At the Radcliffe Camera, we process deliveries of Bodleian books ordered from our offsite Book Storage Facility (BSF) every weekday. Library staff scan in hundreds of interesting-looking items, but sadly we don’t get chance to read many of them!
A Glossary of Rochdale-with-Rossendale Words & Phrases by Henry Cunliffe was recently called up. Hailing from these parts, this book was always going to grab my attention, and reading through the glossary of terms from the Greater Manchester of the late-Victorian period was very entertaining.
Though Cunliffe’s chief aim in compiling the glossary was to encourage the continued use of local dialects, it would seem that his fears about them fading have been realised – whilst I am from Heywood (next-door to Rochdale), there were a lot of terms in the book that I didn’t recognise. At least we have the glossary to remind us of the things we’re missing. Some personal favourites (which might be helpful in a library context…) are:
Flopper-mouth, n. A noisy, talkative person
Skitterwit, n. A hare-brained person
Cure, n. A curious person
Shive off, int. Begone
Quicksticks, n. An instant; a very short time
As in: if any flopper-mouths or skitterwits cause bother, they will be told to shive off quicksticks!
We do welcome cures, though, so if anyone has any questions about ordering Bodleian books up to the library (or indeed any other aspects of using our resources) do approach staff with your questions. A large proportion of our 13 million books are kept at the BSF in Swindon, so if you ever need to consult one of them you can easily place a hold request on SOLO (our library catalogue) with a view to reading the book the very next day. *Please note, unlike History Faculty Library books, BSF requests are reference-only.
Some honourable mentions:
Snowbones, n. Hard lumps of snow left in hollow places after the rest has melted
Fank, v. to indulge fancies of love
Shiftless, adj. Void of energy or motive power