As my granny used to say.....

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What words did your grandparents use that raise a few eyebrows when you use them yourself? Please please catalogue them here and keep using them. Let your kids hear you using them, explain their meanings to your friends.

I've been reinventing a few of my own grannies, most of them are pretty local to the west of Scotland - or were. I'd hate to see them die out!

the lobby - the hall/reception area

the landing - area at the top of the stairs

the press - an indoor cupboard - (the lobby press)

the cloot - the cloth

smir - light rain, drizzle

There are many many more of these, not all of them spring to mind right now. I think it's our duty to keep using these words - they are part of our regional heritage.

Rumpie, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:19 (fourteen years ago) link

the landing - area at the top of the stairs

there's another name for it? seems not, else you would have called it that instead of "area at the top of the stairs", right? i never heard anyone call it anything other than landing. every generation of my family says landing. am i missing out on something? OH NOES.

Sailor Kitten (g-kit), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:22 (fourteen years ago) link

"the lobby" is common usage in the u.s.

athol fugard (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:22 (fourteen years ago) link

your first three are pretty common and not just in Scotland.

xp yeah, wierd.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:23 (fourteen years ago) link

what is the 21st century word for the landing then?

Sailor Kitten (g-kit), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Press

4. An upright case or closet for the safe keeping of
articles; as, a clothes press. --Shak.
[1913 Webster]

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:24 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm not quite sure how to spell this phonetically, but my grandmother used to call the cupboard under the stairs the "kutch" (
to rhyme with 'butch')

C J (C J), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:24 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't think they really used any different words. More expressions. Such as:

"It rolls like a square ball."

Nathalie (stevie nixed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:27 (fourteen years ago) link

anyway to answer the question - my mum calls an ice cream cone "a pokey hat". confusingly, she also calls a plastic bag "a poke".

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:27 (fourteen years ago) link

i wonder if that's a variation on "hutch." (xxpost)

athol fugard (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:28 (fourteen years ago) link

My Botanist Granny only used to use very technical botanical terms - "Gymnosperm" and the like. I think the Maths Granny used to pepper and salt her language with Afrikaans terms but I can't remember any off hand. Oh yes, shouting "Footsaak!" at stray dogs.

Please Snap StressTwig (kate), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:29 (fourteen years ago) link

'Poke' is fairly common for bag, e.g. 'pig in a poke' or a 'poaky chups' in Scotland (please excuse the phonetic bollocks)

beanz (beanz), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:30 (fourteen years ago) link

Excellent - I know many people who had no idea what a landing was until I explained it. That's what made me think it was one of these local ones.

What I find weird is how things travel, I used to live in Ayrshire, and found it really funny when an old neighbour referred to a clothes horse as a winterdyke. My mum had never heard it called that before and we thought it was just an Ayrshire thing. Afew years ago we visited friends in Berwick upon Tweed, and they called it a winterdyke too.

One or two of the folk in my work have heard of it, others who were born and brought up in the same area haven't.

Rumpie, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:33 (fourteen years ago) link

My grandama calls the cupboard under the stairs the 'Cutch' too. And she says five and twenty past/to when refering to the time. My grandad calls the toilet the office of works

Shin, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:34 (fourteen years ago) link

I know many people who had no idea what a landing was until I explained it.

ask these lunatics what they refer to it as. then shoot them.

Sailor Kitten (g-kit), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:35 (fourteen years ago) link

one that i like is "tate" = a small amount, as in "can i have a wee tate of your ginger?"

Joyce uses "press" in a portrait of the artist when he's describing the cupboard the holy wine is kept in.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Not really the same, but my gran calls the dining room (table, dresser etc) the kitchen, and the kitchen (oven, fridge, sink etc) the scullery. I don't think much sculling goes on there though.

Archel (Archel), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, I've always called a bag of chips a 'poke of chips', and 'pokey hat' was common too.

Rumpie, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh yes, my Grandma used to call the kitchen the scullery too!

And she called the dining room the 'middle kitchen'.

C J (C J), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh yes! Botanist granny used to refer to a Dram as a kind of measurement. Especially sherry or whiskey would always be served in a "wee dram".

Please Snap StressTwig (kate), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:38 (fourteen years ago) link

We say 'five past' or 'quarter to' as well. What's the american equivilant? 'Quarter of?'

Rumpie, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I know many people who had no idea what a landing was until I explained it.
ask these lunatics what they refer to it as. then shoot them.

Obv don't shoot'em in the head cause there's nothing vital there.

Nathalie (stevie nixed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:39 (fourteen years ago) link

i love this one: my friends granny (who died last week, RIP Margaret) said "shut eye with a bang" to mean a shock. "you'll get a shut eye with a bang when you see what she's wearing!".

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:40 (fourteen years ago) link

She was a WITCH?

Nathalie (stevie nixed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:42 (fourteen years ago) link

More expressions. Such as: "It rolls like a square ball."

Expressions have been as rare as teeth in a chicken here.

D.I.Y. U.N.K.L.E. (dave225.3), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:45 (fourteen years ago) link

Botanist Granny always used to say "I'm going to discipline and control my mind" to mean she was going to take a nap, but I think she coined that one herself after being caught sleeping at college.

Please Snap StressTwig (kate), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:46 (fourteen years ago) link

i love this one: my friends granny (who died last week, RIP Margaret) said "shut eye with a bang" to mean a shock. "you'll get a shut eye with a bang when you see what she's wearing!".

that's awesome!

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:49 (fourteen years ago) link

vagina - flange

haru h, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:54 (fourteen years ago) link

fanacapan.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 13:55 (fourteen years ago) link

These peeps call the landing the hall. They don't differentiate between different parts of it.

Rumpie, Monday, 28 November 2005 13:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Nearly-supercentenarian granny is the only person I knew who used "jiffy" for "very short time." As in "Do you want some breakfast? I could fix you an egg in a jiffy."

I do feel guilty for getting any perverse amusement out of it (Rock Hardy), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:08 (fourteen years ago) link

The "quarter to" or "quarter past" is used here in the U.S. - but we don't say "I'll see you at half five then!" We would say five thirty, because we are brutish and didactic and are ruled by digital time.

aimurchie (aimurchie), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:17 (fourteen years ago) link

my grandad called Jimmy Hendrix a 'gutter snipe' when he saw him playing on tv.

Ste (Fuzzy), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:20 (fourteen years ago) link

I use "jiffy" all the time, but then I'm the kind of person who would, I guess.

Come Back Johnny B (Johnney B), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:22 (fourteen years ago) link

A piece of jam - a jam sandwich.

Anna (Anna), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:32 (fourteen years ago) link

We here in Ireland say 'press' all the time to mean 'cupboard'. The hot press is the airing cupboard, and it lives on the landing.
My granny had a fantastic array of sayings, from the fairly common 'she's tuppence ha'penny looking down on tuppence' to the grim (and still used by me) 'the dogs won't lick your blood'. She used to say 'woe betide you' a lot as well. Since she was a completely unthreatening woman, these phrases don't quite sound as gothic to me as they do to others.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:34 (fourteen years ago) link

My grandmother used to call gay men "funny fellas".

elmo (allocryptic), Monday, 28 November 2005 14:35 (fourteen years ago) link

My grandad has been known to ask "who are these ginks?" when Top of the Pops comes on.

Mädchen (Madchen), Monday, 28 November 2005 15:17 (fourteen years ago) link

And Nanna's exclamation of choice is "gor strike!"

Mädchen (Madchen), Monday, 28 November 2005 15:18 (fourteen years ago) link

My favorite of my gran's was referring to something dark as being 'black as the inside of a cow.'

luna (luna.c), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:11 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm not quite sure how to spell this phonetically, but my grandmother used to call the cupboard under the stairs the "kutch" (
to rhyme with 'butch')

"Cooch"????

Dan (Where You Stick The Cucumbers) Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:14 (fourteen years ago) link

You say "boootch"? Are you French?

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:15 (fourteen years ago) link

What if I am?

Dan (Racist) Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, it would explain the antisemitism.

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm always sad that nobody except my gran says 'spend a penny' any more.

My step-dad always says 'it takes a man not a shirt button' whenever anyone mock-threatens him.

Archel (Archel), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

"We say 'five past' or 'quarter to' as well. What's the american equivilant? 'Quarter of?'"

Sorry i just realised i didnt phrase this very well . Shes a british granny and instead of saying twenty five past five, would say five and twenty past five

I say jiffy

Shin, Monday, 28 November 2005 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, it would explain the antisemitism.

Touche.

Dan (Cross Thread ROFFLES) Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

scots, particularly those from the renfrewshire area: anybody ever heard "stoner" (pronounced "stonner") used to mean a hard-on?

it will very much affect a headline in next week's her4ld magazine.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Monday, 28 November 2005 19:02 (fourteen years ago) link

yep, stonner was the school word for it.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 28 November 2005 19:05 (fourteen years ago) link

strapped?

dog latin (dog latin), Friday, 24 March 2006 11:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah! That's the one!

(Not strapped, stapped!)

Rumpie (lil drummer girl parumpumpumpu), Friday, 24 March 2006 12:14 (fourteen years ago) link

six years pass...

Heart this thread, revive because the phrase 'yer arse in parsley' just popped into my head.

Pat Ast vs Jean Arp (MaresNest), Sunday, 9 September 2012 21:42 (seven years ago) link

three years pass...

My mother was ill before Xmas and she tells me that ever since she's "been feelin' like a hauf-shut knife".

Narayan Superman (Tom D.), Tuesday, 12 January 2016 12:40 (four years ago) link

a face like a well-skelped arse

ilxors ananimus (onimo), Tuesday, 12 January 2016 22:21 (four years ago) link

these are still well in use, well they were when I last resided in the dear green place :(

my grandfather had a strange catalogue of well-worn phrases that tbh ive never heard anyone say so either very archaic and just a bit pish patter so didn't endure (quite likely) or just some idiosyncratic phrases he liked to hit out wi':

half the lies are never true
when youre right rich you can shop in Buchanan street
tony galenti (rhyming slang for plenty)
toffs are careless
that was rotten (invariably said immediately after finishing a particularly good meal)

Cuombas (jim in glasgow), Tuesday, 12 January 2016 23:11 (four years ago) link

six months pass...

My sister has just mentioned this one, I don't remember it but then I'm the wrong gender:

Granny Grey Hips - someone behaving older than they are.

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 10:13 (three years ago) link

Squeegee (sp?) - crooked, awry

e.g., "Ye'll huv tae hing that paintin' up again, it's aw' squeegee".

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 13:13 (three years ago) link

Also, I noticed when I was up last week, when my mum was trying to get an electrician and I had to talk to them on the phone because she's pretty corned beef these days, that people in Scotland still pronounce the letter J as jy.

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 13:18 (three years ago) link

My Dad used to tell my sister and I to 'stop your greeting' if we were moaning and/or crying. I think this is a Scots thing.

TARANTINO! (dog latin), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 13:45 (three years ago) link

Was probably fed up with having to deal with pair o' greetin'-faced weans.

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 13:50 (three years ago) link

my mum and her family and my grandma had a bunch of weird phrases.

"cat's malak" to mean like a horrible mix of something, like eg if you put too much ketchup on your dinner. i thought this was common irish slang but friends don't seem to verify that.

"dol-di-dee" to mean rubbish or something that isn't true. feel like this is more common, in ireland, but dunno.

my dad's main thing he used to say was "DICK MACKESSY WOULDN'T DO THAT" in outraged anger if you did something stupid. when asked about dick mackessy he'd just explain he was like the village fool - "the mackessys were all eejits" but with no real deeper detail than that. i like to imagine dick turning in his grave.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 13:52 (three years ago) link

I'm not quite sure how to spell this phonetically, but my grandmother used to call the cupboard under the stairs the "kutch" (
to rhyme with 'butch')

-- C J (CJ_The_Unrul...), November 28th, 2005 1:24 PM. (later)

i wonder if that's a variation on "hutch." (xxpost)

-- athol fugard (theundergroundhom...), November 28th, 2005 1:28 PM. (later)

iirc this is a welsh thing... i can't figure out how to spell it (cwtsi? doesn't look right!) ("si" makes a "sh" or "zh" sound) but as well as cupboard-under-stairs - or any little hidey-hole really - it means a quick cuddle, a little hug. i only remember because someone told me about people being beaten at school for using the word when the english were trying to suppress the welsh (haha, "were").

― emsk ( emsk), Tuesday, 29 November 2005 12:43 (10 years ago)

10 years later, and living on the English/Welsh border, I can confirm emsk is correct only it's spelled cwtch. Most people seem to use it in the sense of when they're under the weather and just want to lie on the sofa in a blanket. "I'm all cwtched up."

Also:

http://media.alesbymail.co.uk/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/t/i/tiny-rebel---cwtch_2.jpg

I'm not quite sure how to spell this phonetically, but my grandmother used to call the cupboard under the stairs the "kutch" (
to rhyme with 'butch')
"Cooch"????

― Dan (Where You Stick The Cucumbers) Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:14 (10 years ago)

DJP should totally come over here and drink some cooch with me.

Horizontal Superman is invulnerable (aldo), Wednesday, 3 August 2016 14:03 (three years ago) link

footery wee hings

get outta the way! here comes (onimo), Friday, 5 August 2016 00:22 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

"You'll have to use Shanks's pony."

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 December 2016 20:44 (three years ago) link

'He dies in this"

Mark G, Thursday, 29 December 2016 22:42 (three years ago) link

Be back in a minute, just got to ben the other room.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 December 2016 22:50 (three years ago) link

oops

Be back in a minute, just got to go ben the other room.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 December 2016 22:50 (three years ago) link

not really an interesting colloquialism or anything, but when my gran first met my auntie's 2nd husband she whispered to my mum "She better get him insured, he'll be in the ground before me".

He was known as "Yellow Eddie" because he worked at LB Dyes for 30 years and must have been getting all the worst jobs because he literally was yellow and looked quite cadaverous in the best of health. He only died this year funnily enough, beating my gran by 18 years.

calzino, Thursday, 29 December 2016 23:07 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

Today I sent Dan a photo of a 30ft cwtch.

Thomas Gabriel Fischer does not endorse (aldo), Friday, 7 July 2017 23:50 (two years ago) link

My grandmother on my mother's side said strange things that never made sense to me. She came from a weird, desiccated Dutch old money family. She told me a story of how her three great aunts were draped in robes and watched her when she was sent off overseas or some bullshit like that.

What the hell is that? I still don't know what the fuck that is. I'll take this folksy crap in a heartbeat.

jenkem street team (carpet_kaiser), Saturday, 8 July 2017 01:03 (two years ago) link

My granny always called my grandfather (named William, Bill to friends) Wal, rhyming with pal.

-_- (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 8 July 2017 01:19 (two years ago) link

ten months pass...

From out of nowhere, I remembered a word my dad was fond of using, dighted, which means daft, stupid or crazy. I assume it's from the verb, to dight, which means, among other things, to wipe clean.

Kanye O'er Frae France? (Tom D.), Wednesday, 16 May 2018 15:49 (two years ago) link

Whenever she would arrive home from somewhere, my grandmother would say "Home again, home again, jiggity jig."

I don't say it out loud, but to this day it runs through my head quite often.

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 17 May 2018 04:06 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

Menage (pronounced 'menodge')

http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/menage

Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 08:16 (one year ago) link

Whenever she would arrive home from somewhere, my grandmother would say "Home again, home again, jiggity jig."

It's a line from an old nursery rhyme "To market, to market"

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Thursday, 11 October 2018 08:28 (one year ago) link

(xp) Apparently from the French, manège, the profitable employment of money.

Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 14:47 (one year ago) link

You may be confusing 'manège' (amusement ride, riding hall, crafty behaviour, etc.) and 'ménage' (housekeeping, relationship).

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 October 2018 14:54 (one year ago) link

Yes, I was going by what they said on the site I linked to.

Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 14:56 (one year ago) link

Interesting. The confusion is likely due to the word's phonetic and semantic similarity with 'management'.

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 October 2018 15:04 (one year ago) link

Apparently still in use too:

Nowadays this word survives as an observation on how incompetent people or governments manage their affairs as in the following from the Herald of 12th September 2017: “We Scots had lacked confidence in the ability of our leaders and institutions to run a menodge.” This use is further illustrated, again from the Herald in the letters page of 12th November 2015: “As we say in the west of Scotland, could this lot manage a menodge.”

Manage a menodge, nice phrase.

Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 15:17 (one year ago) link

Heh, that's awesome. It kind of makes sense too, since 'manage' and 'ménage' ultimately stem from two separate Latin roots: manus (the hand) and maneo (to stay, to dwell), respectively. So to manage a menodge is in some sense to handle a dwelling.

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 October 2018 15:27 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Not my granny but my mum, but she probably got it from her granny:

Sleeping your head into train oil or, as my mum would say, "Ye'll sleep yer heid intae train oil".

This one really used to confuse me because, in Scots, oil is pronounced like 'isle', so I had no idea where this place Train Isle was or how you could sleep yourself into it.

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Thursday, 30 April 2020 23:04 (three weeks ago) link

And even when I'd figured out it was 'oil' and not 'isle', I was still none the wiser, I mean what is train oil? Oil for lubricating trains? And, again, how do you sleep yourself into it? But, it turns out that train oil is whale oil - which your brain will turn into if you sleep too long.

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Thursday, 30 April 2020 23:13 (three weeks ago) link

My dad used that one a lot but it was more like "listening to that'll turn your brain to train oil", or "your brain'll turn to train oil if you keep on watching that". He would have been talking about stuff like the Boomtown Rats and Rentaghost so probably OTM.

everything, Friday, 1 May 2020 00:48 (three weeks ago) link

'train oil' was most likely in the form of a greasy sludge

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 1 May 2020 03:04 (three weeks ago) link

I thought it was 'dod' but apparently it's 'daud'.

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/daud

... as in "Gie's a daud o' that bread".

Not really grannyspeak because I say it myself, but only in my head, as no-one else would know what I was talking about.

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Friday, 1 May 2020 13:42 (three weeks ago) link

"Gie's a daud o' that bread"

iirc one of the Apostles says that in Billy Connolly's 'Crucifixion' routine

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Saturday, 2 May 2020 09:33 (three weeks ago) link

LOL that must have been deep in the memory banks somewhere.

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Saturday, 2 May 2020 10:24 (three weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

Sclaff

As in, thank you BBC Scotland for allowing the nation to once again relive Billy Bremner sclaffing that ball wide of the post against the worst Brazil team in history in the '74 World Cup.

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Monday, 18 May 2020 13:17 (one week ago) link

My mom's golf group was called the Sclaffers.

brownie, Monday, 18 May 2020 13:48 (one week ago) link

had no idea it was an actual word that other people used!

brownie, Monday, 18 May 2020 13:52 (one week ago) link

Yes, it's used a lot in golf!

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Monday, 18 May 2020 13:55 (one week ago) link

Along with skite.

I sclaffed my shot and it skited off a tree

BRAVE THE AFRIAD (onimo), Thursday, 21 May 2020 20:48 (six days ago) link

and skliff

I sclaffed my shot and it skited off a tree so I skliffed off to find the ball

conrad, Thursday, 21 May 2020 21:18 (six days ago) link

I think that just means a segment of an orange where I'm from.

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Thursday, 21 May 2020 21:23 (six days ago) link

I use sclaff. I have not heard skite or skliff. But I have used skiff - to very barely hit something. Usually in Subbuteo or pool. "That's two shots." "Naw, I skiffed it."

Eyeball Kicks, Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:32 (four days ago) link

Oh yeah, skiff is another one. Surprised you haven't heard skite, it's quite a common one.

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:42 (four days ago) link

Michael Rosen’s Twitter feed has an absolute treasure trove of these that he either retweeted right before going into hospital or someone in his family RTed for him

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:53 (four days ago) link

i.e.

"I'm standing 'ere like cheese at fourpence......."

— David Setchell (@DGSetchell) March 27, 2020

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:56 (four days ago) link


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