Friday, 6 April 2007

Tut or toot

I use a word meaning rubbish. I wanted to use it the other day but wasn't sure about spelling. Is it tut or toot, or something different.

Having spent seven hours googling it, I have discovered I must be the only person who uses this word.

Any ideas anyone? And do you have a weblink that has the answer?

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alex also used the word, he uses 'tut' - when we go to craft fairs or somewhere like that, its apparently full of 'tut'!
Jo
x

Ann Cardus said...

I think it's toot. I've found 'load of toot' used in context. Still haven't found a reference site. Think I'll submit it to the OED.

Anonymous said...

http://cosmicvariance.com/2005/11/18/tut-tutting-at-tut-tat/

Look at bottom paragraph of this article, the use of the phrase 'tut-tat', maybe it comes from that?
x

Anonymous said...

Am definetly going with 'tut' as in 'tut tat'on this one, and yes I think submission to OED is great idea.
Jo x

Ann Cardus said...

Found te cosmic variance thing but think that refers to King Tut tat, as in King Tut cheap souvenirs. There are more references that use toot, but still if it's not in the OED maybe I can ensure it is forever recorded as "tut (also toot)"

Sarah Snell-Pym said...

I was looking for the spelling too after having a long drawn out conversation with my husband about it tut would imply tutting to me which is a different sound but he thinks it's just a colloquialism from a different bit of the country.

Tut-tat seems to work though as both are words I associate with bric-a-bac and rubbish.

Unknown said...

Definitely toot (if anyone is still reading). I think it has to be connected with tot - a bone or anything retrieved from a dustbin or rubbish heap, hence totter, a rag and bone man or scrap dealer, and totting, searching refuse for re-usable or saleable items.

Ann Cardus said...

I'm still reading Claire and I hadn't come across the bone definition - sounds like a good explanation.

Anonymous said...

I use this word too Ann; my grandfather used to use it and also my mother. So it's been used in our family for at least a century.
I use toot (it represents better the way I say the word rather than tut) and I am most persuaded by the last comment.

Michelle said...

All these years since this post was written and here I come in search of the spelling. I say it to rhyme with 'put' so I suppose 'tut' would be okay. On the other hand 'tut' just looks wrong so I want to type 'toot' but what if people read it to themselves as the noise a horn makes. Think I'll just write 'tat' instead.

Nicola said...

Yep another year on and now im looking so we're still no closer..think i'll also go with tat

Melanie said...

My family have always used this word, eg. a pile of old toot. Toot said as if rhyming with "put"

Jac Steine said...

Hello, I've been using tut/toot (rhyming with 'put') all my life and only a few years ago discovered most people I know don't know it. It is frequently used in Essex where I'm from and going by people I know who do know it, I think it could be of East London/Cockney origin and had pread out. It came up for me yesterday as some friends were saying I must mean 'tat' but it has a different meaning! Where are you toot users from? I think Claire Butler's explanation is highly plausible - the best I've come across.

Michelle said...

Hi Jac,
I grew up in Milton Keynes but think I may have gotten it from an Aunt who lived in Stanford-le-hope, Essex. She lived in the area for YEARS so I can only imagine that's where she got it from.

Cate Toward said...

Lol,just found this, strangely I was just going to post on FB but didn't know how it was spelt. I've lived in Stanford-le-Hope for 37 years, but my ma-in-law was from south London, she always called ornaments 'toot'pronounced the put way. I'm none the wiser about the spelling, but it was a fun read ��

Carole Kimber said...

I have also used this word and I am from Essex ! and so have my parents , but have never heard anyone else use it

Whistlejacket said...

I'm an Eastender, my dad's an Eastender and we've always used this word to describe cheap, poor quality stuff, like "that shop sells a load of old..." not actual waste/rubbish. The question of how to spell it correctly is a mystery to me though, it's not a word I've had call to write down, even though I use it in conversation with frequency and have passed it on to my non Eastender daughters. I've just assumed it had Yiddish roots like a lot of Eastend slang. It definitely rhymes with put, as in "put that down..."

Anonymous said...

I've always used the word. family originally from the East-end but now Essex, so think the word must come from the East-end. Means cheap, poor quality stuff. Like the idea it comes from tot. As we say it, it rhymes with put.

Ray said...

I'm from Brighton and (to my certain knowledge) my family have used the word 'tut' (rhymes with foot) for at least four generations. My grandmother (from Woolwich) wouldn't let me buy anything from the 'tut shops' on Brighton seafront in the late 1950s and early sixties.

Anonymous said...

Trying to write a scathing review on amazon lol. I'm from rural Buckingham (Candleford) and my family (mother from just over the border in rural Oxfordshire (very near Lark Rise) and father from 'Ammersmiff in Lundun) have always said "load of old cheap tat", but then my ex-wife from South Ruislip says "tut" (like put) but this spelling reads like I'm tutting disapprovingly at something and then 'toot' reads like I tooting me 'orn at an idiot driver!?! So I'm going with 'cheap tat' instead, but verbally I now prefer to use tut or toot. What a quandary!

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard the word "tut"/"toot" (unlike "tat") until I moved from Bedford to Kent in 1999. I'm guessing it arrived in the London overspill estates in the 50s and 60s.

I work for a gift company and find I use both tut/toot and tat, to me "tat" is cheap tacky stuff, usually plastic, which has no real purpose but the quality is OK for the price. Whereas "toot" refers to poor quality goods - "don't send that out to the customer, it's a load of old toot". It could just be me that gives them separate meanings though.

I've also heard the word "tack" used instead of "tat" - from "tacky" perhaps? But it also refers to horse "tackle".

vicarage said...

Toot (rhymes with put) is the junk that accumulates in your life, its unwanted, but not poor quality, so different from tat. I got it from my Mum, born in Ilford in the late 20s so East End/Essex. You'd never buy toot from a shop, it can only become it in your house.

BillBoy said...

This word definitely travelled along the Thames from South and East London. My mum (Waltham Abbey) and dad (City roots In N London) both use it. Still would love to hear the origin, it is going to be one of the immigrant languages though.

Jackie O said...

Billboy I'm pretty convinced by an origin identified several times earlier in the thread - from a dictionary of Cockney English. It's from 'totters' - people who went through rubbish tips, original looking for bones and anything worth anything. What they collected was called 'tot'. Distant origin thought to be German for dead (bones!): tot. It's pronounced same as we pronounce toot. I love using the word toot -typically to refer to all the stuff in my car. Was only about last year that I discovered about 90% of people I know don't know it.

Unknown said...

I had the same quandary today, moving house, and wanted to frustrate on FB about the accumulation of stuff and couldn't work out how to spell toot! Now I know - Toot it is and toot it will always be.

Anonymous said...

Alan (now Lord) Sugar used to use the expression regularly on his TV show 'the Apprentice'. My understanding is that he grew up in the East End of London/Essex and certainly spent some of his formative years trading off the back of a van/in local markets, so I'm sure he would have had cause to use it from an early age. No one I have ever met uses the expression unless they are deliberately trying to copy a variation of Cockney, but my wife and I love it and we have adopted it. We're going with Toot and the Totters explanation given previously on this thread.

Anonymous said...

Oh....one more reference I just remembered, from the great Ian Dury (& the Blockheads) where "...a load of old toot..." is mentioned in the song 'Clever Trevor'.

Cassiopeia said...

I don't have anything particularly intelligent to add, but I will say that I'm a born and bred Essex girl and have always used this! My friends from the Surrey area used to make fun of me for it...

I naturally spell it toot, but came across this from a google search after thinking it looked too much like tOOt (rhyming with loot).

Unknown said...

It's a cockney and home counties word spelled tut and rhyming with put. A variation is 'toot' but is still pronounced the same. I've used it all my life and am currently buying 'tut boxes' of misc house-clearance from my local auction house

Unknown said...

My father was from New Cross and always used "tut" to describe both poor quality merchandise and junk in junk shops.

Junk shops used to be in every high-street in the '70s and had mostly house clearance quality stuff.

This was long before the term "antique" was more generally used to describe anything old and the term "vintage" was introduced for anything other than cars.

He called these junk shops "tott shops" and the people that ran them "totters".

Unknown said...

So we have been having a discussion with our 13 year old daughter about the word, when and how it is used which we all agree on, however we have come to the conclusion that the word is un-spellable. We now live in America and she asked her language arts teacher how he would spell the word, firstly she had to explain the meaning! She didn't get very far when it came to spelling.

Unknown said...

I think it should be toot, like soot 😁

Pat Francis said...

Were we the only ones who had a toot cupboard, under the stairs? The toot cupboard also had a toot basket, full of old birthday cards, cotton reels etc, and children used to rush straight there and play with the toot happily while the grown-ups had a cup of tea. PF from Plaistow, West Ham.

Unknown said...

I've just found this post while googling the correct spelling of toot/tut. I am delighted to find that my family are not the only users of this word......

Julie Ryder said...

I come from Thurrock in Essex (same area as Stanford-le-Hope) and have been using the word for years. My Grandparents also came from West Ham. I came across this site when I wanted to check the spelling of the word but I was always under the impression it was spelt tut. This must be one of the most interesting words in the English language to have a post going for so long.

Michelle said...

It IS an interesting word and I enjoy seeing people add replies so I can hear how they use the word or where they know it from.

Anonymous said...

I've heard it used on estates in Kent. Usually emphasis is on the first 't' with the last being quiet/droppped, and said as if it were 'put'.
If you understand 'innit' etc. explore https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=innit

Unknown said...

Found this site looking up the expression "pile of toot" that occurs in Paul Muldoon's poem "Horse Latitudes". I'm an American and had never encountered the word in this sense before.

Anonymous said...

Tom T, I just read your comment and looked up Paul Muldoon. I was curious as I saw he is Irish and was surprised he’d used ‘toot’ as this thread has greatly reinforced the theory that this is an East London word that has spread out to Essex (and to some extent Essex and Hertfordshire) through migration of Cockneys. I grew up in Essex to a Cockney father in an East London emigre estate, but I’ve realised that I have never heard my Irish mother utter this word! Ha ha. I’m in my 40s and it was only a few years ago when I discovered that the vast majority of people I knew in my town )who are from all over Britain) did not know this word that I had used on a frequent basis all my life! With the exception of two friends of East London origins.
I had a look at Muldoon’s poem and it kind of seems to be the correct meaning as refers to the freebooters’ plunder. (I had to look up freebooter!! American English from Dutch!) . In a dictionary on old cockney English, toot was stiff that totters pulled out of rubbish tips that they thought might be valuable. Originally it meant bones, so they picked bones out. I don’t know why bones were valuable but when I was a kid in 80s we still r’rag and bone men’ who would go round the streets ringing their bell, to get people to come out and give them their... well... toot!
I do wonder though whether, as Muldoon says the pile of toot it on the mirror, he might be referring to Cocaine? ... that you would toot. It would come down to the pronunciation in that case. We pronounce ‘toot’ like foot or put. I suspect in tooting cocaine, it would be a long ‘oo’ sound. A recording of Muldoon reading it would clarify!

Anonymous said...

ps I meant ‘and to some extent Kent and Hertfordshire’

Unknown said...

Yeeeees!!!!! I have been arguing with my wife for years, she’s from Ireland and says things “go on fire” instead of things “catch fire” so what does she know?!?! 😂
My Dad was London born and bread and I’ve always used “tut” as in King Tut. Drives my wife mad which is a great reason fo use the word at every opportunity 😁 lol

Unknown said...

I have just googled this as used it in a text to my Mum and she didn't know what I meant so I have no idea where I got it from!

Anonymous said...

RAJ informs.... Sorry to add real confusion to the matter but my understanding is that the word 'toot' (pronounced with long o's) in fact came from France probably in the 1600's when many left for Holland, Germany, Ireland and South Africa for religious convictions.The word 'toot' came to be used as a polite way of saying toilet.....sorry everyone but it was a common express-in within the entire family. It is not used within existing family conversations. Anon

Unknown said...

Ha! I'm having exactly the same dilemma, I'm trying to write a story that features an East End/Cockney old lady, and I've typed the expression: "It's mostly a load of old tut" - but I've suddenly found myself wondering if other people would have ever heard of this expression. My family are from the Bermondsey area and they have always used it, meaning a load of old junk. We have always pronounced it 'Tut', (as in put), but I wonder if other people would read it as 'Tutt', as in but! But then if I type 'toot' they'll probably pronounce it like hoot or boot. What a conundrum! I suppose I could write a load of old tat, but it doesnt sound authentic to me. I think this is a Northern expression.

Anonymous said...

I’ve come to the conclusion that this word was always verbal! From the dozens and dozens and dozens of comments on this thread, the consensus is that it’s a Cockney expression that spread out to Essex, parts of Kent and other Home Counties through the East London overspill of 60s and 70s. It’s pronounced ‘tut’ to rhyme with put, and I would venture that the second t has never been pronounced! Replaced by a glottal stop!
I did used to think it was from the French ‘tout’ (all/ everything) brought to East London by Hugonauts, as RAJ suggests in comment above, But I am more convinced by the ‘totters” origin theory, which is in a dictionary of Cockney English I came across. Their ‘tott’ was stuff they’d fish out of rubbish tips they thought valuable. Perfectly sums up the gently contemptful way we use the word for other people’s junk. I love some of the examples in this thread! Like the relative who used it to refer to everything on the family mantelpiece!
RAJ, I think the ‘toot’ you’re describing with long ‘o’s’ used elsewhere in the world is a different word.
Jackie

Panopticon said...

'Toot' as in 'ankle 'n soot'or foot, my nana from the turn of the 20th century in the Old Kent Road lambasted the modern'tut' version because this is much later, referring to the discovery of King 'tut' Tutankhamun's Tomb only in 1922. (Possibly reinforced by the Suez crisis 1956-7. The word being much older in line with the Cockney tradition of 'totters' or old rag 'n bone men, looking for tott (silent second t) out in the street. She also emphasized that you can't buy it, as that would be 'tat', because it is judged as intrinsically worthless, or technically according to the pedants floccinaucinihilipilification.

AnnieB said...

I'm from the East End too and our family have been saying it for donkeys! Toot (pronounced like put) doesn't mean rubbish, just 'stuff' or too much stuff. A load of old toot is just a way of saying there is too much stuff, usually of cheapish quality, but not exactly rubbish. So the totter could take it away and re-sell it for a bit of money. An example would be 'I don't shop in charity shops because, in order to get to the good stuff, you have to wade through a load of old toot'.

Andy said...

I used it in an email to the entire office, here in Devon, last week, asking them to clear out their, "toot". Nobody knew what I was talking about. I was born in Essex and have used the word all my life, in a lot of different places. It is now occurring to me that nobody ever had a clue what I meant! I naturally spell it, "toot", but have no idea if that is right or not (I hope so).

Whistlejacket said...

I’m Eastend born and bred, as is my father, going back generations, and I have used the word that rhymes with put (soft t) all of my life, but until texting have never written it down. It’s a disparaging term to describe poor quality, or of little use, ‘load of old...’, but is also used to dismiss an opinion, ‘what a load of old...!’ Apparently ‘load of...’ figures largely.
I too found this thread trying to check the spelling...can pronounce it, just can’t spell it! Well, not satisfactorily anyway.

Tel said...

Like Whistlejacket, I came across this thread whilst searching for the correct spelling of "toot" (this how I would spell it) as I also wanted to include it in a text. I read with interest that this could be an east London saying/word, well, I grew up in Walthamstow (in the 50's through to the 70's) and it a word that I'm familiar with and have used many times e.g. to describe something as a "load of old toot", and I've been surprised that some people have never heard the word before. Maybe it is an east London thing?

Terry said...

Like Whistlejacket, I came across this thread whilst searching for the correct spelling of "toot" (this how I would spell it) as I also wanted to include it in a text. I read with interest that this could be an east London saying/word, well, I grew up in Walthamstow (in the 50's through to the 70's) and it a word that I'm familiar with and have used many times e.g. to describe something as a "load of old toot", and I've been surprised that some people have never heard the word before. Maybe it is an east London thing?

Unknown said...

This is a great thread . I never knew it was not a real word? I was looking how to spell it. I'm from Upminster, but family from East London. So I still don't know how to spell it . I thought toot, so I will go with that

Les said...

What a fascinating set of comments! My family are from the East End of London and tut (sounds like put) was just a normal part of our vocabulary- and yes, usually as “a load of old tut “. It was a favourite word of my mother’s, and my generation used it all the time. My wife doesn’t remember her family from Dorset using it, but probably picked it up at school in Dagenham (she’s from Upminster). Our children and grandchildren who have been part of the diaspora (Oxfordshire, Cumbria, Wiltshire, Chester) don’t use it (although I suspect they might recognise it in the context of a ‘tut shop’). Another piece of passing history....

Jackie O said...

Lovely to hear that, Les. I was only thinking about the word “tut” yesterday - and then got the conversation update today from Witter. I love all the stories on this thread about generations of East End and Essex matriarchs declaring things ‘a load of old ‘tut’, including the trinkets and figurines on some great aunt’s mantelpiece. My American partner thought that ‘tut’ was a special word I had for all the stuff on the back seat of my car

striped said...

tut as in put! From the old East-end London, and in my case, from my Mother.
Isn't it strange that after all these years that there has been no
correct spelling or rather what LOOKS correct in the written word?

Anonymous said...

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/tat

Jackie O said...

No, it’s not ‘tat’. Please read the thread. In the part of the world ‘tut’ is from we use the word tat as well and it has a different meaning.

NickJaguar said...

This is the most meaningful reply I’ve seen I worked the East Eand as a boy and still use the word today. My bosses were proper barrow boy gangsters and used the word all the time. ‘Go get some furniture at the tot shop’ clear all that tot!

Richard said...

Dregeing this one up another year on, as its still the top result on Google for 'toot Essex slang'. My partner and I both use it or know what it means, but neither of us know how to spell it! She is from the Suffolk/Essex border but her dad was a fireman in Ilford/Romford and her grandparents were from estuary Kent. I am from Wiltshire but lived and worked near Chelmsford/Ongar for 6 years.

Sounds to me like the East End connection is the right answer, although she has come to the conclusion that "t'ut" gets the pronunciation across best.

This discussion all came about after I told her that a colleague of mine laughed at me today for using 'back along' to mean 'a while ago': Apparently that's a Dorset thing.

(I also use the extra Somerset 'to' when talking about locations: "where's that to, then?".

My mother (Oxfordshire) uses 'old boy' to describe any male over the age of about 16, which is a very Oxfordshire thing apparently....

"I was asking this old boy where all the piles of t'ut had gone to...." 😂

Anonymous said...

I found this thread after saying 'toot' to my boyfriend, and him replying don't you mean tat ?
It then made me wonder why he (family from Manchester) had never heard of toot. I'm from Essex and my family roots from Eastend and moved farther out to Essex from Whitechapel over the years