Letter T - 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-t

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Taapie, sb. a silly, careless woman.

Tack, sb. a rancid taste or taint, in butter, &c.

Tackle, sb. a quick and rather troublesome child.

Tacky, adj. sticky as varnish, not quite hard.

Taen, v. taken.

Taickle, sb. a randy; a talking, scolding woman.

Tail of the eye, sb. the corner of the eye. ‘I saw him with the tail of my eye.’ ‘Now don’t be watchin’ me out of the tail of your eye.’

Tak, or Take, sb. a piece of ground taken on lease.

Take. ‘Take to your beaters.’ ‘Take to your scrapers’ = run away.

Take a hand at, v. to impose upon; to banter; to hoax. ‘I know yer just takin’ a han’ at me.’

Take an’ do, to do. ‘Take an’ do that at once.’

Take bad, v. to take ill.

Take in with, to overtake a person. ‘You’ll soon take in with him.’

Taken on with, pleased with. ‘They’re greatly taken on with him.’

Take notice, v. an infant beginning to show that it observes things is said to ‘take notice.’

Take off, (1) sb. a mimic. ‘Dear! but you’re a sore take off.’ (2) v. to mimic. ‘He took her off to the life.’

Take stock, v. to take notice of; to observe.

Tak’ yer tobacco, don’t be in a hurry.

Tammock, sb. a little knoll, in a bog or marsh.

Tanny, sb. a dark-complexioned (tawney) person.

Tap o’ kin, sb. the head of the family.

Tap o’ tow. Flax or tow placed on the ‘rock’ of a spinning-wheel, which if set on fire, would be all ablaze in an instant. Hence the saying — ‘He went aff like a tap o’ tow,’ meaning he got into a flaming passion in an instant.

Tarble han’, terrible hand. Same as Sore hand.

Tarbillest, adj. most terrible.

Targe, (1) sb. a scolding woman. (2) v. to scold loudly.

Targein’. ‘A targein’ fine horse,’ a very fine horse.

Taste, sb. a small quantity. ‘A taste o’ matches.’

Tasty, adj. tasteful; natty. ‘Oh, he’s a very tasty man.’

Tatty, adj. untidy; unkempt.

Tawpened, adj. tufted as a fowl.

Tawpenny, sb. a hen with a tuft on its head.

Tear, (1) v. to run fast. (2) v. to knock or ring violently at a door. (3) [Teer] ‘There’s a tear in yer e’e like a threv’lin’ rat,’ saying.

Tears. ‘The tears were running down his cheeks like beetles up a hill:’ said in ridicule of a child who is crying for nothing.

Teem, (1) v. to pour. ‘He teemed a pint of it down the dog’s throat.’ (2) sb. heaviest rain. ‘I was out in a perfect teem.’

Telling. ‘It would be no tellin’,’ i.e. it would not tell or count in one’s favour — would be hurtful. ‘It would be tellin’ me a quare dale if I’d knowed that afore,’ i.e. it would have been of great consequence to me to have known, &c.

Temp a sant (tempt a saint), to be very annoying. ‘It would temp a sant the way you’re gettin’ on.’

Tendered, v. made tender, as linen sometimes is in ‘the bleach.’ ‘The fibre (of flax) tendered by excess of moisture.’

Tent of ink, sb. as much ink as a pen will lift at once out of an ink-bottle.

Thairm, sb. cat-gut.

That, (1) so. ‘He was that heavy we couldn’t lift him.’ (2) used in sense of this. A common salutation. ‘That’s a soft day,’ means, ‘This is a wet day.’

The day, to-day. ‘Will you go the day, or the morrow?’

Thee, sb. the thigh.

Thegither, adv. together.

Theirsels, themselves.

The long eleventh of June, saying, used as a comparison of length.

The more, adv. although. ‘He did it, the more he said he wouldn’t.’

The morra come niver, never.

The pigs ran through it, something interfered to prevent the arrangement being carried out.

Thick, (1) adj. friendly; confidential. ‘As thick as thieves.’ (2) adj. in quick succession; close together.

Think a heap, v. to like; to value. ‘We think a heap of him.’

Think long, v. to feel a longing; to be home-sick. ‘What’s the matter with you; are you thinking long?’

Think pity, v. to pity; to take pity. ‘I thought pity o’ the chile he was that cowl.’

Think shame, be ashamed. ‘Think shame o’ yersel’, child!’

Thirtage, sb. Same as Mootther, or Moulter. The proportion of meal paid to a miller for grinding. Obsolete, I believe.

Thirteen, sb. a name for a British shilling at the time when the British and Irish currencies were different. The shilling was worth thirteen pence Irish.

Thole, (1) v. to bear; to endure. (2) ‘A haporth o thole-weel, an’ a pennorth o’ nivir-let-on-ye-hae-it,’ recommended as a cure for a trifling ailment.

Thon, adv. yon.

Thonder, adv. yonder.

Thongin’, sb. a beating.

Thoom, sb. the thumb.

Thooms (thumbs). ‘They might lick thooms tae the elbows,’ i.e. the one is as bad as the other. ‘We may lick thooms upon that,’ a common saying when two parties agree to a bargain, or have a community of opinion (Ulster Journal of Archæology).

Thorn grey, sb. the common grey linnet. Also called Hedge grey.

Thorough, or Thorra, adj. wise; sane. ‘The poor fellow’s not thorough.’

Thought, sb. a small quantity of anything. ‘A wee thought,’ a less quantity.

Thraiveless, adj. careless; silly, or restless, applied to a person disinclined to do anything, the disinclination arising from weakness. ‘I was thraiveless after that long illness.’

Thrapple, Thrap, sb. the wind-pipe; the throat.

Thraw, v. to twist; to turn.

“Wha scarce can thraw her neck half roun’,

Tae bid guid morn her neighbour.” — Huddleston.

‘Them boots would thraw yer feet.’

Thraw a rope, to be hanged (the weight of the body causes the rope to ‘thraw’).

Thraw hook, sb. a hooked stick used for twisting hay-rope.

Thraw mule, sb. a perverse and obstinate person.

Thread the needle and sew, sb. a children’s game.

Threave, sb. the straw of two stooks (shocks) of corn.

Threep, v. to argue, or contest a point.

Threshel, sb. the threshold.

Thristle cock, sb. the common bunting.

Throm, prep. from.

Throng, adj. crowded. ‘The streets were very throng,’ over-throng = over-crowded.

Through, (1) adv. in the course of. ‘I’ll call through the day.’ (2) adv. a horse ‘working through land,’ means working in fields, ploughing, &c. ‘Going through the floor’ = walking about a room as a nurse does with a restless child.

Through-other, Throother, adj. confused; untidy; without order. ‘She’s a through-other sort o’ buddy.’ ‘His horse is all through-other.’

Throw, v. to cause. ‘It throws us that we can’t get the place cleared out.’

Throw by, v. throw away. ‘Throw by that owl hat aff ye.’

Thrum, sb. a threepence. A commission of three pence per stone on flax, paid by a flax buyer to a person who brings the buyer and seller together in open market.

Thrumphry, sb. rubbish; broken furniture.

Thrums, sb. pl. the ends of the threads of a weaver’s warp.

Thrush, sb. a boy’s game.

Thrushed in the feet, applied to a horse whose feet have become tender from the effect of dry hot weather.

Thump, sb. bean champ, i.e. mashed potatoes and beans.

Thunder. ‘He turned up his eyes like a duck in thunder,’ i.e. he showed astonishment.

Thunder-bolt, a stone celt; also a belemnite.

Thunderin’, very. ‘Thunderin’ good hay.’

Thurrish, v. to be friendly, kindly, or accommodating. ‘These people wouldn’t thurrish together.’

Tib’s eve, or St. Tib’s eve, never. ‘I’ll marry you on Tib’s eve, an’ that’s neither before Christmas nor after,’ saying.

Ticht, adj. smart; active. ‘A ticht, clean fellow.’

Ticklish, adj. difficult; precarious.

Tid, Tidge, sb. a fine warm bed for crops; adj. the quality of soil that is fit for the reception of seed. ‘That ground is in fine tid,’ i.e. pulverised and dry.

Tied. ‘He was fit to be tied,’ i.e. in a great passion.

Tig, sb. a children’s game. The one that ‘has tig,’ chases the others till he ‘gives tig’ to one of them by touching; the one ‘tigged’ then chases the others who avoid him as dangerous. ‘Cross-tig,’ is a modification of this game.

Till, (1) sb. heavy clay; the subsoil. (2) prep. used for to. ‘A’m goin’ till Lisburn.’

Till iron, sb. a crow-bar.

Till midden, sb. a manure-heap in a ploughed field.

Time, (1) ‘If I can make time’ = if I have time. (2) ‘You kept time between you and the day,’ i.e. you kept putting off the evil day.

Time o’ day. To ‘bid the time o’ day,’ is to salute a person with ‘good morning’ or anything similar.

Timmersome, adj. timorous.

Tin, sb. What is known as ‘a tin,’ is a tin mug or porringer.

Tinker’s toast, sb. the crust at the side of a loaf which has been one of the outside loaves of a batch.

Tint, adj. one-third rotten, applied to wood that has been kept seasoning till it begins to decay.

Tip, sb. a ram.

Tirl, Thirl, v. to turn up something. ‘The wun’ thirled the thatch las’ nicht.’

To, (1) adv. used for till. ‘Come here to I kiss you.’ (2) prep. used for for. ‘You can get a bit to yourself.’

Toardst, adv. towards.

Tod, sb. a fox.

To-morrow was a year, a year ago from tomorrow.

Tom pudden, sb. the little grebe; also called, ‘penny-bird,’ ‘drink a penny,’ ‘Willie Hawkie.’

Tongue, (1) ‘Has a tongue wud clip clouts.’ ‘Has a tongue wud clip iron or brass,’ applied to a great talker, or to a person who has ‘a cuttin’ tongue.’ (2) v. to scold.

Tongue thrash, v. to scold.

Tongue-thrashing, sb. a scolding.

Tonguing, sb. abuse; a violent scolding.

Too big riggit, adj. over rigged, as a boat.

Took, (1) struck or caught. ‘A stone just took him in the eye.’ (2) v. went. ‘They took down the old road.’

Took off, v. ran away.

Toom, adj. empty.

Tooth. Children when they are losing their first teeth, are told when a tooth is taken out, that if they do not put their tongue into the hole, a gold tooth will grow.

Top, v. to lop off the top branches in pruning a hedge.

Top pickle. ‘The top pickle of all grain belongs to the gentry,’ i.e. to the fairies.

Tory, sb. a deceiving person, usually applied in banter; a term of endearment for a child, thus — ‘Ah! you’re a right tory.’ ‘A rayl tory.’ ‘A sore tory,’ &c.

Tothan, sb. a silly person.

To the fore, in existence.

Tottherry, adj. untidy; ragged.

Touch, sb. a loop of cord put round a horse’s tongue or lip.

Touch an’ hail, sb. (touch and heal), the St. John’s wort, Hyporicum perforatum. Prunella vulgaris is also so-called.

Tours, sb. pl. peat sods used in firing.

Tove, v. to boast or brag.

Tover, sb. a boaster.

Tovey, Toved, adj. puffed up; silly; self-important.

Tovy eedyot, sb. a puffed up fool.

Towarst, adv. towards.

Town stinker, sb. a boy’s game, played with a ball. The ‘town’ is marked by a circle on the ground, and two parties of boys take possession of it alternately, according to their success in striking the ball in certain directions.

Track, sb. In playing marbles, a boy who hits one marble may ‘take track off it,’ i.e. he gets another shot.

Traik, (1) sb. a long, tiresome walk. (2) v. to be sickly; not to thrive.

Train, v. to travel by train. ‘He’ll have to train it every day.’

Tramp cock, sb. a hay-cock, which has been tramped to make it more solid.

Trams, sb. pl. the portions of the shafts which project behind the body of a cart. They are also called Back-trams.

Trash, Green trash, sb. unripe or bad fruit.

Travel, v. to walk. ‘I travelled it every fut o’ the way.’

Treadwuddy, sb. an iron hook and swivel used to connect a single or double tree with a plough or harrow.

Trench, v. to dig land down to the sub-soil.

Trig, (1) sb. the line from which persons jumping start from [sic], when making the jump. (2) adj. neat; trim.

Trigged up, v. trimmed up; settled.

Trinket, v. a small artificial water-course.

Trinkle, v. to trickle.

Trodge, v. to walk; to saunter.

Trodger, sb. a traveller on foot.

Trog, sb. slow and petty dealing in the market.

Troth, in truth. ‘Troth an’ I won’t.’

Troubles the, sb. the Irish rebellion of 1641.

Trout heaght, sb. trout height, the height that a trout can leap from the water, used as a standard or comparison of height.

Truckle, sb. a small car, in common use before the introduction of the present farm carts.

Truff, v. to steal.

Truff the ducks, a term applied to beggars and vagrants.

Trule, sb. a trowel.

Trump, sb. a Jew’s-harp.

Trunnel, Trinnel, (1) sb. the wheel of a wheelbarrow. (2) v. to trundle. ‘Away out an’ trinnel yer hoop.’

Truss, sb. A truss of hay is twelve score pounds. A truss of straw is nine score (McSkimin, Hist. Carrickfergus).

Truth. ‘It’s as true as truth has been this long time,’ saying.

Tryste, (1) sb. an appointment. ‘He put in a tryste with his girl.’ (2) v. to make an appointment; to bespeak. ‘You can’t have them boots, they’re trysted.’

Trysted, v. appointed. ‘I have trysted to meet him on Monday.’

Tthur! Tthur! a call for pigs.

Tuck stick, sb. a sword-stick.

Tune. ‘The tune the old cow died of,’ a comparison for any unrecognizable air, or any particularly bad attempt at music.

Tuppenny ticket, sb. ‘It’s not worth a tuppenny ticket,’ i.e. it’s quite worthless. These ‘tickets’ were copper, tradesmen’s tokens, value two-pence, of which considerable numbers were issued in the north of Ireland in the eighteenth century. They were about the size of farthings.

Turn an arch, v. to form or build an arch.

Turned, adj. slightly sour, applied to milk.

Turn-footins, sb. pl. small heaps of cut turf. See under Clamp.


‘You may take one,

And you may take two,

But if you take three,

I’ll take you.’

Supposed to be said by farmers concerning persons who take a turnip out of a field to eat it.

Turn out the, sb. a term for the Irish rebellion of 1798. Also called The Hurries.

Turn spit Jack, sb. a game at country balls, &c., in which young men compete by singing for their partners in the next dance.

Turn the word, to contradict, or dispute the correctness of a statement. ‘I wouldn’t begin to turn the word with you.’

Twa, nu. adj. two.

Twa hand boy, sb. a smart fellow.

Twall, nu. adj. twelve.

Twalmonth, sb. a year.

Twict, Twicet, adv. twice.

Two double, adj. ‘Bent two double.’ ‘Going two double,’ bent with pain or age.

Two-eyed beef-steak, sb. a herring.

Twussle, sb. a tussle.

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