Written in Black and Wight: X Marks the Spot - Answers

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The quiz below combines every single recorded word containing the letter 'X' that has been recorded in either A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) or Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988).

Quick Fire Round: X Marks the Spot

Not every word in the Isle of Wight's dialect was about hitting things, but it is fair to say a reasonable proportion were. Can You match the correct words from the meanings listed below?

Isle of Wight

ExAn axle
MexonDung Heap
MixenDung Heap
Next DayDay after tomorrow1
OxlaysField of oxen
VluxTo be hit with wings
Zide BoxBox used to sow corn

A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) contains numerous examples of the word 'Ax' meaning ask, such as,

  • Here comes wold Bob Haazel, the razzer grinder, you: let's ax'n to grind our cutten knife; a wants sharpen bad enough.
  • I thinks about gwyne to Nippert predney; d'ye want anything? And I was gwyne to ax ye if ye wouldn't mind sarren my pig at dinner-time; I've mixed the vittles up all ready vor'n.

As for 'Wex' meaning 'Wax', Long quotes a little anonymous verse, although how helpful the context is remains to be seen.

Od zooks I've lost my wex,

Whatever es become on't!

'Tes enough to make a man vex,

Here lays a leetle crumb on't.

Main Round

Isle of Wight

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


  • Evil Doctor Beeching's reaction to the Isle of Wight's railway network.
  • Publishing the banns of marriage.
  • Asking a question.

The Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988) has the phrase,

Young Tom's banns was called Zunday last. T'was vust time of axen.

While Long has the similar,

I zay you; Bob Gubbins and Poll Trot was axed in Atherton Church last Zunday.

Devvul's Snuff-Box


  • A mezzanine floor.
  • Someone who wants to build a wall across the border with Mexico.
  • A dunghill.


  • An extraterrestrial and/or someone from the Mainland.
  • Bumping into your ex at an awkward moment, such as at a social event.
  • Extra.

Lavers writes,

You minds you taakes an extry loaf off baker s'mornen.


  • A dry stalk of hemlock or cow-parsley.
  • A number of small barrels.
  • A measurement of kilocycles per second.

Long's useful example of the word in context is,

'Tes as dry as kex, you.

I'm not convinced that it was a lot of help…

Cow-parsley, which is edible, looks very similar to hemlock, which is deadly poisonous, so I'm not entirely convinced that a name that applies to both is particularly helpful when the last thing you want to do and/or will ever do is confuse the two...

Kix or Kixies

  • A kickback or recoil.
  • Fairies said to haunt Bloodstone Copse and the Long Stone.
  • Sloe, the bullace or wild plum.

Nubby Dux

  • A Dandy.
  • A Beano.
  • Waddling ducks.


  • Unasked
  • Uncoupled, no longer attached.
  • A cutting, galeforce onshore wind.


  • Swine
  • Boxing match.
  • Implement that, like a shovel, is used to dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in a quarry the whole day through.


  • Heavy lumps of ground bigger than stones.
  • Pieces next to the Horsies on a chess set.
  • A dry cough.


  • Wrestling.
  • A rocking chair.
  • A rodent, such as rat or red squirrel.


  • Small, square portion of ketchup or brown source given away in cafes that, due to the packaging, is impossible to actually open.
  • A saucy boy.
  • Ballot box.

A word noted in A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), in which they quote Dictionary of Archaic and Proverbial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs and Ancient Customs from the Fourteenth Century by James Orchard Halliwell, 1847. This says, 'In old English we have sauceling'. Long uses a similar expression,

Dooan't you be zo saacy bwoy or I sholl clout yer years.


  • A town cryer.
  • A fox.
  • A vortex or whirlpool in the Solent.

A fox is an animal that isn't native to the Isle of Wight. The Descriptio Britannica (1548) famously described the Isle of Wight as having 'no hooded priests, no lawyers, no wolves and no foxes' and the first fox on the Island, a vicar's pet, escaped captivity and was hunted for 15 miles in 1830. Although the local name for them was 'Reynard', Percy Goddard Stone in his Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight uses 'vox' throughout instead. He appears incredibly fond of foxes, writing the 28-verse poem 'How They Ran The First Fox In The Wight' and the 30-verse sequel, 'How They Introduced Foxes To Wight'. Here is verse eight of the latter.

Us hadn't no voxes i' Wight

In them days but old Squire's zon -

A thoroughbred bit of all bright -

Thowt a'd jest interjooce 'em, vor vun.


  • Six.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Trouser zip.

Six was pronounced 'zix', with the usual implications for related words such as 'sixty' becoming 'zixty' etc. So Long uses the expression,

Dedn't they there teetotallers hay a blow out yesterday; I heerd my wold dooman zay she drinked zixteen cups o'tay.

While my grandfather used to recite the following poem he had learned as a skipping rhyme in his school in Shanklin to me, but is very similar to the Doctor's entrance speech in the Christmas Bwoys play, that Long contains in his dictionary.

'Ere be I - little Doctor Good,

And in my hands lays that man's blood.

If he'd ben dead zix weeks or moore,

To him his life I could restore.

I've got a little bottle in my waistcoat pocket

Called Hokum, Smokum, Alecumpane;

If I jest putts a little drop on this man's cheek,

He'll rise and boldly fight againy.

But before I go I shall quote The Hampshire Independent as quoted in A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876), which is about a girl stealing a purse containing half a crown.

Saturday, October 26, 1844.

Sarah Header (17) was charged with stealing half-a-crown from the widow Tullage, a garrulous old daine o'er whose brows the snows of nearly eighty winters had passed. The manner of her giving her evidence created no little amusement in the Court.

'That ere gal,' said she, 'cum into my house a vortnight gorn by, an axed me if I wanted a cap. I zed I didn't as I kuow'd on. She axed zixpence for un; then vourpence. I took dreepence out o' th' zugar pot a' top o' the dresser, where zhe zet, and gid her vor un. There was a pus in the pot wi' a half-crown in un. She had un thirty years; and she could recollect the giver; and the pus had sliding rings, and a hole in the middle to put the money in. I took out the pus, and zhe zid un; and then I gid her a apple to make ur a pudden, and I put the pus in the pot agen, and when zhe was gone the pus was gone. I never zid ur take un, cause I turned my back to ur, and zhe hadn't got eyes in un; but I heer'd suinmat rattle, and there was ne'er a child there, nor nobody else wasn't there; no, nobody, neither chick nor child. I wexed werry much about un; but I never zid the pus agen. A thief and a liar be two o' the wost things in the wordle. Zhe dedn't lave me a hapenny to help myself, and I be zebnty-zebn, and ben a slave all my lite.'

The old woman was again placed at the bar, and being desired to look at the prisoner again, she exclaimed, 'No, no, I never wants to zee her veace agen. I ded zay I thought zhe waan't zoo tall; but zhe had un. My zight edn't very good, but that be zhe;' and turning round she exclaimed to the prisoner with great vehemence of manner, 'Ye huzzy, what do 'e think ull become o' ee? The devil 'ull have 'ee as zure as thee beest alive. Thee ought to ha' thee vlesh flogged from thee boanes, to zarve a poor ould woman zo.'

The Smiths on reviewing the newspaper report strongly objected to the use of the word 'werry'.

There was some pretty genuine Isle of Wight dialect,
with one or two exceptions, where they make her say 'werry' instead of 'very'. This she never pronounced in that way 'I'll be bound vor't.' Who ever heard an Isle of Wight person talk like that ? Noobody upon the feyace of the yeath I know! They can pronounce the V well enough in the Island; and of all other letters in the alphabet they use it the most frequently, and almost invariably instead of the F; more particularly when that letter is the leading consonant. For instance, they would not say, 'The
first frost froze the floor', but 'the vust vrost vroze the vloor' therefore it is not likely wold Zeary called very 'werry'.

Still, the newspaper report shows fine examples of 'ax' and 'wex' as well as 'zix', which ties the issue together nicely.

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 - X
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