[From Manx Dialect, 1934]


Maceboard. The Maceboard, a vestige of the May Queen celebrations, was a party of girls who went from door to door, in Castletown especially, selling small pieces of ribbon for pence (see Train, Account of the Isle of Man, ii, iig). The word is probably a corruption of either ' maids' sport ' or ' May sport.'

Mahg !. I have been told of the habitual use by an old Lezayre woman of a word thus pronounced, as an exclamation of surprise, dismay or awe, but I have never met with it myself. It suggests a shortening of the Manx my agg le, ' my fear.' Aggle is sounded almost ' ahl.' (See also V.A.D., " Agglagh," and " Al.")

Manx-blue was a dye obtained, originally at any rate, from the wulley-wus, the woad-plant. " The keir and the loaghtyn wool would be made into stockin' yarn, an' fine thread to be wove into russad cloth for the men and boys, and a lump of it would sometimes be sent to ould Sudhard to be dyed Manx blue for Sunda' besses " (Rydings 28). ' Keir ' (keeir), a very dark shade, nearly black. ' Loaghtyn,' reddish brown. ' Sudhard ' (Southward), an eminent clothmanufacturer in Sulby. ' Besses,' bests. " ' Blue, the Manksman's livery.' This saying has, I suppose, originated in the fact that the prevailing colour of the dress of the Manks people is blue." (Wm. Harrison in Denham Tracts, i, igg, and Mona Miscellany, i, 2g.)

See also " Gorriman."

Mash (verb intransitive). To plunge, dash. " He roults over the waterfall at the bottom and mashes into the sea " (Rydings 83). " The man to be goin' mashin' among t'orns an' briars in his stockan feet " (Rydings g3).

Master, Mistress, are prefixed to personal names instead of Mr. and Mrs. Both are used alone also, from social inferior to superior and from junior to senior. A man habitually addresses his wife as ' Misthress,' and speaks of her as ' the Misthress ' or ' Herself ; ' she returns the compliment with ' Himself,' but not A -ith ' the Masther,' except perhaps to servants. A single man may be addressed as ' Masther ' but only a married woman as ' Misthress,' unless in a jocular way. It must be understood that these usages have always been strictly popular, and are now dying out.

Still more nearly obsolete is the custom of addressing and referring to married women as ' Kelly's wife,' ' Cubbon's wife,' instead of as Mrs. or Misthress K. or C. In Orkney and Shetland a similar formula was used in respect to girls, who were known, even in legal documents, as ' Thomas-dochter,' ' Jone's-dochter '-Thomas' or John's daughter.

May-flower, the king-cup or marsh-marigold, caltha å alustris ; Manx bwillogh and bluight.

Meelya, soft, smooth. " Jus' talk to her meelha, Tommy " (Quarrie, " Jemmy from Jurby "). Manx meeley, pronounced ' meelya.' A pedlar used to travel the Island with whetstones, crying " Claghyn mheeley ny Pheeley ! "-" Soft stones from Peel ! "

Mee-maws, mummery, antics. " I don't want no mee-maws of any surt goin' on here " (V.A.D., " Croshag "). Also used in the North of England.

Meer (variously spelt), the boundary between two farms, in old records. " Hedges or Fences for Meares and Boundaries betwixt Neighbour and Neighbour should be of the Thickness of a double Hedge, and four Foot and a Half in Height " (Act of Tynwald, 1665). Later the prescribed height was increased to five feet, and in 16gi to " five Foot and a Half high, with a trench at the Bottome of one Foot and a Half deep, and three Foot broad ; or els a Fence of six Foot high in the Perpendicular where a Trench cannot be made ; and that all Trenches (in such part of the island where they are used instead of a Fence)* are for the future to be six Foot broad in the Top, and three Foot deep." But by 1763 these dimensions had been proved impracticable, and sod hedges were to be replaced by the more serviceable stone wall, " two Foot at the least thick at the Bottom, with proper coping or projecting Stones." The cost of substituting the slates for the sods was to be halved between the Government and the tenant. If two neighbours should agree to straighten their boundary to save trouble and expense it was thenceforth to be deemed " the only true and lawfull Mere and Boundary between them, their Heirs and Assigns for ever." If one party wished to straighten and the other preferred a crooked mere, the ground was to be viewed and the matter compromised by three responsible men nominated at a Tynwald Court chiefly for the purpose of inspecting and regulating watercourses. Mere, Norse maori.

* This, I take it, would apply to curragh land, and the trench, or sunk-fence, would be filled up with water.

Meighing. Gentle, unassuming, in behaviour. " A quare little crather, wis slow, meighin' walk " (Quarrie, " Juan-a-Beth "). Melting, becoming mollified, in feelings. (Juan Othigill, Manx Quarterly, No. 18). Manx meighey with English affix.

Mesh, to come into the nets. Said of herring when the men are ' proving,' or testing whether the nets are full enough to haul in. " They're meshin' all right," or " they're not meshin' yet at all."

Midden is restricted-in the country at least-to dunghills. " But of coorse a man'll be proud of his midden "(Brown 371). Mrs. Cubbon to Mrs. Shimmin " My midden's a sight rucher till thy midden-j us' look at it smookin' lovely in the sunshine ! " (overheard).

Mind is used, as in Scotland and Ireland, in a perfectly correct way which has gone out of fashion in England. " I gave you notice yesterday, before, but you were that busy watering the milk you didn't mind " (Shimmin, Illiam Kodhere's Will, page 39) ; i.e., heed, which my Concise Oi ford Dictionary stigmatizes as " Scotch and literary," but I don't mind.

Moanee, turbary, when turf was used as fuel ; but still frequently heard for heath-land, and common in place-names. Manx the same.

Moidhered, worried, bothered. Common to Scotland, Ireland, the Northern half of England, and Man. Less frequent in Man in the indicative and present participle : " Don't moidher me " ; "He came moidherin' the boys for the lend of a grep "-the loan of a pitch-fork.

Monney-vaaish, any sort of death-warning or omen of one's own or another's death, but particularly the ' death-watch beetle.' "All night we heard the monney-vaaish tickin' and tickin' like an oul' watch " (Dodd, Clad in Purple Mist, page 93). Manx for ' death-sign.'

Mollag-band. Parties of dressed-up men used to patrol the streets at Christmas making primitive music and thumping ' mollags ' (net-bladders). They were regarded as an institution, and rewarded with coppers.

Muc-arkagh, a sow in farrow. " His mother said the muc-arkagh had been in, and as lek as not had tak'n it "-his cobbler's last (Rydings 97).

Mouth-rattler, the tongue of a too talkative woman (Kneen, Ann).

Mucklagh, preserved in the dialect for ' pigstye ' (see V.A.D.), came to be used-in Manx at leastfor a pen for other animals. Kelly has muclagh as a word for a hen-roost ; a hen-roost was muclagh giark according to one of Roeder's informants (Lioar Manninagh, iii, 133) ; and mucklagh ghoayr was a goat's pen. Hence, no doubt, was felt a need for the expression mucklagh muck, literally ' pig's pigstye,' used as a place-name in Rushen (A Manx Scrapbook, page 106). All this seems to point to the fundamental place of the pig in early Manx husbandry, in company with the cow.

Muldhag. " But many a muldhag, ' collane collour,' That night came to grief " by tripping over the men's outstretched rope at the Melliah games (Quarrie, " The Melliah "). ' Collane collour,' (q.v.) 'as broad as long,' suggests that ' muldhag ' meant a short, stout girl. Possibly it is a diminutive of ntohlt, a wether, used in the same way as ' sthripper ' (q.v.), filly, heifer, and other metaphors of the farmyard.

Murn, haughtiness, swank. " The murn and pridethere's at some people ! " (Kneen, Ann). Manx moyrn.

Mythe, a fishing - place. ' Meeth,' ' meith,' or ' meadh ' is in every-day use in Shetland for a fishing bank ; the Manx dialect-word must therefore be credited to a Norse source, where in fact it exists.



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