Written in Black and Wight: O - Answers

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And now for the letter O's answers.

Quick Fire: Odd One Out Round

OutExtinguish a candle
Out at elbowsOffended, also scruffy
Out EndSkint, bankrupt
Outlandish1Strange or not local
OutlongDirection of returning home
OuttaakOutdo by talking

These are fairly self-explanatory, with A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) providing various examples for the words, including:

What odds es it to you where I goos to?

'Twull make no odds to me, let it be how 'twull.

One short explanation is perhaps required for 'one'. You may recall that 'A' was often used to mean 'he' in sentences such as 'Zo away a went and got t'other zide o'Nippert'. This did not cause confusion as sentences in which you would expect to have 'a' meaning singular object, 'one' was used instead, such as,

There was the deuce of one row

He had the deuce of one crop of barley.

'Ar one' was also short for 'ever a one'.

Main Round

Isle of Wight

Did You identify which of the three meanings is the correct one for the words below?


  • An oven
  • A dozen
  • A haven or sheltered harbour.

Absolutely an oven. Regular readers will have noticed how important food has been throughout the centuries to Islanders, so obviously an oven is the heart and hearth of a home. Naturally this has inspired poetry, with Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight by Percy Goddard Stone (1911) containing two poems to mention ovens, 'A Christmas Party' contains a verse celebrating the food cooked in one.

Theers hrabbet pie an' hroasted teal.

An' viggy pudden thick wi' peel.

An' jest about a breast o' veal

In oben now a baaken!

And missus' made a toppen brew

—Zure I 've a tub of whiskey too

Will last we most the winter dro—

To cheer our merry maaken.

'The Widow' instead tells how difficult it is for an old widow to get a maid to clean the oven and the rest of her kitchen to her satisfaction.

Keziah ! Anna Mary ! Cum heer you zilly zluts,

I'll hay my house kep' tidy—Noo answers an' noo buts.'

What ! zcoured up thet zarcepan. Well, do'en once agen.

Call thet a proper cleanin! wi' zmears on winder pen.

The oben door lef ' open! Keziah, I'll be bound —

Zims now-a-days a missus needs allus chivvy hround —

I'll hay no dust in earners, noo rust nor zlops o' wet,

I'm Varmer Zibbick's missus—an' doant you maades vorget.

Of course an 'oben' doesn't exist in isolation and requires a series of tools, such as the 'Oben peel', which was a flat, long-handled wooden shovel used to take things in and out the oven, while the 'Oben rubber' was a similar pole, this time with a cloth attached and used to clear the oven of
embers. Long tells a delightful story of a prank involving the oben rubber.

There used to be dree or vour wold women about here one time, who used to prid near frighten all the vokes in the parish out o'what little sense they had. There was wold granny Jooans, and wold granny Morris, and one or two more wold brimstooane bitches, that was vor ever zeein' tokens, and ghostes, and signs, and noobody knows what nonsense bezides; and a gurt many people was zoat enough to bleeve sich traade, and used to goo to 'em vor charms, and to hay their fortunes toold.

One day vour or vive was got together in granny zomebody's house - I
vorgits which 'twas now - but howsomever there was a larkish kind o'chap handy, that zid the lot goo in - I thinks his naame was Jacobs - zo he thought he'd jest like to hear what they was on upon; zo he slips over hedge into the gearden, and crapes in under the open winder. There they was round the taable, tellen fortunes in their teacups: one was to hay a carriage stop at her door, and another was to zee a strainger avore night, and a lot moore o'sich wold zoat foolishness.

Then one on 'em begun to tell how she heerd a screech owl several times the night avore, and 'twas a sartain token o'death to zomebody or nother she knowed. ‘Iss,' zays another, ‘one vlow cloose by my uncle's head, and gid a terbul screech, and the poor wold man come hooam and went to bed, and was a corpse avore the week was out.' Then another wold fool toold a yarn about a gurt high thing all in white, that she zid one mornen in wold Cooper's gearden, avore 'twas light, when she was gwyne out to washen. ‘Ah!'zays the wold dooman the house belonged to, ‘onny last night I was putten a vew sticks under my kettle to bwoil'n up vor my tay, when all at once the room simmed to git mummy; zo I looked up, and massy me! if there wudden't a gurt ugly black thing, wi'eyes ver'near as big as the top o'one o'these taycups, jest outside the winder, staren in at me: I ded gee sich a squawk.'

While all this was gwyne on, Jacobs whipped down the gearden and got a wold gallybagger that was there, and ties 'en on to the wold dooman's oben rubber that was layen agen the wall, and direekly minute the wold fool was tellen how she squawked at the gurt black thing she zid the night avore, Jacobs rammed the wold gallybagger right droo winder, on top o'the taable, right in the middle on 'em. They dedn't stop to hay a second look-at it, but roared out, and vlow out o'doors like bees out o'a tee hole. 'Twas zome time avore they come back, and while they was away Jacobs putt the gallybagger in his plaace agen; zo they dedn't know the geeam he had wi' 'em. But the yoppel they maade over it terrified their neighbours zo, that lots on 'em was afeared to goo out doors in the dark vor months aaterwards.


  • Headstrong
  • An obstacle course.
  • An oboe player.

Off the Reel

  • A fresh line-caught fish.
  • Straight away and at once.
  • To attend a local dance.

Straight away I'll tell you that this means 'at once'. Long has two examples of 'off the reel':

I sholl leave it alooan till Lady-day, and then pitch in and finish it clane off the reel.

Here is an example of someone who has to move house off the reel,

Well Ben, how bist getten on, you? I hears thee'st got to git out o'that plaace o'thine, right off the reel.

That's jest about the rights on't, mayet; but 'tes darned hard lines vor a wold feller like me, what ben there zoo many years. You know you, I onny got two jackasses and a nannygoat, and the parish used to paay my rent; but zunce we had that fresh re-lieven officer they won't doo't noo longer, zoo I got to shift vor myself. I'd half a mind to turn rusty and stop there till they mucked me out; but then, thinks I, 'tes noo good to be thirtover about it, zo I sholl turn out.


  • Occupation.
  • A cowman or farmer who works with oxen.
  • Someone who has hiccups.

You can't say I don't include nice and easy ones now and then. Am I the only one to think that including this word in A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876) was being needlessly picky?


  • Clothing that is rags and tatters, or an object that is broken.
  • Obsolete.
  • Sheepish.

Indeed, old or 'ole' fashioned was indeed used to mean sheepish, with Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers (1988) providing the example,

When I axed en where he'd bin, ee look'd pretty ole-fashioned I can tell ye.


  • Straw.
  • Seaweed.
  • Urine when used in tanning.

A long-leafed seaweed washed ashore.


  • An hour
  • Ours
  • An urn

Ourn means ours, with Long providing the example,

That staffhook under hedge es our'n, edden't it?

Oi, you, I louz tes.

While Lavers' example dates from the Second World War and relates to aircraft recognition.

I knew 'twas ourn as zoon as I zid the markings.

Of course, 'yourn' meant 'yours'.

If that rake edden't yourn, it most be ourn.

Long explains that possessive pronouns ending in 'n' were 'hern' for 'hers' and 'theirn' for 'theirs', thus:

  • That yeppern [apron] es hern, edden't it?
  • That 'ere pig's ourn.
  • Edden't this 'ere hoe yourn?
  • Don't ye titch they apples, - they be theirn.


  • Cricketer
  • Someone from the mainland.
  • Poultry farmer and/or egg seller.

An Overner is someone who was not born on the Isle of Wight but has come over to live2. There is a myth that need to be clarified. It is not possible for an Overner to become an Islander no matter how long they live on the Island; obviously you cannot change your place of birth. This rumour seems to have come about because of the Channel Island's system. In Jersey non-native residents are either Registered or Licensed Residents, but people who have lived in Jersey for a continuous period of 10 years can join the Jersey-born in becoming Entitled Residents.

The word is in A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886), in which he provides the following conversation;

Had a miserable rough night, you.

Oi, you, 'twas a reglar Luccomber [storm], last night.

I wish it had capsized they there overners, comen across: what do they want over here, tryen to take the bread out o' vokes' mouths?

If ar one on 'em zays ar a word out o'square to me you, I'll zwarm into'n pretty sharp, I can tell'ee.

Oi, you, that's the right way to sar 'em.

Which only goes to show how any community or country contains people afraid of outsiders and react with distrust. Despite the 21st Century being almost 150 years later, the rhetoric's still the same.

Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith's Glossary and Long also both mention 'Overun', which has dropped out of common usage. 'Overun' means both coming from across the water or simply 'over', so A don't look so overun toppun means 'he doesn't look over well'. Long adds that Overners who have come over temporarily for work, such as during harvest, are 'overun fellers', while those who have settled on the Island and are considered respectable are overun people.


  • Outrageous.
  • A raging anger.
  • Outhouse or privy.


  • An oxcart.
  • Welder, someone who uses oxy-acetylene.
  • Meadow used to keep oxen.

Also sometimes called a 'cowlays', although in the West Country a 'cowlay' is a word used to describe an un-mown field.

Click on the picture for the answers!

Map of the Isle of Wight in words.
A - B - C - D - E - F
G - H - I - J - K - L
M - N - O
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09.10.17 Front Page

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1Certainly not unique to the Isle of Wight, but it makes the quiz bigger!2Curiously people who move to Cornwall are similarly called 'Incomers'.

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