Speaking Scots

In Eastern central Scotland where I was born and still live, I grew up speaking two languages: English and Scots. Now some folk don’t see Scots as a language but more of a dialect. But it’s a language in my book, and has it’s own words, phrases and history. It’s still commonly spoken in the lowlands, and in the north east they speak a version called Doric. It’s also spoken in parts of Ulster.

My Dad didn’t like me speaking Scots and often corrected my speech by making me say things in English and pronounced in English than with an oary Scottish tongue. He thought Scots was common and ugly. I think it’s part of our rich cultural heritage and we should take pride in it.

So just thought I would share some Scots words and phrases with you 🙂

A’bodie/aw’body: everyone

Baith: Both

Baffies: Slippers

Blether: talk nonsense

Bra/Braw: Great, brilliant.

Cauld/Cald: cold

Clout: to hit, slap or strike

Canny: Gentle

Dreich: dull, grey, gloomy (usually in reference to the weather)

Faither: Father

Fleg: Frighten

Flit: to move (house)

Glaikit: Stupid

Greet/Greit:  to cry

Haivers: nonsense

Hen: Term of endearment for a woman

Ken: know

Lum: Chimney

Mither: Mother

Mind/Mynd: remember

Nicht: Night

Peelie-Wallie: pale

Radge: mad, angry, rage

Scunner: disklike, disgust

Snaw: Snow

Teckle: good, great

Thon: Those

Hud Yer Wheesht: be quiet!

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye!: What’s meant to happen will happen.

Ma heid’s mince: My head’s a bit mixed up.


Thanks for reading! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Speaking Scots

  1. This is rather interesting. My mother’s side is Hawai’ian and the ones still on the islands, anyone raised there, have a tendency to speak Pidgin, and it appears to be like Scots, in a sense. Phrases and words that are unique but I was discouraged from repeating them as a kid.

    Thought it was neat to read about this and see that there are other places that have unique languages.

  2. Thanks for this great post! My grandfather was born and raised in Dingwall, Scotland and I fondly remember him using a few of these terms. My aunts would call me Hen, he would refer to our chimney as a lum. Such great memories!

  3. Love it!! Keep Scottish words alive totally agree with how important it is and how easy it is lost… Such a shame that Gaelic is being lost slowly and should be kept eg on signs ect x

  4. very interesting! I`ve only a question, if I use these words when I speak English, it sounds weird? (I`m iEnglish student) For example if I use some words of my dialect in Italian, it can be not very politely, but in general everybody can understand what I say. And if I use them when I speak, I`m looking like a stupid stranger who try to talk Scottish? XD I`m sorry, I`m very curious!

    • Hi Flavia 😀

      These words are used by Scottish people, and not everyone in the British Isles understand their meaning. If I used some of these words when visiting England or Wales for example the locals there would probably ask me to explain their meaning.

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