If you have any favourite 'LANKY' sayings, words or anecdotes please share them with other readers of this page (Scroll Down For Lots)

E-Mail>>> Please note! Unfortunately I accidentally deleted approximately 20 Emails that had been sent to me - (You know if you are one of those people - please re-send so that I can publish your contribution
TROUBLE at' MILL GUIDE TO LANKY SPEAK.<<<Back to dictionary


 Just came across your site by accident. It's great to read and remember our heritage in these days of northern kids speaking in 'mockney' or 'gangsta rap'.

I made a conscious decision to keep my (broad) accent when I was quite young, however I feel as though I'm increasingly in a minority.

My mother was a cotton weaver from Darwen (Darren) and lived on the edge of the moors at a place called Pick up Bank, or as they said it 'pick a bonk.' One of her expressions was 'Let thi' meat stop thi mawth' (let your tongue stop your mouth from speaking i.e. if you were talking none sense or bad things).She also used the 'You'll be i' Dickies meda' phrase, meaning if you carried on you'd be in trouble. The kitchen was always referred to as the scullery and we had a slop stone in there too 'fot weshin'. My favourite is the 'ginnel,' which is an outside passage way that is narrower than an alley, also referred to as 'the back passage.'

She often used to recite a little verse,

'Betwix thi 'ills, s' bleak an' barren,

lies a little town bi the name o' Darren'.

Whenever we went to the local shop at the top of the lane (which was the front room in a cottage) she always greeted Alice (the old lady who ran the shop) with the words 'Owt fresh?' The oven was 'thobben' and if you didn't behave you'd get a 'clop rount lug oyle,' especially if you didn't help to 'sidy t' table', (clear the table after eating).

 My mother was also a member of the St Johns ambulance in Blackburn, she particularly liked the perk of getting in to the brass band concerts for free. However, one of the pranks they liked to play was to stand at the front of the stage and suck a lemon. This made the players mouths water and they couldn't blow properly!! One of the pubs my aunty and uncle ran in Blackburn was called 'Oo cud a thowt it' which was knocked down years ago. Food included Lancashire hot pot made from the neck end of the lamb (cheapest cut), sad cakes, jam pies, tripe, sheep's brains, jugged hare, tater cakes and one time a pigs head.

 (My partners grandfather - born in the late 1800's referred to potatoes as 'perraters' and the thrush as a 'throstle', he was from Adlington.)

 Hope this is of some use to you!

Elle James.

Hailing as I do from Denton Lancashire I still occasionally “Come owt wi summat” which is misunderstood her in Surrey.

My Mum had a few choice phrases which I remember fondly:

 When asked “What’s this or that Mum” the inevitable reply was “Lay-os fur meddlers” in other words, meddlers lay of and don’t touch!

When telling us off she would say “Thall be havin a good lambasting wi’t do-lally stick if you don’t behave thysel”  Which I presume meant whacked with the brush stale until gone do-lally (or mad).  In reality she was gentle and as soft as soap. 

 Any one or anything not nice was “Fow” as in foul.

 People were sometimes told “Tek yer ook” as in sling your hook or get lost.

 Mums judgement of how clean a house might be inside was based on a combination of a well donkey stoned front step and window ledge plus how white their net curtains were.  Stoning the front step with a donkey stone purchased from the local hardware shop was a ritual which showed how clean you were.

 Of someone less than fastidious about cleanliness she would say “Bet there’s no empty windowlene bottles in er ouse”.


Hi I was born in Bolton in 1953 and thought that everybody spoke like us!  It was only when I came to the Midlands that I really understood about dialect.

Here are a couple of my mum's sayings (she's now 86)

 "You re  as awkard as Dick's hatband" -  when I finally asked her what it meant she said that it went round 20 times and still wouldn't tee (tie).

  like when the cat got it s tail stuck in the mangle   eeh it did stare!

 "Skens like a basket of whelks" - cross eyed   I have since thought that this should probably be whelps as puppies are more likely to sken.

 Give it a punt    a kick

  Thrutching  straining on the toilet

  I really enjoyed looking at everyone s memories and hope that it doesn't die out.  I ve tried to share it with my daughter.


A friend of mine had a favourite line for telling someone to take time before acting:

Slur thy clogs

Enjoy your website

John o' Blegburn

Ow art?

From my 1950s childhood in Denton (outskirts of Manchester - Ashton, Audenshaw, Hyde, Stockport area).

Swealin' - pushing lighted newspapers up the chimney to set fire to the soot and so clear it. Unpopular with neighbours because it scattered burning soot and newspaper fragments all around - but cheaper than a sweep

to thrutch - to strain ineffectively, most correctly (I think) to have difficulty passing a stool - but also e.g. pushing a heavy barrow up hill. Harvey Kershaw (I think) also has it "When yer thrutched i' yer mind, An' fed up wi life's grind ..."

and lerrit-a-be (let it be) - leave it alone.

fawse - crafty, sneaky - but usually in a comical way, often used about a small child "fawse little monkey!" or "fawse as a barrer load o' monkies".

And a favourite saying about someone with a high opinion of himself "Walks round as if 'e's getten a weskit (waistcoat) made out his fayther's britches' arse." - That's why he's got his nose in the air ..
And an insulting one about a woman not present: "Oo canner 'elp bein' fou' - bur oo could stop in."

Thanks for the site,

.Pete Berry

I was born in Hoghton/ Brindle in  1932

Here are two sayings i remember -

tha's a propper mardi    =  you are spoilt

Eeh, ah can see Moogy Dawson's bin wi' ee  = I can see that Muggy Dawson as been with you, i.e  you are looking scruffy, a right mess

Eeh, ah woudn't part wi it fer a golden vayse  I wouldn't part with it for anything


Angela Kirby (nee Birtwistle)

And here's my version of the Christmas story

The Longridge shepherd thinks on...


Well, I’ll tell thee how it were...

we didn’t mek a lot of it at start, 

what wi’ cold, and yon damn sheep 

so restless. Drifts were that ‘igh, 

but it were wind as got to oos,

froze our bloody bollocks off, 

yon wind did. Dogs were oopset too, 

wouldn’t settle like, joost whined 

and whimpered, an’ yelped at moon,

meking a reet ‘ow d’ee do .... tha’ knows 

‘ow dogs are, when soommat ails ‘em,

when soommat’s oop. Yoong Tel, 

‘ee sees it first  - bloody ‘ell,  ‘e said, 

joost like that, bloody ‘ell, an’ pointed 

to t’biggest, foocking grëat star

tha’s ever sin, wi’ sooch a tail on it  -

I tell thee, we’d seen nowt like it 

beföre, an’ not like to again, I reckon, 

not in this world, any röad  - an’ then, 

that Del, ‘e says, coom on lads, let’s 

‘ave a decco, let’s tek a luke, like, no bloody  

‘arm in that, an’ we’re off down t’ill, 

t’lot of oos, silly as arse’oles, wi’ dogs, 

sheep an’ all .... great bell-wether 

out in’t froont, pelting down

t’Moocky Doock at foot o’t möor  -  

sithee, there were nowt to see, reelly, 

joost a yoong lass wi’ a littl’un, an’ 

an owd bearded boogger fettlin’ 

a clapped-out mule  -  or donkey,

mebbee, I forget which  -  an’ yon 

landlord, yon fat, pasty-faced git 

from Goosenargh way, e’s only 

choocked‘em out t’barn, but think on, 

I’ll tell thee this  - and ‘appen tha’ll 

believe it, ‘appen tha’ll not  - 

we were all down ont’ knees 

in snow and moock.



I am from Burnley, Lancs and there was a local word I have never been able to pin down.

It is “oyning” meaning to annoy – as in “He is oyning me”, “Stop oyning me!”.

I think that is the spelling, it is as close as I can get it to the way it sounds.

Probably a corruption of annoy I suppose.

I hope this is useful? I really enjoyed your site and will be getting my fiancé to look at it as she is not from the UK and needs to learn the Lancky ways!

Best regards,


In 'Lanky Speak' I haven't come across my great aunt's equivalent of 'By the 'eck'.  She often said 'By the billy en meyt'.  'By the bloomin' (bloody) hen meat'.

I see on the website a brush handle is called a 'stale'.  Again, in our family, it was a brush 'steel'.

And for expressing surprise 'Well, I'll gu t'top of our stirs'.  'Well, I'll go to the top of our stairs'.

I am from Lostock Hall, near Preston.


When I was 6 years old, my family migrated to Australia from Oldham Lancs. My father had a saying

‘”change trucks for Owdham, Bowton and Shaw”

I often wondered about these pronunciations of Oldham and Bolton??


John Campbell


Howdo Graham,
Re -  "Its all a load of iron peggy martin" . The meaning being "its all a load of rubbish or its not very likely to have happened"
I was looking through the site and come across the above phrase from Carl Dewhurst of Farnworth/Kearsley. Well I'm a "Keaw - Yed" from 'Owfen' (Westhoughton) and my dad who was from Aspull, used the phrase often. Carl has the correct meaning, but the phrase as I know it is:
"Its all mi eye and Peggy Martin"....which I think he cleaned up for my benefit and it came from: "Its all mi arse and Peggy Martin" Don't know who Peggy Martin was though ???
Hope this helps and lets keep dialect alive and kicking
Al si thi

As an ex-pat from Blackpool, via Ormskirk, who now lives in Canada (yes, that makes me a sangronan), born of Kirkham and Burnley stock, (My dad still follows the claret and blue as far as I know) this site has brought back some happy memories.
A few observations I could throw in -
Like as not as mebbe tha's reet was something that my dad liked to use (there is a possibility you are correct) There is no word 'the' in the Lancashire dialect - the shops are t'shops etc. This is more common as you get nearer to Burnley, Nelson and Colne I have found.

Finally, a nonsense rhyme my granddad used to tell me -


I'm goin' ter't pitchers last Sat'dy,

I sat at t'front row at t'back,

A feller gi' me a banana,

So I et it and gi' it 'im back

Is Mike Harding still going? He was a great source of Lanky speak!



Hi there

 Just to let you know that I LOVE your site.  I’m a Lancashire “ex-pat” having left my home town of Rochdale 30+ years ago when I moved to London.  Although I still have some sort of Lancashire accent, it has become more “southernified”!  So instead of saying my name is Surah I say Sarah and instead of sayin ova’thur I say over there.  Mind you I still say BATH instead of barth!!!!! 

I used to love listening to my dad talking his Lanky twang and when he got together with his old pal “Cleggie” (Mr. Clegg!) they were impossible to understand!!!

Anyway, mebbe (maybe) you might like to add a couple more to your dictionary.

Thur                  there

Ova’thur            over there

Mebbe              maybe

And one I use all the time when the kids ask me “mum, where’s my ……?” I reply “up suff”  (up the chimney)!! (why is it mum’s are supposed to know where everyone leaves their things?!)

If I come up with any more I’ll let you know.  It’s a shame my dad has passed away otherwise he could have provided you with a whole list!!!!

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Best wishes

“Surah”  !

(better get on with some work now!!)



Two words of my grandads who grew up on't moors near Heywood.
Gallaker Vinegar
Buthry  Pantry

Love it...

I am a Burnley lass living in Brunei and sent out an invite to a Jacobs Join. "A What?" is the response!
Many of my comments get raised eyebrows and confused looks, so here goes with my lesser understood coments I always took for granted before moving out here.

 Tar-Rah  / See y' the morrow
Up them apples and pears (go to bed)
bo bo's time (bed time)

were ya born in a barn / put wood int' ole (shut the door) ole inth wall (cash machine) am brassic at mo (no money at the moment) she's off er rocker (she is mad as box of frogs) stood there like a clock half struck / cheese a four pence yavin a brew (would you like a cup of tea) somets brewin (trouble is coming) It's gone to pot (it's gone wrong) as bright as a button (clever) lordin it about (showing off) hoof it (throw it) yawreet - grand (are you alright - very well thank you) Mum'll do a spud (In bother with mum - where does that one come from?) plod - (police man as i know it) pie, peas n grayvee in a tray wi a fork (staple food) owt wearin nowt bura shimmie (she is out wearing a dress that looks like a night dress) a bit ten punch shilling (not all there)


There are many, many more and I am not sure which are pure Lancs but I have made today my Lancashire day at work and have been teaching my malay and chinese pals lots of these in the office.

Pure entertainment watching my Tiawanese pal trying to say "a lurvely cuppa tea".

Great site and keep them coming!

Elly Green


Hi Graham,

                    Thanks for the reply. My grandad used to refer to water as "corporation pop" and "Lions drink". Whenever, as a child, I would ask what was for tea (dinner) he would reply "A jump up door and a bite o`t towel!". Those were the days........before I moved to Southport and everything became subsumed by scouse "culture".


Not heard of ‘Lions drink though it’s obvious why it got the name


I believe the term ‘Corporation Pop’ originated at Longridge nr Preston There is a pub on the bank of a reservoir (that supplies Preston) The pub is called – The Corporation Arms and has the Preston city crest (Lamb & Flag) carved in the stonework

Hi Graham,

                        My family all hail from Farnworth and Kearsley. My late mother used to come out with a full range of local diallect phrases, one that always perplexed me was (and I think this is what she said!!) "Its all a load of iron peggy martin" . The meaning being "its all a load of rubbish or its not very likely to have happened". Have you heard of this one before My grandma (the Kearsley connection) was also fond of saying "Its a comin on a wet" when it began to rain and "goin` up brew" for going up the local hill.

Carl Dewhurst


Never come across your first two examples – However I remember my Grandma referring to a hill on Adelphi Street in Preston as ‘Delphi Brew’ I also remember asking someone in Penrith directions and was told ‘It’s at the top o’ yon brew’


Sir or Madam

   I came across this web site by chance when I was looking for an expression my mother used to use. She was from Bolton as were my brother and sister. I was born in Canada - my father was a Canadian soldier . When I was acting up, she would say to me 'stop acting the leather pig' usually followed by ' or I'll cotter you one'.  I took this to mean stop fooling around or I'll smack you one. The word for tea in our house was plew as in 'that was a gradley cup of plew.' Another expression she used was 'owt fowt' meaning get out of the way. These are expressions I still use at home.


Paul from Canada

Dear Graham

I just came across your site and wondered if you could help me Just recently the Sydney Morning Herald has been carrying Lancashire expressions and I've enclosed the latest. Unless senility has set in I think I can rememer two of my Lancashire grandma's and wondered if you could corroborate or correct them.

1) "well I'll go to the bottom of our stairs" - an expression of surprise

2) she hasn't all her chairs at home -  not very bright

all the bes

Philip Thorniley

Berry, NSW, Australia 2535


Hello Graham

Thought you might like to see what the Sydney Morning Herald published this morning

all the best


Dear Graham,
                   I was born ,in 1942, in Ashton-Under-Lyne, went to school and worked for 47 years in Oldham and now live in Stalybridge.
                   I have tried without success to trace the origins of " Being in Dickies'  meadow" which to be polite is still said when people are on the verge of being in some kind of trouble.
                   Can you help me,please ?
Bill Jubb

Hello Graham
Thanks for this brilliant site/resource.
I am from Stubshaw Cross, which is about 3 miles S of Wigan. (Could all local TV stations please take note that this village is in Lancashire and NOT "Greater Manchester")
One phrase which we still use regularly, and which seems to confuse outsiders is "A-GATE". This is not easy to define, but roughly corresponds to the standard english "doing", or "working on".
Example: (referring to the ongoing, apparently interminable replacement of the water pipes on Bolton Road) AYE, THIV BIN A-GATE (WI IT) A GOOD WHILE.
Andrew Daley

Hi Graham,

Great to stumble across your site.

I was brought up in Kearsley in the 60s and 70s with many relatives from Farnworth (Fairnurth). Fairnworthians have a great dialect! I grew up speaking a foreign language that hardly ‘onnybody’ could understand! I hasten to add that even though it’s bordered wi’ Bowton it was a different dialect altogether.

Here’s a sample…

‘thad mek a berrer doer thun a winder’ - You’d make a better door than a window… You’re standing in my line of vision! 

‘It’s omptyin t’streets’ It’s emptying the streets… It’s raining very hard

Ave got fot goo nair… I have to go now 

Tha mun goo… You must go! 

Av got fot gut shop fo mi mam… I have to go to the shop for my mother

Shut thi cakeole… Close your mouth!

Is faiwin dearnt steers… He’s fallen down the stairs!

Now tha mearnt… No you mustn’t!

Ee wer bairnt goo burra towdim not fot do… He was going to go but I told him not to 

Is deed… He has died!

I went on to live ‘over the border… just! …in Todmorden. (tha dunt know whether thas cumin er gooin oer theer) Thas neyther one ner’t’other

 I now live in Burnley… Different again!

At naart in Burrnley they… ‘faart outsaard ut pubs on satdy naart!

Customer in a shop… “Ow much is that?”

Shopkeeper… “It’s naarn naarnti naarn!

Hope some of this finds its way on to your site… Keep up the good work



Dear Graham


What a joy to discover this web-site!  I have some very enjoyable times reminiscing these old dialect words with friends.


I can't find 'chimbley' in your list of words and how about - livin o'er t' brush and livin tally - both decidedly non-pc but no worse for that.


Has anyone yet come up with an answer to the question you will probably have been asked previously what are 'layoes for meddlars' or 'lay'orses for meddlars'?  This was a phrase used by mothers when you were having a root in a drawer and asking too many questions.


Si thi agin


Bernice Livesey

Eighup Graham!
Just came across your site, and wanted to congratulate you on your enterprise in compiling this wonderful dictionary of Lancashire dialect words and terms!  I am an ex-patriate Lanky lad, having emigrated to Canada in 1973, from Heywood.  I always enjoyed reading dialect, and somehow, being removed from the local scene only served to increase my interest.  My mother, when she was alive, used to send me 'Lancashire Life' magazine, and I used to cut out all the dialect poetry.  I would also get her to send me any books of poetry she came across, and on my various visits back home, I would likewise keep an eye open !  On one particular visit, I was fortunate enough to find a couple of books by Edwin Waugh, and also some 'besom Ben' stories!  Wonderful stuff!
Ony road, A thowt as A'd gie thee a couple o'words for thi files!  How about :
"Yewood" - that's Heywood, tha knows!  . . .and then there's
"Rachda" - Rochdale. . .and
"Bowton" - Bolton
another phrase in common use when I was little was 'shuz ow', as in " 'E wouldn't stop malarkin' about, shuz ow many times A towd 'im"
On a little point of interest, here in Canada, we are allowed, for a fee, to select our own customized car license plate number.  I am keeping faith with my roots, as my plate reads. . . .EIGHUP!
Long Live Lanky!
Best wishes
Jim Renshaw


Sorry Graham, but here is a quick P.S.  I just noticed that I included "malarkin' " in my last email to you, and you don't have that in your dictionary.  It means 'playing around', 'messing about' or similar
Jim R

Dear Graham,

I was born in Eldon Street, Preston. In 1926. I have a 75 year brother who worked in the mines and lives in Wigan. I spent some years in Kenya and Panama, and now live in NorthDevon.

It should be remembered that what is regarded as Dialect falls into two Distinct fields. 1. The terms we understood seventy five years ago. The farming area north of Preston, round Beacon Fell 

Pulled up by his Bootlaces or Boot strings – Gained a qualification at Night School

Coker – A clog iron, (one on each sole, one on each heel), they were 3/8 inch wide ¼. Inch thick and had a groove along the middle, which as in a horse shoe, protected the nail heads from wear. As the iron wore down, the heads of the nails wore away, and the Coker fell off.

Dot and carry one – the sound on the road with a clog with a missing clog iron

The Wigan Miners spoke of Rubber irons – rubber replacement for clog irons, quieter than iron Coker’s on the ‘Granite Set’s’ of the Streets

Doctor or Doc – The birth of the seventh son of a seventh son was greeted with “Well, He is the Doctor”. It often stuck as a nickname, In the late 1930’s TheClogger at Inglewhite was known as Doc Parker, I knew him for years, but never learned his real name.

Preston - Home laundry equipment.

Dolly tub, poser, and mangle. Dolly tub a ribbed galvanised iron barrel of about 16 gallons capacity half filled with the hot washing water.

Poser a small wooden stool on a long handle, with a cross-bar, to agitate the clothes in the water in the Dolly tub.

Mangle Designed to squeeze most of the water from the clothes. Having a cast iron frame with two parallel horizontal wooden rollers, the top one spring loaded,and wooden trays each side to hold the clothes

Trivet – A cast iron plate, that could be swung in front of the fire of the coal fired cooking stove, usually to keep a kettle warm, or for an earthenware bowl in which toast tasty Lancashire cheese whilst the bread was toasting on a toasting fork in front of the fire.

2, The tendency to run two or more words together, and stress the conjoined syllables, in unexpected places. We called it ‘Slang’ and at the time it was frownedupon. Now that it’s called Lanci I find it easy tounderstand

In fairness, when I was lecturing, I used to adopt a “Lancashire Burr” in my speech, to stop ‘Students Nodding off’

Barlik - Barnoldswick

Spunn up an stuk fer bobbins –A Spinning mill on short time (no work as the mill was waiting for bobbins on which to wind the thread).

Wigin - Wigan

stuk fer bobbins Used in the ‘Parsonage’ Colliery at Leigh when they ran out of Tub’s in which to put the Coal underground.


Ston agate t’ginul - Stand beside the allyway Muk t’ollans – From 1940, Spread manure on the corn stubble. (large scale cereal cultivation techniques were taught by a War Executive Committee Member who came from the Holland Division of Lincolnshire, hence ‘ollans’).

Ta am’ nay strkt. “Thanks, I will have that drink”, nay strikt literally “Not a Strict Tea Totaler”. Derivation ,It was a local man who, when asked to “sign the pledge” against drinking, stammered and stuttered “I’m tttte ttottel”. From this incident the term “Strict Tea Totaler” was adopted. This answer was common in the 1940’s.

That enough of that!, ”I am for up the wooden hill”, Going up stairs to bed, you put it into ‘Lanci. if you want, What if I tell you I now live in a bungalow.

So Long, Goodbye,

Brian Stephen Thompson,

Westward Ho! North Devon.

May God forgive me for using the term 'lanky-speak' which seems the topical expression for these days.    I have always been very proud of my background, but never quite sure where I fit in!!   Born in Stalybridge, Cheshire, we were literally only a few hundred yards from the Lancashire border (Stalybridge/Ashton-under-Lyne) - two miles from the Derbyshire border (Stalybridge/Glossop) - and two miles from the Yorkshire border (Stalybridge/Mossley) but in the midst of the cotton industry.   However, I have frequently been told I have a Lancashire accent, and have always been interested in local history and speech.
I now live in Cheshire (Northwich) in my retirement, and find that most of the locally coloured speech and expression that was so marked in my childhood has disappeared. Mainly, I think, as a result of the more mobile nature of society generally.   Many people move several times as a result of their work and so on.   As an example, my own Grandchildren have already moved three times because of their father's occupation, and have a 'bastardised' accent.    As I read through you correspondence, it saddens me that so many dialect expressions that have survived from probably Old English are rapidly disappearing.    Poets such as Samuel Laycock and his ilk who were masters of their craft in dialect poetry, but were never seen in their true worthiness in their lifetimes, would be sad of the changes.   Not, perhaps, of the evolvement and natural development of local language, but of the laziness of speech which has crept into dialogue through the subliminal influence of television, mainly.   We, in the Lancashire area, tend to get a conglomeration of 'glottal stops' which are typical of the Mancunian
accent (and I say accent as against dialect) nowadays.   I have no political axe to grind, but this erosion of the more local speech patterns began when satellite housing developments moved city dwellers into the more suburban and rural areas which had traditionally had a static population of mill-workers, etc.    I speak particularly of dialect and not of accent, which is another aspect altogether.   Dialect, of any area, is a precious thing, and not a symptom of laziness of speech.   It is distinctive and full of character.   Long may we fight to preserve it  !!    I started my working days on a local newspaper - 'The Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter' - it gave me an early appetite for some of the precious but changing things around us.   Even that local paper is not the same any more.   Perhaps I should close by saying, "Eh up then, awl sithee when tha cums whoam.  Awl put t'kettle on't th'hob."   

  Stan C Wood

My mother, from Nelson, also used to talk about when she asked her brother whether she squinted, he answered "Tha sken like a basket o'whelks". also a little boy coming to the door and asking whether she was coming out to play, and saying "Arta barn aat lakin' tommort neet?" (Are you playing out tomorrow night?)
regards Wendy Ouali

I've just thought of some other expressions:
If tha duz owt fer nowt, do it fer thysen
Give over mitherin'
Thaart nesh (nesh meaning someone who feels the cold not who is cold. There is no equivalent in standard English, but there is in French - frileux)
Be sharp! (Hurry up)
Wendy Ouali

Dear Graham,

My email must have been one “Wast down T’ suf “Lets have another shot. I see you have a letter from T’ Preston I was born 77years ago round the corner in Loundes Street.

I had no difficulty in understanding the ‘Lanci’ in your vocabulary. At school in Broughton, some 70 years ago. All the scholars were Bi-lingual. The Headmaster, George Smithies was to us,a man from another planet , having played first team football for P.N.E (Preston North End).

There was a line of demarcation between playground and Class room (the school door). Outside we spoke with a Broad Lancashire accent and used words that came naturally

Asked if we had seen Bob Robinson one would answser “E’s agate t’ginel’ (standing beside the alley between two school buildings) That answer came naturally to us, however in the Classroom we would switch to “He went to the sports field, I saw him at the entrance to the passage by the workshop”. (in those days there was a real incentive to speak “Proper English” ). The School had a very high “Scholarship” results both at 11+ and 13+. Exams. If you Passed a Scholarship you could stay on at school till you were SIXTEEN, instead of having to start work at FOURTEEN. You still understood Broad Lancashire, but dare not use it except at home. Many terms passed from industry to industry. In Barnoldswick (Barlic) when a spinning mill was on short time, waiting for ‘Cops’ to spin onto they were said to be “Spun up and stuck for bobbins”. At Parsonage Colliery, Leigh, when they were waiting for “Tubbs” underground., as work stopped they were said they were “Stuck for Bobbins”.

‘Dooin T’weshing’ on Monday required a ‘Dolly Tub, (galvanised ribbed steel barrel), a Hard scrubbing brush, and a Bar of ‘Sunlight Soap (posh people used ‘Persil’ powder), a wooden posser to stir up the water, and a mangle with wooden rolls to remove some of the rinse water before hanging the washing out to dry. We were told “Ne’r cast a clout till T’may is out” i.e keep wearing winter weight vest & long john’s. (Fowks were brighter in those days, its not the Month of May they were referring to but the may(flower. Which flowers as tsoon as he weather gets warmer.)

A dishcloth was always referred to as a Dish clout, a Sink as a Slopstone, the Canal t’cut, a bridge t’brig. Engineering ‘prentice’s were sent to the stores to get a Long Stand, or a bucket of steam, or even a Left hand Screwdriver.


Brian Stephen Thompson.

'I was born in Leygh, and I can remember that my father always gave his roses a good deggin (watering). Perhaps this could be added to the dictionary.

Barbara McClure

Hello from a Lancashire Lass born and bred, I hail from Tottington,Bury. Totty to the natives! Can anyone out there tell me if they have ever heard the term 'Degging Can'? My Granddad always said he was going to use the degging can(watering can)to water the plants, or he was going to deg theplants meaning the same thing. Is it a Lancashire term or just something peculiar to our family?!

Sue Papuha

hello my name is amanda Stuart,i lived in blackburn lancsuntill the ripe age of 23 and it was great to see this sight as i have lived in london for 14 yrs and many of my little lancy phrases i dont use anymore ,hoeever i do remeber a few we used as kids and what my parents used these may or maynot be of use to you......conk,or konk not sure of spelling meaning nose eg ive hurt my conk,...bog as in toilet eg im burstin to go tat bog, vitaces dance as in some one who cant keep still for long you have got st vitases dance....playing hamlet ,to get shouted at be in trouble,eg your mother will play hamlet at you,..brew,cup of tea, these are probably not as old as the dilect you already have but these terms were widley used as i was growing up also brew can also mean hill eg its at the top of the brew oh and ecky peck as in flippin hell usually used when id done something wrong,hope these help they may not be of any use im sure these phrases variate in the diffrent towns i leave you with a lancashire poem i think i remeber it all here goes..........see all, hear all, and say nowt,and if tha ever does owt for nowt,do it for thi sen........yours amanda

These things popo into one's head from time to time.  This one was a children's marching chant...
Ee by gum
Stick a banger up yer bum
When it's lit
Do yer shit
Ee By Gum.
Repeat at will whilst goin't shop wi' yer mates for a Park Drive
Howard from Bedford, Leigh.  Reyt near't cut.

We had great fun reading your web site and have thought of a few more our
mum and dad used to say - hope you like these -
denk- just right demick - scrap slippy-curry(Oldham)Ice-slide
cloggy bogging- sticking snow to the irons of the clogs like platform soles
"barra-offchilt" very rich person (Baron Rothschild)
brew - hill
taterash - meat and potato stew barm cake -bread roll
brew up - make a pot of tea ecky thump - ouch!
plod - tartan,plaid coyl-oyl - manhole for coal
gerrit-ett - eat it up(my school dinner lady's threat)
welly-ole - very deep pit "al purr thi wi mi clog" - I will hit you
lob-colly - lob sided dolly-tub - wash tub (goes with posser,used to
stir washing) AND FINALLY,my dad's Shape yersen - (pull yourself together)

Hope you like these. Best wishes,from Mr.& Mrs.Wright in Gloucestershire.

Hi - just enjoying your site immensly - I'm a huge Corrie fan (even after a 15 yr hiatus as an expat - now in Canada and loving it again! - not much changes!!!)
Anyhow - here's a dialect joke my mum told me a few years ago - she heard it on Radio Nottingham (Dennis McCarthy Show) from a clergyman being interviewed - it's not strictly Lancashire, but close.....
Two little gels wur walkin' down't'road carryin a baskit and cryin' they're eyes up, an they cum across an owd man....
"Ayup mester, can yer 'elp us, us cat's badly"
Man - "Ayup me ode ducks, wots up wi' it? ay it a tom?"
Girls - "naw ya daft bogger, it's in t' baskit"
Keep up the great site - I just found a British Expat site (in Canada!) - so I'm ordering Jammy Dodgers and Typhoo Oxo gravy granules though...

Great site. I finally understand what nme dear old Mum is saying.. only took me 35 years...
A couple of her frequent gems:-
"He's a bit of a Mary Ellen" - he is gay
When asked what's for tea,
"Wigwams for lame ducks" - never you mind
When required to go to bed,
"Get up the Dancers" (dancers = Ginger Rodgers & Fred Astaire's = stairs?)
After waiting around at length for someone to turn up,
"stood around like cheese at fourpence"
"sat here like piffy on a toadstool"
keep up the good work


Another two just came to me,
when asked to close the door behind you as you come into a room,
"Put wood in T'hole lad"
and the old proverb,
"Nae cast a clowt til May is owt" - Keep wrapped up - I seem to recall 
hearing 'May' referred to May Blossoms and not the month..

Can't help it now, old phrases keep popping into my head.
Obvious one I forgot earlier
Sandgrownans - people born in Blackpool

Dear Graham,

I came across your Web site and was pleasantly surprised to see the language of my childhood alive and well on the Internet.

I was born in Preston in 1948, went down to London when I was 19 and moved to New Zealand in 1974. I live in Christchurch. I have been back for a visit a couple of times and did notice that while the accent was still strong in Preston the dialect seemed to have disappeared. At least no one I met used any of it.

Both my mother and father were born in Preston and lived all their lives there, as did all my grandparents so far as I am aware.

Ours was a working class home; as Dad used to say: “am an afe (half) inch bloody labrur” (labourer). Consequently, a lot of dialect was used, both by parents and children.  Though I have lived in NZ for twenty eight years the sounds of the words of my childhood are as clear in my head as if it were yesterday. I can still speak fluent dialect in my head.

Anyway, Graham, I have some words for you which are not on your list:

Badly = ill or poorly

Dancers = stairs, often used to a child, as in "gerrup them dancers" ie go to bed

coddy muck = horse shit

jew = cheat out of money as, for example, getting the wrong change in a shop, "yon bugger's jewed ma." It's a lovely dialect word but not a very politically correct one these days. I assume it came from the word Jew

obstrocolus = difficult when describing a person. Means the same as obstreperous

sidecawser = pavement

slutch (adjective is slutchy) = mud. Not lots of mud as in a ploughed field but the sort of mud you get on your shoes from playin int gutter

pinklewatter = weak tea. Pinkle is from the German I think, originally. Literally means piss water. Occasionally used directly for weak tea, but mostly in the expression "this tae's like pinklewatter."

suff = the drain outside the house that the kitchen sink pipe goes into

Sken as you point out in your dictionary often refers to being cross eyed. The expression frequently used in Preston was " 'er skens like a Ribble fluke." I saw lots of minnows in the Ribble but I can't say I ever saw a fluke.

Why don't you have "chippy" for Fish and Chip shop? Is it commonly used in England or something.

I will send you more words as I remember them, and expressions, too, which I am sure are still in my head. One curious expression used to describe a long passage of time, usually though not always when something unpleasant is happening, is: " from arse 'ole ta brekfast time." For example, a woman complaining that her husband has been arguing with her all day might say: "  'is bin at mi frae arse 'ole ta brekfast time."

Good luck with your project. I will email you again as words come to me.

Kind regards,

Alan Scott

or tatta (same as tarra but said to young children; I assume you're young at heart)

Alan Scott 


I was brought up in Chorley and now I work as a teacher in Manchester.  When I speak to them in the way that I speak to my mother, the way in which I was brought up,  I expect my students to find it mildly amusing. 

What shocked me was that not only did they find it funny, but they did not actually understand what I was saying.  The words were so alien to them as to be not just old fashioned but actually a different language and one of which they had no knowledge.  (I am speaking of a sentence as obvious and common as "Aahm frozzen t' dee-ath". 

They did not understand the words, "clemt"  "gradely" - they did not know what a "pow" was.  When I said that I would "fettle" summat, they did not understand.  My parting call of "Si thi mon" they did not understand at all.

How sad that such basic elements of our native language are doomed to disappear unless we take strenuous measures to halt the decline.

Lawrence Yates

Hello from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia
I must have clocked on the wrong button and up came your site, first time in well over a year.  I had a couple of minutes to spare so decided to have a gander at the alphabet, only got into the "A's" before I got interupted.
It wer nobbut awreet, ay, ther wer anutherun anaw.
It is many years since I grew up in Lancashire and I suppose that like everything else, the dialect has changed with the times, a little more toffee-nosed anaLL, awLreet ?
A Lanky Lad (for the last 75 years).   Best wishes

 Do you have on your list.   Art feign thet wick.   Are you glad you are alive.                   
 Or, as the old man would say to a youngster on the street.   Asti getten a corkie ball.        
 Have you a cricket ball there.                                                                                                   
 Les  -

One of my father's favourite words was fow (to rhyme with cow) meaning ugly 'as fow as Bruffhall shithouse' (an expression he still uses!) which was very fow indeed, apparently.  I have no idea where Bruffhall is, or even if I've spelt it correctly, but there you are.  Dad is from Bolton and the rest of us are from Ashton-under-Lyne so it could be a Bolton expression (don't know).
Best Regards,
Janet Greason

Having greatly enjoyed looking at your site (again!) and having just read Dave Smith's contributions, I'd like to add that when we were kids Auntie Pollie used to inform us - after mithering her to death - that our meal for that night was : (a) "Three jumps at the cupboard and a bite at the knob", or  (b)  "S & S"  - which she eventually explained stood for "Shite wi' sugar on" (the letter "e" meks alt  diffrence tha knaws!).   
Many moons ago on a trip back to Manchester I bought a couple of little books on dialect : "Just Sithabod" which is verse from Lancashire Life, and "The Lanky Twang" by Peter Wright - lots of info in the latter.
Thanks for the memories!     
Vera B     (NZ)    

I enjoy checking your page, as I hail from the Bolton/Bury (that's Berry not Burry) area myself, though I now live in Austin, Texas.  I identify with many of the colloquilisms and wanted to contribute one that I heard recently.  I received an e-mail from my father (Bolton born and raised) and he said (direct quote):
"if you fell off the co op you'd land in the divi".  I knew he was trying to indicate that he thought I was a jammy beggar (lucky) but I was not clear at all on where that phrase came from.  I asked both him and my mother and they explained the the Co-operative Society used to pay a dividend to it's customers based on how much they bought.  (Like a 1% cash back credit card.) 
Chris Alberts

I think your website is well funny, and thought you might like this addition!
My Grandma allous (always) used t'say: "up shies at back o' jossies" Not sure where she got it from but apparently it means "over there somewhere/who knows where"
If you wanna add it you are very welcome!
I am originally from Preston btw and will be moving back there shortly :))
Good luck with the site ;)

stale.......... meaning a broom handle.
I only realised that this was a dialect word when we came to Godzone in 1970. I went into a hardware shop and asked for a stale.
The looks I got ,indicated that here was another looney pom. My parents( born in the late 1800s ) both used this term.It never occured to me that this was not 'standard' English.

I have come across many other examples , no doubt they will come to me and I might send them to you. Does anyone know the etymology of this use of the word stale ?

Stan & Marie Nield (N.Z.)

It's a long time since I left my home town of Platt Bridge near Wigan, which helps to explain why I enjoyed your Guide to Lanky so much. Just wanted to make three points (but might make some more in the future as I recall other sayings  of my mother and my grandmothers).
'gobbin' was used by one grandmother (from Abram) to mean a really stupid person ('E's a proper gobbin' would be a good description for Homer Simpson). Her father came from Darwen, which isn't all that far from Oswaldtwistle).
Also a saying of my Abram grandmother was 'nowt a peawnd', as in 'Her thinks her's summat bur her's neawt a peawnd'.
Finally, said of someone very stubborn: 'as okkert [awkward] as Dick's 'atband, three tahms reawnd an' still it woundn't fasten'. I'd love to know how this originated.
Thanks again for your site.

Mary Sayers

My late father-in-law, who came from Preston, "T'Delphi" (Adelphi Street) used to exclaim "Ee erry" usually as a rather sarcastic version of "Good heavens".  The "ee" bit was not a straight sound but sort of a long "eay".

He called children "childer" and apples "apper".

I grew up in Liverpool where we used to recite "Ee by gum brown cow".  Only when I met grandad did I understand it is "Ee ba gum bu'r'am caud (cold)" and continues "Ah ant bin wahrm sin a left mi bed; am gunna get raht up t' fire, as clawse as ivver ah can, an ah'll be craidly wahrm agin, ee ba gum bu'r'am caud."

What is Lanky for "maider"?  My mum said "myder" but I know some people say "mayther" or "myther".  "Stop myderin me!"  Anyone who tries to get anything done with a small child helping will find this word useful.  

In Southport no-one knows "jib", (mouth or chin); or "mush", (ditto).

I have heard that an old Banks farmer spoke thus: "Ef thee plantum craaaaaidly on that slawp, thee'll be fust en Bonks": i.e. If you plant them nicely on that slope, they'll be the first lettuce in Banks (evidently fierce competition existed for the first lettuce to market, gaining the high early season prices).  Also "deggin" for "watering".  Banks seems to have its own unique version of the dialect.


I was born and raised in of my Grannie's came from Burnley and she would remark (after I came in the house from the garden) that "I was as black as UP LUVVER"   She meant that I was as black as if I had been up the chimney (louvre)

There is also a farm house in Westhoughton (Dicconson Lane) called the Three has three chimneys!

kind regards

Pam Clarke

Hi Graham: I found your page and found it quite
illustrating. Last November I was in Lancashire
visiting my grandparents' town, Bolton. It was a real
surprise to hear certain pronunciations I had only
heard at home and nowhere else, as I was born in
Argentina and live here. Naturally my education was in
Standard English and Lanky pronunciation faded out
from my mind. But when I was in Lancashire, it was
like listening to my granpas jargon again. So I
decided to plunge into Lanky and learn more about it.
I was having a look at the dictionary you wrote and I
am having certain problems to figure out certain
pronunciations, such as the one which replaces the
sound "ow" as in "cow", I don't seem to understand
what  that "eaw" sounds like, or what it rhymes like
in the following words:  Abeawt, Areawnd, Beawt,
Beawn, Beawnt, Ceawer, Ceawncil, Ceawnted, Ceawnty,
Dreawn, Eawt, Eawtside, eawr,  etc.
I wonder if you could help me out.
On the other hand, at home my granpas used to pronunce
"vawse" for "vase". And they used to speak that way
when they were alone. When someone else was around,
they automatically switched to Standard English.
I appreciate very much your efforts to help Lanky be
Luis Stuart-Pennington

Graham init,
         Awrighty matey, Az just been round thi site an' I think it were fair cool so mi thinks I'll submit a few of mi sayin's to thi (Seein' as I'm a Lancashire Lad thorough and through.)
  We do talk a bit mad but a lot of the old dialect has died out now and although we do use a few of the MAD (and even we think they are crazy, but fun) phrases we still find very few people who speak it fluently. Most people I know remeber their parents or grand parents who would be good at mimicking a bygone generation. I'm glad to see that it is still alive and bringin' enjoyment to others.
    I found it difficult to think of examples as I use it without really thinkin' 'bout it. So here goes, I'll send more when I can think of them. Please feel free to write to me and good luck with the site. 
BAZ 25 M Lancashire     .....  Darwen   ....   Nr Blackburn
Tis thi gannin ta pub? = RU going to the pub?
Werstibin? = Where have you been?
Owzitgoin? = how's it going?
Ri tinth middle = right in the middle
AzzEdone it = Has he done it
Tha were till thi saw thee = I were till I saw you
ezureight = he's allright


After I had sent in my question (which is why I looked for a website dealing
with Lancashire dialect) I looked up a couple of words and found that you
didn't have them.

A word that was still in common use about 60 years ago (when I were nobbut a
lad), was "lake" = "play". "Stop laking about"

Another pair that also figured in an old joke involving t'Rovers and
allegedly dates from the replay at Ewood on February 26, 1925 (I was born
halfway through the second half in Mill Hill, much to the annoyance of Dr
Kirkness and my father) were "welly" and "au bod":

The Rovers put in a shot that just went over the bar. A Rovers supporter
said: "E! That were welly a goal". His neighbour from Tottenham (in those
days you didn't need to ghetto the supporters) asked "What's 'welly' mean?"
To which the Lancashire lad replied "It's same as 'au bod'".

John McLeod

fax: +1 (306) 374 9898
phone: +1 (306) 374 8077 and +1 (306) 374 9898 (Home)
+1 (306) 492 2185 (most weekends)
s-mail: 2325 Taylor Street East, Saskatoon SK, Canada  S7H 1W8

After eating well, and coming to eat left-overs or some more modest fare, I
find myself echoing my mother's phrase "Well, back to scauden meyt (rhymes
with "eight")".

What is "scauden"?  I looked up in the old edition of the complete Oxford
Dictionary, and found "scaud", meaning to scald. Could it be that "scauden"
is the past participle of "scaud"?  If so, why and how did people scald
meat? Was it to freshen up leftovers?

John McLeod

fax: +1 (306) 374 9898
phone: +1 (306) 374 8077 and +1 (306) 374 9898 (Home)
+1 (306) 492 2185 (most weekends)
s-mail: 2325 Taylor Street East, Saskatoon SK, Canada  S7H 1W8

P.S. Originally frae Blegburn

Graham. I enjoyed your page. You have gone to great length to make it interesting. I noticed though that in your dictionary you called the natives of Oswaldtwistle 'Gobbiners'. Being from Accy myself, I should point out that this should be 'Gobbinlanders'.

You might be interested in knowing too that this term only refers to those residents of Oswaldtwistle who live 'above t' lamp'. The lamp being a street light beyond which the part of Ozzy known as Gobbinland begins.

Did you know that the term Gobbinland originated from the slag, known in that part of Lanks as Gobbin, from the open pit mines over which that part of town is built?

There is an excellent book about the area by an Accy native, Bob Dobson, called An Accrington Mixture. If you have not read it, I'm sure you would find some interesting material for your web-page.
I'll be checking back to your page. Thanks and good luck from Ontario Canada.

Al & Helen Jones

We read a letter from a chap who lived in Ontario who said that people who lived above the lamp are known as gobbiners. This is not true.
Only people who were born above the lamp can be called Gobbiners. The lamp is the one which is situated in the grounds of the library on Union road.
Everyone else are called Gobbinlanders.
Yours Estranged Gobbinlanders in Cornwall Jason Kayley and Michelle Walsh Books by Benita Moore about ossy are good.

Graham, I have just continued to read through the rest of your website-pages and came across the letters. I am sorry to inform you but the "Estranged Gobbinlanders" are correct in the fact that you have to be born above the lamp in "Ozzy" to be classed as a "Gobbinlander" I actually have a Great Aunt who lives on Bury Street and Great Niece who lives on Trinity Street in the town and they can be classed as "Gobbinlanders". Without thinking about it I actually typed in another addition to your phrase book "Ozzy" - Oswaldtwistle. not Australia this time - but I wonder if they moved from "Oswaldtwistle" to "Australia" so they would feel at home, after all they are both refered to as "Ozzy"
Steve Driver

As an ex Lanacastrian (left UK in 1964 from Oldham) now living in Wellington New Zealand I would like to make the following additions if you want them.
My mother and father often said the following
"A've sin better 'air on bacon" - I don't like your hairstyle
"I thowt tha 'ad more oil in tha' can than that"- I thought you had more sense
"He's as thick as two short planks" - He is not very intelligent
"A were standing there like cheese at fourpence" I wasn't making much progress in getting things done
"A were mizzled" - I was misled
"World War I started over summat an nowt" Big arguments can start from relatively inconsequential sources
"There's now funnier ner folk" People can be strange, especially in Oldham.
"Ad supped su much last neet, a woke up like a boggart" - I have a hangover from drinking 15 pints of best bitter last evening
"He couldn't knock t'skin off a rice puddin" He is weak
"Aye, an woke up swettin"- He's exaggerting his physical prowess
"He couldn't neck a meat puddin" - His romantic skills are overated
"Be good, an if tha' can't be good be careful and if tha' can't be careful buy a pram" - Contraceptive advice c. 1958.
"Never run after a buzz or a lass, there'll be another one along in five minutes" - advice to the lovelorn c. 1963
"Oldham Athletic" - A contradiction in terms " (er...sorry about this one)
"Shit wi' sugar on"
- Dessert. Joke: Two old women in a graveyard inspecting tombstones. They see one that says "He were thin" . One says "Florrie, there's an 'e' missing off that bugger" The other one says "Aye Gladys tha's reet. It should say "Ee....., he were thin"
All the best Dave Smith

I've just spent most of the morning looking at your site.  I was born and brought up, and still live in the villages of West Lancs (Banks, Mere Brow Hesketh Bank etc) my parents spoke in dialect and so I was brought up speaking it myself and still use it when talking to other "gradely Bonksers" (or native Banksers.)
It is amazing to think that each of these villages had its own dialect even though they were only 2 or 3 miles apart. My mother coming from Mere Brow spoke differently to my father who came from Banks.
Can I comment on some words in your dictionary, I'm not suggesting your definitions are not correct just different regional variations. I will also add some more to the list if I may!
BELLY WAHRT in our area was definately said as BALLY WARCH in Banks and BALLY WURCH in  Mere Brow
BROSSEN didn't mean broken. It was always said when someone had eaten too much "Am brossen" perhaps meaning bursting? Incidentally the word for broken was brokken 
Interesting to read that MOIDER was used in East Lancs, it was also used hereabouts as well rather than MOITHER
SHEPPY was the local name for STARLING
Here are a few additions to your list which you may find interesting
CLOD = THROW         
WELLY = NEARLY as in "I welly fell o'er"     
FOTCH = FETCH       
BOD = ONLY As in "I bod looked at it "
SNIGS = EELS ...........  SNIGGIN = TO CATCH EELS       
THREEAP pron 3'ap = ARGUE as in "Oo threeaped ma" She argued with me
I will add a couple of local recipes and some more words ASAP
Thanks for creating this fine and much needed website
Ow t'best
Ken Abram (which is a gradely Bonks name if ever there was one)

Dear Graham


What a joy to discover this web-site!  I have some very enjoyable times reminiscing these old dialect words with friends.


I can't find 'chimbley' in your list of words and how about - livin o'er t' brush and livin tally - both decidedly non-pc but no worse for that.


Has anyone yet come up with an answer to the question you will probably have been asked previously what are 'layoes for meddlars' or 'lay'orses for meddlars'?  This was a phrase used by mothers when you were having a root in a drawer and asking too many questions.


Si thi agin


Bernice Livesey



TROUBLE at' MILL GUIDE TO LANKY SPEAK.<<<Back to dictionary