nipper, n. British Informal. a) small boy or girl; b) brother or sister (R.W.)

clot, n. British Informal. blockhead, dolt, clod. (


I now go from an example of regional variants to one of local registers. I should first like to comment briefly on the words nipper and clot. The first is widely used in colloquial speech in the South of England, as in "our Dad, our Mum, our nipper" ("ar Dad, ar Mum, ar ni'er"), the last referring to a sibling. If one has several siblings then they are referred to by name: "our Peter, our Heather" ("ar Pe'er, ar Ever"). You will notice that the occlusive consonant "p" in nipper is replaced by a glottal stop. The same happens to the final occlusive consonant "t" in the second word, clot. When I was eleven I went to grammar school and embarked on the study of Latin. Next door there lived two boys, Ron, who was my age, and David, who was about three years younger. One day I overheard a short conversation between the two in the back garden. It went as follows:

    (Young David) "'ey ni'er, did ya know Russon is doin' La'ern?" (Older brother Ron) "It's not La'ern, you clo', it's La'in!"
It struck me as funny that a modern colloquial conversation should include the mention of an ancient classical tongue.