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      Your Essential Pocket Phrasebook for Scottish Vocabulary

      2 min read

      By Ross Dempster
      More by Ross

      Welcome to Our Wee Country

      At Wilderness Scotland, we enjoy taking travellers from around the world on amazing journeys through the Scottish countryside.

      Part of the charm of our country is our distinctive language and even those who can speak fluent English may struggle to understand some of our local dialects. But fear not, we’re here to help you learn all about bairns (kid) bampots (crazy people) quines (girls) and loons (young men). Scotland’s many dialects can change in a relatively small distance keeping even us Scots on our toes. Keep this handy phrasebook will have you havering (talking rubbish) with the locals in no time!

      Useful words

      Aye (interjection)

      Pronounced – Eye
      Meaning – Yes

      Wee (adjective)

      Meaning – Small

      Dram (noun)

      Meaning – a measure of whisky
      Example sentence: “Aye, I’d  love a wee dram.”

      Faff (verb)

      Meaning – to take time to sort something out/ get something done

      Ken (verb)

      Meaning – to know something or someone

      Scran (noun)

      Meaning – food
      Example sentence: “After we faff around here, I ken a good place to get some scran.”

      Good weather

      Crackin’ (adjective)

      Meaning –very warm and sunny

      Braw (adjective)

      Meaning – beautiful

      Roastin’ (adjective)

      Meaning – very hot (anything over 18 degrees C)

      Barry (adverb)

      Meaning – great

      Bad weather

      Mingin’ (adjective)

      Meaning – not very nice

      Boggin’ (adjective)

      Meaning – see above

      Dreich (adjective)

      Meaning – (dreech), overcast/ drizzling

      Nippy (adjective)

      Meaning – cold

      At the end of the day you might be feeling

      Druthy (adjective)

      Meaning – (Droothy) Thirsty

      Gubbed (adjective)

      Meaning – Tired

      Clarty (adjective)

      Meaning – Dirty/ muddy (mingin’/ boggin’ also work here)

      Some odd Scottish phrases we love

      Lang May Yer Lum Reek

      Translation – Long may your chimney smoke
      Meaning – I wish you well for the future

      Haud Yer Wheesht

      Translation – Hold your tongue
      Meaning – Be quiet!

      Keep the Heid!

      Translation – keep your head
      Meaning – stay calm and carry on!

      Many a mickle maks a muckle

      Translation – Many a small thing makes a big thing.
      Meaning – All the small things add up (For example: one step may add up to a big distance)

      Ye mak a better door than a windae

      Translation – You make a better door than a window (sarcastic).
      Meaning – You are obscuring my view!

      Q: Foos yer doos? Aye, Peckin Awa Min

      Translation – Q: How’s your pigeons? A: They are still pecking
      Meaning – Q: How are you doing? A: Very well thank you.

      So there you have it, a brief insight into the wonderful world of our language.

      Book a tour to Scotland

      Fancy testing your new found knowledge with one of our expert guides, fellow travellers or local innkeeper on an enthralling adventure trip around the beautiful landscapes of Scotland? Aye? Join us on one of our adventure holidays from Wilderness Walking to sea kayaking.

      Meet the Author: Ross Dempster

      “Ross's passion lies in exploring wild places in Scotland and around the world. He's been an outdoor enthusiast his whole life from the point his Father started dragging him up hills and grew up in Scotland learning from experiences around the lochs, hills and glens he grew to love.”

      View profileMore by Ross

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