from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun cardinal, North East England, dialect one
  • noun cardinal, dialect one in Cumbrian sheep counting rhyme.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Along with ane and yen, a Northumbrian form of one, from the Old English ān. An example is "yan, twee, tree" for "one, two, three".

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Celtic numerals, with influence from Old English ān or modern Northern English yan or yen.


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  • North of England sheep counting jargon

    1 Yan

    2 Tan

    3 Tethera

    4 Pethera

    5 Pimp

    6 Sethera

    7 Lethera

    8 Hovera

    9 Covera

    10 Dik

    11 Yan-a-dik

    12 Tan-a-dik

    13 Tethera-dik

    14 Pethera-dik

    15 Bumfit

    16 Yan-a-bumfit

    17 Tan-a-bumfit

    18 Tethera-bumfit

    19 Pethera-bumfit

    20 Figgot

    September 26, 2008

  • Ah, this brings back fond memories of lazy college days counting to ten in ... whatever language my friend said it was.

    September 26, 2008

  • Johnmp, have a look at sionnach's list...

    September 26, 2008

  • Yan as one is used further afield than Cumbria and the North East. It's also used in Yorkshire dialect, particularly the North and East Ridings. I occasionally hear it (and say it myself) where I live in the old West Riding. Anything by Arnold Kellett or the Yorkthire Dialect Society would be a good source for this.

    The celtic sheep counting numbers are certainly not just from Cumbria. There are many variants covering most of England and Wales, though they aren't commonly known anywhere, I gather. I knew one version as a child in Westmorland, and there are four variations for Yorkshire in Arnold Kellett's Basic Broad Yorkshire (1992, South Settle press). I know Kellet's Wensleydale variant by heart and can say it fast.

    The numbers listed by johnmperry here are familiar to me. My hunch is these are the ones I knew as a boy in Kendal: lethera, hovera, covera. However I don't recall Figgot at all.

    I just checked Wikipedia's "Yan Tan Tethera" article, which has two dozen versions. Figgot is mentioned - the version given by johnmperry here is _supposedly_ a Lincolnshire variant. However the Wikipedia article is very thin on citations.

    January 31, 2020