Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Cornish Dialect

Dear Members,


There is now a minimum of 4,592 dialect words on line.  


I am not recording this to seek praise but more to pay tribute to my predecessor Brian Stevens, George Pritchard and no doubt others who put so much energy, commitment and enthusiasm into the founding of this project.  It has been an honour for me to continue their good work.


However there are still a small number of words marked ?? which indicates that we do not have an explanation or some other lack of information.  I ask members to take a look through the Dialect Section and see if they can assist.  They can report back to me on paul.downside@gmail.com or Downside, Casterills Road, Helston, TR13 8BJ.  Thanks


Please go to the dialect pages of the website and where you can add to the existing meaning of a word or an alternative one please let me have the details. My personal details are below.


There are still one or two entries with ?? (question marks) in them, this signifies that either the definition or context is missing or that it doesn’t seem to make sense to the researcher.  Here again if you can help I would be most grateful.


There is still a wealth of dialect words out there especially allied to the trades of farming, mining and fishing; you may know a few yourself or know someone you could ask, please let me have details.  Finally, I am sure you realise that this work will probably never end so please treat it as Work in Progress by coming back to me as often as you like.


Yours,  Paul Phillips (Dialect Recorder)


Paul Phillips Downside, Casterills Road, Helston, Cornwall. TR13 8BJ

Email: paul.downside@gmail.com Tel: 01326 573317

Cornish Dialect Words

Click on a letter and the link to a pdf file will appear at the bottom of your screen

Dialect Alphabet Sayings (Revd 3rd Jan 14) Dialect On-line Books English Dialect Dictionary On-line

To All Members of Old Cornwall Societies,

Dear friends,

I have not received any dialect contributions from any of you for many months, so have now reverted to sifting through a few short Glossaries that I have acquired over the years, so please ask around amongst friends and families to see what you can glean and send them on to me.  (paul.downside@gmail.com) or post to Downside, Casterills Road, Helston, TR13 8BJ.

Even if it is only one word or phrase it is important that it gets documented before it is lost forever.

I have one other request for you:

There are just a few words marked ?? this is because we have not yet established a meaning for them, I have also now marked them in RED to save you a lot of ‘trawling’, so I am asking that you help this important project by spending at least one wet afternoon to go through the alphabetical list on the website to see if you can help fill any of the gaps.  It makes me feel disappointed that I can’t complete the picture as it were, so any assistance will be most welcome.  

At the time of writing I am not quite ready to present the latest ‘Sayings’ pages in this way.

I thank you in anticipation for help that I have no doubt will be received.


Paul (Dialect Recorder) 01326 573317, but Email is better for me.


Carn Brea Cathedral Johnny Fortnight Ole Blood The Fox The Taaty Paasty


Father Put an Ad in the Paper Mother and Boy Willie Go Shopping The Cooker The Washing Machine Glossary of Cornish Mining Terms

Up Along Te Padstow Way With Betsy

(First published in the Cornish Guardian July 3 1980)


Well, I promised te tell ‘ee all ‘bout me trip up te Padstow, an’ what a gran time I ‘ad up there.  Me niece, Mollie, an’ ‘er man come down to vetch me on th’ Friday night, an’ time they’d loaded me up wi’ me walkin’ frame an’ me typewriter, an’ me ole porkmangle with all me cloas, an’ us got up to PADSTOW,  I was daggin’ vur th’ dish o’ tay thatb was waitin’ vur me.

I allus ‘ad a zoft spot vur Padstow, an’ tho’ things ‘ave altered a mite zince I was there las’ time, nigh on vifty yur agone, theere’s still plenty o’ th’ ol’ places left te remind me o’ all th’ good times I ‘ad there.

But wotever ‘ave they dun te th’ railway stashun?  I allus used te go there by train, but they tell me yyu c aan’t do that no more.  Well, twas well pas’ me baid time avore I got settled in thickky night, time we’d drinked tay, and yarned a mite, an’zum o’ th’ rest o’ the’ Allen vamily ‘ad come te ‘ave a look at me.

You  zee, droo me movin’ roun’ an bein’ zo var away, we’d lost contraction wi’ one tother, but I don’t think it’ll be long avore I de go up there agane, that’s if they’ll ‘ave me arter all th’ capers they ‘ad wi’ me this time.


Th’ weather on th’ Zaturday was ‘ansum, an’ we zot out in th’ zun.  That was s’posed to be a quiet day, te git over the j’urney,  butn they zoon vound there was no quietness wi’ me around!   One arter t’other they all drapped in , Johnnie, David, an’ Tony, an’ th’ wimmen an ‘ childern , even th’ new baby, me virst gurt-gurt niece.  The I wus told they was taakin’ me out fer a speshul trait in th’ aivnen.

Zo arter tay they got me all drest up, an’ vixed me in the wheel chair, an off we went.  There was Mollie an’ Ray, an’ Tony an’ Mary, an’ David an’ Jean, n’ li’l Janine, an’  purty spectickkle ‘twas wi’ me jowstlin’ along in me wheel-chair an’ they poor dears ‘avine te shove me.  Twadden bad gain down, but, cummin’ uphill ‘omeward was tough gain vur th’ pore dears.  “Where be uz off to?” I axed.  Then all te wonce us landed up on th’ qua, an’ I minded th’ time me an th’ Padstow Orphans ‘ad gived a concert there, tho’ I caan’t mind what vur.

Then we stopt outside th’ Shipwright’s Inn, an’ when I looked at th’ name  upaver the door I’m beggard if it ‘twadden another Allen!  “Well,” says I “ol’ gurtgranfer Allen was a inn-keeper, up there to ‘Are an’ ‘Ounds, Lane-ast, an’ a lively ol’ spark ‘e was too.  Zo tis back to th’ ol’ family bizens, zimmin.


We ‘ad’n been zaited more’n a vew minnits, arter they’d got me in, when in comes the Padstow Merrymakers, all drest up an’ playen all zoarts o’ moosical insterments, queerer than ever Roger Giles advedrtised!

An the vurst thing they played was th’ Hels’on Flora.  “Good Lor’” ses I, “I jist come from there , I want te ‘ear a bit o’ Padstow.”  Well us ‘ad a gran’ time, an’ I had two gklasses o’ lemon, an’ then a strange gent comed forth to me, an’ zed ‘e wanted te buy me a drink.  I sed, “no thankee,” but ‘e was most persistent, zo I ‘ad anether, an id thee’s rthere when I come agane, Geordie I’ll ‘ave anether .

Well, the week flied by, wi’ one dau wi’ Tony an’ Mary, an’ Eileen Martin (‘e’s the one wi’ the proper Allen wind-cutter!) an’ young Ronnie; and a day wi’ Johnnie an’ Joyce , an’ Garfy an’ Trevor, an’ O don’t b’leeve th’ taypots was ever cold all the time I was up there!  An’ what I ait up there, and br’ot back wi’ me wou’d vull a cart, wi’ th’ tail board up!

T’was nice o’ Mr John Flynn to come te zee me an’ axe me te come up te the Padstow Ol’ Cornwall.  But I shou’d think they pickshers Tony shawed us would be more fun than me!

I reckon I might be axed up vur Jill an’ Nick’s weddin’.  Anyway, there’s no ‘arm in ‘opin’.  An avore I vurget , thanks te the ones who’ve wrote te me, an’ I dearly like te get letters!

Wish’ee wellvur th’ time,

Yours sinceer,


To the best of my ability I have reproduced the story just as per the newspaper cutting received.

The article in itself is a useful exercise for those interested in comparisons as it will be noted how the eastern end of the county the dialect is so akin to that of Devonshire, with its use of ‘z’s’, ‘v’s’, and the lack of rolling ‘r’s’.  Enjoy              PP.

The story in the form of a newspaper cutting was enclosed with a list of dialect words and a brief explanation of Baulking,  received from a Mrs P.A. Flamank of Crantock, to whom I am most grateful.