Letter P - 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-p

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Pad, sb. a path.

Paddlin’ walk, sb. a gait, in which the steps made are very short.

Paddock, Poddock, sb. a frog.

Padrolls, sb. ‘On his padrolls,’ i.e. on his walks or rounds.

Paidlin’, v. wandering; walking or running with short steps. ‘A paidlin’ collie,’ a wandering dog. A horse that is standing, and lifts his feet in an uneasy way, is said to be paidlin’.

Pairins, sb. thin fragments of pork pared off the bones, in pork-curing stores.

Palms, sb. pl. small branches of the Spruce fir, also budded twigs of the willow. These are supplied on Palm Sunday to persons attending services in the Roman Catholic Churches.

Pamphrey, sb. a kind of cabbage.

Pandy, sb. a punishment at school, being a blow on the hand from a cane or ruler.

Pane, sb. a section of ground in a garden.

Pangd, v. stuffed full (of food).

Paps, sb. pl. teats. ‘A cow’s paps.’

Paramoudra, sb. a large cylindrical mass of flint, sometimes the shape of the human trunk. It is said that this curious word is merely gibberish, coined by a facetious quarryman to puzzle the late Dr. Buckland, when he was geologizing among the co. Antrim chalk rocks.

Parfit, adj. perfect.

Parge, v. to plaster the inside of a chimney with mortar.

Parritch, sb. porridge.

Parten, sb. the shore crab, Carcinus mœnas. Also called Butcher.

Pastre, sb. the pastern of a horse.

Patch. ‘Not a patch on it,’ i.e. not to compare to it.

Pattheridge, sb. a partridge.

Pawky, adj. sly; cunning.

Pea shaups, sb. pl. pea shells.

Peaswisp, sb. a small bundle of anything tossed roughly together like a wisp of pea straw. ‘Your head ’s just like a peaswisp.’

Peat waight, or weght, sb. a tray or sieve on which peat was carried into the house.

Peeler, sb. a crab which has cast its shell, and is soft; used for bait.

Peel garlick, sb. a yellow person: a person dressed shabbily or fantastically.

Peely grass, sb. barley, with the ‘hulls’ and ‘auns’ removed.

Peen, sb. the cross end of a mechanic’s hammer, opposite to the face.

Pee-pee, the call for pea-fowl.

Peep hawk, sb. the kestrel.

Peerie, sb. a peg-top.

Peeweet, Peesweep, sb. the lapwing.

Pegh, s. [sic] to pant; to puff.

Pelt, sb. the skin of an animal. ‘Bare pelt,’ one’s bare skin.

Penned, v. contracted. A horse sometimes has its knee ‘penned in the sinews.’

Penny bird, sb. the little grebe. Also called Drink-a-penny.

Pens, sb. pl. the old twigs in a hedge.

Pernicketty, adj. particular; hard to please.

Perswadians, sb. pl. persuasion; entreaties. ‘Through perswadians I done it.’

Peter Dick, sb. a child’s toy made of a half walnut shell, a small piece of stick and some thread. When played upon by the fingers in a particular way, it makes a ticking noise, and is supposed to say:—

‘Peter Dick,

Peter Dick,

Peter Dick’s peat stack.’

Petted on, v. to be fond of a person, as a child is.

Pevil, v. to strike rapidly.

Phaisians, sb. pheasants.

Piano rose, sb. the peony.

Pickin’ calf, v. Same as Casting Calf, i.e. dropping a calf before the time.

Pickle, sb. a very small quantity; one grain.

Pickock, or Picky, sb. Same as Blockan. A small fish, the young of the coal-fish.

Piece, sb. what a child gets for lunch; it is generally a piece of bread.

Pied, v. searched; examined.

Pig-croo, sb. a pig-sty.

Pigeon. ‘A pigeon’s pair,’ a term for a family of two children only.

Pigeon walk, sb. a boy’s game.

Piggin, sb. a small wooden vessel made of hoops and staves, with one stave prolonged so as to form a handle, used for milking in, &c.

Pig’s whisper, sb. a loud whisper, one meant to be heard.

Pig’s wrack, sb. a kind of sea wrack, boiled with meal or potatoes, and given as food for pigs.

Pike, sb. a rick of hay.

Piky dog, sb. the piked dog-fish. Same as Gobbuck.

Pile, sb. a single grain of shot.

Pill, Bad pill, or Bitter pill, sb. a disagreeable person.

Pillaber, sb. a pillow.

Pin bone, sb. the pointed bone above a horse’s flank.

Pingey lookin’, adj. tight; pinched looking.

Pink, (1) sb. a term of endearment applied by a young man to his sweetheart. (2) v. to strike with a sure aim.

Pin well, sb. a well in the demesne of Red Hall, near Carrickfergus, is so-called. A person having drunk from it throws in a pin as an offering.

Pipe. ‘Put that in your pipe and smoke it,’ an expression enforcing some rather disagreeable piece of advice or information.

Pipers, sb. pl. stems of grass.

Pipe stapple, sb. the stem of a clay pipe.

Pirn, sb. a wooden bobbin.

Pirn cage, sb. an arrangement of pins standing up from a square frame, and in which ‘pirns’ or bobbins are stuck — used in power-loom factories.

Pirre-maw, sb. the tern.

Pismire, Pishmither, sb. an ant.

Placket hole, sb. a pocket hole.

Pladdy, sb. (Pladdies, pl.) a sunken rock.

Planet showers, sb. pl. short heavy showers.

Plan of wrack. In parts of the co. of Down the flat portion of the shore, between high and low water mark, is divided into plots, each of which belongs to a certain farm, and on these plots or ‘plans’ the farmers grow sea-weed for manure, cutting the wrack periodically, and carting it inland. Stones are placed for the wrack to grow on.

Planting, sb. a plantation of young trees.

Plants, sb. young cabbage plants fit for planting out.

Plarted, v. fell down.

Plaster, sb. anything overloaded with vulgar showy ornament.

Plastery, adj. gaudy; over-ornamented.

Plates, sb. pl. flat rocks in a harbour.

Play oneself, v. to play. ‘Play yourselves,’ i.e. go and play. ‘The chile’s playin’ his self.’

Pleaich, sb. the ‘sea devil’ or fishing frog, Lophius. Also called Molly gowan, Kilmaddy, &c.

Pleasement, sb. what pleases; satisfaction; gratification. ‘I was glad to hear it, but perhaps it’s no pleasement to you.’ ‘I’ll do it to your pleasement.’

Plenishing, sb. the furnishing of a house.

Ploigher, v. to cough in an asthmatic or wheezing way.

Ploitin’ down, v. falling down. ‘What are ye ploitin’ down for there, ye fitless falla.’

Plout, v. to splash.

Pock-arred, adj. pock-marked.

Poddock-stool, sb. a toad-stool.

Podes, sb. lice. Children are warned that if they do not allow their heads to be combed with a ‘fine tooth comb,’ the podes will make ropes of their hair, and drag them into the sea and drown them.

Point. ‘Potatoes and point,’ i.e. potatoes and nothing. The potatoes are supposed to be pointed at a herring as they are eaten, to give them an imaginary flavour.

Poitered out, Poutered out, v. said of land which has been exhausted, and has received only slight superficial cultivation.

Poke, sb. a bag

Poke shakins, sb. the last child borne by a woman — supposed to be puny. ‘That’s a brave chile, it’s no the poke shakins I’m thinkin’.’

Polled, having the horns cut off. Same as Skulled.

Polluted, adj. puffed up with pride; conceited; overrun. ‘Them people ’s got quite polluted.’ ‘The house is polluted with books.’ ‘Polluted with beggars,’ &c. ‘The other man polluted the mearing,’ i.e. he tampered with the boundary.

Pont, sb. a kind of boat which carries thirty hundred-weight of turf, used on Lough Neagh (Mason’s Par. Survey).

Pooin’, v. pulling.

Poor mouth, v. to ‘make a poor mouth,’ to complain of troubles or poverty, and to make the most of these, for the purpose of exciting pity.

Poppel, sb. a flower, the corn-cockle, Lychnis Githago.

Porvent, Purvent, v. to prevent.

Poss-tub, Pouss-tub, sb. a kind of wash-tub.

Post. ‘Between you and me and the post,’ a preliminary to something confidential being told.

Posy, sb. a flower.

Potyeen, Poteen, sb. illicit whiskey.

Pouce, sb. the floating dust in rooms where flax is being dressed.

Poucy, adj. asthmatic, from the effects of inhaling ‘pouce.’

Pounder, sb. a person who sells freestone for scouring; the freestone is sold pounded.

Pouss, v. to push clothes against the bottom of a tub when washing. ‘Gie the claes a guid poussing.’

Power, sb. a great quantity. ‘He made a power o’ money.’

Pox, sb. the small-pox. ‘Cut for the pox,’ vaccinated.

Praity-oaten, sb. a kind of bread made of potatoes and oaten meal; in texture it is very coarse. ‘As coarse as praity-oaten,’ saying.

Prank, v. to amuse oneself.

Pree, v. to taste.

Presha, Presha bhwee, Prushus, sb. the wild kale, Sinopsis arvensis (bhwee is from Ir. for yellow).

Prick at the loop, a cheating game played with a strap and skewer, at fairs, &c., by persons of the thimble-rig class, probably the same as the game called Fast and Loose.

Prig, v. to beat down in price. Same as to Haggle.

Prittaz, Praitays, sb. potatoes.

Prod, (1) ‘He gave me a prod,’ i.e. he cheated me in something he sold me. (2) v. to prick or stab. ‘Prod him with a pitch-fork.’

Proddled, v. prodded, i.e. stabbed or poked up. ‘Your eyes are like a proddled cat under a bed,’ saying.

Proker, sb. a poker.

Proper, adj. good. ‘A proper spade.’

Pross, (1) sb. a process at law. (2) v. to sue a person. ‘I prossed him.’

Puck, sb. a blow. ‘He got a puck in the eye.’

Puckan-sulla, sb. a basket or hamper made of well twisted oat straw rope, used for holding seed potatoes; it holds about two and a half bushels.

Puddle, sb.a small dirty pool; prepared or tempered clay.

Pullan, Pollan, sb. the ‘fresh water herring’ of Lough Neagh, Coregonus Pollan.

Purre, sb. two sea birds, the tern and the black-headed gull. See Pirre and Pyrmaw.

Purty middlin’, adj. pretty well; reply to a salutation.

Pushla, sb. See Coo-pushla.

Put down one’s foot, to come to a determination of stopping some thing which has been going on.

Put on, v. to put on clothes; to dress oneself. ‘I had hardly time to put on me.’ ‘He rose an’ put on him.’

Pyot, sb. a magpie.

Pyrmaw, sb. a sea bird, probably the tern or ‘purre’ (Harris, Hist. Co. Down, 1744).

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