A very old word of uncertain origin common for centuries in the New Forest area of Hampshire for people from outside it. In more recent times it has spread to other parts of the south coast and indeed elsewhere, including the former colonies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia as a term for a foreigner. The term is widely used in Devon where it refers to tourists or people recently relocated from elsewhere. The word was imported to the Isle of Man in 1970 by Capt McKenzie who had learned the word in Plymouth. Commonly referred to tourists in cars who can be easily identified because all Manx number plates have either MN or MAN in them.
It has also been said to have derived from the eponymous dragon in the obsolete The Dandy comic strip "Danny and his Grockle", popularised by the movie The System. However its use in the New Forest area and local areas of Dorset and Wiltshire is well-attested by long-term residents of those areas.
grockle (plural grockles)
- (slang, UK, various parts of the West Country) A tourist from elsewhere in the country