Glossary for The Cundy…

The Cundy is based in the northeast of England and so to keep it as real as possible, I stayed true to local dialect and terminology. I think international readers will easily be able to pick up on and identify all of the meanings from the context alone, but for the sake of clarity, and because I thought it would be a fun thing to do, I decided to compile a list of some of the words and phrases that I used in The Cundy and explain them anyway…

Brolly – Shortened term for umbrella

Comprehensive School – Also called Secondary School in the UK. Year 7 (age 11/12) through to Year 11 (age 15/16)

Cundy – Water conduit/tunnel/passage

Curtains – Drapes

Dinner – Lunch (in certain areas of northern England, dinner is the midday meal)

Fanny – Slang word for female genitalia. Also a popular derogatory insult for someone who’s overly fussing about something: “Oh stop being such a fanny.” Or used as a verb in the same context: “He’s fannying about with his hood ‘cause he doesn’t want to get his hair wet.”

Football – Soccer

Gannin’ – Going (I only used this once in the entire book, so that it wasn’t too jarring, but in Horden if you’re going anywhere, you’re gannin’)

Jumper – Sweater

Junior School – Also called Primary School in the UK (age 6/7 to 10/11)

Mam – Mother/Mum/Mom/Ma

Me – Me and also used for My. Me is always used in the usual, correct manner: “Me and you.” But also used in place of my (in dialogue only, not the written word): “Have you seen me bag anywhere?” (Again, I only used this once in the whole book, to give a flavour of authenticity, when Kevin England says: “I’m gannin’ home now, I’m soaked to me nads.”)

Nads – Gonads (I’m sure it’s probably shortened to the same word everywhere else, but it’s a fairly common word in the northeast when referring to testicles)

Pet – Common term of endearment, usually used by the older generation, like ‘Would you like a cup of tea, pet?’ You could expect to be called a whole range of other things like flower, flowerpot, hinny, pet lamb, chicken, love, sweetheart too. This isn’t exclusively used by people you know either, it will most definitely be used by your gran, but also random strangers who, say, bump into you in the supermarket: “Sorry, flower, didn’t see you there.”

Swot – A derogatory term used to poke fun at a particularly studious person. Typically, kids call each other swots (or at least they did in my day)

Tea – Dinner (in England we love drinking tea – mine’s milk with one sugar, thanks – but in certain areas of northern England our evening meals are also called tea).

Torch – Flashlight

Trainers – Sneakers

Trousers – Pants

Wank – Masturbate (of the same ilk, it’s a popular derogatory insult to call annoying/obnoxious people wankers and tossers)

I use British English, so of course there are spelling differences between that and US English, for instance blonde, grey, pyjamas, maths and colour etc, but if there are any specific terminologies that I’ve missed, feel free to point them out and I’ll add them to the list. Again, I feel that staying true to the area adds flavour to the novel and keeps it real, and I hope that you (if you’re not from the area) enjoy the local lingo.

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