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    #1

    "We've nowt to give."

    In the 1920's, a British labor union leader was asked to accept pay reductions for his men. He replied, " Nowt doing. We've nowt to give."

    Would you please translate "nowt" into standard English?

    Thank you.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    It means "nothing". It's used in certain regional dialects in BrE.

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    #3

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    You might be interested in the old Yorkshire saying: Hear all, see all, say nowt; tak' all, keep all, gi' nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen.

    Hear all, see all, say nothing; take all, keep all, give nothing; and, if you ever do anything for nothing, do it for yourself.


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    #4

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    Thank you very much, Teacher EMSR and Moderator 5jj.

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    #5

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    There are certain phrases used in all parts of the UK which include certain regional words. I have heard and used:

    You don't get owt for nowt = You don't get something/anything for nothing.

    I don't come from a part of the UK where "owt" or "nowt" are used on a day-to-day basis but they're in regular use in some phrases.

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    #6

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    TheParser, notice that "owt" and "nowt" are just a variation of "aught" and "naught".

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    #7

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    Off-topic, but possibly of interest: ought/aught is an old-fashioned word in some dialects for 'nought' (the figure). My grandfather used to say, "I left school in ought six". (1906)

    owt and nowt rhyme with doubt
    ought/aught rhymes with bought.

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    #8

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Off-topic, but possibly of interest: ought/aught is an old-fashioned word in some dialects for 'nought' (the figure). My grandfather used to say, "I left school in ought six". (1906)

    owt and nowt rhyme with doubt
    ought/aught rhymes with bought.
    It's an interesting case -- "naught" and "aught" meaning the same thing. It may seem strange that "aught" means zero, as we're used to having "n" at the beginning of a word with a negative meaning. "N" however tends to behave erratically when it begins an English noun. The cause of it is the pair of articles "a" and "an". "A naught" became "an aught" for some. "An eke name" became " a nickname" and "a nyas" became "an eyas". Surely there are more such pairs but I remember these.

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    #9

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    . The cause of it is the pair of articles "a" and "an". "A naught" became "an aught" for some. "An eke name" became " a nickname" and "a nyas" became "an eyas". Surely there are more such pairs but I remember these.
    Apron and adder originally began with n. Those are the only two that spring to mind at present.

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    #10

    Re: "We've nowt to give."

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Apron and adder originally began with n. Those are the only two that spring to mind at present.
    "Nonce" has a similar history of misdivision. See here.

    PS: I'm not sure if the complete list of misdivided words was TheParser's goal when he started this thread but, for what it's worth, here's another one: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...wed_in_frame=0

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