How to Speak Suffolk: 10 Suffolk Sayings To Know Before You Visit

An "S" from a Scrabble board

Last Updated on December 16, 2022

Anyone remotely familiar with British geography will be able to tell you that once you enter a new county, you find yourself hearing an altogether new kind of language.

This rule holds true in our beautiful county of Suffolk and we’re quietly proud of the oddities and twists to the English language that some of our neighbours are keen on using.

Before you read much further…

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If staying on board one of our Barges or renting one of our Barns will be the first time you visit Suffolk, it will be no bad thing to have a working knowledge of these 10 popular Suffolk sayings  ahead of time! 

“On the huh”

If you’ve never encountered this phrase before, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s merely a poor pronunciation of “on the hill”.

What “on the huh” really means, however, is that something is a little lopsided or wonky. Knowing this may well come in handy if you find yourself stepping on board a rowing boat on the coast and are warned that it’s “slightly on the huh”!

“I dussn’t dew that”

Similar to the previous entry on the list, you may again be forgiven for assuming this means  “I don’t do that”.

In actual fact, this phrase actually means “I daren’t do that” which is, of course, a very useful thing to know if you’re relaying an ambitious itinerary to a Suffolk local and they kindly inform you that “I dussn’t dew that”.


No, someone in Suffolk saying “buh” isn’t doing a poor impression of a sheep, they’re simply using the local equivalent of “mate”.

In context, you’re most likely to hear “alright, buh?” the moment you step into a truly Suffolk pub full of friendly locals – if you want to convince them you’re up on the lingo, a reply of “Nah saa bad” will do the job.


This one is exactly what it looks like; it means “town”. It’s important to note, however, that many one-syllable words in Suffolk are gifted an extra syllable.

For example, you never go “down town” to Ipswich, you go “dow-en towen” to Ipswich, and you almost certainly travel by “row-ad”. An awareness of these extra syllables will help you to get a better overall handle on the local dialect. 


Whilst there are countless examples of Suffolkians extending words, there’s an equal number of words that are mashed together for convenience.

“At-um” is a fantastic example of this as it allows someone to say “at home” in a far more convenient way – to our mind, at least.

This one is definitely good to know whenever you’re told to “make yourself at-um” when visiting a pub or restaurant in Suffolk.


As well as extending and combining words, us Suffolkians are also known to create our own version of popular words.

“Cuttla” is a fine example of this as it refers to any number above two. In practice, you might think about how you’re heading out to enjoy a “cuttla beers” whenever enjoying the Suffolk nightlife.

“On the drag”

Initially, we were unsure whether or not to include this example of Suffolk slang as its popularity suggests that it should exist across the country. 

However, a few members of our team recalled having to explain this saying to confused Englanders, so we thought it best to point out that this means “I’m running late”.

Hopefully you don’t hear this when enjoying a holiday here, but it pays to be safe!


Another example of an abbreviated word, “amara” is a rather sing-song way of saying “tomorrow” in Suffolk.

If someone says they’ll “see you amara”, you’ll know exactly what they mean and won’t be concerned they’ve got your name wrong!


In Suffolk, “rum” refers to more than just the top shelf stuff. Here, it also means “odd”. For example a “rum ol’ thing” describes a curious and strange incident.

Safe to say, if you encounter this word, you may want to err on the side of caution!


Go on, take a wild guess at what this one means.

Did you guess donkey? If so, you’re spot on and of far superior intelligence to just about anyone we’ve thrown this at during a pub quiz.

It’s entirely unlikely you’ll ever hear this word out in the wild, but it’s just too good to pass up on a list like this!

Whilst this article may have you believing that all Suffolkians speak a secret language, the reality is that there are only a precious few who are valiantly preserving this rich dialect.

Nonetheless, it’s a fun one to know and we hope that you do get a flavour of it when staying at one of our Barns or Cottages!