Which word or phrase would you use to indicate a temporary break in a game, when points cannot be scored?

When busy in the playground and in need of a temporary pause from play, how would you describe this? A high number of respondents (40%) explained that children are likely to want some time out. This expression is clearly growing increasingly popular over time.

Some of the terms used in the early to mid-twentieth century seem to be on the decline. These include the terms fainites (London), barley (Liverpool and Manchester) and asking for a truce. Only small numbers of participants aged under the age of 25 mentioned these terms. Other words shared by older generations included keys (South Yorkshire) arley barley (Birmingham), exes (East Anglia), pax (London and Surrey) and crosses. Meanwhile, in northern areas that brush shoulders with Scotland, the term skinch was remembered. Over three quarters of people who told us that they use this word were over the age of 45, pointing to a dip in its popularity over time.

Interestingly, 22% of respondents indicated that they don’t have a specific word or phrase for this situation. This is likely due to the fact that many respondents were older and therefore may not regularly discuss this topic, or they may have forgotten words they used as children.

This bar graph animation shows how the use of these words has changed over time.

Interactive words map

Click this button to view the different responses to this question on a map.

You can tick the boxes on the side to select a word and show the places the word was used by the people who completed The Great Big Dialect Hunt. This map is based on where people grew up, not where they live now.