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-upHello
Ay-up midukHello (usually, but not exclusively, to a female)
Ay-up yoothHello (usually to a young male)
Ay-up duckehHello (to a female or child you’re particularly close to)
Ow ya gowin on then, Serri?How are you?
Ta-rar dukGoodbye / goodnight
  

General terms

 
  
Ar (or Aye)Yes
Knee-owNo
SmorninThis morning
SaftoThis afternoon
TahnTown / city centre
Twitchell / Jyitt-ehAlley or cut-through
KawziPavement / footpath
Oss rowdRoad
Oss / BobboHorse
MazzgiCat
OmHome
AhseHouse
BogToilet
GobMouth
TabzEars
Tegs / TeggehsTeeth
Dinna / SnapLunch or food
CobBap, barm cake, bun or roll
Just remember IT’S A COB!
WatterWater
Duddos / tuffehSweets
SuckaIce lolly
GuzgogGooseberry
Knobby greensBrussels sprouts
TaytuzzPotatoes
CodeCold
OttHot
RammelRubbish
BrahnBrown
GizzaGive me / let me have
GozzTo see / look
Dob dahnTo duck or hide
Blubber / blubberingCrying or weeping
Prattin abahtActing stupidly
Pawleh / badlehUnwell
FritFrightened
ClamminHungry
Mard-ehGrumpy, miserable or sulking
Mank-ehDirty / scruffy, or sometimes silly
Suck-ehSomeone of questionable intelligence (a bit thick)
Batch-ehInsane / crazy
Snided / snided outBusy or crowded
Puther / putheringPouring or gushing; water, rain or smoke
ClartySticky or sticks to the roof of your mouth
NeshUnusually susceptible to cold weather
Kroggeh / croggieTo give someone a lift on a bicycle crossbar
LiggerLiar
ChelpBack chat or insubordination
RittWrote
AhtOut
RahndRound
TahThanks
EnnyrodeAnyway
OwtAnything
NowtNothing
SummatSomething
TherrintThere isn’t
TintIt is not
DintDid not
YoveYou have
SenSelf
Mi-senMyself
Yu-senYourself
Thi-sensYourselves or themselves
Iz-senHis self
Im-senHimself
UssensOurselves
AhkiddMy 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?
GizzabittCan 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-senI’m going alone / by myself
AnnorlAs well / Also
Av gorrit wimeeI have it with me
Ay aint gorrowtI don’t have anything / any money
Ah dint do owtI didn’t do anything
Ah towd Imm eekud pleez iz-senI told him the decision was his / he could please his self
Ah towdya an al telya namorI’ve told you and I’m not telling you again
Ah’ve gone an dottied mi’senMy hands are dirty
Ah’ve podged mi’senI’ve eaten too much
Batt yu-sen dahnDust yourself off
Bungitt ovvarearPass it to me
Ee-yarHere you are (giving) / let me have that (taking)
E’ wants sum ossmuck inniz bootsHe’s not very tall
Gerra buzz dahn tahnCatch a bus into town
Gerrit dahn-yaPlease eat it / drink it
Gerroff omIt’s time you went home
Gerroff!Get off! (Please go away)
Gerroffahtonnit!Go away / leave it alone!
Gerron wee-itGet on with it (Please continue what you were saying)
Gerrum in thenBuy me a drink
Gerrup, elsal bat ya tabPlease get up or I’ll use violence
Gizza gozzLet me see
Gizza kroggeh / krogTo ask for a lift on a bike
GizzarfonittShare and share alike
Innit codeIt’s cold today
Innit ottIt’s hot today
It meks-ya tabz laffIt has a sour or bitter taste
It-seh bit black ovva bilzmothazIt looks like rain
It’ul norrotchaIt won’t hurt you
Izon Iz-ollidizHe’s on holiday
JustarkatitListen to the rain
Mek it g’bakkudsPlease reverse the car / vehicle
Owd yuh oss-uzz!Please wait / be patient! (Hold your horses!)
Shurrup, elsal bat ya tabPlease be quiet or I’ll use violence
Shut ya gob! / Purra sock initShut your mouth / Shut up!
TabhanginEvesdropping
Thiz summat up wee imThere is something wrong with him / He may be ill
Tin-tin-tinIt is not in the tin
Wigorn tev uz dinnazWe’re about to have lunch
Yowl koppittYou’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

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39 thoughts on “Nottingham colloquial translations to regular English

  1. 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

    1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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)

    1. 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. 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. 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!!!

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. I grew up in Arnold, and often went on a bike ride to Calverton Lido if summer fell during the school holidays. God that springwater was cold. One time we were on the grass next to two gorgeous twin girls wearing matching ladybird (red and black dots) bikinis. I was about 14 and they would be 17 or 18 and wouldn’t have been seen dead talking to me, but I’m still in love even today.
      I was born in 1957 and this would probably be 1971 give or take. I’m just enjoying reliving the memory but maybe just maybe you have a twin sister and remember showing off in a tiny bikini all those years ago :)

  11. 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!!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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)

  15. 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 !

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  17. 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”

  18. 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

  19. 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 “

  20. I heard this saying about 50 years ago in Radford “On a barrer” meaning if you saw say a policeman on a barrow meaning not there.

  21. One word I remember well from my early years (69 now) was varmint….pronounced varmunt. My great aunty Emma would say “oh you little varmunt” if I was being a bit naughty.

  22. “e’s gorrit onim” – (he’s got it on him) he’s in a mood, spoiling for a fight or keen to irritate others
    “Got is mad-ike on” – got a wild mood on him

    Both of these mostly heard in reference to the antics of the cats.

  23. Love the site, Love the Lingo. I come from South Notts where the accent is slightly different to North Notts. I sometimes write poetry in South Notts accent and so for all you lovely Notts. folks, here is a little riddle for you. Next time you are unsure of what and/or whether to buy something remember this.,,,

    it is called “Summat ‘n Note”

    Eetha a roat
    Neetha a note
    Eetha is berra th’n note.
    Burrif eether is oat…like
    “Summat ‘n Note”
    Then neetha is berra th’n oat!

    and norra penny spent… W’ rk it aaht Ducks!

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