Written in Black and Wight: V - Answers

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And now for the answers!



Have you achieved V for Victory?

Quick Fire Round


Did You match the correct words from the meanings listed below?

Isle of Wight

Vall InAgree or arrange to meet up
Vall outDisagree or quarrel
VanMove air around or winnow corn
VetchTo bring
VetterlockPart of a horse's leg
Vire panFire shovel
Vire SpanielDog fond of lying in front of a fire
VleeSmall insect like a flea or fly
VlittersSmall pancakes
VlopTo fall down
VooldSheep enclosure

Main Round

Isle of Wight

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


  • Lack of success.
  • Progress, also wages.
  • Lacy thing sometimes inexplicably worn on front of the face at weddings.

First quoted in A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), in which it is stated that it is short for 'avail', with 'vaails' meaning wages, although The Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988) says that 'vaail' can mean a tip or gratuity. An example of the word in use is provided in A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886)

You don't sim to make much vaail wi'your job, Tom.


  • To work smoothly.
  • Someone who has been done away.
  • Vacant – specifically the type of lock found on toilet cubicle doors that shows red for engaged, green for vacant and thus completely useless for the 10% of men who are red/green colour-blind.

Yep, this word means to work smoothly, with the following a nice smooth progression listing the examples given by the Smiths in 1876, Long in 1886 and Lavers in 1988:

  • This job don't vaay noohow.
  • Things dont sim to vaay noohow to-day, to my mind.
  • Things dooan't zim to vaay noohow, today, you.

Vare Out

  • To be overcharged.
  • To light an emergency flare.
  • To plough the field's first furrow.

This phrase is unique to the Isle of Wight according to The English Dialect Dictionary ed. Joseph Wright (1906). Long gives the example,

I thought I should a vared out as straaight as a line;
but jest avore I got out end, that darned bwoy Hung a gurt clot into hedge, and maade the wold mare sweal round; zo I ended in kind o'raainbow fashion.


  • To clean, particularly cowshed and/or stable.
  • The opposite of kold.
  • The V-Shaped 'Live long and prosper' hand/arm sign.
Get the dung prong, mayet, and let's varm out the steyabul.

Who doesn't love cleaning out the cowshed and stable with their mates, including Long. Especially as you can use everyone's favourite implement, the dung prong. Of course 'varm' can also mean Farm.


  • Hazardous
  • Someone who risks travelling to Ventnor.
  • Frustration felt when a vending machine swallows your coins.

Yes, this means a hazardous and dangerous adventure. The word isn't unique to the Isle of Wight by any means, and Long quotes the following anonymous songs common on the Island at the time, but were well known nationwide:

'Twas down in yonder meadows I carelessly did stray,

Where I beheld a lady fair with some young sailor gay;

Says he, "My lovely Susan, I soon must leave the shore

To cross the briny ocean in a British man o' war."

Then Susan fell to weeping: "Oh sailor," she did say,

"How can you be so venturesome, and throw yourself away?

For when that I am twenty-one I shall receive my store,

Jolly sailor do not venture in a British man o' war.

The second song is about the son of Napoleon being warned by his mother not to ever attack Britain, which had defeated his father:

"Now son, don't speak so venturesome,

England is the heart of oak;

England, Ireland, and Scotland,

Their unity has ne'er been broke.

And son - look at your father,

In St. Helena he lies low,

And you will follow after

If you strive for the bonny bunch of roses O."


  • Space probe launched by the Isle of Wight's Black Knight rocket that, having travelled through a wormhole, has returned to Earth looking for its creator.
  • The purring noise made by a cat trying hard to convey a sense of not enjoying being stroked.
  • Brag, boast and swagger.

The Smiths add it can also mean 'bully'.


  • A vineyard.
  • The end and/or finish line.
  • Mouldy.

Meaning mouldy, but usually applied to cheese. The Smiths add the word deriving from the Anglo Saxon fynig. This word is therefore not unique to the Isle of Wight, although 'vinny' used elsewhere, with Dorset particularly known for its Blue Vinny cheese. Long's example is:

I be terbul fond o'a bit o'blue vinnid cheese.


  • Something used to drive away or kill flies.
  • Woolly sheep skin.
  • Strange running style.


  • To disobey.
  • Something incapable of sinking in water.
  • To speak ill of

Essentially a word meaning to insult. It appears a couple of times in Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight by Percy Goddard Stone (1911). In the 11th verse of 'The Carter's Mate' the Carter's Mate's, not in a quar'lzum mood, encounters a drunkard who is tarmentem t'gels including his maid.

'Time thet thee hiked off hoam' I zaays,

Bein' allus a man vor peace.

Then a vlouted my maade. 'Adone!' I zaays,

An' zmacked 'n i' the veace.


  • A mother.
  • The lead animal in a flock that the others are following.
  • To flutter.


  • Type of Y-shaped capacitor that, when subjected to speeds of 88mph, makes time-travel possible.
  • For a winged animal to fly at and attack someone or something with its wings.
  • To flush a toilet.

Long provides this example,

Don't goo in there; the wold hin's zetten, and she'll vlux ye if ye don't look out.


  • Headstrong, also straightforward.
  • Hair on the forehead that keeps getting in the way of your right eye.
  • The lead horse in a team of four.

A very common word with lots of examples of its use in print, from the basic 'He's a gurt voreright, knownuthen sort o'feller.' Long includes the following use of the word in context:

I zay, you, what's think? I jest met that gurt voreright Moll Young, trayepsen along wi'the mouth on her wide open, like a fraail basket hung up by one handle.

Long also quotes a charming story about smuggling on the Isle of Wight which uses the word.

Aye, they ded use to do a lot o'smugglen about here fifty or sixty year agoo, when I was a bwoy. I've heerd my father zay, one time dree or vower on 'em, wi' tubs and bags of tay, got ver'near took to by the Custom House officers, but they managed to git off the shore and into the churchyard at Niton; but zome o'the officers had slipped round another road, and prid near penned 'em in all zides.

They thought 'twas a gooser wi' 'em, but one on 'em, a terbul voreright feller, called Mussel, zays: 'Come on, mayets, I be darned if I won't be upzides wi'they fellers'. Zoo they prised up the stooan on one o'they gurt high brick tombs there es there, and got inside, tubs and all, and bid quiet. Cooase the officers lost 'em, and couldn't think where the deuce they was gone to, and aater searchen about a bit they went away.

Zoon aaterwards, jest as 'twas gitten daylight, my father was gwyne droo the churchyard to goo to work, when all at once he zees the stooan top o'one o'the tombs begin to move. He stopped short, and stared wi' all the eyes he'd got, when up goos the stooan higher, and a man's faace peeps out at one corner, and zays: 'I zay, mayet, can ye tell me what time 'tes?'

I've heerd father zay hes hear lifted hes hat clane off hes head; a couldn't move, but stood there staren like a stuck pig; but when Mussel axed 'en what time 'twas, he roared out, and run back prid near frightened to death. He run into the vust house a come to, and zays to the people: 'Whatever wull become on us! the dead vokes in the churchyard be gitten out o'their graaves.

He was reglar terrified, and it gid 'en sich a turn he couldn't goo to work that day. Zometime aaterwards he vound out the rights on't, and he and Mussel and t'others had many a laugh about it.

You know me, any excuse to quote a poem and I'll take it, in this case another poem by Stone called 'Mary', about a man mourning the death of his maid. The following is the third verse:

Zweet maade o' mine I loved an' won

—Zure thou wast gentle, I voreright -

Thou zervest now at t' Lamb's white throne

Up theer, above the ztarry height,

Wi' zaints, like thee, in hrobes o' white,

An' know'st what us kennot know

Till Heavenward our zouls tek vlight.

Ah I Mary maade, I loved 'ee zo.

Maxwell Gray1 also uses the word in her novel The Reproach of Annesley (1889)

Mr. Gervase too, as onbelievin' a buoy as ever I zee, and that voreright he couldn't hardly hold hisself together, and a well-spoken young vellow he's growed up.


  • To sell power tools and fixings.
  • Cut underwood
  • Fifth.

Simply cut wood, with an example of the word in context provided by Long.

We must be off down in copse vust thing to-morrow mornen, mayet, vor a looad o'vrith.


  • Noise made by a French lion and/or Vulcan bomber on take-off.
  • Frozen
  • A special V-shaped oar used for rowing against the tide.

The Smiths use the following example:

The pond's vroar aal auver.

Vull Butt

  • Haemorrhoids.
  • To have no more left – to have loosed all your arrows at the target.
  • At full speed, also suddenly.

Another word in common usage, with meanings including 'suddenly' and 'unexpectedly', such as in this context: 'Jest as I turned the corner, I met her vull butt.2' Long also provides a couple of nice stories about bulls and cows getting their own back on humans, so we'll finish this week's issue with both of those as it is only fair considering all the violence Long has written involving humans hurting animals.

I was gwyne athurt one o'varmer Starkes's grounds down at Flatbrooks one time, and I dedn't know the wold bull was there; but a was, and as zoon as a ketched sight o'me a was aater me vull butt. I could run middlen smirt then, but I had a hard matter to git out o'the way on 'en; however, I maade vor a pollard growen in the hedge, and climbed up into'n, and there I had to zet vor a nower or moore, till I was ver'near shrammed. The bull couldn't git at me, and I dedn't dare git down; vor a kept there, belven and tearen up the ground wi'his veet; till bimeby zome o'the chaps come along that had sliet off, and was gwyne hooam to dinner. I zung out to 'em as loud as I could, and two or dree on 'em come over and beared in athurt mister bull with the paddle and a gurt ether, and maade 'en turn taail, or I louz I should had to bid there till next mornen.

Wold varmer Barton went out one sluttish aaternoon to vetch the cows, and drove 'em hooam into the backside, but a forgot to shet the geat aater'n, and goos indoors, and zets down by the vire. The cows and heifers zoon vound the geat was open, and predney out they goos all taail-o'-end, and went blaren vull butt all down the layen agen.

Hes daughter was upstairs tittivaten herself longside the winder, and zid the cows run out, zo she zings out to her mother: 'Mother, where's father? The cows be all got out o' the backside, and gone to the devil, I thinks. Sholl I goo aater 'em?'

'Noa,'zed her mother, 'thee bide quiet, and I'll tell your father to goo, he's got hes spats on.'

Map of the Isle of Wight in words.
A - B - C - D - E - F - G
H - I - J - K - L -
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T
U - V
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18.12.17 Front Page

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1The penname of Mary Gleed Tuttiett (1846-1923), an author from the Isle of Wight's capital, Newport.2WARNING – if You turn a corner and meet a woman vull butt, do not say ' I didn't expect to see you so vull butt' - the woman in question might assume you are saying her bottom looks big.

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