Say it Like a Scot

Say it Like a Scot

So it’s been 6 years since I first launched The Banter Collection and I can’t believe I’m just getting round to writing this post.  I’ve always loved the nostalgia of the old Scottish sayings and the new ones that pop up from time to time.

I thought it was about time I gave you a rundown of some of the colourful and possibly confusing words that I included in this collection.   

Got a cuppa? Ok!

First of all, know where you are

Are you in Glasgow? Well, technically you’re in Glesga. Otherwise, known as the Dear Green Place and if you’re lucky enough to come from here you’re known as a Weegie, short for Glaswegian. Travelling up to Aberdeen? Commonly known as the Granite City due to its buildings made of - you guessed it - granite! Or are you off to Edinburgh? Then we sometimes call it Auld Reekie, mostly due to the plume of smoke that used to surround the old town. 

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Toonser - Typically an Aberdeen word for city dwellers.  On the opposite side of this, anyone who doesn’t live in a city is a Teuchter pronounced "chook-ter".

Flittin’ - If you're moving house you’re flittin’.

Doon the watter -  An old Glasgow saying which harks back to the ’60s when families used to pack their suitcase and sunscreen and hop on a paddle steamer on the Clyde River, then sail off to coastal towns such as Largs or Rothesay.

But n’ Ben - And if you’re going “doon the watter” then you might end up staying in one of these.  Usually a two roomed cottage, the “but” is the kitchen and the “ben” is the living room.

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What’s the weather like?

Baltic  (absolutely freezing!)  -  A word guaranteed to be uttered at least once a day by every person in Scotland from October to March.  “It’s baltic out there!”.

Dreich (a bleak and wet day)  -  It’s pouring wet, the sky is as grey as the pavement and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa with a pot of tea, double-layered socks and Netflix.  People complain about them but I think - as long as your warm - dreich days can be some of the best days.

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Aff’ for some grub?

Salt n’ Sauce (salt and chip shop sauce) - Everyone has to try a Scottish chippie (fish and chip shop) and if you’re getting one in Edinburgh make sure to ask for it with chippie sauce, a moreish blend of brown sauce sort of mixed with vinegar.

Pokey Hat (ice cream) -  There’s nothing better than a Scottish summer and if you’re lucky enough to catch one of them, then you better grab yourself a Pokey Hat.  Don't forget the flake and raspberry sauce. 

Fly Cup and a Fancy Piece (a quick cup of tea and a sweet treat)  -  If you’re catching up with a pal for a good blether (chat) then chances are you’re going for one of these, especially in Aberdeen.

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Learn The Chat!

Foos yer Doos (how are you?)  A proper Aberdeen greeting, literal translation is “how are your pigeons?”  If you’re having a good day then you can follow it up with Aye Pecking Awa’ (yes I’m good).

Are Ye Dancin’? (want to dance?) -  One of my favourites. A cheeky but charming way to ask a lassie or laddie to join you on the dance floor.  If its followed by “Are ye askin?” then you’re in!

Winchin’ (kissing)  -  And if you’re really lucky you might be winchin’ by the end of the night. 

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If I don’t see you through the week (if I don’t see you soon) Made famous by Billy the window cleaner in the classic Scottish movie Gregory’s Girl “If I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the windae”.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense but it's a good way to say goodbye to someone.

Slàinte (cheers) - From the Gaelic word meaning health, it's a cracking way to toast. Pronounced "slan-je".  Or in full "slàinte mhath", pronounced "slan-je-var".

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A Wee Bit a' Wisdom

Whits Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye (What's for you, won't go by you)  -  Didn’t get that job you wanted? Well, this phrase is guaranteed to lift your spirits just a wee bit and remind you that something better is just around the corner and it’ll find you when you’re ready.  Positive Scottish vibes!

Lang May Yer Lum Reek (long may your chimney smoke) -  Ok the literal translation might not make a lot of sense to you but essentially it's a way of wishing someone a long and happy life.

If yer lucky enough to live in Glasgow yer lucky enough (if you're lucky to live in Glasgow, you've got all the luck in the world)  -  Bad day? A good saying to remind yourself that you live in one of the best cities in the world and sometimes that's just enough to cheer you up.

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Everyday Lingo

Bonnie (gorgeous) - “Aw yer looking bonnie today”  Great words to hear from anyone’s lips.  Can also apply to anything you find particularly beautiful, especially our lovely Scottish scenery. 

Fit a Stoater (what a beauty!)If bonnie doesn’t express your feelings enough then this is a more enthusiastic way to say it. Typically heard in Aberdeenshire.

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Barry (excellent) - A proper Edinburgh word that can be used to describe anything that is just perfect.

Magic! (amazing) - Much the same as above! “You tried the food in there? Magic!”

Gonna No Dae That (stop doing that)  - Is someone winding you up? “Gonna no dae that eh?” Made famous by the lighthouse keepers Duncan and Malcolm in the TV show Chewin’ the Fat.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it!

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Toaty (small)  -  One of my favourite words ever, “look at that wee dug, it's toaty!”.

Yer patters like watter (your chat isn’t very good)  -  A solid comeback to someone who is chewing your ear off.

And finally…

A wee mindin' (a gift for no reason) - If you want to buy a wee present to cheer your pal up then get her a wee mindin'.  I sell lots of wee mindin's here at Neon Gray!

So this is only a wee portion of the language found in Scotland, please let me know your favourite words to leave your Granny’s lips and if you'd like to see any of them in the collection drop it in the comments below.

Haste Ye Back! (come back soon)




33 Words and Phrases Heard in Scotland

Say it Like a Scot | Scottish sayings, words and meanings from Neon Gray.

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1 comment

Re lang may yir lum reek.I believe this phrase used to have ‘wi ither fowks’ coal’ added.As first footers used to bring a lump of coal,your lum would reek for a long time if you had lots of friends first footing you.So,it really means ‘hope you have many friends’ as well as long life.


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