Monday 9 May 2016

Speaking Geordie

3 years ago today I climbed aboard a train at Kings Cross ready to say goodbye to my life as a Londoner and start a new chapter as an honorary Geordie.  Where on earth have the last 3 years gone?

To celebrate my special anniversary I thought I'd share a few of the wonderful Geordie words and sayings that I've picked up over the years.  I have always loved the Geordie accent - from my childhood obsession with Byker Grove to my major girl crush on Cheryl, I have always wished that I had a North East accent.

When I first started visiting Newcastle I was desperate to hear my first "Way Aye" and it was actually quite a while before I heard it because, despite what you may think, people don't walk around the Toon saying it at every given opportunity!

The Geordie accent is so much more than a "Way Aye", it is almost a language in itself, full of wonderful sayings, unique sounds and beautiful words.  Whilst I doubt I'll ever lose my southern accent (sob) I learn more and more about the Geordie dialect every day and on occasion even find the odd word slipping into my every day chat.

Here are just some of my favourite bits of Geordie that I've learnt over the years.

Bairn (means: Baby)

No one says "baby" in the North East - fact!  People have bairns and, if they don't have bairns, they have hairy bairns.  The first time my lovely friend Kayleigh referred to her dog Jay Jay as her "hairy bairn" I almost snorted tea out of my nose!

Shy Bairns Get Nowt (means: You don't ask, you don't get)

This saying is easily my favourite and one I wish I could live my life by.  I find myself quoting it whenever I am brave enough to be cheeky, even if it is just asking the cashier in Tesco to give me a free plastic carrier bag!

"eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" (a great way to start a sentence)

I have no idea why, but in the North East people like to start their sentence with a long "eeeeeeeeee". It's usually a sign of appreciation or support in answer to whatever someone has just said, but sometimes I just think it's a great thing to do to give yourself a bit of time to gather your thoughts before speaking.

Bait (means: lunch)

It took me quite a while to realise that "Bait Box" was a lunch box.   For a while I just thought that everyone in Newcastle was partial to a spot of fishing.  Whenever someone says to me that they're having some bait it really makes me smile, it's definitely one of my favourite Geordie words.

Neb (means: nosy)

We all know I love being nosy so this is definitely a word I enjoy and one I get a bit of use out of.  I quite often arrive home and proudly tell Simon that I've been nebbing through next doors window - he usually tells me off.

Wor (means: our)

"Our" in itself is a northern saying so something I wasn't too familiar with before moving to Newcastle.  Being from the north himself, Simon often refers to his brother as "our kid" which I just love.

Howay! (means: no way!)

"Howay" is something I hear on a daily basis and is probably the one Geordie word that I quite often feel myself about to say.  I think it's only a matter of time before I start using it, I love a word that sums up so many things so easily.

Mortal (means: drunk)

I don't think I've actually heard someone say they were drunk since my relocation to Newcastle, in the North East if you've had too many drinks you're getting mortal!

Canny (means: great, brilliant, good)

Try asking a Geordie to explain to you exactly what canny means and how to use it in a sentence and it gets a little confusing.  It's probably the word that you'll hear most in Newcastle and appears in most conversation.

I could actually sit here writing about Geordie sayings and words all day, there are that many.  Each week I hear something new and i just love that the Geordie language is so unique.

I'd love to hear your favourite Geordie words or sayings, teach me something new!



  1. Haha thanks for the mention-although I am a Mackem but I'll let you have it, seeing as bairn is more regional ;) funny post!

    Kay xxx

  2. Love this, a brilliant round up of some of our best bits, I also love 'geet' which is just as confusing to have explained!

  3. What a great idea for a post and happy geordie anniversary! I know lots of local girls who hate it but I actually love it when hear James refer to me as 'wor lass'. X

  4. Words like spelk for splinter, spuggy for small birds, or apple gook instead of apple core. I always thought these were words only my family used. Until I moved up north and realised eeveryone used them.

  5. This is brilliant! And I'm very glad you clarified that hairy bairn relates to pets; I thought some people were just being mean about their follicle-blessed babies! Haha xxx

  6. Great post! You're hardly the new girl in toon anymore! It got me thinking of all the lovely words in the Suffolk dialect - sloitly on the huh being my favourite! xx

  7. I moved here when I was 13 and although my dad's a Geordie born & bred, there were loads of words I'd never heard before I moved here, like referring to Santa and Santy - totally bizarre!

  8. Ha, I loved this! I say canny and bairn *all* the time though I am no Geordie (Smoggie till I die!) and am also partial to starting a sentence with an 'eeeeeeeee'. Newcastle is a beautiful city.

  9. Happy Toon-versary Chloe! So pleased you made Newcastle your home xx

  10. Eeeee I love this! I find myself saying so many of the above. I mean who actually has children? Surely everyone has bairns. Happy anniversary too.

    Katie x

  11. I'm a bit of an Eeeeeeee-er, like! Oh - you forgot adding 'like' to the end of every sentence....that's me, like!! 😂 I'm also partial to a 'GET IN!' (Usually a sign that something blimmin cracking has just occured) xx

  12. I'm not even a proper Geordie. I live in Northumberland but I always say Way Aye...hehehe
    I use all of these phrases...I love Shy Bairns Get Nowt :D

  13. Love this haha, it's all my dialect. My Dad still refers to me as the bairn and I'm 25 :P ...I also start a lot of sentences with eee like!


  14. Love this post! :) I love the accent/language.. My dad and I were born in Durham and my dad worked a lot in Newcastle, so he picked up a lot, had a 'twang', but we moved away when I was 4 and hated it, as I wanted to speak like him. He bought me books to read and a little mini geordie dictionary(which I believe was from a stall in the Metro!) and I used to practice ad practice. :)
    The North East is definitely home to me.


  15. Some great classic geordie-isms, I am a big fan of canny as a word. Although I have to say apart from the phrase Shy Bairns, I never use the word bairn... Although I suppose technically I am not a proper geordie. lol

    The thing I love as the north east is the variations in accent from Northumberland to Teeside, my OH is hilarious when someone from the NE is on TV, he can spot which part of the NE they are from.

  16. Loved this post!! I'm from Middlesbrough, so a little bit further down but we still use all these terms. It's so funny when they slip into everyday converation & nobody knows what you're talking about :-) Fab post girlie!

  17. I already knew mortal from watching Geordie Shore ;)

  18. Eee! bonny lass, Av just had a neb of ya blog post and it's a canny little read, yiv definitely got the hang of wor dialect. Wheel done Pet ;) seriously though, it's nice to be reminded of the everyday works we take for granted up here, I could talk about them all day. June

  19. Eeeeeeeeeeee what a canny post pet!

    V x

  20. This is brilliant! Happy 3 years in the Toon! I also say 'eeee' far too often (usually when I'm trying to dramatise shock or surprise haha) 'Cushty' is a canny little Geordie word and 'purely belta' just for good old times sake :)

  21. Mint = good!

  22. Ahahaha brilliant post! I've got many of these types of things myself, having moved around quite a lot there are regular occasions where I say something and everyone in the room stops and looks at me like I've grown an extra head. But I've now started forgetting where certain things are from and it's only going to get worse!

    Some of my favourites are:

    In Wolverhampton they don't say "are" they say "am". So instead of saying "Where are you?" you say "Where am you?"

    In Hull they don't say "til" they say "while". So instead of I work "9 til 5" you work "9 while 5". Still makes me giggle now.

    I've also managed to convert Rich into saying some northern things too, such as dead for very. I love accents and regional sayings, they always make me laugh so much!

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench

  23. I can not believe that you haven’t got mint in here man Chloe!!


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