Letter F - 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-f

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Fa’-oot – a disagreement. A daeny want to fa’oot wi’ ye ; Jamey an’ me hes fell oot, are no longer friends.

Fadge – Bread made of potatoes and meal or flour, and baked on the griddle.

Fagerry – a whimsical notion; as, Whut sort o’ a fagerry is this you hae taen into your head.

Faise – to take effect; Drink, cold, heat &c., niver faises on him.

Falthie – welcome; showing civility and kindness; as, He had a great falthie for me when A went tae see him.

Farent – As oul farent talk, the talk of a precocious youngster.

Farl – The fourth part of the circular oaten cake which is baked on the griddle in farmhouses. The cake is cut twice through the centre, dividing it into four equals parts or farls.

Farleys – Used in the sense of prying or trying to see what you have no right to see as Are you spying farleys?

Fash – to tease, to vex; as, Daeny fash yoursel, A canny be fashed.

Feat – to make neat and tidy, as, Snod it up an’ mak it feat.

Feck – the bulk, principal part, as, The feck o’ the peats is cut.

Feen – As feen a haet, nothing. What have you got in your pockets? Feen a haet.

Ferrentickles – freckles. Ferrenticles niver spok’ a word but yin; They niver lit on a din skin.

Fidom – A fatality or something going to happen, as if a person does anything unusual or contrary to his customary way of doing things it will be said, There is a fidom before him.

Fikin’ – Doing trifling works and passing time, as A’m jest fikin’ an daein wee turns.

Finnicky – Small, puny.

Fitgo – the drain-like space at foot of a peat bink made by the peats being dug out of it. It holds drainage of the bink and the pairings of the following bink.

Fix – to mend. The chair’s brok’, will you fix it? The lock’s gaun wrang, wull ye try an’ fix it? that is mend it.

Fladyin – a piece of any kind of texture of anything thin compared with its size; as, A fladyin of bread and butter.

Flaffin’ – flapping; as, The geese were flaffin’ their wings. We have also the expression, A flaff o’ wun.

Flaghterspade – A spade of peculiar shape used in flaghtering or cutting scraws.

Fleech – to coax, to beseech. A fleeched at him tae A wus tired.

Flin – a mischievous young girl.

Flinners – Any earth or glass object smashed into small pieces is said to be broken into flinners.

Flinty – hardy; as, A fine flinty wee fellow or wee cutty.

Flitters – Any garment or other cloth torn accidentally into ribbon-like pieces is said to be torn tae flitters.

Flittin’. removing from one house to another. The furniture is called the flittin’. That’s so-an -so’s flittin’ that’s passing.

Flouster – one giving to praising; a friendly flatterer.

Flowans – light material like threads or hair with dust attached, blowing about especially through a house that is not regularly dusted.

Fluke – a beating. A parent will say, A’ll gie you a flukin’ whun A get you in.

Fogey – a nickname applied to old people of peculiar appearance.

Folk – people; as, Oor folk.

Foofing – The wailing cries of dogs at night, as There’s the dog foofing; it’s before something.

Footre – A handless creature. You’re a footre, an’ the ducks ‘ll get you.

Footy – Mean, as He kep’ a penny aff me; A thocht it very footy o’ him.

Forby – besides, as, They wur severals forby me. Forby also means extra or superior, as, He was a forby sort o’ a fellow.

Fordther – As Guid fordther tae you; said generally by a passer-by to one at work, and meaning I wish you have good speed.

Fordthersome – favourable, as, Fordthersome weather; suitable weather for doing work.

Foresupper – the even from about 7 to 10 o’clock. The young yins would foregather in some hoose in a foresupper an’ tell stories an’ riddles.

Forgather – to meet together.

Fornenst, fornent – Opposite, straight before you, as There it is fornenst you.

Forrow – As, a forrow cow; one that has missed calving for a year.

Foundit – the smallest quantity either material or in the way of news; as, A haeny a foundit; A didney hear a foundit.

Fozey – Spongy. Turnips which have grown large are often spongy in the centre, when they will be described in local language as fozey.

Freet – A charm, He’s a very freety body, he believes greatly in freets.

Frow – a contemptible name applied to woman; as, A big fat frow; A lazy big frow.

Frush – Easily broken wanting toughness, as frush wood.

Fud – the tail of a hare.

Fum – A wet peat.

Fur – for furrows.

Fushionless – Having lost both taste and flavour – as tasteless as saw dust. Applied to meal or floor [sic] which has been damaged in a particular way.

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