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News article created on 19 November 2014

Waterways glossary

Butty, dingle, gongoozler: chances are you'll hear utterings of these strange words if you spend long enough on the towpath, but what do they mean? Introducing the first in our two-part glossary of the waterways…

A to L

Beam, noun

Width of a narrowboat, determined by its widest cross section.

Butty, noun

Short for butty-boat; a unpowered freight narrowboat towed behind a narrowboat with an engine. Butty is also Welsh for 'mate' or 'buddy'.

Cut, noun

Boaters' term for canals because they were literally cut out of the land.

Dingle, noun

A tree-lined hollow through which a canal proceeds.

Gongoozler, noun

A person who enjoys watching activities on the canal, particularly at locks.

Keb, noun

Long rake kept at docksides for removing debris from the lock. It looks a bit like a bent garden fork.

To leg (legging), verb

The act of propelling a narrowboat through a tunnel (without a towpath) by lying on the vessel and 'walking' along the roof of the tunnel.

Lengthsman, noun

A person employed to maintain a section of the canal, especially the water levels.

Words: Abigail Whyte

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