The Geordie dialect owes its origins to the langauge spoken by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries, that war employed by the Ancient Brythons to fight the Pictish invaders, after the end of Roman rule in Britannia, in the 5th century. The same language is the forebear of Modern English; but while the dialects of most other English regions have been much changed by the influences of other foreign languages, Norman-French and Norse in particular, the dialects of Northern England (including Geordie) still feature many characteristics of Old English, lost in Standard English.
The label of Geordie has sometimes been claimed as offensive to some people from the Sunderland region. This is also the case with anyone from the Teesside area.
In recent times "Geordie" has been used to refer to a supporter of Newcastle United football club however this use is not as common as with the use of Mackem for Sunderland fans and is not entirely popular due to the proportion of people from South Tyneside who self-identify as geordies but support Sunderland.
One explanation is that it was established during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The Jacobites declared that the natives of Newcastle were staunch supporters of the Hanoverian kings, in particular of George II during the 1745 rebellion. This contrasted with rural Northumbria, which largely supported the Jacobite cause. If true, the term may have derived from a popular anti-Hanoverian song ("Cam ye ower frae France?"), which calls the first Hanoverian king "Geordie Whelps", meaning "George the Guelph".
Another explanation for the name is that local miners in the north east of England used "Geordie" safety lamps, designed by George Stephenson in 1815, rather than the "Davy lamps" designed by Humphry Davy which were used in other mining communities.
Using the chronological order of two John Trotter Brockett books:
Geordie was given to North East pit men, later Brockett acknowledges the pitmen christened their Stephenson lamp ‘Geordie’.
Wales also predates the Oxford English Dictionary, she observes that "Geordy" and "Geordie" was a common name given to pit-men in ballads and songs of the region, noting that one such turns up as early as 1793. It occurs in the titles of two songs by song-writer Joe Wilson (1841–1875): Geordy, Haud the Bairn and Keep your Feet Still, Geordie. Citing such examples as the song Geordy Black written by Rowland Harrison of Gateshead, she contends that, as a consequence of popular culture, the miner and the keelman had become icons of the region in the 19th century, and "Geordie" was a label that "affectionately and proudly reflected this", replacing the earlier ballad emblem, the figure of Bob Crankie.
Newcastle publisher Frank Graham's Geordie Dictionary states:
In Graham's many years of research, the earliest record he has found of the terms use was in 1823 by local comedian, Billy Purvis. Purvis had set up a booth at the Newcastle Races on the Town Moor. In an angry tirade against a rival showman, who had hired a young pitman called Tom Johnson to dress as a clown, Billy cried out to the clown:
Graham is backed up historically by Hotten (1869).
The definition of Geordie as around the Tyne communities was not always the case, as Geordie has been documented for at least 180 to 240 years as meaning the whole of the North East of England. (As referenced inCamden Hotten, John (1869). The Slang Dictionary, Or Vulgar Words, Street Phrases And Fast Expressions of High and Low Society. John Camden Hotten. . The book was reprinted in 2004.
BAD-WEATHER GEORDY. A name applied to cockle sellers. "As the season at which cockles are in greatest demand is generally the most stormy in the year - September to March -the sailors' wives at the seaport towns of Northumberland and Durham consider the cry of the cockle man as the harbinger of bad weather, and the sailor, when he hears the cry of 'cockles alive,' in a dark wintry night, concludes that a storm is at hand, and breathes a prayer, backwards, for the soul Of Bad-Weather-Geordy" - S. Oliver, Rambles in Northumberland, 1835.''
“Plus Geordieland means Northumberland and Durham” Dobson Tyne 1973
howay or haway is broadly comparable to the invocation "Come on!" or the French "Allez!" ("Go on!"). Examples of common use include Howay man! or Haway man!, meaning "come on" or "hurry up", Howay the lads! or Haway the lads! as a term of encouragement for a sports team for example, or Ho'way!? (with stress on the second syllable) expressing incredulity or disbelief. The 'a' and 'o' in howay/haway convey different strands of aggression, with the ‘a’ being the aggressive. The literal opposite of this word is "Haddaway" (go away), which is not as popular as Howay, but has found frequent use in the phrase "Haddaway an' shite" (Tom Hadaway, Figure 5.2 Haddaway an' shite; ’Cursing like sleet blackening the buds, raging at the monk of Jarrow scribbling his morality and judgement into a book.’).
Divvie or divvy seems to come from the Co-op dividend, or from the two Davy lamps (the more dangerous explosive Scotch Davy used in 1850, commission disapproved of its use in 1886. (inventor not known, and nicknamed Scotch Davy probably given by miners after the Davy lamp was made perhaps by north east miners who used the Stephenson Lamp), and the later better designed Davy designed by Humphrey Davy also called the Divvy.) As in a north east miner saying ‘Marra, ye keep way from me if ye usin a divvy.' It seems the word divvie then translated to daft lad/lass. Perhaps coming from the fact you’d be seen as foolish going down a mine with a Scotch Divvy when there are safer lamps out, like the Geordie, or the Davy.
The geordie word netty, meaning a toilet and place of need and necessity for relief or bathroom, has an uncertain origin,though some have theorised that it may come from slang used by Roman soldiers on Hadrian's Wall, which may have later become gabinetti in the Romanic Italian language (Such as this article about the Westoe Netty, the subject of a famous painting from Bob Olley. Another article about the Westoe Netty is featured here ). However gabbinetto is the Modern Italian diminutive of gabbia, which actually derives from the Latin cavea ("hollow", "cavity", "enclosure") the root of the loanwords that became the Modern English cave, cage, and gaol. Thus, another explanation would be that it comes from a Modern Romanic Italian form of the word gabinetti. Though only a, relatively, small number of Italians have migrated to the North of England, mostly during the 19th century.
Some etymologists connect the word netty to the Modern English word needy. John Trotter Brockett, writing in 1829 in his A glossary of north country words..., claims that the etymon of netty (and it's related form neddy) is the Modern English needy and need
Bill Griffiths, in A Dictionary of North East Dialect points to the earlier form, the Old English níd; he writes thusly "MS locates a possible early ex. "Robert Hovyngham sall make... at the other end of his house a knyttyng" York 1419, in which case the root could be OE níd 'neccesary'".
Another related word, nessy is thought (by Griffiths) to derive from the Modern English "neccesary".
A poem, called ‘YAM’ narrated by author Douglas Kew, demonstrates the usage of a lot of Geordie words
The dialect was also popularized by the comic magazine Viz, where the dialect itself is often conveyed phonetically by unusual spellings within the comic strips. Viz magazine itself was founded on Tyneside by two local males, Chris Donald and his brother Simon.
The Steve Coogan-helmed BBC comedy I'm Alan Partridge featured a Geordie named Michael (Simon Greenall) as the primary supporting character and de facto best friend of the eponymous hero, despite Partridge's typically snobbish and patronizing demeanor sinking to new lows when referring to Michael (at one point referring to him as 'just the Work Geordie').
Mike Neville and George House (aka Jarge Hoose), presenters of the BBC local news program Look North, in the 1960s and 1970s, not only incorporated Geordie into the show, albeit usually in comedy pieces pointing up the gulf between ordinary Geordies and officials speaking Standard English, but were responsible for a series of recordings, beginning with Larn Yersel' Geordie which attempted, not always seriously, to bring the Geordie dialect to the rest of England.
The mastermind behind Larn Yersel' Geordie was local humorist Scott Dobson, who wrote several booklets on the theme in the early 1970s, including Histry O' the Geordies, Advanced Geordie Palaver, The Geordie Joke Book (with Dick Irwin) and The Little Broon Book (Bringing out The New Little Broon Book in 1990).
Dorphy, real name Dorothy Samuelson-Sandvid, was a noted geordie dialect writer who once wrote for the South Shields Gazette.
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was a popular fictional British comedy-drama series about a group of seven British migrant construction workers: Wayne, Dennis, Oz, Bomber, Barry, Neville and Moxey, who, in Series 1, are living and working on a German building site. Three of the seven were Geordies. Dennis Patterson (played by Tim Healy) comes from Birtley Co. Durham; Leonard "Oz" Osborne (played by Jimmy Nail) comes from Gateshead; and Neville Hope (played by Kevin Whately) comes from North Shields.
The character Detective Inspector Robert "Robbie" Lewis (formerly Detective Sergeant) in the long-running ITV series Inspector Morse is a self-described Geordie. His speech variety serves as a foil to Morse's pedantry and RP.