Letter M - 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-m

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Machine, sb. any kind of conveyance, such as a carriage, car, &c.

Mackerel-cock, sb. a sea bird, the Manx shearwater, Puffinus anglorum.

Mackerel-scout, sb. the gar fish. Same as Horn-eel.

Mad, adj. angry.

Mad angry, very angry; raging.

Magnify, v. to signify. ‘That hurt won’t magnify.’

Mailie, Mailie, a call to a pet sheep.

Mails, sb. pl. small perforated scales made of copper or other metal, used in Jacquard weaving.

Maist feck, sb. the greater part.

Make, v. to attempt; to offer. ‘He made to strike me.’

Make moan, v. to pity. ‘When you’ve tooth ache they make no moan for you.’

Make off, v. to run away.

Make up, v. to accost a person with a view of making acquaintance. To be attentive to, or to make love to a person.

Man. ‘You’ll be a man before your mother,’ said to comfort a little boy in trouble.

Man alive! an impatient mode of address.

Man-big, adj. full grown; the size of a man.

Mankeeper, Mancreeper, sb. a water newt, Lissotriton punctatus. It is said that mankeepers will creep down the throat of a person who falls asleep near any water where they are.

Manner, v. to prepare. ‘It’s hard to manner that ground.’ ‘The land will be well mannered by the frost.’ Flax is said to be well-mannered, or the reverse, according to its having been carefully treated, or the reverse, in the various processes of preparation. Flax is passed through rollers to manner it for the scutchers.

Man or mortal, any one. ‘Now don’t tell this to man or mortal.’

Mansworn, adj. perjured.

Manx puffin, sb. the Manx shearwater, Puffinus anglorum (Harris, 1744).

Many’s the time, many a time.

Map, sb. a mop.

March, (1) sb. a boundary of land. (2) v. to border on; to be continuous to. ‘This is where my land marches with his.’

March dike, sb. the dike (fence) between adjoining farms or townlands.

Margy more, sb. the big market, i.e. the market before Christmas.

Marksman, sb. a man who cannot write his name, and has therefore to make his mark.

Mark the ground, put foot to the ground. ‘He could hardly mark the ground:’ said of a horse that was very lame.

Marred, v. hindered; interfered with.

Married upon, Married on, v. married to. ‘She was married upon a man they call McKee.’

Marrow, v. to lend men or horses for labour to a neighbour, and to receive a similar loan in return when needed. Same as To neighbour.

Marvel, sb. a marble.

Masheroon, sb. a mushroom.

Mashy-corns, Mash-corns, sb. roots of ‘silver-weed’ (Potentilla anserina). The root is roasted and eaten. It tastes much like a parsnip (Tate’s Flora Belfastiensis).

Mass. ‘If ye missed mass ye hut the gatherin’,’ i.e. you nearly did something.

Master, sir; a term of address. ‘Are you wanting any bog-wood the day, master?’

Mate, sb. meat; i.e. food of any kind. ‘The horse dos’nt [sic] take his mate now at all.’

Material, adj. good; excellent. ‘A material cow.’

Maug, v. to walk away. ‘Maug off with you.’

Maunder, v. to talk in a wandering way.

Maunna, Maunnae, v. must not.

Mavis (pron. maivis), sb. a thrush. ‘You can sing like a mavis,’ a saying, generally used satirically.

May be that! Oh! indeed!

May flower, sb. the marsh marigold, Caltha palustris.

May I never stir, an appeal, used to give force to any statement.

May jack, sb. the whimbrel. It is erroneously believed to be the young of the curlew.

May shell, sb. the bone of a cuttle fish, Sepia officinalis.

Mays. ‘Between the two Mays,’ between the 1st and 12th of May.

Meal ark, sb. a large chest or bin for holding a store of meal.

Meal’s meat, sb. a meal; the food taken at one meal.

Mealy-crushy, sb. oatmeal, fried in dripping. Same as Durgan.

Mealy-mouthed, adj. shy; backward in asking; not speaking out plainly when something disagreeable has to be said.

Mean. ‘As mean as get out,’ very mean.

Means. ‘Not by no manner of means,’ i.e. by no means.

Meat and Mense, food, and manners or politeness. “Ye shud still ax a frien’ t’ take a bit o’ whativver’s goin’, if he diz, why A wish him his health, an’ much good may it do him; if not ye hae yer meat and mense both.” — Ollminick.

Meckin’. ‘Meckin’ a chimley o’ yer mooth,’ smoking.

Meddle, v. to hurt or annoy. ‘The dog won’t meddle you.’

Meg, sb. a boy’s term for a bad old ‘peerie,’ i.e. peg-top.

Meg-many-feet, sb. a centipede.

Meer, sb. a mare. ‘The white meer come oot o’ some ermy,’ i.e. the white mare had been in a cavalry regiment.

Meerin, Mearing, sb.a land boundary.

Melder, sb. the quantity of meal ground at one time for a person; a large vague quantity. ‘I’ve eatem a melder,’ i.e. I’ve eaten too much.

Mell whuns, v. to bruise whins (furze) with a mallet or ‘beetle,’ for cattle feeding.

Melt, (1) sb. the milt, or soft roe of a fish. (2) slang, sb. the tongue. ‘Keep in your melt.’ (3) ‘I’ll knock the melt out of you,’ a threat.

Ment, v. mended.

Meout, sb. a slight sound. ‘There wasn’t a meout out o’ the childre.’ ‘Don’t let a meout out o’ you.’

Messen, sb.a contemptuous term for a little person of either sex.

Mich, v. to play truant.

Mid kipple, sb. part of a flail. Same as Hooden.

Midden, sb.a manure heap, or pit.

Midge’s knee-buckle, sb. a very small article.

Miles, Milds, sb. a wild plant used as spinach, Chenopodium album.

Miller’s lift, sb. an upward thrust with the point of a crowbar, to move a heavy object forwards.

Miller’s thumb, sb. two small sea fishes are so called, Cottus scorpius, and C. bulbalis.

Mill eye. ‘Hot from the mill eye,’ a comparison for something freshly made.

Mim, Mimsey, adj. prim; prudish.

Mind, (1) v. to remind. ‘Now mind me of that to-morrow.’ (2) v. to observe. ‘See! d’ye mind the way she’s walkin’.’ (3) v. to remember. ‘I mind the time,’ a common beginning to a story. ‘I don’t mind much about my father being killed’ = I don’t remember much, &c. (4) sb. recollection. ‘I hadn’t a bit mind of it.’ (5) ‘I was a mind to ha’ done it,’ i.e. I intended to do it. (6) ‘I had no mind,’ i.e. I forgot.

Mint, v. to beat; to aim a blow at; to hit with a stone; to hurt. ‘Mint the gowler,’ i.e. hit the dog with a stone or anything.

Misdoubt, v. to doubt; to suspect. “He misdoubted there wud be blood dhrawed somewhere or another.” — Ollminick.

Misert, sb. a miser.

Misertly, ad. [sic] miserly.

Mislippen, v. to neglect.

Mislippened, adj. neglected; not cared for. ‘A mislippened child.’

Mislist, v. to molest.

Mismay, v. to annoy; to disturb.

Misses, v. ‘There’s not much misses you,’ i.e. you notice every thing that goes on.’

Miss yer fut, to make a false step; to stumble.

Mistress, sb. wife. ‘His mistress opened the door to me,’ i.e. his wife.

Mizzle, (1) sb. a drizzle. (2) v. to drizzle; to run away; to disappear.

Moan, v. to pity.

Moan you a hair, pity you in the least.

Moat, sb. an earthen mound, or tumulus.

Mockin’ ’s catchin’, i.e. mocking is catching. A warning not to mock or laugh at a person who is suffering from anything unpleasant, lest the same misfortune may happen to one-self. It is said particularly to persons who are mimicking the personal defects of others.

Moiled, adj. bare, applied to a bare-looking building.

Moily, Moilya, sb. a hornless cow.

Moily, adj. hornless.

Molly gowan, sb. the fishing frog, Lophius piscatorius.

Molrooken, sb. the great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus.

Money. ‘Money ’s roun’, an’ it goes roun’,’ saying.

Monkey flower, sb. mimulus.

Mools, sb. broken chilblains.

Mooly heels, sb. heels affected with ‘mools.’

Mooth, sb. mouth. ‘Ma heart was in ma mooth,’ i.e. I was very much startled.

Mootther, sb. the proportion of meal or seeds that the miller takes as his payment for grinding.

Mope, sb. a mop.

More betoken. Besides, generally used when adding a circumstance to prove the correctness of a statement.

More holy nor godly, applied to a tattered garment.

More red nebs than midges: said in very cold weather.

More than middling, very superior. ‘His mother was more than middling.’

Morn’s morra, sb. the day after to-morrow.

Morra. ‘The morra come niver’ = never.

Morrian, sb. a fish, the ballan wrasse. Same as Bavin.

Morth o’ cowl, sb. a very heavy cold.

Mortial, or Mortal, very, or very great. ‘Mortial cold.’ ‘A mortial lot.’

Moss, sb. a peat bog.

Moss-ban, sb. the edge or boundary of a peat bog.

Moss-cheeper, sb. the titlark or meadow pippit.

Mother naked, adj. quite naked.

Mountain men, sb. pl. “That sect of dissenters called ‘Covenanters’.” — McSkimin’s Carrickfergus.

Mountainy, adj. mountain. ‘Mountainy people.’ ‘Mountainy land.’

Mouth. ‘Entry mouth,’ i.e. entry end; where an entry opens on a street.

Mouth, (1) ‘A mouth on you like a torn pocket,’ a comparison. (2) ‘He niver as much as axed me if A had a mouth on me,’ i.e. he did not offer me anything to eat or drink. (3) ‘You’re a mouth,’ an expression of contempt.

Mowls, Mowl, sb. i.e. moulds; earth.

Muckle, adj. much; big.

Muddle for potatoes, v. to get them out with the hands, surreptitiously.

Mud fat, adj. very fat. ‘The grass here is that good, that in six weeks a beast will get mud fat on it.’

Mud-lark, sb. a navvy, working at muddy embankments on excavations.

Mudler, sb. a small metal stamper, used in public houses to crush the lumps of sugar in punch.

Mudyees, sb. short tongs.

Mug, sb. the mouth; a sulky person.

Muggy, (1) sb. a hand-basket made of well twisted straw rope. (2) adj. foggy; close and wet; dark, applied to the weather.

Mull, sb. a mess; something spoiled.

Murphies, sb. pl. potatoes.

Murran-roe, sb.a fish, the ballan wrasse. Same as Bavin.

Mussel picker, sb. a bird, the oyster catcher, Hæmatopus ostralegus.

My day, sb. all my life. ‘He’s the wee-est man ivir A seen in ma day.’

My lone, His lone, &c. ad. [sic] alone.

My lord, sb. a hunch-backed man.

My O! an exclamation of surprise.

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