calendar
search
love middlesbrough logo love middlesbrough logo love middlesbrough logo love middlesbrough logo love middlesbrough logo
 

 
close

Dictionary of Middlesbrough and Teesside Accent Dialect and Slang

This smogtionary is just the thing if you're looking to understand the unique local Middlesbrough & Teesside accent, dialect & slang. There are also terms from North Yorkshire & the North East.

Quick links

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Derty Werk ShertNotes

A

Afta - Meaning 'have to'.

I'll afta sort it out later.

Aggy Bo/Aggy Boo/Aggy Bo Bo - 'Ha ha, the joke is on you'. This phrase is often accompanied with a flutter of one’s fingers across his or her chin.

Alley - A marble.

Allus [pronounced ollus] - Always.

Alright - Greeting

 

As - Way of adding emphasis.

I was happy as.” / “It was weird as.

Av'it - 'Take that!'

Ayaz - Used to express pain.

Ayaz! That knacks that!

B

Babba - A baby, when addressing a baby.

Backend - Autumn.

Backendish - The weather turning colder at the end of summer. An autumn feel about things. 

Bad - Unwell.

That food last night made me proppa bad like.”

Bag ‘ed - Drug addict.

Bairn - A child. 

Bait - Packed lunch for work.

Baltic - Extremely cold/freezing. The origin of this word is presumably the Baltic Sea.

God, it’s baltic out there like.”

Bang out/bang out of order - Wrong or unfair.

Barney - Barnard Castle.

Bat - To strike a quick, single blow.

He often gets a sly bat in.”

Baths - Swimming pool.

Batter - To beat up.

Beast - A particularly difficult challenge.

What a total beast that was.”

Beb - A small gift, share or loan of money. From the North Yorkshire word ‘beb’ meaning a ‘sip of a drink’.

Beck - A stream.

Berra - Better.

Binjer - Cigarette end.

Black’n - An all day drinking session.

"I’m going on a black’n’.”

Blacklock - A beetle or cockroach. Pronounced black-lock not black-clock, it is a North Yorkshire word.

Blag - To ask for something.

"Can I blag a lift home?”

Blaked - Drunk [Hartlepool term].

Bleb - Originally a blister. In Middlesbrough, used for an extrusion in a bike tyre from the innertube for example.

Bobbies - The police, from Robert Peel.

Bongo, the - A renowned Boro nightclub located Over the Border.

Bongy - A steel marble or ball bearing, used with the glass marbles.

Boola / booler - Old tyre.

Bray - To beat.

Budgies - Trousers which are too short.

Buzzin’ - Very happy.

C

Cack - Rubbish, horrible.

Cack-handed - Clumsy.

Cadge - Borrow or be given.

Callyat - The California area of Eston.

Canny - Someone with an amenable personality. To be a canny lad/lass or even ‘canny as’ is the ultimate Boro accolade.

Canny Yatton - Great Ayton.

Cardboard City - Grangetown.

Cathy-cat - A catholic.

Checks - Middlesbrough version of chuck-stones.

Chew - Hassle or grief.

“I'm not in the mood for any chew tonight like.”

Chewie - Chewing gum.

Chockablock / Chocka - Packed, full.

Chor / Chorva / Chorver - Mate or friend.

Chuddy - Chewing gum.

Claggy - Sticky.

Claggy Foot - Cargo Fleet.

Clamming - Hungry.

Clarry - Port Clarence and High Clarence.

Clarty - Muddy.

Class - Very impressive.

Clemmy - Small stone or lump of mud to throw.

Clippy mat - A home made mat from bits of old coats etc. sewn together in patches onto a hessian type back cloth.

Cob on - Bad mood.

Cod’eads - People from the coast.

Copper - Small change, especially 1p and 2p pieces.

Corra - Coronation Street (the soap opera).

Cotters - Tangles or knots in the hair.

Council pop - Tap water.

Croggy - To catch a lift on someone’s bike, sitting on the crossbar while they sit on the seat and pedal.

Crozzle - To burn food.

Cuddywhifter - Left handed person.

D

Dark End - Park End.

Darlo - Darlington.

Deck - To beat up.

Defo / defos - Definitely.

“Are you defos going there tomorrow?”

Derty - Dirty.

Devoed - Devastated.

“I’m proppa devoed me like.”

Dillies - Street rounders.

Dinner nanny - Dinner lady.

Div / divvie - Idiot.

Do one - Go away.

Dodie / dodo - A child’s dummy.

Doggy / Doggy Town - North Ormesby.

Dormo - Dormanstown, a suburb of Redcar built in the 1920s to house workers in the Dorman Long Steel works.

Down town - Middlesbrough town centre.

Doyle - Idiot.

E

Eeeeeee - An expression of shock, surprise or delight.

“Eeee, well I never.”

Eee-yah - 'Here here, can I please have your attention?'

Ey up - 'Well well, look what we have here.'

F

Fadgie - A bread bun.

Filum - Film.

Fumin’ - Very angry.

G

Gadgie / gadge - A bloke.

Gare - The triangular pieces of land jutting out at the mouth of the Tees - North Gare & South Gare.

Gawker - An apple core.

Geggs - Glasses.

Get - Its origins are presumably in ‘git’.

“Come here you little get.”

Get in! - Expression of delight.

“Boro won, get in!”

Give - Used instead of 'gave' or 'given'.

“I give him a lift home last night.” / “I'd have been in trouble if he hadn't give me a lift home last night.”

Gizzit - To ask someone for an item.

“Is that my coat?  Gizzit here!”

Goosed - Very tired or inebriated.

Gozz - Spit.

H

Hacky / 'acky - Dirty.

Hard - Physically tough.

Have a word with yourself - 'Do consider what it is you are saying / doing'.

Haway - 'Please do hurry up'. It can also have a meaning similar to the phrase 'come off it.'

“Haway man we're gonna be late!” / “Oh haway, what do you mean the match has been cancelled?”

Heaving - Very busy, crowded.

Honking - Smelling disgusting.

“It honks in here.”

Howl - To laugh.

Hoy - To throw (See also: Shot).

“Can you hoy me a can over here please?”

I

I can't be doing with this like - 'I am extremely unhappy with this situation.'

I’m not having that like - 'You are pulling my leg, I simply won’t believe it.'

J

Joggies - Jogging bottoms / tracksuit bottoms.

K

Keggy - Black eye.

Kick off - To get angry.

Kick clean off - To get very angry.

Kick right off - As above.

Knack - To hurt. You can knack someone or you can, yourself, be knacked.

“Ah, me 'ead's proppa knacking.”

Knocked bad / knocked sick - To make someone feel unwell.

That's proppa rank, it's knocking me sick.”

Knocked clean out - To punch someone and render them unconscious.

“I knocked him clean out.”

Knocked spark out - A variation of the above.

L

Laffin’ - Not bothered.

“Ahh laffin’.”

Laggy - Last, the last one to get a turn in children’s games.

Laggy band - Elastic band.

Leccy - Electricity.

Ledge - A hero.

“What a total ledge.”

Lemon top - Delightful ice cream with a tangy lemon sorbet top. Mainly found at popular seaside resort Redcar.

Like - Way of ending a sentence.

I’m proppa devoed me like.”

Living tally - Cohabiting.

Looka - 'Excuse me, can I have your attention'.

M

Mafting - Hot.

Mallon - Directly elected mayor Ray Mallon, former police officer known for his zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour.

“Ere, if you don’t pack that in I’ll tell Mallon.”

Mam - Mum.

Manky - Dirty.

Mawk - A miserable person.

Me / me like - Added to the end of sentences, largely meaningless.

“I hate this weather me like.”

Meff - Idiot.

Minging - Horrible or disgusting.

“That meal was minging.” / “It mings in here.”

Mint - Very good.

“It’s proppa mint that like.”

Minted - Lots of money.

Mish - A rather long way.

"I’m not going there like - it’s too much of a mish." 

Molly - Love bite.

Monkey-hanger - Native of Hartlepool (See also: Pooly). From the urban legend that during the Napoleonic wars the people of Hartlepool thought a monkey was a French spy and hanged it.

Mooch - A walk.

“I'm bored, are youse coming on a mooch?”

Muppet - Silly person.

N

Naff all - Nothing.

“We walked all the way here for naff all?  I'm not having that like.”

Nappa - Head.

Nectar - Really good.

Nick off - To play truant.

Nick off! - (very forcefully) 'No! No way!!'

Nightmare - Unfortunate.

“You lost your phone?  Nightmare.”

Nithered - Feeling the cold.

“I’m totally nithered.”

Nowt - Nothing. The opposite of owt.

Now then, now then - 'Hi everyone. How are you all?'

N’tha - Said at the end of a sentence to emphasise its meaning. Can also be used to mean 'and such things'.

 “Not been up to much in town, just shopping n'tha.”

O

Offit - Mental, crazy.

“It was proppa offit last night.”

Oggy raiding - Stealing apples, scrumping.

Orr eeya - Expression of frustration.

Orr eeya, I cant be doing with this like.”

Our - Used to signify a family member or belonging.

“Our mam is coming round in a bit.”

 

Our end - The area where you live.

“There's nowt going on round our end tonight.”

Our Lad/Our Lass - My boyfriend or husband/girlfriend or wife.

Our ‘ouse - My house.

Over the Border - An area of Middlesbrough that good boys and girls should never venture. The old area of Middlesbrough (St. Hilda's), arrived at by going under the railway bridge at the bottom of Albert Road.

Ow - Excuse me.

“Ow, who you calling a doyle?”

Ow do - 'How are you?'

Owee in - 'Please come in'.

Owld - Old.

‘Ows about - How about.

Owt - Something.  The opposite of nowt.

“What you been up to, owt or nowt?”

P

Pack it in - 'Please stop what you are doing'.

Pancrack - Unemployment benefit.

Paraletic - Very drunk.

Parmo - A celebrated Middlesbrough delicacy consisting of flattened, deep fried chicken, smothered in a layer of bechamel sauce and melted cheddar cheese.

People’s Republic of Teesside - Middlesbrough’s full title, used on official documents.

Pictures, the - Cinema.

“Are you coming to the pictures tonight?”

Pint touch - A pint of lager topped with lemonade.

Plastic Geordie - Wearsider/Sunderlander.

Plother - Mud.

Pooly - Native of Hartlepool (See also: Monkey-hanger).

Proddy-dog - Protestant.

Proppa - Very much, a lot.

Proppa dodge - Very unsportsmanlike.

Pump - Break wind.

Put the mozz on - 'To put the mockers on', to bring bad luck to.

Q

Quality - Very good.

“It’s proppa quality that.”

R

Radged / radgie - Angry.
“That gadgie's in a right radgie.

Rammed - Full, very busy.

“The town at Christmas was rammed.

Rank - Horrible, disgusting.

Ratted - Inebriated.

Righto - Okay.

Ripped Off - 'I can clearly see you are annoyed'. It can be prefixed with ‘Arrgggghhhhhh’ to increase its intensity.

NB. Children have also been known to accompany this phrase with a ripping action.

Rippage - A clever abbreviation of the above.

S

Salty - Saltersgill.

Sandscratcher - Native of Redcar. Presumably from the practice of scraping sea-coal off the beach.

Satin City - The Tilery, Stockton.

Scally - Shortened form of 'scallywag', meaning a mischievous or cheeky child.

Scran - Food.

Scraps - Spare bits of batter you can get with fish and chips.

Scunner - A person with limited means or limited morals.

“What a total scunner.”

Scunnerish - The actions of a ‘scunner’.

“‘Ow scunnerish is tha’?”

Seen - Used instead of 'saw'.  May also be used as short for 'have you seen?'.

“I seen a mint filum last week like.” / “Seen what the wind's done to me hair!”

Shan - Poor quality, shoddy. From Redcar, also to describe or protest at unfair or mean treatment - "That’s a bit shan!"

Shanghai - Thornaby.

Shert - Shirt.

Shockin’ - Out of order.

Shot - To throw (See also: hoy).

“Can you shot those things in a box please?”

Shot ‘em out - Throw them out.

Slag - Loose change.

Slaggy Island - South Bank.

Sly Off - To sneak off with a friend.

“She proper slyed off with Laura last night.”

Smoggie -  A native of Teesside. The original term may come from the smoke from Dorman Long and other industrial works on the Tees. Shortened from the original nickname of 'Smog monster.'

Snidey - Sly.

“Did you hear her snidey remark?”

Sound - A good thing or person.

“He's sound as a pound, like.”

Sparko - An abbreviation of being ‘knocked spark out’.

“He was proppa sparko.”

Spot on - Just right.

Sprag - To tell tales.

“What did you sprag on me to the teacher for?”

Squits - Truce word.

Start - To pick a fight.

“What you startin' me for, you?”

Stoppy back - Extra drinking time after a pub has closed.

Swear down - The ultimate testament that one is telling the truth.

“I swear down on me mam’s life.”

Swear to God - I promise.

T

Take a lend - To take unfair advantage of someone’s good nature.

Tan - To catch a lift on someone’s bike, sitting on the seat while they pedal standing up.

Tanking down - Raining heavily.

Tarzy - A rope hanging over a beck or such like. Youngsters swing from them.

Tax - Steal.

“Ere, who's taxed me pen?”

Torture - Harrass or tease.

Trainies - Trainers.

Tranny - Transporter Bridge.

 

Tret - Past tense of 'treat', can refer to treating someone, or treatment received.

"I tret our mam to tea last night." / “They tret me badly when I was there.”

Tungie - Turnip.

Twoc - Steal - from police term 'Taking Without Owner's Consent'.

Twerk - Where a Teessider goes in the morning.

U

Us - Me.

“Can you pass us that over here please.”

V

Velvet City - Portrack.

Village, the - The south end of Linthorpe Road.

W

Wadded - Someone who has a lot of money.

“He’s proper wadded him like.”

Well aye! - 'Of course!!'

Welshways - Way of carrying a baby in a shawl. The baby could be discreetly breast fed under the shawl.

Werk - Work.

Werld - World.

What it is right - Way of opening a conversation, usually comes before something people won't want to hear.  Likely to result in chew.

“What it is right, last night I...”

Wilderness, the - Stretch of open land, which bordered on the main Middlesbrough to Stockton road.

Woollyback - Rural Clevelander / North Yorkshire person.

Would you dare / would you dare though - 'I would not dream of doing that.'

“Would you dare be you though.”

Wouldn’t Dare - Said in reference to something you wouldn’t dream of doing.

“Eeeeee, I wouldn’t dare me like.”

X

Y

Yerjokinarnyer? - 'I do hope that is not true'.

Young’un - Brother/sister.

Youse - You people.

“Youse had better pack that in like.”

Z

Derty Werk Shert by John Christie

There's a gadgie down the road I think they call him Mike
Finishes every other sentence with "Ya know worra mean like"
He says "Eh" when he's heard ya and "Jokin arn ya" when you're not
He loves parmo in a bun and always eats em too hot

He goes all over with their young un, gives him a croggy on his bike
Their lass does his head in, ya know worra mean like
He'll call ya a Doyle if ya do summat wrong
He'll be at the club Thursdays cos' they'll have a tern on

Club's going down the pan, they all are round here
Nowhere for a bit a'crack and a pint of cheap beer
No sense of community or society in this town
He'll preach from his barstool and he'll proper swear down

He used to play Sunday footy and now he's on the darts team
He's proper Teesside Mike ya know worra mean
He's got an old faded Boro tattoo on the top of his arm
Tells ya how he used to go to Away games...all the tarm

He used to be a Plater, till they all got the sack
Now he goes on crap schemes while he's on the pancrack
He would pile on the tarzy and go raid the oggy
And he was a top beck jumper as a junior smoggy

From spencers and stay press and air-ware with segs
To what they call leisurewear, in the sale, Sports Direct
But he'll never leave here 'cos he loves Teesside, Mike
Best place in the werld....Know worra mean like

Notes

In 2004, Vic Woods of the Lower Tees Valley Dialect Group compiled a glossary from questionnaires issued in the wider Teesside area, Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and the urban part of Redcar & Cleveland. It and additional information is collected on the TeesSpeak pages. We have republished entries here with his kind permission. Sadly, the website is no longer online.

Recordings of the Teesside accent were available in 2005's BBC Voices Project, but sadly the links no longer work.

In 2007, John Foster, wrote a feature on Teesside 'werds'.

In 2008 Mieka Smiles put together a Smogtionary for The Journal. We have republished entries here with her kind permission. She has added it to her current blog so people may comment with their favourite missing Boro phrases.

In 2013, blogger Bridget of the North wrote a post on Middlesbrough (Smoggie Translation).

In 2013, John Christie shared Derty Werk Shert.

In 2014, Mieka Smiles helped the Evening Gazette compile How to talk Teesside: 71 ways to speak like a local.

They are proper mint the lot of them!