Monday, May 24, 2010

Best Kind

One of my photos from 2006 - "Dory in St. Shott's"
One of the Newfoundland phrases that has slipped itself sideways into my own lingo is "Best Kind."

It's a standard response to:

"How's it going?"
"How are you?"
"How's that boat in the water there b'y?"
"What sort of knitting would that be?"

"Best kind."

It's a response that cheers me up, either coming at me or leaving me. A modest pride in one's own well-being and in the work. A refusal to let the irritating nuts and bolts of life get one down.

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English doesn't do this phrase justice by a long shot. For one I've never heard either the definite or indefinite article prefixing it.

best kind n phr Colloquial formula indicating general approval; in the best state or condition; FINEST KIND.
T 393/4-67 When that puncheon was gone, there'd be usually half a barrel o' sugar, molasses sugar [left] in all those puncheons. Boy, 'twas the best kind—we loved it on bread. C 73-128 Beastins was the name on the first milk from a cow when she had a calf. This was considered very good to eat. My father says it was best kind to have boiled, strained and salted. P 141-75 How are you today? Oh, the best kind.


  1. This is new to me. I might try it out! I like your description of "modest pride in one's own well-being and in the work". I remember as a teenager the surprise people would show when they asked how I was and I would say "great" or "mighty" with a smile and a thank-you. I was just being direct, but it wasn't the done thing: the convention was for even the cheerful people to play it down by saying "Ach, not too bad" or "Sure, you know yourself now".

  2. Sounds like the Newfie equivalent of "Grand". When someone here is asked how they're doing, even if they feel like death, they'll still say "I'm grand. And yerself?" As I'm sure you know....

  3. Interesting, WWW. I wonder how it originated - translation from a language other than English perhaps. Nice!

    Back in East Yorkshire (my roots) the stock answer (something akin to Best kind) to "How are you?"
    "Fair to middlin'" :-)
    They weren't the sort to get over enthusiastic. LOL! ;-)

  4. Yes, it's way better without the article.

  5. GM:
    It works!
    I agree, I had to drop the 'Not too bads' or 'could be worse', they're quite negative.
    I still use grand now and again - especialy in response to 'best kind'!
    Oh, you made me laugh as my father's version of "fair to middlin'" was
    "Fare to Midleton" which was where he was born!
    Glad you agree!

  6. I love it - I will use it on my newfie. And I just know that I will be more than Best Kind when I meet up with him in only four days. I can hardly stay still I'm so excited.

  7. Conor:
    Oh I am so happy for you. I do hope you both will wend your slow way along and finally end up in this most beautiful part of the world!

  8. I may start saying that this summer as to the state of my mind. Best Kind!


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