Monday, 10 December 2012

Don't Be Nesh


The Inky Fool in Oswestry
I was in Shropshire over the weekend and came across a lovely little dialect term: nesh. It's one of those words with a very precise meaning, which is, according to several Shropshirerians "afraid of the cold". It's used only in the phrase "Don't be nesh" which means something along the lines of "Stop worrying about getting your scarf, we're going for a long walk anyway."

And then you end up fair clemmed, or frozen.

Tomorrow, I'll be doing a talk in Blackwells Charing Cross at six thirty.

16 comments:

  1. It is quite widely used:

    nesh |nɛʃ|

    adjective dialect

    (especially of a person) weak and delicate; feeble: it was nesh to go to school in a topcoat.

    DERIVATIVES
    neshness noun

    ORIGIN Old English hnesce, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dialect nes ‘soft or foolish’.

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  2. I would love to host you on a visit to Australia if you like discovering words in a different dialect. I am happy to offer my services as an interpreter.
    Nicki

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  3. Nesh is a commonly used word in Sheffield.

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  4. Not heard nesh for years, but as a child in Lanchasire, in the fifties, I heard it used by older people quite often.

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  5. I grew up in Nottingham and 'don't be nesh' was a frequent childhood taunt. It would generally follow the same useage as don't be chicken but with less of an implication of being afraid than of being weak or unmanly.

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  6. I am married to a Yorkshireman who frequently accuses me of being nesh - and complains of being fair clemmed

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  7. "You nesh southern bastid" was a phrase I heard quite often when I came to Manchester. I am less nesh than almost all mancunians I have met as I avoid central heating except when frost forms inside. I revel in using "ye nesh northerner" as often as I can, best when wearing a t-shirt standing outside work in mid-winter.

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  8. Widely used in the Black Country often used in conjunction with the phrase 'Big Girls Blouse.....

    Laurie -

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  9. 'nesh' in Wigan means soft. Perhaps a throw back to the Scandinavian marauderers who have left some of their influence on the local dialect when they were chucked out of Ireland in the early 10th Century and ended up here.

    'Ah wur fair clemm't' means that you are rather hungry, not frozen.

    So soft and in need of foody sustenance, not cold and more cold as a Shropshire Lad may mean.
    Either way, not an appealing state to be in, so I'd rather take Housman's advice and live life to the full, always remembering to fill my belly and keep a warm coat handy.

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  10. Yep, used it at school fairly frequently just down the road in Herefordshire. "You'se nesh, you is". Grammar not a strong point.

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  11. I also came across 'nesh' frequently in Manchester.

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  12. My wife from Hawarden, N Wales uses this. The southern equivalent is of course 'a wimp'.

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  13. My other half is from Cheshire and frequently laughs at me for being nesh (which I freely admit I am),

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  14. Just today came across this word (new to me) in "Far from the madding crowd" re the dead Fanny Robbin: "She was such a childlike, nesh young thing that her spirit couldn't appear to anybody if it tried, I'm quite sure." She is also supposed to have succumbed to "a general neshness of constitution".

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  15. Aww my dear late father used to use this word. We used to say it when we were feeling ill or weakly "I'm feeling a bit nesh"

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  16. During the war we lived in Glossop, Derbyshire as the Admiralty moved my father there from Portsmouth. As you may imagine at times we were baffled by local dialect words and this was the first time I had heard the word 'nesh'. Also the word 'mardy' was another in frequent use.

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