Letter R - 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-r

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Raave, sb. a fresh water plant, Anacharis.

Rack comb, sb. a dressing comb.

Rack of mutton, sb. a breast of mutton.

Ram-stam, adj. headling; rash.

Randy, sb. a wild reckless fellow; an indelicate romping woman; a scold.

Rannel, v. among school-boys; to pull the hair.

Rannel-tree, Raivel-tree, sb. the cross-beam in a byre to which the cows’ stakes are fastened; hence a long thin person is called a ‘rannel-tree,’ or is said to be ‘as thin as a rannel-tree.’

Ranners, sb. pl. wild indistinct dreams.

Ranty-berries, sb. rowan-tree berries.

Ratherly, or Retherly, adv. rather.

Rausps, sb. pl. raspberries.

Ream, v. to froth or foam, as a liquor.

Red, (1) done work. ‘What time will you get red?’ (2) v. to put in order; to separate fighters.

Reddin’ kaim, sb. a dressing-comb. Same as Rack-comb.

Red head.

Red head, fiery skull,

Every hair in your head would tether a bull.’

Said derisively to a red-haired person.

Red loanin’, sb. the throat (inside).

Redshank, (1) a flowering plant, Polygonum Persicaria. (2) ‘Run like a redshank,’ i.e. as fast as you can. I suppose the redshank is the wading bird so called, and not the human redshank, known to readers of the Irish wars.

Red the road! clear the way!

Ree, adj. fresh as a restive horse; wanton.

Reef, sb. a rent or tear.

Reek, sb. smoke; the smell of peat smoke.

Reel, v. to quiz or humbug.

Reel-fitted, adj. club-footed.

Ree-raw, adj. untidy; confused.

Reeve, v. to split wood by heat. ‘The sun will reeve it.’

Remember, v. to remind. ‘Well, sir, I’ll call in the morning and remember you about it.’

Remlet, sb. a remnant.

Remove, sb. the re-shoeing of a horse with the old shoes.

Rench, Range, v. to rinse.

Renlet, Runlet, sb. a small barrel.

Residenter, sb. an old inhabitant.

Ret, v. to steep flax.

Rex, v. to reach.

Ribish, adj. thin, as appiled to persons, but more especially to pigs. ‘They come of a ribish breed.’

Rice, sb. a small branch of a tree; a twig.

Ricketty, sb. a ratchet brace for boring metal.

Rift, v. to belch.

Rig, sb. a ridge.

Rig and fur, ridge and furrow in a field. A particular kind of knitting is also called ‘rig and fur.’

Riggin, sb. the ridge of a house.

Right, adv. thorough; very; good. ‘He’s a right rascal.’ ‘You’re a right bad boy.’ ‘He’s a right wee fellow.’

Rightly, adv. in good health; right well; very well. ‘I’m rightly.’ ‘I know him rightly.’ ‘He got rightly frightened.’

Rip, sb. a handful of unthrashed corn.

Rippet, sb. a row, or disturbance.

Ripple, v. to take the seed off flax. See Flax ripple.

Ripple grass, Plantago lanceolata.

Rive, v. to tear; to split.

Roach, sb. the rudd or red-eye Leuciscus erythropthalmus.

Road, (1) sb. way. ‘What road are you going?’ (2) ‘No road,’ is the formula for ‘no thoroughfare.’ (3) v. to direct; to show the way. ‘Who roaded you?’

Roans, sb. pl. ‘Hazely roans,’ hazel brakes. ‘Brackeny roans,’ fern brakes.

Robin-run-the-hedge, sb. a plant, Galium aparine. The juice of this plant is extracted and boiled with sugar, and given as a remedy in whooping-cough.

Rockets, sb. pl. the plumes of a hearse.

Rodden, sb. a little road; a mountain path.

Rope, v. ‘The clay ropes off my spade like putty.’

Rose, sb. ‘The rose’ is a name for erysipelas.

Rosit-slut, or Rosin-slut, sb. a rag dipped in resin and used as a substitute for a candle.

Rot-heap, sb. a heap of weeds left to rot for manure.

Roughness, sb. plenty; abundance. ‘There’s a great roughness about his farm,’ i.e. great plenty. ‘Them people has a great roughness of money about them.’

Rough weed, sb. Strachys palustris.

Round cast, sb. a particular throw in sowing grain. ‘He sows with a round cast.’

Roup, sb. an auction.

Routh, or Rouths, sb. plenty; abundance.

Routing-wheel, sb. an eddy or whirlpool at the entrance of Strangford Lough. Mentioned by Harris (1744).

Rowt, v. to bellow or roar as a bull.

Rrog, a sea-weed, the long tangle, Chorda filum.

Rubber, sb. a housemaid’s dusting-cloth; a coarse kitchen towel.

Rubber apron, sb. an apron made of coarse material.

Ruchness. Same as Roughness, abundance.

Ruction, sb. a row, or disturbance.

Rue, v. to change one’s mind; to draw back. ‘To take the rue,’ to repent of an engagement, or promise.

Rugg, v. to pull about roughly; to pull the hair.

Ruggle o’ banes, sb. a thin person.

Ruinate, v. to destroy.

Ruination, sb. ruin.

Rullion, sb. a big, coarse, dirty fellow.

Rummle, (1) ‘Put that in your jug an’ rummle it,’ i.e. consider that piece of information or advice. Same as Put that in your pipe and smoke it. (2) v. to rumble; to shake about. ‘I feel that rummlin’ about in my inside.’

Rundale, a plan of working farms in partnership; mentioned as a ‘pernicious practice’ in M‘Skimin’s Carrickfergus, 1822. Anciently many farms were wrought in ‘rundale.’

Rung, (1) a round or step of a ladder; the rail of a chair. (2) sb. an old woman. ‘That auld rung o’ mine’s bravely,’ a young lad.

Runners, sb. pl. small channels for water. ‘I made runners across the pad to keep it dry.’

Runrig, sb. Same as Rundale.

Runt, (1) sb. a dwarfish person; an old woman. (2) sb. a stalk. ‘A kale runt.’

Rust, v. to be restive or stubborn.

Rusty, adj. restive or stubborn.

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