Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect/Glossary






1. ee in beet.
2. e in Dorset (a sound between 1 and 3.)
3. a in mate.
4. i in birth.
5. a in father.
6. aw in awe.
7. o dote.
8. oo in rood.

In Dorset words which are forms of book-English ones, the Dorset words differ from the others mainly by Grimm's law, that "likes shift into likes," and I have given a few hints by which the putting of an English heading for the Dorset one will give the English word. If the reader is posed by dreaten, he may try for dr, thr, which will bring out threaten See Dr under D.


a in father, and au in daughter are, in "Blackmore," often a = 3. So king Alfred gives a legacy to his yldsta dehter—oldest daehter. a is a fore-eking to participles of a fore time, as a-vound; also for the Anglo-Saxon an, in or on, as a-huntèn for an huntunge.
, aÿ (5, 1), Maïd, Maÿ.

(Note—The numbers (as 5, 1) refer to the foregiven table.)

ag, often for eg, as bag, agg, beg, egg.
Anewst, Anighst, very near or nearly.
A'r a, ever a, as.
A'r a dog, ever a dog.
Amper, pus.
A'r'n, e'er a one.
A-stooded (as a waggon), with wheels sunk fast into rotten ground.
A-stogged, A-stocked, with feet stuck fast in clay.
A-strout, stiff stretched.
A-thirt, athwart (th soft).
A-vore, afore, before.
Ax, ask.
Axan, ashes (of fire).
A-zew, dry, milkless.


Backbran' (brand), Backbron' (brond), A big brand or block of wood put on the back of the fire.
Ballywrag, scold.
Bandy, a long stick with a bent end to beat abroad cow-dung.
Barken, Barton, a stack-yard or cow-yard.
Bavèn, a faggot of long brushwood.
Beä'nhan' (1, 3, 5), bear in hand, uphold or maintain, as an opinion or otherwise.
Beät (1, 4), up, to beat one's way up.
Bennets, flower-stalks of grass.
Be'th, birth.
Bibber, to shake with cold.

[This is a Friesic and not an Anglo-Saxon form of the word, and Halbertsma, in his "Lexicon Frisicum" gives it, among others, as a token that Frisians came into Wessex with the Saxons. See Eltrot.]

Bissen, thou bist not.
Bittle, a beetle.
Blatch, black stuff; smut.
Blather, a bladder.
Bleäre (1, 3), to low as a cow.
Blind-buch o' Davy, blindman's buff.
Bloodywarrior, the ruddy Stock gilliflower.
Blooèns, blossoms.
Blooth, blossom in the main.
Bluevinny, blue mouldy.
Brack, a breach.

"Neither brack nor crack in it."

Bran', a brand.
Brantèn, brazen-faced.
Bring-gwaïn (Bring-going), to bring one on his way.
Brocks, broken pieces (as of food).
Bron', a brand.
Bruckly, Bruckle, brittle.
Bundle, to bound off; go away quickly.
Bu'st, burst.


Caddle, a muddle; a puzzling plight amid untoward things, such that a man knows not what to do first.
Car, to carry.
Cassen, casn, canst not.
Chanker, a wide chink.
Charlick, charlock, field-mustard; Sinapis arvensis.
Charm, a noise as of many voices.
Choor, a chare, a (weekly) job as of house work.
Chuck, to throw underhanded to a point, or for a catch.
Clack, Clacker, a bird-clacker; a bird-boy's clacking tool, to fray away birds; also the tongue.
Clavy, Clavy-bwoard, The mantel-shelf.
Clèden, cleavers, goosegrass; Galium aparine.
Clips, to clasp.
Clitty, clingy.
Clocks, ornaments on the ankles of stockings.
Clom', clomb, climbed.
Clote, the yellow water-lily; Nuphar lutea.
Clout, a blow with the flat hand.
Clum, to handle clumsily.
Cluster o' vive (cluster of five), the fist or hand with its five fingers; wording taken from a cluster of nuts.
Cockle, Cuckle, the bur of the burdock.
Cockleshell, snail shell.
Colepexy, to glean the few apples left on the tree after intaking.
Coll (7), to embrace the neck.
Conker, the hip, or hep; the fruit of the briar.
Cothe, coath (th soft), a disease of sheep, the plaice or flook, a flat worm Distoma nepaticum in the stomach.
Cou'den, could not.
Coussen, Coossen, coosn, couldest not.
Craze, to crack a little.
Critch, a big pitcher.
Crock, an iron cooking-pot.
Croodle, to crow softly.
Croop, Croopy-down, to bend down the body; to stoop very low.
Crope, crept.
Crowshell, shell of the fresh-water mussel, as taken out of the river for food by crows.
Cubby-hole, Cubby-house, between the father's knees.
Culver, the wood pigeon.
Cutty, Cut, the kittywren.
Cweïn, Cwoïn, (4, 1) coin.
Cwoffer (8, 4, 4), a coffer.


Dadder, dather, dudder, to maze or bewilder.
Dag, childag, a chilblain.
Dake, to ding or push forth.
Daps, the very likeness, as that of a cast from the same mould.
Dather, see Dadder.
Dent, a dint.
Dewberry, a big kind of blackberry.
Dibs, coins; but truly, the small knee bones of a sheep used in the game of Dibs.
Didden (didn), did not.
Do, the o, when not under a strain of voice, is (4) as e in 'the man' or as e in the French le.
Dod, a dump.
Dogs, andirons.
Don, to put on.
Doust, dust.
dr for thr in some words, as Drash, thresh.
Drashel, threshold.
Dreaten, threaten.
Dree, three.
Dringe, Drunge, to throng; push as in a throng.
Droat, throat.
Drong, throng; also a narrow way.
Drough, through.
Drow, throw.
Drub, throb.
Drush, thrush.
Drust, thrust.
Drean, Drène (2), to drawl.
Drève (2), drive.
Duch, a darkening, dusk.
Dumbledore, the humble bee.
Dummet, dusk.
Dunch, dull of hearing, or mind.
Dunch-nettle, the dead nettle, Lamium.
Dunch-pudden, pudding of bare dough.
Dungpot, a dungcart.
Dunt, to blunten as an edge or pain.
Durns, the side posts of a door.


 long itself alone has mostly the Dorset sound (2.)
(1, 4) for ea, with the a unsounded as lead, mead, leäd, meäd.
(1, 3) for the long a, 3, as in lade, made, leäde, meäde.
ea of one sound (2) as meat.
e is put in before s after st, as nestes, nests, vistes, fists.
The two sundry soundings of ea 2 and 3 do not go by our spelling ea for both, but have come from earlier forms of the words.
After a roof letter it may stay as it is, a roof letter, as madden, madd'n; rotten, rott'n. So with en for him, tell en, tell'n.
The en sometimes at the end of words means not, as bisse'n, bist not; coust'en, cous'n, could'st not; I didd'n, I did not; diss'n, didst not; hadd'n, had not; muss'n, must not; midd'n, mid not; should'n, should not; 'tis'n, 'tis not; would'n, would not.
en—not èn—in Dorset, as well as in book English, as an ending of some kinds of words often, in running talk, loses the e, and in some cases shifts into a sound of the kind of the one close before it. After a lip-letter it becomes a lip-letter m, as Rub en, Rub-him; rub'n, rub'm; oven, ov'm; open, op'n op'm, in Dorset mostly oben, ob'n, ob'm. So after f', deafen, deaf'n, deaf'm, heaven, heav'n, heav'm, in Dorset sometimes heab'm. zeven, zeb'n, zeb'm. After a throat-letter it becomes a throat one, ng, as token, tok'n, tok'ng.

ē (2).

Eegrass, aftermath.
Eltrot, Eltroot, cowparsley (Myrrhis). [Elt is Freisic, robustus, vegetus, as cowparsley is among other kinds.] See Bibber.
Emmet, an ant.
Emmetbut, an anthill.
En, him; A.-Saxon, hine.
Èn, for ing, zingèn, singing.
Eve, to become wet as a cold stone floor from thickened steam in some weather.
Evet, eft, newt.
Exe, an axle.


Fakket, a faggot.
Fall, autumn; to fall down is vall.
Faÿ (5, 1) to speed, succeed.
Feäst (1, 4), a village wake or festival; festa.
Flag, a water plant.
Flinders, flying pieces of a body smashed; “Hit it all to flinders.”
Flounce, a flying fall as into water.
Flout, a flinging, or blow of one.
Flush, fledged.
Footy, unhandily little.


Gally, to frighten, fray.
Gee, jee, to go, fit, speed.
Giddygander, the meadow orchis.
Gil’cup, gilt cup, the buttercup.
Girt, great.
Glēne (2), to smile sneeringly.
Glutch, to swallow.
Gnang, to mock one with jaw waggings, and noisy sounds.
Gnot, a gnat.
Goo, go.
Goocoo flower, Cardamine pratensis.
Goodnow, goodn’er, good neighbour; my good friend; “No, no; not I, goodnow;” “No, no; not I, my good friend.”
Goolden chain, the laburnum.
Gout, an underground gutter.
Grægle, Greygle, the wild hyacinth, Hyacinthus nonscriptus.
Gramfer, grandfather.
Ground-ash, an ash stick that springs from the ground, and so is tough; “Ground the pick,” to put the stem of it on the ground, to raise a pitch of hay.
Gwoad (8, 4), a goad.


Hacker, a hoe.
Hagrod, hagridden in sleep, if not under the nightmare.
Haïn (5, 1), to fence in ground or shut up a field for mowing.
Ha’me, see Hau’m.
Hangèn, sloping ground.
Hansel, Handsel, a hand gift.
Hansel, Handsel, to use a new thing for the first time.
Happer, to hop up as hailstones or rain-drops from ground or pavement in a hard storm, or as down-shaken apples; to fall so hard as to hop up at falling.
Haps, a hasp.
Ha’skim, halfskim cheese of milk skimmed only once.
Hassen, hast not.
Haum, Haulm, Hulm, the hollow stalks of plants. Teätie kaum, potatoe stalks.
Hatch, a low wicket or half door.
Haÿmeäkèn, haymaking.

The steps of haymaking by hand, in the rich meadow lands of Blackmore, ere machines were brought into the field, were these:—The grass being mown, and lying in swath, it was (1) tedded, spread evenly over the ground; (2) it was turned to dry the under side; (3) it was in the evening raked up into rollers, each roller of the grass of the stretch of one rake, and the rollers were sometimes put up into hay cocks; (4) in the morning the rollers were cast abroad into pa’sels (parcels) or broad lists, with clear ground between each two; (5) the parcels were turned, and when dry they were pushed up into weäles (weales) or long ridges, and, with a fear of rain, the weäles were put up pooks, or big peaked heaps; the waggon (often called the plow) came along between two weäles or rows of pooks, with two loaders, and a pitcher on each side pitched up to them the hay of his side, while two women raked after plow, or raked up the leavings of the pitchers, who stepped back from time to time to take it from them.

Hazen, to forebode.
Hazzle, hazel.
Heal (2), hide, to cover.
Heal pease, to hoe up the earth on them.
Heän (1, 4), a haft, handle.
Heft, weight.
Herence, hence.
Here right, here on the spot, etc.
Het, heat, also a heat in running.
Het, to hit.
Heth, a hearth, a heath.
Hick, to hop on one leg.
Hidelock, Hidlock, a hiding place. “He is in hidelock.” He is absconded.
Hidybuck, hide-and-seek, the game.
Hile of Sheaves, ten, 4 against 4 in a ridge, and 1 at each end.
Ho, to feel misgiving care.
Hodmadod, a little dod or dump; in some parts of England a snail.
Holm, ho’me, holly.
Hook, to gore as a cow.
Honeyzuck, honeysuckle.
Ho’se-tinger, the dragon-fly, Libellula. Horse does not mean a horse, but is an adjective meaning coarse or big of its kind, as in horse-radish, or horse-chesnut; most likely the old form of the word gave name to the horse as the big beast where there was not an elephant or other greater one. The dragon-fly is, in some parts, called the “tanging ether” or tanging adder, from tang, a long thin body, and a sting. Very few Dorset folk believe that the dragon-fly stings horses any more than that the horse eats horse-brambles or horse-mushrooms.
Hud, a pod, a hood-like thing.
Ho’se, hoss, a board on which a ditcher may stand in a wet ditch.
Huddick (hoodock), a fingerstall.
Hull, a pod, a hollow thing.
Humbuz, a notched strip of lath, swung round on a string, and humming or buzzing.
Humstrum, a rude, home-made musical instrument, now given up.


Jack-o’-lent, a man-like scarecrow.

The true Jack-o’-lent was, as we learn from Taylor, the water poet, a ragged, lean-like figure which went as a token of Lent, in olden times, in Lent processions.

Jist, just.
Jut, to nudge or jog quickly.


Kag, a keg.
Kapple cow, a cow with a white muzzle.
Kern, to grow into fruit.
Ketch, Katch, to thicken or harden from thinness, as melted fat.
Kecks, Kex, a stem of the hemlock or cowparsley.
Keys, (2), the seed vessels of the sycamore.
Kid, a pod, as of the pea.
Kittyboots, low uplaced boots, a little more than ancle high.
Knap, a hillock, a head, or knob, (2.) a knob-like bud, as of the potatoe. “The teäties be out in knap.”


Laïter (5, 1), one run of laying of a hen.
Leän (1, 4), to lean.
Leäne (1, 3), a lane.
Leäse, (1, 4), to glean.
Leäse, Leäze, (1, 4), an unmown field, stocked through the Spring and Summer.
Leer, Leery, empty.
Lence, a loan, a lending.
Levers, Livers, the corn flag.
Lew, sheltered from cold wind.
Lewth, lewness.
Libbets, loose-hanging rags.
Limber, limp.
Linch, Linchet, a ledge on a hillside.
Litsome, lightsome, gay.
Litty, light and brisk of body.
Lo’t (7), loft, an upper floor.
Lowl, to loll loosely.
Lumper, a loose step.


Maesh (2), Mesh, (Blackmore) moss, also a hole or run of a hare, fox, or other wild animal.
Mammet, an image, scarecrow.
Marrels. Merrels. The game of nine men’s morris.
Mawn, mān, (5) a kind of basket.
Meäden (1, 4), stinking chamomile.
Ment (2), to imitate, be like.
Mēsh, (2) moss.
Mid, might.
Miff, a slight feud, a tiff.
Min (2), observe. You must know.
Mither ho, come hither. A call to a horse on the road.
Moot, the bottom and roots of a felled tree.
More, a root, taproot.
Muggy, misty, damp (weather).


Na’r a, never a (man).
Nar’n, never a one.
N’eet, not yet.
Nēsh (2), soft.
Nesthooden, a hooding over a bird’s nest, as a wren’s.
Netlèns, a food of a pig’s inwards tied in knots.
Never’stide, never at all.
Nicky, a very small fagot of sticks.
Nippy, hungry, catchy.
Nitch, a big fagot of wood; a load; a fagot of wood which custom allows a hedger to carry home at night.
Not (hnot or knot), hornless.
Nother, neither (adverb).
Nunch, a nog or knob of food.
Nut (of a wheel), the stock or nave.


O’, of.
O’m (2), of em, them.
O’n (2), of him.
O’s (2), of us.
Orts, leavings of hay put out in little heaps in the fields for the cows.
Over-right, opposite.
Oves, eaves.


Paladore, a traditional name of Shaftesbury, the British Caer Paladr, said by British history to have been founded by Rhun Paladr-bras, ‘Rhun of the stout spear.’
Pank, pant.
Par, to shut up close; confine.
Parrick, a small enclosed field; a paddock—but paddock was an old word for a toad or frog.
Pa’sels, parcels. See Haÿmeäkèn.
Peärt (1, 4), pert; lively.
Peaze, Peeze (2), to ooze.
Peewit, the lapwing.
Pitch. See Haÿmeäkèn.
Plesh, (2) Plush (a hedge), to lay it.

To cut the stems half off and peg them down on the bank where they sprout upward.

To plush, shear, and trim a hedge are sundry handlings of it.

Plim, to swell up.
Plock, a hard block of wood.
Plow, a waggon, often so called.

The plough or plow for ploughing is the Zull.

Plounce, a strong plunge.
Pluffy, plump.
Pont, to hit a fish or fruit, so as to bring on a rotting.
Pooks. See Haÿmeäkèn.
Popple, a pebble.
Praïse (5, 1), prize, to put forth or tell to others a pain or ailing. “I had a risèn on my eärm, but I didden praïse it,” say anything about it.
Pummy, pomice.
ps for sp in clasp, claps; hasp, haps; wasp, waps.


Quaer, queer.
Quag, a quaking bog.
Quar, a quarry.
Quarrel, a square window pane.
Quid, a cud.
Quirk, to grunt with the breath without the voice.


R, at the head of a word, is strongly breathed, as Hr in Anglo-Saxon, as Hhrong, the rong of a ladder.
R is given in Dorset by a rolling of the tongue back under the roof.
For or, as an ending sometimes given before a free breathing, or h, try ow,—hollar, hollow.
R before s, st, and th often goes out, as bu’st, burst; ve’ss, verse; be’th, birth; cu’st, curst; fwo’ce, force; me’th, mirth.
Raft, to rouse, excite.
Rake, to reek.
Ram, Rammish, rank of smell.
Rammil, raw milk (cheese), of unskimmed milk.
Ramsclaws, the creeping crowfoot. Ranunculus repens.
Randy, a merry uproar or meeting.
Rangle, to range or reach about.
Rathe, early; whence rather.
Ratch, to stretch.
Readship, criterion, counsel.
Reämes, (1, 3) skeleton, frame.
Reän (1, 4), to reach in greedily in eating.
Reäves, a frame of little rongs on the side of a waggon.
Recd (2), wheat hulm drawn for thatching.
Reely, to dance a reel.
Reem, to stretch, broaden.
Rick, a stack.
Rig, to climb about.
Rivel, shrivel; to wrinkle up.
Robin Hood, The Red campion.
Roller (6, 4). See Haÿmeäkèn.

A Roller vas also a little roll of wool from the card of a woolcomber.

Rottlepenny, the yellow rattle. Rhinanthm Crista-galli.
Rouet, a rough tuft of grass.


Sammy, soft, a soft head; simpleton.
Sar, to serve or give food to (cattle).
Sarch, to search.
Scrag, a crooked branch of a tree.
Scraggle, to screw scramly about (of a man), to screw the limbs scramly as from rheumatism.
Scram, distorted, awry.
Scroff, bits of small wood or chips, as from windfalls or hedge plushing.
Scroop, to skreak lowly as new shoes or a gate hinge.
Scote, to shoot along fast in running.
Scud, a sudden or short down-shooting of rain, a shower.
Scwo’ce, chop or exchange.
Settle, a long bench with a high planken back.
Shard, a small gap in a hedge.
Sharps, shafts of a waggon.
Shatten, shalt not.
Shroud (trees), to cut off branches.
Sheeted cow, with a broad white band round her body.
Shoulden (Shoodn), should not.
Shrow, Sh’ow, Sh’ow-crop, the shrew mouse.
Skim, Skimmy, grass; to cut off rank tuffs, or rouets.
Slaït, (5, i) Slite, a slade, or sheep run.
Slent, a tear in clothes.
Slidder, to slide about.
Slim, sly.
Sloo, sloe.
Slooworm, the slow-worm.
Smame, to smear.
Smeech, a cloud of dust.
Smert, to smart; pain.
Snabble, to snap up quickly.
Snags, small pea-big sloes, also stumps.
Sneäd (1, 4), a scythe stem.
Snoatch, to breathe loudly through the nose.
Snoff, a snuff of a candle.
Sock, a short loud sigh.
Spur (dung), to cast it abroad.
Squaïl (5, 1), to fling something at a bird or ought else.
Squot, to flatten by a blow.
Sowel, Zowel, a hurdle stake.
Sparbill, Sparrabill, a kind of shoe nail.
Spars, forked sticks used in thatching.
Speäker (1, 4), a long spike of wood to bear the hedger’s nitch on his shoulder.
Spears, Speers, the stalks of reed grass.
Spik, spike, lavender.
Sprach, active.
Sprethe (2), to chap as of the skin, from cold.
Spry, springy in leaping, or limb work.
Staddle, a bed or frame for ricks.
Staïd (5, 1), steady, oldish.
Stannèns, stalls in a fair or market.
Steän (1, 4) (a road), to lay it in stone.
Steärt (1, 4), a tail or outsticking thing.
Stout, the cowfly, Tabanus.
Stitch (of corn), a conical pile of sheaves.
Strawèn, a strewing. All the potatoes of one mother potatoe.
Strawmote, a straw or stalk.
Strent, a long slent or tear.
Streech, an outstretching (as of a rake in raking); a-strout stretched out stiffly like frozen linen.
Stubbard, a kind of apple.
Stunpoll (7), stone head, blockhead; also an old tree almost dead.


th is soft (as th in thee), as a heading of these words:—thatch, thief, thik, thimble, thin, think, thumb.
Tack, a shelf on a wall.
Taffle, to tangle, as grass or corn beaten down by storms.
Taït, to play at see-saw.
Tamy (3, 1), tammy (5, 1), tough, that may be drawn out in strings, as rich toasted cheese.
Teäve, (1, 3), to reach about strongly as in work or a struggle.
Teery, Tewly, weak of growth.
Tewly, weakly.
Theäse, this or these.
Theasum (1, 4), these.
Tidden (tidn), it is not.
Tilty, touchy, irritable.
Timmersome, restless.
Tine, to kindle, also to fence in ground.
Tistytosty, a toss ball of cowslip blooms.
To-year, this year (as to-day.)
Tranter, a common carrier.
Trendel, a shallow tub.
Tump, a little mound.
Tun, the top of the chimney above the roof ridge.
Tut (work), piecework.
Tutty, a nosegay.
Tweil, (4, 1) toil.
Twite, to twit reproach.


Unheal, uncover, unroof.


v is taken for f as the heading of some purely English words, as vall, fall, vind, find.
Veag, Vēg (2), a strong fit of anger.
Vern, fern.
Ve’se, vess, a verse.
Vinny cheese, cheese with fen or blue-mould.
Vitty, nice in appearance.
Vlanker, a flake of fire.
Vlee, fly.
Vo’h, folk.
Vooty, unhandily little.
Vuz, Vuzzen, furze, gorse.


wo (8, 4), for the long o, 7, as bwold, bold; cwold, cold.
Wag, to stir.
Wagwanton, quaking grass.
Weäse, (1, 4) a pad or wreath for the head under a milkpail.
Weäle (1, 3), a ridge of dried hay; see Haÿmeäkèn.
Welshnut, a walnut.
Werden, were not or was not.
Wevet, a spider’s web.
Whindlèn, weakly, small of growth.
Whicker, to neigh.
Whiver, to hover, quiver.
Whog, go off; to a horse.
Whur, to fling overhanded.
Wi’, with.
Widdicks, withes or small brushwood.
Winh, a winch; crank of a well.
Withwind, the bindweed.
Wont, a mole.
Wops, wasp.
ps, not sp, in Anglo-Saxon, and now in Holstein.
Wotshed, Wetshod, wet-footed.
Wride, to spread out in growth.
Wride, the set of stems or stalks from one root or grain of corn.
Writh, a small wreath of tough wands, to link hurdles to the sowels (stakes).
Wrix, wreathed or wattle work, as a fence.


Yop, yelp.


z for s as a heading of some, not all, pure Saxon words, nor for s of in-brought foreign words.
Zand, sand.
Zennit, Zennight, seven night; “This day zennit.”
Zew, azew, milkless.
Zoo, so.
Zive, a scythe.
Zull a plough to plough ground.
Zwath, a swath.

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