[From Manx Dialect, 1934]


Cainle-slutt. " We had the cannle-slutt, which was made from a piece of rag of linen or cotton, and squeezed in the hand into the shape of a candle " (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, iii, 132). In Co. Armagh a primitive hand-made candle is a 'slut' (Lutton and Bigger, 31ontiaghisms).

Cair, rights, property. "Look after the lek' Cair ! Cair ! ' says Billy Injebreck " (Brown 526). Manx.

Cammag, shinty -- a simpler form of hockey. Formerly the Manx national game, but now superseded by football. The name, though cognate with the Scottish Gaelic camarcachd and Irish caman, seems to be indigenous and taken from that of the stick used, the ' cammag '-literally, ' little curved thing.' In the North of Ireland similarly, ' shinney ' is both the game and the stick. In Man ' shinney off ' was the act of starting or restarting the game half-way between the goals. ' Hurley ' and ' hurling' with 'hurls' are terms peculiar to Ireland, where, however, the native name caman has recently been revived.

Camsthram (stress on first), crooked, awry. " He gets his clashes all camsthram " might be said of an unskilful ploughman. ' Clashes,' furrows. Manxcam, crooked, and probably trom, a weight, load. Irish has leath-trom, lop-sidedness, literally ' side-weight,' bearing to one side.

Cant (obsolete). " Publick Cant or Auction " and " the selling of Pawn Goods by Executors at Publick Cant " (Statutes, 1747). As verb only, " to sell by auction-chiefly Irish," in N.E.D.

Capers. Almost any form of human activity, but chiefly conduct and behaviour, which meets with the speaker's disapproval is liable to be condemned as ' capers, man, capers ! ' " Our farmers' wives Were angry at these capers-that's their word-These ways eccentric, alien, scandalous " (Brown 647). " To marry at once-what capers ! " (Brown 589). " I'll not put up with her capers much longer. She'll go home to her mother." Innovations, especially, are ' capers.' " What capers has the Bishop now, I wonder ! " " One of these English fellas that came over here an' took a farm to show capers to the poor Manx farmers " (Roeder in Moore's Manx Folk-lore, page 49).

Care (verb transitive). To take care of. " Keer yer feet that ye don't sliddher."Carry, clouds on the move ; the drift of the clouds, as showing the force and direction of the wind. It has been suggested that this word is derived from the name of the ancient Norse God of the Air and Winds, Kari, and is not the English verb used as a noun. The folk-lore attached to the same word by MacTaggart gives some colour to this supposition. In the Gallovidian Encyclopedia he defines " Carry " as " the motion of the clouds, a-driving over Heaven's face before the wind ; anciently it was thought spirits carried them so." " Lift " he explains as " the whole of the sky that can be seen at once ; anciently, says tradition, the people fancied that there were some mighty persons far above the firmament, who had always in lift, as it were, the whole of the celestial regions, and who hindered the clouds and heavenly bodies from absolutely falling on them, and that they carried the clouds from place to place, as they thought fit ; hence the word ' carry ' ; these were the times when 'spirits came on the blast,' and ruled the whirlwind and the storm." In a fine witch-song of his own composition, which deserves to be better known, he has the lines

" Sae nae mair on the carry We will ride now away."

Shetland, Cumberland and Antrim use " carry " in the same sense ; in Antrim " kerries " are " fleecy drifting clouds " (Antrim and Down Glossary). In the Manx dictionaries as Car, ee.

Cat, the bat or stick used as a bat in boys' games such as ' kit-cat.' " We would be playin' kit-cat with two besom-handles for ' cats ' " (V.A.D., " Kit-cat "). See also " Kit " below.

Cathag, " the knots or plugs to be seen in a girl's hair if neglected " (J.T.I.). Probably the Manx casag, a curl, with the meaning transferred.

Chamber, though not used in any special sense in the modern dialect, means in the Manorial Roll of 1510 a small dwelling-house, like the French chaulmiëre, a hut. Elsewhere this use of ' chamber' is found only in Orkney, I believe. In England and Ireland, and as ' chalmer ' in Scotland, the word denotes a bedroom, especially one on an upper floor, and not an entire cottage.

Cheer. " The young fellow would be watching his time . . . to run down to get a piece . . . he was anxious to get off to get a ' cheer ' " (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, iii, 154). This was at a confinement, where pieces of bread and cheese were provided. ' Chair ' seems an unsatisfactory explanation.

Chet and Chut, exclamations of impatience or slight annoyance ; ' tut ! ' " Whose sheeney was it ? Chet ! 'tis all the same ! " (Quarrie, " Old Times at Kirk Bride ").

Child, in speaking of an infant, means a girl. Hence it may still be asked, " Is it a boy or a child ? " as in The Winter's Tale, iii, 3.

Chime, to call out, ' sing out,' under stress of pain or excitement. " She was chimin' lek a foghorn for me to come quick." " I was fit to chime out with the toothache."

Choice Child (obsolete). By an old Island usage parents who were wholly or partly incapacitated by age or infirmity were legally entitled to the services of one of their children, who was selected by themselves and known as ' the choice child.' This child was exempt from being ' yarded '-compelled, that is, to work at a low wage for one of the Lord's civil officers-or from being put to other labour by the jury which regulated employment. (See Statutes.)

Clabbag or Glabbag, a plaster, poultice. " A clabbag of lurgeydish and barley-meal is good for a burn (V.A.D., " Lurgeydish ") ; ' lurgeydish,' pennyroyal. ' Clabbag ' is also used personally as a contemptuous epithet. Manx.

Claghan, a line of stepping-stones across a stream or boggy place. " Cross the claghan at Mwyllin y Cleigh an' go up the cadhan "-cassan, footpath. Manx.

Clangs. " ' An' cannibals, people that ates ye.' ' Did ye meet with clangs of that surt ? ' " (Faraker, " The Fisherman's Coortin'," Examiner, Feb., 1908). Perhaps for ' clans.'

Clap, to pat gently. " He clapped her hand." " She was clappin' the pony's neck." " The dog must be clapped, but the cat must be sthrooghed "-stroked (V.A.D., " Sthroog ").

Clarty, dirty, muddy. "And how a party Can manage the lek, and the work that clarty-Well, it's more till me " (Brown 595). Also used in Scotland and the Northern half of England.

Clay-dub, a small pool, the result of digging clay to spread on fields where the soil was too thin and sandy. Clay-dubs are numerous in the Northern plain. Among their former uses was the soaking of locally-grown flax, and of barley to prepare it for brewing. There is a spot called " the Barley-dub " in Maughold Churchyard. Flax is being grown again in the Northern Curraghs, but some people say it is " the wrong kind."

Cleadher, a cheat, a rascal. Manx the same. In the plural ' Cleadheryn ' it was the nickname of one of the many C. families of Arbory-hence, probably, " Cletherum's Hill " in that parish.

Cled, a heavy bump against something ; less often, a blow from a moving object, especially a fist.

Clew, a stake or spike of wood. Compare the Gaelic cleath, a pole, rod, and cliath with a somewhat similar meaning. Manx has cliu, a stalk, twig, which is used in the dialect in that sense, but more often for a wisp or bunch. ' Stake ' is probably an extended use of cliu, a stalk.

Clout, a sail, especially the square sail on the small open fishing-lugger or yawl of a century ago. " The luggers at this time were nothing more than large open yawls without cabins, and the ' clout ' or small square sail was the only sail which the lugger carried " (Cashen, Manx Folk-lore, page 32).

Clutch (noun) is used of human beings as well as of chickens. " You never seen such a clutch of oul' schamers as he have got comin' for the gel " (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page 8).

Co. ' The Co.' is the Manx Co-operative Society or any of its shops. " When we gorrat the Co. Jem was gone " ; and " Co-op. tay ? No, no, woman, I don't gerrit at the Co. Our Thobm says that the Laxa' tay is no batthar till -- " (Rydings 61 and 66).

Coarse, rough-tempered, passionate. " A've heard me mother tell of a man on the South side tha' was always coorse on his wife " (Shimmin, The Charm, page 6). " Our old man's terrible -in -the-world coorse if anything is goin' agin' him " (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page 6).

Coffer, a large pan formerly used for domestic brewing (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, page r31). It was used by householders in turn, hence the proverb " Going about like a parish pan." Query ' Copper,' from its material ?

Colgagh, the fish ' lesser weaver,' trachinus vipera (Transactions of I. of Man N.H. and Antn. Sec., i, 59). Manx colgagh, prickly, bristly.

Collane-collour, ' as broad as long.' Of two indifferent alternatives : " It's Collane-collour whichever road ye take." Also of shape or dimensions " And many a muldhag, Collane-collour " (Quarrie, " The Melliah "). A ' muldhag ' is a stout, thick-set wench. Manx co-lhean, co-liauyr, same meaning.

Colley-West. Anything gone ' colley-west ' is irretrievably lost or done for. " Their money all went colley-west in Dumbell's." Mark Twain says somewhere that an explosion "knocked the cat galley-west." In Cheshire I have heard ' all colleyweston ' for anything thoroughly tangled or wrong end foremost.

Collogue. z. To converse. " Wastin' my good time colloguin' with yondhar young wastrel " (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page 7). Common thus in Ireland.

2. To persuade or fascinate by talk. " She tried to collogue me into marryin' her " (Kneen, Yn Blaa Sooree, page 26). " They collogued the old man to settle the farm on Dan " (Shimmin, Illiam Kodhere's Will, page 3g).

Colly, soot, flakes of soot. " A spot of colly from the smithy or the chiollagh (hearth) would be put on the chile's (baby's) face or its arm, for luck lek." A safeguard against being bespelled or overlooked. " A ' stranger on the bar,' collie hanging to a fire-bar " (Morrison, Lioay Manninagh, iv, i5g). " Colly " for soot is found also in some Northern English dialects.

Company. ' The Company ' is, Par excellence, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Ltd., which has enjoyed a virtual monopoly so long, and carried and employed so many Manx people, that it has come to rank as a national institution with the foibles proper to institutions and monopolies. " Jack's a donkeyman with the Company." " It wasn't one of the Company's boats that landed her passengers on the Queen's Promenade."

Convart (stress on second), carrion, a carcase. " There's a big bree comin' off yondhar convart " ( V.A.D., " Bree ") ; ' bree,' fume. Manx convayri.

Cooillee, the ground-floor space partitioned off for sleeping in, in the cottages (now nearly obsolete) which had only two rooms and a loft. The partition was often of an insubstantial character, such as roughly interlaced straw or heather-stalks, or an old sail or blanket. " The parlour or cuillee is on the left side, and often serves as a bedroom for the parents " (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, iii, 133). Though it was on the ground floor one always went ' down ' to it from the living-room. Manx cooillee, the back part. See also " Parlour."

Cooler, an iron cauldron a couple of feet or more in diameter, used to collect water for animals at a spring, and for other farming purposes.

Coppy. See " Kopie."

Corpse-presents or Mortuaries were Death-duties formerly paid to the Church. " By the Custom of the said Isle . . . the Executors or Administrators of every such Person shall pay to the Church for Corpsepresents . . . the best Beefe or Horse that he or they had, or els vis in Money . . . the best Cloaths or Apparel of the Person deceased . . . or els iiis iiiid in Money, at the Election of the Church and the said Clergy " (Indenture between Bishop and Commonalty, 1532). The "' vis " should probably be " vis viiid." In 1643 the scope and amount of these Corpse-presents were modified by order of the Earl of Derby.

Corsykailya. A corsykailya is a warm argument or a quarrel. " Theer was a terr'ble corsykailya in the Coorthouse betwix' the lawyers, but afthar the case was ovar I seen the two of them go into the Mithre togathar." The part of the word pronounced ' kailya ' is probably the Manx keeaylley, the entire expression then meaning, literally, a cross of understanding crosli y-keeaylley. In Welsh cross, a cross, is similarly used to denote a disagreement. The same idea is seen in the English phrase ' at cross purposes.'

Cottler (obsolete), is the Manx form of ' cotter.' The cottler's position and tenure were the same as in Scotland-land and house in return for labourexcept that in some cases he worked for his overlord at harvest-time only. His compensation was then a very small piece of ground, or merely a butt or two of potatoes. (See Quayle, Manx Agriculture.) " Poor people, as Cotlers, Intack-holders, Prentices, and the like, who are engaged by Trades, and giving Shearing for Crofts and Nooks of Ground for the Relief of a poor Family " (Statutes, 1664). ' Shearing,' harvest work, for which the cottler apparently got a better return than in Quayle's time, a hundred and fifty years later. " Cotterells " in an Act of 1629.

Cowgate (not dialect), cow-pasture. In a contract between Bishop Bridgman and his man-of-all-work, dated 1677 (Jnl. of Manx Museum, ii, 99), the Bishop agrees to pay him wages, " also to give him yearly three Cowgates." This term was not in common use in the Island, and its presence here may be ascribed to the English Bishop. The N.E.D. gives examples, chiefly in the North of England, from 1597 down to 1884 ; at the latter date the size of a cowgait or cowgate was an acre and a quarter. The word means, literally, a place where cows may range or go, but the use of such land was not necessarily confined to cattle.

Crack, a moment, an instant. " We warn't theer a crack till we had to Pave."

Cramman or Crammon. i. A hump, a hummock. Used specifically for lumps of coal, sods of turf, and the like. Also for humps which, seen from the sea, help to locate fishing-places ; e.g., Crammann-ny-Lherg, Hump of the Hillside, one of the Kirk Michael crammans.

2. " The fine particles to be seen when the soil has been well ploughed or harrowed. Still in daily use in Patrick, at any rate (J.T.I.). Manx cramman, " a lump or mass, crumb, pellet, fragment " (Kelly).

Crammony, intimate, chummy. In Peel I have heard it said of two men that "they were very crammony "-perhaps because they stuck together like a soil which breaks up into small pellets or ' crammons.'

Crammylt, a kind of pea steeped over-night in milk ; hence the name for this old-time dish itself. (See Clague, Manx Reminiscences, page 215.)

Cranch, to grind, especially with the teeth. " A storm in the woods on a winter's day, When the trees has no sap, and cranches away " (Brown 204). Kelly has this and the next word as Manx. It is certainly Manx (and Galloway) dialect.

Cranchyn, groats mixed with melted fat, a bygone delicacy. (See Clague, Manx Reminiscences, page 213.) Evidently derived from " Cranch " above.

Crazing, behaving in a crazy manner, running mad. " The flocks on the mountains came crazing down-hill " (Quarrie, " Nell a' Vris "). In stirring Tittle-whack " ye mus' keep crazin' sideways lek a harry-crab roun' the pot all tha time " (Quarrie, " Tittle-whack ").

Cred, a catch or roughness in the throat. " Ye got a lil cred in your throat . . . I will give you a warm drink " (Shimmin, Luss ny Graih, page 9). Manx creddaghey, to grunt.

Crig, the ball, or a substitute for one, in the game of cammag (shinty). " Slam-bang ! and whiz ! the trig goes like a flash Right through the pazon's window with a crash " (Quarrie, " Old Times "). Also the ' kit ' or ' peggy ' in tip-cat and other games. Any small object that serves for knocking along with a stick may be called ' the trig.' Manx.

Criss-cross, zigzag, to left and right alternately. " A track, you know, On the side of the brew, crisscrassin', Till you'd come out on the top like a landin' " (Brown 445). See " Tacks."

Cro is still used as a general term for a fold or pen. In a recent letter from a Manx friend he speaks of " a crow of wild mountain sheep." It is common in place-names. Also, the Communion seat in a Methodist chapel (Christian Callister in Methodist Recorder Winter, 1901). Manx and Gaelic cro.

Cro Cast. Twopence was due to the Deemster for granting his Token ; this fee was called ' Cro Cast' (Train, ii, 2o6). Spelling and literal meaning doubtful. See also " Token."

Crock-hat. A ' crock-hat ' was the tall felt hat with straight sides and a narrow brim which was in common use when tail-coats and knee-breeches were in fashion (Blanche Nelson's MSS.).

Croghan, an extinct and nearly forgotten species of fairy-woman associated with wells, springs and pools.

Crowan. " When a sheep has been struck by the blow-fly, the fly is called a ' crowan.' It is a large green fly which deposits grubs, not eggs as is popularly believed, in the skin of the sheep " (J.T.I.). This seems to be a different insect from the ' croaghan ' or gad-fly.

Crowd. 'The Crowd' was, and infrequently is, used as a circumlocution for the fairies. So also was ' the Mob.' " He met, I suppose, the ' crowd ' (the fairies) " (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, iii, 148). The Manx sleih covers the two English words. The corresponding Gaelic sluagh has this special sense likewise.

Crowdie, oatmeal and hot water, or broth mixed with oatmeal. " Crowdie reeking from the pot " (Kennish, llloaaa's Isle). This may not have been a Manx dialect word, since it is synonymous with ' sollaghan.' Not now in use, at any rate.

Cruddle. i. To huddle, curl up. " He pulled Bill out be tha feet from undher a bed in tha corner, wheer he was all cruddled up " (Quarrie, " Tittle-whack ").

2. To curdle, as milk when rennet is added, or one's blood with horror.

Crunching (noun and verb), crush, crowding. " In the street, out of the crunchin' " ; "The people crunchin' into the auction " , " I crunches in amongst them " (all from Rydings).

Currags of Stores at Castle Rushen and Ramsey appear in Inventories of 1694 and 1710 (Journal of the Manx Museum, Nos. 26, 27). The E.D.D. defines the Scottish word ' currach, curroch, or currack,' as a wickerwork pannier, also as a small cart made of twigs. The Manx currag appears to have been a receptacle made of more substantial material than wickerwork.

Curtheet (stress on second), intimate, friendly ; usually in an unfavourable sense. " Dan an' her hed been too curtheet " (Quarrie, " Tittle-whack ").

Cushagh is similar in meaning to ' curtheet ' above. " The constable and herself are looking very cushagh " (Kneen, Yn Blaa Sooree, page 21). Manx cooidjagh, together.

Customer, an old name for a Customs Officer, the now abolished Water Bailiff in particular. (See V.A.D., " Wather.")


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