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Nottingham colloquial translations to regular English

Nottingham's Council House and Old Market Square

Nottingham's Council House and Old Market Square

When I moved to Nottingham in the 1970s I made these annotations on a selection of typical phrases used by local colleagues and neighbours.

Some of these idioms have almost vanished from daily use in the last few decades, although you still hear similar phrases in some Nottingham neighbourhoods and in older generations of local people.

A few younger Nottingham residents now have an inflection of ‘Estuary English‘; a euphemism for a mild version of the London and South East accent, which has flourished for hundreds of miles outside of London.

Nottingham

English

Greetings

Ay-up Hello
Ay-up miduk Hello (usually, but not exclusively, to a female)
Ay-up yooth Hello (usually to a young male)
Ay-up duckeh Hello (to a female or child you’re particularly close to)
Ow ya gowin on then, Serri? How are you?
Ta-rar duk Goodbye / goodnight

General terms

Ar (or Aye) Yes
Knee-ow No
Smornin This morning
Safto This afternoon
Tahn Town / city centre
Twitchell / Jyitt-eh Alley or cut-through
Kawzi Pavement / footpath
Oss rowd Road
Oss / Bobbo Horse
Mazzgi Cat
Om Home
Ahse House
Bog Toilet
Gob Mouth
Tabz Ears
Tegs / Teggehs Teeth
Dinna / Snap Lunch or food
Cob Bap, barm cake, bun or roll
Just remember IT’S A COB!
Watter Water
Duddos / tuffeh Sweets
Sucka Ice lolly
Guzgog Gooseberry
Knobby greens Brussels sprouts
Taytuzz Potatoes
Code Cold
Ott Hot
Rammel Rubbish
Brahn Brown
Gizza Give me / let me have
Gozz To see / look
Dob dahn To duck or hide
Blubber / blubbering Crying or weeping
Prattin abaht Acting stupidly
Pawleh / badleh Unwell
Frit Frightened
Clammin Hungry
Mard-eh Grumpy, miserable or sulking
Mank-eh Dirty / scruffy, or sometimes silly
Suck-eh Someone of questionable intelligence (a bit thick)
Batch-eh Insane / crazy
Snided / snided out Busy or crowded
Puther / puthering Pouring or gushing; water, rain or smoke
Nesh Unusually susceptible to cold weather
Kroggeh / croggie To give someone a lift on a bicycle crossbar
Ligger Liar
Chelp Back chat or insubordination
Ritt Wrote
Aht Out
Rahnd Round
Tah Thanks
Ennyrode Anyway
Owt Anything
Nowt Nothing
Summat Something
Therrint There isn’t
Tint It is not
Dint Did not
Yove You have
Sen Self
Mi-sen Myself
Yu-sen Yourself
Thi-sens Yourselves or themselves
Iz-sen His self
Im-sen Himself
Ussens Ourselves
Ahkidd My brother / sister

Queries and questions

Ahrode ay-yo? How old are you?
Aya gorra mardilippon? Are you sulking?
Aya gorra wi’ya? Have you got her (wife) with you?
Aya gorrim wi’ya? Have you got him (husband) with you?
Aya gorrowt? Have you any money?
Aya masht miduk? Have you made the tea yet?
Ezz ee sed owt? Did he say anything?
Gizzabitt Can I have some of your … ?
Jagadahn? Did you go to the Nottingham Forest / Notts County match?
Jo wonn-owt? Would you like anything?
Kannicum annorl? May I come too?
Oo worree wi? Who was he with?
Wair dya wekk? Where do you work?
Wairza booza? Where is the local pub?
Wi or wi’yaut? With or without?
Worree wee iz-sen? Was he alone?
Wotsupp? Is something wrong? / Is everything alright?
Wotyavin? What would you like to drink?
Wot yonn-wee? What are you doing?
Yerwott? I beg your pardon?

Statements and comments

Am goowin wi mi-sen I’m going alone / by myself
Annorl As well / Also
Av gorrit wimee I have it with me
Ay aint gorrowt I don’t have anything / any money
Ah dint do owt I didn’t do anything
Ah towd Imm eekud pleez iz-sen I told him the decision was his / he could please his self
Ah towdya an al telya namor I’ve told you and I’m not telling you again
Ah’ve gone an dottied mi’sen My hands are dirty
Ah’ve podged mi’sen I’ve eaten too much
Batt yu-sen dahn Dust yourself off
Bungitt ovvarear Pass it to me
Ee-yar Here you are (giving) / let me have that (taking)
E’ wants sum ossmuck inniz boots He’s not very tall
Gerra buzz dahn tahn Catch a bus into town
Gerrit dahn-ya Please eat it / drink it
Gerroff om It’s time you went home
Gerroff! Get off! (Please go away)
Gerroffahtonnit! Go away / leave it alone!
Gerron wee-it Get on with it (Please continue what you were saying)
Gerrum in then Buy me a drink
Gerrup, elsal bat ya tab Please get up or I’ll use violence
Gizza gozz Let me see
Gizza kroggeh / krog To ask for a lift on a bike
Gizzarfonitt Share and share alike
Innit code It’s cold today
Innit ott It’s hot today
It meks-ya tabz laff It has a sour or bitter taste
It-seh bit black ovva bilzmothaz It looks like rain
It’ul norrotcha It won’t hurt you
Izon Iz-ollidiz He’s on holiday
Justarkatit Listen to the rain
Mek it g’bakkuds Please reverse the car / vehicle
Owd yuh oss-uzz! Please wait / be patient! (Hold your horses!)
Shurrup, elsal bat ya tab Please be quiet or I’ll use violence
Shut ya gob! / Purra sock init Shut your mouth / Shut up!
Tabhangin Evesdropping
Thiz summat up wee im There is something wrong with him / He may be ill
Tin-tin-tin It is not in the tin
Wigorn tev uz dinnaz We’re about to have lunch
Yowl koppitt You’ll get into trouble


A Nottingham dialect joke ► Vet; “Is it a tom?” Cat owner; “Nah, av gorrit wimee.”

“Aah Ter Talk Notts” from LeftLion magazine


‘Nottingham Dialect and Sayings’ by Jimmy Notts and Nottingham Hidden History Team


For other information about Nottingham click here



MumblingNerd’s Nottingham destination print


Back to MumblingNerd’s home page




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About MumblingNerd
Love, equality and tolerance, not hate. Humour, puns, cats and Nottingham, also a chocolate 'tester' and social media botherer. I’m Roy Manterfield by the way, or MumblingNerd online. I live in Nottingham in the UK and I post inane comments on social media.

32 Responses to Nottingham colloquial translations to regular English

  1. vickie Neugebauer says:

    One of my dear friends, Audrey Scattergood, was queen of the Nottingham Quincentenary celebration in Nottingham in 1949. Does any one have any details of that event? I’d love to learn more.
    Vickie

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Hello Vickie,

      When I started work for the Publicity and Information Office in the 1970s there was a member of staff who had been in the office at the time of the Quincentenary celebrations, but she died many years ago.

      I also looked after the office photograph library for quite a few years and there were black and white photos and a programme from the event, but we passed all of those on to the Local Studies Library at Nottingham Central Library many years ago, so I expect they must have some information about the celebrations.

      The only information I’ve kept were the two dates in ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ in my blog:
      26 June 1949 ~ The start of Nottingham’s Quincentenary Week, celebrating the Charter of 1449
      and
      28 June 1949 ~ When the Quincentenary visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh took place.

      Roy

  2. vickie Neugebauer says:

    Hello Roy,
    Thank you for your reply. I’ll try to contact the Local Studies Library to see if they might have anything in their records. I’ve enjoyed looking through your website.
    Vickie

  3. tamnat says:

    These phrases sound double Dutch to me, gibberish!
    One of my favourite books about the English language is “Mother Tongue” by Bill Bryson. He ponders about dialects in GB and says it’s no exxageration to assume that in Britain there are as many of them as hills and valleys, if a dialect is defined as a way of speaking that fixes a person geographically. THis makes me smile a confused smile.

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Ah, I shall look forward to reading Bill Bryson’s book even more; it’s on my list of books to read, along with ‘The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English’ by by Henry Hitchings and ‘Dictionary of Word Origins’ by Linda Flavell :^)

  4. brightideasnotts says:

    Hi Roy

    Wah-gwaarn!

    We are currently preparing a bid with Nottingham Trent University about dialeacts around the East Midland. It would really be great if you could get involved in some way if we are successful.
    As we have a love affair with Nottingham, we were delighted by this blog. Helen (Embrace Heritage) may be in touch.

    See you in the Twittersphere (I’m not sure I could handle meeting with you. If anyone had come past my house yesterday and looked in they would have seen a grown woman, rolling about in laughter with no one else in sight! William Tweetspeare indeed!)

    Lisa (Director, Bright Ideas Nottingham)

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Thanks Lisa, I’d like to help if I can and I’m pleased you enjoyed William Tweetspeare; I do like a little silliness and word play. I’m afraid I was incurably infected as a youngster by programmes such as The Goon Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus :^)

  5. annette says:

    John Beeton wrote three books called As it is spoke which is about Nottingham. I am from Nottingham and live in the USA me Dad sent me the books for a laugh for me kids :)

  6. Simon.gardener@hotmail.co.uk says:

    You will hear all of these saying used daily in North notts ,mansfield area

  7. John says:

    yah will 4 shure
    I moved to Canada and am from Mansfield. I was just explaining the other day some of this to mi mates!!!

  8. Notts Myreal Name says:

    I was also going to say that you’re just talking to the wrong people if you don’t hear these no more !

  9. Peter Barton says:

    Endorse all of it plus a bit more as I am from Worksop ….note not Warsop but Wossop ! Grew up thinking this was standard English ,went to Retford Grammar School and the difference in 8miles was very plain. I tell French friends that every village in England speaks a unique dialect.

  10. I lived in a small mining village called Rainworth back in the 1930s to the 1950s
    The expressions used were just like are shown on the Nottinghamshire dialect page.
    However each small village had a slightly different way of expressing itself & you could tell which local village a person was from if you were really tuned in to the way the person spoke.

  11. lorraine austen says:

    i grew up in a north notts village called calverton a friend of mine grew up in eastwood we both now live in cardiff and our welsh friends cannot get over how different we sound, but we have great fun confusing them with some of the lingo.

  12. Catherine Smalberger says:

    You can still hear all those words round Sneinton and Ilkeston! I live in New Zealand now but my children all use words like nesh, mardy and manly though no-one else knows what they mean! I once saw “nesh” as a word on Call My Bluff and no-one got it right – I was sitting at home saying EVERYONE knows what nesh means!!

  13. I see even the computer doesn’t know these words and self-corrected “manky” to “manly”!!

  14. A term for a narrow alley
    Ginnel
    Spoken in Nott’m area, inc, Newark upto Mansfield also

    ps – Ay up me-duck, also a Lincolnshire expression., as are a number of these expressions
    Cheers., Ian

  15. mike bates says:

    Nice site!!!….grew up in Nottingham …emigrated to USA when i was 14 …im 53 now and reading this i slipped right back in ….thanks for the nostalga

  16. stephen Staddon-Smith says:

    Great nostalgia site. Born in Nottingham but lived in New Zealand for fifty years. Visiting cousins I noted and chuckled over many of their/your phrases, ie ‘gerrof causey or I’ll bat your tabs’, used by my wonderful cousin to admonish a local who had wandered too close to our shiny new car.

  17. Matt says:

    Having grown up in the north of Nottinghamshire I can not only understand but also use many of the expressions above in conversation, still living in the UK (outside the county) and still using these. An interesting fact many of these expressions come from the dialect used by local miners (Nottinghamshire was a key area in the uk for coal mining up until the 1980s) many local phrases originate from communities around mines and the dialect is still most prominent in these areas. The expression Gob for example is linked to the Gob found in a coal mine (the point where the mine opened up at the coal face), the most commonly used phrase linked to the mines (and not listed above) and one used widely and recognised in the oxford english dictionary is the word slag, this comes from the heaps of waste sludge after coal had been washed (called slag heaps)

  18. jacqueline Warner -Cowgill says:

    I live in the U.S.A.
    I miss this language of short cuts and such !!! Growing up in Cheshire near yorkshire Darbyshire Lancashire,I heard these daily , My Dad who is in his 70’s spoke this lingo and so did some of our older relatives.
    He told me it developed during the years in the cotton mills as it was hard to hear. Any thoughts on this ?By the way I’ve been giggling and its been totally nostalgic !

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Interesting idea Jacqueline, about the origin of some of the short cuts in speech that is. Wherever English is spoken it constantly evolves through use and the way people adapt it to their circumstances. Coincidentally I’m presently reading ‘Mother Tongue’ the story of the English language by Bill Bryson and he discusses how words can be shortened over time or by local dialect for example.

  19. Ann Salkeld says:

    Came across this site whilst searching for pictures of the Quincentenary celebrations. I took part in the ‘massed children’s choir’ which sang for Princess Elizabeth on the Forest. I’ll always remember her lovely hat – deep pink I think and trimmed with black velvet. Was anyone else in that choir?? Has anyone found pictures of the Quincentaenary?
    Loved being reminded of some of the lingo – couldn’t see yo = you. I was brought up in Daybrook and remember Dad asking his mates ‘juggerdahn?’ = did you go to the football match last Saturday? He was a Forest supporter.

    • MumblingNerd says:

      Hello Ann, I don’t have any photographs of the Quincentenary celebrations, but I have seen copies when I worked for Nottingham City Transport and for the City Council. I looked after some of their photograph libraries for many years and when I eventually had to dispose of old material I took it to the Local Studies section of Central Library. I do also know that the Nottinghamshire Archives on Castle Meadow Road have B/W photos of the celebration, ( http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/rd/8a5df35f-cf0b-4145-87a1-045f76408a4a ) but they’re not available online; I presume you’d have to visit to view them. Have you tried the ‘Picture the Past’ website? ( http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/index.php ) I did a quick search for ‘Quincentenary’ for Nottingham and the year 1949, and found about 22 images.
      With best wishes, Roy.

      • Anna Salkeld says:

        Hi Roy. Many thanks for pointing me in that direction. Found just the image I was looking for.
        Best wishes
        Anna

  20. Will Marshall says:

    Loved your list,
    I always remember the copious usage of “like”. My girlfriend’s brother tacked it onto virtually every utterance..
    “Gerra buzz dahn tahn – like”
    “Ah dint do owt – like”

  21. jennifer handfield says:

    hi just looking through your lovely site. As child of the beatles we always said fab, we never used the f word but would say “knickers” and naughty people would say i’ll do you. Sorry not very polite but it does show that new words are made all the time : such as rap and kids using their own communications no wot I mean like. cheers jenny

  22. Pat Smith says:

    I’m originally from between. Derby and Nottingham a place called Sawley near Long Eaton and I do use a lot of the words and phrases still. Now living in Yorkshire I do get odd looks especially when I ask for a “cob “

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