The Best Mancunian phrases that we NEED to start using again...

In less than a year, the global pandemic has changed pretty much every aspect of our lives.

By Manchester's Finest | 30 November 2020

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Alongside a plethora of restrictions, it’s given us a whole host of new words and sayings – ‘furlough’, ‘social distancing’, and for a brief period: ‘do you know anywhere that’s got loo roll, mate?’.

Most of these are pretty unwelcome additions to our ever-expanding dialect here up north, given the life-constricting meanings they symbolise. But as we near the (hopeful) end of lockdown 2.0 and spring into the season of giving, let’s give these more jovial sayings a merry revival…

Piffy on a rock bun

Manchester Bee Co

A person ignored or side-lined from an activity
Eg: I hate your work’s dos. I was sat there like piffy on a rock bun.

We’re pretty great at our sayings here in Manchester. Every southerner to grace the land marvels at our use of ‘our kid’, ‘buzzing’, and the like. But this Mancunian phrase has taken a serious backseat in recent years and is definitely worthy of a rebirth. So the next time you’re kept waiting around unnecessarily, or feel slightly out of place at a do, bear old Piffy in mind.



Lex Guerra on Unsplash

Eg: The dibble were after him.

GMP have played an incredible part in keeping us safe over lockdown, and this old Mancunian saying derived from the legendary Topcat cartoons would be a welcome revival as we grow closer to a post-lockdown Manchester.



Fixed, repaired or mended
Eg: I’m taken the car to get fettled.

Not to be confused with the Old English word for girdle, this old Mancunian verb does what it says on the tin. As onomatopoeias go, fettled is certainly up there!


Daft apeth

A fool
Eg: what’d you do that for, you daft apeth?

Your parents might have used this one a lot when you were growing up if you were as daft as we were. The younger generation might be more familiar with the term ‘muppet’ these days, but daft apeth certainly has a more endearing ring to it. It actually comes from the old northern English word meaning ‘half pence’ – a coin that wasn’t worth much and therefore considered daft or useless.

Put wood int’ ‘ole

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Shut the door
Eg: it’s baltic out there, put wood int’ ‘ole!

This well-known northern phrase isn’t quite on its way out just yet, but it’s certainly one you might find yourself using more often now we’re spending more time indoors than ever before.


Eg: what’s up with the bairn? He wont’ stop scrikin’.

Another Mancunian dialect champion. I can’t speak for us all, but I’ve definitely been scrikin’ a lot more over recent months. With the end of lockdown on the horizon, hopefully we’ll soon be shedding happy tears.


See your arse

Eg: well someone’s seen their arse, haven’t they?

Still not quite on its way out, this phrase has made the cut because – well, haven’t we all over seen our arse more than ever recently?