C - 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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CADGES, caddis worms (Phryganeidae).
CAGMAG, a state of disorder, a tangle. "All in a cagmag," said of hair, yarn, etc. CAGMAGGED, in same sense.
CALL, need, occasion. "There was no call for you to do so."
CALLIBOLCHER, CALLIBOLCHIN, a fledgling.
CALLOSED, pronounced callus'd. Hardened, encrusted, etc. "'Is sleeves were all callus'd up o' blood and muck."
CAMP- SHEATHING. (Usually so spelt, but pronounced Camp-shedding, occasionally camp-shiding.) Boarding put up along the river edge, to prevent the bank being continually washed away by the water. A similar association of shed and sheath is given by Halliwell, under the word Shed - "The sheath of a knife (Eastern Counties)." "The fundamental purpose of the sheath is undoubtedly the protection of the sword," [Wedgwood's "Dictionary of English Etymology," 1888] so probably Camp-sheathing is the protection of the field.
CANKER, a small caterpillar, or larva.
CANKER-BRIAR, -ROSE, the dog-rose (because infested with caterpillars).
CAP, "that caps me," = that beats me.
CAPER, a frolic, spree, fun.
CARNEY, to wheedle.
CARR', TO, to carry. "The 'ay were ready to carr." Also "dinner-carring." So empt' for empty.
CAST, "last cast o'night", used variously for midnight, and nightfall.
CASUALTY (pronounced cazzlety), used as an adjective; uncertain. "Cazzelty weather," "It's a cazzelty job". Mr. Summers says: "The word seems used of buildings run up hastily. 'Casualty' was the range of houses near Wendover ( a sort of eighteenth century New Tipperary) built by Lord Verney's tenants when he had turned them out for voting against his nominee. There is also a row of poor cottages called 'Casualty,' at Hedgerley Sean." (East Anglia vocabulary = the flesh of an animal that dies by chance.)
CAT-WOOD, or Spindle-wood Tree, the Spindle Tree (Euonymus europoeus). I have heard Cat-wood applied to the bullace plum by an Oxfordshire man, but probably this was a case of mistaken identity. See Skeg (infra).
CAT'S GALLOWS, a jumping frame, or "jumping-bail."
CAUTION, a person or thing remarkable in a disagreeable sense is called a caution. Probably slang.
CAVINGS, chaff, i.e., husks of corn after thrashing, not chopped straw.
CHAFF-HUCKER, the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs).
CHAM, to chew, or nibble into small pieces (as mice).
CHANCE IT, any way! at any rate! "That's so, and chance it".
CHAP. "You chaps" is the ordinary recognised form in which a labourer addresses his "mates" collectively; but "mate" (or "matey") is used when addressing one man singly. A "gaffer" or any description addresses a labourer whose name he does not know as "young man"; this is also the recognised term by which shop-assistants speak of themselves to outsiders ( the feminine form of the latter being, of course, "young lady").
CHAP-MONEY. Halliwell explains it as that which is abated or given again by the seller on receiving money (for the sale of cattle, or other farm produce).
CHATTER-PIE, a chatterer, "chatter-box," etc.
CHAW, to chew; or as a substantive, "A chaw of 'bacca."
CHEESE-LOG, a Wood-louse (Porcellio, Oniscus, and Armadillo).
CHESHAM CUCKOO. Mr. Gurney notes that a bag-full of cuckoos is popularly said to be opened at Chesham on the day of the fair (April 21st). These are "Chesham Cuckoos," and the first cuckoo's note heard in spring is that of a Chesham Cuckoo. "They dooan't raly do no sich thing, ye know, but that's what they say, like."
CHIBBLE, or CHIMBLE, to gnaw (as a mouse). The second form is given by Halliwell as a Bucks word meaning to gnaw; he adds, "Fragments so made are called chimblings."
CHIEF, intimate. "She was chief with her."
CHISEL, to cheat. Mr. Rye includes this in his East Anglia list, and derives it from Keesle, or Schisle, a boy's taw, formed from a schistus kind of stone found in the clay.
CHIVY, to chase, pursue. Halliwell says the word is possibly the same with chiven (Robin Hood II., 68). The word is also spelt chevy, which is explained in Webster's Dictionary (4th edition), as probably the same with the old word chever, connected with shiver. "Chevy chase" is probably the immediate origin of the word.
CHLOE, in the expression "drunk as Chloe", is as common as it is puzzling.
CHOCK-FULL, full to the utmost extent. Choke-full would probably be the more correct form.
CHOP, TO, to exchange. But in the common expressions "Chop and change," and "The wind chopped round," it seems rather to mean "alteration" and "altered" or "movement" and "moved." Also used as a noun meaning to exchange. (Same root as in AS ceapan, to buy). Cf. swop.
CHUCK, TO, to throw, cast, toss. The first meaning in the dictionary is to strike a blow under the chin.
CHUFF, wild, shy, timid; said of ferrets, etc. which have been bitten and so become shy. Also used as a nickname. See Shuff.
CHUMP, the thick end of a tree or a joint of meat. Also for head, "He is going off his chump".
CHURM, v. and n. churn.
CIPHER, TO, To cipher up is to count. Ciphering is arithmetic generally. To go ciphering about is to go about with an abstracted air.
CLA', for to claw, or drag. The word indicates hurried action. "Yes, we were weeting on the platform, and the treen was in, but I presumed I 'ad still a few momints. All at once, however, the whistle blew, and lor! I cla-a-hed in!" To CLA' UP, to pick up hurriedly; TO CLA' OUT, to get out of a place, or to take something out in a hurry; TO CLA' ABOUT, to ruch about in agitation; TO CLA' HOLT, to seize hastily.
CLACK, talk. "Hold your clack". Halliwell gives it as a woman's tongue, in various dialects.
CLAM, to seize. Skeat explains it "to adhere," from A.-S. clam, clay. Clamm'd (or clemm'd) with cold means numb, or "perished."
CLATS, horse-droppings, etc.
CLAYPERED, BECLAYPERED. Covered with mud and dirt. "He come in claypered up to his neck'ole."
CLINKING, capital, excellent.
CLOB-HEAD (for Club-head), a miller's thumb (= the fish Cottus gobio); a pope or ruffe (= the fish Acerina vulgaris), also called DADDY-ROUGH; a blockhead. The following gives both the first and third meanings:- An old fellow was gathering brooklime with a "mate," with whom he was rather annoyed. The mate presently asked, "Wal, Dominick, sin any fish?" "No, I ain't," he answered, "there ain't never-a-one, but there's a d---- gurt clobhead not fur awff." CLOB-HEADED, club-headed, ending in a knob.
CLOB-WEED, the knapweed (Centaurea), for Club-weed. See Hard-heads infra.
CLOMB, to climb [East Anglia vocabulary, to clamber in a heavy or awkward manner. Intens. of climb].
CLOMBER, TO, for clamber.
CLOUT, a blow.
CLUMP, besides the usual use of this word to clump boots, i.e., to put on an over-sole by means of nails, it is also used as a verb = to thump; "I'll clump your head for ye."
CLUTTER, mess, state of untidiness.
COB, TO, COP, to catch "Mind the bobby don't cob ye." Also to steal, and sometimes to comprehend. Also to "catch it" in the sense of to receive a scolding or thrashing. "Th'ole man sin me at it, and, law! didn't I cob it jist." COPPER, a policeman.
COCKAMUMPRIN'. Query the exact meaning; perhaps = posturing. "There he sot cockamumprin' on the top o' the built."
COCKER, to fondle, or indulge.
COFA, a chest for clothes, etc. Not a corruption of coffer, but of AS origin. AS bán-cofa, a body (i.e., a bone) -chest or -chamber. (See the bancofan beorgan cuthe, Beowulf.)
COLCH, or COLT, to collapse, or fall in, of earth. "The well had all colted in". Halliwell gives the second form, as to ridge earth; a south-country word. [Alfred Cocks expanded on this meaning in his third list of Bucks words as follows] Also, to exact a tribute of beer from a new mate before he is admitted to be on equal terms with the rest of the gang: invariable custom among the navvies in the neighbourhood. It was once defined to Mr. Gurney as "to put the barnacles on to make 'em say 'beer.'"
COME, in the expression, "Two year come Marlow fair."
COME-OFF (accented on first syllable) = prevarication (in words), or a "bluff" (in action).
COME-OVER, TO, to become, to be affected, etc. "I come over all of a tremble." To break upon the mind, "It came over me all of a sudden as 'ow I were wrong." To overwhelm as by an argument, "His argiment reg'ler come over me."
CONTRARY (pronounced contrairy), inclined to opposition, stubborn, wilful. "He's as contrairy a man as ever I set eyes on." Also as an adverb = awkwardly, unfavourably; "When things begin to goo contrairy, I git okkard." Cf. "Mary, Mary, quite contrairy."
COOK, to throw; "Cook me that ball." [Halliwell says various dialects].
COOLDER, for cooler. Similarly SCHOOLDIN' and SCHOOLD; SCHOLARD; CROWND, SOULD, and WHOILD; TOWND and WIN(E)D.
COOP, prison, gaol. Cf. Spenser's "Shepherd's Calendar" for October, stanza 12, "sunbright honour pen'd in shameful coup." In general use in combination Hen-coop; pronounced coob.
COP, to catch committing some offence [Probably London slang]. See also Cob.
COPPER-KNOB, a euphemism for a red-haired person.
COSSET, pronounced cozzet, to pet, or treat with great care, as a sick person. A COZZET LAMB is a "house lamb," or one brought up by hand.
COTCHEL, an odd lot of anything; a collection or bundle of odd material, such as sticks for fire-lighting, odd meal, straw, etc. TO COTCHEL, or CODGEL UP, to put roughly together, or, "anyhow." "His grammer codgelled up an ol' pat-ball for 'im."
COUNSELLOR. "That's a good ship (sheep), that be, a 'neation ship, 'awever. That's got a 'ead like a counsellor." The appearance of a barrister in his wig suggests this comparison.
COVENTRY-WOOD, the Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana). The young wood of this tree is practically unbreakable, and is always, therefore, sought for to tie up "burdens" of wood. My friend Professor D. H. Scott, Ph. D., F.R.S., etc. (of Kew), kindly wrote me word that he had found in "Britten and Holland's Dictionary of English Plant Names, " 1886, "Coventree, Vibernum lantana, L. Bucks (Wycombe); Wilts, Aubrey, 'Coventree common about Chalke and Cranbourn Chase; the carters doe make their whippes of it.'" Professor Scott found the tree is called elsewhere Lithe-wort, Twist-wood, and Whipcrop, all indicating its flexible nature.
COW-RATTLE, Meadow Campion (Lychnis), and Bladder Campion (Silene).
COWL, = coil in the old sense of disturbance, fuss, bother. "There 'ud be a cowl and bother about it, if I did."
CRAB, A, IN A COW'S MOUTH, an inadequate supply.
CRACK, as an adj., "a crack hand at" anything = excellent; very good. As a sub., a blow, " give him a crack over the head;" "In a crack" = immediately.
CRAFT, a lighter; a large form of barge used in the tidal waters about London. They are built up river, and taken down stream once for all; they are used in the tide-way without a rudder, and are worked by sweeps (long oars); a temporary rudder of rough boards is fitted for the passage down the upper river.
CREEPING JINNY, the Moneywort, or Herb Twopence (Lysimachia nummularia).
CRIBBLING, lame: "'E gooes proper cribblin'."
CRINKLE, to wrinkle, or rumple.
CRINKLINGS, the tissues left after the lard has been boiled out of fat. So called because they crinkle or curl up.
CROCK, an old horse. Diseased meat. Halliwell gives its first meaning as an old ewe (Yorkshire); and its sixth, as to decrease, to decay (North.).
CROCKED, a crock'd sheep is one that has died by disease or accident. Halliwell gives among other meanings for Crock, an old ewe; the cramp in hawks; to decay.
CROODLE, to crouch. "The dog croodled up to the fire". Halliwell amplifies the meaning, as to cower, to crouch, to cuddle; also to feel cold.
CROSS-EYED, squinting. "He is cross-eyed" = he squints.
CROW-GALLS, CROW-SILVER. Spherical or burr-shaped objects of a bright rust-colour, found in the chalk or clay, are called crow-galls. These, when broken, are seen to be composed of pyrites having a bright crystallised appearance, called crow-silver.
CROW-PIGHTLE, the Lesser Renunculus (Ranunculus ficaria). Generally called KINGFISHER, (which see).
CROW-SILVER, see Crow-galls.
CROWN-APPARELS, the garden-plant called Crown Imperial.
CRU'L (= crool). Cruel is almost invariably so pronounced.
CUBBED-UP, contracted, narrow, small; said of a house or room. "A cubbed-up little place." Probably for cooped-up, see under Coop.
CUCKOO, the Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis). See Milkmaid.
CUCKOO-SPIT, the white froth, resembling saliva, which encloses the larvae of Cicada spumaria (Halliwell).
CUE, temper. "He's in a bad cue to-day". Halliwell gives this as the fourth meaning of the word in various dialects.
CULLS, the inferior beasts or articles culled or weeded out from a quantity; beasts, etc., of inferior quality which look as if they had been so weeded out.
CURE, a quaint or peculiar person of any kind. From the music-hall song, "The perfect cure," which had a great temporary popularity early in the 'sixties of last century [i.e., 1860s].
CUSTOMER, a person, "chap," "bloke." "He's a queer customer."
CUTS, to draw cuts = to draw lots, generally by means of cut straw.