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Mackem

Posted by Ian (alias 'Beefy') on February 06, 2003

Here's another one...

Mackem: Person born within site of the Wear. Definitions vary as follows, with the first definition being considered the most important:

a) Anyone born within the boundaries of the original town of Sunderland, not including Washington and Houghton - le - Spring added later as parts of the City of Sunderland.

b) Anyone born within the boundaries of the Borough or the City of Sunderland (Sunderland became a city in 1992), including Washington and Houghton-le-Spring.

c) Anyone born within the boundaries of the city, plus Seaham, Murton, Easington and other places defined as being in the old East Durham Coalfields.

d) Anyone born within site of the Wear, from the source up at Wearhead to the mouth of the river at Monkwearmouth. This therefore includes places such as Durham, Bishop Auckland, Wolsingham and Stanhope. Definitions of 'Mackem' mostly don't include these latter areas.

The term is derived from Mack'em and Tack'em, dating from the early ship building industry (i.e. the people on Wearside 'mak[e] them' and other people 'tak[e] them') and started off as an insult to the people of Sunderland by the Geordies. In recent years, however, the people of Sunderland have taken the name to be part of their identity as Wearsiders.

Teessiders or 'Smogs' sometimes refer to Mackems as 'Plastic Geordies', meaning that they sound like Geordies, but they're not quite the real thing.

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So which of the above accurately defines a Mackem?

Ian