Monday, 19 November 2012


I'm off to Leeds today to give a talk at Waterstones at 7pm. This will give me a wonderful chance to hurple. Hurple's a strange verb that I found in an 1862 glossary of Leeds dialect, where it's defined thuslyly:

Hurple To shrug up the neck and creep along the streets with a shivering sensation of cold, as an ill-clad person may do on a winter’s morning. ‘Goas hurpling abart fit to give a body t’dithers to luke at him!’

And tomorrow I shall be in Durham doing the same thing, then it's Newcastle on Wednesday and Edinburgh on Thursday. Hurpling all the way.


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  2. When you arrive in Edinburgh, you might want to stop hurpling and start hirpling. Not sure if it's exactly the same - just means to walk with an odd gait.

  3. Just followin' on fae Hamish up there. 'Hirple' is auld Scots for 'to limp' - it's even in my copy of Chambers 20th Century Dictionary as such! Burns, of course, used it a bit more poetically ; as in 'Death of a Posthumous Child' - "November hirples o'er the lea..."