Seven Somerset phrases you need to know

View of Highbridge and Burnham Town Sign.

View of Highbridge and Burnham Town Sign. - Credit: Archant

ALRIGHTER my babber? The West Country might not be as famous for its local dialect as much as some parts of the country, but it definitely should be.

A pair of daps. If you've got unusually shaped feet, you're in trouble.

A pair of daps. If you've got unusually shaped feet, you're in trouble. - Credit: Archant

Here’s some of our favourite words you’ll rarely hear north of Gordano services, and a handy guide for anyone popping down into the green and pleasant lands of the South West for the first time.

Grockle (noun)

‘Ere, there’s a few grockles in today, can’t hardly move down the High Street.

Moderately derogatory term for holidaymaker – specifically from a fair distance away – and a term so controversial, Burnham and Highbridge councillors debated whether it should be banned in 2013. It never came to pass, but it might be best not to say it to someone’s face. Although they probably wouldn’t understand anyway.


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Daps (noun)

Hope I remembered me daps, mind, don’t want to be using the box.

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Those horrible ill-fitting black squeaky shoes you wore to PE at school. Seem to be called plimsolls or even sannies (no idea) elsewhere in the UK. Often elicit memories of scrambling through a box of mould-ridden daps when you forget your own in a vain attempt to find two the same size.

Natch (noun)

Afternoon landlord, pint of Natch if you please.

Rarely seen, let alone heard of outside the West Country, Natch is an unashamedly dry and sharp cider, which has become a part of local tradition. It even says so on the can.Apparently, it gets its sharp taste from the extra fermentation of the natural sugars. Lovely.

Dimpsy (noun/adjective)

‘Ark look, starting to get a bit dimpsy out tonight.

Another word for dusk or dark. There’s not a lot of explanation as to why it’s called this.

Gurt (adverb/adjective)

Nige, come and ‘ave a look at this gurt big hole.

One of those words people outside the West County have heard of but almost certainly don’t understand. Often the same for people inside the West Country. What started off meaning ‘great’ is now interchangeable with ‘really’ and other words of similar effect. Regularly heard alongside ‘lush’.

Babber (noun)

Mornin’ babber, how’s it going?

Another word with questionable beginnings, but generally a term of endearment used questioningly by outsiders who probably first heard it in Hot Fuzz. Literally means baby, but more generally interchangeable for mate, dear, etc.

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