.A.

watt abite?
watt abite , eh wunna cumm wom til th' gaise fly ower = What about, He won't come home until the geeses fly over.
me fayther ust wok dine th' pit, it was up th' bank from ah rice = My father worked down the coal mine which was up the hill from our house.
if thee cossna understand, that's yo fote
Oh and it was "Coss kick a bow agin a wow un yed it till it bosses"
Walnut Creek, CA.USA

Tamworth words
We used to say,"COULD YOU KNOCK ME UP". it meant wake me up at a certain time of the day.
Brian Hull.
Grand Valley

words books
One book of North staffordshire words and phrases that you haven't mentioned on this board already is one by the late (and very lamented) Fred Leigh.
However, I can't remember what it is called. It is on sale in waterstones.
Mick righter

Potters Dialect
Im quite surprised no one has submitted these yet!
Ow at? (how are you) / Duck (term of endearment) / Ay up (hi) / Ow rate (alright)
Stoke on Trent

staffs dialect
cack 'anded- not very dextrous / bozz-eyed- cross eyed / gullintynes- lawn edging shears / code- cold / perishing- really cold.
Blythe Bridge

Staffordshire Words
Here's a few Staffordshire words and phrases to start you off:- Back Road - toilet / t Bow - ball / Croggin' in - jumping the queue

Staffordshire Words - your suggestions!
Staffordshire words : Wandol - to get a bargin / Jessup - to wimp out / Maddock - Mad as toast / Jarrow - to "Jimmy" a door a s in "To Jarrow it open"
Paul Cartwright

To Charlie..... re Dialect Book
There are two books,Arfur Tow Crate in Staffy Cher,and The 2nd Book of Arfur......Cher.
Both were compiled by Alan Povey and Andy Ridler, with Drawings by Don Turner.

The first book was first Published December 1973 ISBN 0 905074 00 9. There were eight further impressions, and a reprint in October 1975. Printed at Adderley Press
The second book was first Published in November 1975 ( 3000 copies ) ISBN 0 905074 01 7 Second Impression December 1975 ( 2000 copies ). Made and printed by Stowes the Printers, Longton. 10,000 copies of the first book are stated to have been sold.

Alan Povey is still well known as the creator of Owd Grandad Piggott, and Andy Ridler was a respected member of the Radio Stoke staff. Were any copies kept at Radio Stoke ?
Paul Bradley

Staffordshire Words - your suggestions!
Snappin - Your packed lunch for work
Gareth James

Dialect words
My grandmother always used to refer to the alley between terraced houses as "the entry." When I was working elsewhere, I said this and everyone wondered what I was talking about.
"Mither"(pronounced my-ther) is a word which she also used, to mean don't bother with it/ him/ her.
My grandfather when he retired used to spend many a happy hour on the "shawdruck" or tip, looking for crockery that had escaped being smashed when slightly imperfect.
Mark Lyttleton
Sneyd Green

Pottries dialect
I have been trying to locate a book on the north staffs dialect. If memory serves me correctly it was called "owfer towcrate in stafysher". Is there a website on this subject? Many Thanks
Charlie Brereton

Pottries dialect
Snitter - a light dusting - as in a snitter of snow.
Puthery - heavy humid weather when a thunderstorm is brewing. Sneap - to hurt someone's feelings.
Flirt - to flick- e.g. to flirt a rubber band.(I now live in Shropshire, here they only flick them - they think flirting rubber bands is a very strange concept, but this meaning of flirt is in the huge Shorter English Dictionary).
Snicket - a cutting through to somewhere, like a shute, shut, alley etc.
furk(firk) - to rummage around in say a cutlery drawer, pushing things out of the way, as you search.
Firtle around -similar to above but more gentle.
All in a robble - a tangle, like when a kitten has played with a ball of wool.
Nesh - feeling the cold - as in "You are nesh".
Werret - (noun or verb) a worrier or to worry
I've been all round the Wrekin - a phrase meaning a long way round, or a journey that's taken you all over the place, referring to the fact that there is a long windy road squiggling around the base of the Wrekin that goes on for miles.
Andy & Cathy Owen

"Rumpty Fiz" means little devil
and "Cogsinell" - scruffy.
Lynne of Crewe

Pottries dialect
I think that you should do a bigger section on the Potteries dialect. Anyway my suggestions are: (my dad says these) wooden hills - stairs; to do somebody in- to inflict pain on somebody; nackered - worn out
Thomas Brayford

local phrases
A couple(?) of very good small books were published locally some twenty years ago, these were titled "Ow fer tow crate".
After the first, a second and I think possibly a third were published. These, if you can get hold of them would provide a wealth of local words and phrases.
Frank Millward


Maureen Ramsdell of Tamworth reckons that Scrawping means “ a young child screaming its head off – usually in the middle of a shop “ …. I disagree.
Scrawping is the act of climbing, clambering, shinnying etc etc up, along, on, under, around etc etc buildings, trees etc etc. Ie. The kind of “playing out” that lads do.
Hope this helps.
Mike Evans

When I was young and living in Kingsley Holt the following words were used:
Nesh If you felt the cold easily you were said to be "nesh"
Ronk You were "ronk" if you were irritable
(I don't know if this is how to spell the words!!!)
Mike Hooley
N Staffs

Local Crewe words
I wondered if anyone had given these words to you.

A local word for getting covered in nasty oil off your bike or car etc. is getting covered in 'bletch'. This word is derived from oil used in the old railway works here - people say that the oil came up from Bletchley.

My grandmother, who was a local lady, used to use the word 'puthery' for the type of weather which is also described as muggy.

Kind regards

Margaret Simon
Wistaston, Crewe

Local Crewe words
When I first started work in Crewe the word 'Bletch' was often used. This word is unique to Crewe coming from the Railway Works, 'bletch' was the name given to the sticky grease used on the old steam locomotive wheels & running gear. It is still used today for any grease or dirty oil substance. Hope this confuses all the listeners to Radio Stoke as it still does today to visitors to Crewe.

Another Creweism dialect word is 'meemoor' To 'Meemoor' at someone is to pull your face at them behind their back.

Keep up the good work.


Local Potteries words
Afe Crine............Half Crown
Bay Chum Spiders.....Beecham's Powders
Bill joe nice........Build your own house
Chaise 'n' Pittles...Cheese and Pickles
Kine Slice...........Council House

Found these terms from a internet site.

Michael Parr

Local Tamworth words
Yawp – to scream or shout loudly eg yawping from one side of the room to the other

Scrawping – a young child screaming its head off – usually in the middle of a shop Scrape- bread with an ultra thin layer of margarine or dripping

To scrat round – to have to search very hard for something eg scrat round for money at the end of the week

Clarts – warm wet brown stuff (to put it politely) eg I have a dose of the clarts, they dropped me in the clarts

Yed – head

Butty – canal boat

Diddycoys – tinkers

Ommer – hammer

Maureen Ramsdell

Local Black Country words
This little rhyme/riddle was taught to me as a child, back in the 50’s

Y’t a black yedded waiter rot wi a yella oddled ommer

You hit a black headed water rate with a yellow handled hammer

Maureen Ramsdell

Cos knock a bow agen a wow and bost it.
can you knock a ball against a wall and burst it.

She sneeped me.
She hurt my feelings

Do you want some dip on your bread
Do you want your bread dipped in meat juices

Ar conna dow eet, cost they.
I can't do it, can you.

Best Wishes
Maisie Parrish

Here are a few that come to mind

Bosted - Ugly - From burst - "Her as a face lark a bosted clog"

Gansy - Pull over - From Guernsey

Losit - Finish work - From Loose it

Colly Wesson - Awkward as in some one who says the opposite is true to every thing you say. - I think it is named after a man named Colin Weston who had a huge reputation for being opposite

Idle as deans dog - I understand it is from a long ago dean called Lutherium who's dog only moved when someone threw it on the fire

Whom - Home

Wut - Will you

Bonk - Factory - probably from Pot Bank

Swabsy - Fat - obese

Keggy handed - Left

Kime - To look at

Kine - Cattle

Straved deeth - Very cold - (Starved to death)

Clemed - Hungry - Starving (can also mean cold)

Ess ole - Bottom of a coal fire grate (Ash Hole)

From the above a publican might ask "Do you mind going home. Its closing time" this translated becomes "Goo whom wut. Its losit"

Note - A Lancaster bomber crashed on Grindon moor in 1947 because of poor translation of local dialect. Someone got through to the village by 'phone which had been cut off by snow for some weeks. The contact was asked if they were all right to which the answer was "Weree ow raight but were starving" This was translated as they were hungry but it actually meant they were cold. A drop of food was arranged and the plane crashed in fog killing the crew. The irony is that anyone who knows moorlands people would know that they always have twelve months of food - in the pantry, the pig sty, the hen cote or the shippon.

Turner Russell (QEH)

I moved here from Yorkshire in 1946 and wondered if I would have to go back to school to learn the language! One of my first problems occurred in my first job (Portland Pottery, Cobridge) when I was carrying some potters boards and someone said 'eyup, asta got a snifter then?' My first thought was that he was asking if I had got a handkerchief, but I soon learned that a snifter was a girlfriend, and he thought that I was carrying the boards to help a young lady in one of the 'flat shops'.

last updated: 06/04/2009 at 10:16
created: 10/08/2005

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