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The words in our language reflect our daily interactions with the world that surrounds us.

For instance, today in our sedentary indoor environment of global communication, we use multiple verbs to short-hand the posting of an image on social media, so we can tweet it, facebook it, snapchat it or instagram it.

It’s an astonishing thought that these different words are internationally known by hundreds of millions of people.

But go back a century to when language was localised, regionalised and diverse. Terms back then were there to describe lives that were lived mostly outdoors, within the elements and the local landscape.

With farming, where much of the working day is still lived outside, you find there is still a need for an array of words to describe differing light and weather conditions.

So it’s been a joy to research and discover the old local sayings and descriptions.

They add colour, richness and dare I say it more meaning to our daily vocabulary.

We talk about the provenance of taste, the certain terroir of an environment, but unique language used to characterise a location and its conditions is equally important. It too celebrates the unique meaning and nature of a place but also it’s relationship with its inhabitants.

So here are some of our old localised climatic and atmospheric descriptions that we work in.



Working in dimpsey

After Sunset

Dimpsey– the time of twilight, dampness in the air, bird song fading away, colours in the sky changing

Candteening – inky dusk when the light truly fades and enters night.


Winter Weather

Plum day – soft velvety overcast light in winter, a damp soft atmosphere with no wind

Glidder– slippy-slidey-shiney black ice

Avvore– frozen patterns in ponds or on windows

Ammil– thin film of ice that lacquers all twigs and grass blades



We often hear the spearing of the sea.


Hagal -hail

Spearing– the sound of hail stones hitting the surface of the sea.



Graving clouds – clouds moving contrary to the wind below

Flerk – a turn of bad weather

Blaw– a gale

Tearing – a storm

Gorming– a loud storming roaring, also means shouting

A foxey day – meaning a deceitful day, the lull in the middle of a storm



The cliffs being broken by the sea

Stormy Sea

Braging – raging sea

Broken – cliffs being smashed by the sea

Bruise – cliffs being pounded by the sea

Scroff – foam from the sea



A Scrubber to flame over the Salcombe estuary


Tender – applied to unsettled sky

Lambs wool sky – clouds that mean rain is on its way

Houdery – cloudy overcast day threatening rain

Ragging – the blowing of the wind just before it begins to rain , ragging the rain.

Skeat– a cloudburst

Scrubber to flame – is a light passing shower with a rainbow at the end of it.

Scat – a heavy sharp passing shower, also means a slap in the face.

Pilmar– sudden downpour of rain on a grey day

Entin (emptying) down – pouring down all day.



A larry up the river, looking towards Kingsbridge


Corfilly day –foggy or misty weather lasting all day.

Vady –damp wet heavy fog

A Mystery or A Deceit– a very thick sea mist that masks a familiar landscape.

Fer att– mist off the sea in summer

Miztle– mist and drizzle

A larry up the river –mist that forms in river valleys

Luer – a mist that rises at night.


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A peregrine taking advantage of a ‘Mystery’ to hunt it’s prey



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