Wuthering Heights - agait

flop

Senior Member
italian/Italy
While reading Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, I've found a word dictionaries don't help with: the word is 'agait', appearing in the sentence:

"Well, Mr Earnshaw", she cried, "I wonder what you'll have agait next?"

can you help me understand what it means?
thanks a lot!
flop
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I've no idea.
    It's not in Chambers, Collins or the Oxford Concise dictionaries.
    My immediate reaction was to wonder could it be a misprint, but then I looked at the text and see it is in a piece quoting a "stout housewife" who appears to have a dialect -

    'Well, Mr. Earnshaw,' she cried, 'I wonder what you'll have agait
    next? Are we going to murder folk on our very door-stones? I see
    this house will never do for me - look at t' poor lad, he's fair
    choking! Wisht, wisht; you mun'n't go on so. Come in, and I'll
    cure that: there now, hold ye still.'

    This set me wondering, as "gait" is a word for a walking style/speed,. I wonder could it mean "a-going", or as we would say nowadays "going on"? I wonder what you'll have going on next?
     
    Hi Flop,


    I've found it in an online dictionary of Yorkshire dialect. It gives - Start; to go; move; work.

    I also read the extract from which the sentence comes. I wonder if it means, "I wonder what you'll start next?"

    We need a Yorkshire opinion on this I think. :)


    Sorry I can't be more helpful.



    LRV
     

    flop

    Senior Member
    italian/Italy
    you were helpful indeed, LRV :)
    what is the URL of this dictionary? It could be helpful in future...
    thanks a lot
    flop
     

    flop

    Senior Member
    italian/Italy
    I love it, but I've read it a long time ago and now I'm translating an excerpt -- which is quite exhausting, but fun!
    :)
    flop
     

    roncherry

    New Member
    English USA
    I just worked a crossword puzzle that uses "agait" as an answer; the clue was "in store" and it makes sense reading these references.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    What crossword was that? What confirmed lights (crossing letters from other words) have you got?
    I'd be more inclined towards 'await' than 'agait' - unless it's a very literary and learned publication.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The Oxford English Dictionary spells the word 'agate' and defines it as 'On the way, on the road; hence, a-going, in motion. (Properly a northern word.)' According to the OED, another Bronte sister, Charlotte, spelt it that way in Jane Eyre: 'I'm fear'd you have some ill plans agate', but I found at least 7 pages on Google that spell it 'agait'. The spelling agait only appears in the OED in a quotation for the use of the word brabblement: '1824 Craven Dial. 23 Hees ollas agait o' some brabblement' (He's always involved in some sort of conflict). (Craven in a district of Yorkshire 10 or 20 miles north of where the Brontes were from).
    The OED derives agate from the word gate, meaning way or path. In the Danelaw - the part of England that was part of a Danish empire in the 9th century http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danelaw - many streets in towns and cities are still named 'gate' rather than 'street' (Kirkgate = Church Street and Westgate = West Street are typical; in York Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate, the street where public whippings and judicial beatings took place http://lvinci.kuduweb.org/pics/trav/uk2000/york/whipmawhopma.html etc), cognate with the Swedish word gatan = street.
     

    Lawrence Logic

    New Member
    English - Standard & Lancashire
    "Agait" is simply an old form of "going".
    It is still in regular conversational use in Rossendale in east Lancashire (about 10 miles from the Brontes' home) but is rapidly dying out. (I can't think of anyone under 40 who uses the word)

    In Lancashire it is nowadays only used where people colloquially use the word 'going' to mean 'saying'.. as in.

    ... me mam were agait "sort yersel' out"

    (my mum was saying "sort yourself out")

    I grew up never hearing this word in the home (parents from Manchester a full 20 miles away and a totally different dialect!!) and it took me some years to even think how it might be spelt, or what the the root of the word was.

    At first I thought 'agate' (spelt like the mineral) then it occured to me that 'gait' means 'going' and it all fell into place!!
    Over tyhe years I've asked several people who use the word in speech how they'd spell it, and most said they'd never thought of it!!!
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    In Lancashire it is nowadays only used where people colloquially use the word 'going' to mean 'saying'.. as in.

    ... me mam were agait "sort yersel' out"
    I'd just like to confirm what LL says here. As far as I can remember from when I lived in East Lancashire (I'm now that 25-mile gulf away in Manchester) it was always in the present tense, whether it meant present or past, so:
    I'm agait could mean I say or I said.

    (I always picture it ~ until I found out how to really spell it ~ as a gate, i.e. I'm a gate = I'm an open gate = I have my gob open and this is what's coming out:eek:)
     
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