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Newfoundland dialectal gems

Yesterday an aged Newfoundland nurse unexpectedly insinuated herself into my yarn, so I was left with not much choice but to spend a few hours digging for colourful language in the Newfoundland dialect. Coming from Cape Breton, the land of scooshes (dances) and clampers (icebergs) I've heard my fair piece of "that's not English" English. Some of the phrases I came across yesterday though. I thought I should share a few of my favourites here. Explanations/translations, where necessary, are in italics.

(So-and-so's got) more lip than a coal bucket.

You can't tell the mind of a squid. Inscrutable. A squid can swim forward or backward, so their movements are hard for a fisherman to predict.

Tis not every day that Morris kills a cow. Same meaning as 'strike when the iron's hot,' but way better.

The devil to pay and no pitch hot. Unprepared for contingency, as when a storm catches you at sea and you have no pitch to patch the holes in your boat.

There's something under your pinny. You're pregnant. A pinny is an apron.

You're blowed up like a blood poison cat. You're fat. Your guess is as good as mine.

He's got a face on him like a burnt boiled boot.

Scarce as hens teeth. None.

You're stunner than Tom Tucker's goat. He dip his arse in the water for a drink and choke on it.

One of these days you'll wish your cake, dough. You'll regret it. Once something is done it can't be undone.

Looking like a stick of gum. A done up woman.

I dies at him. He's funny.

Fair weather to you and snow to your heels. Farewell.

And I could go on, but I'd best get back to writing. If any of my Newfoundland friends find I've got an explanation that's wrong or incomplete, give me an holler and I'll fix 'er.

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