[From Manx Dialect, 1934]


Raa regularly, repeatedly ; used chiefly of a reiterated statement or continual chatter, perhaps by confusion with the Manx raa, a saying. " She's saying raa that I should come and live with her " (Shimmin, Dooinney Moyllee, page 7). " I was sayin' raa to her -use what [money] thou need " (Shimmin, The Third Boat). A woman's tongue goes " ray reg'lar, like the clapper of a mill " (Kneen, Ann). Probably the Manx rea, smooth, even.

Rackentree, etc. In an enumeration of ' Corbes ' (heirlooms prescribed by immemorial custom) in a Statute of 1499, certain terms occur which deserve notice, though they could hardly have been dialect words at a date when little English was spoken by the bulk of the Manx people.

The ' rackentree ' was the horizontal rod or bar to which the cooking-pot or kettle was hooked over the open hearth. The pegs or teeth by which it was adjustable constituted, no doubt, the ' racken ' or rack ; ' tree ' implies that it was originally a beam of wood, though replaced by iron in later times. An Inventory of 1694 includes " Z Rakentree " in the kitchen of the Governor's house at Castletown. In later times called ' Swee,' q.v.

Among other heirlooms recognized by the Statute of 1499 were " a Portasses, a Pair of Goberts of Iron, a Jack and a Sallett." " A Broach," a man's heritage, may have been an iron spit, but a woman's " best Broach " precedes her " best Cross " and follows her " Beades of jet or Amber."

Rag (verb). See " Tearing."

Raggabash, rabble, ragtag - and - bobtail. " The raggabash who had been clinking glasses " (Caine, Cafit'n Davy's Honeymoon, page 93). "All the raggabash of the Island, the scum of the land " (Caine, The Deemster, ch. xv.). Presumably a Manx dialect word, though I cannot vouch for it.

Randyboose, a general disturbance or uproar. " The two families was kickin' up a reg'lar randyboose togathar in the kitchen." An accidentally witty perversion of 'rendezvous.'

Rapper, a door-knocker. " Was she too little to reach the rapper ? " (Brown 427).

Ratch (as verb). To do a thing spasmodically ; to snatch. " Shanties that drunken sailors reach at sea " (Shimmin, The Dooinney 17oyllagh, page 27) ; i.e., shanties sung in snatches. " Wratchin' and teerin' at me hair " (Juan Noa, Manx Yarns, page 5). As noun a sudden movement, a rush. Used for the equivalent of a cricket run in a Manx game (V.A.D., " Kit-cat "). As a noun only, in the Manx dictionaries.

Rathag or Radhag (obsolete), a creel made of straw-rope, carried on the back ; a dorser. " Fill yer rathags, childer " was a metaphorical invitation to help themselves freely to apples or other portable good things. Billy-Thubm-y-Rathag (Billy, son of Tom of the Creel) was an Andreas man and is a character in " Juan Noa's " play The Raformah. Manx rassag.

Rattle, to rustle. " I could hear a rattlin' sound like a silk dress " when the White Lady passed by. Similarly used in the United States ; the ' rattling ' of the Yankee's first newspaper was commented on at the Court of King Arthur.

Raydagh, " a word expressing the deepest gratitude " (Blanche Nelson's MSS.). Possibly the same as roudaght, excess (Kelly) ; as though to say, " It's too much! "

Ready, to arrange neatly, to make tidy; as a room or house, or the human hair. " What'll I do ? Get dinner ready, or . . . ready the house ? " (Shimmin, The Charm, page 3). "Not enough go on you to reddy your head " (Cushag, The Lazy Wife, page 4). Also Brown 196. Common in all moods and tenses.

Rean. " That all Tyth Corn be received by the Tenth Stoke for casting the Tenth Sheafe in the Rean or Furrow was never used or heard of " (Spiritual Laws and Customs, 1577, in Statutes). ' Rean ' as a dialect word in England and Scotland has sundry special applications based on two factors, ' ridge ' and ' trench,' though the E.D.D. confounds it with the Irish ' raheen ' as well. The terms of the abovecited Manx passage are not clear ; perhaps it should read " or casting the tenth sheaf "-i.e., by throwing it aside. ' Rean,' at any rate, is evidently synonymous with ' furrow.'

Reenk-runk. "The only farm worth havin' in these days is a dairy farm near the town. These [that] has been carryin' on reenk-runk out at the mountains, lek me, issen' doin' nawthin' of it " (Newspaper article in Lonan dialect, source unknown). Query, meaning ?

Ribbon, a tiny bit, scrap, fragment. "Never a ribbon of pride at him " (Douglas, St. Matthew's Eve). Probably the Manx ribbag, a shred.

Right (adjective). 1. Right good, first-rate. " It's a right dance we'll have " (Douglas, The Lips of the Sea, page ii).

2. (Used with a negative.) Supernatural, uncanny.

" Did ye avar heer tell of meetin' a buryin' ? Not a rale one at all, but one of these things that isn' right " (Miss Graves in Moore's Manx Folk-lore, page 39)" There's something taking that's not right. Maybe it was Himself come back. Maybe it was his spirit "

(Shimmin, Illiam Kodhere's Will, page 40). 'Taking' (q.v.), haunting the spot. " She knew they weren't right people " (Roeder in Moore's Manx Folk-lore, page 26). They were fairies.

3. Right in the head, sane. " He was right enough, and a very good seaman, before the Lhiannan came to him " (Roeder, Lioar Manninagh, iii, 161). ' Lhiannan,' a fairy associate who causes (or is caused by) insanity.

Rip (noun and verb). A sharp tug ; to tug sharply. " Give me a rip and I will rip against thee " is, I was told many years ago, the fisherman's proverbial invitation to the bollan (rock-cod) to come and be caught. " He lashed him with the whip an' ripped at

the lines " (Bill Billy, " Outwitting the Devil ").

' Lines,' reins. " That's the stuff to wear, eh ? mee own spinnin' on the lil quheel to stan' a rep " (Rydings 59). Manx has raip, to tear, rend, snatch away, but the dialect use of ' rip '-' snatch, tug '-differs from the English meaning of ' tear.'

Rise, to arouse, cause to rise. " Risin' the ould man in the dead of the night " (Brown 582).

Roan or Rone, the roe of fish. " Don't ye like the soft roan ? Why, it's the crame o' the mate ! " ' There's more melts tel roens in these herrin's " (V.A.D., " Melt "). Used in Cumberland also.

Roig, scrofula. " I'm toul' that arym (figwort) is good to cure the roig " (V.A.D., " Arym "). Manx the same.

Roman. "If Colly Wade the 'roman' had at all Ye'd batther far not ask him for the ball " when it went over his garden hedge; " An' whether Colly keeps it altogether Depin's upon his temper an' the w'ather " (Quarrie, " Old Times "). Exact meaning unascertained ; but ' Roman ' is used personally in such expressions as " he's a reg'lar Roman,"-a regular terror, a Tartar.

Romps. " Away he went . . . tacking a bit with romps in the fetlock-joints, but drivin' on like mad " (Caine, Capt'n Davy's Honeymoon, page 1ii). Unknown to me. The E.D.D. has ' rompety,' violent, restless, used of horses.

Ronnag. " The ronnag is on him, he wants an excuse " to go to Ramsey (Quarrie, " Jemmy from Jurby "). The context suggests ' restlessness, desire to roam ' as the idea, but it may be a modification of the meaning attached by Cregeen to yonniaght: " revelry, ribaldry."

Root (noun and verb), rumble, growl, roar. Usually associated with thunder. " Th' oul' chap was snorin' away leks the roots of thunder." " The thunder was rootin' all night in the mountains." " The bull was rootin' and pawin' the ground." The Gaelic rucht, ruchd, is found in Manx as rooit and roogh, with similar meanings. Compare ' the rutting season ' of stags.

Rough-meat, animal food, butcher's meat. " Thou'll never get strong on tea. . . . In the old times the people ate rough meat, and they were strong too " (Shimmin, Dooinney Moyllee, page 6). " Give the dog that bone with the bit of roughness on it."

Rowlins, a method of temporarily preserving herrings by shaking them about in salt. Derivatively, a synonym for a thrashing. (See Roeder and Morrison, Manx Proverbs, page g.)

Ruck (noun and verb, rhyming with ' took ') is the usual word for a haycock, or to make a haycock. The finding of an Enquest held at Castle Rushen in 1504 speaks of " a broken Rook of oates " (Statutes). Nowadays 'stook ' would be the word in the case of corn. " We were rucking hay together in the field one day " (Cain, " Under the Bushel "). Manx ruig. In Orkney a ' roogue ' is a heap, e.g., of stones. Old Norse hyüga, a heap.

Ruinated (' roonaytid '), ruined. " Thou'll have me ruinated with waste an' high livin' " (Cushag, Mylechayaine, page 16). Certain other past and present participles are sometimes similarly formed from nouns ending in -ation ; e.g., ' limitated,' ' ornamentating.'


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2004