Letter O - 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-o

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O, sb. ‘a round O;’ a stupid or silly fellow; a softy.

Oberins, sb. ‘Wee oberins,’ means trifling work.

Obledgement, sb. a kindness.

Och-a-nee! int. an expression of weariness or sorrow.

Odd or even, sb. a boys’ game. A boy shuts up a few small objects, such as marbles in one hand, and asks his opponent to guess is the number odd or even. He then either pays or receives one, according as the guess is right or wrong.

Of, as. ‘The same of that,’ i.e. the same as that.

Offal, sb. the refuse part of ground wheat.

Off and on, more or less; there about.

Offence. ‘No offence,’ is a rejoinder when a person has said, ‘I beg your pardon.’

Offer, (1) sb. an attempt. (2) to attempt. ‘Don’t offer to do it,’ i.e. don’t attempt; don’t dare.

Ogenagh, sb. a simpleton.

Oh then! int. Oh indeed!

Old-fashioned, Oul-fashioned, adj. knowing or cunning.

Old May day, sb. the twelfth of May.

Old stock, sb. a familiar term in greeting an acquaintance. ‘Well, old stock, how are ye the day?’

Old wife, sb. a fish, the ballan wrasse, Labrus maculatus.

On, (1) prep. used for ‘to.’ ‘Who did it on you?’ ‘Who done it on you?’ i.e. who did it to you? There is another idiomatic use of on in the expression, ‘Don’t break it on me,’ i.e. don’t break that thing of mine. (2) adv. continually; without stopping. ‘They would sit there and eat on.’ (3) adv. ready. ‘On for sport.’ (4) is sometimes prefixed to the words to-morrow and yesterday, thus — ‘I’ll do it on to-morrow.’

Ondaicent, adj. unfair.

On dying, dying. ‘They say he’s just on dying.’

One purpose, on purpose.

Ones, sb. people. ‘What’s the reason, sir, that Tomson’s ones always sends them kind o’ coals?’

Onset, sb.a small cluster of houses: ‘McCullough’s onset.’

Ontorious, adj. notorious.

On you, on your person; about you. ‘Have you any money on you?’

Open weather, sb. weather in winter that is not frosty.

Or, adv. till. ‘It won’t be long or we’ll be back.’

Orchit, sb. an orchard.

Ordinary, adj. plain-looking, as a person.

Or ever, adv. before. ‘It’s twelve or ever you’re in bed.’

Ortin’, v. rejecting; taking out, as a cow does the good fodder from the bad.

Ortins, Oartins, sb. refuse; anything rejected. “Other weemen’s ortins shan’t be Sally’s pick.” — Flecher. ‘The mornin’s oartins is the evening’s fodther,’ saying. It arises from cow-house experience.

Other, each other. ‘If they take out the gun they’ll shoot other.’

Other morrow, sb. the day after to-morrow.

Our, adv. over.

Our ones, Our uns, sb. my own family. ‘Our ones all goes to meetin’.’

Out-by, adj. out of doors; outside the house.

Outlandish, adj. foreign, such as ships belonging to foreign countries.

Out of the face, adv. to do a thing ‘out of the face’ is to do it right through from first to last without stopping.

Out of one’s name, by a wrong name. ‘He called me out of my name,’ i.e. not by my own name.

Out ower, adv. out; quite over.

Out-relation, sb. a distant relative.

Out-wailins, sb. refuse.

Over, adj. asleep. ‘The chile’s just over.’

Over all, adv. ‘That’s over all ivir A heerd,’ i.e. that surpasses all, &c.

Over-looked, v. the same as Over-seen, and means having received the ‘blink of an evil eye.’

Overly much, adv. too much. ‘That meat’s overly much done.’

Owrance, sb. master; authority; having command over.

Oxther, sb. the armpit.

“Whether would you rather

Or rather would you be

Legs to the oxther

Or belly to the knee?”

Oxther-cogged, v. ‘They oxther-cogged you home,’ i.e. helped you along by holding you up by the arm-pits.

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