A Guide to Understanding Broad Norfolk
Published date: September 2020
The Norfolk dialect which is also known as Broad Norfolk has some fantastic words and phrases unique to this part of the country. Norfolk folk can get a little cross when people try and imitate their accents, often talking more like someone from the west country rather than someone who is Norfolk born and bred!
The following is a simple guide for those visiting Norfolk, so that you can familiarise yourself with some typical words and phrases that may be heard when in the county.
Some must-learn phrases for when in Norfolk:
‘Oid rarely loike a bear’ – ‘A pint of your finest beer please old chap’.
‘Oh dare, oi hit a dare’ – ‘Unfortunately I seem to have hit a deer with my motor vehicle’.
‘Keep yew a troshin, moined ow yew gooo’ – ‘Look after yourself’.
‘Bor, thassa lud a ole squit’ – ‘Fellow, what you have just said is a load of nonsense’
‘Afta a fooo bears I wuz on the huh’ - ‘Too many beers left me feeling awry’.
‘I driv all way a Cromer an on way back tha snew’ –‘ I drove my motor vehicle all the way to Cromer and on the way back it snowed’.
‘Come yew hair, a’yer got a light boi?’ – ‘Would you mind coming here so I could trouble you for a match to light my cigarette?’
‘Ar yer orrite bor?’ ‘Hello, how are you?’
‘Co ter heck, thass a rum un’ – ‘My goodness! How very strange!’
Norfolk vowels dictate that a bear and a beer sound the same. The same goes for pear, pair and pier. For example, ‘I ate a pear on Cromer pear, followed by a pint of bear whilst holding my granddaughter’s teddy bear’.
Some fascinating Norfolk dialect words and their meanings:
Bishy-barney-bee - ladybird
Botty - fussy
Brawk - to belch loudly
Chimley - chimney
Coshies and cushies - sweets
Cuckoo - cocoa
Erriwiggle - earwig
Floater/swimmer - Norfolk dumplings
Furriner - someone who is not from Norfolk but from furrin (foreign) parts
Haller - to shout loudly
Hedge Betty - hedge sparrow
Hold yew hard - hang on a moment/listen a moment
Mardle - to chat/gossip
Mawkin - scarecrow
Mawther - woman or girl
Muckwash - sweat profusely
Old Year’s Night - New Year’s Eve
Pingle - to play with one’s food
Pollywiggle - tadpole
Sluss and slusspot - alcoholic beverage and someone who drinks too much
Smur – drizzle/fine rain
Squit - nonsense
Stewkey blews - cockles with a blue hue that are caught at Stiffkey
Titty-totty - something that is very small
Yisty - yesterday
If you would like to learn more about the Norfolk dialect, the following website has a wealth of interesting information: