Border Tongue Gobbledygook Buster

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

Brambles – blackberries; the fruit of the bramble bush

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

Gowans – white or yellow field flowers / daisies

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

Neep – a swede (see ‘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

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

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

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”

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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