ADIKEY - Eskimo hooded outer garment or blouse made of cloth or animal skin.
ANGISHORE - A man regarded as too lazy too fish; a worthless fellow, a sluggard, a rascal; idle mischievous child or person.
APSY - Thick with aspen trees; in place-names.
BACK-BURN - Amount carried on shoulders, especially a load of wood.
BACK-LOAD - An exceptionally large amount.
BALLICATTER - Ice formed by the action in winter of spray and waves along the shore-line, making a fringe or band on the landward side; a floating pan of ice; frozen moisture around the nose and mouth.
BANKER - A vessel engaged in cod-fishing on the Newfoundland offshore grounds, especially the Grand Banks.
BARK - To immerse a fish-net or sail in the liquid formed by boiling the bark and buds of a conifer (used as a preservative).
BARVEL - Leather, canvas or oil-skin apron reaching from the breast to the knees, worn when catching fish or processing the catch ashore; a home-made domestic apron.
BATCH, BRUSH, BROOM or PADDY’S SCAD - Snowfall just before or after St. Patrick’s Day.
BATTY - A sum of money; a boat-load of fish.
BEATER - A harp seal just past the white-coat stage and migrating north from the breeding grounds on the ice floes off Newfoundland.
BEDLAMER - An immature seal, especially a harp seal, approaching breeding age. (Also, a youth approaching manhood.)
BERRY OCKY - Home-made drink of wild berries, especially partridgeberries, jam and water.
BERTH - A place as seal-hunter on a vessel with a share in the profits of the voyage.
BITTING STICK - Piece of wood used to tighten rope holding a load of wood in place on a sled (used like a tourniquet).
BLOW THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING - to celebrate with gunfire the lifting of the Christmas pudding out of the pot.
BOG - Peat, especially removed from marsh-land and used to improve soils.
BOG MEADOW - An open stretch of grassy marshland, often used to produce hay.
BOGGAN - Crossbar behind horse to which traces and plough are attached.
BOIL-UP - A brew of tea, and sometimes a snack, taken during a rest from work in the country or on a vessel.
BRANDIES or BRANDISHES - Group of sunken rocks over which the sea breaks.
BRESNA or BRISHNEY - A bundle of firewood.
BRISHNEY or BRESNA - A bundle of firewood.
BROOM, PADDY’S SCAD, BRUSH or BATCH - Snowfall just before or after St. Patrick’s Day.
BRUSH, BROOM, PADDY’S SCAD or BATCH - Snowfall just before or after St. Patrick’s Day.
BULL-BIRD - Common dovekie (hunted for food).
BUNG-YOUR-EYE - Strong alcholic beverage.
BY THE REEVES - Of heavy rain or snow; in great swirls and drifts: “It’s snowing by the reeves.”
CALLIBOGUS - A drink made by mixing spruce beer, rum or other liquor and molasses.
CANDLEMAS CAKE - Type of sweetened bread baked for party on February 2 or Candlemas Day; or the party itself.
CAPER – A ludicrous or grotesque act done for fun and amusement; gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement.
CARD - In knitting a net, a thin wooden oblong, four or more inches long and of varying width, used as a guide to the size of mesh required.
CARK - Protruding metal point on a sled to hold logs in place.
CAST-NET - An open-mouthed, circular, and weighted net thrown by hand among schooling caplin and drawn ashore or to the boat as the net is closed on the catch.
CAT or CAT-STICK - A game similar to hurley, played with sticks on the ice. You try to keep the ball out of a hole cut in the ice or frozen ground.
CATAMARAN - Sled with stout wooden runners curved up in front and with a vertical stick, or horn, at each corner, hauled in the winter by dogs, horse, or man, used especially for carting wood and other heavy loads, but also for pleasure; also, a horse drawn sleigh for winter use, passengers facing the side of the sleigh.
CAUBEEN - A cap or hat, but in a fish plant refers to the paper head-dress worn by workers.
CAUDLER - A person who muddles up any activity.
CHOP (i.e. “To have one’s chop in”) - To have cut one’s allotted quantity of wood.
CLEAR AIRS, DADYEENS, WHEY-BELLIES, YELLOW-BELLIES or DOONES - Irish factions in St. John’s in the early 1800s. Respectively from Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny. The first three allied against the second two.
CLUMPER - A small ice-berg or pan of ice; a slab of ice forced up along the shoreline; a hummock of ice in an ice-field; a small chunk of ice or snow.
CONNOR - Blue perch, a bottom-feeding fish of inshore waters, especially common around wharves and stages.
COSSOCK - Footwear made by cutting the legs off a pair of old rubber boots at the ankle.
CUDDY - A cabin at bow or stern of a small vessel or large boat for accommodation and provisions; in a small undecked fishing boat, a small enclosed space forward or aft.
CUFF - A thick, usually fingerless mitten made of wool, swanskin, or leather, worn in winter. Also, a fisherman’s heavy mitten, often with fingers cut off, used to protect the hand in hauling lines or splitting fish.
DADYEENS, CLEAR AIRS, WHEY-BELLIES, YELLOW-BELLIES or DOONES - Irish factions in St. John’s in the early 1800s. Respectively from Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny. The first three allied against the second two.
DAWN - A drink of rum.
DEAD-EYE - Sore or callus on hand.
DEAD MAN’S SHARE - a small portion.
DIET - Board or keep for fishing servant, shareman, or member of a sealing crew.
DIETER - One who receives winter board and accomodation against the promise of cash or service in the next fishing season, or one engaged in return for board, in the preparatory work of the fishing season.
DIPPER - Harp seal in its first year, when it takes to the water.
DIPPING TIME - Period in March-April when young seals take to the water.
DOGWOOD - Mountain ash.
DOGBERRY - Mountain ash; berries of the Dogwood tree.
DOONES, YELLOW-BELLIES, WHEY-BELLIES, CLEAR AIRS or DADYEENS - Irish factions in St. John’s in the early 1800s. Respectively from Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny. The first three allied against the second two.
DORY - A small, flat-bottomed boat with flaring sides and a sharp bow and stern, providing both stability in the water an easy stowage in stacks on deck; used especially in fishing with hand-lines and trawls; frequently in designations of various sizes of vessel employing such craft: “four-dory vessel”. Also, DORY BANKER, DORY BUFF (yellow), DORY HAT (waterproof with brim same size all around), DORY HOOK (used to hoist a dory), DORY PIGGIN (bailer), DORY PIN (holds oars in place), DORY STRAP (rope handles)
DOUBLE-SLED - Heavy sled drawn by two horses; a sled in two linked sections used to haul wood.
DREW - In knitting a fish-net, a certain number of meshes formed in a row.
EASTER - Eastern, frequently in place names; from the East
ESKIMO DUCK - American common eider.
FADDLE - A bundle of firewood.
FEETING or FOOTING - The footprints or tracks of animals.
FIGGY PUDDING - plum pudding (preparation began Christmas Eve for tomorrow’s dinner).
FLAG - The pennant of a sealing vessel used to mark the ownership and position on the ice of a pile of seal pelts.
FLICER or FLICER-STICK - The spring of a rabbit snare. Also BENDER.
FLIPPER PIE - The forelimb of a seal used to propel the animal in the water or on the ice, especially as prepared for eating.
FLOWERS - Rock that is awash. Rocks or ledges over which the sea breaks.
FLUMMY - A kind of bread made by hunters and trappers: a dough of flour, bread soda, and water wrapped on a stick and toasted over an open fire.
FOOTING or FEETING - The footprints or tracks of animals.
FREELY - Local name in Cape Freels area for a syrupy drink made from bakeapple berries.
FURRIER - A fur-hunter or trapper.
FURRIERY - The activity of hunting and trapping fur-animals; also FURRING.
GAFF - A stout pole, 5 - 8 feet long with an iron hook and spike fastened to one end, used to assist a sealer on the ice and to kill seals.
GAMMETT - An instance of noise-making; a period of carrying-on.
GARAGEE - Boisterous, rough-and-tumble behaviour; fun, devilment.
GASHER - A small fishing boat with sharp prow and stern.
GATCHER - A person who behaves in a swaggering manner; show-off.
GAWMOGUE - A silly, mischievous person.
GILLCAP or GILLCUP - Buttercup; phrase “yellow as a gillcap”.
GINNY - Seal believed to act as a sentinel for the herd; also JINNY, JENNY.
GLAVAUN - Continuous complaining; one who grumbles.
GLITTER or SILVER THAW - A condition of the weather in which freezing rain deposits a coating of ice n exposed objects. (especially when the sun comes out later)
GO INTO AN IRISH SULK - to become morose especially after an interlude of high-spirited gaiety.
GO OUT IN THE JANNIES - to dress in the costume of a janny.
GOMMEL - Epithet for a stupid person, often “foolish gommel”.
GOOLOS - Home or base in playing certain games; such a game.
GROG - A quantity, a sup; a shot of liquor.
GROWLER - Piece of floating ice hazardous to vessels because of its instability or indeterminate size; a piece off an iceberg.
HAG or OLD HAG - The nightmare, especially one in which the victim feels someone sitting on their chest.
HEAVE OUT - Of a vessel, to capsize or roll over.
HOG’S NOSE - A waterspout, a freak whirlwind at sea.
HOIST-YOUR-SAILS-AND-RUN - Cry by player in children’s game of hide and seek before going to find the other players hiding; or the game itself.
INFLAMMATION - Pneumonia.
IRISH CHAIN - A decorative pattern used in making quilts or in knitting.
IRISH LORDS - Type of sea-bird.
IRISH TOOTHACHE - Pregnancy.
IRON SPRUCE - Red spruce.
JACK - A bluff, two-masted decked vessel, schooner-rigged and varying from 5 to 20 tons used for various fisheries purposes; also JACK-BOAT
JACKABAUN - A mischievous, untrustworthy person.
JACKASS - Heavy rough boats; A two-masted vessel rigged for the seal hunt with square, rather than fore-and-aft, sails on the mainmast.
JANNY - An elaborately costumed and disguised person who participates in various group activities at Christmas.
JANNYING - The practice of visiting houses disguised as a mummer at Christmas.
JANNY-NIGHT - Any night during Christmas on whch jannies go around visiting at people’s houses.
JENNY - Seal believed to act as a sentinel for the herd; also GINNY, JINNY.
JINNY - Seal believed to act as a sentinel for the herd; also GINNY, JENNY.
JOHNNY MAGOREY - Subject of various nonsense verses with sudden, unexpected ending for the amusement of small children.
JOHNNY MILLER - Ring-dance and song.
JULY DRIVE - In the Great War, the July offensive opening the first battle of the Somme in 1916; especially the engagement of the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont Hamel.
JUNIPER - Larch or tamarack.
KNIT - To make or repair a net; to knot twine into meshes to form a fish-net.
KNIT OUT - To empty a needleful of twine when making a fish-net.
KNITTING NEEDLE - Implement used to hold a quantity of twine and used to knot meshes in a fish-net.
LABRADOR TEA - A low-growing evergreen of the genus Ledum; An infusion of the bruised leaves of the Labrador tea plant used as a substitute for tea.
LALLIK - A children’s chasing game, tag; the person who is “it” in this game.
LANCE - A small elongate fish used as bait; sand eel.
LEADER - A length of net stretching from the shore to a cod-trap to guide fish into the entrance.
LEAKY (PAW) - Inflammation of hand or wrist caused by exposure to salt water.
LEAN-IN - A cow-shed, shelter for cows.
LINNET - Twine for knitting fish-nets; the sections of netting forming the several parts of such nets; the complete net, seine, trap or all these collectively.
LINNET EDGE - In a cod-trap, the part of a section of netting attached to a line or rope forming the frame of the device.
LINNET POLE - A stick from which a fish-net is suspended to dry.
LIVYER - a permanent settler of coastal Newfoundland (as opposed to a migratory fisherman from England); a settler on the coast of Labrador (as opposed to migratory summer fisherman from Newfoundland).
LOG-PATH - A man’s customary path or right-of-way to an area to cut and haul wood.
LOGY - Of the weather, heavy (with moisture); oppressively hot.
LOLLY - Soft ice forming in water; loose ice or snow floating in water.
LOW-MINDED - Depression.
LUMP - Lumpfish (harvested for their roe, a cheap caviar).
MAN-CAT - Small sled used in winter for transporting wood and hauled by a man.
MAUZY - Damp and warm, muggy, close, foggy, sometimes with light rain.
MERRY DANCERS - northern lights, aurora borealis (extra brilliant light is a sign of good weather).
MISK, MISKY - Light rain or mist; vapour rising from the sea after a cold night. Misty.
MOT - Mark in the game of Quoits. Shallow depression in the ground providing a target in the game of marbles.
MUG-UP - A cup or mug of tea and a snack taken between any of the main meals, especially in a pause from work.
MUMMER - An elaborately costumed and disguised person who participates in various group activities at Christmas.
MUMMERING - The practice of visiting houses disguised as a mummer at Christmas.
NAN, NANNY - Sheep; or a call to sheep.
OLD CHRISTMAS DAY or OLD TWELFTH DAY - As reckoned by the old style. On this day the Christmas tree is taken down and Christmas is over.
OLD HAG or HAG - The nightmare, especially one in which the victim feels someone sitting on their chest.
OLD HARRY - Reef or rock hazardous to vessels.
OLD SCRIPTURE CAKE - Christmas cake made from recipe drawn from biblical texts (1 cup Judges 5:25 milk, 2 cups Jeremiah 6:20 sugar…)
OLD TWELFTH DAY or OLD CHRISTMAS DAY - As reckoned by the old style. On this day the Christmas tree is taken down and Christmas is over.
OLD YEAR - New Year’s Eve.
OMADHAUN - A stupid, idle, foolish fellow; fool.
OMALOOR - A clumsy, stupid, simple-minded fellow.
PADDY’S SCAD, BROOM, BRUSH or BATCH - Snowfall just before or after St. Patrick’s Day.
PANCAKE DAY or PANCAKE NIGHT - Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent. Pancakes are prepared mixing in a button, thread, nail, coin, and ring foretelling respectively bachelorhood, seamstress/tailor, carpenter or first to die, coming into money, and marriage.
PATRICK - A fisherman, especially an Irish fisheries “servant”.
PATRICK’S DAY/NIGHT - March 17th.
PATRICK’S POT - A windfall.
PHILANDY - To caper, jump about.
PIG-FISH, PLUG-EYE or SCULPIN - A very ugly scavenger fish.
PINNACLE - A peak of ice projecting from an iceberg or rafted up in an ice-floe; Of floating ice, to become forced upwards by the pressure of the flow.
PINNACLE TEA - Tea brewed at sea from melted fragments of glacial ice.
PITCHER - One of the timbers or ribs of a boat, set in raked or slanted fashion in the frame of the forward and after sections of the craft.
PITCHER PLANT - Bronze or green perennial of boggy areas with a single tall capsuled stem growing out of a cluster of curved pitcher-shaped leaves which trap water and insects; the floral emblem of Newfoundland.
PISS-A-BED or PISS T’BED - Dandelion
PITNAGEN or TEA-FLOWER - Purple-stemmed aster (dried roots sometimes used with dried potato peels to make an ersatz tobacco).
PLUG-EYE, PIG-FISH or SCULPIN - A very ugly scavenger fish.
POODLER - Immature coal-fish, ocean pout.
POOK - A cock of hay.
PRICKLY or SPANTICKLE - Any of a variety of sticklebacks (tiny freshwater fish).
PUNT - An undecked boat up to 25 feet in length, round-bottomed, and keeled, driven by oars, sail or engine and used variously in the inshore or coastal fishery.
PUP - A blister, sore, or inflammation common among fishermen whose skin is often in contact with salt-water.
RAGGEDY-JACKET - Young harp seal undergoing change from “white-coat” to “bedlamer” stage.
RANGER - The common seal, especially in its third year.
SALLY - Willow tree, willow brach; Sweet gale
SALLY SUCKERS, SALLY SOURS, SALLY CIVES or SALLY SAUCERS - A weed with sour leaves chewed by children; sheep sorrel.
SALLYWOOD - Mountain Holly
SCAD - Sudden and brief shower of rain or snow.
SCREECHER - a howling storm; an undernourished harp seal pup.
SCUDDY - Of the weather, uncertain, liable to sudden scuds or gusts of wind; misty, showery.
SCULP - The skin of a harp or hooded seal with the blubber attached.
SCULPIN, PIG-FISH or PLUG-EYE - A very ugly scavenger fish.
SCUTTERS - Diarrhoea.
SEAL DOG - iron hook used with rope or chain to hoist seal pelts and carcasses aboard vessel.
SEINE - A large vertical net placed in position around a school of fish, the “foots” drawn together to form a bag, and hauled at sea or in shallow water near the shore.
SHEILA - In folk legend, the wife, sister, housekeeper, or acquaintance of St. Patrick.
SHEILA’S BRUSH - Fierce storm and heavy snowfall about the 18th of March.
SHIMMICK - A despised person; a dissembler.
SHUCK - A call to pigs repeated quickly and often.
SILE, SWOIL, SWALE, SOIL or SWILE - A North Atlantic Seal, especially harp or hooded.
SILVER THAW or GLITTER - A condition of the weather in which freezing rain deposits a coating of ice n exposed objects. (especially when the sun comes out later)
SINKER or SUNKER - A rock hazardous to boats and vessels.
SINKS - The lead weights attached to the bottom of a fish-net.
SISH - A thin layer of ice newly formed on the surface of the sea.
SISH OVER - Of the surface of a body of water, to form a thin layer of ice.
SLACK-FISTED - Lazy, without ambition.
SLAWMEEN - Dirty, untidy person.
SLEVEEN - A sly deceitful man; a mean fellow; rascal; mischievous child.
SLINGER - An idler; truant from work.
SNAKE - Rock gunnel or Tansy; radiated shanny (both small elongated species of salt-water fish).
SNOTTY VAR - Balsam fir with clotted resin on the bark.
SOIL, SWOIL, SWALE, SWILE or SILE - A North Atlantic Seal, especially harp or hooded.
SPANTICKLE or PRICKLY - Any of a variety of sticklebacks (tiny freshwater fish).
SPIRKING - A strip of wood covering the space between the floor-board of a boat and the inside plank at the water line.
SPREAD or SPREADER - To stretch an animal skin on a wooden frame to dry; a pole used on a small sailing craft as a substitute for a gaff or boom.
SPRUCE BEER - Fermented drink made from an infusion of the boughs and buds of the black spruce.
STAG - A submerged rock.
STAKE - To drive stakes through a beaver house to trap the animal.
STANCHION - The rib or frame on the inside of a dory.
STUDDLE - One of the vertical timbers in the frame of a boat.
SUANT - Of a curve, especially in the hull of a vessel, smooth, graceful, with a correct sheer.
SUNKER or SINKER - A rock hazardous to boats and vessels.
SWAMP - A small, flat-bottomed row-boat; also FLAT.
SWILE, SWOIL, SWALE, SOIL or SILE - A North Atlantic Seal, especially harp or hooded.
SWISH - Liquor produced by pouring water into a recently emptied rum barrel.
SWITCHEL - A drink of molasses and water often seasoned with vinegar and ginger.
SWITCHEL TEA - Tea, especially that once drunk by fishermen and sealers at sea.
SWOIL, SWILE, SWALE, SOIL or SILE - A North Atlantic Seal, especially harp or hooded.
SYRUP - A sweet, fruit-flavoured commercial cordial; a drink prepared from such a cordial diluted with water.
TABBY - A small floating ice pan in boys’ sport of jumping across the ice or “copying”; To jump from one floating ice pan to another.
TAIL or TEEL - To bait or set a trap or snare; to place a weapon so that game is shot when the device is triggered.
TALAMH AN EISC - Irish for Newfoundland, literally translated means “land of the fish” (Apparently the only place-name outside of Ireland which is not a simple literal translation.)
TEA-FLOWER or PITNAGEN - Purple-stemmed aster (dried roots sometimes used with dried potato peels to make an ersatz tobacco).
TEAK - One of the elaborately dressed pranksters who go about during Christmas holidays. (Derived from Irish name Teague.)
TEAK DAY - Old Christmas Day, January 6th, on which certain mummers customarily appear. If you didn’t wear a green ribbon you got a crack with stick!
TEEL or TAIL - To bait or set a trap or snare; to place a weapon so that game is shot when the device is triggered.
THREE LEG - Uncompleted mesh of a fish-net, having three corner knots and one loose strand of twine.
TIB’S EVE - The day before Christmas Eve (today!); also, a day that will never come.
TIDDLE - To strike, hook, or tip into the air the short stick in the game of tiddly.
TIDDLY - A children’s game in which a stick, balanced on a rock or over a hole, is hooked or flicked into the air and struck with another.
TIDDLY STICK - Either of the two sticks, but especially the short one, used in the game of tiddly.
TIME - A party or celebration, especially a communal gathering with dancing / entertainment.
TRAP - A type of fixed fishing-gear used in inshore waters, box-shaped, with a length of net stretching from shore to entrance through which migrating cod enter and are trapped.
TRAP SKIFF - A large undecked fishing boat, propelled by oar, small sail or engine and used in the coastal fishery to set and haul nets, especially cod traps.
TUCK - One of the lines drawn tight in a cast-net when catching caplin.
TURR - Probably imitative of the earlier name murre and the bird’s note. One of several sea-birds hunted for food: Atlantic common murre, thick-billed murre.
TUTTLE LINE - A length of line forming part of a cast-net and and used to draw the tucks together, closing the net.
TWINE - Hemp, cotton, or nylon thread, varying in the number of its twisted strands, used in the making of fish-nets.
VAMP - Short, thick woolen oversock worn in boots to prevent chafing or around the house as a slipper; bottom of a sock.
VAR - Balsam fir.
WABBLE or WOBBLE - Red-throated loon.
WAGEL - Great black-backed gull in its immature state.
WAGTAIL - Spotted sandpiper.
WALL - Either of two long vertical sections of netting in the box-shaped cod-trap; side.
WHEY-BELLIES, CLEAR AIRS, DADYEENS, YELLOW-BELLIES or DOONES - Irish factions in St. John’s in the early 1800s. Respectively from Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny. The first three allied against the second two.
WHITE MOUTH - Disease in which the mouth and lips have white flecks; thrush.
WITCH-HAZEL - Yellow or grey birch.
WOBBLE or WABBLE - Red-throated loon.
YAFFLE - An armful (i.e. of salt-cod, firewood); a load.
YELLOW-BELLIES, WHEY-BELLIES, CLEAR AIRS, DADYEENS or DOONES - Irish factions in St. John’s in the early 1800s. Respectively from Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny. The first three allied against the second two.
What Goes Round Comes Round
Leave Toes Outside
Poor Fishing Day
Is Your Diaper Full?
Lunch Break on a Hot Day