YORKSHIRE FOLK TALK: Glossary
Gab, n. C. Idle talk. Dan. Gab (mouth).
Ex.- There 's ower mich gab aboot him.
Gad, n. O. A long whip, formerly used for driving horses and oxen. The word is also applied to a fishing-rod, which was called a fishing-gad. Jutl. D. Gaj (a long whip), fiske-gaj (fishing-rod). Icel. Gaddr.
Gag-bit, n. C. A strong bit used for breaking in or restraining 'miraklous' horses.
Gah, v. C. To go. This form of the word is common enough, although gan is more usual, taking the whole district through: gah (pr. not quite so open as ordinary ah) is comparatively seldom heard in the E. Riding. Dan. At gaae (to go).
Ex. Wheer 's ta gahin'?
Gain, adj. C. (pr. gaan). Short, near by reason of straightness, esp. of a way or a road. Conveniently near, also quick in doing.
Ex.This rooad 'll be t' gainest. Ak knaw it 'll be t' gainest cut.
Gain-hand, adj. C. Conveniently near, easy of access.
Ex. It 's a varry gain-hand spot. We 're gain-hand for t' scheeal.
Gains, n. F. (pr. gaans). Advantage.
Ex.It 's neea girt gaans ti gan that rooad.
Gair, geir, gairing, n. F. A triangular piece of land at the corner of a field, which cannot be ploughed. Icel. Geiri (a goar, or triangular strip).
Gaits, n. F. Small sheaves, of oats generally and clover sometimes, set up singly, and tied at the 'throat' instead of at the middle.
Q. 'What are you going to do to-day?' A. We 're gahing ti binnd t' gaits.
Also called gaitings or yaitings.
Gallic-handed, adj. F. Left-handed. Dan. Gal; gait (wrong); e.g. Klokken gaar galt (the clock is wrong). In Danish gal would be applied as we apply it in such a phrase as 'the wrong hat.'
Galloway, n. C. (pr. Gallowa). An under-sized horse, or an over-sized pony; probably so-called from the district from which the breed was imported into England.
Gallowses, n. C. (pr. gallases). Braces for attaching to trowsers.
Gally-bauk, n. C. A pivotted iron balk or beam attached to the larger or main-beam or ranul-bauk which stretches across the fireplace in houses; from the gally-bauk pots can hang off or on the fire at pleasure.
The word gally is merely a corruption of gallows; it may be noted that in Jutl. D. gotti is similarly a corruption of galge.
Galore, n. F. A quantity, esp. a large quantity; sometimes the word is used in pl.
Ex.- Galores o' stuff.
Gam, n. C. Fun, sport, ridicule. Dan. Gammen (mirth).
Ex.- Noo, give ower; thoo maun't mak sik gam o' t' au'd man.
Gamashes, also abbreviated to Mashes, n. R. Gaiters. This word is applied both to the long and short gaiters; the latter covering the foot only, the former more or less of the leg also. They were generally made of stout cloth. Under the heading Gamacha of the Glossarium Manuale of Du Cange, we read of this curious word 'pedulis lanei species, quae etiam superiorem pedis partem tegit; Gallis Gamache, Occitanis Garamacho, Gamacho, vox uti videtur deducta a compagus vel gampagus.' In our dialect the word is distinctly pronounced gamahshes: this is probably one of the words we have got through the French. Dan. Kamascher (gaiters).
Gammer, v. C. To idle about; to be disinclined for work.
Gang, gan, v. C. To go. (The latter form is almost always used.) Dan. At gauge (to go), En Ganger (a goer, poetic). The word is also, though less commonly, used as a noun, in the sense of a way, generally a by-way. As a verb, gan is the general form in which the verb is used. In the pres. participle, gahin' is commonly used as well as gannin', esp. in N. Riding.
Ex.Cu' mi lad, be sharp, sneck t' yat, gan thi ways yam, an' fettle t' gatlowa.Ah doot ah 's gannin' fast. i.e. I am afraid I am failing rapidly).Sha 's nut gahin' yit.
Atkinson, in his Cleveland Glossary, gives as an example of this word, Are you ganging or riding ?ganging being here used for walking, as opposed to riding. In Danish it is also used in this sense.
Gang, n. F. A set or course, e.g. a course of thatch on the roof of a house.
Gantree, n. C. A wooden stand for barrels to rest upon. Gantree-tiles are the large horse-shoe drain tiles.
Gar, v. R. To make, to cause. Dan. At gjore (to do, to make).
Ex. It gars ma greet, i.e. it makes me weep.
Garfits, n. R. Entrails.
Gain, gairn, n. C. (pr. gaa'n, the vowel-sound being the same as the a in air). Yarn, woollen thread.
Garsel, n. F. (pr. garsil). Dead sticks from a wood or hedge; undergrowth of woods, rubbish. Dan. Gjaerdsel (dead hedge-wood).
Garth, n. C. An enclosure, generally of small dimensions as e.g. round a church or farm-house. The word is used as a suffix in staggarth, fold-garth, &c. It is also commonly applied to a small paddock near a farm-house. Dan. En Gaard ta yard, enclosure near a house).
Gate, n. C. A way, road, street. This is a very common termination to the names of streets in many of our old towns and villages, e.g. Goodramgate in York, Baxter-gate in Whitby, Nether-gate in Nafferton. Cf. Cow-gate. It is also in the plural a common adverbial suffix, e.g. allgates, onygates. It has, moreover, the secondary meaning, in the singular, of manner. Dan.: En Gade (a street).
Ex.Ah can't mannish neea-gates.-He 'll cum ti t' beggar-staff at that gate.
Gaum, v. F. To understand, to pay attention to. Norse Gaum (attention), giva Gaum etter (pay attention to); also gau, an obsolete word (clever).
Gaumish, adj. F. Quick-witted, intelligent.
Ex. He 's a gaumish chap.
Gauve, v. C. To stare vacantly. This word is equivalent to gaup, which is used also commonly, especially of women; hence gaupy (one who stares vacantly).
Ex. What's he gauvin' at? What a greeat gauvin' chap ah is (said by one who slipped, through not looking where he was going).
Gauvy, n. C. A half-witted person.
Ex.- He 's a girt gauvy.
Gavelock, n. C. (pr. gaavlock). A crow-bar of any size; a bar of iron. O. N. Gaflok (a dart).
Gawk, gowk, a. F. The cuckoo. Dan. Gjtg (cuckoo). At Kilvington the young cuckoo and its foster-mother are still called t' gowk an' titling.
Gay, adj. C. This word is generally used in the sense of considerable, as regards size, number, &c., though its primary meaning is also retained in its ordinary sense. The diminutive gayish is also in common use.
Ex.- A gay few, i.e. a considerable number A gayish nag that leeaks 'at thoo 's astthrahd. A gay bou'k.
Gayly, adv. R. In good health, quite well.
Ex.-Ah 's gayly.
Gear, gears, gearing, n. C. Apparatus, machinery, furnishings; esp. harness.
Ex. T' hoss gans weel iv all gears.
Gee, v. C. (pr. g soft). The word of command given to a horse to turn it to the right hand.
Gen, v. C. To grin, to show the teeth, to cry as a child. This word may also be written girn, though always pr. gen.
Ex.Cum, laddie, gen (said by a man to a dog which had been taught to show its teeth as if laughing).
Genning, ginning, adj. C. Besides the ordinary meaning of this word as the participle of gen, there is the secondary meaning of fault-finding, or discontented.
Ex.-Sha 's a ginnin' au'd woman.
Gep, v. C. To try to gain knowledge secretly.
Ex.-They wer geppin' ti git it if they could.He gans geppin' aboot.
Gesling, n. C. A gosling. This is not a mispronunciation of gosling, but the old form of the word. Dan. En Gjwsling (a gosling).
Gess, gerse, n. C. (pr. g hard). Grass.
Get, v. C. (pr. git). This word, used though it is in the ordinary sense, is also found in many dialectical variations. Perhaps the commonest peculiarity of use is in the sense 'is called' ; e.g. Sha wer kessen'd Mary, bud sha awlus gits Polly. Again, in the sense of to reach, visit, or call at a place; e.g. Ah want ti gan ti York, bud ah doot ah sant git wahl Settherda. Such expressions as git a-gate, git t' length of speak for themselves. As an auxiliary verb it is very common; e.g. Wa s'all git deean inoo. The word is also used substantivally for a breed, e.g. What git is 't? In the past tense there is also a common use of the word by sailors on the east coast; when a man is drowned at sea a Flamborough fisherman would say, The sea gat him.
Getherer, n. C. (1) A collector: thus. Cess-getherer, the rate or tax collector. (2) One who gathers the corn in the harvest fields into bundles for binding. (3) A large, light, four-pronged fork, often with a bow attached, for gathering the swathes of oats into gaits or sheaves.
Getten, gitten, gotten, part. C. These are all common forms of the past participle of get, the two last being the commonest.
Gew-gow, n. C. (pr. with g hard, gow nearly rhyming with how, but with a little of the a-sound before the o). Jew-trumps, or Jew's-harp.
Gib, n. F. (pr. g hard). A band or hook, as in a stick.
Gib-stick, n. C. (pr. g hard.) A stick with a book at one end. A nutting-hook is called a nut-stick.
Gicken, gecken, v. F. To laugh like a fool. Dan. En Gjaek (a fool, a jester).
Ex.-Leeaksta hoo he gickens.
Cf. 'The geck and scorn o' the other's villany.' Cymbeline, v.4. The word may be connected with giggle.
Gilder, gilderd, n. C. (pr. gildthert). A snare of horse-hair for catching birds. Dan. Gilder or Gildre (a trap).
Gilefat, n. F. The tub in which ale is put in order to ferment; when it 'works' well, it is said to be a good gahlfat.
Gill, n. C. (pr. g soft). A half-pint.
Ex. Ah 'll tak a gill o' yal.
Gill, n. C. (pr. g hard). A narrow rocky valley. Icel. Gil a dale).
Gilt, n. C. A young female pig. Jutl. D. En Gylte (a sow when she is for the first time with young).
Gimmer, n. C. A female lamb from the time of birth to that of weaning. Jutl. D. En Gimmer (a ewe-lamb). Icel. Gymhr.
Gimmer-hog, n. C. A ewe-lamb from weaning-time to first shearing.
Ginner, adv. R. Rather; more willingly.
Ex. Ah 'd ginner gan.
Gissy-gissy, n. The call of the tender of swine in summoning them to him. Dan. En Gris (a pig).
Girt, adj. C. Great. There are two distinct forms of this word, viz. greeat and girt; the former is commonest in the East, the latter in the North Riding. The pr. of girt in the southern part of the N. R. is peculiar and difficult to acquire, the vowel-sound being nearly extinguished by the consonantal; so much so that the word might almost be correctly written grt. In this district it is difficult to say whether the i precedes or follows the r, so closely are the two letters blended together in this word.
Gitten, p. part. of get, C.
Ex. Then thoo 's gitten back.
Give ower, v. C. Leave off. It is remarkable what a strong preference is given to this expression over all its equivalents ; leave off or stop is seldom if ever heard, especially as a command.
Ex. Give ower wit' bairn; noo ah 's telling o' ya.
Gizzenen, n. C. The gizzard.
Glazzen, v. C. To glaze; hence glazzener, a glazier.
Glent, n. F. A glimpse, a look in passing; also and more common as a verbto glance off after impact.
Ex.Ah flang t' steean at t' yat stoop an' it glented off an' went thruff t' windher.
Gliff, n. F. A glimpse. Dan. At glippe (to blink, wink). Ex.Ah just catch'd a gliff on him.
Gloar, gloor, v. C. To stare hard. Dan. At glo (to stare, gaze). Ex.- What's ta gloorin' at? Thoo gloors hard.
Glor-fat, n. and adj. F. (pr. glorr, slightly rolling the r). Soft fat, exceedingly fat.
Ex.It 's glorr-fat ivvry bit on 't.
Glut. a. C. A wooden wedge for splitting timber.
Goalin, n. F. (pr. goalin). A narrow passage. This word, which I have only heard of in the Wold country, is probably a derivative or diminutive of gole (a flood-gate, a hollow between two hills, a throat, a narrow vale) cf. Loan, lonnin, which has the same termination as the diminutive.
Gob, n. F. the mouth. Dan. Gah (mouth).
Ex. Hod thi gob thoo au'd feeal.
Gobstring, n. C. A string fastened to a bridle; a makeshift bridle.
Godspenny, a. C. Vide Aries. Jutl. D. Gudspenge, Faestepenge (earnest-money).
Goffen. v. F. To laugh idiotically; an E. R. word.
Ex. Noo then, Goffeny, what 's tha goffenin' at?
Goke, n. C. (pr. gauk). The heart or central portion of anything, as the core of an apple, or the centre of a haystack, or the hard part of a boil, &c.
Ex. Ah can't git t' gauk on 't oot.
Goldie, n. C. The yellow-hammer; also commonly called a gold-spink.
Gollin, golly, n. C. A newly hatched bird.
Ex.-They 're lahtle bare gollins.
The prefix 'bare' is generally used before this word.
Good, v. C. To flatter (oneself).
Ex. Ah gooded mysen 'at he 'd com ti see ma.
Good, adj. C. There are various peculiar uses of this word: (1) Easy; e.g. good ti tell, i.e. easy of recognition. (2) Well; e.g. Yan mud as good lap up, i.e. One might as well finish; Them 's as good made 'uns as need be, i.e. Those are as well made &c. (3) Considerable, e.g. a good few, i.e. a considerable number. In Danish there is a similar usage to (2), e.g. Dette maleri er godt udfort, i.e. That picture is well done; Saa godt som aldrig, i.e. as good as never; or all but never.
Goodstuff, n. C. Sweetmeat.
Ex.Q. 'What will you do with this halfpenny if I give it to you ? 'A. Wear 't i' goodstuff
Gote, a. C. A narrow passage or opening from a road or street to the water side. This word is very common in Whitby and other places on the coast. I connect this interesting word with the Danish Gade, a road or way, which in the Danish dialects is written Gade, the vowel-sound of which is identical with that of the Yorkshire word Gote.
Gotherly, adj. R. Kind-hearted.
Goupen, n. R. The hollow or 'ball' of the hand, a handful, esp. when both hands are placed together. Icel. Goupn.
Ex.- They gat gold by goupens (De fik Guld i gjobninger Jutl. D.).
Gowk, n. C. The cuckoo. Vide Gawk.
Gowland, n. C. (pr. gowlan'). The corn-marigold, also applied to the yellow water-lily, called watergowland. Dan. Gul (yellow).
Ex. He leeaks as yalla as a gowlan'.
Graft, n. C. (pr. graft). The depth of a spade in digging also applied to that which is dug up by a single turn of the spade. Dan. At grofte (to dig a trench).
Ex.A spade graff deep.
Grain, v. C. To groan, to grumble, to complain.
Ex. Oor Bet 's awlus graanin' aboot summat.
Graining, a. F. The point in the trunk of a tree where the branches begin to spread out. Dan. En Gren (a branch). Icel. Grein (a branch).
Graith, v. F. To clothe or furnish with anything; also to fit or adapt. Also used as a noun for any kind of furnishing or provision, graithing being another form of the same word when used as a noun.
Ex. He 's fettled an' graith'd.
Grave v. C. To dig. Dan. At grave (to dig).
Ex. Ah 's gitten t' garth graved ower, an' it 's a back wahkin job been an' all.
Greet, v. R. To shed tears, to weep. Dan. At graede (to weep).
Ex. Noo then honey, thoo munna greet.
This old word is wellnigh obsolete, but it is known by many old people.
Gruff, n. R. A deep narrow valley. Robinson gives this word in his Whitby Glossary: it is probably confined to the northern part of the county, at least I do not remember to have ever heard it in the E. Riding. The word may be connected with grit. Swedish Grift (a grave).
Griming, n. C. (pr. grahmin). A light sprinkling. It is rather singular that a word suggestive of blackness should always be applied to a light sprinkling of snow.
Ex. Just a grahmin' o snaw.
Grip, n. C. A small trench or narrow ditch very common in clay districts, where, before the days of draining, narrow rig and furrow were in vogue, and when cross trenches or grips were cut at intervals to carry off the furrow water to the side ditches of a field.
Ex. ' Where's your father?' Grippin' at Robert Garnet's.
Gripe, n. C. (pr. greyp). A three or four-pronged fork for digging purposes; a short-handled muck-fork. Dan. Et Greb (a grasp), at gribe (to grip).
Ex.- If thoo can't lowzen it wiyer hand, tak t' gripe til 't.
Grizeley, adj. R. (pr. grahzly). Extremely ugly.
Grob, n. C. A derisive term for a puny, undersized, insignificant-looking person.
Ex.- Sha 's a lahtle grob.
Grassy, adj. C. Of large, full and rapid growth. Fr. Gros.
Ex.- Wo'zzels is varry grossy ti-year.
Grue, adj. R. Grim, severe-looking; dark. Dan. At grue (to shudder at) ; gruelig (horrid).
Ex. He leeaks as grue as thunner.
Gruff, adj. F. Sulky, sullen.
Grund, n. C. (pr. grunnd; u as in pull). Ground. Dan. Grund (ground).
Grunstan, n. C. (pr. t scarcely heard). A grindstone.
Ex. Thoo mun tak t' au'd lae ti t' grun'stan.
Guider, a. C. (pr. gahdther). A tendon or sinew
Gulls, n. R. Oatmeal porridge, hasty-pudding.
Gyme-hole, a. R. (pr. gahmhooal). The hole caused in the bank of a stream or river by the water washing a circular sweep in it. Possibly this word may have the same root as gimlet. I only know of one instance of its use; but my authority is such a reliable one that I have no hesitation in inserting the word. Since writing the above, another case of this word has come before my notice on the banks of the Ouse below York, where there is a spot called the 'Gyme pownds.'
Gypsey, n. C. (pr. g hard). Streams that break out at certain points in the chalk-formation in the E. R. are called gypseys; these frequently may be seen after a long continuance of rain. Icel. Geysir (a hot spring).