There are thousands of old Dorset dialect words that have fallen out of use. From homble to slommock to twanketen and drawlatchet, here are some of our favourites - and why we say grockle instead of emmet. 

  1. Annan? Say that again? A word you'd need if you were dunch.
  2. Dunch: a bit deaf, hard of hearing
  3. Joppety-joppety: nerves.

    Dorset Echo:

    From "jaup", a Dorset dialect word meaning the breaking of a wave, or to splash or spatter with water. According to Susie Dent's book How to Talk like a Local, joppety-joppety is the sound reduplicated to indicate spurts of panic.
  4. Miff: a quarrel, a coolness between friends. The alternative tiff is the one that's most used today, but we rather like miff, which is of course where the phrase "I'm a bit miffed." comes from.
  5. God Almighty's Cow: the ladybird. No, we don't know why either.
  6. Homble: a duck
    Dorset Echo: CRYSTAL PALACE: London Fire Brigade use boat during duck rescue
  7. Horridge (or whorage): a house of bad characters
  8. Slommock: a slatternly woman
  9. Torrididdle: out of one's mind
  10. Emmet: ant

    The Cornish call their tourists emmets. The word used in the rest of the West Country, grockle, is believed to come from a comic strip which originated in the 1920s comic the Rover before moving to the Dandy. Jimmy and his Grockle was about a boy and his pet dragon. Research seems to suggest that the word grockle was adopted for summer vistors by workers at a Torquay hotel, where a scriptwriter picked it up for his film The System, from where it was transferred into more mainstream use. If you know better, let us know!
  11. Ramshacklum: good for nothing
  12. Twanketen: melancholy
  13. Undercreepen: sly. 
  14. wopsy: wasp.

    Dorset Echo: wasp img

    From the Dorset habit of transposing the "s" sound, so also ax for ask and claps for clasp.
  15. Yop: to talk rapidly
  16. Dewbit: first breakfast. Dorset dialect has more words for meals than hobbits do. Dewbit means the first meal of the day, although not breakfast, which is bigger and later.
  17. Nuncheon, cruncheon, nummit and crummit: four more words for meals.

    Dorset Echo: Picnic in the Park at Winchester

    Dorset farm workers were said to have dewbit, breakfast, nuncheon, cruncheon, lunch, nammet, crammet and supper. But nammet - food eaten in the fields between meals, possibly from noon-meat - and nuncheon may well have been two words for the same thing (also cruncheon and crammet) so it's not as bad as it sounds.
  18. Boris-noris: to go on recklessly without thought to risk or decency
  19. Drawlatcheten: lazy. A drawlatchet is a person who walks slowly and lazily, so quite a good word to apply to your four year old when you'd like them to get a move on. Affectionately, of course.
  20. Bibber: shiver
  21. Airmouse: The bat.
  22. Dumbledore: The bumblebee.

    Dorset Echo: HAIR APPARENT: Daniel Radcliffe, as Harry Potter, and Michael Gambon, as Dumbledore, in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

    J K Rowling chose the word for her Hogwarts headmaster because of Dumbledore's love of music: she imagined him walking around "humming to himself a lot".
  23. Lippy: Wet and rainy, often stormy. So Harry's probably saying to Dumbledore: "It's a bit lippy out, sir, can't we apparate back to your study?" Or something.
  24. Overclap: eg clouds overclosing the earth.

    Dorset Echo: Stormy skies over Corfe Castle

    So, "will it freeze tonight? Depends on the overclap."
  25. Ballywrag: To scold or accuse in foul language. 
  26. Loplolly: A lazy, or idle person. 
  27. Gally: To scare. So you may also see a gally-crow in the fields of Dorset.
  28. Zummerwold (summer-mould):  Freckles on the face, brought out by the sun.

    Dorset Echo:

Find out more here, here and here.

What's your favourite old Dorset word or phrase?