S - Buckinghamshire Vocabulary
The following list of words are quoted from three articles published in the "Records of Buckinghamshire" by Alfred Heneage Cocks, M.A, between 1897 and 1909 (some editing has been used to produce a unified list). See the introduction for further details..
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S'OORE, for swore (pret. Of swear). "'E s'oore summut unkid and dretful.".
SA'T, soft, silly.
SAG, a length of anything, timber, metal, rope etc. is said to sag when it bends at the centre, from its own weight.
ST. KATTERNS, for St. Catherine's Day, 25 November, when a snapdragon of gin and raisins was customary. For some explanations, see my "Church Bells of Bucks," pp. 280 and 379, and "Memoirs of the Verney Family," I., II.
SAUCE-BOX, a saucy fellow.
SAWL, see Strawl.
SAWNEY, a silly fellow, fool, simpleton (subj. and abject.). For Zany, Ital. Zanni. Probably from Latin sannio, one who make mimicking grimaces, a buffoon, or zany.
SCANTLE, TO, to hobble, to kibble (which see).
SCARIFY, to take the skin off; to clean ground (from weeds).
SCISSORS, CROSS AS, very irritable etc. "To stare like scissors" is also a common phrase, = To stare so hard as almost to become "cross-eyed."
SCORBERRY, the dew-berry (Rubus casius), one of the brambles, with the drupels larger and fleshier than in the blackberry, and ripening earlier.
SCORNY, horny, rough (of the skin).
SCRARM, TO, to scramble. SCRARMER, a scrambler.
SCRAT, TO, to scratch or scrape with nails or claws (as dogs, fowls, etc.).
SCRIMPY. See Skimpy.
SCROODGE, to crowd, to squeeze. "Where be ye a'scrooging tew?."
SCRUMP, SCRUNCH, TO, to crunch, to make a crunching noise. "It were frawsty, and, law! the leaves did scrump."
SCUFFLE-HUNTER, a fresh-water stevedore, or an extra hand taken on to assist in punting a barge past places where there is no tow-path. Skeat mentions Swedish Skuffa, and Dutch Schuiven, to push, or shove.
SCURF, TO, to punish.
SEA-SWALLOW, any species of Tern (Sterna). Some come nearly every year far inland, following the river.
SEEMINGLY, SEEMLY (often pronounced simly); apparently. "There ain't but three, seemingly."
SET, for sit; "set down." To hire; to let. Mr. Clear writes me that when he first came into N. Bucks, he used to see notices of "This House to Set." And the servant lads used to speak of having "set" themselves for a year, at the annual "statty fair" at Buckingham. Halliwell gives these latter meanings, as in various dialects.
SET-OUT, a festive gathering of any kind. Cf. Spread.
SHAKY-HEARTED (of wood). See Drucksey, and Spreezy (infra).
SHALL, often used conditionally; i.e., "You sholl goo into Bob's, and you sholl say this or that, and ten to one 'e'll tell ye the same ol' ditty every time." The pronounciation of shall is sholl when emphatic; otherwise shull.
SHATTERY, nearly broken.
SHAW, a small strip of woodland; used in distinction to the big woods of some hundreds of acres extent. HANGER properly "a hanging wood on the declivity of a hill" (Halliwell). PLANTIN', for plantation, properly a piece of wood that has been artificially planted. SPINNEY is, as Mr. Gurney states, "a small wood with much under-growth;" derived ultimately, no doubt, from the Latin spinetum, a thorn-brake. Halliwell defines it as "a thicket;" but adds that "in Buckinghamshire the term is applied to a brook."
"At the last bi a littel dich he lepez over a spenne,
Stelez out ful stilly by a strothe raude.
Syr Gawayn and the Grene Knyzt, 1709."
SHEAR-HOG. Halliwell explains this as "a ram or wether after the shearing," a midland counties word; but apparently used for a boar-pig.
SHE-BEECH, the hornbeam, See Horned beech.
SHEEP-MUSHROOM, an early kind of mushroom.
SHEEP'S-HEAD-AND-PLUCK, also simply "sheep's head," a Dutch, or "wag-at-the-wall" clock. In dressing a sheep, the pipe (trachea), with the lights (lungs) are left hanging from the head, and a Dutch clock with its long pendulum and weighted chains might remind anyone of the group.
SHET, for shut: only used in "shet up" = hold your tongue.
SHIFT, "I could make shift to;" = I could manage to.
SHIG-SHAG, an Oak Tree; a Maple Tree; "Shig Shag Day" = the 29th May. Mr. Summers writes: "I remember that oak branches with the oak-apple galls used to be called shik-shak in Surrey, and the 29th of May was known as 'Shik-Shak Day'; and as I have noticed that maple and oak are gathered indiscriminately on that day in Devonshire, I suppose this is the connection." Halliwell says Shick-shack-day is a term used in Surrey for the 29th May, or Royal Oak-Day.
SHIGGLE-SHAGGLE, TO, to trot at an uneven pace (as a horse). SHIGGLY SHAGGLY, irregularly, joltingly.
SHILLY-SHALLY - ABOUT, TO, to beat about the bush, not come to the point.
SHINDY. SHINE, a fight, disturbance, loud noise.
SHIP, pl. of sheep.
SHIRT-BUTTONS, the Greater Stitch-wort (= a plant, Stellaria holostea).
SHOOT, or SHUT, to weld (iron); to splice (rope; entries of payments for "shooting a bell rope," - not unfrequently spelt "shouting," - are very numerous in the old churchwardens' accounts, in all parts of the county, from about the seventeenth century).In Johnson's Dict. (4th edit., 1773), the ninth meaning of to shoot is given as, "To fit to each other by planning; a workman's term." With the quotation, "Strait lines in joiners language are called a joint; that is, two pieces of wood that are shot, that is, plained or else paired with a pairing-chisel.- Moxon." -IN, or -OUT, to put a horse to, or to put up. "I'll soon shoot him out!" from a very small boy, to whom one has just consigned one's horse and trap in an inn-yard, sounds rather flippant to anyone not accustomed to the language of the country! Among the many thousands of papers preserved at Claydon House. I met with [By kind permission of the Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Verney, Bart.] "A Terrar of a Yard Land Bought of Thomas Robinson of Buckingham." It is undated, but evidently belongs to (the second half of) the eighteenth century. In it "shooting" comes constantly: as "One Land in Coppid Moores shooting into Brackley way," etc.; "Two Lands shooting upon Bitters Sweet Ash," etc.; "Two Butts shooting in Baldwyn's Meadow," etc.
SHOWL, a shovel.
SHUFF, short grained (of wood); see Chuff.
SHUT, to get - of, = to get rid of. See also SHOOT.
SICH, for such.
SIDLE, TO, to slip, as a loose bank, to "colt in," etc.
SIGHT, a large number, or quantity.
SILLY MONEY, money gained without exertion.
SIN, for saw, seen, since.
SING-THRUSHER, The Thrush (Turdus musicus). See also Thrusher.
SIZZLE, see Suss.
SKEG, SKEGS, the bullace plum (Prunus insititia). I have heard Cat-wood (which see, supra) applied to this species, but probably in mistake.
SKEWETTING, wooden-skewer making. Formerly almost the only trade in Marlow, and elsewhere; now nearly, if not quite, extinct. Dog-wood was, I believe always the material used.
SKIFT (for SKIFF), almost any form of rowing-boat.
SKIMPY, scanty, short (in quantity), puny. SKIMPLING, a thin person.
SKIRMAGE, for scrimmage, skirmish.
SLACK-LINE, in topping trees when ropes are employed, the rope which takes the weight of the severed portion, and by which it is eased down to the ground, is so called.
SLAD, a meadow; now used only in composition in field-names.
SLAP-DASH, impetuously, etc. "He went slapdash at it."
SLAVER, saliva dribbling from the mouth. (Dictionary word).
SLEEPY-MOUSE, the Dormouse (Myoxus avellanarius).
SLEEPER, a Dormouse (Myoxus avellanarius).
SLEEPIFIED, somewhat sleepy.
SLIP, SLIPE, a bar of a flake-hurdle. SLIPE, a slip, or strip. "A little narrer slipe o' wood, with some fir-trees in it."
SLITHER ABOUT, TO, to stagger, or slide.
SLIVER, a slice, a splinter, etc.
SLOGGING, -IN, working hard.
SLOMMUCK, TO, or SLOMMUCKS, to trapes along with a slovenly gait. See Slommakin and Trapes; and Trapes infra; also Drotchel supra.
SLON, for sloe (Prunus spinosa).
SLOPPUT, to trapes along with a slovenly gait. See Slommakin and Trapes; and Trapes infra; also Drotchel supra.
SLOTCHET, to trapes along with a slovenly gait. See Slommakin and Trapes; and Trapes infra; also Drotchel supra.
SLUDDER, liquid mud.
SLURRY, muddy refuse. "Slurry-ponds" are banked receptacles for the refuse and mud washed away from coprolite-bearing soil.
SLUSH, a sluice.
SMAHM, or SMARM, TO. To smahm the hair down is to make it smooth by the aid of hair-gease. To smahm a person down is to flatter him with specious words, etc. A smahmy person is one with insincere, ingratiating manners.
SMELL-SMOCK, the Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis).
SMOCK-FACED (query for smug-faced), smooth-faced, clean-shaven.
SMOCK-MILL, a cylindrical wind-mill, so called from its fancied resemblance to a smock.
SMUDDER, TO, for smother, etc. "I be all smuddered up o' dust."
SNACK, TO, to snatch, jerk. TO GO SNACKS, to share.
SNICK, TO, see Nick supra. "Your scissors 'ave gone and snicked a bit out o' my ear."
SNOB, a cobbler. SNOBBING = cobbling; the act of mending shoes.
SNOMMUT, to trapes along with a slovenly gait. See Slommakin and Trapes; and Trapes infra; also Drotchel supra.
SNOT-BERRY, SNOTTY-GLOBS, the berry of the yew-tree.
SNOW-IN-HARVEST, SNOW-IN-AUTUMN, the plant alyssum. See White Money.
SO, DO, an affirmative answer, almost = yes. "Shall I come in?" "So do."
SO-FASHIONS, in this, or that manner.
SO HELP ME TEN AND A BOY, a humorous asseveration.
SOAKED, said of bread when sufficiently baked.
SOCKETER, a heavy blow. "Now you watch me give that ol' rat a socketer."
SOLDIERS' BUTTONS, the greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea). See Shirt-buttons.
SONNIE, and MY SON, an ordinary address in conversation.
SOODLE, TO, to walk gently or aimlessly along.
SORE, SORELY, very exceedingly. (As Prayer Book, "Sore let and hindered," Bible, "Sore afraid," etc.).
SORT OF, used tautologically: e.g., "'Is he the sexton?' 'Well, he's the sort of man what looks after the church.'"
SOT, for sat.
SOTCHEL, to trapes along with a slovenly gait. See Slommakin and Trapes; and Trapes infra; also Drotchel supra.
SOW-RAT, a female rat sometimes so called, also DOE- and BITCH-RAT.
SOWBUG, a woodlouse.
SPADDLE, a kind of hoe.
SPADGER, a sparrow.
SPICK-AND-SPAN, quite new.
SPINNEY, see Shaw.
SPIRTLE or SPURTLE, TO, to spirt. "It spirtles o' rain," i.e., a few drops of rain are falling.
SPIT, the quantity of earth removed at one time by a spade; also the "pips" or marks on dice, dominoes, cards, etc. From one of these two meanings comes the phrase: "He's the very spit of his brother," i.e., he is exactly like him. As a verb: "It spits o' rain."
SPLENDACIOUS, for splendid.
SPLOSH, for splash.
SPRAGGLE, TO, to struggle in a sprawling manner. "The brindle fell into the slurry-pond this aaternoon, but she spraggled out somehow."
SPREEZY, used of heart of timber splitting or warping. See Drucksey, and Shaky-hearted, supra.
SQUALLIN' THRESHER, the missel-thrush.
SQUAWK, TO, to squall raucously (said generally of hens).
SQUELCH, TO, to squash, to make a noise as water in boots.
SQUENCH, TO, for quench. Blacksmith's technical term for cooling hot iron with water.
SQUINCH UP, TO, to contract. "It made him squinch up his ol' feeace."
SQUINNY, TO, to squint.
SQUIRTLE, TO, for squirt.
SQUITCH, SQUITCH-GRASS, couch grass (Triticum repens).
SQUUZ (pron.skwuz), for squeezed.
STAG, "to stag," among workmen, is equivalent to "keeping cave" among schoolboys, i.e., to watch for, and give timely notice of, the approach of the master. Once, some quarter of a century ago, a Marlow builder had some work going on in close proximity to a public-house. Coming one day to see how things progressed, he was surprised to find not one of his men visible, but in their place a half-witted man. The puzzled builder asked the half-wit where the men were, and was told they were in the public. "Oh, really! and pray, what are you doing here?" "Stagging the old UN!" replied the imbecile, who, with the best of intentions, had quite lost the point of his instructions. Also, TO STAG, to cut down within a few inches of the ground; to cut the leaders off a tree, or to cut its head off, for the sake of the "lap" or lop. A STAGGARD (tom. cit. 300) is a tree which has been lopped in this way.
STAGGARD, a stump (of a tree). See To Stag. "It's little else but a staggard." Perhaps the same word as Stagart, which Halliwell explains as a hart in its fourth year.
STALE, STAYEL, the stem of a flower or leaf, or the handle of a broom, saucepan, etc. (very common). An earlier form of stalk. AS stel.
STANK, originally a pool or pond, made by damming up a water-course, thence (a verb) to dam up. Stank-lane in Pitstone is so called from being close to an old pond now filled up. Cf. tank. Old French estanc; modern French étang, = a pond.
START, occurrence, event, etc. "That's a rum start." A tale or report. "What start did he tell you?"
STARVED, perished, numbed. "I be a'most starved wi' cold."
STATTY, a statute fair. See Set.
STEEL WINDS, very sharp, keen winds (as the E. wind during a "Blackthorn Winter").
STIVE UP, TO, to confine in a close place. "He were stived up in a little ol' 'oole, so as he couldn't 'ardly move." STIVY (of weather), stiffling. Connected with stifle and tew.
STOACHING, "to come stoaching along," to come slowly. Halliwell gives stoach, and stotch, to poach, or make footmarks (of cattle) in a field.
STOCK-AXE, or GRUBBIN'-AXE, or -HOE, an axe somewhat resembling a pick-axe used for stocking up hedges, etc.
STOOR, store-pigs, young pigs to be fattened.
STOUT, haughty, "stand-offish," etc. (now rare).
STRAWL, SAWL, for straw, saw. SAWLING, for sawing.
STRIKE, a bushel of corn, regulated by passing a flat piece of wood (called a strike) over the measure; a strike, therefore implies more exact measure than the term bushel.
STRIT, for street (in a village).
STRODDLE, for straddle.
STUDY, TO, almost = to rack one's brain. "I study and study, but I can't think of it."
STUGGY, short, thick-set.
STUMP, a small Rick, or "built." The small remnant of a Rick from which the greater part has been cut away.
SUET-PLUGGER, a suet dumpling. A farm-boy's term for the chief delicacy of the times when he was fed by the farmer.
SUETY ISAACS, suet dumplings.
SUGGY, holding water (of decayed wood, etc.); boggy, swampy.
SUKEY, a "pet" name for a tea-kettle.
SUMMAT, for something.
SUMMER, SUMMERS, for somewhere.
SUMMER-SNIPE, the Common Sandpiper (Totanus hypoleucus).
SUMMING, arithmetic, in all its parts.
SUNRISING WATER, water from a spring flowing eastwards. Reputed good for sore eyes and bad sight.
SUP, TO, to drink. "You ain't a-drinkin', mate: come! sup." As a noun = a draught of any liquid. "I've 'ad neither boite ner sup since mornin'."
SUSS, SIZZLE, TO, to hiss, fizz, fizzle.
SWAG, TO, see Sag.
SWAIRT, SWAIRD, greensward.
SWIM, a "pitch" for bottom-fishing. I may here note that the flow of the river is always spoken of as the "stream;" the word "current" is never heard in the mouth of a native.
SWIMMER, a piece of dough boiled in a saucepan, as a pudding.
SWIMMINGLY, well, prosperously, etc. "I be gooin' an swimmin'ly."
SWINGE, to singe. Halliwell gives this as the second meaning of the word, in various dialects.
SWINGEL (G soft, = J), the swinging part of a flail.
SWOP, to exchange.