Written in Black and Wight: Y - Answers

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And now for the answers to the quiz that's less Why, Why, Why Delilah and more Y, Y, Y Dialect.

Quick Fire Round: Y Fronts

Isle of Wight

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

Isle of Wight

Yarm Arm
Yate Turn left
Yelk Egg yolk
Yet Eat
Yo Ewe
Yourn Yours


Yarm is indeed an arm, with lots of examples of the word used in context quoted throughout the dictionaries. I shall quote two stories in A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) that link together nicely, both being set in the Hare and Hounds which is the pub I had my engagement party in.

"Last Whit Monday aaternoon, you, I went into Nippert to zee a bit o'the Fair vor a nower or two; and I'd jest got auver-right the Hare and Hounds when I zid a wold feller in a long smock frock at a stannen by the corner, a zillen cheese. A had a gurt rammel cheese under his yarm, and when a zid me stop a stuck a taaster into the cheese and holded it out agen me. 'Taaste,' a zays, 'wullee.' 'Noa I won't,' I zed too'n, 'thee onny wants to draa me in, but thee bisn't gwyne to. 'Zo I zaamered downalong a little vurder, and went into the Lamb.

I minds one time I was in the 'Hare an Houns' at Down-end, you, and who should come in but wold Jolliffe, that used to live over at Waaitshill, or Stooanshill, zomewhere out about Buttbridge, and a had his yarm in a sling. 'Hollo meyaster!' zomebody zays too'n, 'what have ye hurt your hand?' 'Iss,' a zays, 'I have. T'other day I was tryen to git down a gurt kite bough, and a broke off wi'me, and I vell out o'the tree and broke me yarm, and it harls me up miserable, now jest grass cutten time, too.'

Well, 'tes a bad job vor ye,' zays a chap zetten 'long zide on 'en, that worked in the marl pit handy the house; 'but if you'll stand half-a-gallon o' beer, I can gee ye a resayt that'll keep ye vrom ever vallen out of a tree any more zo long as ye be alive. 'I could zee he was gwyne to rig the wold man out, you know you. 'Well,' zays wold Jolliffe, 'I should like to hay that; 'tes fair doos, I spooase.''Oi you,' zays t'other, ''tis right enough if ye onny goos by't.' Zo the wold man orders in the beer, and when 'twas about all drinked he zays, 'Now then, let's hay this resayt ye promised me.'

'All right, wold bwoy,' zays the chap, 'here 'tes; and if ye always volleys it you'll never vail out o'or tree any more, I'll be bound. Don't tich noo kite boughs ye can't raych standen on yer ligs, and ye'll never break any of yer booans nor vail down, let it be how 'twull.' Dedn't the wold man rare at 'en! he got zo mad, a could hardly spake. 'If 'twuddent vor my yarm,' a zed, 'ye hang-gallus rogue, I'd laace thee jacket well vor thee.' But we all bust out in a reglar haw haw, and a jumped up and off a went in a terbul pelt."


Yate is recorded by the Smiths as a word used by ploughmen to get a horse to turn left, and according to The English Dialect Dictionary ed. Joseph Wright (1906). this was a word unique to the Isle of Wight. However, Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988) says 'Bither' was in more common usage while A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876) also lists 'Meyther or Mither' as well as yate.


Yet does indeed mean to eat, also eaten and ate, used in sentences such as:

  • I han't got a mossel o' bread in house: 'twas all yet up at dinnertime.
  • The poor bwoy was maade to yet cummy bread, till the dust vlow out o'the
    corners of his mouth when a chowed it.

Long provides a lovely biblical story,

An old labourer of the writer's acquaintance was terribly puzzled with the word 'yet'. He had joined the Bryanites1, and for the first time in his life took to reading the Bible. He began of course at the beginning, and in due time arrived at Genesis, Chapter XLV, and the last verse (28), containing the joyful exclamation of the patriarch Jacob, on his being satisfied that his long lost son Joseph was alive and well. "Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die."

"Now," argued the old man, "I always ben toold, and I bleeves it, that the Bible es true. But there's a hatch zomewhere in this story, vor however could wold Jacob zee hes son Joseph if hee'd ben yet alive? If hee'd ben yet up alive, or dead, how could there be any on 'en left vor his father to zee? That's what I wants to know." It was only after some time and trouble spent in copious explanation of the totally different significations of yet and eat, that the old man pronounced himself fully satisfied; but this was the only difficult passage he met with in the whole of the Pentateuch.


This means Yours, with Long providing examples such as, If that rake edden't yourn, it most be ourn.. Maxwell Gray, the penname of Newport author Mary Gleed Tuttiett (1846-1923), also frequently uses this word in her novels, which contain numerous country folk. These include John Nobbs, a character in The Silence of Dean Maitland (1886)

"You minds when I was down in the fever, Dan'l Pink. There was I with no more power of meself than a dree weeks' babe. This yer hand," he held up a broad, brown fist in the sunshine, "was so thin as a egg-shell; you med a looked drough 'en. My missus, she give me up. Mr Merton said 'twas pretty nigh time to think on my zins. Squire Hrickman, he called in a town doctor, let alone doctoring of me hisself. Thinks I to mezelf, 'John Nobbs,' I thinks, 'you've a got to goo, and the quieter you goos the better, they wunt let your widow want while she keeps her health for dairy work.' There I bid abed and never knowed night from noon. Doctor Annesley, he came in and felt the pulse of me. Then he looks pretty straight at me, ' John Nobbs,' he says, ' you've got down mis'able low, but you've a powerful fine constitution; it's a pity to let a constitution like yourn goo,' he says, kind of sorrowful. 'There ain't a man in Arden,' he says, ' with a better eye fur cattle than yourn, John Nobbs.' When he said this yer, I sort of waked up, fur I zimmed going off quiet like when he come in, and darned if I didn't begin to cry, I was that weak and low. ' Come now,' he says, ' you ain't easy beat, John Nobbs; you've abeen through wet harvests and bad lambing-times, and you never give in. Don't you give in to this yer fever, John Nobbs. Drink off this yer stuff and make up your mind you wunt be beat, and you'll hae the laugh of we doctors.'

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?

Yallow Bwoys

  • Candlewax.
  • Sovereigns or guineas.
  • Yachties' racing marks.

A guinea is a gold coin worth 21 shillings which in 1816 was replaced by the sovereign, a gold coin worth 20 shillings. To this day a Guinea is used to mean a pound and a shilling (£1.05) during agricultural sales2.

Long provides the following story,

Wold Dannel Keach was a regler lantern jaad wold bachelor, and I thinks he haated the very sight o' childern. He was in varmer Barton's one time hayen a pipe and a glass o' grog wi' 'em, and they had there dree or vower as fine looken bwoys growen up as you could zee in a day's march. As they was zetten by the vire, missus, woman-like, zays to Dannel, 'Shouldn't you like, Mister Keach, to hay sich a lot of bwoys as we got, zetten round your chimley at hooam?'

'Noa,' zed Dannel, 'that's jest what I shouldn't like; I'd zooner hay dree or vower yallow-bwoys in my pocket any time than all the lot on 'em.' Missus couldn't stand Dannel aater that.

Yallow Janders

  • Type of male goose.
  • Gooseberry jam.
  • Jaundice

This is a fairly common condition in infants in which skin and eyes turn yellow, typically caused by a lack of sunlight and/or Vitamin D.


  • Binding a bargain.
  • Handbag for carrying children in.
  • Yeast used to make alcoholic beverages.

The Smiths write:

I bote a pig un, and ghid un a crown in yearnest.


  • A Japanese money lender.
  • To beat until tender.
  • Yonder.
Casn't zee that tree out yender?

In The Silence of Dean Maitland (1886), clerk sexton Raysh Squire tells gardener Jabez Young about the time he went to the (fictional) Cathedral city of Belminster when it was discovered that a man married in his parish had already been married twice,

"I never ben to Belminster; mis'able big plaiice, beant it?"

"Big enough, but terble dull; nothen to zee but shops and churches over and over agen. Jim White, he took me along to zee the place. We went and gaped at the cathedral; powerful big he was—I 'lows you'll stare if you zeen he. Jim, he shown me a girt vield wi' trees in it outside of 'en, and girt houses pretty nigh so big as the Manor yender all hround. 'This here's the Close,' he zes. 'But where be the beastes?'
zes I. 'Beastes?' a zes. 'Goo on wi' ye, ye girt zote,' a zes; 'there baint no beastes in this yer Close. 'Tis passuns they keeps here, taint beastes!' Zure enough, there was passuns gwine in and out o' they housen, and a girt high wall all hround to pen 'em in. Ay, they keeps 'em there avore they makes 'em into bishops," he explained, with a magnificent air of wisdom, fully justified in this instance by his ecclesiastical profession. Jabez reflected while he slowly digested this piece of information.


  • Apron
  • Noise made by a small dog.
  • To be sycophantic or a yes-man.

Once again Long provides a few examples of the word in context:

  • Thee gurt zote mud, thee bist onny fit to be tied to thee grammer's yeppern string.
  • That yeppern es hern, edden't it?
  • I zay, Jim, jest look'ee, here's a lot o' wold paainters comen along the road, wi' zome wold dooman's yepperns on.


  • Gossip
  • A wallop, to be hit.
  • A dollop or splodge.

Maxwell Gray's novel The World's Mercy (1899) contains this conversation, in which Joe Woodnutt is in love with the penniless Annie, who feels she is not good enough for him. After Joe declares, 'If you'll be true to me, Annie, I'll bide a hundred years for ee. But I sha'n't have to bide long," we learn Annie's answer,

"Go on with ee, do!" was the tart rejoinder, accompanied by a hearty cuff that made him laugh and stagger. " There's nine o'clock, and missus calling, and you yollupping and making such a chearm as never was."

Will Annie and Joe get together? Does he bide a hundred years for her?


  • Ye of little faith.
  • To agree, say yea or yes.
  • Earth, both soil and the planet.

So let us to return to Maxwell Gray's novel The World's Mercy (1899). The story so far; Joe Woodnutt, son of Ezekiel the cappender, is in love with penniless maade Annie, but they knows a can't support Annie and her wold widowed mother even if a works every hour of the day. So Joe decides to try and work nights too. Learning that Lord Sharland wants to employ an educated man at nighttime, he has asked Lord Sharland's wife if she'll recommend him to her husband for the post of assistant astronomer.

"But," she said presently, "what do you know about the stars?"

"I don't know as I knows much about 'em," he replied after some consideration.

''Can you tell me why the days draw in at this time of year?"

"Well, I allow it's along of the sun going south. In a manner of saying, 'tis the yeath tipped up south end again the sun."

Needless to say he gets the job, though his friends and family warn him, Beware of the devil's dancen hours!


  • Someone who, when offered to be given a full-course dinner, prefers to eat fat-free yoghurt and fruit instead.
  • Gabble, unnecessary talk.
  • An unlocal yokel from the mainland.

Long, as well as providing the example Dedn't the wold dooman yoppul at us!, includes a longer example of the word in context, from someone in a pub near the Island's southernmost point, St Catherine's.

It used to be a terbul out-o'-the-way plaace here by St. Cattern's, and zome rum fellers used to live here years agoo, avore I can mind, but I've heerd tell on 'em a good many times. Wold Dove (he or his brother used to keep the Star at Niton years agoo), was a miserable ignorant, voreright sort o' feller, and when a got woldish a'd zet mumchanced in the chimley corner vor half a day together; but if anybody ded git or a word or two out on 'en, 'twas zummet to the pwynt, pend upon't.

He was mortal bad vor a long time, and they thought he'd zoon slip his wind; zoo they got the paason to come and zee what he could make on 'en. Zo the paason come and begun talken too'n, but the wold man zet and zed nothen for zome time. Predney the paason axed'en, 'Do ye know who maade ye?' Then wold Dove opened his jaas and zays, 'Noa, I dunno as I do, dost thee?' 'Iss,' zed the paason, 'I do - God Almighty; don't ye bleeve it? ' 'I beant nooway sarten about it,' zays wold Dove, 'vor all I got to goo by is what I ben toold about it, and vokes always zays ye most never bleeve half o' what ye hears; zoo shet up and don't let me hay noo moore o' yer yoppul.'


  • Grumbling.
  • For a married man to be found spending time in the company of a much younger woman.
  • A group of hooligans.

The Smiths provide the example,

What bist yoppulun about?


  • Mythical creatures that leave babies in cabbage patches.
  • Trouser straps to stop rodents climbing up where you don't want them.
  • Spending the day climbing up and down downs 'til you're neither up nor down.
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 - Y
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The Bluebottle Archive


05.02.18 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1The Bible Christian Church, a Methodist denomination founded by William O'Bryan in 1815. Popular in Cornwall, Devon and the Isle of Wight, in 1907 it received Parliamentary approval to merge with the United Methodist Free Churches and the Methodist New Connexion to form the United Methodist Church, which in 1932 merged with the Primitive Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodists to form the Methodist Church.2This is for commission purposes, so that if an animal sells for 1,000 Guineas, the seller receives £1,000 and the auction house £50 commission.

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