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A Compendium of "Brummie Sayings" provided by members of the
ENG-WARKS-BIRMINGHAM-LIST.

Compiled and edited by Dave Dudley.


Last Updated 11:56 AM 11/15/02


Sayings Index ~
Were's "Bill's Mothers" Bob owlers Mom's words of affection

Were's "Bill's Mothers" ~

If the sky was black in the distance, my Nan would stand looking out the window & say "It's showering a s**t over old Bill's Mother's."
.....................Ray
They were talking about "it's black over Bill's mother's" on the local radio yesterday and the theory is that it refers to William Shakespeare, Stratford being south of Birmingham and our prevailing winds being from the south-west. So if we can see black clouds coming from that direction we are in for rain. Well that's one theory anyway.

.....................Mary
My mom and dad also used to say "It's black over Bill's Mothers" and also when bed time it was "Up the wooden Hill" Both parent's were born and bred Brummie's.
.......................Jean also a Brummie and proud of it!

My aunt used to say, "Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire".
..................Margaret.
How about "any road up" = "whichever way you look at it" or "anyway" and "Put wood in ole" = shut the door.
.....................Mary
No one yet has mentioned "Our Kid"!
I got in deep do do with my first husband because I was "Our Chris" to my family.
...................Chris Ramsbottom
Mardy is an established Black Country word. It's the alternative name in our house for our black cat who has the mardiest mow you have ever heard.
.....................Chris Ramsbottom
A moggy is definitely a CAT here in Northants. Mithered (rhymes with side/tide) - my grandmother used to say I mithered her. Of course, I didn't, I was a delightful child!
....................Janet Northampton UK
When I was a kid, we had a *mouse'ound* & a *tripe'ound* !!
.....................Pat.xxx :o)) made in Birmingham, but born in Kent.
As far as my Gran was concerned we kids were all "tripe'ounds" she was Winson Green bred .............these sayings are bringing back happy childhood memories great !!!
........................Linda Daniels
Did anyone have "bread and if it" as in if it were butter, or if it were jam?
.............Chris Ramsbottom
What about "mithering" ? If I kept on & on, my Mum would say - "Will you stop mithering me ? Can't you see I'm busy ?" (Other times, she just told me to shut up & go away !!!!!!)
Does anybody else use the phrase - 'mithering' - as in being bothered over something - nobody has ever understood me down here when I say that!
...................Jenny :o)
If you asked anyone where they were going, it was always, "Shuffries for three eggs." Who was shuffrey and why three eggs?
My Nan, a Brummie, whenever we had a runny nose would say, "Shall I cut it off and stick a cabbage on". And she was always saying, after a good turn had been done, "I'll buy you a blood orange for Christmas".
All these postings have brought back memories of my Brummie grandparents because they used all the sayings that have been talked about. I miss them so.
....................Linda
I was talking to someone from outside of Brum some time ago about old bomb sites, I use the word of BOMB PECK, my friend did not know what I was on about, so could I ask is bomb peck a Brummie saying, or was is it nation wide, Ta much.
...............John Colin
A moggy is definitely a CAT here in Northants.
:0)....................Janet Northampton UK
I have never heard of a moggy being a cow. However, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang gives: moggie/moggy 1 (early 18 - late 19 C) an untidily dressed woman, a slattern. 2 (1910+) a cat. And the derivation: either the name Maggie or dialect word Moggie, a calf.
................

Bob owlers ~

My mother-in-law from West Brom. called moths 'bobhowlers'. I've never heard them called this anywhere else. Has anyone heard this expression?
........................Ida/Brian
My parents, both born and bred in Smethwick, used the term 'bob-owler' when referring to large moths which had ventured into the house at night time. My mother was particularly nervous of them because of the way they flapped around. My father taught my brothers and I how to catch them in cupped hands so that we could eject them without harming them.
..................Regards Dave Hadley
Yes we referred to big moths as Bobowlers in our family. My Dad comes from West Bromwich. I have just phoned him but doesn't know where the expression comes from apart from his mother. That part of the family was from West Bromwich and Smethwick back to 1830s at least. I have also heard them referred to as Bobby owlers by a Smethwick relative.
........................Mary
The important thing was not to harm the wings,because then they couldn't "fly away to come back another day". At least that was what Dad told me. I always wondered why you wanted them back. Maybe it was because he enjoyed watching Mom "do a nut" when she saw one.Doreen, Ct. U.S.A. Grew up with my Mom's terror of Bobowlers....she screamed (and still does) if she spotted one. Always thought it was their real name - never knew anything else to call them, & now my kids call them this too. Mom is a born & bred Brummie, & I daresay she never knew any other name for them either. Moths are just 'moths', but the big fat hairy ones are 'bobowlers'.
............Terry
As for wAsp, this is the usual pronunciation in the Black Country. My Brummie ancestors always pronounced it "wosp", but here in the Black Country it's always wasp.
........................Terry

Mom's words of affection" ~

My Mom used to say "A face as long has Livery Street",[meaning somebody with a sad or miserable face]
..................John
If we asked my mum what was for dinner she always said " a run round and a kick at the pantry door "
....................... Joy Tasmania
Yes I get mithered in Birmingham and I've heard "a face as long as Livery street."
If you had a miserable face in our house we heard "If the wind changes you'll stick like that"
If someone is going on a long time speaking "He's going round the Gasworks". If someone was not well off "He hasn't two ha'pennies to rub together" And if my Nan heard my aunty whistling she would say "A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men".
My ex father in law always refers to his brother as Our Kid. It was a long time before I got to know his name.
....................Mary

My Brummie Mum always says "Cabbage & custard" or "Kippers & custard". My London born Mother in law says - "Bread & scrape." If she was out when we got in from school, when she arrived home, we'd ask her where she's been & she'd say "There & back again to see how far it is."
.......................Pat.xxx :o)) in very wet Kent.
One for the ladies. My mom always told me " to keep my hand on my apenny" Oh! and the other saying was " have you fell off your bike" so the lads did not know what we were talking about....................
Does anybody else use the phrase - 'mithering' - as in being bothered over something - nobody has ever understood me down here when I say that!
................Jenny :o)
Mithered (rhymes with side/tide) - my grandmother used to say I mithered her. Of course, I didn't, I was a delightful child!
:0)....................Janet Northampton UK
My dad still says now - when I am 'sulking' - she's got her landlady face on!
.................Jenny :o)
Which reminds me of "Kippers and Curtains" for people who acted as if they were better off than they actually were.
........................Dave D.
Which reminds me of my dad's reply when asked how old he was. "As old as my tongue and a bit older than my teeth."
My grandad used to say that to me and it used make me laff like I don't know what when I was little.
.............................Jenny :o)
How about "it's bein sa cheerful thet keeps me gooin' after rattling off all your problems. Whenever I say this over here a get a few chuckles.
.........................Hi Doreen
My mother's standard answer to 'how long will you be?' was "Six coaches and an engine"
..........................Jenni Kirkham
How about "it's bein sa cheerful thet keeps me gooin' after rattling off all your problems. Whenever I say this over here a get a few chuckles.
...........................Doreen
If you had a miserable face in our house we heard "If the wind changes you'll stick like that"
If someone is going on a long time speaking "He's going round the Gasworks".
If someone was not well off "He hasn't two ha'pennies to rub together"
And if my Nan heard my aunty whistling she would say "A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men".
My ex father in law always refers to his brother as Our Kid. It was a long time before I got to know his name.
............................Mary
Another thing - why do Brummies sign "Mom" (the American way) instead of "Mum" ??? All the Brummie side of my family spell it that way.
......................Pat.xxx :o)) made in Brum, discovered in Southend & born in Ramsgate !!
The interesting point of this correspondence is how such a small country such as England has so many accents or dialects. North America has very few in comparison, Newfoundlanders, Boston, Brooklyn, Texas, the South. I probably have missed some but hopefully I have made my point
.......................Bob Radcliffe Toronto
Hi to all listers, if Brummie sayings are your interest go to http://www.virtualbrum.co.uk/slang.htm
......................tara a bit John
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Original page Created by Pickard Trepess . Maintained by dcdudley Revised: 12 August 2001
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