Letter D - Glossary of Words in the Counties of Antrim and Down

Author: William Hugh Patterson, MRIA

Date: 1880

Source: A Glossary of Words and Phrases used in Antrim and Down (London: Trübner & Co., for the English Dialect Society)

Comments: In the introduction to his Glossary of Words and Phrases used in Antrim and Down, William Hugh Patterson provided an historical account of the Scottish settlement of east Ulster from 1607. From these origins he observed that the words and phrases of the local population ‘will be found in the main to be of Scottish origin, and many of them have already found a place in Jamieson’s dictionary’. He acknowledged difficulty in spelling many words ‘because I only had them as sounded’. William Hugh Patterson (1835-1918) was the son of a famous naturalist, Robert Patterson, whose book on Birds frequenting Belfast Lough was also published in 1880. Many of the local names for birds in the glossary were sourced from his father. As he was also a collector of phrases and proverbs, Patterson’s glossary remains a unique record of Ulster-Scots in the 19th century.

Doc. ref. no.: USLS/TB/Hist/1800-1899/006-d

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Da, Dada, sb. father. ‘Hi da! come home to the wain!’

Da-dilly, sb. a helpless, useless person. ‘She’s a sore da-dilly of a crayture.’

Dab, (1) sb. a small flat fish. (2) sb. a snatch, or clutch.

Dab at the hole, sb. a game of marbles.

Dad of bread, sb. a large lump of bread.

Daffy-downdillies, sb. daffodils.

Daft, adj. weak-minded; mad.

Da-ho, sb. the hedge parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris. See Hi-how.

Dais, sb. A log used as a seat, and placed against the gable of a cottage at the back of the fire, that is where a ‘round about’ fire was used. If the fire-place was against the gable there was of course no room for a dais.

Daiver, v. to strike a person such a blow as almost to stun him.

Daivered, adj. doting; bewildered. Same as Doithered.

Damsel, (1) sb. a damson. (2) sb. an iron rod with projecting pins, that shakes the shoot of the hopper in a corn mill.

Dander, on the dander; idling about; on the spree.

Dandher, (1) sb. a slow walk. ‘I’ll just take a dandher.’ (2) v. to saunter; to walk about slowly.

Dangersome, adj. dangerous.

Dapery, sb. When oats are being put through frames the lightest grains fall through a sieve, and are collected by themselves, these are called dapery, co. Antrim. In co. Down they are called ‘wake corn,’ i.e. weak corn.

Dare, or Dar, v. to taunt, or challenge. ‘He darred me to fight him.’

Dark, adj. blind. ‘Will you give something to a poor dark woman?’

Darlin, adj. nice. ‘A darlin’ red-head,’ means a nice head of red hair.

Daundereed, adj. dazed.

Daurna, v. dare not. Sometimes Daurnae.

Daver, s. [sic] to stun.

Davy, sb. an affidavit. ‘I’ll take my davy.’

Daw, sb. a lazy, good for nothing person.

Dawmson plume, sb. a damson.

Day, sb. one’s lifetime. See under Your day.

Day an’ daily, adv. constantly; every day.

Dayligon, Dayly goin, sb. (daylight going); the dusk of the evening.

Dead end. ‘If you saw it you would take your dead end,’ i.e. you would die of laughter.

Dead knowledge, sb. deceitfulness; cunning.

Dead man’s plunge, sb. this is made by throwing a stone, so that it enters the surface of water with such force that no splash is made.

Dead men’s pinches, sb. Small discoloured marks on the skin, which come mysteriously during the night, and which show themselves in the morning. They resemble the marks of pinches or bruises.

Deaf nut, sb. an empty nut.

Dear bless you! God bless you [?], an exclamation.

Dear help you! God help you [?], an exclamation.

Dear knows. A common rejoinder, meaning ‘who knows,’ or ‘no-body knows,’ probably meant originally, ‘God only knows.’

Dear love you! God love you [?], an exclamation.

Deave, v. to deafen; to bewilder. ‘You would deave one’s ears.’

Debate, sb. a defence, or fight. ‘He can make a great debate for himself.’

Deck of cards, sb. a pack of cards.

Decline, sb. consumption.

Dede auld, adj. very old.

Deed and doubles, indeed.

Deil, (1). ‘The deil couldn’t do it unless he was drunk:’ said of something very difficult. (2) ‘The deil gang wi’ ye, an’ saxpence, an’ ye’ll nether want money nor company,’ a saying.

Deil bane ye, an expression of anger.

Deil perlickit, nothing. ‘What fortune did his wife bring him?’ ‘Oh, deil perlickit, tied up in a clout.’

Deil’s needle, sb. a dragon-fly.

Demands, sb. commands. ‘Have you any demands into town?’

Demean, v. to lower, or disgrace. ‘I wouldn’t demean myself to speak to him.’

Demin ane, sb. an odd one, i.e. singular, unusual.

Den, (1) sb. a dark cellar in a mill building. (2) the place of safety in games, such as ‘Hy spy.’

Desperation, sb. a great rage. ‘The master was in desperation.’

Deval, Devalve, or Develve, v. to desist.

Devarshion, sb. ridicule. ‘Makin’ divarshion,’ turning into ridicule.

Devil’s churn staff, the sun spurge, Euphorbia helioscopia.

Devil’s coachman, sb. an insect. Same as Coffin cutter.

Dhirl, sb. a good-for-nothing person.

Dhrap with hunger, v. to die of hunger. ‘If I was dhrappin’ with hunger I wouldn’t ask him for a farden.’

Dhruv, v. drove; driven. ‘I dhruv past him.’ ‘A’ve dhruv that horse these five year.’

Dibble, sb. a pointed wooden implement for making holes in the ground for planting in.

Dibble, or Dibble in, v. to plant by means of a dibble.

Diddies, sb. the breasts of a woman.

Differ, sb. the difference.

Dig, (1) sb. a blow. ‘I wish I had three digs at him.’ (2) ‘To dig with the wrong foot,’ is a way of saying that the person referred to belongs to a religious persuasion different from that of the speaker.

Dig wi’ baith feet, this is said of a clever person. Compare Two hand boy.

Dig with the same foot, to belong to the same religious denomination.

Dimpsy brown, adj.Dimpsy brown, the colour of a mouse’s waistcoat,’ an undecided colour.

Din, adj. dun, or brown-coloured.

Dinge, (1) sb. a dint. (2) v. to dint.

Dingle, or Dinle, v. to throb; to vibrate; to tingle.

Dinlin, adj. trembling; vibrating.

Directly, just so; precisely.

Dirt bird, sb. the skua. It follows flocks of sea-gulls, and chases these birds till they disgorge the contents of their stomachs, and the vomited matter the dirt bird eats. See Allan hawk.

Discomfuffle, v. to incommode.

Discoorse, v. to talk to. ‘Come here till I discoorse you.’

Disgist, v. to digest.

Disremember, v. to forget.

Distress, sb. a sickness. ‘Since I had that distress in my head.’

Ditch, sb. a fence, generally of earth.

Divil mend ye. ‘Served you right.’ ‘You deserved it richly.’

Divvid, v. divided. ‘We divvid them as well as we cud.’

Do [doo], v. to recover from illness. ‘I’m thinkin’ he’s not goin’ to do.’

Dochrai, sb. gruel.

Dockan, sb. a dock-plant. When a boy gets stung by a nettle he searches for a dock leaf, and rubs it on the wounded part, repeating the charm, ‘Dockan, Dockan, in. Nettle, nettle, out.’

Dofe, adj. heavy; stupid, as with a cold; also to describe a dull heavy sound.

Doff, v. to take the full bobbins off a spinning-frame in a mill.

Doffer, sb. a girl who doffs, i.e. takes off the full bobbins from the spinning frames. The doffers are the youngest girls employed in flax spinning-mills.

Dog, sb. the end of a rainbow. It generally precedes or accompanies a squall at sea. Same as Weather gall.

Dog wilk, sb. a sea mollusc, Purpura lapillus.

Doing off, sb. a scolding.

Doithered, adj. doting; bewildered.

Dolachan, sb. a large lake trout, not so large as the ‘buddagh,’ but same species (Salmo ferox).

Doldram, adj. confused; stupid.

Dolfer, Dolver, sb. a large marble.

Dolly. ‘He had hardly a dolly on him,’ means he had scarcely any clothes on him.

Done, v. did. In the same way ‘seen’ is used for saw; ‘had went,’ for had gone, &c.

Done man, sb. a worn-out old man.

Donse, sb. the devil

Donsy, Dauncey, adj. sick; sick-looking.

Dool, sb. a kind of nail. An iron spike, sharp at both ends.

Dooled, a cooper’s term. “The head and bottom equally dooled and set into the cross.” — Belfast News-letter, 1738.

Dooless, adj. helpless; thriftless.

Dorn, sb. a narrow neck of water (not fordable) between two islands, or between an island and the mainland (Strangford Lough).

Dotard, adj. doting.

Dotther, v. to totter.

Douce, adj. neat; tidy.

Dour, adj. sulky; disagreeable.

Dousing, sb. a beating. ‘A good dousing.’

Dowd, sb. a woman’s white cap without any frilling.

Dowdy cap, sb. Same as Dowd.

Down in the mouth, in low spirits.

Dowp, sb. a candle-end; also a child’s ‘bundie.’

Dowse, v. to extinguish.

Doylt, adj. stupid.

Dozed, adj. decayed, applied to wood.

Drabs, sb. See Dribs.

Draft, sb. a drawing, or picture.

Drafts, sb. cart-traces made of chain.

Drapisy, sb. dropsy.

Drap it like a hot potato, i.e. drop it at once.

Draw, (1) v. to cart. ‘He’s away drawin’ peats.’ (2) v. to lift or raise for the purpose of attack. ‘He drew his fist, and hit him on the face.’ ‘He drew his foot and kicked her.’

Drawky, adj. wet; misty. ‘It’s a drawky day.’

Dredge, sb. a boat used for dredging in harbours.

Dredge box, sb. a flour dredger.

Dreegh, adj. dreary; tedious; slow. ‘It’s a dreegh jab’ ( a wearisome piece of business). ‘A dreegh road’ (a tedious road). ‘A dreegh boy’ (a slow boy).

Dreep, v. to drip slowly; to ooze.

Dreepin’, adj. very wet; dripping.

Dribs and drabs, sb. small amounts. ‘He pays it in dribs and drabs.’

Dring, v. to delay; to linger.

Dringing, adj. lingering, or dawdling on the way. ‘Come on, Joan, an’ don’t be dringing behin’.’

Drink-a-penny, the bald coot, Fulica atra. The little grebe is also so called.

Drogget, sb. cloth which is a mixture of flax and wool. Of the off-spring of mixed marriages it is sometimes said, ‘They’re drogget, an’ that’s the worst of all cloth.’

Droghey, adj. drizzly.

Droll, sb. a tale, or story.

Drooned, adj. When the sky is overcast and dark all round, it is said to have ‘a drooned appearance.’

Drop, sb. a rather small quantity. ‘Give us a wee drop.’

Droukit, adj. drenched; drowned. ‘As wet as a droukit rat.’

Drouth, sb. thirst; a drought.

Drown the miller, this is said to be done when too much water is added to the whiskey in a glass of grog.

Drown your Shamrock. On Patrick’s day (March 17th) persons are frequently requested to come and drown their shamrocks, this means to have a drink. On this day when anyone is observed in liquor, he is said to have been ‘drowning his shamrock.’

Drudge, (1) sb. a dredge. (2) v. to dredge for oysters; to shake flour from a dredger.

Drugget, sb. to speak drugget. To endeavour to graft a fine accent on a vulgar one.

Drum, sb. ‘I’ll give you what Paddy gave the drum,’ i.e. a good beating.

Drumlin, sb. a mound or ridge of gravel (Co. Down, Geo. Survey).

Druthy, adj. thirsty. ‘Talkin’s druthy work.’

Dub, sb. mud. “Their petticoats weel kill ahin, nor dub, nor stoure mismay them.” — Huddleston.

Ducey, adj. juicy.

Duck, sb. a dip in the sea. ‘I can take nine back ducks running,’ i.e. in succession.

Duck at the table, sb. a boy’s game played with round stones, and a table-shaped block of stone.

Duck in thunder. ‘He turned up his eyes like a duck in thunder,’ saying expressive of astonishment.

Duck’s meat, hardened mucous in the corners of the eyes after sleeping.

Duds, sb. clothes, ragged clothes.

Due sober, sb. quite sober.

Duggen, v. dug. ‘I’ll get that plot duggen.’

Duke, (1) sb. a duck. (2) v. to evade; to stoop the head so as to avoid a blow. Same as Juke.

Dullis, Dillisk, sb. dulce, Rhodomenia palmata, a sea-weed, eaten or rather chewed, after having been dried for a few days in the sun.

Dumb craythurs, sb. the lower animals.

Dunch, v. to push, or butt. ‘That cow will dunch you.’

Dundher, (1) sb. a violent noisy blow. ‘A dundher came to my door.’ (2) v. to make a dull heavy noise, such as pounding.

Dunduckity, adj.Dunduckity mud colour, the colour of a mouse’s diddy,’ an undecided colour.

Dunne, sb. a bird, the knot, Tringa canutus.

Dunny, sb. the skate, Raia batis.

Dunt, sb. a push; a hard blow.

Dure, sb. a door.

Durgan, (1) a short stout person; a kind of pig. (2) sb. oatmeal fried in dripping, and sometimes flavoured with leeks, &c., co. Down. This dish is called in co. Antrim, mealy-crushy.

Durin’ ash or oak, for ever.

Dursent, dare not. ‘They dursent do it.’

Duskiss, sb. the dusk; the evening.

Duty hens, sb. fowls of which a tenant has to give a certain number to his landlord each year.

Dwamish, adj. feeling sick.

Dwaum, sb. a fainting fit; a sudden fit of sickness.

Dwine, v. to die away; to decline in health; to diminish.

Dwyble, v. to walk with a foltering [sic] gait, as if weak in the limbs.

Dwybly, adj. shaky; tottering.

Dyke Sheugh, sb. a ditch or trench, alongside a fence.

Dyor, sb. a small quantity of any liquid. A wee dyor is the same as ‘a wee sup,’ ‘a wee drop.’

Dyorrie, adj. dwarfed; small. ‘There’s a dyorrie pig in every litter,’ saying.

Dyuggins, sb. shreds and tatters.

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