Letter K - 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-k

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Kail runt, sb. a cabbage stalk.

Kailyee, sb. a friendly evening visit.

Kaimin’ kaim, sb. an ivory or ‘fine-tooth’ comb.

Kaivel, Kevel, v. to toss the head, as a horse does. Also applied to the same kind of gesture in a person. ‘Watch the way yon girl kaivels her heed.’

Kam, sb. a small iron pan used for holding the melted grease from which rushlights were made. A mould for casting several small bullets at once, or for casting small articles in.

Kash, sb. a bog road, or causeway of uncut turf.

Keckle, sb. a smothered laugh.

Keddis, sb. a small quantity of silk, or woollen material, or flax, stuffed into an ink-bottle, and then saturated with ink. The pen is supplied by coming in contact with the keddis, and if the bottle is overset the ink does not spill.

Keed, sb. cud. ‘Chow the keed.’

Keek, v. to peep.

Keel, sb. ruddle, a red earthy substance.

Keel men, sb. the term for a class of illiterate buyers, who used to attend the country linen markets. When one of them purchased a web of brown hand-loom linen, he marked with a piece of ‘keel,’ on the outside lap, some obscure characters, which were to the keel man a record of the cost price, &c.

Keen, (1) adj. anxious; eager. ‘She’s keen to be married.’ (2) sb. a cry of lamentation over a corpse. (3) v. to wail or cry over a corpse. ‘When I heard the ban-shee it was just like an old woman keenying.’

Keenk, v. to cough; to laugh in a convulsive way.

Keep company, v. to be lovers.

Keeshion, sb. the hedge parsley.

Keeve, sb. a large tub used in bleach works, &c.

Kell, sb. the debris of the skin.

Kelp, sb. the ash of burnt seaweed, of value for the alkali and iodine contained in it.

Kemp-stone, sb. a large cromlech near Dundonald, Co. of Down.

Ken, v. to know.

Kennel, v. to kindle.

Kenspeckled, adj. remarkable looking; easily recognised.

Keos, sb. funny tricks; jokes; nonsense.

Keous, sb. the rootlets of the potato plant.

Kep, v. to catch; to stop; to head or turn back any animal.

Kerries, sb. fleecy driving clouds. See Carry of the sky.

Kettle-bellied, adj. big bellied.

Kib, sb. a kind of spade used in stony or hilly ground where a plough cannot work. It is very narrow and thick.

Kilmaddy, sb. the fishing frog, Lophius piscatorius.

Kilt, v. badly hurt. ‘The wean’s kilt.’

Kimlin, sb. a small wooden vessel, used for dressing butter in.

Kindlin’, sb. fuel.

King of the mullet, a fish, the basse, Labrax Lupus. Called also White Mullet.

Kink, sb. a twist in a rope or chain.

Kink, Keenk, sb. a paroxysm of coughing or of laughter.

Kipple, sb. the coupling of the frame of a roof.

Kipple butt, sb. that part of the principal of a roof which rests on the wall.

Kisses, sb. small sweetmeats rolled up along with mottoes in a piece of coloured paper.

Kist, sb. a chest.

Kitchen, (1) sb. anything eaten as a relish with other food. ‘Butter to butter’s no kitchen,’ saying. (2) v. to save or husband anything carefully.

Kitlin, sb. a kitten.

Kittagh handed, left-handed. Colla Macdonnell (circa 1600) is known as Coll Kittagh.

Kittle, v. to bring forth kittens; to bring forth young alive. ‘Some fishes spawn and others kittle.’

Kittling, adj. A hare with young is called a ‘kittling hare.’

Knab, v. to snatch up; to steal.

Knap, v. to strike repeated blows, as with a hammer.

Knapsack breed, children born in the army.

Knockin’ trough, sb. a large mortar made of stone, formerly used for pounding barley in. It held about twenty quarts. The ‘mell’ used was of wood.

Knowd, Nowd, sb. the grey gurnard, Trigla gurnardus.

Knowe, sb. a knoll; a small hill.

Knowin’, sb. a knowing; just what could be perceived. ‘We took a wee knowin’ o whisky.’

Knowledgible, adj. knowing. “Pigs is a dale knowledgibler nor people think.” — Ollminick.

Knur, sb. a dwarf; anything small or dwarfish; any animal that has become stunted in his growth.

Krittity, adj. of uncertain temper; skittish; cross; unreliable.

Kye, sb. cows.

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