Posted by BJC on February 14, 2019, 2:42 pm
Hello folks, |
I was looking through an old book, ‘Folk Tales of the North Country, by Frederick Grice’, when I saw the line, ‘The *caller breeze’, and at the bottom of the page it showed *Caller Fresh.
I remember my dad telling me that ‘Caller’ was Scottish. He knew the meaning of many Scottish words, as his grandmother was born in Ireland, moved to Scotland aged 20, lived there 20 years, was blessed with a pronounced Glaswegian accent, then moved to the North East, aged 40, and died in Hebburn in 1943, aged 83.
This made me think about the call of the fresh fish man as he travelled around the streets shouting, ‘Caller Herring!’ and how it meant fresh herring.
I checked the Hebburn Message Board Archives (http://hebburnarchives.info/) and found plenty on the subject of caller herring. Someone claimed that it meant that the fish was from Cullercoats, in Tynemouth… but then, I found that our resident lexicologist, Mary, knew from the start that the word ‘Caller’ does indeed mean ‘fresh’.
My book, ‘The Scots Dialect Dictionary’ by Alexander Warrack MA shows the following:
Caller, callour adj 1 fresh, not stale, newly caught or gathered, in season. 2 Cool, refreshing, bracing. – v 1 to cool, freshen, refresh.