Monday 21 January 2019

Frit and Waddy

In Our Spoons Came from Woolworths (see below), Barbara Comyns uses some curious words. One is 'frit', which she employs throughout to mean 'frightened'. This is a Midlands dialect word which came to wider attention when Mrs Thatcher, a Lincolnshire lass, used it in the House of Commons in 1983 to accuse the then Labour deputy leader Denis Healey of being 'frit' at the prospect of an election. Last month the Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner, returned the compliment by describing Mrs May as being 'frit' in her dealings with our bosses in Brussels. One of his better interjections.
  Another word Barbara Comyns uses several times is the adjective 'waddy'. From the context, it seems to mean some undesirable quality, a kind of silliness perhaps:
'Peregrine was a good driver, but sat rather forward and crouched over the wheel and talked about driving as if he wasn't really used to it. This seemed rather waddy to me.'
'... what I meant was, Charles seemed to have a kind of Peter Pan complex, that he had no responsibilities, and I was a waddy sentimental Wendy, full of mother-complexes, and middle-class comforts...'
 I can't find this word in any dictionary or anywhere online, and have never come across it before. Is it dialect? (Comyns grew up in Warwickshire.) Is it some kind of Thirties slang? (It sounds rather like it.) Has anyone got any information on 'waddy' and what it means? Over to you, Dave Lull? Jonathon Green?...


  1. Here are two links that may be helpful:

  2. Thanks so much Foose – I knew I could rely on my erudite readers...