Written in Black and Wight: Z - Answers

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Time for the final answers.


Quick Fire Round

Isle of Wight

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

Isle of Wight

Zaddle-backedHaving a low back.
ZeedySickness after drinking too much.
ZeetheTo gently boil.
ZemmiesExclamation of surprise
ZimTo seem or feel
Zummur-vreckledA speckled face caused by the heat of the sun.
ZwealTo singe or burn
ZwigTo drink.
ZwillTo drink or quaff.
ZwingelPart of a corn flail.
ZwinjunGreat or huge.
ZwopTo exchange.

As always I shall provide few examples of the words in context. So for the word 'zaddle' meaning Saddle, A Dictionary of Isle of Wight Dialect by WH Long (1886) quotes an anonymous song called 'Tally ho, hark away':

Come up, my braave sportsmen, and make no delay,

Come zaddle your hosses, and let's brish away;

Vorthe fox he's in view, all kindled wi' scorn,

Zoo come my braave sportsmen and jine the shrill horn.

While A Glossary of Isle of Wight Words by Major Henry Smith and Charles Roach Smith (1876) has the following example of 'zeedy' meaning 'sick after drinking too much'

I zay, Tom, thee dost look pleyagy zeedy.

As well as the following use of 'Zemmies', a word classed as unique to the Isle of Wight by The English Dialect Dictionary ed. Joseph Wright (1906)

'Zemmies hauw ! what dost do that vor?

'Zense' of course comes from 'sense' but has various meanings. So the Smiths give the example This job en't done in noo zense to mean 'the job is not being done properly'. Isle of Wight Dialect by Jack Lavers MBE (1988) has I can't maake no zense to'n to mean 'I cannot make him understand'. While Maxwell Gray, the penname of Newport author Mary Gleed Tuttiett (1846-1923) in her novel The Silence of Dean Maitland (1886) has the following exchange

"Ah, you don't know everything, Jacob Hale!" said Granfer, benevolently. "'Tain't, zo to zay, nateral to a man as gives hisseif entirely to wheels. You doos your best, but more zense can't come out of ye than the Almighty have a put in. Na-a. You don't know everything, Jacob Hale, I zays."

'Zim' means 'seems', as poet Percy Goddard Stone in his Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight (1911) used in his poem 'Spring'.

Zpring ! Oi, thet 's t' time vor me

When Natur 's hright an' nuthen 's hwrong,

When t' very air zims villed wi' glee—

' Coom up, my harses. Ztep along.'

'Zull' meant plough, and was used in poem A Dream of the Isle of Wight by Mrs Mary Moncrieff (1863),

He was dunch as plock, and fully as dull;

Then, inwardly grumbling, he handled a zull

'Zunce' means 'since', with Long giving the following examples:

"I han't a zid nothen on 'en zunce dinnertime.

'Tes never you, Ned,' a zed, 'es it? Why I han't a zid thy wold physog ever zunce last year. However dost git on, you?'

A zwingel was the chain part of a corn flail, that Long describes as fastening to the handle or 'handstaff' by a wooden swivel and strips of raw hide. He provides the example,

"I most git a new zwingel zomewhere vor my vrail."

'Zwinjun' meaning 'a lot' can be seen in this example from the Smiths that means 'that is a huge load of oats'.

That's a zwinjun looad o' wuts

Quick Fire Round: Get Zet

Isle of Wight

Did You match the correct words from the meanings listed below? Some words have more than one definition, but which?

Isle of Wight

Zet atTo scold
Zet offTo go
Zet offTo explode gunpowder
Zet outA party
Zet outA disturbance
Zet upTo be insubordinate
Zet upTo put pins in place for a game of Four Corners
Zet downTo rebuke someone

'Zet out' meaning 'disturbance' can be seen in these examples from Long,

The doctor zed to'n, 'You must take keer o'yerself, and drink jackass's milk the vust thing in the mornen, or else ye med git into a decline.' Zo a went off hooam, and toold his wife what the doctor zed. 'Dear,
dear,' she zays, 'what a zetout! our wold Jenny don't gee no milk now, and I don't vor a minute think we sholl be able to git any.' 'Well, there, zays the wold man, 'the doctor toold me if I couldn't git noo Neddy's milk anywhere else, I was to come to'n agen, and he'd let me hay zome.' 'Lor a massy!' zed his wife, 'ye beant't never gwyne to zuck the doctor, be ye?'"
  • Here's a pretty zet out! The pump's all vroze up, and I can't get a drap o'water.
  • I zay you, wold Bob Cook's maade es run away long wi' a sojer, and there's the deuce of a zet out about it.

Long also has an example meaning 'party',

We be gwyne to hay a anniversary at our chapel, Whitmonday. There'll be plenty of tay and cake about, and a fine zet out I louz.

Long uses the following example of 'Zet down' with someone being told off,

"Zet down, I tell'ee! you'll tear yer clothes all to pieces, a riggen about zo."

And the following example of a letter written by an Island churchwarden in 1792 uses 'zet up' meaning 'insubordinate'.

As I be suppaned to goo to Lunnon as a witnes in the King's name, I desier you not to releave no parpers with the parrish munny without thare passes, and if they zets up about it, call in the cunstable direckly. But if anny of our own poor applies to you, tell em if they drinks no tay, and keeps no doggs for poachen, I wont forgit em next Crismas. - Yours &c

The word 'zet' of course also means both 'sits' or 'sat'.

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

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 farmer.
  • To loiter and saunter.
  • A walking stick or frame.

Yes, to loiter and saunter, and generally walk without hurry. Long has the following examples,

"I expected 'eu here jest aater dinner, but a dedn't come; but a zaamered downalong about dree o'clock."

Zo I zaamered downalong a little vurder, and went into the Lamb."


  • To edge, squeeze or sneak in.
  • A horse's saddle.
  • Urinating.

To sneak in, just as Long has sneaked in another example in this quiz,

"He zidled in jest now, and zet hisself down in the corner, looken rather queer."


  • The slope of a hill.
  • Railway siding.
  • To give numerous small sighs or yawns.

Spelt 'Zidelen' by Long and 'Zidelun' by the Smiths, but with unrecognised dialect there isn't an official correct spelling.


  • A simnel cake.
  • A monkey or someone considered monkey-like.
  • Seeming or thinking.

As with 'Zims' earlier, this means 'seeming', with 'zimmed' meaning 'seemed'. There are almost endless examples for me to quote, from the Smiths' simple,

Zimmun to me you'd better lat that alooan

which they define as 'it is my opinion you had better not do that.' Or I could quote the last verse from Stone's poem 'The Widow'.

You doos yer best. I knaws it. Theer doant 'ee mind
my tongue.

My heart be bright towards 'ee. Lard ! I wor zweet an' young

When I took oop wi' Zibbick, nigh vorty year agone —

Lef ' twenty year a widder to work the varm alone,

An' not a zon to help me—Lard ! when I lost my Ned

It 'most zimmed thet dark winter, my blessed heart ztopt dead.

Zure, when hoped up an' lonesome, 'ithin my parlour zhet,

I 'm jest yourpoor wold missus, God help her !—doant

While who can resist giving Granfer the chance to spread some of his 'wisdom' (or strongly-held opinions) captured within The Silence of Dean Maitland.

"Ah!" murmured Granfer, shaking his head with profound wisdom, and at the same time regretfully contemplating the vacuum in his beer-pot, "them twins done for Mrs, Maitland. She ain't been the zame 'ooman zince, never zimmed to perk up agen arter that. Vine children they was, too, as ever you'd wish to zee, and brought up on Varmer Long's Alderney cow, kep' special vor 'um, as I used to vetch the milk marnin' and evenin'. I did, zure enough."


  • A small sop or toast.
  • Order for silence.
  • Trouser flies.


  • Detachable beehive roof.
  • Scythe pole
  • A sieve.

Long mentions zive-sneeads twice. I wonder if he spoke to the same person twice, a few days apart?

I must goo down to blacksmith's shop to-night, and git a new ring vor my zive sneead.

I went to Whittle t'other night you, to the blacksmith's, to git the ring fitted to my zive-snead.

So if anyone was wondering who to speak to about getting a new ring fitted to their zive-sneead, you now know to see the blacksmith. Stone, too, mentions zives in his poem 'Summer'.

Neath zky thet's one girt hroof o' blue

The hripened grasses veather.

Swish-o, Swish-o, t' zives zweep dro

An' zwauth lines grow an' gether.

Then ztoans zing blithe

Along t' zive

T' zong o' haarvest weather.


  • To stick with adhesive.
  • Seeing zoo animals doing lewd acts.
  • Drunk.

Yes, 'zlued' means drunk, and is another word used by Stone, this time in his poem 'The Carter's Mate',

'Twuz Gipsy Zam oop at Barley Mow,

The zilly vool 'bout half zlued,

A tried vor to peck a quar'l wi' I—

But I warn't i' a quar'lzum mood.


  • To have a black eye.
  • To have your face obscured by cigarette or pipe smoke.
  • To be bashful.

And to continue quoting 'The Carter's Mate' by Stone,

I wuz a bit uv a zmock-veaced laad

When vust I zaw my maade.

Her looked zo zweet an' zo tired laike,

'Doost want a hride? ' I zaayd.


  • Talking for the sake of talking.
  • A soothsayer.
  • An ill child who has petals at Christmas.

Yes, 'Zoozay' is to talk for the sake of talking, with Long providing this example,

I don't take the least notice of what that wold dooman talks about, she only doos it vor a zoozay. There's no bottom in her.


  • Soft and foolish.
  • Soaked, to be completely wet.
  • Black powdery substance in smoke when wood or coal is burnt.

Long provides a lot of examples,

  • Dedn't he jest about act, and make hisself zote!
  • He's a gurt zote buffle headed sort o'feller.
  • When I used to be keerter at Messon, a good many years agoo now, I had a gurt jolterheaded bwoy vor mayet wi'me; a was a regular zotey.
  • There, onny look at her; ded ye ever zee sich a gurt zote, maamouthed thing as she es?

Knowing that this is the last ever issue, and so I won't get another chance to quote these examples really makes me want to include everything. But I have to make room for a quote from Maxwell Gray's In the Heart of the Storm (1891) in which true love strikes following an attack from, of all animals, a gander.

"Right," replied Meade, gravely; "you're right, Martha, but even the girt gander would ha' ben nothing without your tongue. I beat the gander off of ye, and you cried and clung on to me, and there I stood like a girt zote and couldn't tell for the life of me what to say next. It did seem that simple to blurt out, ' Marry me, Martha,' all of a sudden right in the middle of the common with the wild gander and all the geese staring and hissing at us. I'd a given ye a kiss but I had to keep my eye on that gander all the time. Then you said, 'Please don't leave me, Mr. Meade ; I'm that frightened!' And that put it into my head to say, ' I'll never leave ye, my dear, if you'll promise to go to church with me, afore two months are gone.' And so 't was done, but it drove the sweat out of me, and you was all of a tremble in a pink Sunday gown, and the church bells ringen. And the old gander kept on hissing and running, so I was forced to keep my arm round ye all the way across common. I never hear a goose hiss but I think on 't," he added, pensively.

"'T wasn't the first lead I gave ye, either," laughed Mrs Meade, brightening at these tender recollections; "but there, courten is like a cool hand at pastry; its born with some, and there are those can't do it to save their lives.


  • A sour, bitter soup.
  • Lemon-scented soap.
  • An ill-natured person.


  • To swim.
  • Tap next to Cold.
  • To burn out or destroy a wasp nest.

Long states that it does indeed mean to destroy a wasp nest,

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

Confusingly, 'Zwarm' also means 'swarm', such as a swarm of bees. It was locally believed that if bees were swarming, making loud noises by clashing metal objects together would soothe them. So Long gives the following otherwise baffling phrase,

The wold buttcher's bees be zwarmen: there's the wold dooman and the maade out in orched, maken a middlen tangen between 'em wi'the zifter and pot led, enough to frighten all the bees in the parish.


  • Underground bomb refuge.
  • A painful sweat.
  • To swell or be swollen.


  • Quickly or rapidly.
  • Swimming, to be at home in the water.
  • Feeling giddy or confused.


  • A z-shaped zigzagging chine or valley/
  • A ship's galley.
  • To swallow food or to believe something.

This of course leads inevitably to a discussion of politics,

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.

Well I don't zee why we should trouble ourselves over it; one time we ded use to git a dinner, and plenty o' grog aaterwards, but there edden't a mote nor drap o' nothen to be got now, and I nooways zees the fun o' gwyne two or dree mile to vote on a leer stummick.

Oi you, they be all vor their own ends, and to my mind 'tes zummet anewse like this wi' the Liberals and Tories, booath on 'em. My wold zow got a straain o' ten pigs, and they can't all zuck at once, vor one thing she han t got teats enough, and bezides there edden't room vor 'em all together, zoo I shets vour or vive on 'em out o' the sty while t'others be zucken, and they that be shet out keeps on runnen round and squeeken, and kicks up a mortal to do till they be let in agen, and then they be quiet enough, I warn't it."

Haw, haw, that's jest about the rights on't,and how they do goo on; I can't rade in noo sense myzelf, but missus rades the paaper to me inevenens.

Map of the Isle of Wight in words.

If this quiz series has achieved nothing more over the last 26 issues, it has at least revealed that courting is just like pastry. Hopefully I have also encouraged people to be nice to animals for a change and that though we should appreciate the wonder that is the ability to communicate with people all around the world, there is still room to celebrate local identity too.

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