Your Essential Pocket Phrasebook for Scottish Vocabulary
Posted on Nov 25, 2014 by Ross Dempster
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!
- Aye (adverb)
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 (noun)
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.”
- Mingin’ – not very nice
- Boggin’ – see above!
- Dreich – (dreech), over cast/ drizzling
- Nippy – cold
- Crackin’ – very warm and sunny
- Braw – beautiful
- Roastin’ – very hot (anything over 18 degrees C)
- Barry – great
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At the end of the day you might be feeling:
- Druthy (adjective) – (Droothy) Thirsty
- Gubbed (adjective) – Tired
- Clarty (adjective) – 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.