Words I’ve Learned Since I Started Working in Newfoundland

I learned a lot of words in vet school that I had never heard before in my life. And some of them I may never hear again. . . for certain many of them I’ll never use again! That’s to be expected with a medical degree, I imagine.

When I moved to Newfoundland I was right away exposed to the words and phrases unique to Newfoundland. Some are words I’ve never heard, some are words I’ve never heard with the particular meaning intended.

As a vet in general practice, you don’t want to be using all those thousand dollar words with your clients – they won’t understand you and your message will be lost. You typically find yourself tailoring your speech to your client – I have several clients who are nurses or doctors themselves, so I can get technical with them, and I’ll have inquisitive 7 year olds in the room who want to understand, so I need to use words they are familiar with, and I’ll have everything in between. The other day I had a sweet old woman who referred to her dog’s bowel movements as “poopies”, and by the end of the appointment I was saying “poopies” as well.

So along this vein, there are some words I’ve learned since I began working as a vet in Newfoundland. Maybe some of them are used elsewhere, but I never heard them until now and I’ve spoken to a lot of clients about their animals before I moved here. There are oodles of words and phrases I’ve heard in Newfoundland in general, but these are words I’ve only heard at work:

Logy: lethargic. This was the first word I heard in a room that I didn’t understand. . . I would smile and nod when clients complained their animal has been logy, and from what would follow I figured it meant depressed/slow/less energy.

Urge/Urging: vomit/vomiting. I was familiar with the word before as meaning “need or desire”, and was a bit confused the first time I heard it in this context. Maybe the client meant the animal was nauseous, felt the need to vomit? No, no, urging is actually vomiting.  Awesome. And if I ask a client “any vomiting?” and they seem confused, I will clarify “Urging?” and that usually does the trick.

Cookie: Vulva. Never heard anyone use cookie as a word for girlie bits, and I only hear it come out of the mouths of my clients who are definitely from hear, so it makes this list. Thankfully this one I learned from a staff member before I was in an exam room and had to deal with a client saying her dog was “licking her cookie a lot”… because if I didn’t know what cookie could mean, that would’ve been an odd complaint…

Bird: Penis. As with cookie, I honestly had never heard this as a word for boy bits. The first time I heard it was pretty hilarious to boot: “His bird seems sore.” And it was very sore. Someone had been humping his fuzzy blue blanket a little too vigorously and had blue fuzz wrapped around his penis and digging into the tissue. Once the offended material was removed, I had to instruct the owner on how to lubricate her dog’s “bird” twice daily while it was feeling.

And one last one, that I isn’t related to my job actually, but I learned from someone at work, and we all died laughing that day. . .

Clit: tangle. As in “I couldn’t get a brush through my hair for all the clits in it.” Can also be the nubblies on a wool sweater.

Yes, those of us unfamiliar with the term in this context laughed a lot. We’re that mature. It’s how we get through the day without exploding from stress.

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About dottiemaggie

A veterinarian living and working in St John's, Newfoundland. I love my job, and I love my home. Professionally I am passionate about critical care and client education. Away from work I am passionate about enjoying life, spending time with friends, enjoying hobbies of all sorts, and exploring this wonderful province I call home.
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15 Responses to Words I’ve Learned Since I Started Working in Newfoundland

  1. Susan says:

    My sister and I refer to our girlie bits as ‘cookie box’ which we say in an exaggerated manner. Of course.

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  3. Audubon Ron says:

    I’m sitting here thinking, actually more than just thinking, how can I get someone to instruct my owner to lube my bird twice daily? I’m just going to have to figure that one out on my own, I’ll get back to you – or maybe not.

  4. JaniceP says:

    There are a lot of Newfoundlanders in Alberta, including a few of my coworkers. I love how they talk, but tease them mercilessly for it too.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      Some of the friends I made here when I first got here were from BC, and they poked fun at how Newfoundlanders spoke quite a bit, and teased me mercilessly for my accent as well (some kind of PEI/Ottawa valley combination of AWESOME.)

  5. omawarisan says:

    I think I might try to get urge started down here, but I’m staying with the traditional tangle.

  6. frigginloon says:

    OK Maggie, here are some Aussie words that will get you in trouble if you aren’t careful.

    Thongs = flip flops
    Old Fella = penis
    Piss = alcohol

    When I was living in Japan I would always get in trouble during winter because I would refer to the weather as “nippy” which the Japanese took as insulting. They are often referred to as Nips.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      thanks for the tips! (found out recently my brother may be moving to Australia in a couple years, so I’ll tuck this away for future reference 😉 )

      and I would totally make the nippy mistake. nippy is one of my favourite “it’s cold” words!

  7. I know a guy that moved to the states from Peru. He spoke fluent English, but the slang got him every time. Instead of “cut it out” he would always yell “cut it OFF” – not good dude. Not good.

  8. Kate says:

    It’s like another language…:)
    As teachers, we have this problem as parents come to conferences (many who consider themselves educated if they completed high school) and they get totally lost as we talk about fluency, phonics, phonemic awareness, differentiation, etc.
    I’m signed up to take some medical terminology class. I’m afraid it’s going to be more difficult than Spanish…and Spanish wasn’t cake.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      My biggest issue with medical terminology is my inability to pronounce some of the words. I have a hard time remembering words if I can’t pronounce them 😉 And if I can’t pronounce them, I’m useless at spelling them. . .

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