Letter R - 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-r

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Rallighan – a raw ungainly youth.

Ram Stam – at random.

Raspin’ – making a grating sound.

Ratherly – rather; as, I ratherly think it will do.

Reek – smoke from the chimney.

Reel footed – wry footed.

Reelral – in confusion; as, Everything wus lyin’ reelral.

Reemin’ – a vessel full of liquid which is ready to run over.

Revel-tree – a beam crossing the byre to which the top part of the cow’s stakes are attached.

Ribe – an animal in poor condition.

Rickle – peats put up to dry with a foundation on their ends, and other built on their sides on top of the foundation. A rickle differs from a clamp in it being long and narrow instead of circular.

Rickmatic – the whole lot, everything. I sent off the whole rickmatic; A’m disgusted wi’ the whole rickmatic.

Riffraf – the poorest and lowest people.

Rift – to belch.

Rig – a ridge.

Rig and Fur – a very common pattern in knitted work, such as stockings, like ridges and furrows.

Riggin – the ridge of a roof.

Ringle – a nickname for a person who is tall slender and in poor condition.

Rip – part of a sheaf of corn given to a horse.

Rodden – a well beaten path across a field. Children will be told when anything like food is swallowed that it is doon the rid rodden,

Roitery – a lot of useless lumber. Applied also to animals; as, A roitery o’ oul kye.

Rose – the local name for erysipelas.

Rosperous – rash and rough behaviour.

Roughness (gh pronounced as in Clough) – a plentiful supply of everything about a farm hose. There’s plenty o’ a roughness; They hae a guid roughness.

Routin’ – the bellowing noise made by cows. Hoo dae ye like mae singin’? A wud rather hear mae ain coo routin’. (Intended as a joke on the part of the last speaker, if you see it.)

Rubber – an apron of coarse cloth for use while scrubbing or working in the kitchen.

Rug – To pull the hair of the head roughly

Runchy – a potatoe which is not mealy when boiled, but hard and unpleasant taste, is called runchy. It’s as runchy as kale stock.

Rundale – a division of a farm between two persons so as to give each a fair share of good and bad land. In one field A may have a plot at one side, one in the middle, and another near the other side of the field, while B will have the intermediate plots. There are no fences between the plots, but each holds his own share permanently.

Rung – the bars across the ladder for stepping on are called rungs.

Runt – a stump of a tree. The roots and stalks of cabbage plants are called kale runts. An old cow will be spoken of as, A runt o’ an’ oul coo.

Rust or roost – a stubbornness in horses shown by lacking and unwillingness to move forward. A rusty or roosty horse is roosted, are well known expressions.

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