[From Manx Dialect, 1934]
Tack, touch, dealings, communication. " I never came in tack with the fairies myself." " I wouldn' hev no tack with that falla." " Casement was in tack with the Germans." Not in E.D.D. or N.E.D. in this sense.
Tack, business, job; course of action. "Aw, Tommy, don't you know your tack, boy ? " (Quarrie, " Tittlewhack "). " Your best tack is to " do so-and-so. Nautical, in this sense.
Tackle (noun), a gallant adventure. " He ses, Was I game for a tackle, for there was a ter'ble fine gel from the North stayin' up at the Ranther's " (" The Ranther's Goose "). As verb, to make advances to a girl. " He's clavar enough though at fillin' his prinjaig an' tacklin' the gels " (King Gobnygeay). ' Prinjaig,' stomach.
Tacks, a zigzag way up a cliff or hillside. A word which is not far from its native element in the case of ' Karran's Tacks,' Harstal, Patrick, and others on the coast. Inland there are the tacks up to the Neary above Glen Aldyn, up to Ballaskella above Sulby Glen, and scores of others-many of them seldom used since the hill-dwellings began to be abandoned.
Take. i. In its intransitive and Manx sense of frequenting or infesting a place, or haunting it supernaturally, is not to be confused with being ' took at ' the fairies, which means simply being taken away by them, just as you may be ' took at ' the policeman if you are found out. Any living creatures can ' take ' at a place-flies, fish, vermin, and so on, as well as human and superhuman beings. " Nothing taking but worms and grubs " (Brown 408). " Terrible forsaken Was job, and sorrowful, and takin' Up on the mountains " (Brown 588). "The fairies used to take down at the little river, but they're all gone now." In a similar expression in Hamlet, Act I, scene i, " then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm," the word appears to be used transitively and to illustrate the E.D.D's 18th definition : " to blight ; to blast as if by witchcraft ; to infect ; " as it clearly does in " there he (Herne the Hunter) blasts the tree, and takes the cattle " (Merry Wives, Act IV, scene 4). See also " Take " in the V.A.D., where, however, ' takin' ' in the last example is misunderstood as ' taken ' : " Mucky dubs Where there's nothin' takin' " (Brown 408)i.e., where there are no fish, nothing alive.
2. ' Took ' has other special significances quite different from the foregoing. (a) Judged, taken to be. " Donal' quite dead, and Nora . . . dead too, he tuk her " (Rydings 51). (b) Brought to bed of a child. "The very night Kitty was tuk " (Brown 34).
3. ' Take ' followed by adverbs has at least two uses not noticed under that heading in the V.A.D. With adverbs of direction it means to proceed, usually on foot. " Bill Brew . . . took across the fiel's home " (Quarrie, " Tittle-whack "). " Which way did he go ? He took up the mountain." " Turn off there and take through the garee." " And whenever they heard the Pazon's trap, They tuk for the hedge " (Brown 521) ; ' whenever,' as soon as, when. You may also take off on your bicycle, but not, I opine, in your motor-car or stiff-cart, and certainly not in the bus ; physical effort seems to be implied. To ' take with ' is to take a hint or adopt a suggestion, to rise to it, as a fish to the fly. " I told him I was short of money, but he didn't take with it at all." " When they saw how it paid, they took with the notion quick enough." To ' take on ' is to show grief, as in colloquial English. " Don't take on so " (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page 1o). To ' take up ' a person is to take exception to something he says. " I can't speak without her takin' me up." And so on.
4. To ' take a prayer ' is to extemporize one aloud in chapel or at a gathering. " If he doesn't take a prayer at the chapel as often as some " (Kinley, Ellie's Stranger, Mannin, No. 8).
5. 'Take' (noun). The catch or 'shot' in seafishing. " Good luck to the boats, and how's the take ? " (Brown 128).
Tally-stick, the stick on which amounts were recorded by notches, in the days before writing was a universal accomplishment. For herring taken, a notch was made for each ' basket ' of 124 fish, and a long cut across the. previous four notches denoted a ' mease ' of five baskets, or 620 fish. If a successful boat's tally-stick could be stolen by a rival crew the boat's luck went with it, and it had to be recovered, if possible, by force or guile.
On land " all work . . . was marked down by ' tally,' a notch being cut in a piece of stick for each day's work, and these in the end added up. I believe in a Ramsey brewery it was a common thing to use a ' tally ' until some eight or ten years ago "-i.e., 1885-87. (Miss Crellin, Lioar Manninagh, ii., 268.) 'Bob Alone,' who lived high up on Mullaghouyr, Lonan, kept count of the days by cutting a notch for each on the back of his settle. Once he missed, and thinking Sunday was Saturday he turned out with his horse and cart to bring turf from Snaefell. But the horse had kept better count than Bob, and protested by upsetting the cart in a ditch. (See Rydings 110 for the full story.)
The primitive ' tally ' was, of course, common in England, the last tally-stick in which country is said to have been used by a shepherd on Salisbury Plain. The Manx noun tallee and verb tailley were no doubt borrowed from English.
Tanrogan. The Tanrogan was the predecessor of the tallow candle ; it had a wick of rush-pith or linen soaking in a small dish of fish-oil, and, later, of lard. Cod-liver oil was thought to give the clearest light. Photographs of tanrogans will be found in Kermode and Herdman's Illustrated Manks Antiquities. The name is derived from the Sc. Gaelic teine, flame, and creachan, the scallop-shell which was the primitive oil-container.* Creachan, though not in the Manx dictionaries in this form, occurs in a few place-names-' Towl Crackan,' Rushen, for example, which should have been translated accordingly in The Manx Scrapbook, page 101, and not as " Skin-cave. For a comment on creachan see Roeder, Manx Notes and Queries, page 8o.
' Tanrogan ' is now applied occasionally to any shabby-looking or old-fashioned household article. (P. W. Caine, When I was Young, page 6o.)
Taste. A small degree, a small portion. " The littlest taste of a breeze " (Brown 352). " He was a taste vexed about it." " Could you spare me a lil tas'e of dolly-rags, Mrs. Corrin ? " begged Glennie, wanting to make herself a doll.
Taste. Style, polish, showiness. " The gran' he could do the recitin' . . . he could do it wis a tas'e, and no mistake " (Rydings 34). " Let's put a bit of taste into the job."
Tasty, smart, stylish. " The tastiest woman there " (Brown 550).
Tearing, behaving violently, making an uproar ; often used in conjunction with ' ragging,' which means much the same. " Ill wans is raggin' an' teerin' " (Cushag, " Granny "). ' Ill wans,' evil-doers. " Daa'II be tearin' when he sees the j eel ye've done on his razor ! " ' Jeel,' damage. ' Rag ' and ' tear' are sometimes used figuratively of vigorous efforts, hard work. " I'm not going to be a farmer's wife, to rag and tear all my days to make rent" (Shimmin, Dooinney Moyllee, page 28).
Tedious (pronounced ' tejus ') has a more vigorous and positive force than in standard English. It conveys the idea that somebody or something is so trying to the patience that it is (not merely wearisome but) thoroughly irritating. A nagging wife, a fractious baby, a spell of wet weather in harvest-time, all these are ' tejus.' " That tejus Traa-dy-Liooar " (Cushag, " Traa-dy-Liooar that annoying habit of procrastination.
Thel, a billhook or adze. " When drunk, Johnny always gripped the thel, Which filled all his household with fear; At the clock he would aim a mighty blow " (Quarrie, " The Dog-mill Shore "). Manx thayl.
Thick, friendly, chummy. " This woman, God help her, is known to be terrible thick with wans we dar'n't put a name to " (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page io). In use colloquially throughout the Kingdom. Thie-nuathey for a cowhouse. Nell wanted to scatter certain dust around the ' thie-nuathey ' at Ballakillingan, because the three fairy rings which had been seen in a row, North and South, were a sure sign of murrain among the cows. (Quarrie, " Nell a' Vris.") ' Nuathey ' (perhaps better spelt ' nauthey ') I take to be the Kirk Bride pronunciation of n'ollce, the cattle. Elsewhere Quarrie has ' Gob-y-Vothy ' for Gob-yVolley, and ' gilthabeg ' for ' gillya-beg ' ; it appears to have been a local way of sounding the letter ' 1 ' in certain cases. The Old Norse naut, cognate with the obsolete English ' neat,' cattle, is a less likely explanation. In either alternative ' thie-nuathey ' would be equivalent in meaning to the usual Manx term thie-ollee or thie-nollee, eowhouse.
Thistle-wool, thistledown, floating seed of thistles. " A bit of thistle-wool comin' skippin' Head over heels " (Brown 353)
Thole, to bear, support, in a figurative sense only, has been adopted from the Scotch dialect, probably in recent times from incoming shepherds and farmers.
Thorag. " An oul' Thorag of a gatepost " (LaMothe, Manx Yayns). Mr. J. T. Irving suggests that it is probably meant for ' dharrag,' q.v.
Thurran or Thorran, a round haystack or cornstack. " Just thirty thurrans in the haccad we'd got, Of oats and barley and whate " (Quarrie, " The Melliah "). ' Haccad,' haggart, stackyard. ' Butt-thorian ' or ' tip-thorran ' is a children's game of chasing each other round the stacks in the haggart. Pronounced ' thurran.' Cregeen has it as Tooran.
Tig, Tag, or Tip, the children's game called ' Tick ' in England. Played also by pigs in the old song which satirizes the spilt milk from a certain farm : " Mygeart y dubbey yen ad chloic Tig," " amidst the puddle they played at Tig," because it was too thin to be worth drinking by Manx pigs. With the children, the one who is ' counted out ' to chase the others is called ' the tipper.'
Tit, an exclamation of impatience or slight annoyance. " Tut ! "
Tittlewhack (heavy stress on the last syllable, please), is a Manx dainty, the preparation of which has been so picturesquely described by the bard of Kirk Bride that I cannot do better than quote his description in the Manx Quarterly, No. 26 (July, 1921)-an offprint from the Isle of Man Examiner :
" In the North of the Isle of Man, where the land is dry and peculiarly adapted to the growth of potatoes, the long winter evenings, once upon a time, used to be occasionally whiled away by tittlewhack sprees. A case in point occurs to mind, where a large, stoneflagged kitchen was the scene, its ceiling almost entirely hidden by hams, shoulders and flitches of bacon, among which, about the centre, high up and not too much in evidence, was a large Christmas kissing-bush, about a yard in diameter, gaily decked in country fashion with ribbons, rosettes, apples, oranges, etc. There were also the liberal ' hibbin and hollin ' decorations still around the walls and on the high mantelpiece, whereon about a dozen candles burned on their various heights of candlesticks-from the short bedroom ones, having trays, snuffers and extinguishers, to those tall, old-fashioned, ornamental ones from fifteen to thirty inches high-all of wellpolished brass. These lights, backed by several tiers of burnished dish-covers and various pewter drinkingvessels, metal tea and coffee-pots, etc., gave a bright, comfortable appearance to the still extant remains of the old-time open fireplace. From the ' swee,' or crane in the chimney, on such an evening hung the big family pot, full to the lid of the favourite ' Bill-John ' potatoes, boiling away with their skins on.
Around the room on the big, high-backed settles, on chairs, stools, forms, etc., and out in the long backkitchen adjoining, some dangling their legs from the long table there, and some seated on the stone ' bink ' among the milk cans, were the farmer lads and lasses, all bent on fun and mischief, practising everlasting larks on one another, with frequent appeals to the high privileges of the big ' kissing-bunch,' as they generally called it.
" When the potatoes were done, they were emptied into many dishes along the tables, and all joined in at the peeling which, as the tubers were steaming hot and liable to fall to pieces, was quite a ticklish kind of work. When peeled, the potatoes were put back into the great pot, and this was set down on the floor on a sheet or tablecloth, which prevents the slipping of the three little pot-legs on the stone floor. All the young fellows now take turns at mashing or ' bruising ' the potatoes, until not the smallest lump is left in the whole mass. Into this, dish after dish of that night's milking, new from the cow, is poured, and then commences the long and brisk stirring by which that delightful dish ' Tittlewhack ' is made.
" The pot-stick-a plain, round, wooden porridgestirrer-is briskly moved through the creamy mass so as to execute the figure eight, the operator all the time moving round and round the pot while so stirring.
The sound the pot-stick makes on the sides of the pot very closely resembles the words 'Tittle whack.' Hence the name of the toothsome dish
" It is utterly impossible satisfactorily to describe the fun and many drolleries accompanying this turnabout among a lot of rustics, male and female, old and young. Some of the old cottagers, particularly, provided great merriment. Old Juan-a-Beth, for instance, who, so far as the writer knew, was never seen by mortal man without the broad rim of his old weather-beaten stove-pipe hat resting on his ears and almost entirely hiding his eyes. As Juan put down his cutty clay pipe with the gravity of a man about to lay his neck on the executioner's block, and took hold of the pot-stick, everybody laughed at what was genuinely and irresistibly funny. It was the very farthest thing from Juan's wish or intention to be funny , but lie could no more help making you laugh than lots of others in this world can help making fools of themselves trying to be funny. The screaming stage was reached when Kerry-na-Coolyeh (who well knew Juan's awful austerity) actually attempted to kiss him as he stood right under the license-giving bush. Juan's resentment of this unparalleled liberty made comedy of the most enjoyable kind.
" John Willie's fiddle soon covered the floor with dancers. . . ."
Anyone desirous of further initiation into the mysteries of a Tittlewhack-do in the Kirk Bride of yore may consult the first sketch in Isle of Man Short Stories, published many years ago by Messrs. Broadbent, of Douglas. Though written under the pen-name of ' Hobbledehoy ' the account is evidently from Quarrie's hand, like the foregoing.
Toffy-stick, a humorous name for the tiller of a boat. "My lad with the taffystick in his fist" (Brown 213).
Token, in its special Manx sense, was a small piece of slate on which a Bishop, Lieutenant-Governor, Deemster, or Coroner scratched his initials or personal sign before handing or despatching it to a subordinate as evidence of his delegated authority. The use of the token was abolished in 1763 as being open to forgery, as well as undignified.
Top-full, full to the top. " Men who are top-full of Beattie's new ale " (Quarrie, " Jemmy from Jurby "). Torch. ' A torch ' and ' a jorum torch ' are names for hot punch in " The Days of the Dooinney Moylley " (Ramsey Courier, 23/12/1898). Suggestive of its warming and enlivening qualities, as in the familiar ' torch-light procession ' simile.
Tossed-up, dressed-up, adorned. " The church all titivated an' tasty decorated, An' tossed up middlin' stylish at them too " (Cushag, " Oie'll Voirrey ").
Touch, a bit, a small degree, is used to qualify adjectives. " A touch clicky " is a bit crazy. Milk may be a touch sour, the weather a touch warmer or colder, and so on.
Touched. To be ' touched over ' a thing is to be enthusiastic about it, ' keen on it,' but not to the point of lunacy, as the English slang word implies. " The cats is ter'ble touched over the smell o' valaeria " -valerian (V.A.D., " Valaeria ").
Trains, the lines of sunken herring-nets. " As we went over the trains o' the unlucky boats the hakes and govags tore the nets " (Bill Billy, " A Night with the Fairies "). ' Govags,' dogfish.
Traverse (noun and verb). An appeal, to appeal ; hence the now obsolete ' Traverse jury,' a jury of Appeal. A legal term, but formerly familiar to the people.
Triddle-traddle may be defined, approximately, as 'with an undignified gait, helter-skelter.' " An' they all ran thriddle-thraddle, thriddle-thraddle, down the broogh into the say an' got dhrownded " is said to have been a Manx local preacher's account of the end of the Gadarene swine. Brown, page 605, uses the expression to describe the movements of a nimble tongue.
Trim. i. The right way of doing or saying a thing. " The Pazon was hardly likin' him, Lek what you call likin' - that's not the trim " (Brown 504)
2. Character, nature. " If ever there was an angel in heaven, It's Pazon Gale . . . I know his trim " (Brown 519).
Modified uses of the nautical word.
Trowis, trousers. " Pepper and salt trowis, ma'am " (Caine, Capt'n Davy's Honeymoon, page 34). I do not know the word otherwise, but Cregeen has " Troosyn, trousers, hose," and ' trews ' are worn by Scotchmen.
Trowly-Pot, one of the ' beds ' or divisions in the Manx form of the hopscotch diagram (see V.A.D., " Narra "). The name of a small river-gorge near Peel.
Troy-town. A ' Troy-town ' is a state of untidiness and confusion. " Her house is a proper Troy-town." " The flood left a reg'lar Troy-town after it." I have not met with this in print as a Manx expression. It appears to belong to Cornwall.
Truck, association, mutual understanding. " Terrible truck Betwix' them two, like an aigle took To be friends with a paycock " (Brown 224).
Tubbag. Harrison, Mona Miscellany (1853), ii, 211, says this word was then commonly used in the sale of coals. A tubbag was equal to four pecks or a bushel. The two dictionaries claim the word as Manx, but it is doubtless merely a Manx diminutive of ' tub.'
Turk's-head, a weather-sign in the sky. Also, a sailors' name for a particular knot.
Twist, a tale, a yarn. " Says a schullar once I was spinning this twist to " (Brown 612). The English 'twister' is a tale or statement hard to swallow; also an untruthful or dishonest person.
Two-three. ' A two-three ' of anything is a few. " I was puttin' a two-three silly words to it "-the tune (Cushag, Mylecharaine, page 14).
Tyld. In 1561 each soldier of the Peel and Castletown garrisons was entitled to receive " the third part of a Tyld of Beefe " twice a day (Book of Orders, Statutes). Meaning unknown; possibly an error.