Written in Black and Wight: W - Answers

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And now for the answers!

The Wicked Wicker Man's Quick Fire Round

Isle of Wight

WagWalk or move
WaitheWeek, exhausted
WarmTo thrash
WhackShare or portion
WhipcropTree (Viburnum lantana)
WhopHeavy blow
WhupCommand for horse to stop
WollupTo beat
WootWill you?
WurretTease and fret.
WustedWorst of it

Examples of the words used in context include:

Wag – to Walk:

  • The pigs got out o'the ground into the road, and went all up to Blackdown. I've had a middlen jaant aater 'em: I can hardly wag.

    - A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886)
  • 'I'll work wi' my broad axe, as long as I can wag,

    And all the money I can git, I'll putt it in the bag,

    - Song 'The Little Cappender', anonymous

Warm - to thrash:

  • I'll warm thy jacket vor thee.

    - A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876)
  • I'll gee thee a good warmen when I ketches thee.

    - WH Long (1886)

Whack - to Share or portion:

  • He looked out to see he got his wack.

    - Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988)

Wherret - to Thump:

  • Smiths: 'I'll ghee thee a wherret in the chops.'

Whistersniff - to Slap

  • Long: The wold dooman gid me sich a whistersniff in the chops.

Whop - a Heavy blow

  • Long: ''Tes miserable slippery this momen: I hadn't got out doors half a minute, avore down I come wi' sich a whop, right on my zide, I thought I had broke my yarm.'

Whup - Command for horse to stop

  • Long: 'Hoot, touch up Pedlar! Knock down Captain! Joit off Drummer! Whup! whup! whup!'

Long also uses 'whup' in the fifth verse of anonymous song 'Zed Jan to Joan', in which John asks Joan to marry him:

I hopes I sholl git your consent,

But I be noo hand at compliment,

I be moore at hooam in the ground at plough,

When I hollers - whup! and whoa! gee whoa!

Then tell me Joan if this wull do,

Vor I can't come every day to woo.

Woot - Will you? Also, Wooten't means 'Will you not?', with the Smiths also using Woodst.

Wrossel - to Wrestle, although the Smiths spell it 'Wrostle'.

Wurret - to fret and tease

  • Long: She wurrets herself about it terbul.
  • Long: How they vlees do wurret the dog, to be sure!

Wusted - Worst of it

  • Smiths: He had a fight, and got wusted.

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?


  • A small fight.
  • To be certain.
  • A walnut.

The Smiths use 'warndy', saying 'I'll warndy' to mean 'I'll warrant you' and Stone spells it without the apostrophe, but 'warn't' is how it is spelt by both Long and Lavers. Lavers gives the example, I hreckons 'twas a fune out out, I warn't it, you. However Long frequently uses the word in his dictionary, including,

Noa, Harry,' a zed, ' I han't got much fat to lose jest now, but I be gwyne to live at Varmer Bull's, in house, at Middlemas, and there's plenty of good fat pork and hard pudden, and sich things there; and Lord zend! won't I yet and scoggil! I won't vill myself up wi' callards, I warn't it.

Stone uses the word in the seventh verse of his poem 'A Christmas Party'.

Then Jem tooned oop. Us kleer'd t' vloor

An' vooted it two hours or more.

Gad! Ligs did wurk an' dust did vly.

An' all our droats got ter'ble dry;

Till, vair wore out, Jem's ztring did bust—

I lows a'd coom to 'bust a must'—

'I'll tek it on,' Jan Venner zayd —

Es, he thet's zweet on Zibbick's maade

Vrom Alverstone —I warnt a plaay'd

The concertina proper.

—To zee t' laike you var med go—

At vigger dancen Natty Loe

Wor proper zpry; at heel an' toe

Jan Zibley wor a topper.

Incidentally, walnuts were spelt 'warnuts'.


  • A storm with both heavy rain and strong wind.
  • Double rainbow.
  • Weak, heavily-watered ale.

Spelt 'Water-gheeal' by the Smiths.


  • Feet wet through, having water inside your shoes.
  • To spy on someone.
  • Doctor What's blue shed that can travel through time and space.

Long uses the example, 'Be got ar bit watshed, you, gwyne athirt the brook?' and also quotes Piers Plowman (c 1370), 'For weet-shoed thei gone.'


  • Prosperous, having lots of money.
  • Childbirth.
  • Having a leaking well or waterpipe.


  • Implement used to castrate rams.
  • Sophisticated string used for meteorological forecasting; when it is wet it is raining, when dry it isn't and when moving a lot, it is windy.
  • Get the better of someone.

The Smiths spell it slightly differently, using 'I got the wethergaaige un' to mean 'I got the better of him'.


  • A horse's neigh
  • Giant statue of a man used to burn alive nosy mainlanders.
  • Candlestickmaker's assistant

Percy Goddard Stone uses this word in his poem in the 34th verse of 'Sir Tristram's Weird', collected in Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight (1911). 'Sir Tristram's Weird' is based on the story of Sir Tristram Dillington of Knighton Gorges, who is said to have committed suicide in 1721, unable to live following the death of his wife. His loyal steward is believed to have moved his body to make his death look like an accident, placing it on his horse, which he drove into Knighton pond, allowing the body to fall off and a official verdict of 'accidentally drowned in the dark'. By this means, Sir Tristram's death avoided the escheat1 and stigma of suicide, he was allowed to be buried in the church and his son was allowed to inherit his property. The steward was rewarded with his own farm near Brading.

In vain he sought till dawn of day

Some trace of him to find;

Then heard Red Sorrel's whickering neigh

Borne down upon the wind.

Knighton Gorges, reputed to be the most haunted place in Britain and long considered the most beautiful house on the Isle of Wight, was demolished by the scandalous Maurice George Bisset in order to prevent it from falling into the right hands after his daughter announced she wished to marry an honest clergyman.


  • Goad for hitting pigs.
  • Often.
  • Workplace collection, such as when someone retires.

Meaning often and frequently. Long spreads rumours and gossip by saying,

I dunno what there med be between 'em, but he's there every whipswhile.


  • Flatulence.
  • Deceitful.
  • Someone who has drunk too much wine.

Long continues his gossip spreading, saying,

He's too windy by half, and he's sure to shirk out on't zomehow or nother.


  • Extreme flatulence.
  • A windbreak.
  • Good luck.

Obviously 'windfall' with a 'v' instead of an 'f'.

Winter Kecksies

  • Thermal underwear
  • Slipping on ice.
  • Blackthorn bush.

The Blackthorn bush was grown for its sloes, with Stone using 'Kecksy' in the sixth verse of his poem 'Newport Randy'

I treated us both to the 'What is it'

—An' a drop o' Kecksy brandy o—

'Tired, my maade?'

'Me! Not a bit,

I'm jest enjoyin' t' Randy o.'


  • Bedridden.
  • Daydream.
  • Willow plantation.

A withy is a willow and a withybed is a plantation of withies, with willow used in thatching and basket making. As willow trees are picturesque, especially found next to rivers, it is unsurprising that the word has often been used in Isle of Wight poetry, such as A Dream of the Isle of Wight by Mrs Mary Moncrieff (1863):

From the dwyes of the withybed brook where they dived,

For a feast on the long earth-bread eaces arrived

And of course Stone frequently uses the word in his poems, including 'How They Introduced Foxes To Wight'

Ay, gad that day didn't us hride !—

At the brook there wuz many a zpill—

Into withy-bed, out t'other zide.

Then a quick turn thro' Moor to Godshill.

But perhaps the most amusing anecdote can be one quoted by Long:

When I was a youngish chap I was at work in a withybed t'other zide o' Aaton out at Freshwater, rather aearly in the mornen, and I zid a wold man lerruppen along the road, and every now and ten stoppen and glaren all round as if a couldn't make out wore a was got to. Predney a come up auverright me, and makes a stop, and a zays, 'Hollo mayet, what plaace do ye call this?' I thought a was about half sprung, zo I zed too'n, 'This plaace is a withybed, as ver as I knows.'

'My eyes,' zays the wold feller, 'I can't maake noo fist on't at all, that's the saame neyam as they calls it on the Isle o' Wight.' Hearen this, maade me open my eyes pretty wide vor a minute. 'Well, drat thee, 'I zays too'n, 'Where dost think thee bist then?'

'Where I be,' a zed, 'why this es France, edden't it?' 'Why, ye zoatwold man,' I
zays, 'thee bist out on't all together, this is Freshwater.'

'If this edden't the head goo of all I ever zid in my life,' zays the wold feller, 'if there edden't a plaace called the saame on the Island, and 'tes jest sich a plaace as this es.'

…I was talken about the wold fool a vew days aaterwards, and I heerd a was wold Manny Young, a kind o' feller that used to do anything, and led about in lotes and barns where a could, all over the Island. The night avore I zid 'en, he'd ben helpen to land zome tubs at Totland Bay, and got too much liquor into'n, and slept in a booat on the shore aater they'd clewed up, till mornen. When a turned out at daylight, zome on' em toold 'en they'd shoved off and got back agen in the night while he was asleep, and was jest now landed in France. The wold man zed he was never there avore, and he should like above everything now a was there to hay a bit of a walk round jest to zee the country. Zoo a swotcheld off on the road to Freshwater, and avore a got vur, he thought he'd zid a plaace terbul much like it zomewhere; zoo a axed
everybody a met (and 'twudden't many at that time o' the mornen) where a was; but mooast on 'em onny laughed at 'en, so the vurder a went the more a got hoped up over it; but aater a left me and got on ver near to Wellow, a vound out the rights on't, and that a was on the Island aater all.


  • Rickety.
  • Someone with a loose tooth (usually a child)
  • Someone who spills food or drink down them when trying to consume it.

A word unique to the Isle of Wight, meaning the same as 'wobble'.

Wold England

  • English sheep farms and local wool.
  • The mainland.
  • The countryside, also your place of birth.

The following quote has to be one of my favourites from Long:

Wold Joe Tucker went to Lunnon to zee the Gurt Exhibition, and a was gone above a week. When a come back here, we axed 'en how a liked it, and a zed: 'Well, it med be all very well vor people that's used to't, but gimme wold England - that's the plaace that suits me best.'


  • A wasp.
  • Exclamation of a mistake.
  • Small woodland and/or woodland of small trees.

A wopse is a wasp, with wopses the plural, although the Smiths spell it 'wops'. Long's example is,

Come on chaps, let's goo and zwarm this wopses' nest.


  • A poem.
  • The world.
  • Small fence or hurdle.

Yes, the whole wide world. Long uses the example 'I couldn't do sich a thing vor the wordle' under 'wordle', but elsewhere in his dictionary is this charming story.

Wold Joe Morris, what 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?'


  • All wrapped up.
  • Hung on the gallows.
  • Creased

The use of wropped and wroppy to mean creased and rumpled is unique to the Isle of Wight according to The English Dialect Dictionary ed. Joseph Wright (1906). Long provides the example,

My shirt front es all wropped up like a dish clout.


  • Illigitimate child.
  • A bee or wasp that has inconveniently landed on your food or drink.
  • Flower no longer in bloom.

A term of reproach shouted at young boys, with the Smiths spelling it 'Wosbud' and 'Whusbird', stating they believe the word derives from 'whore's bird'. Long's example is,

Come out o' that, ye young wuzbud, or I'll git a stick and prid near cut ye in two.

While Stone uses the word in a verse of his moving poem, 'Foresaken',

An' this thet's vlutteren' i' my breast,

—The fruit of love vorsaken —

A 'wuzbud' caal'd in crool jest,

A's muther's zhaame oop-raaken.

Ah! cruel woe!

'Twere better zo

Thet both on us be taaken.

Look out next week for our X-rated issue!

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 - W
A reader of the h2g2 Post
The Bluebottle Archive


22.01.18 Front Page

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1The transfer of property to the state in cases where the deceased died without an heir or committed a felony. As suicide was illegal, successfully committing suicide was a crime that could be punished by disinheriting the relatives.

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