Weird Words from the Tyke County

A gloomily gothic spirit runs deep in the moorland hills of Yorkshire, and in the veins of its natives too, which might explain why the county’s dialect has an uncommonly wide vocabulary for bad weather – from the damp and dreary to the wild and stormy.

Let us imagine you draw back your curtains on a misty morning: how might you describe it? Probably with, “Ooh, it’s rather misty.” However, if you were a dyed in the wool Tyke, you might be more likely to remark, “By ‘eck, it’s dowly out there.” Alternatively, if the mist is not as much a feature as the brooding sky, you might observe, “Nah then, it’s a bit mokythis morning,” meaning cloudy and overcast. A further possibility could be, “Eh up, get thi brolly, it’s mizzling,” which refers to a mixture of mist and drizzle.

A stormy onslaught finds Yorkshire natives turning to yet more strange words. Wuthering, for example, a great favourite of mine, refers to a blustery wind. And if the wind is accompanied by rain, it’s clashy; while if the rain is heavy, someone is like to remark “It’s siling down.” A particularly odd phrase that refers to the possibility of rain is, “It’s looking a bit black o’er Bill’s mother’s.”

“And what of snow?” I guess you’re wondering. A snow storm goes by the compound noun of snow-stoor. And if it’s very cold, indeed frozzing, you might find shogglings hanging from eaves and branches and you may need to watch your footing because it will be slapeunderfoot. The cold of winter might force you to complain you are cold, but a Tyke would expect you to describe your discomfort as being starved or nithered, and would doubtless dismiss your mithering with the insulting suggestion you are nesh.

A dowly morning

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