From Wikipedia:

The Yorkshire dialect refers to the varieties of English used in the Northern England historic county of Yorkshire. Those varieties are often referred to as Broad Yorkshire or Tyke.

Why is the Yorkshire dialect called 'Tyke'? Can the accent be referred to as tyke as well?

ODO's definition of tyke includes a number of negative senses. Is this sense also derogatory?

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    Thank you for this question. In Nick Park's animated short film, The Wrong Trousers (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrong_trousers), Wallace tells the thieving penguin, "I'll get you for this, you tyke." Nick Park coming from Lancashire, would this be an insult? – JAM Feb 27 '13 at 22:00
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    Racist in the extreme. What an insult to the penguin. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 27 '13 at 23:24
  • Look at the origin, from Norse tìk = bitch. Not sure if that's pejorative or a female dog. – David M Mar 7 '14 at 21:20

As OED says, tyke originally came from Old Norse tík - female dog, bitch. It's not exclusively reserved for Geordies (or people from Newcastle), but as OED also points out, it often does have that sense - "perhaps originally opprobrious; but now accepted and owned [by them]".

I recall that my grandmother, who never lived anywhere but Sussex for all her 99 years, used to sometimes call me a dirty little tyke. I doubt all "Novocastrians" are happy to be thus called.

FWIW here's the full relevant OED entry...

3. A nickname for a Yorkshireman: in full Yorkshire tyke.
(Perhaps originally opprobrious; but now accepted and owned.
It may have arisen from the fact that in Yorkshire tyke is in common use for dog.)

...but no mention of the word being used to mean the Yorkshire accent/dialect.

  • Thank you. Do people commonly call the Yorkshire dialect/accent tyke? I'd also appreciate it if you could include the OED entry (for this sense) in full. – coleopterist Feb 27 '13 at 20:40
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    @coleopterist: To be honest, until I read your comment on this earlier question, I doubt I've ever heard "tyke" used on its own to mean the dialect itself. Yorkshire is a huge county - but it doesn't even reach as far as Newcastle, even though they're sometimes called tykes too. Bearing in mind people from the whole general area have a reputation for being quick to take offence, and handy with their fists, I would strongly advise not calling one a "tyke" to his face, whatever OED may say. – FumbleFingers Feb 27 '13 at 21:27
  • Considering my own grandmother said the same, I’d say tyke is a common word for such little buggers as thee and me. And we haven’t seen the ancestral homelands of Hertforshire for many centuries now. – tchrist Feb 27 '13 at 22:34
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    As someone from Yorkshire I can tell you that I've never heard the Yorkshire dialect called 'Tyke'. The word is usually aimed at a child or dog who is cheeky or mischievous; a 'dirty little tyke' would imply they had come home with muddy clothes or feet, from playing outside all day and probably getting up to mischief. It could be used affectionately or pejoratively. In my experience it's unlikely to be aimed at an adult, but maybe it is in some parts of Yorkshire. I don't think the penguin counts as an adult, Wallace calls him a tyke precisely because he's not a human adult. – Mynamite Feb 27 '13 at 22:36
  • @Mynamite: But I take it you do realise that some Brits (particularly those bloody Lancastrians, who've never much liked Geordies anyway) sometimes use Tyke as a [facetious] perjorative for Yorkshiremen and/or those from Tyneside. Not me though (I just call you all "bloody northerners"! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 28 '13 at 3:33

Im Yorkshire born and bred, the term tyke used to describe a yorkshire born and bred person is due to this :- Yorkshire people are called tykes to mean they are clever and skilled at the occupation or hobby they have adopted and also have a hint of cunning and mischief. The name tykes originally meant extremely active and quick-thinking dogs.

  • I find your last sentence the most interesting. Given FF's reference that the word was Old English for female dog, one could see where it might have transformed into "active and quick-thinking" ones (if female dogs got that rep for some reason). From there, the transformation to particularly energetic young children isn't too tough to picture. – T.E.D. Jan 7 '14 at 20:44

I have a feeling that a Yorkshirewman or woman usseing the word tyke . is rfering to someanother town or city inside yourkshire. im from east yourks and never realyheard the term Tyke,so much,mabe about leeds or even york.

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    While similar answers may be useful, this one is unlikely to help future readers because it is so hard to read. This can often be avoided by using spell check and grammar check before posting. – MetaEd Mar 7 '14 at 21:18

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