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15 Slang Phrases You'll Need to Know in Cornwall

Student Work Languages
by Lauren Williams Jan 23, 2015
1. Alright?

A conversation that begins with “alright?” usually goes a little something like this:

“Yeah, you?”

It’s a greeting rather than a question, like saying “Hello, how are you?” without really wanting an answer. It can be a whole conversation while passing someone on the way to the shop, or the beginnings of a long, in-depth natter in the pub.

2. Wasson me cock?

It’s okay, you’re not being asked to inspect a gentleman’s trouser snake. You’re just being asked how you are with a little more enthusiasm than “Alright?”

3. Tuss

The direct translation of “tuss” is actually erection, but if you get called one don’t assume that someone is calling you big and hard. It’s more commonly used as an insult.

“Oh, look at him with his can of Strongbow. What a tuss.”

There’s even a song about being a tuss here.

4. Emmet

That would be you, dear reader. “Emmet” (also: emet, emmit, emit) is what us Cornish call tourists who flock here in the summer months. Literally it means ant, but it’s been adapted to describe holidaymakers because they only come in the summer and run away when it rains.

5. Right on

If someone says “right on” to you, it usually means they agree with what you’re saying / will do what they’ve been asked to do. However, it could just mean that they weren’t listening and assumed “right on” was the most appropriate answer.

6. Shag

Don’t panic! You’re not being asked for one! Calling someone “shag” is a term of endearment, usually used from one bloke to another. It’s also a bird and a local beer.

7. Bird

A friendly term for your female friends and family.

8. My ‘ansum

This is a universal term of endearment to both men and maids — also expect to be called “my lover” from time to time.

9. Where you to?

Where are you? Also used with that, he, she, it, and they.

10. Up north

Anywhere over the border to England. If you’re from south west Cornwall, “up north” equals anywhere north of Truro.

11. Dearovim / Dearover

This is actually “dear of him” and “dear of her” rolled into one Cornish slur of H-dropping. It’s used when talking about someone who was upset or who has had a hard time, about a small cute child doing something adorable, or a reaction to a terrible story.

“My son said ‘ee can’t get a proper pasty up north!”

“Oh dearovim! That must be awful!”

12. Dreckly

An unspecified time in the future. If someone says that they will do something for you “dreckly,” do not hold high hopes of them doing it anytime soon. “Dreckly” could mean tomorrow, or more likely next week or even next year.

13. Ere

Usually said at the start of a conversation that includes gossip or new information.

14. Teasy

Shortened from the original Cornish “teasy as’n adder,” when someone says that they are “teasy,” it’s best to tread lightly. Causes of teasiness: hangover, lack of sleep, pasty withdrawal.

15. Rich

Nothing to do with food or money, “rich” is related to someone’s appearance. Usually used when describing kids and babies.

“Ere, you seen Margaret’s boy’s new baby boy? ‘Ee’s bleddy rich ‘ee is.”

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