"They have had a bitter quarrel I think" said he and bit into the bagel. "They're rummuns" said he chewing it.

  • The word "rummun," as WS2 observes in his answer, is found occasionally in the writings of the famous veterinarian/author James Herriot, who spent decades tending to animals belonging to the residents of the Yorkshire Dales in northern England (specifically Darrowby or Thirsk). If a client said to the vet, "It's a rummun, Mr. Herriot, he or she meant, "It's a strange case, Mr. Herriot." In other words, it's something odd and hard to explain; it might even leave you stumped. Don Dec 7, 2014 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


This could easily be Norfolk dialect, though the word rummun has clearly been part of general British speech. It is nowadays a bit dated.

It means 'rum one', the adjective rum meaning strange, odd, different, peculiar etc.

A Norfolk expression Tha's a rummun ent it means 'It's a strange thing, isn't it'.

*They're rummuns' would mean simply 'they are odd/strange ones'. It can equally be applied to people as to objects etc.

Rum used as an adjective in this way is confirmed by the OED (sense 6) as dated, and they are uncertain of its etymology. It is predominantly British, but I wouldn't mind betting that many older-generation Australians, New Zealanders etc use it. A few of the more recent examples from the OED:

1955 J. Thomas No Banners vii. 61 ‘This is a rum go,’ Alfred said.

1977 J. I. M. Stewart Madonna of Astrolabe xi. 153 Some Scottish names are distinctly rum. Yours is.

1993 A. Habens in M. Bradbury & A. Motion New Writing 2 247 It's a rum do if a chap isn't allowed to remember what he remembers.

The adjective rum gives rise to may composites e.g. rum-looking, rum-sounding etc

  • 2
    I've more often seen the spelling rum 'un with a space and apostrophe. Dec 7, 2014 at 3:39
  • @NateEldredge In this register one spells as one pleases!
    – WS2
    Dec 7, 2014 at 10:41

Popular Tasmanian slang; an eccentric or odd person; a character; a scally-wag. Still in use to this day in Southern Tasmania.

  • 1
    How do you know? Can you cite any references?
    – NVZ
    Nov 23, 2017 at 9:39