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The Quarterclift;  or  The Life and Adventures of Hudy McGuigan,  by Hugh Harkin

published in booklet form 1841; published in facsimile 1993 by Ballinascreen Historical Society
(144pp, + brief introduction and notes)
available from Ballinascreen Historical Society, Draperstown, Co Derry

an edited transcript, with notes and a glossary

characters may replace dashes in the original publication,
 eg "Lord Caledon" replaces "Lord C──n"


This glossary has been prepared by the transcriber in the course of transcription,
as much for his own benefit as for that of any other reader.

acushla is an anglicised transliteration of
a chuisle Irish
1 my love, my pulse; vocative form of cuisle pulse

addercap Scottish English, from attercop English
1 spider
2 ill-natured person

amadán Irish
1 fool

anam Irish
1 soul; (phrase) d'anam don diabhal your soul to the devil

a rún Irish
1 my confidante, my darling; vocative form of rún secret

at a word Scottish English
1 brief, briefly

atomy, atomie English
1 skeleton (by false analysis of 'anatomy'); emaciated person

avick is an anglicised transliteration of
a mhic Irish
1 my son; vocative form of mac son

bacach Irish
1 lame person, beggar, sponger

bagnit, bagnet, bagonet English
1 bayonet

balyore is an anglicised transliteration of
baileabhair Irish
1 foolishness; fool

bán Irish
1 white, fair, light-coloured; lovely, dear

barm Scottish English
1 brew, ferment

bastún Irish
1 stupid person, lout

beaters English
1 hooves (as makers of hoof-beats)

beetle English
1 wooden handle with a heavy head, for beating, smoothing, ramming etc

beannacht Irish
1 blessing

beannacht leat Irish
1 (God's) blessing on you, (God) bless you

birse Scottish English
1 bristle, beard, whisker
  (phrase) cock his birses tweak his whiskers

blaflum Scottish English
1 nonsense, deception

blinker Scottish English
1 cheat, rogue ("a term of contempt" - Burns's own gloss)

blink the milk Scottish English
1 turn milk sour, prevent milk from turning to butter; make things go wrong

blood and ouns English (dialectal)
1 (oath) by the blood and wounds of Christ on the cross

bocán Irish; bòcan Gaelic
1 hobgoblin; ghost, evil spirit

bocht Irish
1 poor

bodach Irish
1 old man, churl, ugly person

bogle English (dialectal)
1 ghost

boortree Scottish English
1 elder tree

boortree gun Scottish English
1 pop-gun (originally made from hollowed-out elder)

bouk Scottish English
1 body, carcase

bruckle Scottish English
1 brittle, fragile

buachaill Irish
1 boy

cadger English
1 hawker, pedlar, beggar

callant Scottish English
1 boy, young man

capall Irish
1 horse, (commonly) mare

cateran English, from Scots & Irish Gaelic ceathairne
1 Highland soldier, band of Highland soldiers

cauker, cauker Scottish English and English (dialectal)
1 sharpened downward point on horse-shoe (to prevent slipping)

ceatharnach Irish
  possibly derived from late Latin quaternio, a body of four soldiers
1 yeomanry soldier, kerne, soldierly man
2 thief, rogue

cestus, caestus Latin
bindings on the hand, wrist and forearm worn by Greek and Roman boxers

chullers Scottish English and English (dialectal)
1 wattles, fleshy cheeks

Chinese orange English
1 orange, any variety, since all are (often hybridised) cultivars of the mandarin

cliobóg Irish
1 shaggy thing; horse, filly

context English (obsolete)
1 woven-together, well-constructed

coom Scottish English
1 coal-dust; flakes of soot

corp Irish
1 body
  (phrase) bhur corp is bhur n-anam don diabhal your bodies and your souls to the devil

corpus Latin
1 body

cóta mór Irish
1 greatcoat

croí Irish
1 heart; (vocative) a chroí, (possessive) mo chroí my heart, my love

crois Chríostaí Irish
1 the christian cross, the cross of Christ

cruite is used by Harkin (three times) in Hudy's expression I pray cruite
cruit Irish
1 hump; hunched shape (eg for prayer)
  thus cruite stands for a phrase such as tá cruit orm,
  and I pray cruite means I pray fervently
2 (from its humped shape) small harp

curtal, courtal English
1 docked, cut-short
curtal friar friar dressed in a short-frocked habit

delf English
1 glazed earthenware from Delft, Holland; (hence) pottery, china

dícheall Irish
1 best endeavour; (phrase) déan do dhícheall do your best

dona, donaí Irish
1 bad, unlucky, wretched

dote, doat English
1 become demented, lose one's wits

down-weight English
1 heavy enough to tip the balance; of full weight

an dtuigeann tú sin Irish
1 do you understand that?; get it?

duine Irish
1 person

et hoc genus omne Latin
1 and all this class (of person, thing, etc)

fag English
1 tiresome activity; nonsense

fág Irish
1 go away from, leave, quit
  (phrase) fág an bealach get out of the way!, clear the road!
    (anglicised Faugh a ballagh, motto of Royal Irish Fusiliers, and later of Royal Irish Regiment)

fáilte Irish
1 greetings
  (phrase) céad míle fáilte a hundred thousand greetings; welcome

faix Scottish English
1 fecks, faikins, faith (interjection)

figary, fegary English (dialectal & colloquial)
1 frippery, toy; whim, whimsical prank (form of vagary)

forder, forther, further Scottish English
1 furtherance; (phrase) good forder to ... more power to ...

fouter, feuter, fuiter Scottish English
1 bungle, botch
2 hinder, thwart, baffle

fudge English
1 insincerity, nonsense

gad Scottish English
1 (game of shinty) ball or bundle of any substance used instead of regular ball

géarintleachtach Irish
1 sharp-witted, crafty
In the game of Pull divil pull in Chapter IV, the 1841 booklet has clearly mis-printed whatever Irish words Hugh Harkin intended to write; so the transcriber has chosen Irish words which seem to match Hugh Harkin's English translation.

gearrán Irish
1 nag, gelding

glaur, glar, glair Scottish English
1 mud, slime, ooze
2 white of egg

gomerel, gomeril Scottish English
1 fool, simpleton

goster English (dialectal)
1 laugh uncontrollably
2 gossip

gotha Irish
1 appearance, posing

gourd Scottish English
1 stiff; (hence) stiffness, pent-up power

grá Irish
1 love
  (vocative) a grá = my love, my dear

grip English
1 open drain

hand gallop English
1 horse-riding pace between canter and gallop; fast canter; moderate gallop

hawkie, hawky Scottish English
1 cow with a white face

hainch, hench, hinch Scottish English
1 haunch
2 underarm throw, jerking the lower arm against the haunch

heck Scottish English
1 rack, framework (of wood or iron)
2 the toothed arms which lead the thread onto a spinning-wheel's bobbin,
  (hence) spinning-wheel

hire Scottish English
1 titbit, lick, treat (especially for a cow, to induce her to let down milk)

hog English (slang)
1 shilling coin

horse-jockey, jockey Scottish English
1 beggar, gipsy
2 horse-dealer

hummock Scottish English
1 the four fingers and thumb brought together so that the tips touch
  (phrase) turn your hummock in the opening of the shoulder blades
    (perhaps, referring to the hip joint of a cow) test the looseness of the pelvis

hurdy, hurdie Scottish English
1 (generally in plural) buttocks, hips, haunches

latro Latin
1 thief

leacht Irish
1 cairn, pile of stones on top of a mountain

avourneen and mavourneen are anglicised transliterations of
muirnín Irish
1 darling, sweetheart
  (vocative) a mhuirnín, (possessive) mo mhuirnín my darling, my sweetheart

merry-andrew English
1 person who clowns in public

mol an t-áth mar a gheobhair Irish (proverb)
1 praise the ford as you find it; judge things as you find them

more by token English (dialectal)
1 still more, the more so, what is more

Muire Irish
1 Mary, (especially) Mary, mother of Jesus
  (vocative) a mhuire (pronounced wirra, wurra)

muise Irish
1 (interjection) indeed (pronounced misha, musha)

murdar Irish
1 murder; (phrase) míle murdar a thousand murders; blue murder

naboclish and nabocklish are anglicised transliterations of
ná bac leis Irish
1 no problem, never mind

nagur Scottish English
1 niggard, stingy person; nasty person

nast English (dialectal)
1 dirt, filth

negus English
1 hot drink of port, sugar, lemon & spice

ould Scottish English
1 old, aged

peri English
1 fairy

petticoattee English
 (perhaps) type of hornpipe; "The Old Torn Petticoat" is a widely-known hornpipe.

pocán Irish
1 billygoat

poitín Irish
1 (literally) little pot, heating-pot for distillation
2 distilled alcohol product, made from an initial mash of barley (or other carbohydrate)
worm spiral copper tube passed through a barrel of water to condense the boiled-off alcohol
singling first distillation (boiling a mash), and its product
doubling second distillation (boiling a singling), and its product
priest's run third distillation (boiling a doubling) - optional, for extra-smooth product

posse comitatus Latin
1 power of the county

prime Scottish English
1 very well, excellently

rantle(-tree), randle(-tree), rantree Scottish English
1 bar or beam across a chimney-opening, suspending a chain and cooking-pot
2 beam along the ridge of a roof
3 thin and pole-like thing or person

redshank English
1 (nickname, from the colour of legs or leggings) Highland soldier

sagart Irish
1 priest

sally Scottish English
1 willow
  (phrase) like sally rods as thick and firm as willow wands

Sawney, Sandy English (obsolete)
1 (nickname, from the name Alexander) Scotsman

scran Scottish English
1 food, scraps, gleanings

sheltie, shelty, shiltie, shilty Scottish English
1 Shetland pony; (also) any shaggy pony

shinny Scottish English
1 shinty (a game similar to hockey, hurling or camogie)
2 stick or club used for the game shinty
3 ball used for the game shinty

shoulder-stone English
1 heavy stone to be lifted to the shoulder, eg like an iron shot for shot-putting
  (distinct from a lifting-stone, which is usually lifted to the waist)

shooler is an anglicised transliteration of
siúlóir Irish
1 walker; tramp

sink English
1 drain-pit, open drain

sleekit Scottish English
1 smooth, slippery

sonsy Scottish English
1 lucky, friendly, honest

spailpín Irish
1 rascal; migrant labourer

speel Scottish English
1 climb

splore Scottish English
1 revel, spree
2 controversy, argument
3 escapade

sputter English
1 bustling confusion, excitement

stramash Scottish English
1 uproar, disturbance, row
2 fury
3 accident, disaster

stócach Irish
1 young man, fullgrown youth

stock English
1 block of wood, log, tree-stump

súgán Irish
1 rope, especially one made of straw or grass

taisce Irish
1 store; treasure
  (vocative) a thaisce (pronounced haska, haski)

taobh Irish
1 side, mountain-side

tapsalteerie Scottish English
1 topsy-turvy, upside down, higgledy piggledy

tears and aches English (dialectal)
1 (oath) by the tears and aches of Christ on the cross

ten-toes English
1 (presumably) man on foot (ie not on horseback)

tester, teston English
1 coin, with the head (testa, tête) of the monarch on it

thraw Scottish English
1 throw (in all its meanings)
thrawing-stone stone for throwing

fash one's thumb Scottish English
1 (phrase) give oneself trouble

tiarna Irish
1 lord

Tiarna Dia Irish
1 Lord God

bi do hocht is Harkin's unusual rendering of the phrase below:
tost Irish
1 silence; (phrase) bí i do thost! be quiet!

thraneen is an anglicised transliteration of
tráithnín Irish
1 blade of grass, sliver

trig English (dialectal)
1 the line from which a player starts

twin Scottish English
1 deprive (someone of something, eg of one's presence or services)

wheesht, whisht Scottish English
1 silence; (phrase) hold your wheesht be quiet
2 tiny whisper

windlestraw Scottish English
1 tall thin withered stalk of grass

wraprascal English
1 greatcoat

wud, wuid Scottish English
1 wild, insane


This page was last updated 15 Sep 2023