P - 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..
PACKMAN, the Common Land-Snail (Helix aspera). Mr. Summers gives the following local legend à propos of this word. A man came home one morning with such a rueful countenance that his wife asked him what the matter could be. On her promising secrecy, he told her that he had killed a packman, and buried the body in Leadburrows Wood (one mile due north of Beaconsfield). As soon, however, as he had again left the house, she went and told the dreadful secret to a confidante. Later in the day, as the man was at work in the fields, the parish constable appeared, and arrested him on a charge of murder. The man volunteered to take him to the scene of the tragedy, and showed the astonished constable the corpse (of the snail) buried under some leaves. When the constable asked why he had caused so much fuss over so simple a matter, he replied: " I did it to see if a woman could keep a secret."
PAD, PAD-WAY. Unlike made roads which have a hard and (more or less) smooth surface right across their width, a cart-road consists merely of two deep ruts, in which the wheels of each vehicle using the road must perforce keep, while the horse's feet wear a pad-way centrally between the ruts.
PADD'N-CAN, PATTY-CAN, PAN-CAN, a common lodging-house. The word is given as padding-ken in the Slang Dictionary.
PADDY, rage. "He was in such a paddy."
PAIGLE, the cowslip (Primula veris). Halliwell gives it as an eastern counties name.
PAL-LAL, for parallel.
PANK, for pant. "My poor ol' pooany stood there pankin' and blowin' like steam."
PAPLALLY, pap, or soft food; also perhaps used metaphorically for flattery. Mr. Gurney heard it asked, "What is paplally, then?" The answer was, "What they feed fools with." The adject. form is PAPLALLY-EY.
PARISH-LANTERN, the moon.
PARLOUR, the portion of a punt between the well and the till; doubtless from being the special part of the punt in which a passenger sits.
PARSLEY BREAK-STONE (pronounced brek-stun), a plant growing on arable land. Probably the Stone Parsley (Sison amomum).
PARTRIDGE-MUSHROOM, a button-like kind of mushroom, ripe in September. ? Sp.
PASSEL, for parcel, but used for quantity, number. "A passel of good-for-nuthin' gels."
PASSER, a gimlet.
PAT-BALL, a small ball for children's games.
PATER-NOSTER (pronounced Patter-). A kind of fishing-tackle in common use for perch and jack, and, in some places, for barbel. It consists of a gut cast two to three feet in length, with a leaden weight (usually a bullet with a hole through it) attached to the lower end. About a foot above it, a hook is attached to the cast by a short gut trace, and are a somewhat greater distance above this, a second, larger, hook is attached by a short trace of gimp or gut. A live minnow is baited through the upper lip to the lower hook, and a small dace, chub, gudgeon, roach, etc., in the same manner, to the upper hook. (For barbel, three hooks are generally used, all of the same size, on gut traces, and all three hooks are baited with worm.) [I have always imagined that this useful tackle was the invention of some monk in one of the riverside religious houses, and was so called because, after feeling the first pull from a fish biting, there was just time to recite a Pater noster before the right moment for striking was reached.]
PATTER, TO, properly to strike in quick succession, as falling drops of rain, but used of thistles growing in a field, "as thick as they can patter."
PAY-MINT, for pea-mint, = edible mint.
PAYS, for pease.
PEARCH, for perch (sub. and verb).
PEART, brisk, lively, bright, active, cheerful.
PECKID (for peaked), pointed.
PEEK, TO, a peep, glimpse. TO PEEK ALIGHT, to show the first signs of dawn. "I woke as soon as it began to peek alight."
PEGGY, a Whitethroat (Sylvia cinerea, and S. curruca).
PEN-STOCK, a single sluice to a drain. Halliwell describes it as a floodgate, erected to keep in or let out water from a millpond as occasion may require.
PEPSE, TO, to rain heavily, to pour. "Law! that be a-pepsin' deown."
PERISH, to starve with cold.
PETH, for pith.
PHANTOM, a fancy, whim. "Look here, I'll lay a bob on it, jist for a phantom, like." Also a jollification, a "sing-song" etc.
PHYSOG, for physiognomy, the face, generally used contemptuously.
PICK, TO, for pitch, to fall. "He picked head foremost"
PICKED, for peaked, pointed. "A picked stick." See also PECKID.
PICKLE, a mess, confusion. A mischievous boy.
PIECE, for "something to eat."
PIG IN, to nestle, or lie, close together.
PIGEON-FELT (or -PHELP), the Field-fare (Turdus pilaris).
PIGEON PAIR, a twin boy and girl.
PIGHTLE, a small enclosure of grassland (Cf., Pightlesthorne, now Pitstone, Bucks). Halliwell says it is an eastern-counties' word, and Mr. Rye gives it as a small piece of enclosed ground. Mr. J. Rutland tells me there is a small meadow at Taplow known as The Pytle, but that it is not a general term there. Mr. Clear writes me, "The word Pightle is not uncommon at Winslow; there are two small enclosures adjoining Winslow Hall still so-called.
PIMMICKING, slightly unwell, indisposed.
PIMP, a small bundle of firewood. PIMP WITHES, willow twigs for burning. PIMPLING, a small eater.
PINKED UP, dressed up (in finery). Probably from the saying "Clean as a pink." Also PRIGGED OUT, and PRINKED UP, OR OUT.
PIN-TOED, with the toes turned in. Used of a colt, or other animal. (See Hen-toed).
PITCH A TALE, TO, to tell a story, more or less untrue, in order to impose.
PITCH AND TOSS, PITCH AND HUSTLE. This game is played as follows: a button or other small object, called the Motty, is placed on the ground, to be thrown at with pence or halfpence. The thrower whose coin settles nearest the motty takes up all the coins thrown, and after shaking or "hustling" them between his hands, lets them fall. Those which settle head uppermost are his property. The remainder are handed to the player who has made the next most successful throw, and so on until all the coins find owners.
PLANTIN', a plantation. See Shaw.
PLANTIES, plantains (Plantago).
PLAY-PLATTERS, a name given by children to the fragments of broken crockery with which they "keep house."
PLAY UP A GAME, TO, to be "up" to something, of doubtful conduct.
PLUGGED, a pulled bird's nest is said to be plugged. See Puggled, and Lugged.
PLUMB-BOB, a plummet, for ascertaining the depth of water when bottom-fishing. Also a bricklayer's plum-line.
POINTING ON, looking forward to.
POLCHER, a poacher.
POLLARD, see HUSK.
POLLYWHITE, the Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca).
POMMY, " all of a pommy" = soaked with water, in a pulp, etc. "I bin out in the reean all th' aarternoon, and I be all of a fair pommy." Possibly from old French pommé, = apples beaten to a pulp for making cider. Also, to beat all of a pommy.
POODLE, TO, to hobble etc., like a weak old man. "He came poodlin' arter us." The pronounciation of puddle, and so with other words containing "u."
POOR WILL, small beer.
POOSY, for posy, a bunch of flowers.
PORKET, a sow pig, young sow.
POSTIS, plural of post. This is the old plural form, and was until recently used in Bucks ( and still is to some extent) with all monosyllabic words ending in "s" followed by another consonant. A common amplified form is postises or postesses. Cf. Neestesses (see also), also Neestises and Neesties, for nests; wopses or waspies (see also) for wasps, etc. See Gristis supra.
POUND, a lock (on the river). A.-S., pound, an enclosure.
POUT, a brown bird, ? species. Perhaps the Hedge-sparrow (Accentor Modularis), see Hedge-poke and Hedge-pook.
PRIM UP, TO, to purse up (as the mouth) in a prim manner.
PRIME, small fish (always spoken of as BAITS) are said to be priming, when they jump repeatedly out of the water.
PRISE, to force open with a lever. Halliwell and Skeat both give it as a substantive = a lever.
PROPER, not only in its ordinary sense = good, but also = great, or, thorough. "A proper man," " A proper crowd," "A proper set-to."
PRUET, the privet (ligustrum).
PUDDLE ABOUT, TO, to work about.
PUGGLE, TO, to tear or spoil a bird's nest (see Lug, etc.); to poke a hole with a stick. Frequentative of poke. -ONE, to pull one about.
PUMMELS, the supports of the tail-board of a cart.
PURRUL, for PURL, TO. A straw-plaiting term, meaning to plait with four unsplit straws, to form an edging, or purfle.