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  Orkney Dialect

Examples

koad: pillow

  • Examples: "Whaur's me good koad? Hid wis oan me bed."

dilder: shake; jostle. Also to describe slow, aimless walking.

  • Examples: "Ah'm cheust dilderan' way the cowld"; "He dildered the bern aboot on his knee afore bed";"He's aye dilderin' aboot at the erse end o things."

fleg: to frighten, scare

  • Example: Whitna fleg he gade is!

moppy: rabbit - generally a child's term

  • Example: Thir wis a peedie moppy oot in the gerdeen

sprett: split or burst

  • Example: Ah'm geen an sprett the erse o me breeks!!

claa: to scratch

  • Example: Claa me back!

deeskit: exhausted (but more often found used as a term meaning "useless")

  • Example: Beuy, dinno bae sa deeskit!

biggit: built

  • Example: Me fithir biggit yin whin way wir cheust peedie tings.
    My father built that when we were children.

blide: (pronounced 'blyth') happy, pleased

  • Example: Beuy, Ah'm fair blide tae see thee
    Boy, I'm very pleased to see you

steer: mix-up, mess or confusion

  • Example: Whitna steer thoor in.
    What a mess you're in.

waar: worse.

  • Example: Hid's geen waar the day.
    It's gotten worse today.

rookel: pile or heap, usually rubbish.

  • Example: Thoo'll need mair maet beuy, thoor cheust turnin' tae a rookle o' bones.
    You need to eat more food boy, you're becoming thin.

heuved: swollen

  • Example: Noo me fit's ahll heuved up.
    Now my foot has swollen up.

rive: to tear or pull hard

  • Example: Rive hid aff.
    Pull it off.

aside:beside

  • Example: Hids doon aside the payt buckit.
    It's down beside the peat bucket.

morn: meaning tomorrow

  • Example: Ah'll see ye the morn's morneen.
    I'll see you tomorrow morning.
  • Hid'll no git din till the morn.
    It won't be done until tomorrow.

beer: meaning moan, whine, complaining

  • Example: Yin peedie beuy's been beerin' in me fis ahll morneen.
    That little boy has been moaning and complaining all morning.
  • He'll beer oan til he gits whit he's efter.
    He'll moan until he gets what he wants.

ansur: meaning behave, obey

  • Example: Wid you ansur whayn yur telt.
    Would you behave when you're told.
  • Hid's wan ill-anserin' whalp!
    That's a really disobedient little devil!

snirl: meaning screw up, twist

  • Example: Ahm geen an gotten yin rop ahll snirled up.
    I've got the rope all twisted up.
  • Shay niver oppend her mooth bit cheust sat there way her snirly peedie fis!
    She never spoke and just sat there with a grimaced look on her face

whitemaa: meaning seagull

  • Example: The owld whitemaa cem doon an wis away wi it afore way wur able tae stop hid.
    The old seagull came down and took it before we could do anything to stop it.

puggy:meaning belly or stomach (a term used primarily by children)

  • Example: I got pat home fae the sceul whayn I telt the teacher thit I hid an aafil sore puggy.
    I was sent home from school after telling the teacher I had a very sore stomach.

gablo: meaning: a beetle.

  • Example: I wis in the byre whayn a gret big gablo jumpit aff the wahll an oantae me heed.
    I was in the byre when a big beetle leapt from the wall onto my head.

ramp: meaning: to wander restlessly; prowl.

  • Examples: Ah've no idea whaur he's geen. He's been oot rampin' fae the top o' the day.
    I don't know where he's gone. He's been out since around midday

fire: meaning: to throw.

  • Examples: Fire yin wid oan the fire afore hid's oot!
    Throw that wood on the fire before it goes out
  • Ahv geen the whole morneen luckin' fur the pipper bit ah'm shurely fired hid oot!
    I've spent all morning looking for the newspaper but I must have thrown it out.

fernent: meaning: in front; opposite of "ahint".

  • Examples: "Git fay fernent yin fire!"
    Get from the front of the fire!"
  • Ahm geen an left me jeckit fernent the fire noo!"
    I've gone and left my jacket in front of the fire.

nareaboots: meaning: almost, nearly.

  • Example: "Ir thee done way yin hammer yit?"
    "Nareaboots!"
    Are you finished with that hammer yet? Almost.
clipe: meaning: to tell tales or inform.
  • Example: "He geed clipin' tay the teacher noo wur in fur it."
    He told the teacher now we're in for it.

whalp: derogatory term - literally "whelp" - akin to English "devil".

  • Example: "Ye cheeky peedie whalp!"
    You cheeky little devil!

geed: meaning: went

  • Example: "Shay geed home efter way'd aitin."
    She went home after we'd eaten.

roost: meaning: a rough tidalway (from Old Norse "RÍST").

  • Example: "The roost aroond Eynhallow's no safe fur iny boht."
    The tidalway surrounding Eynhallow is not safe for any boat.

wheesk: meaning: a squeaky, whiny noise.

  • Example: "Yin door's wheeskin' again"
    That door's squeaking again.
  • "The doag's wheeskin' fur oot!"
    The dog's whining to be let out."

keek: meaning:to peep or look

  • Example: "Tak a keek oot yin window an see if the cer's here yit."
    Look out the window and see if the car's there yet.

skreck: meaning: screech or shriek; also used as a derogatory term for someone with a high or shrill voice.

  • Example: "Thir wis wan aaful skreck then hid wis awiy!"
    There was a terrible screech and then it was gone.
  • "Sheu sat a screcked fur nigh oan an oor afore sheu finally geed home."
    She sat and and spoke in her high voice for nearly an hour before she finally went home.

airt: meaning: direction

  • Example: "Yin fire's reekin' most aaful. Hid's cheust the airt o wind."
    That fire is blowing smoke terribly. It's just the direction of the wind.

gansey: meaning pullover (an item of clothing)

  • Example: "Mither, whaur's me good gansey?"
    Mother, where is my best pullover?

whitna: meaning: what a or what

  • Examples: "Whitna state he wis in be the time he geed hame."
    What a state he was in by the time he went home.

  • "Whitna wey is yin tae dae hid?"
    What kind of way is that to do it?

raffle: meaning: to mix up, muddle or a mess

  • Examples: "Whitna raffle ah'm geed an got mesel in noo!"
    What a mess I've got my self into.
  • "His hoose is aye in a raffle."
    His house is always in a mess.

bulder: meaning:to move clumsily or a clumsy person

  • Examples: "He buldered in through the door and cooped the peel. "
    He came clumsily through the door and spilt the bucket.
  • "Whitna bulder yin beuy is."
    What a clumsy person that boy is.

prog: meaning: to prick or stick in.

  • Examples: "Hid wis proggin' me in the back the whole wiy home. "
    "It was sticking in my back all the way home."
  • "Hid's fer too proggy."
    It's much too prickly.

clart: meaning: to cover thickly

  • Examples: "Ah'm cheust clarted in gutter"
    "I'm covered in mud."

maet: meaning: food

  • Examples: "Whitna' waste o' guid maet!"
    "What a waste of good food."
  • "Sit ye doon and hiv some maet way is."
    Sit down and eat with us.

ahint: meaning: behind

  • Examples: "Git fae ahint the door."
    "Get from behind the door."
  • "He's ahint ye!"
    "He's behind you."

grain: meaning: a small amount or quantity.

  • Examples: "There's a grain left in the boddum."
    "There's a small amount left in the bottum."

gelder: meaning: to laugh heartily or giggle

  • Examples: "Sheu wis cheust gelderin' whayn way telt 'ur whit hid happened."
    "She was in fits of laughter when we told her what had happened."

gibby: meaning: a male cat (but is often used to refer to any cat)

  • Examples: "Pit yin gibby ootside afore way start it wur mate."
    "Put that cat out before we start at our food."

roo: meaning: to gather into a pile. Also used to describe a mess.

  • Examples: "Roo hid up in the corner till wur done"
    "Pile it up in the corner until we're finished."
    "Hid wis a right roo o' shite afore way tidied up."
    "It was a terrible mess before we tidied up."

lipper: meaning: to spill over the edge or overflow.

  • Examples: "The watter wis chest lipperin at at the side o' the bath."
    "The water was just beginning to overflow the sides of the bath."

plitter: meaning: to play about in water; a watery mess.

  • Origin: Probably related to plutte; to dabble in water.
  • Examples: "He cheust sat there an' plittered aboot in the watter.".
    "My whitna peedie plitter ye er."

hosst: meaning: cough.

  • Origin: Old Norse hosta.
  • Examples: "He wis hostin' like an owld coo when way got tae the hoose.
    He was coughing like an old cow when we arrived at the house.

bruck: meaning: rubbish, mess.

  • Examples: "Wid ye pick up ahl yin bruck fae aboot me feet!"
    Would you pick up all that rubbish from around my feet.
    "Hid sterted fine then geed ahl tae bruck".
    It started find then went all wrong.

speir: meaning: to ask.

  • Origin: Old Norse spyria.
  • Examples: "I speered him aboot whar the ex hid geen bit he telt me he didna ken."
    I asked him where the axe had gone but he said he didn't know.

gavse: meaning: to eat hungrily.

  • Origin: Probably related to the Norwegian gafsa.
  • Examples: "Luck at him gavsin' intae his tea like he's nivver seen maet."
    Look at him hungrily eating his tea as though he has never seen food.

nave: meaning: a clenched fist or a handful.

  • Origin: Old Norse - hnefi, meaning fist or handful.
  • Examples: "ah'll cheust tak a nave-fil" - I'll just take a handful.
    "He wis rorrin' and shaftin' his nave" - he was shouting and shaking his fist.

peedie: meaning: small or tiny.

  • Origin Uncertain: Originally found as "peerie", this is probably the most common dialect word in use today.
  • Examples: "in a peedie while" - in a few moments "Hid wis fer too peedie" - It was far too small. "A peedie grain" - a small amount.
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