While conducting some etymological research on local colloquialisms and idioms a year or two ago, I came across the incredible source provided below, which I have completely reformatted for blog posting. Since the publication of this material first occurred in 1896, it serves as a bridge between our modern twenty-first century age and the language employed by nineteenth- and even eighteenth-century New Jersey citizens. I hope you enjoy this information as much as I did. If you are aware of any historic Jerseyisms that do not appear below, please submit them in the form of a comment to this page.
The following text extracted from Dialect Notes, Vol. 1, 1896, pages 327-337, 382-383:
Mr. F. B. Lee, of Trenton, assisted by various persons throughout the state, has collected the following list. He writes: “It will be understood that these are mostly to be found in Cape May and other lower counties. I have not gone far from the coast. In the preparation of the collection (which will doubtless be found incomplete), I have included words not distinctly local with those which are undoubtedly provincial. To many friends in various parts of the state I am indebted for words which appear in these pages. Those who have materially aided me are —
Benjamin F. Lee, Trenton,
Hannah L. Townsend, Dennisville,
William E. Trout, Dennisville,
Mary L. Townsend, Trenton,
Marie Bryan Eayre, Vincentown,
Dr. J. S. Brown, Vincentown,
Charles G. Garrison, Merchantville,
William Garrison, Camden.”
Jersey is the form used by the natives, instead of the New Jersey of the geographies. We have followed the usage in editing the list; our abbreviations, N.J., C.J., and S.J., mean, therefore, North, Central, and South Jersey respectively.
afeared: afraid. Common in all parts of the state.
afore: common in all parts of the state.
ague: pron. eigar.
alluz (olǝz): common pron. of always.
anen, anend, anan, nan: interrogative word used to a limited extent in S.J. Halliwell says it implies “How ? What did you say?” In this he is correct. Cooper uses the word, and undoubtedly learned it in his old home at Burlington. Cf. DeVere.
anxious seat, anxious bench: the seat or bench near the altar where persons concerned for their spiritual welfare may sit during revivals. Preserved by the Methodist and Baptist communities in S.J. and C.J. Fast falling out of use.
apple palsy: “plain drunk” caused by too much “jack” (q.v.). (Burlington County)
aside: used in an expression “Are you aside?” meaning, “Have you your household goods in order after moving ?” (C.J.)
asparagus: pron. spærǝgrǝs.
ax: old form of ask. Retained in N.J. as well as in the South. Cf. DeVere.
back-load: maximum quantity of game which a man can carry on his back; as, “a back-load of ducks.” (Coast.)
bag o’ guts: a useless individual; a “bum.” (S. and C.J.) Also implies a big man with little brains.
barnacle: in Cape May used incorrectly for limpet found on oysters.
bateau: used only by oystermen. A small, flat-bottomed boat.
be: used for both am and are; as, “I be going,” “we be going.”
beant: negative form of above; used for both am not and are not.
beach: sand islands on Jersey coast. “Young” or “little beach” is new-made beach containing younger timber; “old beach,” parallel ridges crowned by old timber.
beard: the byssus of mussels or the fringe on an oyster’s mouth. (S.J.)
belly-wax: molasses candy. (S.J.) Often pron. Bailey-wax.
belly-whistle: a drink made of molasses, vinegar, water, and nutmeg, used by harvesters at the daily nooning.
bender: common in N.J.
blatherskite: common in N.J. Cf. DeVere.
blicky (blickie, blickey): a small bucket or pail. Said to be Dutch in its origin, but used extensively in S.J., where there are no Dutch.
blister: an oyster smaller than a quarter dollar. Used from Barnegat south to Cape May.
blocks: used in North Jersey for streets or squares (q.v.). [Influence of New York City, where the “block” is the regular unit of distance — 20 blocks = a mile.]
bloomeries: iron forges in S.J. (Law of 1779.)
blowhard: a noisy, demonstrative, self-important person.
board-bank: floor of boards, placed on the bed of a creek near the shore, on which oysters are laid to “fatten.” See floats.
boom-pole: pole used to hold a load of hay on a wagon. [Binding-pole is used in this sense in Connecticut. — E. H. B.]
boughten: that which has been bought, as distinguished from what has been given. DeVere confines it to New York, but it is very common in N. J. E.g. “Were those melons boughten or guv to you?” [Known in N. E., but generally used in distinction from home-made.]
boyzee: boy ; as, “when I was a boyzee.”
brackwater: salt water of bay or river, near shore, modified by flow of fresh water. The adjective “brackish” is more commonly used.
braes: burned and charred wood in a charcoal pit.
buck: a fop. Used contemptuously; “he’s a pretty buck, now ain’t he?” Also bucle-a-dandy, with the same meaning.
back-darting: a zigzag method of sailing employed on tide-water creeks.
bull: terrapin 3 or 4 inches across the belly. Five are required for a “count,” or 60 to a dozen. (S.J.)
bull nose: a useless hard clam. (Cape May County.)
bulldoze: common in Jersey. [See Century Diet, and Murray.]
bullrag, bullyrag: to tease, domineer over. (S.J.) [See Murray, s.v.]
butterfingered: an adjective used to describe a person whose powers of retaining an article in his grasp are not great. (C. and S.J.) [Known elsewhere, but generally confined to base-ball.]
by-and-by: pron. baim bai.
calk: pron. kork.
careful: pron. karfl.
chaw: common pron. for chew.
chinkin: boards, sticks, or clay used to fill spaces between logs in cabin building.
chunker: coal boat used on the canal. (N.J.)
cions, scions: pron. science (saiǝns) in S.J. Young growth of oak timber. Pines and cedars have no scions. To “science” (verb) is to cut off these sprouts.
clink: used of two chairs which are tilted so as partially to support each other, each having two legs on the floor.
clucker: frozen oysters. (S.J.) See rattlers.
cluttert: for cluttered. E.g. “cluttert into heaps.”
coal: charcoal. (S.J.)
collier: charcoal-burner. (S.J.) A place in Ocean County is named “Collier's Mill.”
coon oyster: small oyster attached to the sedge rather than to the usual more solid supports.
count: terrapin six inches across belly, fit for market. (S.J.)
count clams: quahaugs, 800 to the barrel.
cow: six-inch female terrapin. (S.J.) (One “count.”)
cowcumber: for cucumber
crib: horizontal sticks piled triangularly around the “fergen” (q.v.) in charcoal burning. (S.J.) Sticks of cord-wood placed at right angles (usually in fours) to form a column against which cord-wood may be piled in “ranks.”
crock: earthenware vessel. (Common in S.J.)
cubby: a little hollow-square cabin. (Charcoal industry.)
cubby-hole: place in a garret where refuse is stored. [The word is familiar to some New Englanders in the sense of a little cosey place, behind furniture, or in a hay-mow, for instance, where one or two children might hide.]
cull: to assort (oysters). Poor oysters are cullins.
culls: the grade next to the poorest.
cullinteens: bushel oysters ; like callings or cullens.
curricle: two-horse chaise. (Law of March 20, 1778.)
damnify: to injure. Law of 1677 (referring to hogs running loose) “in damnifying meadows by rooting.”
daubin: mud between the logs in a log house.
dicked: arrayed. Possible corruption of “decked.” Not very common.
dod (dod blasted, dod slammed, etc.): for “God” in quasi-profanity. [p. 84.]
dominies: common in Jersey in an adjective sense. E.g. “a dominie-lookin’ feller."
double up: to marry.
downcome: a fall or attendant disaster. Used with reference to politics.
down felowyers: used in Cape May County to indicate people from the southern part of the county. (Corruption of down belowyers.)
dreg, drudge: pronunciations for dredge among the oystermen.
drugged: pret. of drag.
dubersome: doubtful. (C.J.)
durgen: old horse, worn out by use. (S.J.)
Durham boat: used on Delaware River till 1835. Washington probably used them in crossing before the battle of Trenton. They were sharp-pointed, flat-bottomed scows, built to run the rapids in the hill country. They were common in the colonial period between the “Forks” at Easton and Burlington City.
earnest: pron. aerrast.
errand: pron. erant. [Known also in N. E.]
extra meetins : certain periods devoted, in Baptist and Methodist circles, to special religious services of the nature of revivals.
eye opener: big drink of liquor; say, “four fingers.”
fag eend: the end piece of anything.
fast land: upland near coast. (S. J.)
faze: to injure. As noun in “he went through and nary a faze.” (S. and C.J.)
fellies: pl. of felloe. (Law of 1766.)
fergen: centre pole in a charcoal pit, forming the central part of the “crib” (q.v.). (S. J.)
field: deserted farm overgrown with pine, scrub oak, and brambles. Some of these fields — the term is equivalent to plantation —are from a century to a century and a half old. Distinguishing names are Broomstick Ridge Field, Lawrence Field, etc. (Cape May County names).
firing place: spot suitable for charcoal burning.
fist: “to make a bad fist of it”; to make mistakes or do work incorrectly.
flirch: abundant. (S. J.)
floats: (charcoal industry) irregular sods laid on “four-foot lengths,” over which sand is placed. (Oyster industry) pens of boards placed in fresh water, upon which oysters fatten during one tide. They are then marketable by the thousand.
folks: immediate family. [Also N. E. In Connecticut I have heard men say “my folks,” meaning strictly “my wife,” though there were others in the family. —E. H. B.]
footy: small, insignificant. [Professor Sheldon knows the word in Maine as a noun = simpleton. There is also a N. E. expression “footin’ around” (û) = fussing, busying one’s self uselessly.]
funeral: “his funeral was preached” = “his funeral sermon,” etc. (S. J.)
gad: small whip used to drive cows to pasture. (S. J.) [Known in N. E. in sense of whip.]
garvey: a small scow. (Barnegat region.)
glommox, glummlcks: a muss, or a conglomeration of matter. (S. and C.J.)
go by water: to follow the sea as a calling. (Coast.)
golly keeser: oath heard in S. J.
goodies: a fish of peculiar delicacy, much eaten on the coast. The “spot fish” of Virginia. (Atlantic and Cape May.)
goody-goody: contemptuously applied to an over-fastidious person. (S. J.)
gorramity (gorǝmaiti): for God Almighty. (S. J.)
goster: to domineer.
gosterer: one who boasts or brags.
grass: spring of the year. “I'll move out o’ here next grass.”
gravel: to steal sweet potatoes (the act identified by the newly turned earth).
green head: a fly common in the coast district.
ground oak: to inflict injury on the person, or threaten to do so ; a sort of duress per minas. (A ground oak is a small oak of little value.)
gulf weather: warm, moist, cloudy weather, attributed on the Jersey coast to the influence of the Gulf Stream. It is felt as far west as Trenton.
heifers: young cow terrapins. Two or three to “counts.” (S. J.)
hether: equivalent to peddy whoa, q.v.
hike: of clothing, to be uneven or not to “set well.” [p. 61.]
holdfast: a sore, eating to the bone, which may come from various causes.
honey-fogle: to allure by traps.
horse coursers : defined as drovers in law of 1682.
horse-proud: adjective used of a man who has pride in his blooded stock. Similar words are used made up with names of other animals; e.g. hog-proud.
housen: plural of house.
hyper: to hurry about; to bustle at work. (Little used.)
Indian bread: fungus found underground in the pine woods. The Tuckahoe. (S. J.)
jack (apple): in Salem, Sussex, and Burlington counties, where apple whiskey is made, it is commonly called “jack.” “Jersey Lightning” is hardly used by natives for this article. [How widely is the word “apple whiskey” used ? “Cider brandy” is the natural word to New Englanders.]
jag: a small load. In S. J. a load of hay. Not used among the country people in its present slang sense. [Century Dict. See p. 216.]
Jersey blue: color of uniform worn by Jersey troops in the French and Indian War.
Jimminy crickets: common in Jersey, [p. 49.]
kerf: [see Webster] word not used in North Jersey. When employed in the Supreme Court it was not understood by the judges.
ketchy: changeable (weather).
kettereen: a kind of carriage. (Law of 1779.)
killick: small anchor. (Very common on coast.)
kink: used in N. J. for kinky. Used as noun = idiosyncrasy.
lap: a “hank” of thread.
lashin(g)s: plenty; abundance. “Lashins o’ money.”
lenter: for “lean to” = an addition to a house. Pron. lentr, lintr, and lintr.
lift the collection: take up the collection. In common use in some localities.
lug: bark. “The dog lugs at the waggin.”
main, mom, mae: for mamma or mother.
marsh : pron. mœʃ. [Also in N. E.]
meadow: salt marshy tract used for grazing and “shingling” (v. infra) in S. J.
menhaden: called “moss bunkers,” “mossy bunkers,” “green tails,” “Sam Days,” and “bony fish,” in Cape May County, and “mud shad” in Cumberland County.
milchy : adjective applied to oysters “in milk” —just before or during spawning.
molasses: pron. merlassers, merlasses, millasses.
mosey: to leave suddenly, generally under doubt or suspicion.
mought (maut): for might.
mudwallop: to soil one’s self with mud. To play in the mud when fishing.
my: pron. mi.
nothing: pron. nəƿin.
nubbin: imperfect ear of corn.
nutmeg: muskmelon (generic). (S. J.)
O be joyful: hilariously drunk. (Common.)
ordinary: innkeeper, in laws of Lord Proprietors. Now out of use.
ornery: common in use.
overly: used in speaking of health, etc.; e.g. “not overly good.” Generally in negative use. [Known in Maine. — E. S. S.]
oyster grass: kelp found in oyster-beds. (Cape May.)
oyster knockers: culling tools. Double-headed hammer used to separate bunches of oysters.
pap, pop, poppy: for papa or father.
patent thread: linen thread. (S. J.)
peddy whoa: teamster’s word = haw; go to the left.
perianger: oyster boat. Law of 1719 (DeVere, p. 137).
petty chapman: itinerant vender. (Law of 1730.)
pile, piling, pile driver: often pron. spile, etc., in N. J.
piners: those who live in the Jersey pines, — the “ridge” sections (eastern and southern) of the state.
pit: wood stacked for charcoal burning.
platform: planked floor where oysters are freshened. (Atlantic County.) See board-bank and floats.
pool holes: holes, two to six feet deep, full of “mucky” water, found on meadows. (See Shingle Industry below.) Often spool holes.
pretty: pron. pərti, puti.
pretty middlin’ smart (smcert): indicates a fair state of health. Common in N. J.
progue: pron. prog. To search for anything imbedded in the mud, as clams, terrapins, or cedar logs, by means of a sounding rod.
quiler: holdback strap (see Webster). [Side-strap is used in Connecticut. — E. H. B.]
quite: not a common word in S. J. Common in C. J. in such expressions as “quite some.”
rattlers: oysters in poorest condition. So called because they rattle in their shells. See clucker.
reach: that portion of a circuitous creek in the tide-water district between two sharp turns. Reaches are from 200 feet to a mile or more in length.
salt holes: pool holes of small size filled with salt water. Frequent in marshes.
scions. See cions.
scoot, scoat, skeet: to leave suddenly.
scrub oak: a low-growing species, usually the first timber growth on a burned district. As soon as the larger timber grows above it, the scrub oak dies out.
set offs: sugar and cream in coffee; “trimmings.”
shacklin’: shiftless; lazy; going from one job to another.
shell bed: collection of oyster shells in S. J., where Indians made wampum, or dried bivalves for food.
shelters: those who open clams for market.
shenanigan: fooling or playfulness. Also expressed by “monkey business.” [Known in N. E.]
sherk: for shark. [ Also reported from coast of Virginia. ]
shoots: spaces between concentric rings of oyster shells, showing years of growth.
shuck, shock: to open oysters. To husk corn.
singing sand: sand found on Long Beach, Ocean County, which emits a peculiar musical tone when the wind passes over it rapidly. It is found on a portion of beach made since 1818.
sistern: pl. of sister. Used in Baptist and Methodist churches.
skeins: for skene. A dagger (see Webster). (Law of 1686.)
skift: for skiff. A yawl used in E.J.
sky scraper: one who reaches high ; one who is exalted in his own estimation.
slash: swale filled with water. (Cape May.)
slews: (corruption of sluice) a thoroughfare (q.v.). (Coast.)
slug: a big drink of whiskey.
snag gag: to quarrel or have an irritating controversy.
snail bore: a mollusk, also called “drill,“ “borer,” etc.
sneathe: snath of a scythe (see Webster).
snew: pret. of snow. (N. J.)
snoop: to pry into another’s affairs; to sneak.
snub: to “canal it” on a boat. (C. J.)
Snubbin’ post: post around which rope of boat is fastened in lock.
soft shells: crabs with soft shells.
spoom: to run before the wind. [See Webster.] (Coast.)
spung: piece of low ground at the head of a stream in the tide-water district.
squares, streets: used generally in S. and C. J. as unit of distance in cities, like blocks (q.v.) in N. J. Philadelphia influence.
stepmother: a ragged nail or a roughness of the skin.
stick up: a long, thin oyster; so called in Cape May from the fact that it “stickups,” as oystermen say, in the mud.
stone horses: stallions. (Law of 1709.) [Used in this sense in Robinson Crusoe.]
stuffy: close and sultry, like a “Gulf weather” day (q.v.).
sun down : sunset; very common.
sun up: sunrise ; not common, but still in use.
swale: low land between sand ridges on the coast beaches.
sward: prou. sôrd.
swing seat: a seat used in a wood wagon, hung from the sides. Used after unloading.
tacker: small child. The adjective little generally precedes the noun.
tar kiln: place where tar is tried out of pine knots.
ten fingers: oystermans slang for thief. Not very common.
thawt: for thwart; rower’s seat. Used to a limited extent.
thill horse: shaft horse. Not very common.
thoroughfare, throughfare (see also slews): long, narrow body of water connecting the bays which separate the sandy islands of the southern coast from the mainland. [Reported as proper name for such passages from Maine and Virginia.] In law of 1695 a “thoroughfare” was a wagon road.
three-square: a kind of grass found on S. J. meadows.
thunder-heads : cumulus clouds piled above the black mass of the storm. [In Connecticut, heavy cumulus clouds which appear before a shower.— E. H. B.]
tickly (tickely, ticklish) bender: running on yielding ice.
ticky : Rio coffee. (S. J. traders).
tittavating (v = w): repairing; e.g. “The housens need tittavating.”
tongs: oyster tongs.
toxicatious: for intoxicating. (Law of 1679.)
traipse: final e pronounced. The word has a good use in Jersey; no idea of “slackness” is attached to it, as Webster would imply.
truck: to barter or to trade. (Law of 1688.)
upheader: horse that holds his head high. Applied figuratively to men.
v is often pronounced like w by the older people in S. J. A Gloucester County saying is,“Weal and winegar are good wittles to take aboard a wessel.”
wain: wagon. (S. J.) Not much used.
wherries: for ferries. (Law of 1716.)
wind breaker: a screen or the like used to break the force of the wind.
winders: an instrument used on the oyster boats for winding the dredge line.
The Glass Industry.
Mr. William Marks, of Millville, and Mr. Charles Simmerman, chief of the State Bureau of Labor and Statistics, furnish the following list of words. Some of them are used only in the flint glass houses, others in the green glass works as well.
all aboard: used in flint glass works as order to begin and quit work.
batch: the mixture of soda and sand of which the glass is made.
bench stones: resting-place for pots inside the furnace.
blast: the ten months of the year when fire is in the furnaces.
blower: one who forms or “blows” molten glass.
blowover: bottle finished by grinding its mouth on a stone. Fruit jars are usually finished in this way.
bounty jumper: a cylindrical mould.
breast stones: sides of the furnace.
bull: glass unfit for use after the melt.
cap: top of the melting furnace.
carrier in: one who takes bottles to the annealing oven.
cordy glass: bottle glass containing strips resembling fine cords, caused by glass not being thoroughly melted, or being kept too long in pot.
cullet: waste glass.
draw pickle: wooden stick used in pot setting. (Flint glass manufacture.)
fiddle: a fulcrum for the “sheen” (q.v. below) in pot setting.
fire out: end of the ten months’ blast. Factories close during July and August.
fire over: cessation of work for the day.
flip flop: bladder of thin glass used as a toy.
flip up: an old-fashioned style of mould.
foot bench: bench around the furnace, upon which the workmen stand.
furnace: where the glass is melted in the pots.
gaffer: one who finishes bottle by putting mouth upon it.
gatherer: one who takes the glass from the pots.
get-up: one day of labor; e.g. “Ten get-ups (ten days) before fire out.”
glory hole: small furnace where bottles are finished.
goat: two-wheeled wagon used to carry the pot to the furnace from where it is first tempered.
heel-tapped: unevenly blown (bottle).
Henry: a lie (in Millville glass houses). Perhaps the name of some notorious liar.
lamp workers: Bohemian blowers who work glass by a lamp.
lazybones: iron machine used for resting iron bars when the furnace is being cleaned or repaired.
leer: annealing oven, where glass is tempered for 24 hours.
mauer: iron plate where blower rolls his glass.
melt: process of reducing the “batch” (q.v.) to molten glass.
mill hands: those who make the clay stone.
monkey: small pot used in flint factories.
necktie: imperfect bottle wrinkled in the neck.
pot: the clay jar where the batch is placed during the melt. The pot is from 32 to 64 inches in diameter, and 2½ feet high; from five to ten of them go in one furnace.
pot shells: pieces of broken pots which are ground up for the making of new pots.
presser: one who presses glass in the mould.
presto: an exclamation which implies “Be careful of your language, as visitors are in the works.”
puntey: iron rod with holder used to finish bottles. [Pontee in Webster.]
rack on: term used to imply the blower’s loss of ware through imperfect work.
ring hole: hole in furnace where blower gets his glass for bottle work.
ring stone: stone to close the ring hole.
salt water: salts in soda which rise to surface of molten glass, and after being skimmed off, harden into cakes.
sandy glass: glass poorly melted.
shears: cutting tool used in glass making.
shear hole: hole where fire is “set.”
shear to: to heat up the furnace.
shearer: the “master shearer” has charge of the furnace during the melt. His assistant is the “shearer.”
sheen: long iron bar used to set pots on edge of furnace.
slocker: refuse glass.
slow fire: commence work.
snap: iron rod used to finish bottles. See puntey.
snapper up: boy employed in glass works.
stone: clay. There is no stone in S. J., and clay takes its place.
tap: to open tone of furnace to take away refuse glass, which when it cools becomes slocker (q.v.).
tempo : a cry implying cessation of work.
tone: central space of furnace around which pots are set The flame melting the batch circulates therein.
tube blower: one who makes tubes for lamp works. (Flint works only.)
tuck stone: stone (clay) sustaining arch over furnace grate.
yink yank: equivalent to necktie, q.v.
The Shingle Industry. Carried on in the cedar swamps of South Jersey.
bolt: piece of cedar, 2 feet long, 6 inches wide, 2 inches thick.
break down and windfall are terms describing conditions in which cedar logs are found beneath the surface. The log is chipped and its condition is indicated by the odor of the chip.
butting: the process of levelling shingles.
dug ups: shingles made from logs fallen and covered with soil. Called also mud, rove, and split.
froe: instrument, used to rive cedar into bolts. A blade 16 inches long and 3 inches wide, with a handle 6 inches long at right angles to one end.
horse: contrivance for holding shingles while they are being shaved.
pool holes (q.v.) are caused by removing cedar logs.
progueing iron or progue: iron rod 4½ to 7 feet long used to progue (q.v.) for cedar logs.
rive: to cut cedar bolts into pieces ½ inches thick.
shave: to prepare rived bolts for use on roof.
shingling: the process of taking cedar logs from the meadows or swamps and converting them into shingles.
straight rift and twisted are two conditions (as to grain of wood) in which cedar logs are found.
tap or cut: a piece sawed from the log beneath the surface.
wind shakes: trees which have been twisted by the wind so that the effect is shown by the twisted grain of the wood.
FRANCIS B. LEE.
Trenton, March, 1898.
JERSEYISMS.—ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.
This list contains a few more items from Mr. Lee, which have been sent since his list went to press, some words collected by Rev. W. J. Skillman of Philadelphia, who is a native of New Jersey, and a few from miscellaneous sources.
age: to take one’s age = to come to a birthday.
anxious seat: dele “Methodist and.” (The Methodists use the term “mourner’s bench.ֹ”)
bay truck: used “along shore” for food from the bays which indent the coast; in distinction from “garden truck.”
blickey: the variety is distinguished by an adjective, as “wooden” or “tin” blickey. In Vincentown and vicinity this word is used for a coat or “juniper,” such as workmen wear with overalls — a Garibaldi jacket of jean.
bounder: to scrub or wash thoroughly (the person).
braes: the definition given should have stood, “imperfectly burned,” etc., and applies to the word brands, which was omitted. Braes is to be defined as “bark partially charred that slips from the wood in a charcoal pit.”
cooster: to “potter around,” fuss. “What you been coosterin’ at all day?” Also to caress, coddle.
dike (cf. dicked): “on a dike” = showing one’s finery in public.
down country: New York City and vicinity (Sussex Co.).
dubersome: also in form jubersome.
Dutch cuss: term of contempt. Metuchen.
footlin’: an adjective with meaning similar to footy.
gooseberry fool: an old-time dish of gooseberries and eggs; eaten with cream.
gravel: also grabble: definition should read, “to steal potatoes without disturbing the hill.”
Halifax. Mr. Skillman thinks that the common enough expression, “Go to Halifax!” is a survival from Revolutionary times, and meant originally “You are a Tory; go where you belong!” This, because he has heard “Go to Nova Scotia !” in the same way (and also, “Go to Haverty-grass (Havre-de-grace), which he cannot explain historically. Can any one account for this, or for “go to grass,” which suggests a connection?)
hetchel: to tease, to call to account. Metaphor from the days of the domestic flax industry.
homebringen: first coming of newly married to the house of the groom’s parents, where a feast was prepared and guests were invited. “Volunteers” (uninvited but not always unwelcome guests) often came. There was music and dancing and rather free hospitality, but no drunkenness. (See infare, below.)
hull: to gad about, wander, roam. “He went a-hullen all over the country.” [v. Cent. Dict, hull, II.]
Infare: bridegroom’s party (see homebringen, above). A somewhat later word than homebringen for the same festivity.
jagger-wagon: light, open farm-wagon used on the roads for light work, such as carting small truck and going for the mails. Central Burlington Co.
kink: also in sense of pain, “a kink in the back” = lumbago.
kip: young chicken. (Used also as call — “kip, kip.”)
lay-overs for meddlers: answer to prying, curious children. “What’s that, ma? Do tell, won’t you?” “Why, didn’t I say it’s lay-overs for meddlers?” [v. Cent. Dict, layer-over.]
lobscouse: an awkward, hulking fellow.
loper: a worthless, intrusive fellow.
noggin: a wooden dipper.
noodeljees (nûdltʃîz): “noodles,” — thin strips of dough like macaroni, used in soup. [Bartlett.]
passel (for parcel): number, quantity in general. “They acted like a passel o’ hogs.”
perfect love: an old-fashioned intoxicating drink.
perianger: should read “periauger ” (pirogue).
pick (pique?): a spite, grudge “He's had a pick at him for months.”
pinxter-blossoms: azalea (Albany Co.)
riz bread: yeast bread (not raised with soda).
rollejees (rolitʃîz): chopped meat, stuffed in “sausage-skins” to be sliced and cooked. [See De Vere, p. 64.]
side up: to clean up, put in order (a room). (Cf. aside) [Also N. B. — W. M. T.]
slank: low place at side of river, bay, or cove, filled with water at freshet.
slummock: a dirty, untidy woman.
souse: slangy for ears. “Bounder your souse well” = wash your ears well.
springers: cows about to calve. (C. J.)
stirrup (n. and v.), stirrup oil (n.): shoemaker’s term for a whipping, or punishment administered with the stirrup, or knee-strap.
strull: female tramp. Strulling is used of women, not in the worst, but generally in no favorable sense. “She’s gone strulling to town to-day.” Sometimes used of children, without regard to sex.
winklehawk: triangular tear in cloth. [Cent. Dict, and Bartlett.] Barn-door is reported from Massachusetts in the same sense. [Cf. trappatch]
I look forward to receiving any additions to this lexicon, so feel free to comment.
Whatsailsum or Whatstsailser.ReplyDelete
Not knowing whats wrong with a person or what illness they might have.
"I dont know whatsailser, she seemed fine this mornin."