Written in Black and Wight: T

1 Conversation

Have you got a nice cup of T? If so, sit back, relax and enjoy the answers.

Quick Fire Round: Sizing Things Up


Did You match the correct words regarding size, shapes and other measures from those listed below?

Isle of Wight

TarnelGreat or very much
TerbulVery, extremely
Three Parts GoneDrunk
Tiddy / TittyVery small
TidyVery big
To-RightsExact, Perfect Size
TostikeyatedDrunk. Also spelt 'Tossicated'
ToteThe Whole
TubKeg containing four gallons of spirit

Usage in Context

Taffety: Dainty, especially regarding food.

Maxwell Gray, the penname of Newport author Mary Gleed Tuttiett (1846-1923), used 'Taffety' in In the Heart of the Storm (1891) thus:

"I suppose you can eat cold pie, Jessie?" she added, taking the head of the now covered table with melancholy resignation, "taffety as you've been bred ; for what we're going to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful. 'Twould have been hotted up if I'd had a husband a respectable woman might look to, her with money of her own and a family looked up to.

Long uses the example,

That maade o'mine es terbul taffetty: we can hardly git her to yet anything at all.

Tarnel: Great or very. Long uses these examples:

There's a tarnel gurt heap on't; a good deal moore than a waggon looad.

I zay varmer, d'ye think we be gwyne to hay another 'lection avore the year's out? I'm sure I can't zay; I hears a tarnel deal o' talk about politics and 'lections, but I don't zwalley it all, and 'twull make very little difference to any on us here, let it be how 'twull.

Tasty: Expensive

I was gwyne to get zome taters in Nippert but I zees they was pretty tasty so I got zome off Varmer

- Lavers

Teeren: Moving fast. Also spelt 'Teerun' by the Smiths.

Hollo Bet! where bist thee teeren to?

I be in sich a hurry, I can't stop to tell ye; there and back agen, like a man-o'-war's cruise.

- Long

Terbul: Very, extremely. An extremely common word, with Long providing numerous examples, including:

  • I was terbul bad all last week, you; I dedn't yet zix- pennorth o'vittles all the time.
  • He's terbul fond of a bit o'minty cheese and a drop o'strong beer.
  • I don't like that cider, you; it leaves a terbul nasty tang in yer mouth aater ye got it down.

Tew: Week

Percy Stone wrote in his introduction to his Lays and Legends,

Again, what better describes the appearance of a sickly child… than the adjective 'tewly'

While Long uses the example:

That bwoy sims terbul tew vor hes age.

Thumpen: Great

He's a thumpun buoy.

- The Smiths

Tiddy / Titty: Very small

I zay, there's a little titty cat.

- Long

Stone also uses the word more than once in his Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight, including:

Now thet I've zung my titty zong

I'm zure you'll all agree

Thet this yer wold grey hen o' mine's

The best you'rn laike to zee.

Tidy: Very big

My wold dooman's ben and walked to Nippert you, and brought a tidy nitch [burden] hooam wi' her; and now aater she's ben batteren about wi'the young ones vor an hour or two, darned if she don't sim prid near twickered out.

- Long

When Judkins proposes to Alma in The Silence of Dean Maitland (1886) by Maxwell Gray, part of his rather long proposal includes:

I've a tidy bit of money put by, and my sister, she writes every year, and recommends me to come out West; and there's no tie to keep me here, and you've only to say the word, and we'd have the banns up next Sunday

While in her The Reproach of Annesley (1889) the word is twice used regarding the number of people who have been buried…

"I reckon you've put a tidy lot under the ground. Master Squire", said the gardener, after a pause.

"I hreckon Davis hev buried a tidy lot," urged the shepherd in a controversial tone. "Come to that, he and his vather avore un have helped so many under ground as Annesley and his vather put together."

To-Rights: Exact, Perfect Size. Long uses these examples,

Taailor Smith maade me a new pair o'trousers last week, and they fits to-rights, and no mistake about it.

Wold Joe Cooke was in the Barleymow, you, Zadderday night, and stripped off to fight a gipsy feller there; but the gipsy tackled 'en to-rights, and gid 'en sich a liammcren as a never had avore in his life.

Treyard, also Treyad: Useless, rubbish. Also weeds. Long uses the examples,

That 'ere ground is vull o'treyad.

Thee'st make thee-self bad, yetten sich a lot o'wold treyad.

Turn: Double. Long explains with the words,

A double of anything, as a turn of water is two buckets full; a turn at plough is a furrow from one end of the field to the other and back again.

Main Round

Isle of Wight

Did You guess which is right?



  • Sticky food eaten on Tuesdays.
  • Someone who is tactful.
  • Food and drink

An Islander loves his food and drink. A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) gives us a couple of examples, thus:

This tackle is about proper, mayet.

D'ye call this treyad beer, you?

Well, et goos vor't, mayet; but 'tes darned rum tackle to my mind.

The following passage from Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988) agrees:

They brought out a drop o'beer vor us to try but 'twas zum middlen tackle I can tell 'ee.

Tape Taker

  • Mole Catcher
  • Someone who embroiders cross stitch or tapestry.
  • Pig farmer who looks after small pigs with long, flexible snouts.

Moles were also called 'Want'.

Tee Hole

  • A tea room or café.
  • Golf course.
  • Entrance to bee hive.

Here is an example from Long,

I putt my ferrets into the wheeat rick, and in vive minutes the rats zwarmed out like bees out of a tee hole.

Tember Britches

  • Coffin
  • Thick leather dungarees, worn with the smock vrock.
  • Crutches and/or wooden leg.

Literally meaning wooden clothes, Long quotes this charming story,

An old man, who considered he suffered much from the unruly temper and tongue of his wife, in an interval of one of her upbraidings would remark: "Ah Sally, I sholl be happy one o these days, when I zees thee gwyne up over the hill in thy tember britches"

Thirt Auver / Thirtover

  • Cross, ill-tempered.
  • Quenching your thirst.
  • The unlucky number that is one more than twelve that will bring bad luck if mentioned until salt is thrown over your shoulder.

The Smiths spell it 'Thirtauver', Long 'thirtover' and Lavers 'thirt auver'. However they all agree over its meaning, with Long giving the example:

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 relieven 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.

While Lavers uses the simpler,

He's as thirt auver as a mule; there's noo dooen nothen wi' 'en.

Thizzle spitter

  • Damp, wet weather.
  • Tool to uproot thistles
  • Small dish for inedible bits of gristle to be put in.

Curiously the Smiths spell it 'thizzel' while Lavers 'Thizzle'.


  • To thread a needle.
  • Donkey-powered treadmill, such as at Carisbrooke Castle's well.
  • Tracks made by a cart or pony trap.


  • Adult who sucks their thumb.
  • Sportsman or Courser.
  • Thatcher.

This word, recorded as being unique to the Isle of Wight by The Encyclopedia of Isle of Wight Words, Placenames, Legends, Books and Authors by Edward Turner (1900), does not appear to have remained in common usage across the Island even in mid-Victorian times. While it is used in A Dream of the Isle of Wight by Mrs Mary Moncrieff (1863), A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), it has a caveat. They write, 'I give that of 'Thuckster' entirely from Mrs. Moncrieff's poem. I cannot find that it is now used or even known.' Moncrieff had written

Out thence the fleet comer never will go,

But wait, in snug covert, the thuckster's "So, ho!"


  • Thumb-sized thimble.
  • To thrash, punch or thump, especially a poor, defenceless animal.
  • Small bit of meat eaten on bread.

This got its name from the thumb being placed on top of the meat to hold it on the bread. Long writes,

Momen, sir. I got a little bit of a passel here vor ye; a newspaper or zummet, I louz 'tes; but I dunno where 'tes the right one.

Thank you. Go in and tell missus to give you some brencheese and beer, and I'll look at the parcel while you are having it.

Thankee sir. I'll hay the beer, but I don't keer vor noo brencheese; I beant much of a trencherman this mornen, vor I had a good thumbit avore I started.

But this paper is not for me; can't you read?

Rade, sir! I onny wish I could; I never had noo schoolen; I can't tell a gurt a vrom a bull's voot; zometimes I takes up a paaper vor a minute or two, but I can't tell where I got'n upsidown or no, 'cepten there's a hoss in 'en, and then if the hoss's ligs be uppards I thinks he ben an rolled over; but if I zees a house there wi' the chimley downards, then I knows I be hoi den the paaper upsidown.

Tip Out

  • To pour.
  • Money given to the maids working in a tea-room.
  • A compost heap.

Long gives the example,

Gee us the puncheon, mayet, and let's tip out a drap o'beer.

While Lavers uses the similar,

Tip us out a draap o'beer, mayet.

Have you noticed that for both of them, it is always beer?


  • A Russian horseman.
  • Seasickness.
  • Cough.

Both Long and Lavers quote an old, anonymous song,

Strong beer cures the gout, the colic, and the tissick,

And it is for all men the very best of physick.


  • Tollerably
  • Charge for passing a turnpike tollgate.
  • To ring a bell or make another loud noise.

Long provides this example, which does not involve beer or animals:

Well George, how dost sim to beat up?

Oh, toll-loll you; how bist thee?

Well, I han't ben over toppen vor a week or two, but there edden't much the
matter it.


  • Someone who lives in a town
  • Someone who finds water using a forked stick.
  • A tall tower.


  • Someone selling drapes and curtains.
  • To walk while slouching to no purpose.
  • Someone who traps animals, especially a poacher.

The Smiths write:

Zee how she goos treyapsun along.

While Long provides the following example in which the heifers have managed to escape from the meadow. After all the animal cruelty we've seen in this quiz series, who can blame them? Run, cows, run! Be Free!

My heifers be got out o'the meead, and I ben treyapsen all round the roads vor miles, but I can't zee nothen on 'em.


  • What there may be ahead, but while there's music and moonlight and love and romance, let's face the music and dance.
  • To trundle or roll.
  • Time of a woman's travail (labour).


  • A turnip
  • A termite.
  • Term end.

Now we're getting onto a serious subject, turnips. It is very important to remember not to covet another man's turnips. Long recalls 'The following original notice was painted on a board, and fixed in a field of turnips, by an eccentric farmer in the West of the Island, about forty years ago. A footpath ran through the field'.

Take notice

All you people that passes by,

Take a turmet if you be dry,

And if one won't do

You may take two;

But if you takes three,

I'll take thee,

And into prison thee shalt be.

Turnip theft is a serious business, as Long also provides this example,

If I tells meyaster I vound ye pinnen hes turmet greens, he'll plaay wold gooseberry wi'ye.1

Of course it isn't just people trying to get their hands on those gorgeous turnips. Cats too adore their tasty flavour, and unfortunately a cat trying to steal a turnip resulted in animal cruelty and violence.

I zay mayet, talk about cats, I got zummet like one now, a hurdle shell one, you. I war'nt she es a good one: she'll ketch birds and yaller hammers; but the wust on her es, I vound her up top o'taable in the dish o'pork and turmet greens left there overnight, when I come down stairs in the mornen. I up wi'my skitter boot and let drave at her, and het her sich a clink by the zide o'the head, and knocked her down as dead as a rat; she onny went kick, kick, a vew times, and never moved a wag aaterwards; but when I come hooam at night, there she was, zetten avore the vire as if nothen was the matter we her.

Obviously it was definitely the turnips the tortoiseshell cat was after, not the pork. The Smiths, as is their way, use a slightly different spelling of 'Turmut'.


  • A tutor, also a lesson.
  • Bunch of flowers.
  • Totty.

A nosegay or bunch of flowers. Long quotes a line from Caltha Poetarum: Or The Bumble Bee by T. Cutvvode (1559):

And Primula, she takes the tutty there

And sticks it on her yealow golden hayre.

The first verse of poem 'Newtown Randy' in Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight by Percy Goddard Stone (1911) provides this example,

I bunched a tutty, big ez a plate,

An' garbed me up a dandy o,

To meet my maade by her mammy's gate

An' away to Newtown Randy o.

The poem above is about a man taking his maade to the fair, while the one below, entitled 'My Maid' is about another man in love with another maade.

The maade I luv be Island barn

—Zame ez I do be—

Med zearch t' Wight vrom end to end

To vind t' laike o' zhe.

I plucked a tutty t' other day

Vrom off our vlower knot:

Chinay asters, marygolds,

An' more I've clean vorgot

An' when twuz bunched I tied en hround

Wi' zpire vrom off t' mesh

An' waited auverright t' ztile

Down by t' barley esh.

But when her come all I cud mind

Wuz, 'Marnin' you —Vine day '—

Zure them wuz not t' tharts I hed,

Nor what I meant to zaay.

Perhaps he would have been better off taking her some turnips, eh?


  • Nonsense.
  • It was not.
  • The night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was flying, not even a rattlemouse.

Lavers uses the following example for someone lost in West Wight trying to get to Shalfleet. It can get scary over there...

I knowed twaddent proper waay to get to Shaffflet.


  • Whistle.
  • Armful of firewood.
  • A jerky movement or short, sharp spasm of pain.

Just twiddle while you work. I wonder whether Long was twiddlen when he wrote down the following examples?

I heerd the robins twiddlen in copse and that's a sign of rain.

The wold dooman zets in the corner o'the winder, twiddlen about wi'her knitten all day long.


  • Taut twine and tin can-based social media network.
  • Miscellaneous messages randomly issued by an authority figure.
  • Nervous Excitement, also to tremble and be agitated.

While the Smiths provide the example I'm all of a twitter, Long wrote instead

It upset me zoo, I be all of a twitter.

In Stone's poem 'Summer', the third verse features trembling chicks. Zote means 'scared out of their minds'.

Above, the zwallows dart an' turn;

In copse t' megpies chitter

Whiles nigh theer nest uv bent an' vem

T' game-chicks cheep an' twitter.

They'm vairly zote

Ez mother ztoat

Zteals by to zeek her litter.
Map of the Isle of Wight in words.

In conclusion this week we have learnt that we all will have times in which we are tempted by turnips and other forbidden fruit. It is vital that we stray strong and resist, no matter how enticing the turnips might be – even if, as in Blackadder's case, they are shaped like a thingy.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G
H - I - J - K - L -
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T
A reader of the h2g2 Post
The Bluebottle Archive


27.11.17 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1If I tell master I found you stealing his turnip greens, he will make things very uncomfortable for you.

Bookmark on your Personal Space



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written by



h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more