Emily says


(Dull weather)


“On visiting the archive, I was able to get access to the archive stores at the Brotherton Library. It was important to me to see the physical storage. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for – sometimes it is a style of label, a colour or something small and incidental. I spotted the index drawers with handwritten index cards of collected words and meanings: the drawers, long separated from their original cabinet; a relic, with a personality reflected in the handwritten cards. I tried to reflect the process of looking through index cards, incorporating images with the words. I liked the contrast between the idea of ‘dull’ weather and the wonderfully evocative and descriptive alternative words to describe ‘dull’. I have been trying to incorporate these words into my conversations. They spice up a dull day!”

What is in the audiogram?

Dialect words

Book 7: Numbers, time and weather

Question 6.10: Weather

When it is dark and gloomy, what sort of day do you say it is?


Responses given that are dialect words:

  • blashy (Yorkshire)
  • mucky (South East and South West)
  • hashy (Northern counties)
  • gammy (Yorkshire)
  • glummy (Suffolk)
  • dowly (Northern counties)
  • dowdy (Wiltshire)

Responses given that are Standard English:

  • dormant (Cornwall)
  • dark (Northern and Southern counties)
  • dismal (South west and Northern counties)
  • dull (submitted across the UK)
  • dreary (North, Midlands and South East)
  • darksome (Northumberland)
  • cloudy (Norfolk)
  • murky (South East, South West and Northern counties)
  • melancholy (South West)
Title page of the Survey of English Dialects

Title page of the Survey of English Dialects by Harold Orton and Eugen Dieth (1962)

Survey of English Dialects: the dictionary and grammar, ed. Michael V. Barry (1994)

All items held at Special Collections, Leeds University Library.

  • ‘Demolition at Virginia Road, Leeds’ (LAVC/PHO/P0101) by Stewart Sanderson. 18 June 1964. Leeds, West Yorkshire.
  • ‘Dry Stone Walling’ (LAVC/PHO/P0956) by Werner Kissling. May-June 1962. Oughtershaw, North Yorkshire.
  • ‘Salmon Cobles at Tweedmouth’ (LAVC/PHO/P0378) by Stewart Sanderson. August 1961. Tweedmouth, Northumberland.
  • ‘Stone Barn Roofed with Local Flagstones’ (LAVC/PHO/P0279) by Werner Kissling. August 1962. Grassington, Craven, North Yorkshire.
  • ‘Traces of Stone Huts’ (LAVC/PHO/P0060) by Werner Kissling. 1962. Grass Wood, North Yorkshire.

Images licensed under CC-BY-NC 4.0