Pontypool expressions, humorous and otherwise

There were all sorts of expressions we used when I was a young boy in Pontypool. Some were the remainders of words from the Welsh language; others sound rather humorous now but we used them frequently years ago. Of course they might not have been used exclusively in Pontypool but in a wider area. I publish a few I remember below. Do any visitors remember such expressions?

Tamping    When we bounced balls up and down on the ground this was often referred to as “tamping the ball”. There was another expression tamping mad which meant that someone was extremely annoyed.

Whipper-in    This was a term applied to the man known as “the attendance officer”. If someone was thought to be away from school without any reason, the head teacher would ask the whipper-in to call at the house and if the pupil seemed to be in good health he or she would be grabbed by the whipper-in and marched to school.

Tapped    This was used when we had shoes repaired. When pupils were absent when the teacher called the resister a fellow pupil might explain “He’s getting his shoes tapped”. Another use of the expression was “He or she’s a bit tapped” meaning they were a bit crazy.

Ych-a-fi    This was an expression of utter disgust when something, or someone, was in a particularly filthy condition.

Mingy    This meant “mean”; any of our friends who bought a packet of sweets and didn’t share them was called “mingy”.

Taw    A good quality glass marble was referred to as a “taw”. We often played “following taws” down the gutter trying to hit an opponent’s marble. The one who did this kept the marble.

Right-o    This was an expression of agreement. There was a certain woman who lived in Bridge Street who was known as “Mrs Right-o”. The story went that, when she was getting married and the clergyman asked her “Do you take this man . . . etc.?” instead of saying “I do.” she replied “Right-o”.

A rather peculiar expression which I often used to hear used in Pontypool market when enquiring the price of an item was something like: “What do the cabbages run to today?”

One expression I have tried many years to find the source of and have so far failed is a word which was used by my mother. I can’t remember anyone else using it. Can any visitor enlighten me? The word was fakie. I’m not sure of the spelling but that is what it sounded like. If she knew of an implement which did a special job but couldn’t recall the name of it, she would say “Where’s that fakie for getting nails out of wood?” etc. Can anyone help with this one?

Of course, many of these expression might still be used in Pontypool. Visitors who still live there will know.

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8 Responses to “Pontypool expressions, humorous and otherwise”

  1. John Owen Says:

    Tamping. Heavy rain as in “Its tamping outside”. An expression my sister still uses.

  2. Richard Morgan Says:

    Up in Varteg where it they breed ’em tough and it is always winter, two unusual dialect words were in regular use:-
    “Nesh” described a person who couldn’t cope with the cold.
    “Spreethed” referred to the snow-chapped legs after sledging down the Snailcreep to Cwmavon

  3. Lionel Barrell Says:

    Cakey. Refers to someone not totally compus mentis.
    Butty. My pal.
    Peter. A little boy’s penis.
    Heck. (Not sure) One foot on a bike’s pedal, the other pushing on
    the ground, rather than sitting astride the saddle.
    Catch. If the toilet tank froze in winter, it was said to ‘catch’.
    Lamping. Punishment from parents: ‘I got a lamping from our Mam
    when I got in wet from the rain.’ Yep, honest! – except it
    was when I fell in the fountain at Pontymoile!
    Fast/slow. Refers to the rate at which a boy or girl was reputed to
    pursue his/her amorous intentions: ‘You’ll be ok there, she’s
    By here. Here!

  4. emrys lewis Says:

    Daps—– plimsolls

    Coopy down —–crouch down

    Gibbons ——Spring onions

    Cutch —- Hide or hold closely

    Over by there

  5. Clive Barnby Says:

    I recall my grandfather (maternal) referred to the lavatory as the “dublew”. I think this was a contraction of WC. I’m not sure if other members of the family used this expression – he was from Abersychan (the British) – perhaps it was a local expression. Most of my mother’s family were from Pontypool.

    Also “bosh” for wash basin. Could this be a contraction of basn wash – half Welsh, half English?

  6. Dot Jones Says:

    Remember most of the above. A couple of others:

    Twpt – Not quite right in the head

    Where’s it too – Where is it

    Now in a minute

  7. Jeannette (Osborne) Randall Says:

    Dear Dot. I too remember all the above expressions, particularly ‘bosh, which is now referred to as a Belfast sink in House Sale Programmes. By the way, I shall get back to you regards my Osborne side of the family. regards Jeannette.

  8. jim Says:

    reguards to fakie thay use to say wheres the fakie ma jig

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