The Devonshire Dialect Dictionary – Introduction

Introduction · References · Bibliographic resources · Chronology · Guide · The Dictionary

Compiled by Geoffrey Dearson, BA (Hons), MA (Wales), MPhil (Exon), PGCE (Distinction), former Teacher of French at Ilfracombe Academy, Devon, of English at the Lycée Pasteur, Paris and Lycée Marcel Gimond, Aubenas, and Head of Languages for 20 years at the International School of Stavanger, Norway.

This dictionary represents the most comprehensive collation and ordering of dialectal lexis yet achieved in respect of Devon. It incorporates the sources listed in the References page, and the Bibliographic resources page provides a wider background. The editor has also provided a short exploration of the chronology of lexical items.

The total lexical corpus of approximately 14,400 words is arranged in dictionary form. There are some 22,000 attributions at present, and over 4,000 etymologies and derivations, for the most part drawn from the Oxford English Dictionary [OED], 2nd ed. on CD-Rom, 2009, but analyses and research are ongoing and these will inevitably increase as additions to the dictionary are received by The Devonshire Association.

To send examples of Devon dialect for possible inclusion, or any comments relating to the dictionary, please email It is very useful, where possible, to let us know where and when a dialect item was last heard or used, and the approximate age of the speaker.

See the Guide for an explanation of the layout of a typical dictionary entry.

Access the dictionary here.

Note that some of the words and descriptions in the dictionary may be seen as discriminatory or derogatory, but of course we are documenting things as they used to be, not as they are now.