15 phrases you’ll only hear in Newcastle

A new, updated version of this article can be found here

Whether they’re welcoming you to their much-loved city or cackling over Ham and Pease pudding, the Geordie language can seem unrecognisable to outsiders.

But as they’re renowned for being some of the nicest people on the planet, it’s about time you learnt this alien dialect.

Here’s a list we hope you can use as a handy guide when a Geordie approaches you in the Toon.

1. “Howay man!”


Translation: ‘Go away’ or ‘Good luck’ or ‘Come on’ or ‘Hurry up’ or ‘Okay’ – proclamation of encouragement or dismissal, can be positive or negative depending on how it is exclaimed and the current situation.

‘Howay’ must always be followed by ‘man’ or Geordie’s will not understand you. This is also where you find out that a lot of the things Geordies say completely contradict each other, making it one of the hardest dialects to conquer.

2. “Canny”


Translation: ‘Good’ or ‘Nice’ or ‘Pretty‘ – one of the nicest Geordie compliments or expression of approval

e.g. ‘Right canny lass’ = ‘Very pretty young lady’

3. “Why aye man!”


Translation: ‘Yes’ – positive, excited or enthusiastic proclamation of agreement. To soften the enthusiasm replace ‘man’ with ‘pet.’ May also be used to say goodbye.

e.g. ‘Ye gannin doon Tescoh?’ ‘Why aye man!’ = ‘Are you coming to Tesco’s’ ‘Yes!’

or ‘Why aye pet, I’ll see ya tomorroh.’ = ‘Yes (name of friend), I’ll see you tomorrow.’

3. “Haddaway man!”


Translation: ‘No way’ or ‘Get away’ or ‘You’re joking’ – proclamation of negativity or dismissal (not to be confused with ‘Why aye man’ which is slightly higher pitched and used in less serious situations.)

e.g. ‘Geordie Shore’s bin cancelled!’ ‘Haddaway man, ye joking?!’ = ‘Geordie Shore’s been cancelled!’ ‘Oh no, you can’t be serious?’

4. “Gannin yem”

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Translation: ‘Going home.’ – may also be pronounced ‘hyem’ with the h-sound from the back of the throat. Similarly alien.

e.g. ‘Howay man, I’m gannin yem.’ = ‘Okay, bye. I’m going home.’

5. “Radgie”


Translation: noun used to describe a violent or aggressive person, or someone throwing a temper tantrum

e.g. ‘Hee that fella’s gannin proper radgie, like.’ = ‘Hey, that young man is being very aggressive.’

6. “Calm doon al mek a cuppa”

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Translation: ‘Calm down I’ll make a cup of tea’ – statement that can be used to diffuse any situation, especially if someone is ‘gannin’ proper radgie.’

7. “Where’s me scran, I’m clamming?”


Translation: ‘Where can I get something to eat/Where’s dinner, I’m starving/hungry?’ – Inquisitive proclamation from a hungry Geordie.

If you come across one of these, please point it in the right direction of the closest Greggs. There should be one at least every other shop.

8. “Divvin’ be nebby”


Translation: ‘Don’t be nosy’ – statement used if a Geordie is, or feels someone else is being too overly inquisitive and they want them out of their business. May also be used in other terms such as, ‘to neb’ or ‘nebbing’ or ‘nebbed’

e.g. ‘Quit nebbin’ in our chat.’ = ‘Stop listening into our conversation.’

9. “Giz a deek”


Translation: ‘Let me see’ or ‘Can I have a quick peek’ – proclamation used to enable Geordies to get a better view of something. May also be used to fill a gap in a conversation when thinking about what you’re going to say next.

e.g. ‘Do ye want some scran?’ ‘Erm, giz a deek……. no.’ = ‘Do you want some food?’ ‘Erm, let me think……. no.’

10. “Being a proper workyticket”

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Translation: ‘Being incredibly mischievous’ or ‘pushing one’s luck’ – this phrase describes all of those naughty Geordies looking for a bit of trouble.

e.g. ‘The wee bairn’s being a proper workyticket.’ = ‘The baby is being naughty.’

11. A right bobby dazzler


Translation: Phrase used to describe someone who thinks the world of themselves; could be because of their clothes, good looks or class status.

e.g. ‘Look at that lass, she’s a right bobby dazzler.’ = ‘Look at that women, she’s got expensive clothes on and looks incredibly stuck up.’

12. “In a fettle” or “Out of Fettle”


Translation: ‘In a foul mood’ or ‘Feeling ill/Out of sorts’ – the phrase can also be used in different ways, such as ‘to fettle someone’ which means to sort them out.

13. “Snout/Tab”


Translation: ‘A cigarette’ – Not to be mistaken for a pigs nose or a class A drug.

e.g. ‘Giz us a snout, I’m gasping.’ = ‘Please can I have a cigarette, I’m desperate.’

14. “Dee as yer telt!”


Translation: ‘Do as you’re told!’ – This phrase is used to put naughty Geordies throwing radgies or being proper workytickets back in their place.

15. “Gannin the toon the neet ta git mortal”

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Translation: ‘I’m going into town tonight to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.’ – statement to foreshadow the fact that Newcastle city centre will be full of disorientated and loud Geordies.

Once a Geordie has consumed 3 or more trebles, their language becomes thrice as hard to decipher.

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