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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

'soldiers' - dialect word for poppy


Kate Wills

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Would you all kindly take down volume 2 of A. E. Baker's 'Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases' (pub 1854), and turn to page 264:

SOLDIER: Another local name for the field poppy papaver rhaeas. Also see BLIND-EYES. A name, I presume, common to the Midland district, as Cowper in one of his poems calls poppies "the soldiers of the field".

Given that the Great War generation were much more familiar with old dialect words than our own, it is quite easy to understand how images of poppies and soldiers were already irrevocably intertwined, and adopted so readily for remembrance (which was traditionally represented by rosemary).

Is anyone else familiar with this?

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Kate,

So far as I recall from being a kid, soldiers were those weeds that grow in grassland which you can fire the head off like a bullet by wrapping the stem around itself in a noose. These are not poppies though... or perhaps they are???

Roop

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Hello Kate

In Cheshire dialect (which is still used in some parts, despite what incomers claim) a red campion is known as a soldier. I suppose there’s a vague resemblance to poppies in certain lights......

The Cheshire word for poppies is headaches. (I am serious.)

Up 'ere, we're in the season of paigles an' white nancies, and the shepsters are mekkin a bridneeze in the gutter just outside this winder. I grew up using some of these Cheshire dialect words, although I don’t speak 'Cheshire'.

I'd have to look up other dialect words in an ancient book which I think is at my mum's.

Gwyn

[primroses, narcissus, starlings, nest]

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So far as I recall from being a kid, soldiers were those weeds that grow in grassland which you can fire the head off like a bullet by wrapping the stem around itself in a noose. These are not poppies though... or perhaps they are???

THAT plant is the Convolvulus a.k.a bindweed

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Guest sapper6

When my WW1 Veteran Grandfather used to let me pin the poppy on his jacket the night before ANZAC Day dawn parade, he called it the drunkards eye. I found out that it meant if a drunk closes one eye to try and see straight the open one is bloodshot.

It was a fairly common expression among the WW1 Vets when I was a kid.

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