Letter C - 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-c

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Caddis – a piece of silk formerly put in school boys ink bottles when they had to be carried to school to prevent ink from spilling. The pressure of the pen against the caddis was sufficient for procuring a supply for writing.

Cadge – to carry a burden. A person will say, That wus a heavy cadge A had. A person who drives peats for sale in Ballymena is called a peat cadger.

Caigey – walking with head erect and with a springy motion.

Caleery – a vain thoughtless person.

Calf’s Lick – when the hair above a boy’s forehead lies naturally in a wrong direction, it is called a calf’s lick.

Calliagh – When raising potatoes an old one of the previous year’s growth occasionally turns up, which is called a calliagh.

Cankered – Ill natured, crabbed; as You cankered creature you.

Cant – an auction; to auction.

Cantmaster – an auctioneer.

Canty – Pleasant and jocular, as He is a canty body.

Cap – A wooden bowl.

Carmudgeon – applies, I think, to persons who have a bad temper.

Carnaptious – Crabbed, short in the temper.

Carried – A boasting person, easily led by praise, is called a carried person.

Carrying on – Doing mischief, having rough sport, as, John and James are carrying on. Courting is another meaning, as, Him and her ha’e been carrying on thegither this guid while.

Cash – a loanin through a bog.

Caulrife – chilly, and desiring to keep close to the fire.

Cave – to toss up in the air; as, as in winning hay, Cave it up into win’ rows.

Cavins – the short straw which gets mixed with the heap of oats during the process of thrashing, when shaked out it is called cavins.

Champ – potatoes pounded fine with a beetle, mixed with sweet milk, and eaten with butter.

Channery-ground – Ground with a good many small stones in it.

Check – to accuse one of having said something, showing him he was wrong. Hasty refreshment in lieu of a meal.

Cheeks – as door cheeks; the sides of the door case.

Cheep – A sound like the chirp of birds. In scolding children people say, No’ a cheep oot o’ your heeds.

Chimley – for chimney.

Chitterin’ – constantly muttering complaints.

Chollers – the red flaps which hang down from fowl’s neck; the folds of flesh under a fat person’s chin are nicknamed chollers.

Choutre – To talk indistinctly, mumbling talk.

Churn – the finish of the reaping for the season is called winning the churn. The churn is the last handful of grain to be cut. It is plaited into one rope-like mass, and the reapers all stand back and each in turn throws his hook at it till it is cut. The churn is then taken home and hung up in a conspicuous part of the kitchen, where it remains for the remainder of the season.

Clabber – soft clay or mud, as road clabber.

Clachan – a village of small and poor houses

Clamp – a lump of turf carefully built by first making a circular foundation of peats on end; then building on their sides, making each row a little more contracted till a point is reached.

Clart – A dirty slattern.

Clash – a slap on the cheek with the open hand. A clash also means a tell-tale. I don’t know the meaning of clash in the expression, as coul as a clash. Possibly clash means clabber as people speak of clashing up a hole in a wall with clabber.

Clashbag – One who having secrets confided to him, tells them.

Clashbag – one who tells tales and secrets

Clatchin’ – A brood of young chickens.

Clatter – A kind of rake, having the raking part of a single board instead of teeth. Used in raking the ashes off the hearth into the ash-box.

Clatterbox – one who continually talks.

Clatty – Possibly derived from clarty, dirty.

Cleed – to clothe. Speaking of the rearing of children, a person will say, A hae baith fed them an’ cled them.

Clib – a young horse of a year old.

Cling – to shrink, as wood in drying.

Clint – as, A clint o’ a stick; a coarse walking stick.

Clip – a term applied to a female child who had done something wrong. A’ll gie it tae for that ye clip.

Clipe – a good sized piece; as, That pig has torn a big clipe oot o’ my dress.

Clips – A well-known wooden tool like a large pair of pincers, for pulling thistles.

Cloak – to hide, or to conceal from affection, what should be told. A’ll no’ cloak him ony langer.

Clockin – Sitting round the fire on low seats. A brooding hen is called a clocking hen.

Clocks – The local name for beetles.

Cloigher – A coughing person.

Cloithur and clouther seems to have the same meaning as cloighur. Perhaps they’re different forms of the same word.

Clout or Cloot – A slap on the side of the head. A piece of cloth, as the dish-cloth. Clothing, as Ne’er cast a cloot till May is oot.

Clovin’ – the further dressing of scutched flax by a long staff with a wide clip, called a clove, previous to heckling it.

Coag – a vessel used in households. It will be said of a child who has committed a certain fault in his sleep, A’ll tak a stave oot o’ his coag, meaning that the child would be allowed less liquid food.

Cocky – Proud, saucy.

Cog – a stone or something solid put to a wheel to prevent its rolling.

Coggily – Not level or firmly placed, as if a person sat down on a stool with a short leg it would be said That’s a coggily stool you’re on, tak’ anither.

Colcanon – a name for champ; a well-known word in the locality, but not used much.

Cole – as, Cole hay; that is putting it into little rolls called lap cocks during the process of winning.

Colf – To charge, to fill, as Colf a gun, and said angrily to a person taking food greedily, Colf yersel’.

Come – said of something that has been injured; shoes for instance that have been partially injured by fire. Grease them an’ let them stan’ awhile and they’ll come. i.e. they will return to their former condition.

Commither – Friendly intercourse, as There has been nae commither between them this guid while.

Confab – a confidential chat.

Consatey – conceited. He’s very consatey o’ them new trousers; He’s a consatey chap.

Contrairy – contrary, the opposite, opposed to others; as, He is a contrairy crathur.

Coof – A sheepish young fellow.

Coom – Fine vegetable mould derived from peats; as, Peat coom. The fine ashes from a smith’s fire is called smiddy coom.

Cooter – for coulter

Cormoylie – a term I heard applied to old blarneying fellows, but I am informed that it is derived from “Come all ye” and is applied an is applied to the brethren of a particular craft or brotherhood whose songs invariably begin with, “Come all ye” bold noble , or loyal sons &c.

Costinent – working for so much a day and supplying your own food; A’ll gie you a shillin’ a day an’ your meat (food), or twenty pence costinent.

Coul and Caul – for cold.

Coup – A tumble, as A got a coup oot o’ a kert an wus badly hurt.

Coup-carley – Tumbling heels over head. A game of schoolboys.

Cout – for colt

Coutfit – for coltsfoot.

Cow clap – A cow dropping.

Crack – A conversation.

Craiking – Harping as children would do till their request was granted.

Cranky – A youngster having an old-fashioned look for his years, is called cranky, as His wee cranky face.

Creepy – A low stool.

Creesh – for grease.

Cretlins – the fat from the puddings of pigs fried in the pan.

Cribstane – curbstone.

Crig – a slap; as, If you daeny behave yersel’ A’ll gie ye a crig that ye’ll feel.

Crine in – to shrink. Applied to wood, I think, or peats in drying. The term applying when cloth shrinks is Creep in or Creep up but Crine in may apply also.

Crinkled – for wrinkled.

Crispin – taking the linen web off the beam and folding it lengthwise, after being woven.

Croonin’ – Humming a tune. I think I have heard the term applied to the sing-song sound made by cats when pleased; the little song of the cats called “Three threeds an’ a thrum.”

Croose – bold, touchy. He wus gie an’ croose on it when A spoke tae him.

Crowdie – a mixture of solid and liquid food not very happily arranged.

Crowl – A dwarf. Applied frequently to when being scolded or corrected, as Haud your tongue you crowl you. A crowl looks naethin’ on a creepy.

Cruck – the thick piece of iron with hook at each end, the one for attaching it to links, and the other for the bools to sit in when the pot is on the fire. As it is always black with soot, we have the saying, As black as the cruck.

Cruds – curds.

Crule – perhaps cruel; as, It was crule hard tae hae tae dae it, You were crule lang o’ comin’, He’s makin’ a crule han’ o’ himsel.

Crulge – To press close to the fire while sitting on your hunkers

Crution – A disease in old badly fed cows which causes them to lose the power of their legs.

Cuddy – a donkey.

Cuff – a slap with the open hand; as, Behave or A’ll gie ye a cuff. The bak of the neck, as, A catched him by the cuff o’ the neck.

Curcudiaghly – Two sitting cosily together.

Curleys – a well-known variety of cabbage plants.

Curry – as to curry favour, to sneak and demean yourself for favour.

Cutty – a short pipe. Applied frequently to young country girls; as, She’s a smart little cutty.

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