"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Nithered (on the Heights!)

To be nithered was, at one time, to be starved with cold - but then starved in that context is not the normal use of that word, either.  That wonderful compilation of modern slang, the Urban Dictionary, defines it as – “The condition one finds oneself in after spending an appreciable amount of time in nithering conditions. The kind of cold where you can't feel your fingers, toes or nose any more, and don't look forward to them coming back, cos it'll hurt.”
 Well and truly nithered !
The word was principally a dialect word and is said to have held on in the Pennines until at least the middle of the last century.  But then, that is also where the word wuthering - (of a wind) blowing strongly with a roaring sound – was once made famous by a certain novelist!


  1. Now I'm wondering about the pronounciation of "nithered" and "nithering". And I hope that, when I'll be on the TransPennine "Express" in a few months, I won't find nithering conditions there!

    1. I had assumed it was pronounced like withered - but since I don't know how to represent that in pronouncing form it doesn't help a lot.

    2. Yes it does help, because I know how withered is pronounced. Thank you!