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The Ancient Manor of Sedgley

"Ow we spake"

(Black Country Dialect)

The dialect of the Black Country area remains perhaps one of the last examples of early English still spoken today.

The word endings with 'en' are still noticeable in conversation as in 'gooen' (going), callen (calling) and the vowel 'A' is pronounced as 'O' as in sond (sand), hond (hand) and mon (man).Other pronunciations are 'winder' for window, 'fer' for far, and 'loff' for laugh - exactly as Chaucer's English was spoken. This "dictionary" is Black Country in general and not particularly Sedgley in origin.

Local dialect was (and probably still is to a lesser degree) quite distinctive between the different towns and villages of the Black Country


My Maternal Grandmother, see above - to whom this page is dedicated - reckoned that she could tell which Black Country village a person came from by the way they spoke. This has probably changed today due to the greater mobility of people.



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See also Book about English Dialects

See also Black Country sayings

© 1998 - 2020 : Compiled from various sources by Ian Beach
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~ A ~

Dialect word Meaning
Ackidock aqueduct
Afower before possibly from Afore (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Agen again
Airk as in belly ache, stomach ache etc. (Thanks to Zoë Miller from Cradley Heath)
Ait eat (Thanks to Zoë Miller from Cradley Heath)
Aks(axe) ask
Anunst against, next to, eg "The housen anunst hisen"
Ar Yes as in "Ar I am"
Ay or A haven't or isn't.
"Is it just the way we speak or lazyness which enables us to phase an entire sentence in single letters such as I A A I (I haven't, have I)."
Thanks to Stuart Appleby of Bilston for this item.

~ B ~

Dialect word Meaning
Babby Baby from the Anglo Saxon Babben
Backerds (backeds)  Backwards (thanks to Paul Bowdler for this one)
Barly a truce. Sometimes "Arley-Barly" is used. (Possibly a corruption from the French "Parlez" to talk?)
the Baggies West Bromwich Albion Football Club (not a very good one!)
Bai or bay am not, eg "I bay gooin' ter tell yow agen"
Bally Belly, stomach (Thanks to Zoë Miller from Cradley Heath)
Bamboozle puzzle, bemuse
Barmpot A silly person
Barmy Daft, silly
Bawk hinder or confuse. Probably from Balk
Bay or Baynt am not
Beezum a broom of birch, also playfully used to refer to a pert young woman
Bibble A pebble
Bin been, have been, are, have I bin affirmative reply to question
Bist are, eg "how bist yow?" = How are you?
Bisn't aren't, opposite of Bist. eg "Bisn't gooin up the shaps?" for "You're not going up the shops?" (Thanks to Lee Marshall of Darlaston for this one)
Blaberen to talk idly
Black Bat Black Beetle (Thanks to Lyn Corbett)
Bladda or Bladder Balloon (Thanks to Sean Percival of Oldbury)
Blart cry - from "the bleating of sheep"
Blether to talk nonsense or talk incessantly. "Blether yed" blether head = someone who talks nonesense, a fool.
Blobmouth blabbermouth eg "'Ers a right blobmouth. Tell 'er terday, the world knows tomorrer"
Blubren crying, eg "Ar kids blubren agen"
Bobhowlers Any large moth
Boffle hinder
Bonce the head (Thanks to Margaret Hill for this one)
Bonk bank or small hill. Pitbonk = hill made from mine waste
Bost broken or burst, past tense Bosted
Boster something big or possibly something good
Bostin Meaning "very good indeed" eg "We 'ad a bostin time" or "Ers a bostin wench"
(on the) box off work, sick
Bowk A very large recepticle like a skip (Thanks to Sean Percival of Oldbury)
Breffus breakfast
Brummagem Birmingham
Bunny-fire bonfire
Buz Bus

~ C ~

Dialect word Meaning
Cake-hole Mouth "Shut yer cake-hole" (Thanks to Gordon SMITH of Wollaston)
Caggy or caghanded left-handed - all the best people are!
Cag-mag Bad or rotting meat
Camplin/Cankin talking or gossiping (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Cant(in) gossip(ing)
Catlick hasty wash
Caw or cor cannot, eg "I cor goo the'er terday"
Chawl Pork
Chops mouth or cheeks
Chimdy or chimly or chimbly chimney
Chuffed pleased
Chuck Throw
Chuky or chooky chicken, fowl (children's word) also Chooky Egg
Chunter grumble under one's breath
Clack uvula, eg "Just stop yer clack"
Clarnet idiot, fool. "Yo' daft clarnet!"
Clane Clean
Clemmed or clammed starved or hungry
Clobber clothes or possibly to hit someone
Clomber climb
Cocka/Cocker mate, friend (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Cockaver a smack (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Codge a poor job, eg "He's made a right codge of it"
Cog-nogger or Cog-nocker Thick Sandwich (variation on Noggin)
Coddin joking, kidding, eg "Goo on, yum coddin me"
Coost could you ?, also negative "thee coosnt"
Coot coat
Cootin Courting (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Cor or cort can't
cork-aiver or cog-winder a good punch
Cost can you ?, also negative "I cosn't" - I cannot
Cotter have no cotter with 'im (have nothing to do with him)
Crack fun, entertainment
Craw crop of a bird, as in "that sticks in my craw" - I cannot believe it
Croddle huddle together
Craunch crunch
Cuckoo Sweetie (affectionate term)
Cuff a cough (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Cut canal
Cutherin' to huddle together, Cuddling?

~ D ~

Dialect word Meaning
Dahb daub, smear
Dare-cent dare not (Thanks to Sean Percival of Oldbury)
Day did not, eg "I day see 'im comin"
Desay dare say, very likely
Dishle cup of tea
Ditherin' meaning to shiver with cold, or to hesitate.
Dock to stop or hold back wages
Doe do not, reply to question "I doe"
Dollop large quantity, usually of food
Donny hand (children's word) Possibly a corruption from the French "Donnez" to give?
Dowl down, soft hair on the face
Drap drop
Duck evade, dodge
Dun Do, as in "What dun yo want?"

~ E ~

Dialect word Meaning
'E he, pronoun used to describe the husband or household head
Ess'ole Fireplace. I think this may be a corruption of 'ash hole' (Thanks to Lyn Corbett)

~ F ~

Dialect word Meaning
Faggots Black Country dish made from pig's organs, onion, sage, bread crumbs
Fairce face
Fai(r)ther father
Fakes/Fairks Cigarettes (Thanks to Margaret Hill for this one)
Fettle excellent condition
Fittle food, victuals
Fizzog the face
Flen fleas
Flics cinema
Flirter catapult usually made from elastic (rubber) bands
Fode Fold or enclosure. A back yard to a house
Foggy First : When children were playing games the first child to shout out Foggy went first/had first pick, then the next child would have to shout out Secky. (Thanks to Ann Tether of Herefordshire, ex-Wolverhampton for this one)
Forid Forehead (thanks to Paul Bowdler for this one)
Franzy irritable, particularly fretful children
Frit frightened, eg "doe be frit"
Frowtsy dishevelled
Fun found
Fust first

~ G ~

Dialect word Meaning
Gaffer master, employer, perhaps husband
Gain Useful, As gain as a glass eye
Gamgee Cotton Wool. From its inventor Dr. Samuel Gamgee, who originally called it "gamgee-tissue." Dr. Gamgee was born in Birmingham.
Gammitin playing the fool
Gammy lame
Gamp Umbrella (after a Dickensian character named Mrs Gamp who always carried a large black umbrella) - (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Ganzy guernsey, jumper, cardigan
Garn Go on
Gawby a simpleton
Gawk an ill dressed person, or to stare, eg "Who am yow gawkin' at ?"
Gawp open mouthed, staring
Gleed or Glede A cinder.
Gob to spit, or the mouth itself, eg "Shut yer gob" or "'Er's got a right gob on 'er"
Gobiron Mouth Organ/Harmonica
Goo go, eg "Am yow gooin' ter the flics?" = Are you going to the Pictures? (Cinema)
Graunch "To suck a boiled sweet and rattle it in ones teeth"
for example "...'ark at 'er, 'ers 'avin a grate time with that sweet - graunchin' it."
(Many thanks to Steve Pearson for this one)

~ H ~

Dialect word Meaning
Haiver something big, eg "It's a real haiver"
Half Ender Half a house brick
Hoss road The street. "Get out the hoss road!" = Get out of the way!

~ I ~

Dialect word Meaning
Ivver-ovver hesitate, eg "Stop yer ivverin' an' ovverin' an' get on wi'it"

~ J ~

Dialect word Meaning
Jack squalin hour Early morning. “He was out cootin till jack squalin hour” (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Jeth (jed) death (dead)
Jiffy brief moment, eg "E woe be a jiffy"
Joobus suspicious, dubious

~ K ~

Dialect word Meaning
Kay-li Sherbet powder (confectionary)
Kaylied Drunk
Kay Key
Kell the lining around a faggot
Keckle Kettle
Ketch catch
Kissa the face

~ L ~

Dialect word Meaning
Lamp to beat or thrash, eg "Ee giv' 'im a right lampin'"
Larrupin' or larussin' Also to beat or thrash, eg "Ee giv' 'im a right larrupin'"
Lather ladder
Lather upset or excited as "In a bit of a lather" (Thanks to Frank Gidlow for this one)
Lezzer a meadow. From the old english Leasowe
Lickle little
Lief as soon as
Loff laugh
Lommock (or lummock) clumsy, lumbering, eg "Yow big lommock"
Lover common term of endearment to children - m'lover
Lugole/Lughole Ear or ear hole (thanks to Pip Taylor of Redditch for this one)
Lungeous play roughly, inclined to horseplay

~ M ~

Dialect word Meaning
Madden to make wild, annoy
Maitrum matron (of a hospital)
Maulers hands
Maunch to chew carefully (as with no teeth)
Maygrums Faces as in Pullin' maygrums = Pulling faces.
Miskin, Midden or Mixen Rubbish heap or dustbins (garbage bin) From the Anglo-Saxon for dung
Moach or mooch to idle about in a bored fashion or search
Mucker confusion, eg "All of a mucker" can also mean a mate as in "me old mucker"
Mun must

meaning an acquaintance eg What yo looking at mush?
(Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)

Mush the face (Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)
Myther to bother, to irritate, or be irritated by

~ N ~

Dialect word Meaning
Nairun none, not one
Naither neither
Natty tidy, neat
Niggle to find fault in insignificant things
Node known, eg "I've nowd 'im for 'ears"
Noggen yedded stupid
Noggin thick piece of bread or the head
Noo new
Nous, Nowse

"Hav yo no nous?" meaning are you dumb or have no intelligence
Thanks to David Holloway of Canberra, AUS for this one

Nuss nurse, eg Nit Nuss (checked school children for head-lice)

~ O ~

Dialect word Meaning
Ockerd awkward
Ode old, eg "Th' ode lad" - the devil
Odge push, eg "Odge up" - move up a bit
Oliffer Nail making machine, actually the word is from Oliver (a spring loaded tilt hammer)
'Ommer hammer
'Ond hand
Ooer Woman of ill repute, whore (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Ood would
Ooman woman
Oot will you
Opple Apple - (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Oss horse
Ote hold, eg "Ketch ote on it" - take hold of it
O'thatnin' in that way
O'thisnin' in this way
Ow how
Owamya? how're you? (Thanks to Jim Asman of Dudley for this one)
Ow bist? How are you?
Owern my husband, my son, my daughter, often used by women to denote member of family

~ P ~

Dialect word Meaning
Pail Beat as in I'll give yo' a pailin'
Pie-can Silly, daft as in "Yo' pie-can"
Piece Slice of bread or a sandwich, often spread with jam or dripping
Pikelet Crumpet
Pisey Spitful (Thanks to Lyn Corbett)
Podge to push in when queuing (Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)
Pon Pan, as in saucepan
Poorly sick, ill. 'Ers proper poorly
Puk pick, as in pick up (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Pus purse
Purler A fall as in "cum a purler" fall down

~ Q ~

Dialect word Meaning

~ R ~

Dialect word Meaning
Reasty Off, as in food gone bad or dirty as in "Your hands are reasty".
Rennin Raining (thanks to Pip Taylor of Redditch for this one)
Riffy Dirty or unclean

~ S ~

Dialect word Meaning
Sad heavy, as in bread that does not rise.
Saft stupid, soft (in the head)
'Safta Shortened version of "this afternoon." eg. See ya this safta.
Saided sated, glutted remains left after rendering lard
Sailin' Ceiling as in "up on the sailin"
Sate seat (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Scrag To beat up as in fight
Scrawmp To have a good scratch (Thanks to Lee Marshall of Darlaston for this one)
Scratchings Black Country delicacy - pork rind deep fried
Scrumpin' pinching fruit (usually apples) from someone's orchard
Shap Shop (Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)
Sharra Motor Coach - derived from char-à-banc (Drawn wagon) (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Sharrap Shut up, be quiet. (Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)
Shed spilled/spilt (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Sheed to spill a liquid (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Shek, Shekin Shake, shaking - (Thanks to Mike Dickens for this one)
Siden Out of perpendicular, crooked. See photo of the Glynne Arms, aka The Crooked House, aka The Siden House
Siken to sigh (from the Old English 'Sican' )
Skraze graze, scratch
Skrobble or scromble a tangle of wool, string, and the like
Smosh Smash. (Thanks to Mick Roberts for this one)
Snap Food, commonly lunch taken by a working man
Snidge/Snitch Nose (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Spajacks or Spuggies Sparrows (Thanks to Richard Clark for this one)
Spake speak
Splod flat-footed
Spockle to cover with drops of moisture
Spottle splash
Soople to soften, make supple
Steen stew jar or earthenware pot
Suff sewer or drain, eg "Down the suff" - down the drain
Suck Sweets, (candy to the Yanks, lollies to the Aussies)
Sup to sip, a sip, drink
Sustifikut certificate
Swaits sweets (Thanks to Zoë Miller from Cradley Heath)
Swelth swelling
Swilker to spill or splash
Swole swollen
Swopson a heavily built woman, used in a semi-humorous sense

~ T ~

Dialect word Meaning
Tack up improvement in the weather, eg "It'll tack up tonight"
Tacky-bonk or Tocky-bonk a pit mound
Tararabit Bye for now
Taters potatoes
Tai(tay) tea, also "it isn't"
Tek take
Tek after to resemble, look like physically, mentally, or emotionally
Tewthree a few, two or three, always used as a noun preceded by "a"
Thaten that one
Thissen this one
Thrial group of three, used only in the card game of Cribbage
Thrape thrash. Give 'im a good thrapin'
Tiswas Confused, "getting in a tiswas"
Tizzicky having an irritating dry cough
Tittle tickle
To it Sandwich filling, “Bread and to it” (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Tranklements small possessions, bits and pieces, paraphernalia, precious possessions.
Trapes walking aimlessly about, eg "Trapesin' in an' ott like a dog at a fair"
Trussen to trust
Tummy a snack, especially a collier's mid-morning snack
Tunky a fat pig, eg "As fat as a tunky"

~ U ~

Dialect word Meaning
Unitick Uniform (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Unkyoothe uncouth

~ V ~

Dialect word Meaning
Volve valve

~ W ~

Dialect word Meaning
Waggin Playing truant from School (Thanks to Lee Marshall of Darlaston for this one)
Wag Mon The council official employed to round up errant children who were "Waggin" (Thanks to Lee Marshall of Darlaston for this one)
Wammel A mongrel dog, comes from the Anglo-Saxon/Old English "hwaemelec"
Wassin Throat. "Get it down yer wassin" From the Old English "wasend" meaning gullet.
Weege which (thanks to Syd Goring for this one)
Weem We are. Eg. "Weem gooin out tonight" - We're going out tonight. (Thanks to Dave Woodward of Sacramento, California for this one)
Welly nearly, eg "Welly clemmed to jeth"
Wench girl, still commonly used by parents towards daughters. From the Anglo-Saxon "Wencel" meaning child
Wenching One of the most enjoyable pastimes of young men. The act of flirting, charming and pursuing wenches.
Werrit worry
Whimsey pit head winding gear
Wick Nerves - as in 'Yow'm gerrin' on me wick.' (Thanks to Ben Armfield for this one)
Wik week or weak
Woa won't, eg Yow woa
Wooly whole, often of a brick : "A wooly 'un"
Wool will, eg Yow wool
Wommuck to eat fast "He wommucked that up like he was starvin!" (Thanks to Rex Basterfield for this one)
Wurse or Wuss worse
Wum home. "I'm gooin' wum"

~ X ~

Dialect word Meaning

~ Y ~

Dialect word Meaning
Yamp(e)y Useless, hopeless (as in "He's a yampy player)
See Martin Reeves' Yampy Gornal website for the latest news etc from Gornal
Yawle or Yaup bawl, shout or cry loudly
Yed head
Yo(w) you
Yoewer your

~ Z ~

Dialect word Meaning
Zowk yelp, cry out
Zad the letter Z


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