The Hop Project

The Hop Project Dictionary

The Hop Project Dictionary includes a number of words and phrases that might be useful to know before visiting the exhibition. These words and phrases relate to the multiple voices within the project and include hop-related terminology, Romany Traveller vernacular, Black Country dialect, urban slang and ‘Ponglish’, the linguistic cocktail of English and Polish spoken by people bilingual in those languages.

Thank you to Bromyard and District Local History Society and Roma Piotrowska for their help in compiling the dictionary. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the words and phrases included within the dictionary, they should not be regarded as authoritative or definitive statements. We recognise that language is contingent, open to interpretation and that there are different ways of spelling words (particularly those associated with local dialects).


(H) Hop-related terminology
(R) Romany Traveller vernacular
(BC) Black Country dialect
(U) Urban slang
(P) Ponglish


bagster (H)
the person who stamped or trod hops into the pocket or bag before the hop press was introduced.

bait (H)
food for break time at hop picking.

barban (R)
wind (as in the wind blew through the trees).

barmpot (BC)
a silly person.

bayden (U)
rich, financially stable, solvent.

bine (H)
the stem of a hop plant.

Black Patch (R)
the ‘Black Patch’ was an area of land in Smethwick/Handsworth during the mid 19th to the early 20th century. During this period, the ‘Black Patch’ was the camping ground for a large community of Gypsies, Roma and Traveller people who lived on a deep, barren layer of furnace and factory waste. Each year, members of this group would travel to Suckley in Worcestershire to go hop picking. The Gypsies were evicted from the ‘Black Patch’ in July 1905 as the land was repossessed for future redevelopment.

blether head (BC)
someone who talks nonsense, a fool.

bob (R)

booker (H)
1 person responsible for keeping records of the hops picked by each picker 2, the name of a rapper in The Hip-Hop Pickers’ Ball.

bushel (H)
1, a measure of capacity equal to eight gallons (36 litres) 2, the name of a DJ in The Hip-Hop Pickers’ Ball.

Bruff (H)
Bruff Engineering of Suckley in the heart of Worcestershire’s hop growing country produced hop picking machines that were exported all over the world.


cannabaceae (H)
cannabaceae is a small family of flowering plants. The family includes about 170 species grouped into about eleven genera, including Cannabis (hemp, marijuana) and Humulus (hops).

coir yarn (H)
cordage and string made from coconut fibre.

cog-nocker (BC)
a thick sandwich.

cribs (H) (U)
1, The wooden structures that hop pickers worked around and into which they deposited the picked hops; 2, Urban slang word for home.


didicoy (H)
a travelling scrap dealer.

dzwonic na sika (P)
to call in sick (original Polish: dzwonic ze sie nie przyjdzie do pracy).


Fejs (P)

fizzog (BC)
The face.

foxy (H)
A term used to describe dried hops showing a marked tint of reddish brown due to over maturity, disease or decay.

fresh (U)
A term used to describe someone who has recently arrived in the country; someone who acts as though they do not understand the local customs. Similar to ‘tourist’.


game (U)
Everyday life; the game of life.

Gorjer (R)


hop pickers’ hut (H)
A shelter or outbuilding provided by the hop grower for the hop pickers.

hop pocket (H)
A sack, approximately six feet long, in which dried hops are pressed and stored. Contains up to 80 kilos of hops.

hop token (H)
A metal disc used instead of money to guarantee payment to the hop pickers.

Hops Marketing Board.


isc na drinka (P)
To go for a drink (original Polish: isc sie czegos napic).

isc na toka (P)
To go to a talk (original Polish: isc na pogadanke).


Jest teraz bardzo bizi (P)
It is very busy (original Polish: Jest teraz duzy ruch).

joobus (BC)
Suspicious, dubious.

Judy Garland (H)
A slang term for a hop garland.


karpety (P)
Carpets (original Polish: dywany).

kiln (H)
The building used to dry hops in a current of warm air.


landlordka (P)
Landlady (original Polish: włascicielka mieszkania).

luknac (P)
To look at something (original Polish: popatrzec).


megger (H)
An electronic instrument used to measure the moisture content of pocketed hops.

milestone inspector (H)
A colloquial term for a tramp or vagrant, a ‘gentleman of the road’.


nextman (U)
Someone you don’t know.


ova happs (U)
A slang term meaning very happy.


plenum chamber (H)
Part of a hop kiln; the chamber below the drying floor.

poke (H)
A sack of loosely woven material capable of containing up to ten bushels of green (undried) hops.

pookering (R)


riffy (BC)
Dirty or unclean.

rinse (U)
1, To over do a particular activity 2, To mimic to an extreme level.


scanner man (H)
1, The modern day equivalent of the tallyman; the person who monitors and measures the quantity of fruit picked 2, The name of a producer in The Hip-Hop Pickers’ Ball.

scuppet (H)
A wooden shovel used for moving dried hops around the oast house.

sharkin (U)
Giving someone dirty looks.

sharra-bang (BC)
Motor coach – ‘derived from charabanc (a horse drawn wagon).’

shesti (R)

shoddy (H)
Shredded rag, a waste product of the woollen and carpet industries, used as an organic fertiliser.

szukac flata (P)
Looking for a flat (Original Polish: szukac mieszkania).


tally (H)
1, The split wooden slat used to record the number of bushels of hops picked; 2, The agreed rate of payment; traditionally the number of bushels picked for one shilling.

tallyman (H)
The person responsible for carrying the hop tallies.

tatting cart (H)
A rag-and-bone man’s handcart.

tikety (P)
Tickets (original Polish: bilety).

Tin Town (H)
A slang term for the area of hop pickers’ huts and accommodation near Bishops Frome.

tiddly (H)
A colloquial term for the pub.

tourist (U)
See ‘Fresh’.

truck system (H)
In Herefordshire in the 18th and 19th centuries, the ‘Cider Truck System’ was widespread. A truck system is an arrangement in which employees are paid in commodities or other currency substitute rather than with standard coinage. This limits employees’ ability to choose how to spend their earnings, generally to the benefit of the employer. Workers on Herefordshire farms would receive a large part of their wages in cider, often as much as fifty percent.

twiddling (H)
The process of winding or training hop stems around string.


waggin (BC)
Playing truant from school.

wag mon (BC)
The council official employed to round up errant children who were ‘waggin’.

wannabe (U)
A person who tries too hard to be someone they are not.

wirework (H)
A framework of permanent wires to support strings for hops to climb.


yard (H)
A hop yard is the West Midlands name for a hop field. In Kent it is called a hop garden.


zentner (H)
1, A measurement used in the hop industry. 1 zentner = 50 kilos, 20 zentners = 1 tonne; 2, The name of a rapper in The Hip-Hop Pickers’ Ball.

zoop zoop (U)
To big up, to compliment.