Sunday, January 18, 2009

Word of the Week (January 18 - 24) black


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

black n
See also BLACK a. Roman Catholic term for a Protestant; freq in phr brazen as a black, saucy as a black, etc. P 245-56 ~ term of opprobrium applied by Roman Catholics to Protestants, but sometimes now used humorously rather than insultingly. P 52-62 Brazen as the black: used in reference to a saucy person. 1964 Evening Telegram 4 May, p. 7 Some of the young ones though is as saucy as blacks. M 65-1 It is common to refer to Protestants as blacks and the Roman Catholics as micks. C 66-4 The younger generation call all Protestants blacks.

black n
1985 JOHNSTON 101 Whenever it started raining, Dola would say, 'Here comes a bath for de blacks.' Her way of saying that it had been raining for some time was, 'De Prodestins must be down to last year's dirt by now.' 1985 Nfld LifeStyle 3 (1), p. 26 'You're marrying one of them Mainlanders and he's a black, too?' black a DC ~ ice 1 for sense 1; EDD ~ a 5 'extreme' Sh I Ir, JOYCE 215 ~ man 'surly, vindictive, implacable fellow,' for senses 2, 3; NID ~ fish 2, DC ~ fly (1821-) for sense 4; DAE ~ spruce (1765-) for sense 5; Fisheries of U S, p. 176 ~ ball, OED ~ book 5 (1842), O Sup2 ~ man 2 (1591- Nfld: 1969), EDD sb 1 for combs. in sense 6.

1 Of ice, thin and newly-formed on river, lake or sea; cp YOUNG: young ice. 1909 BERNIER 7 Black ice is thin dark looking ice with no snow on it; usually found between pans of older ice. At night or at a distance looks like open water. 1920 GRENFELL & SPALDING 143 The ice in the middle, however, which had looked so sure from the landwash, proved to be 'black'-that is, very, very thin, though being salt-water ice, it was elastic. 1924 ENGLAND 160 We was to de nardenmost flags, on de far end o' where we knocked off yesterday. I got out on de black stuff, sir, meself, an' den cut back agin. 1933 MERRICK 21 The river was covered with new black ice. Slewing around a bend, the komatik went through and they all fell in. P 245-67 Black ice [is] thin ice.

2 In designations of Protestants (cp BLACK n): atrocious, disliked (as belonging to an opposing or conflicting group); in phr black stranger: not of or 'belonging to' a community. 1892 HOWLEY MS Reminiscences 4 Poor Petrie died last month. He was a jolly whitty Irishman from the Black North. 1930 BARNES 229 If I wasn't praying at a time like that, I'd be swearing. Now, mind, I hope nobody that reads this will think I'm a black blackguard. P 148-63 Black wop (bayman). 1966 PADDOCK 121 Black Protestant: derogatory name for Protestant. 1972 Evening Telegram 29 Feb, p. 3 Some of those rural districts are so small in population that everybody knows everybody else and the electorate would rather go for a black stranger any day than one of their own blackguarding neighbors. 1974 CAHILL 10 We [Roman Catholics] might have changed and got broadminded, but they're still as bad as ever they were, the black bastards!

3 Touchy; moody; dangerously quarrelsome or pugnacious. 1964 Can Journ Ling x, 45 He's some black! 1966 FARIS 245-6 Men are, very significantly, said to be 'getting black' if they become personal and serious in their argument. Any real quarrel between persons is labelled 'black' and to be avoided in Cat Harbour at all costs. 1975 Lore & Language ii (3), p. 16 Looked black, he was always black you know, but he looked a little blacker this morning.

4 In names of animals, birds, fish, insects with black colouring: ~ and white diver; ~ back; ~ bawk [see BAWK]; blackbird; ~ cap; ~ diver; ~ fish; ~ fly; ~ hagdown [see HAGDOWN]; ~ patch. 1959 MCATEE 15 Black and white diver. Barrow's goldeneye (Nfld., 'Labr.') 1792 CARTWRIGHT Gloss 1, xi Harp. An old seal of that kind called by Pennant, 'Blackback.' 1861 DE BOILIEU 92-3 The principal seal of the coast is termed the Voyage Seal, while the males are distinctively called Harps, or Blackbacks. 1925 Dial Notes v, 326 Black back, a harp seal in the fourth year. 1951 PETERS & BURLEIGH 53 Sooty Shearwater. Puffinus griseus. Local Names: Black Bawk, Hagdown, Hag. 1840 GOSSE 96 The American Robin is a species of thrush. In Newfoundland, where it is very common, it is always called the Blackbird. 1959 MCATEE 32 Black-cap. Knot (The crown is dark streaked) (Nfld). 1708 OLDMIXON 14 A great Flock of small black Divers, about the bigness of a Feldyfare, came about the Ship a little before, but all of'em left it, and betook themselves to the Island [of ice]. [1775] 1792 CARTWRIGHT ii, 74 John Hayes, the boatsmaster, killed four ducks, a goose, a black-diver and a lord. 1959 MCATEE 18 Black diver. Black Scoter (Nfld). 1846 TOCQUE 71 Great numbers of what some call Black-fish, and others Pot-heads, are killed during the month of September along the shores of Newfoundland. 1964 Evening Telegram 19 Feb, p. 2 Among fishermen there is a widespread opinion that the 'black-fish' or pothead whale, which is slaughtered in large numbers for mink meat, is a very stupid animal. [1822] 1915 HOWLEY 137 Myriads of moschetos, with black and sand flies, annoyed us. 1872 HOWLEY MS Reminiscences 5 I have had my eyes almost closed many a time, and streams of blood coursing down my neck and face and clotting my beard and moustache, caused by the black fly. The torment was all but unendurable. 1975 HOLMES 41 Twenty-three species of black flies have been recorded near St John's, and of these Simulium venustum Say and S. vittatus Zetterstedt are the commonest species that bite man. 1883 HOWLEY MS Reminiscences 4 With these Hagdowns are several of a rusty black colour, only the under parts of the wings being of a dirty white... The fishermen call them Black Hagdown... This is probably the Sooty Shearwater. 1967 Bk of Nfld iii, 282 Black Bawk or Black Hag-down. [1766] 1971 BANKS 146 The Furrs taken here are Black Patch [etc] [Black Patch is a colour phase of the Red Fox]. 5 In names of plants and shrubs: blackberry [see BLACKBERRY]; ~ hurt [see HURT]; ~ pear; ~ spruce; ~ whort [see HURT]. 1956 ROULEAU 26 Black Hurts: Gaylussacia baccata. 1898 J A Folklore xi, 226 Black pear. Pyrus arbutifolia. 1967 BEARNS 44 Because of its high wood density, black spruce is the most valuable pulpwood species in the Province. 1898 J A Folklore xi, 273 Black whorts. Gaylussacia (sp).

6 Comb black (art) book: book believed to contain secrets enabling a person to perform supernatural acts. C 68-40 People believed [him] to have a black-art book or to be possessed with the Devil. He could tell you your fortune just by looking into your hand. C 68-16 The black book is supposed to be a book given by the devil to someone who has given himself over to the devil. In it is information or knowledge of how to do things which ordinary men cannot do.

black ball: marker attached to trawl buoy for identification. 1921 Nat Geog July, p. 13 [caption:] Flying sets on the Bank / the dories are being towed by the schooner. The black disks are 'highflyers,' or 'black balls,' which are affixed to the buoys attached to the fishing lines, as markers. 1938 MACDERMOTT 170 The trawl is ... attached to a buoy which is known as a black ball, and which marks the place where the trawl is set. The black ball is a keg strapped with rope, and with a stick as stout as a shovel handle, from four to six feet long, passed through it; the stick bears a hooped canvas about eighteen inches in diameter on which is marked the dory's number. C 71-87 ~ This flag was homemade from calico, with a hoop sewed around the edge of it. it was then painted and the number of the dory was written on it so that each fisherman would be able to keep track of his own buoys.

black boy: (a) man with blackened face, hands and clothing, accompanying Christmas mummers; (b) charred tree remaining after a forest fire: also black-burn, blacky-boy. P 133-58 ~ , black burn: a stick of wood that has been seared in a forest fire. 1965 Evening Telegram 24 Dec The blackboys, so called because of their blackened hands and faces, were dressed in black clothes and tall hats and carried a staff. It was traditional that the blackboys should be well ahead of the mummers, for the mummers would have to try and catch them (which they always did), and having caught, would throw them in the snow and maul them about. C 70-15 Trees which had been burned over in a forest fire were much in demand [for firewood] because they were partly dry. However they were very sooty and called blacky-boys.

black jack: (a) variety of molasses from West Indies; (b) type of felt or tar paper used for waterproofing, insulation, etc. 1909 BROWNE 81 One firm did an extensive trade in 'Black Jack' (St Kitts' molasses). P 148-64 [The] roof [is] covered with black jack. 1971 NOSEWORTHY 174 ~ Black felt for placing on roofs and [in] fish boxes to hold the water. black man: a figure invoked to terrify children into good behaviour; the devil (P 148-60). T 301-66 They would say when children were naughty, 'Here's the bully-boo' or 'a black man.' 1961 Christmas Mumming in Nfld 138 The archetype stranger, the Devil, is the 'Black Man' or 'Blackie.'

black-man's bread, ~ cap: possibly harmful mushroom; FAIRY CAP (P 148-61). Q 67-25 Black-man's caps [are] mushrooms. 1971 NOSEWORTHY 174 Black-man's bread: inedible mushrooms.

black psalm: text thought to have sinister power. M 68-17 She believed that she could put a curse on anyone by reading a certain psalm, 'the black psalm,' she called it, 'on' the person she wished to curse. The number of the psalm was secret to her.

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The word of the week is brought to you each week by Rattling Books and released each Sunday morning on the Newfoundland and Labrador CBC Radio program Weekend Arts Magazine with host Angela Antle.

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