The Maine
An artful dialogue about the wonders of the state.

Tag: dictionary

Kin To Kaint & Stiddy

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould KIN TO KAINT: From can see to can’t see; dawn to dusk. In outdoor work the weather is a factor, and in shipyards, on farms, and in the woods it was the custom to work stiddy in pleasant weather from kin to kaint. STIDDY: Steady. A stiddyin’ hand, and “stiddy as […]

Skid Road

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould SKID ROAD: This original Maine term has been much abused by the world at large. It is not, was not, and never can be a “skid row.” The skid road was an iced logging road over which oxen and horses pulled the sleds. On downgrades a snub […]

Dooryard Visit

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould DOORYARD VISIT: Or dooryard call. Although still used with automobiles, this meant a buggy visit when the occupants didn’t descend to come into the house. It was a neighborly call, in passing.

Find A Hole In The Beach

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould FIND A HOLE IN THE BEACH: To anchor in an emergency harbor because of storm or fog. To find a place to put up for the night when traveling; a motel.

Hard Up

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould HARD UP: To be up against it, but not quite a pauper. When you get so hard up you have to call on (for town aid), you no longer have your head above water. It also means a last-ditch conjecture: “I’d have to be awful hard up to […]

Feather White

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould FEATHER WHITE: A wind-whipped sea, all whitecaps, is said to be feather white. Hence, some degree of agitation in a person: “He came all feather white to give me a piece of his mind!”

Catch A Crab & Gorm

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould CATCH A CRAB  To mishandle oars while rowing so that there is a splash of water. Mainers transfer the term to any mistake, error, bungling, or gory miscue. GORM  Pronounced gawm. A favorite Maine word of delightfully obscure origin meaning to behave in a stupid, awkward manner. […]

Drive A Nail On Sunday

an excerpt from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould DRIVE A NAIL ON SUNDAY  That would profane the Lord’s Day, and aboard ship was unlucky. A vessel on which “no hand is asked to drive a nail on Sunday” was taking a landward phrase to sea, and it meant the labors where light on Sundays. […]

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