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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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..."