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Exmoor Words

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Get out of that muxy goyle before dimmit

Like many rural places, Exmoor has its own words that have long been used to describe the landscape, animals, plants and objects that have been here for centuries.

Here are just a few of our favorite words - many thanks to Meriel Harrison for her time in researching these.

A
aggycaterpillar
apple-draneA wasp. Common, but not so much used as wapsy
B
belvethe lowing noise made by cows or stags
bloothblossom
C
clam, clammera footbridge or a stone or tree  placed across a stream to form a footbridge
D
dashellsThistles
dimitytwilight
dimmetDusk; evening twilight; when the light has become dim
dumbledore, dumbledronebumblebee
E
emmetThe ant. 
emmet batchant hill
emmet-heapAnt-hill. The large pile of wood and dust, so often collected in woods by the large wood ants
evetlizard
F
furze, fuzzgorse
G
goyalsvalleys "clothed by whortleberry bushes and lichens and ferns and mossed trees in the goyals" 
goyleA ravine; a deep, sunken, water-worn gully, usually with a running stream down it. 
H
hobe!The usual call for a cow, repeated deliberately and with much emphasis. The words used for calling or driving animals are as distinct and invariable in their use, as the corresponding sounds are when applied to human beings. See jup, haw, jee, wug, chook
horse stingerdragonfly
I
in-groundEnclosed land, as opposed to hill-ground, which is unenclosed common. Some of the in-ground'pon Exmoor is so good as any man need put a zull into, but a lot of the hill-ground id'n no gurt shakes
J
jack-in-the-boxSame as parson in the pulpit. Wild arum -Arum maculatum
juggymiremarshy ground "snipes, who had chosen for their nesting place a rush-clump in the marsh... flew down to find worms by pushing their long bills into the juggymire" p140
K
kitty-keysThe red bunches of fruit of the quickbeam Pyrus aucuparia. I never heard it applied to the seeds of the common ash,Fraxinus excelsior, but it is quite possible that its bunches of seeds may be so called
knapRising ground; the brow of a hill; highest part of the hill; a knoll
knappyHilly; steep. A steep field is always either a nappy field or a cleevy field. 
L
limpern-skrimpsA weed that has flowers in a cluster on the top & hollow stems often used as pea-shooters by children (Hogweed)
linhay, linneyA shed, or open building. 
M
mackerel-skySky mottled with light striped, cirrus clouds
muxmuck or dirt
muxyMuddy; covered with mud; dirty (very common)
muxy-routA deep muddy wheel-rut
N
night-crowThe night-jar or goat-sucker. (Usual name.) Caprimulgus europaeus
night-hawkSame as night-crow
nitcha large bundle of straw or reed used in thatching
O
oak-fernThe large common bracken (Pteris aquilina.) The reason of the name is that if the stalk is cut across near the root there are dark markings on the section which strongly resemble a very symmetrical oak tree
oak-webCockchafer. 
oddmedodSnail
ox-eyeOnly name for both the chiff-chaff and the willow warbler. 
P
parish-lanternThe moon
pink-twinkThe chaffinch, doubtless from its peculiar double note. Fringilla coelebs
popplepebble
popple-stone-pitchingA pavement made of pebbles (very common)
Q
quagquagmire
queechyApplied to land - wet; sodden; swampy
quick beamMountain ash
R
rex-bushA clump of rushes (always). A very old saying is: "The Barle and the Exe do both urn out o' the same rex-bush." The meaning is that the two rivers with such different courses rise very close together
rexenrushes
ruddockrobin
S
shordBroken crockery; a notch in a knife or any cutting instrument; a gap in a hedge. A large gap made for a cart to pass is called a gate-shord
skatA light shower. Also means to throw away an object (skat it away. No good)
snarley hornssnails
stogTo stick fast in the mud
stogTo get in a bog
stoggedbogged. Land which is wet and in need of draining is said to be "stoggy". A person or vehicle sunk into the mud and unable to move is "stogged"
T
tallet(i.e. Top-loft) a hay loft
talletThe hayloft over a stable - called sometimes the stable tallet(regular name). Also in any building the space immediately under the roof; but not applied to a ceiled room of any kind, whether attic or not. Welsh,Taflod
thick wetA dense mist - very common in the west
trace2. To track in the snow - usually applied to hares. The foot-print of a hare is a "prick," but in snow a "trace"
tuttiesflowers
V
vuz-cropperA name given very commonly to the Porlock Hill horn-sheep. Also to the rough ponies which run wild on the moors
vuz-kiteA kestrel
vuz-napperThe whinchat Saxicola rubetra. 
vuz-peghedgehog
vuzzenfurze or gorse
vuzzyGorse
W
whortingsearching for and gathering whortle-berries
worts, wortleberriesbilberries
X
Y
yanning-timelambing time
yarkwild, stormy weather
yeffheath or ling
Z
zogA bog or morass
zoggyBoggy
zogsBoggy land (soggy)
zugsbogs, soft wet ground. Little islands, about the size of a bucket, of grass and rushes
zwealscorch or burn (heather and bracken)