web analytics

Take that, eskimos!


The Sussex dialect — like regional dialects everywhere — is disappearing. Radio and television, migration of peoples. Whatevs. But certain aspects of local speech are just too gosh-darned necessary to be lost. I give you, the 31 Sussexian words for mud:

cledgy – earth sticking to the spade when digging is cledgy.
clodgy – muddy and wet like a field path after heavy rain.
gawm (gorm garm) – especially sticky foul smelling mud.
gormed up – stuck seized with mud.
gubber – black anaerobic mud of rotting organic matter. (We have a lot of this — unrecycled prehistoric forest).
ike (hike) – a mess or area of mud.
paunch – to break up fairly coherent mud “those cows they do paunch about the mud so”.
poach – to tread the muddy ground into holes as do cattle.
pug – a kind of loam – particularly the sticky yellow Wealden clay.
slab – thickest mud.
slabby – sticky, slippery, greasy, dirty mud.
sleech – mud or river sediment used for manure – especially from the River Rother.
slob – thick mud.
slobby – a sate of muddiness where it is difficult to extricate the boot at each step “the way here was very wearisome through dirt and slobbiness”.
slough (slogh) – a muddy hole.
slub – thick mud – used as slush is elsewhere.
slubby – dirty with stiff and extremely tenacious mud.
slub-up – to make stiff with mud, he come ome all of a slub.
slubber – to slip in mud.
slurry – diluted mud distinct from slub, saturated with so much water that it cannot drain, churned up into a cream or paste with water.
slommocky – made dirty with mud.
smeery – wet and sticky surface mud, not clodgy or slobby.
spannel – to make dirty with mud as would a spaniel on a floor.
stabble – to walk thick mud into the house.
stoach – to trample ground, like cattle, also the silty mud at Rye Harbour.
stoachy – dirty, mildly muddy.
stoached – an entry to a field in bad weather is stoached (and poached).
stodge – thick puddingy mud.
stug – watery mud.
stuggy – filled with watery mud.
swank – a bog.

They tell us the rain and warm is about to give way to cold and dry. We shall see, we shall see. In the meantime, I’ve got enough new vocabulary words to make conversation. Good weekend!


Comment from Knitebane
Time: January 8, 2016, 10:25 pm

I always wondered where Scott Adams got his inspiration for Elbonia.

Now I know.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 8, 2016, 10:54 pm

Reminds me of the large number of words Eskimos have for snow, progressives have for implementing good intentions, and politicians have for graft.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: January 9, 2016, 12:58 am

I just leave this here, saying that I’d never guessed it was filmed in Sussex, but it seems sort of obvious now


Comment from bad cat robot
Time: January 9, 2016, 2:33 am

Fascinating. We have the word “slough” here in the soggy Pacific Northwest (we do a nice clay mud, thanks to the glaciers). But here it is used for long narrow salt water inlets that are kinda boggy and look like they might be rivers but aren’t. Pronounced “slew”, hence the racehorse Seattle Slough.

Comment from mojo
Time: January 9, 2016, 2:37 am

No “Gunk”?


Comment from OldFert
Time: January 9, 2016, 2:49 am

Back in my yoot, when stationed in Pleiku, RVN, the dirt was mostly fine dust on top. When it rained, it became the consistency of chocolate pudding (but a dull red in color). Since it looked like the stuff we saw in movies about WWI and II, we used to call it “combat mud.”

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 9, 2016, 6:29 am

We use slough here in Wisconsin, also pronounced slew, it is another word for swamp.

Comment from Timothy J. McCorkle
Time: January 9, 2016, 6:59 am

More Awesome than Inuit words for SNOW!…from cecil adams comes “kaniktshartluk”…”Bad snow” exspecting 2-4 inches this weekend.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2016, 8:45 am

What SCOTTtheBADGER said. We have “Otter Slough” here locally in MO – a shallow swamp-like wetland/waterway that’s a haven for migrating birds .. and mosquitoes (in season, of course).

…and we’re expecting some light kaniktshartluk here in MO this evening. Boo…

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: January 9, 2016, 1:51 pm

In Texas we use oxbow slough to designate a muddy swamp where the river once ran. If it was never the river it’s a bayou or a creek.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2016, 4:29 pm

Actually, Some Veg — just to step on the joke — there is one shot of East Sussex in Holy Grail. It’s the exterior of the Swamp King’s Castle. That’s actually nearby Bodiam Castle, where we are oft wont to go in Summer.

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: January 9, 2016, 4:37 pm

Um, about eskimos and snow: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/EskimoHoax.pdf
Not that the assertion that they have [insert number] words for snow is going away anytime soon, no matter how much it is debunked by professional linguists; so the linguists have thrown in the towel and created the word “snowclone” meaning “a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants.”

Comment from mojo
Time: January 9, 2016, 5:42 pm

Sussex, Essex, Wessex, but no Northex? Nah, Northumbria.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 10, 2016, 2:45 am

swank – a bog.

This is how I will think of the term “swanky” going forward.

Thank you, English!

Comment from Davem123
Time: January 10, 2016, 2:46 am

I do so love it when you talk dirty.

Comment from JeffS
Time: January 10, 2016, 5:29 pm

bad cat robot said:

But here it is used for long narrow salt water inlets that are kinda boggy and look like they might be rivers but aren’t.

“Slough” also refers to bodies of water (sometimes swampy, sometimes not) in a flood plain, where the rivers used to flow. This is due to river channel migration, what the boffins say is part of the geomorphological process. It’s a fairly common term associated with any body of water or stream.

But it seems that the word was re-purposed. I’m just not saying who re-purposed it.

(PS: No, I’m not a boffin, just a hairy engineer. Also in the Pacific Northwest. And don’t forget all that loess and volcanic ash stockpiled east of the Cascades.)

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: January 10, 2016, 6:13 pm

Dang! I wanted to upvote Davem123’s comment, but that functionality has disappeared–is that just my browser?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 11, 2016, 1:39 pm

Um .. David Bowie just croaked. Cancer.

Oops. The Fritz beat me to it on the DP post.

Comment from drew458
Time: January 11, 2016, 2:41 pm

I just saw that myself Steamy. Damn.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: January 11, 2016, 6:08 pm

The mud here in Loozyana is often referred to as “gumbo.” A joke, except that both the edible gumbo and the mud often have many solid objects embedded in them.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny