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
Achete – an oval serving dish
Baffies – slippers
Beamer – a red face due to embarrassment
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’
Fair – really; as in ‘fair puggled’, meaning ‘really tired’
Feart – frightened
Gala (or Galae) – Galashiels
Glaikit – stupid, foolish, or thoughtless
Glaur – mud or mire
Greeting – in Scots ‘greeting’ is a slightly derogatory way to describe crying
Guddle – fish with the hands by groping under the stones or banks of a stream
Hill – in Scotland ‘hill’ can be used to describe even the merest of slopes.
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.
Messages – in Scotland this is also a name for your grocery shopping.
Mind – in Scots the word ‘mind’ can also mean remember, as in “I mind when I was a wean.”
Muckle – much; a large amount
Outwith – outside or beyond
Peely-wally – pale and sickly in appearance
Poke – in Scots the word ‘poke’ can also mean ‘a paper bag’
Pudding – in Scots ‘pudding’ can also be used to describe a savoury delicacy, such as black pudding or white pudding
Puggled – tired, fatigued
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
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
Thunder-plump – a heavy and sudden shower of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning
Tocher – a dowry; marriage settlement given to the groom by the bride or her family
Turnip – generally understood in Scotland to be a swede or neep, not to be confused with the smaller white and purple ‘turnips’ which are also known as turnips.
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”
Wabbit – exhausted, out of breath
Wabster – weaver
Wean – in Scots a wean is a child. It comes from the words “wee ane”
Wheesht – To hush as in “haud yer wheesht”
Wynd – a narrow street or alley
Yett – a gate, a door
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