Letter B - 1892 Mid-Antrim Glossary

Author: ‘F.L.’ (William James Knowles)

Date: 1892

Source: Nine lists of local (mid-Antrim) words and sayings, with notes, published in the Ballymena Observer between April and August 1892. See 1892 Ballymena Observer (Mid-Antrim) Word Lists for original articles (USLS/TB/Hist/1800-1899/012).

Comments: This serialised ‘glossary’ was compiled in response to a letter published in the Ballymena Observer, 19 February, 1892, from P W Joyce, whose book, English as we Speak it in Ireland, was in preparation. Dr. Joyce was appealing throughout Ireland for help in amassing a record of Irish Dialect, including words of Scotch origin. The first response from the readers of the Ballymena Observer was a significant glossary of local words by ‘F.L.’ on April 8. This word list began with an appeal for other readers to “add to it and throw light on meanings which they will see are rather obscure to me”. Further word lists introduced by ‘F.L.’ then appeared on April 22; April 29; May 6; May 27; June 17; July 1; and August 18. The identity of F.L. as William James Knowles, MRIA (1832–1927), a distinguished antiquarian from Cullybackey, was confirmed by Joyce when English as we Speak it in Ireland was published in 1910. Numerous entries sourced from this ‘Ballymena Observer’ glossary were also published in the English Dialect Dictionary (1898) and the Scottish National Dictionary (1929–1946). A complete A–Z ‘merged’ glossary has been created from these entries, and appears as the ‘1892 Mid-Antrim Glossary’ in this website.

Doc. ref. no.: USLS/TB/Hist/1800-1899/013-b

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Bachal – An awkward unhandy person.

Bachal or Baghal – a bungler.

Backspang – a coming back for some additional advantage after a bargain is settled.

Bad – in ill health. A wus very bad; means I had an illness of a serious nature.

Bane – to catch; lay hold of; as, Why didn’t you bane it; Diel bane me if A dae ony mair work the day.

Bap – a small penny loaf of bread of diamond shape.

Bast – a stiff network; as, The ground is in a bast o’ weeds.

Basty – applied to stiff clayey ground that is hard to dig.

Bat – a blow; as, Let me alane or A’ll gie you a bat.

Bawk – the board binding the kipple. It is useful in country houses for suspending cured beef or bacon.

Bebblin – talking nonsense, babbling.

Beddy – impertinent; meddling.

Bedfast – confined to bed from illness.

Bedtheral – a bedridden person.

Beel – means to suppurate; beeling is the putrid matter from a boil.

Beesnins, for beestings – the first milk of the cow after calving. The milk when boiled coagulates and makes beesnin cheese.

Beeswisp – I think a nest of the wild bee that builds in grass fields, but I have heard Peaswisp.

Beetleheads – The young of the frog before feet have developed.

Beggar plets – irregular creases in a garment caused by being badly folded.

Begood – for begun.

Behopes – hope; as, A hae guid behopes o’ him getting’ better.

Benweed – the ragweed.

Bes – for be or is; as, If he bes comin’ let him come at yinst ; if he besnae comin’ let him sty.

Bicker – an excited state; squabbling; as, He’s in a gye bicker; they’re aye bickerin’.

Bidable – obedient. He’s a very biddable waen.

Big – to build.

Bike – the local name for a nest of bees or wasps.

Bile – is the local word for boil.

Bin – a chest for holding oats called a corn bin.

Bing – a heap; as, A bing of corn; a bing of potatoes

Bink – a bank; as a peat bink, the perpendicular face in a bog where peats are cut or dug from.

Binnen – as, A cow’s binnen, the rope tying a cow by the neck to her stake.

Bir – Confusion, as, They’re in a quare bir aboot somethin’.

Birl – To turn round a wheel or handle forcibly, as birl it round; Gi’e it two or three birls.

Birse – bristle.

Birthy – productive, as, birthy potatoes; a kind that has a good number of tubers at each stalk.

Bit – conclusion, point; as, If it comes tae the bit A can ’list.

Blab – something like a blister containing fluid matter; as, it wus jest a blab o’ water. Blab also means to reveal secrets.

Blackavised – having black hair and beard, so that the face has a dark hue when shaved. Applied to males.

Blad – to toss about by the wind. Young succulent plants are frequently bladded by the wind; that is, tossed and bruised by knocking against each other and the ground. Newly washed clothes put out to dry are frequently spoken as being bladded about in the wind.

Blade – a term applied to a bold woman.

Blafum (accent on the last syllable) – Nonsensical talk of a rather flattering kind.

Blarney – flattery. Tovin’ you up wi’ a wheen o’ blethers.

Bleery – A thin kind of gruel or soup, a poorness of quality being implied in the name.

Blether – a person who talks nonsensenically; a bladder.

Bletherin Skite – a more contemptible term than Blether for one who talks nonsensically.

Blethers – Nonsensensical talk.

Blibes – some sort of an eruption of the skin that children suffer from.

Blin’ Stam – Blind man’s buff.

Blink – To bewitch cattle and cause them to have little or no milk and butter.

Blinkin’ – moving the eyelids as an indication that secrecy is requested about some matter. We have the expression, Nane o’ your blinkin’ an’ squinkin’.

Blirt – To cry; as, What are you blirtin’ about?

Blue – a blot, as of ink.

Blunnther – a blunder. A person of hasty temper who frequently speaks unguardedly is spoken of as a blunnther.

Blushins – Something similar to buggins; I think I have heard them called dog’s blushins

Boagin – soaked with water; as a person who has got his stockings wet will say, My feet are just boagin’.

Boggle – to spoil work. Perhaps the same as broggle.

Boke – To retch

Boke – to retch.

Bokey – A goblin; as in frightening children, Ha’d your tongue or the bokies’ll get you Bose – (Pronounced as dose in medicine), Hollow in the centre, as in the case of potatoes which grow to a large size.

Bole – A hole in the wall near the fireplace.

Bo-Man – the bokey man.

Bonnack – a circular cake, generally made of oat meal. The first one made on coming from the mill is called a mill bonnack.

Bookit – for bulked; as, This is gye an’ wee bookit for the money; This is brave an’ big bookit for the money.

Bools – the pot hooks.

Boon – the number of reapers going up the field together. There may be five, six or more or less reapers in a boon, each shearing his ridge of corn.

Boorough – probably borrow. A borough of a place; a little house like a duck house.

Boos or Bis – the stand or place where a cow stays; as, Get up to your boos.

Borough – a rope tying the hind legs of a cow together while being milked to prevent her kicking the milker.

Botheration – annoyance; source of trouble; as, He’s a botheration.

Bouncin’ – talking in a loud bantering way. Let us hae nane o’ your bouncin’.

Bowe – a local measure; as, A bowe o’ prittas; A bowe o’ corn.

Brae – a moderately steep incline. Most farms have a field called “the brae”, and a rather steep incline in a country road would be called a brae. Go oot an’ help him up the brae wi’ the kert.

Braird – the first little green leaves of corn, flax, turnips, which appear above the ground after being sown in spring is spoken of as the braird; as, That’s a nice braird; It’s finely abraird; An evenly braird; &c.

Brammel – a local name for withered twigs and pieces of branches that drop from trees, and which are gathered for firewood.

Brander – A gridiron.

Brash – An illness of some weeks’ duration; as, A had a sore brash.

Brat – as, A brat o’ frost; a slight frost.

Brattle – a rumbling noise of things falling; as, A brattle of thunder.

Brave – equivalent to very good; as, This is a brave lass.

Bravely – very well; as, Hoo ir you getting’ on? Bravely.

Breemin’ – full to the brim and ready to run over.

Brills – spectacles.

Brimsy Brown – a name for an undecided colour. It’s a brimsy brown, the colour o’ a moose’s diddy.

Brissel – to toast, as to bristle potatoes; Gie me that big brissely; Rise oot o’ that an dae some work, an’ no be brisselin’ your shins at the fire.

Britchen – the hinder part of horse greth.

Brochan – porridge. The butter’s spuin oot o’ the brochan is a saying applied to a person who shows a mixture of vulgarity and refinement.

Brock – the badger. A nickname applied to a dirty person; as, You’re a dirty brock; You’re stinkin’ like a brock.

Brocket-ground – A mixture of clay and boggy land.

Broggle – An unhandy fellow; to broggle a job is to do it badly or to spoil it.

Broighan – I think puffing and making a noise from blowing hard; as, There he comes broighan an’ sweatin’.

Brose – the liquid part of broth poured on oatmeal.

Brosey – fat and red cheeked; as, A micht a known hir by hir big brosey face.

Brough – A halo, as There’s a brough roon the moon – It’s going tae be a storm.

Bruckle – As bruckle weather, very changeable weather; bruckle health, very frequently ill; bruckle ground, friable or easily turned into mould; brittle, as, As bruckle as glass.

Brungle – Seems to have the same meaning as broggle. Probably has arisen through mixing up broggle and bungle.

Brunt – the principal part; as, The brunt o’ the craps are in noo.

Buck Teeth – superfluous teeth which project above the ordinary row.

Buckey – the hip of the various species of rose.

Buggar – used as a term of contempt, as you’re a dirty buggar.

Buggins – Large fleshy blisters on the foot, as, I have walked till my feet are up in buggins.

Bully – something very fine; as, That’s a fine bully o’ a heifer.

Bulyor (accent on the last syllable) – An uproar; the shouting of a youngster when beaten.

Bum Bee – the common wild bee.

Bum Clock – the well known large beetle which flies off with a humming noise. Mammy daes plums fly; Naw. Weel, a hae et a bum clock.

Bumful – A lump or gathering of things badly arranged, chiefly referring to clothing.

Bummin’ – boasting. A correspondent sends this word but spells it “bombing”, which, I think gives it rather an English dress, and does not represent the local sound. The humming of bees is called bummin’.

Bunker – the solid part of the side of a shough; as, Throw that on the bunker. The hollow drain-like part at the side of many country roads; as, he tumbled intae the bunker.

Burn – a rivulet, as the Devenagh Burn near Ballymena.

Byre – a cowhouse.

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