Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dictionary of Newfoundland English: drite in a poem by Mary Dalton

The following entry is from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English :

drite* n also driet, dryth [phonetics unavailable]. OED dryth now dial (1533-); EDD dryth 1 s cties. Dryness in the air, low humidity; little dampness or fog, consequently a condition suitable for drying salted cod; hence the degree of dryness of the various grades or 'culls' of fish (see 1962 quot).
1897 J A Folklore x, 205 Driet or dryth, dryness or dryingness. 'It's no use spreading out the fish, there is no driet in the weather.' 1924 ENGLAND 221-2 Such wind an' rain, me sons! Dere was no let-up, an' no driet [clearing up] in de wedder, a week on end. 1937 DEVINE 19 Driet, dryth. Drying power in the weather prevailing. 1962 Nfld Fisheries Conf 202 He don't feel like selling a draft of light cured fish say for $13.00 which is a problem which must arise owing to the drieth of the fish, there is so much moisture in the heavy cured fish. 1966 HORWOOD 266 But this early in the morning the day had almost perfect 'dryth.' P 157-73 There's no dryth for the fish today.

Drite appears in "Cullage" in Merrybegot, a collection of poems by Mary Dalton, the audio edition of which was narrated by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn; published by Rattling Books in 2005.


Not a bit of drite.
Day after day of this mauzy old stuff

Now the fish is maggotty and it's slimy,
And I got to get out on the flake again
With small tubs and pickle and wash it.
And rewash it and perhaps the weather'll
Marl on like this for a fortnight,
And when 'tis all over I got nothing

Nothing to show but a mess of cullage.