For a small series of islands, Britain contains some ludicrous lingo. From Yorkshire to the West Country, Southend to Saltney, our weird and wonderful language takes many unusual forms. Us Brits often struggle to understand our native tongue when it’s uttered in a different dialect, so just imagine how difficult it must be for overseas travellers to get to grips with.
To help put things into perspective for us Brits and our friends over the sea, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the stranger sayings that you may come across when travelling in the UK and Ireland.
As a Yorkshireman, I’ll be the first to admit that the accent of my native county can be quite baffling. Here are a few nuggets of brilliance that you may hear should you pay a visit to God’s own county.
‘Daft as a brush’
Meaning: Foolish, stupid or silly.
Example: ‘That lad’s as daft as a brush!’
‘Put wood int’ ‘ole’
Meaning: Close the door.
Example: ‘Ee by gum, it’s parky in here. Put wood int’ ole’
‘I’ll go to’t foot of’t stairs’
Meaning: Expression of utter disbelief and amazement
Example: ‘Well, I’ll go to’t foot oft’t stairs!’
Meaning: It’s time for a snack (Usually whilst working)
Example: ‘Ey up, it’s lowence time’
Meaning: To be grumpy or sulky
Example: ‘They’ve got a right monk on’
Brimming with some serious linguistic oddities, the Norfolk accent is about as unusual as the English dialect gets. Here’s five of our favourite phrases from this lovable East Anglian county.
‘Bishy Barney Bee’
Meaning: A ladybird
Example: ‘We’ve bin’ invaded by Bishy Barney Bees’
‘Hold yew hard’
Meaning: Wait a minute
Example: ‘Oi, hold yew hard!’
Example: ‘The kids want to go on the Tittermatorter’
Meaning: Fun and games
Example: ‘Join us for the jollificearshuns’
Meaning: In a bad temper
Example: ‘They’re in a right old puckaterry’
Personally, the Scottish accent is one I’ve struggled to understand in the past, so researching these Scottish sayings was a real eye opener. Here’s our choice of phrases from north of the border.
‘Yer bum’s oot the windae!’
Meaning: You’re not making any sense
‘Lang may yer lum reek’
Meaning: Long may your chimney smoke, which implies, long may you live
Example: ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ (A Hogmanay festive greeting)
‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’
Meaning: A lot of small amounts become a large amount
Example: Again, erm…
‘It’s a dreich day’
Meaning: The weather is cold, wet and miserable
Example: ‘Ach, it’s a dreich day’
‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’
Meaning: We’re all equal
Example: ‘Just yew remember, we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’
The Welsh certainly come out with some magnificent turns of phrase in their native tongue, but what about in English? Let’s investigate.
‘Under the doctor’
Meaning: To feel unwell
Example: ‘I’m feeling under the doctor’
Example: ‘That’s tidy darts!’
Meaning: Of low quality
Example: ‘Oh, that’s shonky that is’
Example: ‘They’ve been chopsing’
Meaning: Nasty or unpleasant
Example: ’That’s gomping!’
So there you have it, a shortlist of some of the weird, wonderful and downright peculiar phrases from across the British Isles. If you have any regional sayings that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.
For now: ta-ra, cheerio the nou and take ‘er ‘andy!