Yorkshire Words & Phrases
Yorkshire dialect, just like the county itself, is vast and varied. The words and phrases of the county are as important to its identity as its history. The dialect can be confusing sometimes even outright incomprehensible if you are not familiar with it! So we have put together a list of our favourite Yorkshire words and phrases. While not all these words originated in Yorkshire they have been adopted into the local dialect.
or avverbread is an oatcake that was once a popular part of the local diet but is now harder to find in Yorkshire.
Persistently ask someone for information or to do something, usually the person will give in purely out of annoyance....
Used to claim something before everyone else, often used by children. "Bagsy goin' first."
A foolish or deranged person, it might sound harsh but it's usually used for goading fun rather than as an insult.
The phrase started off as "flaming horror" (or "flipping/bloody/etc horror") as a cry of dismay/disbelief.
A remarkable, showy or excellent person or thing.
An affectionate, if not slightly insulting, term for a child or someone you care about.
“Eck” is in actuality “heck” (sounded out with the Yorkshire tendency to drop the leading H), which itself is a 19th century euphemistic alteration of the word “Hell”. By 'eck can be used both in a positive or negative way.
Meaning mouth. Often heard in the sentence "Shut your cake 'ole!" which means "Shut your mouth!" or "Shut up!"
Very delighted, excited or proud about something.
A term for a fool, it originated from the shortening of 'alfpenny.
Daft as a brush
Hopefully said with endearment meaning very silly or somewhat crazy.
Eat All, Sup All, Pay Nowt And If Tha Ever Does Owt Fer Nowt, Allus Do It Fer Thissen
Literally translated 'Hear all, see all, say nothing; Eat all, drink all, pay nothing; And if ever you do anything for nothing – always do it for yourself'. Often referred to as the "Yorkshireman's Motto".
Eeh By Gum
Some Yorkshire folk replace swearwords with “Eeh by gum” “meaning, “by god” which over time has become a phrase used by people who do not wish to use a swear word because it may be inappropriate.
A manner of encouraging someone to do something that is usually negative, "With their friends egging them on, Max scaled the fence."
An essential Yorkshire phrase, 'ey up' is a greeting similar to 'hello' or 'good day'
Translation 'Fair to middling' meaning not very comparable or only tolerably good.
A very effective way to say you are extremely hungry.
Fancy A Brew?
Literally translated to 'Would you like a cup of tea?'
A way to describe something that is worn out, weary, or tiring.
Used to express shock or surprise coupled with an intense emotional reaction, whether positive or negative.
Having a liking towards someone or something.
Thought to originate as an onomatopoeia of chatting and gossiping flibbertigibbert is a middle English word often used to describe a whimsical or gossipy person. The word has also seen use in literature as another word for imp, fiend, or as the name of the Devil. Most notably in Shakespeare’s King Lear as one of the fiends, and as the name of young Gremlins in Roald Dahl’s The Gremlins. The modern Yorkshire use of the word is to describe someone as a chatterbox.
Another name for a boss or supervisor, someone who is in charge of others. It originates from the 16th century, a gaffer was the head of an organised group of labourers.
This can mean to travel, roam or move about for pleasure and it can also mean to play around amorously.
A narrow passage between buildings. The term ginnel is thought to be a corruption of the word 'channel'
God’s Own County / God’s Own Country
A phrase meaning an area, region or place favoured by God.
I’ll Tell Yer This For Nowt
A typical Yorkshire phrase used mostly when debating with someone. Literally meaning 'I will tell you this for nothing' implying something will be said for nothing in return.
Lug has three different meanings, it can mean 'ear', you might hear someone say 'lug 'ole' which means 'ear hole', it can also mean 'to pull or tug' such as 'lugging your suitcase about' and the third meaning is 'a knot or tangle in hair'.
Manky has a few different ways it can be used, it is predominantly used to mean unpleasant and rotten, but in Yorkshire it can also mean 'unwell' for example, "I'm feeling manky."
If you are described as mardy it means that you are in a bad mood, usually grumpy or sulky.
Meaning be careful or watch out, this is commonly heard in phrases such as "mind your head" and "mind yourself."
Commonly used as a general conversation-starter. Can be used to say hello, or when you have something important to say.
A common way to say nothing, it is pronounced like 'now' but with a 't' on the end.
Nowt So Queer As Folk
Translated means 'Nothing is as strange as people can be. People can behave very oddly sometimes.'
The meaning of the word Numpty is generally used to describe someone as being stupid, or a person who makes silly or foolish actions.
A shortened version of 'How do you do?' which is again shortened to 'How do?'.
Another way to say 'something' or 'anything', for example a common sentence you might hear it in is "Do you want owt?" meaning "Do you want anything?"
Commonly used as a synonym for scoundrel and miscreant, rapscallion is a development of the word rascal from the 15th century. The term was developed to rapscallion in the 17th century and by the start of the 18th century the mischievous sounding rapscallion was common.
Meaning disgusting, rank can be used to describe tastes, smells or anything particularly off-putting.
Used to describe something that smells bad, for example "Your feet reek, mate!"
A snicket is an alleyway or passageway, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, it typically describes a path between fences or walls in a field or between gardens.
An abbreviation of something, you might hear it in a sentence like "I want summat to eat" which means "I want something to eat."
Sup means to drink or to take sips, you will hear it in the Yorkshire saying, "Ear all, see all, say nowt. Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. And if ever thou does owt fer nowt – allus do it fer thissen", which means “Hear all, see all, say nothing. Eat all, drink all, pay nothing. And if you ever do anything for nothing—always do it for yourself.”
Pronounced ta-rah it is another way to say 'goodbye' it used to commonly throughout the North although you don't hear it used as much these days.
A very Northern way to say 'yourself'. You might remember "If ever thou does owt fer nowt - allus do it for thissen," or "And if you ever do anything for nothing - always do it for yourself."
Has multiple meanings, such as a cheeky child or an ill-mannered person, but it also means a person from Yorkshire and it's sometimes used as an insult!
Meaning panic, you might hear it in sentences like "She's in reet ugger mugger" meaning "She's in such a panic." However, it is a more uncommon Yorkshire phrase and should not be confused with 'hugger mugger' (which means "confused or disorderly").
Where There’s Muck There’s Brass
Meaning there is money to be made even in unpleasant, dirty jobs.
Yorkshire Born and Bred Wi Nowt Tekken Out
This Yorkshire phrase is descriptive of someone who is born and raised in Yorkshire. So much so that the person hasn't lost any of what makes them Yorkshire despite outside influences, like living somewhere else for example.
These Yorkshire words and phrases are some of our favourites, but we know we missed some! If we've missed your favourite, let us know down below!