Desmond Smart: Some Old Words

Wednesday, 31 May 2017: Desmond Smart: Some Old Words

Eamon and Desmond
Eamon Cunningham,[left] enjoying a chuckle with Desmond Smart about some old words

Club member, Desmond Smart, is a collector of “Old Words” , writing down words that were in common usage in our parents’ and grandparents’ time but little used today.   The meeting had a simple but entertaining format; Desmond would call out a word and Probians would respond by saying if they had ever heard it or used it.  Among those more readily recognised were NEB [beak or nose], OXTER [Armpit], WHEEN [small amount], GIRN [to pull a face] GULDER [shout or roar], BESOM [a broom].   Some words evoked childhood memories, for example BROO [riverbank] on which many members remembered playing and fishing.  SNED was readily associated with the trimming the green tops off turnips – as in snedding turnips and some recalled sitting on a SLIPE [sledge] being pulled along by their grandfather’s horse.  All could recount the stinging bite of CLEGGS [horseflies] and PLOUTERING through GUTTERS wearing WELLIES.   However buried in the vernacular were some unflattering terms for persons such as an untidy girl [a CLART], a contemptible boy [a SCUT], a big stout fellow [a SWAD] and a rough course woman [a HASK].    Other words evoking memories included COOM [turf dust],  SPANG [leap],  STOON [pain], TRUMPERY [bric-a-brac] and DAYLIGONE [twilight]