1 : More Squit
The cherished word squit also describes a
complicated and/or long-running public dispute
(e.g. in Parliament or the columns of the local Press):-
There-a bin a lo(t)-a squi(t) in theThis is a bit hard on the proponents of the
pairpers abou(t) . . . .
correct side of the argument : the rest may be
talking nonsense, but surely not everyone?!
Various matters may be discussed, but in
Norfolk the plural is - remarkably - used to
denote indifference to a particular thing :-
Tha(t) dorn(t) ma(tt)ers to me, any 'ow.
An argument on a smaller scale, between
"friends" and neighbours (a flare-up) is
described as a barney.
Ar(t)er the barney, tha(t) wooz
The word sight is shorthand for a whool lo(t) -
a soigh(t) quie(t)er!.
a broad, encompassing scope of vision; in this
case sound, rather than vision, is the medium!.
An alternative - for an argument or dispute
(cf. wrangle) is brangle.
Inversion of meaning has been seen in the
case of deen (near-silence) - an extreme
example of Norfolk understatement.
Another example is 'here and there', which
normally means (e.g. showers) dotted about
randomly, all over the place.
But a Norfolk housewife, expecting company
(guests) will assuredly -
Gi(t) the plairce lookin' a bi(t)
Skipper points out that the word tidy has a
(h)air an there afore they come.
wider meaning (satisfactory, reasonable),
esp. if linked with good : to give
good tidy / tidy good.
This is a use similar to 'tidy sum' for an
adequate amount, or a 'tidy distance' (lengthy!).
2 : Niceties
Nice retains its original meaning* :
re minute or close detail. Other words
can have their meanings severely mauled.
For example, matriculate (to achieve high
status); assuming this to be the basis of the
Norfolk word 'tricolate' = tricalair(t), which
means to smarten-up and enhance the
appearance of (decorate?).
[ Another possibility is "putting out the flags"
- tricolour ones ].
There is nothing unusual in a Norfolk push
being a shove, and so forth (see H.7) :
except that push is also used
to describe a "boil" or very large
pimple - from the Dutch puist.
(Not to be confused with bunny - see 3. below).
By comparison an abcess is an abser.
The process of boil development is known as
The throbbing of a push may be described as
tha(t) galver, bulk or gruckle.
The similarity between 'galver' and 'gather'
may be significant.
A boil or abcess giving a discharge is said to be
suein(g) (issueing). See Story N.2
A particularly large push (or anything else)
is described as a soler -
You ough(t)a see this 'air fish woo(t)
Still on medical matters, bronchial is always
Our caugh(t) - thass a sooler!
( Is the "sole" fish really the origin?
They're quite big ).
mispronounced as bronickle (in other
parts of the country too, I suspect).
A sick person's drawn appearance may be
(oddly) described as being lan(t)ern-jawed.
Hopefully he will not get the pumony! (pneumonia).
On a smaller scale, a pimple is a te(tt)er or
a twiddle or widdle. See Section 6 below.
[ *as well as its new one, of course ]
3 : Child Cares
Midwives are called midnight women and their
practice is gorn-a nijjer(t)in(g). A woman is
bestowed, when she is put to bed for childbirth.
Minor mishaps and medical conditions dominate
the lives of small children (the to(tt)y ones).
Much of the distinctive vocabulary actually
applies to child-rearing - a period when future
citizens are absorbing nearly all of it anyway.
A fortiori, as the Romans had it.
Tinies often have a bunny* which is simply a
bump/bruise caused by a fall; although I am
told that 'bunnies' are confined to the head.
[Tinies are unlikely to get an abser;
probably not a push until puberty? ]
Little fingers incur many wooden splinters :
in Norfolk shivers (as in Me Timbers).
A finger may also get a pritch (prick) or cut
which requires a hudkin (fingerstall) for
protection, lest it should become inflamed -
which we call fierce or angry.
See H.6 for the more usual angry meaning.
Be you careful-a your dannies (hands)
Mild fever (any age), or just the cold weather,
do they'll gi' you gip (jip)!.
will lead to dudderin' [ shuddering ] : the
Norfolk equivalent of shivering.
Being a little out-of-sorts (teething etc.) causes
an infant to be titchy (bad-tempered) or
grizzly (whining) or winnickin' (whimpering)
or pensy (fretful).
Letting a toddler crawl around nappy-less is
good for his skin-rash, but may result in a
swidge on the floor.
Even bubbling good health can be a pain to
parents & teachers - e.g. the jifflin' about.
E jiffle a lo(t) 'n 'oon(t) keep still.
Children who pingle or mank with their food
To fidget is also to fligger or pample.
(eat very little and mess around) cause much
frustration too.Those who talk/moan
too much during the process are advised :
Av'ry toime yuh yow yuh lose a chow.
(i.e. the word chew rhymes with how).
[ *Baby-talk for a bunion? If so, babies were
spoken to thus in Sir Thomas More's time! ]
4 : Behaviour
We now know (C.11) that naughty children can
cop it, by way of a clip, ding or thack; the
latter being a smack, such as in hammering
down the bundles of reeds in thatching.
They may even be described as warmin(t)s
(vermin) or minifers (small hairy rodent pests)
if they worri(t) (annoy or worry - as in dogs
and sheep) their long-suffering parent(s).
On the other hand, being suspiciously good
can lead to an accusation of carneying
(currying favour), perhaps aimed at getting cushies (sweets).
If a carney doesn't work, a display of temper?
Thass noo good-a you a-pu(tt)in' on
Babies are easier to handle in a pram - Norfolk
your par(t)s - you 'oon(t) git-a!
has a coach, pronounced cooch [ as per A.4 ].
Younger kids love to spin on the spot
i.e. twizzle (harmless enough).
Too much high-spirits, involving madly racing
around, is described as shanny behaviour.
This term applies just as well to an adolescent
on a bicycle or motor-bike, who is speeding, or
lacking in 'due care and attention'.
Now - dorn(t) you goo shanny!! or
Now - goo you stedda, booy!!
Stingy (pronounced stinjy ) means mean(!),
and may also mean miserly or physically
Tha(t) there stingy boy, E 'it me E did!!
When the word did crops up, you can bet
(see what I mean?)
the situation is whoolly sarious!
He may have deliberately trodden on a toe
or two : E jammed on moi tooe!
Anything forcefully squeezed, even accidentally,
takes the word used for the comestible product
derived from crushed fruit. See Story N.3
5 : Terror
Adults most fear high-spirited children
when they are in large groups :
There wooz a scalder on 'em,
Scalder has the same sound as scald,
kickin' up Hal's Deloigh(t).
but there is no connection. This word can also
describe a gaggle of birds and other animals.
[ Skipper gives chalder too ]
MOB in Norfolk is a verb; deriving from
the way flocks of smaller birds will mob a
larger creature (or fans and pop stars etc.)
Back, then, to the individual child -
My Mum she din(t) 'alf mob meComplaining to oneself (or just to thin air)
abou(t) moi da(tt)y cloo(th)es!
is the same : E (w)hoolly mobbed about-a.
To mutter, in complaint, is to pu(tt)er.
Adult barneys (Para. 1) might 'come to blows'.
Such a blow might be classed as a custard
(rather more than a clip, perhaps less than a sidewinder).
Muir-hearted persons don't normally get into
such scrapes. Muir is Scottish for big,
not necessarily implying generosity.
Neither are they bound to be cowards; it is just
a matter of being sensitive and easily upset -
whilst being kind and considerate to others.
Muddle, confusion and stress are all words
to explain the state of being in a puckaterry
I am happy with the idea that purgatory is
the root, but have never heard the expression
used in the City area.
Confusion is also harriage, although
"gone to harriage" means gone to rack and ruin.
Skipper suggests harry, as in harrassment or
attack, as the root; but nothing to do with
going to the Port of Harwich.
6 : Cure The SickeningAdults can get ill, or merely "browned-off"
without the help of them blasted kids.
Put betsy on (kettle) to make a cup-a drink
alleviates minor discomforts. [ Cup of drink is
typical Norfolk fussiness : from when cups of
sugar, flour etc. were also in common use ]
These days the water comes out of a tap,
not a wal, a beck (stream) or cockey
(ditto, or drain).
Hopefully the kettle will not run (leak)
i.e. except out of the hole where it should!.
If it, or the teapot, has to be emptied then
it is whelmed (as in overwhelmed).
Fits of the "blues" (not Ipswich Town) can often
be lifted by having a cheery mardle with
neighbours or shoppers (apparently since
Other words for gossiping include
gaddy-wentin' and howin' an' mowin'
[ pronounced more like harn an' marn ].
Lengthy storytelling and reminiscing
is yarmanderin' .
Perhaps it is just a rumour or tall-story
= roment - note the final t ) is also used
as a verb, for spreading falsehoods.
The routine solicitous enquiry :
Owya gi(tt)in' on? (See Not Too Good)
may provoke yet another understatement :
Noon too sharp or, more plainly,
Oi'm a bi(t) sadly .
The latter (not poorly - and used as an
adjective!!) is for general non-specific malaise.
To do badly means to be in ill-health; as, to a
lesser extent, does doing moderate (not -ly).
Mazy is another word for sickly,
possibly applied to people as well as crops.
The vivid descriptive term screws (for
certain sharp pains e.g. rheumatics) is usually
backed-up by detailed commentary, involving -
Tha(t) dorn(t) 'alf gi' me gip [ jip ], bor!.
The bor in question may offer, by way of
sympathy :- Thass all a job [ count 3 ] inta? -
which is a stock (and non-commital) response
to any problem, medical or otherwise.
In principle, we have : job = task
= difficulty = unpleasantness = most things.
See Tidying-Up for the other meaning of job.
If nasty medicine (still sometimes called
physic ) is needed, so may be the instruction -
Gi(t) you tha(t) down yar strupe
Severe pain, such as toothache, is clorth
- do you 'oont gi(t) noo ba(tt)er . . .
(not used in Norwich). The word cloth
is, of course, pronounced identically (!).
Misery means pain too, see Story N.2
To chip-up is to improve in health,
or general fortunes.
7 : What's Cooking?
Few new names for meat, I'm afraid -
they all come from France, anyway.
Well, perhaps my Gran's favourite -
chi(tt)erlin(g)s - (pigs' entrails, fried).
Also Norfolk has a word for gristle - paxwax.
Rancid food (dairy products etc.) is reasty,
so one had better spawle it (spit-out)!
Norfolk weg'tables are another matter :
not their names, but their quality.
The proverbial "housewife" would always avoid
buying or cooking items which seemed foisty,
i.e. stale to the point of being actually mildewed
or rotten. (From ficety = fusty).
She would also watch for old produce, rather
stale and shrivelled i.e. foosey [ foozey ].
In the case of leaved objects (lettuces, cabbages
etc.), being past-their-best is described as clung
(leaves clinging close together).
Crisp and fresh veg. is described as spolt
(not spoilt !).
Similarly, ancient fruit might appear dwinged (shrivelled).
County folk described crunchy (under-cooked?)
vegetables as churkey.
The past-tense has crept-in again . . . .
I fear my mother's generation may be the last
to use the old terminology, particularly in
view of supermarket quality-controls and
Cooking (e.g. for children) can involve pandering
to particular tastes and fussy preferences :
known as being finnicky (in Norwich, anyway), and fin(t)ums in the County.
Possibly something clar(t)y would appeal
i.e. daubed with syrup or juice!
A poor appetite is (reasonably?) considered an
insult to the cook -
Yure 'ooly e(t) a (h)en's nooseful!
N. B. eaten = ett, so has only one syllable
and ONE (soft) letter.
A small quantity, a dollop, enough for one
tongue-stroke, is a lickup; small scraps of food
To slice or cut into small pieces (each one
a chife) is to chimble; presumably not just
in relation to food.
8 : In The Swim
Dumplings (swimmers or floa(t)ers) are much
less boiled in Norfolk these days : they were a
sure sign of poverty, especially in the 19th C.
Those were days when my grandma survived
on bread and pull-it  or water-gruel
 I think a pun on poulet - of which there was,
of course, none!.
Dumpling remains, however, the honorary title
for a Norfolk Person. I am fairly confident that
Swede is the counterpart in Suffolk.
If you were famished (clammed) you would be
glad of dumplings, or plump (bread soaked in
hot water, with butter, sugar or dripping added).
Dripping or lard is seam, which could also
be spread on bread in the normal way.
A snack or morsel of food, just to
keep the hunger at bay, is a sunke(t).
The yolk of an egg is a yelk in Norfolk
(N.B. the letter l is preserved).
The term chops does not always apply to meat,
and may mean a person's cheeks. In Norfolk
these are called chaps.
Oi'll slap you accrorst the chaps,
do you dorn(t) . . .
Whimsical footnote: a turnip (tannup) became
the term for an ostentatious pocket-watch.
9 : Keeping Up Appearances
Whether through hunger, or just bad manners,
food and drink might be consumed very greedily.
There are several words dedicated to this
(hence, common?) habit.
Making a grab for the food, too quickly,
with the plawks (hands, "mitts") may invite :
Gi(t) you them plawks orff on-a !
[ Note how off & on are side-by-side
in that command ]
Food : Monge (from the French);
A dumpling-hunter refers to an olden-times
Yarm = Bolt (in general use?);
Drink : Bezzle; Stewpe
(? stoup, a drinking vessel)
Either : Gulping is rendered as golpin' or,
more likely, gollerpin' (cf. galloping )
hungry peripatetic clergyman.
With a wesku(t) and a tannup,
a blook might look very fine.
If the clothes were his "Sunday Best", they
would be his goo-(t)er-mee(t)in' clothes or,
more simply, his becomes.
If he indeed became proud and "stuck-up"
as a result, he would be called coddy.
A loose-fitting jacket, with large pockets
(more utilitarian) is a sloppin' jacket.
This is not quite the same slop as in apron;
or the coarse drill material, of that same name
[ and purpose ].
It is not necessarily a female who would
"put on airs", but - if so - she would frame.
Or she would be primmicky
(fanciful or over-fussy).
She would, however, expect her clothes to be
well-fitting, which is matchly (i.e. anything
corresponding properly to its target entity :
a (reverse) case of adverb equals adjective?).
Garments might be irrelevant to a girl
looking kyish (smug or shy . . . but which?).
My grandfather was accustomed to wearing a
detachable (starched) shirt-front, commonly
known as a "dickey"; but in Norfolk (a dickey
being a donkey) called a chea(t). (Quite).
In his day, it was common to see a woman
wearing a veil or fall (not just at a funeral);
and a man wearing a neckerchief, or neck'un
A chummy is a soft felt hat with a narrow brim.
10 : Down At Heel
In warm weather, it can be permissible to
remove a jacket. "He shod his jacket"
reports this in the past tense (= shed ).
Clearly this is not the reason why a
garden-shed becomes a shud.
Again, it would probably be a lady who would be
concerned with creases in a garment. To crease,
in Norfolk, is to ruck; but creased becomes
rucked-up (a ratchet or rack effect).
To rumple becomes, in the dialect, to frumple.
(Definition of a frump?)
A rough or untidy appearance might
simply be rude.
(Because rudeness i.e. cheek or insolence
is chelp and cheeky is silly-bold).
A dirty and/or unhappy appearance
is said to be gallus-droply.
Worse still, untidy and slovenly is
shucky or shuckety.
This may be because the clothes are ren(t)
(torn) or frazzled (frayed or worn).
Perhaps the garments are quite worn-out
or decayed : that is begone (not dull care!).
To frazzle is to unravel (as in wool).
Similar to (but not the same as) our choice
slummockin' mawther, a slovenly girl
is a shammock.
[ not to be confused with Shannock ].
Anyone with a noticeably protruding belly
has a pod.