Down East 2013 ©
The University of Wisconsin at Madison recently completed the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) — a look at the words used in various regions across the United States based on interviews conducted in over 1,000 communities across the country between 1965 and 1970. After four decades of studying 2.3 million responses, the dictionary was released. In Maine, researchers visited Allagash, Augusta, Bar Harbor, Beals, Masardis, North Berwick, Port Clyde, Presque Isle, Readfield, and Rockland. The Bangor Daily News sorted through the dictionary and found the words found that are unique to Mainers below:
culch: any kind of trash or rubbish; occasionally used of a person held in low esteem.
gaumy: awkward, inept, stupid.
larrigan: A type of long-legged moccasin or boot; also adjective larriganed, larrigan-clad.
barvel: A fisherman’s apron made of leather or oilcloth.
finest kind: Used variously, as a general indication of approval; also used ironically.
money cat: A calico cat, especially one with at least three colors.
pull-haul: to argue, contend.
tide walkers: a log floating, often with only one end at the surface, in coastal waters.
short: an illegal, undersize lobster.
eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death: the period of 1816-17, one of the worst winters Maine ever experienced.
putty: also with around; to occupy oneself with trifles, to idle.
slip one’s wind: to die.
fog mull: a heavy, stationary fog bank.
groaners: a whistling buoy or foghorn.
dry-ki: dead timber, especially that killed by flooding; dry branches; driftwood; land where such timber predominates.
scrod: a method of salting and preserving codfish.
ploye: traditional Acadian buckwheat pancake.
larrup: to give or receive a beating.