Letter D - 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-d

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Dad – a piece; as, A dad of bread or butter. We have a saying, “Raw dads mak’ fat lads.”

Daddy – the common name for father.

Daeless – Applied to people who are idle and thriftless.

Dailigone – (daylight gone), after sunset when it is beginning to get dark.

Dalt – a spoiled child.

Dangersome – for dangerous.

Davered – for endeavoured. Daver is also used in the sense of to stun, to cause to stagger; as, A davered him.

Daw – an unkempt badly dressed person; as, A’day’s bra, an’ on Sundays a daw.

Deave – To deafen; as, Don’t deave me wi’ your din.

Debate – an effort for protection. If a cart tumbled into a dyke shough, and the driver got so wedged in that he could not move, it would be said he could mak’ nae debate for himsel’.

Decline – a common name for consumption; as, He died o’ a decline.

Devals (accent on the last syllable) – As, He never devals, said perhaps of a crying child or of a youngster craiking for something he is anxious to get.

Diddy – The female breast. As Gi’e the waen a tug o’ the diddy.

Dido – a plaything; anything in the way of trimming on a dress or bonnet that does not give satisfaction, or was too showy for the persons taste, would be characterised as a dido. What sort o’ a dido’s this.

Diggory – a person will encourage young people by saying, Now work like diggory. (Query meaning).

Dilly Dally – I think a play on the word dally, What are you dilly dallying aboot.

Dinnle – To vibrate.

Dinted – An injury to cattle from elf arrows; the skin probably only indented; not pierced elf-shot. The cow doctors of old times could cure a cow which was either elf-shot or dinted, or both, by the use of flint arrow-heads or elf-stones.

Disremimmer – for do not remember. Must be comparatively recent, as the old form for I don’t remember is, A daeny min’.

Divelment – Mischievous amusement.

Divits – scraws.

Dodram – some substitute for tobacco formerly smoked by poor persons. I don’t know what it was made of.

Doit – A heedless youngster who would perhaps mismanage a message.

Doncy – Delicate in health. A hae been very doncy a’ winter

Dotter – To stagger. No doubt from totter, but dotter is a well established local word.

Dottle – A small lump; the dropping of some of the smaller domestic animals would be called a dottle.

Douce – Tidy and becomingly dressed. Applied to elderly housewives.

Doup – applied, I think, to wood that has partly decayed and lost its toughness.

Doup – The end of a candle when burned level with the socket of the candlestick. It is then put in the clip to burn out, or if used by a weaver it is put in an article called a safe-all.

Dour – Not of a pleasant countenance or manner.

Douragh – A little extra.

Drackey – A dampish day, a day of drizzling rain.

Dreep – for drip, and dreepin’ for dripping.

Dreigh – Slow at commencing, longsome, as Dreigh o’ drawin’.

Dresser – a common article of furniture in a kitchen holding plates bowls &c.

Dressin’ – The paste used by weavers in dressing their yarn. A dressin’ is the length of the loom, which is all that can be dressed at the time, and a weaver calculates his work by dressin’. He can weave so many dressin’s in the day.

Dringin – Lagging behind as Come on, what are you dringin there for?

Drisenin. the low plaintive cry made by cows when wanting food. A hear the coo drisenin; she’s wantin’ hir tub.

Drookit – Drenched.

Drownded – for drowned.

Drunt – a huff, as, What’s the metter wi’ wee Jamey that he’s no’ taking his breakfast; oh, he taen the drunt.

Dryness – a coolness in friendship; as, Johnny’s no sae aften in Jamey’s as he used tae be. There’s a dryness between them noo.

Dudeen – a small black cutty pipe.

Duggins (pronounced dyuggins) – In rags, as The waen’s needin’ claes, he’s a’ in duggins.

Dulce – a kind of seaweed which people buy in fairs or markets for eating and sucking.

Dumped – disappointed and taken by surprise.

Dumplin – a thick oatmeal cake boiled in broth.

Dunch – To strike a blow with the head. A hornless or moiled cow which has the habit of knocking people down with her head is called a duncher, while a horned cow having the same habit is called a sticker.

Dunner – To knock loudly, as Gie the door a dunner.

Dunt – A sudden shock given by the elbow or some other joint.

Durst – for dare; as, How durst you do it.

Dwam – A slight fit, as of weakness coming on suddenly.

Dwible – To totter, to show weakness or feebleness, as A’m hardly able tae dwible on mae feet; she’s a poor wee dwibly thing, meaning she was weak and delicate.

Dwine – to fail in health and loose flesh from some trouble.

Dyke – a fence made of stones laid firmly on top of each other, or partly of stones and partly of clay.

Dyorry – if a young pig in the litter is smaller than the others it is called a wee dyorry.

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