Etymologists Corner
Pitmatic dictionary published

A dictionary of language used in mining communities in the north-east of England has been published. Pitmatic, by author Dr Bill Griffiths, sheds light on colourful terms such as “rammel” (rubbish), “fettled” (fixed) and “stannin' hacky” (in danger).

The dictionary, which took a year to compile, also features the poems, jokes and songs of pit workers. Dr Griffiths, of Seaham, County Durham, said he hoped his work would help preserve the pit-yack (mining dialect) for future generations.

He compiled the dictionary using a range of sources including interviews with former miners and copying handwritten diaries and songs stored away in family homes.

Explaining the emergence of the dialect, he said: "When the pits were developing, the workers were coming in from the outlying areas and they brought with them the traditional speech of the region, which owes a lot to both Anglo-Saxon and Viking times.

Here are a few Pitmatic terms

aard yakka - former miner

bonny on - in difficulty

fever van - colliery ambulance

hoggers - boxer shorts

keepa hadd - farewell expression

workie-ticket - troublemaker