Pier Head At Dawn

Once full of ships, now mostly empty except for the Ferries and posh yachts and the odd cruise liners!
Lernin' Yerself Scouse

Updated: 10 June 2020

Part One - Warriz "Scouse?"  (What Is Scouse?)

Many people have visited my site over the past dozen or more years.  I have had many queries about "exactly what is a scouser" and, from Craig in Houston, "what is Scouse"? So I have decided to redo what used to be on my domain a few months ago; that is, "lernin' about scouse" and the language of the Scouser. Firstly here is Fritz Spiegel's explanation of what scouse actually is, from his mini book (pronounced boook!) entitled Lern Yerself Scouse, published by Scouse Press Liverpool 1984 edition, first published in 1965 at the height of the "Mersey Boom" in the music world. There are many definitive versions of Scouse, as in the food, but this has to be the nearest to "warriz da troof". Ma Boyle's, behind St Nicks Church on the Pier Head, does a lovely Scouse. But it goes quick, so you'd berra leg it if you want some. I also get the odd email about the exact usage of certain werds or phrases. The descriptives below and their meanings are from the 1960 era and before the wars. Certain phrases have come into the modern liverpool like one that was mentioned to me recently "ello darlin' - this is of course "cockney" - which is now officially a dead dialect as those "born in the sound of bow bells", no longer exist as the bells came down years ago. The modern words used in Liverpool are not proper scouse, not for another few decades anyway!! I recently had an email stating that he thought some of the "werds" were a bit dated. True. These are original scouse expressions that survived into the 60s, in the main, and that's the best scouse. Modern day "werds" get lost in translation and some are probably not unique to Liverpool. I actually had an email recently claiming they had never heard of the word "Wack"! I suggest a return to school la, wack was very defo a scouse werd! I got an email today ( June 31st 2006) from "down under" from an ex pat (Pete) who is coming home; this is what he has to say:

I'm a Scouser who has been living Down Under for the last 14 years but my wife and I are planning our return home because our little fella is one hell of a footy player and is aiming to become a pro. I read with interest on your web site about some people who believed "Wack" was not a part of the Scouse dialect. Living and growing up in Liverpool and Huyton during the 50s, 60s and 70s I know for a fact that "Wack" was an integral part of the Scouse dialect. When I was a kid it was deemed a real honour to be called Wack because, as kids, we associated it with being a hard knock. Also, I recall being called "Wacker" on occasion. You may already have heard of this usage and it might be worth mentioning it in future publications. For example, I used to be greeted thus: "Alright, Wacker! 'Ows it goin', Lah?"  I rather think 'wack' was a 50s or early 60s word that was invented by a pop star or something as it vanished into the 70s.

Its now January 2015, after a long long time, I received two emails in one day about the dialect. I got to thinking about it and reailsed that the scouse dialect and the english language as a whole is becoming extinct. Scouse certainly is, as kids now grow up with US games, US videos and US speak and the garbage served up on tv originating in the USA is pathetic.  Everything is becoming americanised and even the proper english spelling of words is making way for the lazy US spelling and I won't even go down that road to text speak, bloody awful. I recall a very racist song from the 60s and have a new version; 'I'd rather be a scouser than a Yank, yes I would'. (apologies to Simon & Garfunkel!!) Language wise, thats certainly true. I have not lived 'up der' since 1981, but still have 'me accent'. This is a 'history page' on scouse and some may find 'offence' in this politically correct prison we now live it, tough - its history and you cant change the past.

Sept 2015: got this in an email: "here is your wack". So “wackers” were close enough friends to share things, usually equally. Things such as food money or stolen goods. And yes, I do remember this now, its true. Thanks Malcolm Bell.

Scouse - or to give it its full title, Lobscouse, is of course a food rather than a dialect; it is the native dish of the Liverpudlian, or Scouser.  ( Or should I say it is now the native dish, having arrived here with sailors from Scandinavia). Scouse is to Liverpool what Bouillabaisse is to Marseilles or Schnitzel is to Vienna. Scouse, unlike most dishes, which were derived from a place or origin, was born out of abject poverty. A simple stew made from the cheapest cuts of meat, usually mutton, boiled with potatoes and onions. The meat ingredient is optional, without which the Scouse becomes Blind Scouse.  Either kind is eaten with red cabbage pickled in vinegar. However, like the years of poverty, Scouse is now part of the history and the visitor to Liverpool will search in vain for a restaurant that serves Liverpool's own dish, although it is sometimes possible to find Irish Stew, a direct ancestor, on bills of fare.  The author found in a German Cookery Book the following translated recipe.

Labskaus (Sailors dish, original recipe)
Boil a piece of fairly lean salt beef (or equal quantities of beef and ham) till soft and chop it into coarse pieces. Meanwhile boil some potatoes in unsalted water and add a great quantity (!) of small onions which have been braised in butter. Mash all of this together, season with pepper and pour over it enough of the meat stock to produce a mash of soft consistency. This simple dish is extremely tasty and nourishing, especially when taken with pickled cucumber and a glass of beer.

There are several variations of this, in several countries, but this is the nearest and almost certainly arrived in Liverpool on German or scandinavian sailing vessels plying their trade.  However, we may safely conclude that the origin of Scouse is to be found in some ships galley on the high seas, it matters little which nationality, as sailors had a habit of giving international status to their songs, yarns and certainly, their diseases.


Ok - lets start with the lingo.  These are scouse (liverpudlian) phrases and their "Queen's English" translation. References in this go back, many to Victorian times. Liverpool was a poor place to live. References to coloured people are neither rascist nor derogatory, it was purely descriptive, Liverpool being one of the original cosmopolitan cities in the whole of the UK. If anyone out der az an update fer me on new werds I wud be ferever grateful! I do not know modernisations like for example - what's scouse for skateboard or mountain bike? This is more by way of a Scouse history lesson than modern equivalents. By history, I mean - pre 70s, before Liverpool had a footy team, apart from Everton. oh and Tranmere Rovers across the river! I support none of these by the way.  Thanks to John Cook for some additions. He disagrees about some but most agree with most, so its not farroff, izit eh la? Its not the definitive list either - many werds are not wrote! I rewrote this, turning it into a form of alphabet, sort of! Makes it easier to double check werds like what I wrote. Great eh? These words are mostly those used post WW2 and up to the 70s.

Second bit - Da Werds

aah-eh or arr ay Its not fair!
A cuppa tea an' a long sit-down It is cold outside
ackers cash
ace well done
Antwaccky, dead antwacky really old; Ancient
any road Anyways, whatever
allus always
Arl arse mean person. Maybe 'tight arse' might be more descriptive.
Arse Bandit, Shirt lifter, queer as a nine bob note Homosexual
axe ask, as in Don't axe me?
avin a barney having an arguement
Ay ay I Say!
Ay La! I say, young man
'avin' a bevvy Having a drink of beer
arrers, chuckin arrers darts, playing darts
Allee 'o Tick, Tag, played in the alleys
'arf chocker Half an house brick as opposed to a complete one.
Ar kid My brother, my sister
'ave yer tapped? Has the young lady agreed to your advances?
'arf a bar 2 shillings and sixpence, a half crown. About 12 1/2p nowadays
arf a sheet 10 shillings
am carryin' or brewsted I am affluent at present
am on me arse 'ere skint, poor
Ar moggy Our cat
arse bandit homosexual
bail out leave, exit a place
bags, bags of loads, lots
backie, crogger passenger ride on bicycle
barney arguement
bayo, baydin pool swimming baths
bender prolonged drinking session, now quite common amongst teenagers *binging*
biddies or nits head lice
Binned Thrown out by your bird/feller
bells nautical. See you at 7 bells (Oclock)
blitzed, chemicked, kaelied very drunk
bevvied drunk, bevvy - drink.
bent could be as in a homosexual or stolen property or disreputable (as in not straight)
bezzie best, as in bezzie mate - bezzies - best clothes
bike girl of easy virtue, likes a ride, entertains anyone 
Binbagged Thrown out by your bird/feller
Boogaroff No, please depart
buttons Marble substitutes
Blammo or Blabbo a black person
Basil belly Fat man
Bar, nicker 1 pound note
Blocker Bowler Hat
brassik skint -borassic lint - skint
biddy rake special comb for removing hair lice - nits - biddies
bifta fag, ciggie, smoke
bint, berd girl
bootle buck hard faced lady
bulk, in bulk laughing, act of laughing as in, 'I told him and 'e wuz in bulk!'
Buttie Sandwich, slice of bread and butter
Bummin' Begging
carry on like that and yewl be chewin a brick If you persist in this you will have your face in a wall
Chuck Bread, food. Also to throw eg: chuck uz de ball la?
Cum 'ed den Well, come on then?
chuffed, dead chuffed happy, very happy. Word originated in Yorkshire.
casey full sized proper footy ball
crozzy riding on the crossbars (bike)
Cold enuff fer two purra bootlaces The weather is very cold
Conny onny condensed milk - spread on bread by kids for a very sweet butty.
Corpy The corporation (pre council days!).
Council Pop Water
Chip Buttie Chips between two slices of bread
Chippy The Fish & Chip Shop
Chuckun, chuckuz Throwing, throw me
chocker, chocka can also mean full eg: me bags chocker; me 'eads chocker
crack on recognise someone
crack from irish craic; good time
creased knackered, tired, worn out
Cogger, left footer Catholic
College pudden Person who passed the 11+ and went to grammar/college school.
creased doubled up, its funny, as in creased up.
Crimbo Christmas
Crosscut Chinese woman
cozzie swimming suit
Corksucker An American (pulling corks out of bottles with teeth a la Westerns)
Cud wind de liver clock Tall person
Cudn take you to the Adelphi you drop your food on the floor. (Famous Adelphi, a dead posh hotel)
Cost millyins Expensive
Cow-juice Milk
Corned Dog Corned Beef
Conny-onny Condensed Milk
damage cost, price
dale they will
darryl that will
Dis pura kecks is too tight These trousers are tight
Dale, as in dale do They will, They will do
De clock The face
Dee ooter, snotter The nose
dead very eg: dead good, 'dead' spot on
dead cert meaning a certainty
dead gear really great, amazing
deko, giz a deko Look, can I have a look
deese are me bezzies These are my best clothes
dats ace that is really superb
Darrafact Is that so?
defo, for defo certain, certainly, definitely
diesel do these will be fine, thank you or these will have to do
divvy, dozey stupid
dimps Recently discarded cigarette butts still with a few "drags" left in them
diesel fitter dees will fit dis, dees will fit dat
dunno a blind werd 'e sez? I do not understand him
do one run away, or tell someone to run away
Do ya wanna wake up wid a crowd around yer? Fairly obvious. I will knock you out and leave you with a crowd gathering
Do ya like da food in de hozzie? Same as above but ending up in hospital.
dockers butty sandwich on really thick slices of bread
dolled up, done up overdressed
doddle easy
Don't talk wet! Don't talk so stupidly
Down de jigger Into this alley or along this alley
dollypegs The legs
der t'ingy any object whatsoever without a name coming to mind
De mickeys are lettin' on de roof Pigeons are alighting on the roof
De shawlies wuz janglin' Irish ladies were gossiping
Der muckman, de binnie Refuse collector
De rentfella Rent Collector
De clubman Insurance collector, or other collector
De ragman The old clothes man
de tallyman Hire purchase collector
De tatter Rag collector
De milkfella Milk Man
De lecky man The electric meter reader
Dem They, those
de bizzies, scuffers Police - I think Bizzie comes from a "busy body"
De firebobby or Ikky the firebobby A Fireman
Diddyman Small person
De unkill My uncle
De ant My Aunt
De jigger rabbit Stray cat; feral
De pool The City of Liverpool
De one eyed city Birkenhead
De Anfield bone orchard Anfield Cemetery
De grotter Santa's grotto - in dept stores
De cazzy Cast Iron Shore, Dingle
De bayoes Public Baths, bayoes; from bathing or baydin
De Mersey Funnel or Paddy's Wigwam Catholic Cathedral
De Lanny The Landing Stage, Pier Head
De Onion Patch Anfield Football Ground
De black ouse Royal Liver Buildings (no longer black but restored)
De whatsit The - forgotten the name of it, the thingy?
Desert wellies Sandals
De entrance fee, de latchlifter price of a half pint
Dem's Martin 'enries Cheap clothes
Dollar Five shillings, five bob
Doin' me 'ead in Making me angry
duff defective, broke.
Up the duff pregnant
'edcase complete idiot, loony, mad
Ee wont crack on He is ignoring us
Ee yockered on me He spat at me
Ee wuz gawpin' wid eyes like 'atpegs He looked surprised
Ee's a gud skin An agreeable fellow
Ee's a mush A stranger
Ee lewks like de 'unchback of Knotty Ash Of a rather grotesque appearance
Ere, tatty 'ead! or 'Ay, Judy! I say, young woman
Eh! Dis is blind Scouse! There's no meat in my stew
Ere's yer 'at, wur's de 'urry? Its been nice but I have to go now
'e orta he really should ....
er bristlers her bosom
Eye Wipe! You have been proved to be incorrect! (Had your eye wiped because you were upset to be found out to be wrong).
Eyes like pee-oles in de snow Small deep set eyes
Farder bunloaf Catholic priest
fagger out fielder at cricket
Franny Francis
Fades Damaged, therefore cheap, apples
Finnyaddy Finnan Haddock
Flies symmetry (sounds like) cemetery in reality! Eccles Cake or Chorley Cake, unsure of which.
Fluky, a fluke Lucky, a bit of luck, jammy
fruit homosexual
frisby or lezzie lesbian
flim £5 note
fur coat and no knickers made a lot of money, on her back, loose woman
boff to fart
gaffer the boss, foreman
gaff house, home
gander have a look, as in 'ave a gander, will ya?'
gear marvellous, good, smashing
ghostin' Going with a workman to work, watching him and doing nothing
Gissome Please serve us with..
Gizalite Could you oblige me with a match please?
gob mouth
gobbin' off big mouth, boaster
gob iron harmonica
Go 'ed den Well, go on then?
Goppin' anything dirty, filthy, not nice, tastes awful, even a person!
Give uz some or Gizza lorra or gizzum Give me, a large portion please, or give to me now
Gizza dirty big plate ov A VERY large portion please
Gear or dat wuz de gear (followed by belch) Thanks, I enjoyed that
Gear, de gear Excellent, suitable, satisfactory
Got no bayden cozzie I have no swim suit
Give yer chin a rest Be silent
Gorran 'ead as big as Birken'ed Rather self assured, ego
Gorra mouf like a parish oven Rather talkative
gammy 'anded, cack 'anded Left handed
gob mouth, to spit
gozzie, gozzie eyed squinty eyes
Giz a sub? Can you lend me an advance, some money?
goosegog gooseberry
graft work
grass inform, informer, to "shop" someone, snitch
grotty squalid, horrible, eg: dead grotty. Feeling grotty, feeling sick, Grotty = Grotesque
got de coppers Got money
Hey! Yu wid de 'ead! Waiter!
Icky the fire bobby Possibly answer to who were you with last night, reply icky - mind your own business. I also have a vague memory of someone being called Icky, the bare bum fire bobby???
I wanna I want to
iddle do it will do
I'le mug yer My treat!
Its crackin' de flags The weather is hot (flags = flagstones)
I wanna new wicker wacker I require a new suit, my man
I wanna I require
'im derisively - My husband (pointing)
Its fer me fellas carryin out It is for my husbands packed lunch
jazzy smart
Joe Gerk's or the big 'ouse Walton Prison
jacks 'n ollies Five Stones (game)
Jam butty Jam Sandwich
jammy lucky, see fluky
jarg fake designer clothes
jerry chamber pot
jigger back alley, entry. Could be formed from African word 'jig jig' meaning sexual activity. I have also heard of shady dealings as in 'jiggery pokery'
jigger rabbit Alley cat
Jud George
judy girl
Joey Threepenny piece
kaylied drunk
Kewins wid a pin Small shellfish
Kirkby Kiss Head butting an opponent in the face.
Knackers' Yard (Ready for da) Deaths Door! Feeling a persons age
knockers breasts
Kop off where I lived it meant get off with a girl
Kelly's Barn St George's Hall
lamp, lamp ya strike one, I will hit you
Lal Harry
La young man (see also email at base of page) - quite possibly from the Malay 'lah' meaning please or a polite inflection on a command. Or indeed the Chinese La
lanny Princes Landing Stage, Pier Head
Last Rubbish, as in "That's Last!"
lavvy, lav toilet
lecky electric
Leg it! Lets escape, ******* is coming, run!
Lego 'ouse (new word) One of the new building infesting the Pier Head (2012)
Less bunk into de pictures Lets go into the film without paying, bunkin' - getting in for free
lemme let me? Permit Me
lugole The ear
Lissen to 'is rantin He is knocking loudly
Livin' over de brush Living in sin
Luggy person with only one ear
Loop de loop Soup
lorra large amount
loosie single cigarette
Lolly Ice Frozen Fruit (or flavoured) juice on a stick
made up pleased
mate seems to have replaced wack, wacker
Make yer name Walker, Wack Please go away
marmalise beat up
Muck in - yer at yer grannies Bon Appetit!
Me Ma'll deck ya (If you persist in this) my mother will hit you
mingy mean, stingy
mitts The hands, or type of glove
Mery's stepdashin' Mary is scrubbing the steps
Me Nin, me gran, me nan My grandmother
Me owl gerl, me mam My mother
Me judy, me tart My lady friend, wife
me fella My boy friend, husband
me gerls ole fella My father in law
Me dar, de ole man My father
Meladdo An unnamed, but known, person
moey, gob, cakehole The mouth
Naish Ignatius
naff useless
naff off polite way of saying F*** Off
nicker £1 note
nits, biddies lice
nitty nora School nurse (searching for head lice = nits) Nitty Nora the biddy explorer
Not wert a lite Valueless
nouse intelligence
Nearly in me burr webs My shoes are worn out
Nudger Baguette
nutt'n nothing
oavy overtime
Oldies or Twerlies Old People
ollies marbles
og, meg A half penny
ocker Shilling
ozzy hospital
purra flukes 'ead onum he hit me hard
pickun an kewins The contents of a finger up the nose then withdrawn!
Plazzie made of plastic, or a fake. Plazzie scouser, person from The Wirral (like me!).
Purra zip on it Please be silent
Proddy Dog Protestant
Professer Messer didactic person
Pea Wack Pea Soup
rennie rent collector
Roadey or Rhodey Bacon Streaky Bacon or back bacon - with rind
ropey dodgy quality, dead ropey (decidedly odd or dodgy), also feeling ropey, sick, not right.
saggin' skewl playing truant
satdee, sundee when people who work, don't; weekend
Sarneys Sandwiches
Sarann Sarah Ann
Sarawak Farewell, sir - (tara wack)
sanny sanitary inspector
scally loveable rogue, or simply a rogue, also scallywag
scraps cheap left overs in butchers (reminds me of a Tom O'Connor joke: Mother: Can I have some scraps for the dog? Child: Oh great, we're gerrin' a dog!!).
scrappin' fighting, rough play
screw burgle as in "screw" an 'ouse
scone 'ead unknown origin, term of greeting as in 'Ay up Scone Head!'
scoff, scram food
segs, lazzie an' ups Marble variations
shirtlifter homosexual
schtum! Keep Quiet!
short-arse small
slummie small change
Sterry Sterilized Milk
Scoop Pint, usually of beer. From when beer was "scooped" out of barrels.
Scouse Pot-au-feu l'hiver poule
Scuffer cop, copper, policeman
Snot rag (or more politely gartons - snot rag backwards) hankerchief
sock robber person from a less than nice area
Shut yer gob an' ger on with yer knitting you're talking like an old woman, please be quiet.
Scaldy swimming hole, part of canal warm with industrial effluent
Skippin' leckies Illicit riding on trams
Slummy loose change
So watch it kiddo, cus you couldn't punch you way out of a wet echo. You are simply not up to it, so be careful.
sparrer legs thin legs
speck. my speck This is my speck, this is where I stand , sit. nobody is allowed in this 'speck' - its MINE!"
Splosh Money
She (or he) giv 'im de rounds They had an altercation (as in boxing!)
Smoked Irishman or smoked Paddy Coloured person
Standing round like one of Lewis' In relation to the assistants, at Lewis' Dept store, standin' around.
Steerie plank of wood with wheels attached.
Straight Up! Honest
Sub A loan
sussed found out
sussies a rare sight now - suspenders!!
Ta, Wack Thanks, I am most grateful
tatty head! you! Mostly to a lady
tear arse uncontrollable, tear arsing through the street!
T'sarrahwell Farewell
Ta mate, do the same when I'm carryin I will return the favour when I have money
tanner-megger small football, tennis ball like!
thisavvay, disavvy This afternoon
termorrer, t'sermorrer Tomorrow
tizzie, gerrin' in a tizzie over excited, getting in a tizzie
Treesa Theresa
todd alone, as in on me todd
togger footy, football, soccer
took spoken for, as in she's took (taken)
two meg One penny
Tiddler silver threepenny piece
Two bob 24 pence, two shillings, florin. Equivalent today of 10p
Topshiner Top Hat
Togo Sugar
Tramstopper Large slice of bread
Toxteth Briefcase Portable Stereo or Ghetto Blaster
Ullo dur! Greetings! Pleased to make your aquaintance
Uz I, me
Yer, Yiz You, Yours
yer orl right but yer shit stinks You are a nice enough person, up to a point
Wack* (see emails below) Sir, male. It comes from the gaelic mhac ( pronounced wack) which means 'son of'. Which eventually became Mc or Mac as part of a surname. More below.
warryl what will
Wayo! Just a minute! Hang on a mo!
Wudden mind Yes Please
warra yer like? Get away, really!, I am surprised!
webs The feet
Wellie To hit someone, give him a wellie!
Wellie, welligogs (kids) Rubber footwear of the boot variety
Wensdee Middle of the Week
Worrel? What will?
We wuz playun' We were playing
wet nelly weakling
wid de corky playing with a real cricket ball
we 'ad a do lassnight We had a party last night
woollyback not a scouser. Also means someone from the countryside, rural environment, eg: sheep!
When Donnelly docked or when Dick docked A long time ago; Donnelly referring to Irish immigration. Another hypothesis is that this is referring to the ship on the vane on top of St Nicks - eg: it docked there ages ago. The Donnelly was lost in the Bay.
we wuz chuckin' alley-apples throwing stones
wingy person with one arm
Wanna gansey fer me lad I want a jersey for my boy
Whur wuz yer when I 'ad de coppers? You have missed a drink
Whur de play tick wid 'atchets Dingle
Whur bugs wear clogs Bootle
Wunce in evry Prestin guild Very infrequently
Yis Yes
Yockered Spat out something a bit green! To spit
Y'know like meaningless interjection
Yer wha? Do I hear you correctly?
Yer wanna You ought to
Yerl get no bevvy 'ere Not a licensed premises
Yistiddy Yesterday
Yer gorra cob on ? You are in a bad mood
yew an ooze ahmy Threat received and reply is you and whose army - meaning it will take more than you mate. not specifically scouse but well used.
Yews You (plural)
Yer a derty stopout You're rather nocturnal in nature
Your very ickey You are rather dandified
Yer doin' me 'ead in You are making me extremely annoyed right now
Yer gorrup like a pox doctors clerk Your very overdressed, dressed like you are loaded (with money)

Footnote to Lewis' - Mar 2010 and the famous Lewis' store is about to vanish, forever. With the massive redevelopment to move the city centre nearer to the river, all those famous old building are about to go.
Lewis' is one of them. I presume the famous statue will be kept somewhere? The statue was a famous meeting place. 'see ya under the statue' was famous in Liverpool.

The above words are the main ones that have stood the test of time and date from early days to the late 60s in the main. There are of course new ones all the time as in the 'shoebox' a rather
strange looking new (21st century) on the Pier Head and the 'Lego 'ouse', a similar building. I think the architects were on something and it wasn't valium!!  So all werds are not 'ere but these are the main.

There is one saying, more than a 'werd' which I came out with not so long back in Asda, of all places. In these days of oversized women cramming themselves into lower sized clothes, an overly large lady
was bending down to get something off the lower shelf. 3/4 of her arse was showing. I exclaimed as I turned the corner, "Jeez, I could park me bike in that!"

Liverpool comic, Tom O'Connor once told a joke about the poor people of Liverpool. He was a school teacher in Liverpool so understood the kids wonderfully.
Anyway  - A boy and his mam go into the butchers and she asks for some scraps, its for the dog! Oh great! shouted the kid, we're gerrin' a dog!!

Selected Verses from

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyãm
(The Rubber Yacht of Omer Kayam)

 Gerrup der la! De knocker-up sleeps light;

Dawn taps yer winder, ends anudder night;

And Lo! The dog-eared moggies from next-door

Tear up the jigger fer an early fight.


Half-dreaming,  half par’latic on me back;

0 Jeez. another day before yiz, Jack;

And groping for de ciggies by me bed

I sought de drag dat frees me from de rack.


De Wend’s just like dat pub in ‘Ackins ‘Ey,

De towels on de taps all bleedin’ day;

Yer time is up before a decent sup

Dat mingy Landlord, late, says: “On yer way”.


Many’s the fella dat I use’ter mug;

Ard cases who could bevvy by the jug.

Dey’ve cadged dere last latch-lifter out a me

And werms live jockey-bar inside dere lug.


So shun de Cokes and join me in de Pub;

But ‘urry, Life is short, aye dere’s the rub.

De Liver Bird’s already on de wing

And Time’s de one thing, mates, yer’ll never sub!


0 Thou who didst wid Threlfalls and wid gin

Allow us all to take life on de chin;

Are you de self-same unrelenting Sod

Who slips us all de final Mickey-Finn?


So come, me mates, and fill yer boots wid Beer;

You may be in Ford Cemetery next year;

Termorrer? Listen La, it never comes,

Let Fally drown yer sorrows, its de gear.


Poor Uncle Tom no longer bears de ‘od,

Unless ee’s still a brickie up wid God;

And Clayballs, Guardian of de Mystery

In Smithie lies, six feet below de sod!


Dey say dat pile a bricks in Calderstones

Was once a Druids doss-house full of thrones;

But dig at around where kids now sport and play

And all you’ll find’s discarded rags and bones.


Alas dat Rose should vanish with me mate

And leave them unpaid bevvies on de slate;

With all dem fag ends, soaked beyond repair

And all dem hours lost though minutes late.


And a lad I seldom went ter school;

Just bare-arsed round de streets of Liverpool.

lost all me coloured ollies down de grid

And skipped de leckies to de stick of Doom!


O Christ I’d pawn me heart in Rotherhams

And even swap de buses for de trams
For a vintage butty spread wid Hartley’s Jam

Or a day at Blackler’s Grotto wid me Mam


O for a cob of chuck beneat de boughs

The Footy Echo an’ a pan of Scouse

A Black & Tan, and Maggie sweatin’ bricks

In Sevvies rough, dats paradise enough



De ref no question makes of rights or wrongs

Just makes de rules up as ‘e goes along.

And many a foul as penalized de weak

While many an offside rule supports de strong.


Life’s like a game of pitch ‘n toss

But youre de mug dats thrown up wid de boss

Its heads a penny, but de ‘ead is yours

Somehow you find dat every call’s a loss


When I was young half of me time was spent

Up jowlers playing ‘ookey wid de rent

Was always skint and found I use’ter go

Down de same jiggers as whereup I went

 Dats put der top on ut! 

Got this in an email from ped davis (March 2007) ........... a lady I work with is from Singapore - I heard her on the phone talking to friends speaking what she says is "singlish" - a kind of pigin / dialect. It sounded remarkably like scouse lah, don do dat lah.. etc, with lots of use of the word la. She tells me lah is the way you say a particular chinese punctuation character which gives additional emphasis - a bit like an exclamation mark, but in chinese proper I don't think you actually say it (as we don't say 'exclamation mark'.) I had always thought la was short for lad but this has set me wondering, especially given Liverpools very old Chinese population and the huge trade with places like Singapore and elsewhere in the far east. Perhaps like Scouse itself the expression came out of the ships and the trade, but from a chinese source.

Thanks to Paul Whitehead for the definition of "wack". However, Frank Cranny (Bootle lad) tells me this from Australia on the word 'wack': I had a lot of mates with the nickname wacker, they got their name because their name was Peter....why Peter....well as well as scouse, we were also fed another rich mans dish Pea soup which was also called peawack the upshot is we like to shorten and change names - Peter became P  P became Pewack which bacame wack or wacker as any of my old mates Wacker Lynn Wacker Westhead etc etc etc would testify to. Frank Cranny ( Bootle boy livin in OZ) - pea wack is actually a soup!

Got this from Canada May 2009:  I left Bootle, in my late twenties, back in 1967, resided in Canada but travelled the world on business until retirement in '95 and have, since then, cruised my Grand Banks '42 Trawler about the waterways of the North American continent. My boat, the "Jawbone" is named for a pub on Litherland Road, Bootle whence I had my last pint before embarking on the old "Empress of Canada'. And now to get to the point: Of generations of immigrant Irish sea goers I was always given to believe that 'Wack' meant 'Share'. Seamen's rations were laid down by Statute but were communally vitaled through the galley. But the 'Famine Irish' seamen had no trust of the English and so went on ''The Wack". Once had, however, they did not know what to do with same so 'potted' the lot amongst themselves, 'The Wackers'. In that dollops of flour, in the absence of potatoes, entered the pot, becoming dumplings, the Scowegians, (former Vikings) saw it as 'Lobscous': Hence both 'Wacker' and 'Scouser' became commonly used term to describe sailors from Liverpool. In that Liverpool sailors chose to 'wack out' that was the term they favoured as opposed to 'scoucer' which they found to be derogatory. I have absolutley no research to back any of this up but it came to me by way of my maternal grandfather who rounded 'The Horn'  under sail a number of times and had umpteen circumnavigations under his belt. (He also told me 'that ones skill increases proportionate to the demands of the boat' which I know to be absolute truth.)

Then again:  In Bootle, in the 40s, 50s and early 60s only people from other than Liverpool called us Scousers whereas we referred to ourselves as 'Wackers'. How do I know? I went to school in Crosby with the Woolbacks and listened, with boredom, to their feeble attempts at discrimination. In my 'dotage' I have no longer any desire to return again as I found that as I had changed so had my former home. I prefer my memories. K Patrick McCarthy.

October 2009: I have been having an electronic discussion with Tony Bethel about the origins of the word 'jigger' as in back alley. There is an African word for sex called 'jig jig'. Sailors would, on returning home, take local lasses into the 'jiggers' for some 'jig jig'. Another expression I have myself heard was a word for some 'shady dealings' as in 'jiggery pokery'. "There is some jiggery pokery going on there, mark my words!"

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery so I have been told. Only yesterday I found a site called red kop, or something, that has copied an earlier form of this page out, word for word, description for description without asking me first. I know it was mine.

Steve Duff tells me (Nov 09) that "I am constantly reminded that the original 'Woolybacks' are the dock workers of years gone by. Because their work was very manual, lifting & carrying things on their backs, they would wear a sheepskin on their backs to stop the skin chafing. Hence they were called 'Woolybacks'.

From Dave Emmett - June 2010: Did you know that before the war they had women-only days, men-only days, and mixed-bathing days.  If you went to the last,  you had to wear a full bathing costume.  Girls weren't allowed to see boys' chests!)   And when we lived in The Dingle it was a day's outing to go the Cazzy.  (Unless you were taken to Sevvy Park.)

Thanks to Paul Cotter for a shed load of werds - most of which I have put in.

Jo tells me (May 2015) that it is definitely a Norwegian origin for the dish, Scouse. And came with the Vikings! I very much doubt that as Liverpool did not exist back then, and was but a tiny fishing hamlet until the 18th C.  Anyway, so many variations, so many 'facts'. The fact that it arrived as a dish on board sailing ships is the most accepted fact, and probably the correct one. Over the river, on Wirral, the area was deeply forested with small hamlets. The Vikings did settle there but were driven out, to Ireland, by the Saxons at the Battle of Brunanburh.

December 2016: Another email on the origins of 'wack'. "Wackers are born and bred in Birkenhead, strong in the arm, thick in the head. (the latter description comes from Yorkshire - mk) I was told the term came from shipbuilders at Cammell Lairds when rivets were used. 'Aye La, whack this in'. Whackers became wackers - most of the workforce were employed by Cammell Lairds." The term wackers could well be correct, and sounds right, but the saying mentioned above was defo originally from Yorkshire.