If you are looking to buy in Scotland and you are from ‘outwith’ the area
you’ve probably come across some unfamiliar words and phrases, not to mention local accents.
We’ve started this (basic) translation page but there are plenty of other words to be added to the list so please send us your suggestions
Baffies – slippers
Blether – a lengthy discussion or someone who chats a lot (a bletherskite)
Bogle – a scarecrow
Bonnie – attractive or beautiful
Border Tongue – also known as Border Scots or Southern Scots. It is the group of dialects spoken in the Scottish Borders
Bosells – St. Boswells
Bour Tree – elder tree
Brae – brow of a hill
Braw – fine, good, or pleasing, especially in appearance or dress.
Burn – a small river or stream
Callant – a boy or lad. Principal man for the year’s Common Riding in Jedburgh.
Canty – Lively, cheerful, warm and friendly.
Close – a tenement entry to private property
Cornet – Principal man for the year’s Common Ridings in the towns of Biggar, Hawick, Langholm and Peebles
Cludgie – a W.C.
Coom – an arched or sloping ceiling, as in ‘coomed ceiling’
Copshaw (or Copshawholm) – Newcastleton
Cotter – a farm labourer or tenant occupying a cottage in return for labour
Crivvens – an exclamation of astonishment or horror, mainly used for comic effect nowadays.
Cundie – a drain , drain entrance, tunnel or passage
Donnart – dull, dazed, stupid
Dreich– drab, grey weather
Dub – a pool of water
Dwang – a transverse piece of wood used to strengthen joists or posts
Dyke – a wall of stones as in ‘drystone dyke’
Feart – frightened
Gala (or Galae) – Galashiels
Glaikit – stupid, foolish, or thoughtless
Glaur – mud or mire
Guddle – fish with the hands by groping under the stones or banks of a stream
Huntigowk – April Fool’s Day. A gowk is a cuckoo and only a fool would look for one on the 1st of April
Jag – a jab or injection. Jaggy means prickly or piercing.
Jethart – Jedburgh
Kelsae – Kelso
Kie – cows
Kist – a chest, box or locker
March – a boundary between one property and another. Landmarks may be: a strip of land (bauk), a ditch, wall (dyke), fence, or stone. Common Riding or Riding of the Marches is the traditional ceremony of riding round the boundaries of common land to inspect these landmarks.
Muckle – much; a large amount
Neep – a turnip. Tatties (potatoes) and neeps (along with a considerable amount of whisky) are the traditional Scottish accompaniment to haggis on Burns night
Outwith – outside or beyond
Peely-wally – pale and sickly in appearance
Reek – smokey atmosphere or a stench
Reiver – a cattle thief. Principal man for the year’s Common Riding in Duns.
Scunner – a strong dislike or a state of disgusted irritation
Shiel – a shepherd’s hut or rough shelter on or near a grazing ground. A bothy.
Skedaddle – to depart quickly or scurry away
Skelf – a splinter or sliver of wood
Skelp – a slap, smack, or blow
Slaister – to eat or work in a sloppy way
Snood – band or ribbon or pouch for keeping the hair in place, traditionally worn in Scotland by young unmarried women
Souter – a person from Selkirk
Spicket – an outside tap
Spug – a house sparrow
Stell – a protective enclosure for sheep or cattle (incase you’ve ever wondered what the beautiful stone circles on moorland and hillsides are)
Stooshie – a row or fracas
Stookie – a bulky, rigid plaster cast for a fractured limb. A stookie mannie is a plaster statue
Stoor – dust
Stot – to bounce or cause to bounce
Stramash – an uproar; a row
Tackety Bits – hobnailed boots, made famous in popular culture by Oor Wullie and Jimmy Crankie
Tapsalteerie – topsy-turvy
Teri – a person from Hawick
Tocher – a dowry; marriage settlement given to the groom by the bride or her family
Vennel – a passageway between the gables of two buildings which can in effect be a minor street. In Scotland, the term originated in royal burghs created in the twelfth century, the word deriving from the Old French word venelle meaning “alley” or “lane”
Wabster – weaver
Wheesht – To hush as in “haud yer wheesht”
Woubit – the hairy caterpillar (hairy woubit) of the tiger moth, also known as a ‘grannie’ caterpillar.
Wynd – a narrow street or alley
Yett – a gate, a door
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