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Scots Glossary

Aber – watchful

Aboot – about

Ain – own

Ane – one (rhymes with “gain”)

Aught – anything

Auld – old

Aye – yes

Bairn(s) – child / children

Bluid – blood

Bodhran (pronounced “bow-rawn”) – a Celtic frame drum made of hard, circular wood with goat skin tacked to one side. It is supported on the body with hands and thigh and played with a wooden rod called a tipper.

Bonnie – handsome

Braw – brave

Broch – town, fort

Canna – cannot

Canny – clever, shrewd

Canty – cheerful

Ceilidh – party

Claymore – From Scottish Gaelic claidheamh-mòr, "great sword": refers either to the Scottish variant of the late medieval two-handed sword or the Scottish variant of the basket-hilted sword.

Cù-Sìth (pronounced “coo-shee”) – a mythical, large, shaggy dog that lives in the Scottish Highlands and foreshadows a death

Deid – dead

Didnae – did not

Dinna – do not

Disnae – does not

Dram – one sixteenth of an ounce (3.7 milliliters)

Eejit – idiot

Flistert – flustered

Forbye – besides, in addition (to)

Gallóglaigh – Scottish mercenaries. The gallóglaigh arose in the mid-thirteenth century, originating on the western coast of Scotland, principally Argyll and the Western Isles (and believed to be the descendants of the Vikings). They were mighty warriors, famed for their strength and lack of compassion. There are references to them fighting in Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, France, and Sweden.

Ghillies – flexible, lace-up dancing shoes, akin to ballet slippers

Gie – give

Gied – gave

Gin – if

Gormless – (Old Norse) heedless

Guid – good

Ha'e – have

Haes – has

Hame – home

Haud yer wheesht! – Be quiet!

Heid – head

Jig – a lively dance in which there is repeated rising and falling action, resembling a hop

Keek – peek, look

Ken – know, understand

Kilts – a non-bifurcated garment extending from waist to mid-knee, with pleats at the back and a flap across the front, secured with belt, buckles, and pins. The traditional dress of Gaelic men in the Scottish Highlands, it is usually made of wool in a tartan pattern.

Na – no

Nae or no – not, none, not any

Nane – none

Nay – no

Nicht – night

Noo – now

Nyaff – little nuisance (as in a person)

Penannular – having the shape or design of an incomplete circle

Pipes – bagpipes

Reel – a fast dance tempo in Scottish Country Dancing, also the name of a figure in which the dancers move in and out of the line of dance.

Richt – right

Sae – so

Sgian dubh (pronounced “skeen –doo”) – sock knife, “black knife”

Spier – ask

Sporran – a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, a pouch that performs the same function as a pocket. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.

Strathspey – a slower, more stately dance tempo in Scottish Country Dancing, with the emphasis on grace, body position, and elegant footwork.

Tae – to

Texian – resident of Texas during the time it belonged to Mexico

Tot – seventy-one milliliters (in the U.S., a “shot” of whisky is 30 milliliters)

Verra – very

Wean – child (rhymes with “gain”) A combination of wee and ane.

Wee – small

Wee dram – an indeterminate quantity of alcohol

Wha – who

Worrit – worried

Selected Sources:

Scot Translate web site

Scots Glossary web site

Dictionaries of the Scots Language web site

Last updated 10 Mar 2024

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