- noun a ‘softie’, a weak person. A schoolchildren’s word heard from the 1930s onwards, particularly in the north of England. It is now rare, but not quite archaic, and comes from a dialect form of ‘marred’ which has the specific sense of spoilt or sulky. Anthony Burgess mentions that the word was used of him by tormentors during his childhood. Mardie has also been heard in use as an adjective.