Boaking Heads – The HULL: ENGLISH Dictionary A-C

The city of Kingston Upon Hull is famous for three things: pattie butties, white telephone boxes and derelict buildings that burn down in mysterious circumstances.
Larkin b&w


It’s also home to a dialect that’s unusual even for Yorkshire. If you’re planning a visit to last year’s City of Culture, or you’re about to be sent to prison there, it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with the lercal vernacular.

Any gift shop in the city will have a “dictionary” of common Hull expressions, but it won’t be as good as this one, which is the product of several years’ research and provided turtley free of charge.


Ardcase b&w


AAIIYEEURGH  (excl.) – Friendly salutation, often followed by Y’ariiiigh? Not to be confused with Eeyar.

AIR (n.) – The stuff that keeps your head warm, unless you are unfortunate enough to be Bawld.

AIRLINE (n.) – The part of your face where your air meets your forrid.

AHHFERN (n.) – Flash Merbile for teenage girls and wankers. “Aah shite, I was battered last night and I lost me ahhfern, I bet that lad pinched it.”

ALLOWEEN (n.) – Night of the year when Ghersts roam the Tenfoots ready to scare the shite out of you, while people Get Hided behind their sofas to avoid the Bains banging on the front door demanding Goodies.

ANAND (v.) – Help; a favour. “Ere mate, gizz anand climbing ovver this fence so I can pinch this bain’s bicycle.”

ANAT (n.) – Item of clothing you wear on your head to keep the rain off.

ADELPHI, THE (geog.) – Hull’s best music venue and gallant survivor of when the Avenues were genuinely boho and Humber Street wasn’t full of wanks. The toilets are much nicer these days.

ARDCASE (n.) A gentleman of solid build, prone to Braying those he considers Not Right if they spill his ale or insult his Mam. See above.

ANT DONE NOWT, I – (Phr.) Robust defence generally heard by people caught by the authorities after they most definitely have done summut.

ART BEIN’ FUNNY, I – (Phr. Qualifier) Standard preamble before someone makes an observation about you, usually very offensive. “I art bein funny mate but your mam‘s a right bag.’

ARV (n.) – The place where bees live. “Ave you seen Dicko’s mam’s new beearv aircut?” “Cunt give a shite mate. ”

AVE A RIGHT LOT OFF (Phr.) – An abusive/cheeky exchange that can lead to a Chowin. “Dicko had a right lot off to his mam so she brayed him.”

AYER…? (q.) – Can mean either ‘have you’ or ‘are you’ – “Ayer got no chip spice?” – “Ayer daft?” Not to be confused with Aiyeeurgh! See also EEYAR.




BADLY (adj.) – Unwell. More common among older people, on account of them always being ill.

BAIN (n.) – A Young’un, see above.

BAMF (adj.) – Descriptive of your air when you’ve just got out of bed. “Eurgh neurgh, it’s school-ferter day and me air’s a right bamf.

BANG OUT (v.) – To incapacitate a rival with violent aplomb. ‘Call my mam a bag again and I’m gonna fuckin’ bang you out, mate.’

BARBELL (n.) – Holy Bewk detailing what God and Jesus got up to in the Awld days.

BEAL (v.) – What you do when you’re upset or Cockle ovver, Ertin your arse.

BEE LADY, THE (pn.)Awld Lass who gets done up like a bee. Ull’s greatest resident.

BEVERLEY (geog.) – Town that likes to pretend it’s not near Hull. But it is. It pretty much is Hull. Just like COTTINGHAM.

BLACK FRAHDEE (n.) – Event imported from America in which dickheads in shops fight with each other over 20% discounts on Oovers.

BLUE BOX (geog. obs.) – Tatty old newsstand near the old bus station; a key meeting place for generations. They should have put it in the Streetlife museum.

BOAK (v.) – To retch or vomit: e.g. ‘The bain’s stepped in bab in the tenfoot. Gerris sannies washed before I boak.’ Variant: BORK.

BOD (n.) – Malevolent winged bastards that bab all over your nice new car. The only good bod is a DEAD BOD.

BOOL (v.) – The act of pushing a wheeled instrument, such as a Tansad, along the pavement. ‘Just bool bain round there and we’ll nip in here for a swift arf.’

BONNIE [1] (adj.) – Easy on the eye. [2] (adj.) – Troublesome or manipulative. ‘Aye, watch ‘im though, he can be a right bonnie bastard.’

BOUNCERS (dram.) – One of three plays performed on a constant loop at ULL TRUCK. The other two are the same but with dinnerladies and tramps.

BOYZIZ (geog.)Ull‘s premiere superstore. Suitable for all your needs, especially if these include wool, multipacks of crisps and budgies.

BRANSERM (geog.) – The posh half of Kingswood, home to Branny Cenner, where you can get your Goodies from Boyziz.

BRANNY CENNER (geog.) – Hull’s Premier shopping district. Idea for gerrin your sannies from Boyziz.

BRARDSMAID (n.) – Honorary position for a lass’s mates when she’s gerrin married, in which the Brard punishes her rivals by mekkin them wear dresses they all hate.

BRAY (v.) – Questionable debating technique practised by Ardcases in which arguments are settled by Banging out your antagonist. “Call me a cod’ead again and I’ll bray yer.”

BROK (v.) – Past tense of the verb to Brek. “Cart get this ahhfern I pinched off that lass to work; it’s fuckin’ brok innit mate.”

BURN (n.) – What your skelly‘s made of: your knee burn‘s connected to yer leg burn; yer leg burn‘s connected to yer arse burn etc.


Curdwurd b&w

CAAAAAAAAH (n.) – Four-wheeled vehicle useful for Drarvin down Rerd to Boyziz. ‘Gonna pick us up at 8, then?’ ‘I cart luv, I ant gorra caaaaah.

CART (v.) – To be unable to do something. Past tense: CUNT.

CAWLD (adj.) – The opposite of Ot. Cawld weather can leave you Nithered.

CHIP SPICE (n.) – Mysterious orange condiment, supposedly originating from America, famed for making kebab-shop chips even more delicious.

CHERK (v.) – To stop breathing due to an obstruction in the goozle-pipe. “Mate if you dert chew your pattie buttie you’ll cherk on it.”

CHOW (v.) – To tell off. “Your old man chowed at us for larkin down tenfoot and nearly knocking the bain out of its tansad, he’s a right mongey get.”

CLERS (n.) – What you buy from Boyziz to wear to Werk, for instance Sherts, Kegs and Sannies.

COAWK (n.) – Noise you have to make when ordering a kirk down south, or further up north, or anywhere else apart from Ull really.

COCKLE (v.) What you call it when you almost go base over apex in your high-heeled shoes after one too many Draah Waaht Waans.

COD’EAD (slang.) – Derogatory term for Ull folk used by Daft Lads from inferior towns like Leeds and Goole.

CRARM (n.) -Naughty behaviour that can lead you to a long stay in Cherky. Nertable Crarms include:

  • Putting CHIP SPICE on fish shop chips.
  • Pinching a budgie from BOYZIZ.
  • Living on KINGSWOOD.

COME ON THEN (Exclam. Aggr.) – Indicates that the speaker has registered offense and is intent on settling this affront in a manly fashion. “Come on then dick’ead!”

COTTINGHAM: (Geog.) – Upmarket suburb of Hull. Reckons it’s a cut above, even though it’s right next door to ORCHARD PARK. Pronounced ‘Coh.’

CROGGY (n.) – A lift on a bike. Supposedly the crossbar but usually the seat. “Ey mate, gizza croggy!” “Sorry son, I onny just nicked this pushog.

CUNT (contr.) – Not what it sounds like. An unfortunate contraction of ‘couldn’t’. -“I could ‘ave you in a fight mate, easy” – “No you cunt!” N.B. Unless used in reference to Piers Morgan, when it is what it sounds like.

CURDWERD (n.) – A secret Werd or phrase. (See illustration above)

A right lerd of ace HULL:ENGLISH Valentine’s cards are now available from StickyPopArt

For continued updates on this strange and beguiling language, follow @BoakingHeads on Twitter.

Philip Larkin illustration by Pat the Egg.