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A Beginner's Guide to the Dorset Dialect

Written by Katie Bessant on

A couple of friends having a catch up

Perhaps fuelled by renewed interest in the work of the poet William Barnes, or maybe on account of the rising numbers of so-called ‘in-comers’ to the county, Dorset’s centuries old dialect is enjoying something of a revival.

Although few people can still speak and understand fluent dialect, it is well preserved in Barnes’ poetry and in the comic verse of the lesser-known late Victorian tailor turned writer Robert Young, from Sturminster Newton.

Several books have been published that shed light on some of the more colourful words and phrases, but we thought we’d provide this condensed guide should you encounter some strange language during your next stay in Dorset.

  1. Annan? – Say that again. A handy word if you’re a bit dunch
  2. Aggy – To gather eggs
  3. Airmouse – A bat
  4. A-stooded – Sunk into the ground
  5. Bibber – Shiver with cold
  6. Blooth – Blossom
  7. Bruckly – Brittle
  8. Cradlehood – Infancy
  9. Chimp – To break the shoots off potatoes
  10. Cwoffer – Coffer
  11. Dead-alive – Apathetic
  12. Dewbit – A bite to eat before breakfast
  13. Drawlatchet – Someone who walks slowly and lazily
  14. Drinky – Drunk
  15. Dumbledore – A bee
  16. Emmets – Ants
  17. Empt – Empty
  18. Flummocks (flummox) – To frighten
  19. Footling – Beneath contempt
  20. God Almighty’s Cow – A ladybird (Absolutely no idea why!)
  21. Goo-coo – Cuckoo
  22. Gwains-on – Riotous behaviour
  23. Hag-rod – Bewitched
  24. Homble – A duck
  25. Hwome – Home
  26. Joppety-joppety – Nervousness
  27. Keep – Cattle feed
  28. Leery – Hungry
  29. Lippy – Rainy, stormy
  30. Litty – Graceful bodily motion
  31. Miff – A squabble between friends
  32. Mistructful – Suspicious, mistrustfrul
  33. Mixen – Dun heap
  34. Nesh – Tender
  35. Nuncheon – Food eaten in the fields between meals, from noon-meat
  36. Overright – Opposite
  37. Pelt – Angry fit
  38. Quob – To quiver
  39. Ramshacklum – Good for nothing
  40. Randy – Making merry
  41. Reddick – A robin
  42. Slommock – An untidy woman
  43. Span-new – Brand new
  44. Stud – Mystified
  45. Tinklebobs – Icicles
  46. Torrididdle – Out of your mind
  47. Turmit – Turnip
  48. Undercreepen – Hypocritical or sly
  49. Unray – To undress
  50. Upsides wi’ – To be even with
  51. Vitty – Proper
  52. Volly – To follow
  53. Wants – Moles
  54. Wopsy – A wasp
  55. Wrack – Consequences
  56. Yop – To speak quickly
  57. Yoller – Yellow
  58. Zummat – Something
  59. Zummerwold – Freckles 
Katie Bessant

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Marketing Assistant
Wyke Dorset Cottages - Discover the delights of Dorset