Northern British Sayings #2: Snicket/Ginnel/Gennel

A “snicket” is an alleyway or passageway, and in Barnsley in South Yorkshire the word is used to mean a path, typically between fences or walls, in an open space or field, or between gardens.

A “ginnel” pronounced (pronounced with a hard “g” as in “gun”) is again an alleyway or passageway, but it the term is generally (in Barnsley) used to refer to a gap between houses (for example), or between buildings.

In Sheffield (some fifteen full miles away from Barnsley, but still in Yorkshire), these words are not used, but the alternative word “gennel” (pronounced “jennel”) is used.

Any other local variations? Please comment!

Posted by Steve Wetherill


Ginnel is used throughout the North, Leeds, Manchester, middlesbro. Jennel is east mids.snikkit is a country path , ginnel being alley way etc


Jennel/gennel is Sheffield for alleyway, when I lived in Notts, near Mansfield, we used Jitty.

Here in South Cheshire it’s alleyway or Gulley.

Gennel – West Greater Manchester, towards Warrington

In Leicestershire it’s called a Jitty.

Andrew Fisher

In Liverpool we call it a jigger

In Halifax we call it an opportunity.

My great aunt in Richmond, Yorks, when I asked what a ginnel was, replied simply, “a ginnel is a snicket with a roof on”. So they definitely don’t use the two words interchangeably there!

Spot on Helen

Interesting to see so many variations. I moved some 32 years ago to Warwickshire, where, as across the Midlands I believe, it’s a jitty.

In Doncaster it’s always been interchangeable, snicket and ginnel. But in Sheffield last week I was told to follow a jennel. It was just an open pathway in full view, when I expected a tight narrow passageway. No way I could gusset thump or knock out pills at that time of a morning.

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