Apr 11, 2015

A Welsh way of saying something by Elizabeth Davies

Love and Lovelier

A Welsh way of saying something 

by Elizabeth Davies

Welsh people have an odd way with the English language, and some of the words and phrases we use are downright strange. Here are few examples:

·         ‘be there now in a minute’ – when someone asks ‘can you come over here?’ this Is a typical response, as is ‘I’ll do it, now in a minute’ when you are asked to let the dog out/tidy your room/take the rubbish out

·         butty – this can mean a sandwich (bacon butty), or it can mean ‘mate’, depending on the context. It’s often shorted to ‘but’. For example, two men meet and one says ‘Alright, but?’ as a greeting.

·         daps – these are actually plimsolls, a sort of black pull-on trainer that primary school children use for PE.

·         drive – it is common to call coach or bus drivers ‘drive’. It’s not unusual to hear a chorus ‘thanks, drive’ as people are disembarking.

·         tidy – this does not mean ‘neat’, well, it does, but it also means good or nice.
Eg; ‘We’re going to the cinema tonight.’ ‘Tidy.’

·         cwtch – the ‘w’ is pronounced like the ‘ou’ in ‘should’ – (c-ou-ch). This little word has several meanings – cuddle, snuggle, lie down (eg telling the dog to ‘go cwtch in your basket’ or, ‘go have a cwtch on the settee’), or it could also mean the cupboard under the stairs, or even the coal hole.

·         ‘I am’ – at first glance this is perfectly normal, but the Welsh have a habit of adding onto any old sentence. Example – ‘I’m hungry, I am.’ ‘It is’ is another add on – ‘It’s raining, it is.’

·         baddie – bruise, bump, cut, scrape – anything that is visible that hurts. A headache doesn’t count!

·         hanging – horrible, disgusting. 

·         tamping – annoyed, furious

·         ‘is it?’ – again, another apparently normal thing to say, except the Welsh tend to use it in a rather random way. I could say ‘You need to catch the ten o’clock train, and the response would be ‘is it?’ instead of ‘do I?’

There are loads more but I think my all-time favourite is the wonderful way the Welsh have of distinguishing the many people of the same name from each other. Everyone here knows at least two people called David (Dai is the short form of David in Wales) Jones, for instance, and we have a lovely tendency to identify between them by occupation. Dai the Milk is the milkman, and Dai the Post is…?


Elizabeth Davies was born and raised in South Wales more years ago than she cares to remember. She lived in England for nearly two decades but returned to her roots when she felt the mountains of her youth calling to her, and hiking in her beloved Brecon Beacons is now one of the joys in her life. When she is not working as a full time secretary, Elizabeth loves spending time with her family, hates doing necessary chores, and tries to fit in writing whenever she can. She has published three novels in the Resurrection trilogy, "State of Grace", "Amazing Grace" and "Sanctifying Grace" and is currently working on another paranormal romance which she hopes to publish in the new year. She is also seriously addicted to chocolate. 


  1. thank you a lot for sharing those with us! i love learning some tibits about languages like that!

    1. Me too :). It's also great to find out what it means. I love watching Stella and hear it all the time then.

  2. These are great and bring a welsh woman want to say girl I recognise them all. I often write sending cwtches and nobody understands.

    1. Maybe you'll both be trending, I love the word and like using it :).

  3. That's interesting. English is not my native language, so sometimes I have difficulties with all these little adaptations, but it's good to know! You never know when you'll have the opportunity to visit Wales!

  4. haha, I read all those phrases in a welsh accent! does that make sense? hope you get what I mean!


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