Insider’s Guide to Geordie Slang. © Bruce Allinson/iStock/Thinkstock

Insider’s Guide to Geordie Slang

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For the vast majority of English speakers, the Geordie dialect is unintelligible to say the least. We find ourselves road-blocked in conversation, disoriented in Newcastle, and feeling a bit foolish, really, that they’re able to understand us and not vice-versa. Next time you’re headed up north, take a look at our guide to Geordie slang. At least then you can join in the banter.

First things first, you need to wrap your head around the backwards grammar, where first person singular is us rather than “me”, and second person plural is youse rather than “you”. Familiarise yourself with these terms of address and you’ll know how and when to respond.

Geordie: howay man!

Translation: generic encouragement or exhortation, equivalent to “come along!” or “hurry up!”

Example: howay man, don’t make us late!


Geordie: why aye man!

Translation: an enthusiastic positive agreement

Example: Q: howay man, are youse coming?

A: why aye man


Geordie: how, man!

Translation: “hey!” used to indicated warning or threat

Example: how, man, divn’t shoot ya gob off!

You should also prepare yourself for some inevitable embarrassment, when countless basic words appear foreign to you. These include “toilet”, “stairs”, and “bed”. Good luck navigating the household, then… 

Geordie: netty

Translation: toilet facilities

Example: why aye man, I’m ganning to the netty


Geordie: dancers

Translation: “stairs”, probably a loose adaption of the cockney rhyming slang dancing bears

Example: howay man, gerrup the dancers


Geordie: scratcha

Translation: bed

Example: I’m ganning to me scratcha


It’s also helpful to familiarise yourself with some of the colloquialisms, which are

Geordie: mortal

Translation: drunk / wasted


Geordie: up a height

Translation: in a state of high emotion or distress

Example: she’s mortal an’ getting up a height

Try not to aggravate any Geordie lads or lasses, meanwhile, and follow their instruction where possible. N.B. divn’t means “don’t”.

Geordie: dee as ya telt

Translation: “do as you are told”

Example: dee as ya telt, man, and gerrup the dancers. Not half as rude as it sounds.


Geordie: had ya push (also had ya watta)

Translation: “be patient”, literally “hold your patience” i.e. don’t push anyone

Example: how man, had your push and divn’t be up a height


Finally, it’s important that you appreciate the playfulness of this dialect, which is enough to make even the most ordinary expression sound like nonsense.

Geordie: Giz a deek at ya cornet, you’ve got more monkey’s blood than me.

Translation: “Let me see your ice cream, you’ve got more strawberry-flavoured sauce than me.”




 Featured image by © Bruce Allinson/iStock/Thinkstock 

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.

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