Written in Black and Wight: D

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Welcome to the quiz series dedicated to the Isle of Wight's dialect, preserved in publications including A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) and Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers (1988)1.

This edition is in glorious 4D, being issue 4 and dedicated to the letter 'D' – so put on your reading glasses and let the magic begin. Each word is followed by a choice of definitions, one of which is correct. But which is it? Oh, the tension!


This week is words beginning with D, a letter that was often used to replace 'Th'.

Isle of Wight


  • Someone who is dancing.
  • Someone who caulks the bottom of ships' holds to keep them watertight.
  • Someone who is proficient at something.


  • The inhabitants of Sandown.
  • Daffodils.
  • Ducks and other birds commonly found on the downs.


  • An exact likeness.
  • A horse, cow etc with a spotty coat of fur.
  • Gently applying ointment in order to alleviate pain.


  • An abandoned, derelict shipwreck.
  • This instant.
  • A (normally steam-powered) threshing-machine used at harvest.

Devil's Dancen Hours

  • All Hallow's Eve.
  • The winter solstice.
  • Midnight.


  • A pre-breakfast snack.
  • Leather reins connecting a horse collar to the mouthpiece.
  • Skin hanging beneath the neck of cattle.


  • To make holes to plant seeds in.
  • To cheat or swindle.
  • A large marble.


  • Wedge-like tool used to crack limestone blocks to the right size.
  • To break and destroy.
  • A thick, dark and dismal fog or sea mist.


  • A barmaid (sometimes used with implications of prostitute).
  • A fine, dry sand used to scour items, also sandpaper.
  • A bird.


  • Edible puffball mushroom.
  • Someone silly, clumsy or lacking in common sense.
  • A round cake filled with jam.


  • A narrow passage between two buildings.
  • Netting used to get onto and off of ships berthed at the tidal Newport quay.
  • Small three-sided shelter found on medium-sized fishing ships.


  • Lace-making tool.
  • A child's spinning-top.
  • The bottom of a door.


  • A large stone with a hole in exposed at low tide in the tidal Newtown Estuary that women suspected of witchcraft were tied to2.
  • A children's game in which a small stone was balanced on a large stone, the aim being to knock the stone off by throwing stones at it.
  • An egg.


  • Respected village elder considered quite wise.
  • A bumblebee.
  • Uneven surface or trip hazard.


  • Sea currents and eddies.
  • Thighs, the bit of legs between hips and knees.
  • An object weighs dwyes when it is heavier than normal having become wet.

Click on the picture for the answers!

Map of the Isle of Wight in words.A reader of the h2g2 Post
The Bluebottle Archive


26.06.17 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Others include A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), The Encyclopedia of Isle of Wight Words, Placenames, Legends, Books and Authors by Edward Turner (1900) and The English Dialect Dictionary ed. Joseph Wright (1906).2Obviously if they hadn't drowned by the next low tide, they weren't witches.

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