Written in Black and Wight: Q - Answers

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As you have minded your Ps and Qs1, I'll give you the answers to this week's Isle of Wight's dialect quiz.


This week is the letter Q.

Cure Me Quick!

Here are the correct diagnoses for these ailments

Isle of Wight

QuammishFeeling sick - especially seasick
QualmsDeath throes
Queal InGo to bed
QueerTo be sick and ill-tempered
QuerkGrunt or sigh
QuinzerSore throat
QuoddleDry, shrivel up, be limp or flabby
QuopThrob with pain

I'll list some examples of the words above, provided by A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) unless stated:

Quammish, quoted from Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers (1988)
Ben's a bit quaamish s'mornen, mayet.
Queer and Queal In:
Wold Joe Morris used to live at Chillerton one time. He and his wife Nanny was a queer wold couple, about the rummest vokes that ever I heerd tell on. One night in the zummer, aater they'd boath quealed in, it come on to thunder and lighten terbul heavy, and woke up wold Nanny, who was prid near frightened out of her wits; zo she rouses wold Joe up, and zays too'n, 'Joe, do let's git up! vor I raaly thinks 'tes the end o'the wordle, or the day o'judgment, come.'

'Bide quiet,'zays Joe, 'and let a feller sleep, can't ye, ye zoat wold fool; d'ye think the day o'judgment es comen in the night?'
Hollo, Sam! How bist gitten on now?

Well, I be better than I was, thinkee; but I have ben terbul queer vor the last day or two, vor I don't veel over toppen, and kindy queer in my innerds, I can tell'ee. I yet zome apple pudden at dinnertime, and then I went down to wold Beagle's, and was fool enough to git a pint or two of his rot gut into me, and 'tes sarren me out cruel. I shan't doo't agen, I'll warnt it.
He goos about house querken like a wold zow.

How to Make A Caulkhead's Quilt

Invisible Man wearing shades

At the end of October when autumn starts hinting that winter is getting closer, quilts are very handy. And on the Isle of Wight, the word Quilt is even handier, having numerous meanings. But which of the following meanings is false?

  1. To be frightened and shaking.
  2. To subdue someone else.
  3. To beat and/or thrash.
  4. A pen made from a feather.
  5. A ball covered with twine
  6. Exhuasted
  7. Unfit for work.

In A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), they use the following definition as an example for number 3,

I'll quilt thee purty tightish vor that2.

While Lavers instead provides these example for two and three,

They putt'n into a straight jacket and that soon quilted en.

I'll gee that bwoy a middlen quilten when I comes across 'en, for pinnen my plums.

The English Dialect Dictionary as edited by Joseph Wright (1906) adds that definitions five, six and seven are unique to the Isle of Wight.

Main Round

There are three possible answers listed for each word below, but only one is correct. Can You guess which is right?

Isle of Wight


  • Quart of ale.
  • To quake; also a quail.
  • To qualify for a task.


  • Country invaded by Iraq.
  • Quoits, a throwing game.
  • Something that is very heavy.

Long provides the example,

He edden't a bad hand at quaaits: I be middlen, myself; but I can't come 'long side o'he.


  • Dried bread often eaten with cheese.
  • A duck.
  • Christmas decoration containing a silly hat.


  • Deciding whether to stay home or attempt to go to work when it snows.
  • Birth control.
  • A polite speech or gesture.


  • A red squirrel.
  • A windowpane.
  • Coral, as located at Sandown Bay's tropical reef.

Also spelt Quarl and Quarrell, a quarrel is a usually diamond-shaped window pane. Long adds he believes this is from the French quarré, an archaic word meaning square, adding a quote from 16th Century writer and critic George Puttenham.

The lozenge is a most beautiful figure, and fit for this purpose, being in his kind a quadrangle reverst, with his point upward like to a quarrell of glass.

- The Arte of English Poesie (1589)


Also Quile and Queal.

  • Curl up like a snake, to coil.
  • Noise a pig makes.
  • A distorted wheel with out of true spokes.

Not a squeal, but to curl up like a snake. Long gives us this snake charming story:

Last zummer, you, I was at work in varmer Morris's vuz-brake cutten a vew faggots, when all of a sudden a adder pops up and queals round my lig. I had my liggens on, zoo I jest slips my hook down and cuts my nabs3 in two, and went on work. Bimeby I could hear zomethin keep on cheep, cheep, like a young bird, zoo I stops a minute and went to zee what 'twas. I'm darned if that adder I cut in two wudden't there alive, and there was two moore come to look aater'n, and 'twas they that was maken the kind o'chirpen I heerd. I thought to myself I must putt a stop to these antics, zoo I zet to work and settled the hash o'the lot.


  • Thorny hedge.
  • A rustic dance.
  • Sauce made from garlic and watercress.

Nice and easy one, as Quickset is often used to mean hedge.


  • To make a fuss over irrelevancies.
  • Dangerous game played with broomsticks.
  • A violin.

Although Long gives the example He ben quiddlen about, doen nothen, all day, I'll quote a poem from Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight by Percy Goddard Stone (1911). In 'The Carter's Mate' the mate of the title is describing the maade he loves.

Quiddle an' znigger ? Her warn't thet zort

But I taake it kind,' zaays she.

I ken zee her perched on t' overrods

Laike t' Jenny Wren her be.


  • The Queen, and/or a good wife.
  • A mighty Eskimo who comes without and comes within that you won't see nothing like.
  • A coin.

Yes, a coin, although 'Queen' was also used to mean a good wife.

Queer as Dick's Hatband

  • To be in a melancholy and moody mood.
  • To be a dedicated follower of fashion.
  • To get a head start at a task.

A strange expression, but not unique to the Isle of Wight. Long provides the example,

I went over to Dogshaant last Monday, to zee varmer Morey about the keep vor the heifers; but zummet or nother had putt'n out. I could do nothen wi''en; he hardly spoke a dozen words to me, and was as queer as Dick's hatband.

I wonder if it was the notorious Michael Morey, the last man to be hung on the Isle of Wight? If so they were lucky to get out of there alive4!


  • A boggy, marshy area and/or quicksand.
  • Corn on the cob.
  • The minimum number of angry people needed to be present to be officially considered a mob rather than a gathering.


  • The raven Nevermore.
  • To repeat what someone said.
  • To sit down, especially to squat.

Although Smith and Smith spell it 'Quat', Long and Lavers give us this example.

I quot down under hedge, and he went by rish to leather and never zid me.

I wonder if that was a quickzet hedge?

Map of the Isle of Wight in words.
A - B - C - D - E - F
G - H - I - J - K - L
M - N - O - P - Q
A reader of the h2g2 Post
The Bluebottle Archive


30.10.17 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Not to be confused with P&Os, which are ships.2I'll beat you severely for doing that.3Elsewhere in the dictionary My nabs is defined as 'A kind of expletive used in conversation, almost untranslatable; a
certain person, you, he, himself.' In other words, 'my nabs' is the snake, not a body part.
4For more information, see H for Hang-gallus.

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