Written in Black and Wight: F - Answers

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And here are answers to the F-ing quiz dedicated to words in the Isle of Wight's dialect that began with the letter F. These have been 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.

Isle of Wight

Quick-Fire Round

The quick-fire round listed words and phrases that I think are well-known off the Island and so shouldn't be in the dictionary. Here are the definitions next to the right word, along with an example from either of the dictionaries listed above of their daily use.

Fair DoosFair dealingI got to gi'n vour sacks o'taters, and then 'twull be about fair doos booath zides.
Figgy PuddenPlum pudding eaten at ChristmasNow bring us zome figgy pudden
FistMake a mess of somethingHe maade a praaper fist o' planten the flower-knot
Fend OffTo protect yourself from someoneI'll fend off and zend thee furlen if thee comes anearst me.
FittenProper, correctTo my mind it don't sim fitten
Four o'clockMeal eaten in the afternoon2.The mug contained his four o'clock, a modest potation of beer.
FlopFall down flat.She come indoors and flopped down in a chair. I vell down bout house flop.
FlingKicking like a horse or to throwMind the wold mare don't fling at ye, meyat.

Main Round

Isle of Wight


  • Emotion felt when you just can't get the toilet to flush.
  • To be scared, frightened, confused or agitated.
  • Completely losing count of something after getting to quite a high number.

Long gave the following example,

It putt me into a regular flustration about it.


  • To scratch and/or fidget.
  • What a prim and proper young lady would never do on a first date, no matter how flirtatious her escort.
  • According to an old Isle of Wight legend, the name of the captain of the Isle of Wight ferry who boldly went where no man had gone before3.

Another easy one, with Long giving the example,

That dog keeps on firken vorvlees.

'vorvlees' is of course 'for fleas', with two substituted 'F's. A Century later it appears that the dog's fleas have bitten the farmer's wife, as Lavers records a different example; 'She'm always on the firk'. In his introduction to Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight (1911), Percy Goddard Stone wrote,

Though many similar words and idioms are to be found throughout Wessex, on the other hand, many are peculiar to the Isle of Wight. What modern English can so well express the verbs to shuffle, to startle, to scratch, as our local scuff, scart, and firk, or the pangs of hunger as leer?


  • A mermaid.
  • A pipe filled with dried seaweed instead of tobacco.
  • A fishwife.

Yep, a fishwife.

Oh, you want a quote to go with it, eh? 'Fishfag = fishwife' not good enough? Oh fine, okay then, here's a quote. Not from the Isle of Wight Dictionaries, mind, but from the Beatles. 'Cos it's my quiz.

Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic princess, boy you've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down.

- I Am the Walrus


  • To be embarrassed in public by your elderly relatives.
  • To start a fire with sparks ignited by hitting flint together.
  • To get revenge by splatting someone in the face with a custard pie.
  • To flourish or brandish

A word unique to the Isle of Wight. Long gives the example,

He's out there by the barn door, flanyeren about wi'a sparrod4.


  • When you are trying to sneak home late at night in a not entirely sober state after being out with the lads only for the noise of your un-oiled gate to give you away.
  • Blustering
  • To open a door only to be surprised to unexpectedly see someone on the other side.

Another word unique to the Isle of Wight.

Forest House Puddens

  • Fir cones.
  • Food made from flour and suet and nothing else.
  • Prisoners staying at Her Majesty's Pleasure in Parkhurst.

Since the 18th Century Parkhurst Forest has been the site of the Workhouse as well as Parkhurst and Albany Barracks, which later became Parkhurst and Albany Prisons. A Forest House Pudden was plain, flavourless food served in the workhouse at weekends. Long records,

At a tumultuous meeting in favour of Reform5 held in the Corn Market, Newport, in 1831, some farmers from Gatcombe who were vehemently opposed to the popular cause were saluted with derisive cries, 'Dree cheers vor the Forest House puddens.' One of them in surprise asked, 'Why be we Forest House puddens?" "Because ye ha'nt got no raisins6 in ye" was the answer.
Map of the Isle of Wight in words.

Gee Whiz, next week is the G Quiz - Same Bluebottle Time, Same Bluebottle Channel – or more specifically, the island between the Channel and the Solent.

A reader of the h2g2 Post


The Bluebottle Archive

24.07.17 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).2A little like elevenses, only five hours later.3Warsash in Hampshire.4A hazel or willow stick used to fasten thatch.5The Reform Crisis of 1830-1832 which led to the 1832 Great Reform (Representation of the People) Act introduced great electoral change. The number of men allowed to vote increased by approximately 60% by allowing copyholding landowners as well as freeholding landowners to vote so that afterwards approximately a fifth of men could vote. It abolishing 143 MPs, many representing 'rotten' and 'pocket' boroughs and created 130 new MPs to represent new industrial cities. Tragically this meant that the Isle of Wight went from having had three Parliamentary seats from 1584 (Newport, Newtown and Yarmouth) to two, Isle of Wight and Newport until the 1885 Redistribution of Seats Act which abolished Newport. The Isle of Wight has only had one MP since, being by far the largest UK constituency.6Reasons.

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