Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Sayings

Newfoundland Sayings

Newfoundlanders have a very distinct dialect from most Canadians. Newfoundlanders say “bye” (by’) instead of the “eh” . You can also note that most of us drop our “h’s” and pronounce the word with the first vowel.

 

A

  • a bad fashion – a bad habit
  • a bad good– something very good
  • a drop– referring to or asking for a drink of homebrew or liquor
  • a fisherman is one rogue, a merchant is many
  • a gunshot away – a short distance
  • a hug without a kiss is like an egg without salt – the two have to go together
  • a noggin to scrape – a very difficult task to complete
  • a warm smoke is better than a cold fog –
  • ah b’y, dat’s it b’y – finally accepting something, e.g. leaving Newfoundland to find work
  • an honest man when there are no anchors around – Ironical tribute.
  • a single line may have two hooks – a dual purpose
  • all dolled up – dressed up nicely
  • all-in – tired (I was all-in (tired) from carrying the wood to the house
  • all mops and brooms – this refers to an untidy hair
  • an hour by sun – an hour before sunset
  • an Irish youngster for the bow oar– he get the spray over him
  • any mummers loud in – (see Mummers)
  • arse foremost – backwards
  • “arn?”,  “n/arn.” – are there any fish? No, there aren’t any.
  • arse overflipped upside down
  • as fine a man as ever broke a cake of the world’s bread –
  • ay b’y – to agree with what someone is saying.

B

  • back-biter – someone who talks about others
  • backer back – drive a vehicle in reverse
  • bad blood – enmity or vendetta (there was bad blood between them for a long time)
  • barmp the horn – honk the horn
  • batter to Moses and tell ‘im I sent ya – beat it
  • beatin the pat – walking the roads, just hanging around
  • between us and all harm– a kind of interjectory prayer in telling of a calamity. ie., “God between   us and all harm may the like never come to any of us.”
  • between the jigs and the reels – during old times. Has another meaning akin to the expression “what with one thing and another” – “So, between the jigs and the reels, poor Tom lost all his money.” In an expression of determination, the phrase may mean “somehow.” “Ill do it between the jigs and the reels.”
  • bine by (B’n by) – bye and bye
  • birch broom in the fits – untidy hair,
  • blind-Buck-And-Davy – a game (Blind Man’s Buff)
  • blow the Christmas pudding – to celebrate with gunfire (shot-gun) the lifting of the Christmas pudding out of the pot
  • blow the back end rite out of er! – a good fart
  • blowed up like a sculpin (gernet)totally full, can’t eat another bite
  • boil up – preparing a large dinner
  • bold as brass – a brazen person
  • bun in the oven – a pregnant woman
  • busy-nose – a person who is in everybody’s business or trying to find information
  • but as I was sayin’– this is another grace note in conversation and is similar to the parodied French saying “Let us return to our Muttons.”
  • b’y, ‘es good for yarnin’great at storytelling
  • by and by I looked around and dere ‘e was, gone! – the person left the area, no where to be seen
  • by rights– strickly speaking
  • by the same token– it goes to say

C

  • can of dickie birds – Vienna sausages
  • can of drinks – can of soda pop
  • can she GO!!?, my son she’s savage – very fast
  • cape St. Mary’s pays for all – this locality has a prolific fishery
  • carrying on – playing, acting foolish
  • cheap enough to take the coppers off his mother’s eyes – stingy, cheap, miserly, mean, tightfisted, penny-pinching (see Wakes)
  • cleave up some junks and make a few splits – cut wood with an axe for a fire
  • cock & hound – a male who get lots of sex and looked up by his peers
  • cockier than two roosters in a hen house – very confident, however, annoying
  • come day, go day, God send Sunday – applied to a lazy person
  • come here I thinks I wants ya – I want to talk with you
  • come from away – referring to a visitor or tourist
  • come on now – really
  • cooked enough for a schooner’s crew– you cooked too much food
  • cush cush – bedtime

D

  • da ars es gone outta fer – all is lost, all has come to an end, bad economic times
  • da lard thunder n jesus – swear word
  • da’ roads are like da’ bottle – slippery, dangerous road conditions
  • dance up a storm – danced a lot
  • dark as pitch – very dark outside
  • dead man’s share – a small portion
  • death of one – hostile “he’s death on me”
  • don’t be at it – stop what you’re doing
  • done it brown – overdid the thing (allusion of burnt bread)
  • don’t bleve nuttin ya ‘ears and only ‘alf ya sees – not everything you hear or see is believable or true
  • don’t cut tails – don’t be too particular (fish tails were cut as a mark)
  • don’t fool me up – don’t confuse me
  • don’t pick the red ones, they’re green – a Newfoundlander giving advice on picking blueberries
  • douse the killock – throw the grapnel overboard
  • dose of salts– a laxative
  • down the shore – down at the water or beach where the fishermen come in from fishing
  • ducky – ommon term for friend or buddy
  • draggin’ the roads – up to doing mischief
  • dribs & drabs – bit and pieces of things or stuff
  • driving works– carrying on in a foolish mood
  • dry as a bone – extremely dry
  • drinks likes a fish– heavy drinker (alcohol)

E

  • eh b’y – to agree with what someone is saying.
  • empty vessels loom biggest –
  • eyes like a caplin goin’ offshore – bloodshot eyes

F

  • falling weather – rainy or snow weather
  • fair weather to you and snow to your heels– good luck on your way
  • fair to midland – a reply that means you are feeling good when someone asks the state of your well-being
  • far as ever a puffin flew – a very long distance
  • far off cows wear long horns
  • farbed up – confused; handicapped
  • fiddle-faddle – nonsense
  • fill you boots – do as you want
  • filled to the gunnels – filled to capacity
  • fire rocks – to throw stones
  • fish in summer and fun in winter – everything in its place
  • fish proud – a person who makes a big voyage at the fishery and knows it
  • fit hands with – to manage; to put up with; to contend with. “I’ve got too much work to fit hands with”
  • full of shit and up a quart – a bullshitter
  • full to the horn – dead drunk

G

  • g’wan b’y! – meaning, “no, really?” or “are you joking?”
  • garnteed, bye – guaranteed, I agree
  • get on oujt dere and let that wind blow da stink of ya – go outside and get some fresh-air
  • get on the go – “let’s go” (also, a common euphemism for partying, on the go by itself can also refer to a relationship- similar to a dating stage, but more hazy.)
  • gift of gab – a talkative person
  • give her the long main sheet – to go afar with no intention to return
  • give it to her – a person who is hard at working
  • give us a bitta dat luh – give us some of that
  • give us the breeze – to get married
  • give out – to tire; to collapse from exhaustion; to fail from age or sickness
  • go into an Irish sulk – to become morose especially after an interlude of high-spirited gaiety.
  • go ‘way bye – expression for not taking the other person serious, you’re not serious
  • go away with yer bad head – don’t be so foolish
  • go bail – an expression of determination, i.e. you’ll never do that again. I go bail
  • go on by’e – you sure?
  • go on home your mudder got lassy buns – trying to get rid of someone
  • go on witchya – don’t talk so foolish
  • go out in the jannies– to dress in the costume of a janny or mummer.
  • go to law with the devil and hold court in hell – the odds are against you
  • go away bye– something said in disbelieve
  • god bless your cotton socks – thanking a person
  • god love ya, me ole trout – thanking in appreciation
  • goin’? She wudden’t going now I know – moving at a great speed
  • goin’ to the time – going to some sort of social function
  • goin’ out for a few swallies n scuffs – going for a few drinks and dancing
  • good haul– refering to a good fish catch or person receiving lots of gifts
  • good morrow to you – you are mistaken
  • got da heaves – stomach complaints, stomach cramps, throwing-up, vomit
  • got da scudders – diarrhea

H

  • had like – very nearly happened, i.e. I fell in the water and had like to be drowned. Also, had like to die with laughing
  • had right to be said bye – should have taken the person’s advise
  • half in the bag – almost drunk or close to being drunk
  • hand like a foot– clutz
  • hard liquor – referred to rum and/or whiskey
  • hard as nails – tough guy, in physical shape
  • hauls off – used colloquially for raises (she hauls off and smacks him right in the mouth)
  • have at ‘er – go for it
  • hear tell – to hear about. “I heard tell they were coming for Christmas”
  • heave you stomach – to vomit
  • he’ll (she) be here now the once – he (she) will be here very soon
  • he don’t know hes arse frim a ‘ol in da ground!a very stupid or naive person
  • he had a bad one – a person who had been drinking a lot
  • he never does a tap– refering to a man who doesn’t work
  • he’ll wish his bread dough – he wishes things were back as to where they were
  • he’s not lazy– he was born that way
  • he’s useless as tits on a bull – good for nothing
  • he is wild as a gannet – the overactive person
  • heel of the day – evening; about sunset
  • hickledy-pickledy – in confusion
  • hop your carcass here – come this instant
  • hows ya getting on me young cocky – how are you doing young man
  • hows you gettin’ on cocky? – how are you today?”
  • hows she cutting me cock – how are you doing
  • hows she getting on b’y – how are you doing
  • how so – used to give a dramatic turn to descriptive talk (how so, I tell you)
  • hush yer mouth and jig yet squid – be quiet and mind your own business

I

  • I’ll be dere d’racklyI’ll be there right away
  • I dear say – I think so
  • I didden know wedder ta shit or go blind!very surprised look
  • I dies at you, wa! – funny person, something funny, I get a kick out of you
  • I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him – I haven’t seen him anywhere
  • I hear you’re like the ram – been with a lot of women
  • I to near fish – less than a quintal
  • I got the luck of a shithouse rat– badluck
  • I got two-three sma’ones – meaning less than a load
  • I wus walkin’ on da gunnel, nex ting ya knows I was tits-up! – I fell in the water
  • Idn’t dat fulish bye– Isn’t that follish
  • If you lose your grapnel, you’ll find it in the fall – you will find it on your account at the merchant’s store
  • I’ll be dere da rackley – I’ll be there in a few moments
  • I’ll be over now, d’once– I will be there right away
  • I’ll go bail for that – I will vouch for the truth of it
  • I’ll smack da gob off dat – slap somebody across the face (mouth)
  • I’m fed up to the gills – I am tired of this
  • I’m frigg’in satched! – I am soaking wet
  • I’m gutfoundered bye – you are really hungry now
  • I’m clipped – I’m cold
  • In a family way – being pregnant
  • In a hobble about it – not worrying about the matter
  • In a leaky punt with a broken oar, ‘tis always best to hug the store
  • In a tear – in a hurry
  • In slings – something unfinished or suspended
  • In stitches – excessive laughter, i.e. I was in stitches laughing
  • In three shakes of a lamb’s tail – immediately; quickly
  • I’m all stogged up – having a sinus cold
  • I spose – I suppose
  • It looks like we are going to have weather – referring to upcoming bad weather
  • It marks rain– dealing with the forecast, meaning it is forecasted for rain, snow, sleet, etc
  • It’s the bottle see – referring to a person and his/her behaviour who has been drinking for a long time
  • It’s some shockin good – referring to food, it’s delicious
  • It’s your round – your turn to buy the table a round of beer/liquor
  • I’ve got sooners – I’d sooner not do a certain thing than do it

J

  • Jack Colder – an expression about the weather. “it’s a jacket colder tonight than last night
  • Jack is as good as his master – the hired man is paid off when the end of the fishing season arrives, and is no longer a servant
  • Jesus, Mary & Joseph – a swear, however, of lesser form
  • Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; Sacred Heart of Jesusexpressions of concern and/or shock without actual cursing..you’ll see a lot of those as we go down the line
  • junks of wood – logs cut around 12”-18” in length and split in halves or quarters
  • just can navigate – feeling poorly or drunk
  • just show it to the pan – you don’t need to fry the food much

K

  • keep on – to fish in partnership. “George and Tom are keeping on this year”
  • knock off tarment’in – stop bothering me
  • knows she don’t go – referring to a fast vehicle or a promiscuous  woman

L

  • lard reven – less form or a swear word
  • let drift with – to throw something forcibly
  • let me tell you – an expression used to embellish conversation. i.e. that was no easy job, let me tell you
  • let no man steal your lines – beware of competition
  • let on – to intimate or inform, especially in a “knowing” way; to acknowledge
  • like ducks– under no circumstances, no way
  • loggy – feeling tired
  • long may your big jib draw – a good wish for the future
  • lotsa time – you don’t have to leave just yet
  • Lord Jesus, he’d step in a bucket of shit and come out smelling like roses – blessed with good luck
  • lord lamplighting Jesus – swear word
  • lord love a duck – alternate to swearing
  • lord thunderin’ Jesus, b’y – swear word
  • luh! – this is used to draw attention to something or someone, often by pointing. It is a variant of “Lo!” or “Look!”

M

  • make haste now my darlin – hurry up
  • make no wonder – it’s no wonder that
  • magin’ – confirming a statement just made
  • mark my words – be assured of what I said
  • me nerves is rubbed raw – something is bothering you
  • me eyes are bigger than me belly – I’m full and left a lot of food on my plate
  • me od’ dear – term of affection, referring to a woman
  • me od’ cock – term of affection, referring to a man
  • me ol’ cock– buddy or “pal; whacha got, me ol’ cock?”
  • me son – my son
  • mind now – you don’t really expect that do you
  • mind your mouth – be careful what you are saying, referring to someone who is swearing
  • mind the house – take care of the house while the parents are off visiting
  • mind the kids – babysitting the children
  • mind the time – remember when
  • more lip than a rubber boot– a person who likes to talk alot
  • morro yah – an Irish word of scarcasm like “ I wish you a good time of it” or, “I don’t believe a word of it”
  • mucked her off to the hospital – took her to the hospital
  • mug-up – having a cup of tea, snack
  • my ‘ead feels right logy after the “time” last night – suffering from a hangover

N

  • nar-fish – I didn’t catch any fish
  • neither meal nor malt – in dire poverty
  • nice day on clothes – excellent weather to put clothes on the clothes-line n
  • nice enough to trow rock at – don’t like that person
  • nip-and- tuck – closely contested; very near to defeat or failure
  • no but she/he cute – in reference to not agreeing with the other person
  • no weather is ill, if the wind is still.
  • nofty was forty when he lost the pork – never be sure of anything; the man Nofty held the best trump but allowed an opponent to reach game
  • not right in the head – person suffering from depression; mentally challenge person
  • not out of the wood yet – referring to somebody that is in trouble or a predicatment
  • now luh, da arse is gone right out of er – the economy is facing rough times
  • norra-one – never a one (“I got norra one”)
  • nuttin surer dan databsolutely, totally agreement

 

O

  • off in his buff – naked
  • off the wagon – person who started drinking again
  • oh me nerves, de got me drove – driving a person crazy; to be agitated or annoyed by something or someone
  • on my own hooks – one’s own boss (an independent fisherman)
  • on the dole – unemployed and collecting unemployment insurance
  • on the rag – woman menstruating and/or a very bad-tempered woman. Sometimes referred to  very bad-tempered man.
  • on the wagon – person who stopped drinking
  • on the tare – a person who has been drinking for a long period of time
  • out dogs and in dieters – prepare for the summer fishery
  • owshegettinonb’ys – how is he/she getting on
  • ‘ow she cutting dere by’e – how are you
  • ‘ow she getting on dere cocky – how are you

P

  • paddy Keefe – pretty nearly (“if you didn’t lose her, you went Paddy Keefe to it”)
  • pelt of a tripe – a rascal
  • piece of work – referring to a person who is trouble
  • pig before thunder – scared (“like a pig before thunder”)
  • pigs may fly, but they are very unlikely birds – hope in vain
  • poor mom or poor dad – mom or dad is deceased
  • purr about– to be busy in a small, ineffectual way
  • put a few leggies on soak for the mornin’ – fish for breakfast
  • put da side back in er – close the window
  • put the kettle on – telling someone that company is comming or prepare a small lunch
  • put the townie on me – when an Irish emigrant was rebuked for wasting his time on a stranger and treating him with unusual hospitality, he would, in certain circumstances, be able to plead, “Sure, he put the townie on me” meaning the stranger had claimed to have come from the same country in the Old Country. This feeling was strong with the early immigrants.
  • puttin’in – referring to young women, from “putting in”
  • praise the weather, when you’re ashore –
  • put the come-hether on me
  • put the kettle on maid – a man telling his wife to make lunch or that company is coming
  • put up with – to bear, to endure or tolerate
  • put your vamps and stocking cap on – put your wool socks and cap on

Q

 

R

  • rain before seven, done by eleven
  • rainbow in the east, sailors at peace
  • rainbow in the west, sailors in distress
  • rimmed or warped– to be deformed or distorted in a unusable fashion. Often used to describe someone who is seen upon as weird or an outcast (i.e.: She’s rimmed, b’y).
  • right – a synonym for “very” (i.e.: “She’s right pretty.”)
  • right out of her – a confused person; something a person did that’s is not logicial; or sometimes referred to a person who is drunk
  • run-about – a person running around the roads when expected to be at home
  • run like a scal’d cat – run fast

S

  • say nothing and saw wood – do not say anything, or make and comments
  • scrub yourself up – get cleaned
  • scoff and a scuff – meal following a dance
  • scopie – a nickname of a bottom feeding fish often found around coves
  • skin the old cow – when cold March weather persists far in April the old cow dies of hunger
  • skin hound – a male always trying or having lots of sex
  • she’s block solid– refering to gravel roads block with snow, or something filled to the top
  • she cat – highly sexual woman who is promiscuous
  • she doesn’t take her boots to tell him – very outspoken or opinionated
  • she’s aimin’ to blow – there’s going to be a storm
  • she’s bad (she’s not good) – referring to something that is terrible wrong or falling apart
  • she’s gonna be sick – a pregnant lady starting labour
  • she’s flat ass cam dis morn – the sea are calm
  • she’s not warm out there – the weather is very cold
  • she’s thinks she shits dixie-cups – snobbish
  • she’t thinks her shit doesn’t stink – snobbish
  • shockin that is, shockin – it’s shocking
  • short-a-peak – with the anchor chain hove short
  • shoulder-spell – as far as one can carry a load on the sholder without stopping to rest
  • shut up your prate – be quiet
  • shrinkin’ the plim – said about a woman who is pregnant who get thin before getting fat
  • signs on it – this is expressed in modern phraseology. “ It is a warning to me never to be caught making such a mistake again.”
  • slatterly-sling – in disorder. The Irish youngsters used their own word in the early days, viz, Train-ah-Kalia
  • slew around – turn around
  • slick as snot on a chicken’s lip – sly, slippery
  • sly-boots – a sly mischief-plotting person
  • slow as cold molasses – you are not moving very fast
  • slower than cold molasses running uphill – moving very slow, or not working very hard
  • smokes like a tilt – a person who smokes a lot
  • solid as a rock – a honest person or a person you can count on
  • solomon Gosse’s birthday – this was Thursday when the usual was pork and cabbage and pudding, a favorite meal in Newfoundland
  • something under your pinny (apron) – having a baby; being pregnant
  • sparks going to fly – a situation that has been escalated, an argument,
  • spitting frost – very frosty weather (so cold as to make the skin of the face prickly)
  • sure as there’s sh’t in a cat – certainly, definitely
  • stage-head clerk – a dude or prate-box who knows how to do everything expect work
  • starmy day da mar – stormy day tomorrow
  • stay where your at and I’ll come where your to – stay put until I get there; wait there for me
  • staying-put – not moving, staying in one area for a period of time
  • stogged up – having a head cold; something plugged
  • steal the eyes right out of your head and come back for the holes – a person you can’t trust, a brazen thief, a person with no shame
  • stiff as a poker – either referring to a dead person or a person knock out
  • stop your rampsin around – stop being overactive or horse playing in the house
  • storm the kettle – to boil the kettle hastily for a mug-up
  • stun as me arse – referred to a stupid person
  • straightened out– a fisherman was “straightened out” when he got his account from the supplying merchant and was paid the balance due to him

T

  • tail a trap – to set a trap
  • take a gock at that – take a look at that
  • take care me ducky/me love – wishing well to a girl/boy
  • take the weight of – to form an opinion of another (“I took his weight soon as  I heard him speak”)
  • take trouble – to sorrow, especially over bereavement
  • tell on – to give away a secret
  • that bread is some fousty – the bread is spoiled and not fit to eat
  • that fire is poverty – the fire is too small
  • that townie was done up like a stick of gum – the person was well dressed
  • that’s about the size of it – a quick summation
  • that’s not right you know – something said or done unfairly
  • the arse is gone out of er – the local economy is not very good right now
  • the bottom fell right out of her – it all went wrong
  • the devil’s fashion – to give someone something and then take it back
  • the devil to pay and no pitch hot – unprepared for emergency
  • the doors not an arse hole, it doesn’t shut itself – meaning shut the door behind you
  • the fish are eating the rocks – plentiful of fish near the shore
  • the old dog for a hard road – experience easily overcomes difficulty
  • the older the crab, the tougher his claws – it is not easy to fool a sophisticated person
  • the once – at once
  • there’s favor in hell, if you bring your splits – said of currying favor through underhand methods
  • there’s more meat on Good Friday – referring to a very skinny person (please note that Catholics did not eat meat on Good Fridays)
  • there’s no back doors about him/her – very outspoken or very opinionated
  • there’s no fish out there, I got a few – meaning less than half a boat load
  • three-ball shot – an expression of distance: three times as far as a rifle shot
  • three sheets to the wind – being totally drunk
  • think about – to be in love with (“he’s has been thinking about her for a while now”)
  • throw the cows over the fence some hay! – feed hay to the cows
  • tint of ink – dip of ink on a fountain pen
  • tis some day on clothes– means, its’ a nice day
  • tis not every day that Morris kills a cow – favorable opportunity comes but seldom
  • to get a crop – to get a hair cut
  • to get the hang of something – to figure out how it’s done or works
  • Tom Long’s account – to pay what you owe and have nothing left
  • tongue banging (tongue lashing) – scolding
  • tough as a gad – able to withstand cold weather
  • tough as nails – very strong (physically) person
  • tother – the other (“tother-day”)
  • train-a-kalia – in disorder
  • tree axe ‘andles across da arse – referring to bigger or large woman backside
  • tree link over dere in dat crop of woods, luhshhh! be quiet, there are three lynx over there in that grove of trees)
  • trip of bait – the word trip means “quantity.”: a load or cargo
  • trouter’s special – a train that made special Victoria Day stops for anglers
  • tuckered out – tired
  • two blocks – at a deadlock; used up, tired
  • two-ten – a warning called by a clerk to his co-workers to say that a thief had come in the shop (“keep your two eyes on his ten fighers”) is the experession
  • turn of water – a person’s turn to going to a dug-well for a bucket of water
  • turn round, she’s bind ya – turn around, she’s behind you

U

  • u gotta face only yam udder could love – you are ugly
  • up in cheer – in good spirits
  • up in the wind – being pregnant
  • ups with – used colloquially for “raises.” (she ups with her fist and nails him on the chin)

V

  • very certain man – used in the sense of “few and far between”
  • very certain time – deals with time (“it’s only a very certain time you can run down the short’”)

W

  • wadda ya gett’in on witt? – what are you talking about
  • wah? – a general expression meaning, “what?” The length of the vowel sound varies.
  • warf the wood – pile up the wood in a criss-cross fashion
  • wait a fair wind, and you’ll get one – await opportunity
  • walking about – to be unemployed (“I’ve been walking about all summer”)
  • watch the flankers – be careful of sparks from the fire
  • well we rolled at dat; well we handy ’bout died – found something extremely funny
  • well, de reavin’ oats was comin’ out of em!!; he was cursin’ a blue streakinventive cursing
  • what a feed – an excellent meal
  • what ails ya? – what’s wrong with you
  • what a big set of paws – large hands
  • what a snarl!!extreme mess
  • what are ye at? or “Wadda ya’at b’y?” – “what are you doing?”
  • what odds – never mind, it doesn’t matter
  • what wrong fer ya bye – what’s the matter with you
  • will ya hang on b’y? – wait up a minute or wait a minute
  • when the snipe bawls, the lobster crawls – after sunset
  • where ya to? – where are you?
  • where she longs at – where are you from
  • where ya from and whose yur fadder – where are you from and what’s your father’s name
  • where you ‘longs to? – where are you from
  • whine the cat and put the clock outside – prepare for bedtime
  • white horses on the bay – on a stormy day waves break into foam. The allusion to white horses is apparently a reference to an Irish tradition of a chieftain named O’Danahue who was drowned in a lake in Killarney on his wedding morning, and could afterwards be seen in a storm riding a white horse and preceded by maidens strewing flowers
  • who knit ‘ya – who is your mother, where did you come from
  • who pissed in your path this morning – referring to a contrary person
  • who pissed in your corn-flakes this morning – referring to a cranky person
  • won’t you, don’t you – nonsensical phrase said during any conversation
  • working harder than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest – working hard with no end in sight

X

Y

  • ya gat da face only a mutter could luv – meaning you are some ugly
  • ya looks like a streel – you look untidy
  • yes b’y – confirmation of what a person just said or of a situation; expression of awe or disbelief. Also commonly used sarcastically to mean “yeah right”.
  • you are as deep as the grave – your real feelings are not easily judged from your appearance
  • you are robbing Peter to pay Paul – needless change of useful things
  • you are making a nice kettle of fish – making a mess of affairs
  • you are moidering my brains – your noise is very disturbing
  • you can eat the funks my son – you are eating a lot at one sitting
  • you can get only one shot at a shell bird – a shrewd person can be duped but once
  • you can cut a notch in the beam – said when someone does the unusual
  • you can forget ’bout dat, ol’ manannoyed with what someone just said
  • you can take the boy out of the bay, but you can’t take the bay out of the boy –
  • you can’t tell the mind of a squid – this refers to an unreliable person. A squid can move backwards or forward
  • you got’er scaled (you got her knocked) – you got thing just has you want them to be
  • you got it blistered – you have things just the way you want them
  • you knows yourself – responding to statement in agreement.
  • you’re not too mossy – refers to a bright or intelligent person
  • your sister – replying in disagreement or in astonishment
  • you are cracked bye – something a person said that was unbelievable
  • you are as deep as the grave – your real feelings are not easily judged from your appearance
  • you are as slow as cold molasses – you are extremely slow moving
  • you are not the boss of me – meaning, you don’t tell me what to do
  • you are like a fish out of water – out of your environment
  • you are getting too big for your boots– assuming too much authority in a bad way
  • you are off your rocker – you are nuts
  • you are taking a rise out of me – your flattery is only for the purpose of making others laugh at me
  • you’ll be wishing your cake dough – wishing you had your time back
  • you’ll do it in the long run – eventually you will succeed
  • your paws will never maintain your jaws – you will never earn enough to support yourself (said of a person who lives extravagantly)
  • your tawts are too far aft – the word “thwart”, meaning a cross seat in a dory, is commonly pronounced “twat” by Newfoundland fishermen. The expression means you are very wrong in your opinion
  • you’re a nice kind young feller – you are a nice person”
  • you’re gonna getta trimm’in – you are about to be spanked pretty bad
  • you’re on nish ice there b’y – meaning the ice is not strong, dangerous
  • you’re some crooked – you are grouchy
  • you’re some ticket – you are a trouble maker or hard-case
  • yur stund as me arse – you are not too bright

Z

see also,  Newfoundland Slang

kjp

Bibliography
 
To the people of NL who have contributed their beautiful colorful language to the world
Devine’s Folk Lore of Newfoundland (September, 1937)
Clarissa Smith (Broken Wings)
Historic Newfoundland and Labrador (Published by Dept Of Development  and Tourism of NL)
Fat-Back & Molasses (by the Family of the Rev. Ivan F. Jesperson, St. John’s, Newfoundland)
Our Province Newfoundland and Labrador (Frank Cramm/Garfield Fizzard) Pilot Edition
Wikipedia
The Treasury of Newfoundland Dishes (Cream of the West Flour) 1958

 

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