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. This handy phrasebook of Scottish words will have you havering (talking rubbish) with the locals in no time!
Pronounced – Eye
Meaning – Yes
Meaning – Small
Meaning – a measure of whisky
Example sentence: “Aye, I’d love a wee dram.”
Meaning – to take time to sort something out/ get something done
Meaning – to know something or someone
Meaning – food
Example sentence: “After we faff around here, I ken a good place to get some scran.”
Meaning – to have a long-winded chat
Example sentence: “He was having a right blether about the weather yesterday.”
Meaning –very warm and sunny
Meaning – beautiful
Meaning – very hot (anything over 18 degrees C)
Meaning – pretty
Meaning – great
Meaning – not very nice
Meaning – see above
Meaning – (dreech), overcast/ drizzling/ grey
Meaning – cold
Meaning – very wet/ soaked/ drenched
Meaning – (Droothy) Thirsty
Meaning – Tired
Meaning – Dirty/ muddy (mingin’/ boggin’ also work here)
Meaning – To chat foolishly.
Heard in “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers – And if I haver, hey, I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you
Meaning – Outlander/ Foreigner/ English
Heard in the Outlander series – Jamie often calls Claire a ‘sassenach’, although initially meant offensively, it becomes a term of endearment between them.
Meaning – Scotland forever!
Heard in Braveheart – William Wallace (Mel Gibson) shouts this before charging into battle at the Battle of Stirling bridge.
Translation – Long may your chimney smoke
Meaning – I wish you well for the future
Translation – Hold your tongue
Meaning – Be quiet!
Translation – keep your head
Meaning – stay calm and carry on!
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)
Translation – You make a better door than a window (sarcastic).
Meaning – You are obscuring my view!
Translation – Don’t anger yourself.
Meaning – Don’t worry (reassuring).
Translation – I don’t know.
Translation – Q: How’s your pigeons? A: They are still pecking
Meaning – Q: How are you doing? A: Very well thank you.
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