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  • Writer's pictureGlynis Woodhead

A rose by any other (Scottish) name ...

If you’re thinking of coming to Scotland for a ceremony, it might be an idea to acquaint yourself with some of our slightly stranger words. The Scots language has some wonderfully descriptive words, many of them almost onomatopoeic, if you put the right intonation into them. I heard a wonderful one reported today on the news that I haven’t heard for years – scunnered. It’s a great word, and for those non-Scots among you, try saying it with real attitude and see what it feels like. Fed up is almost an equivalent meaning, but you’d have to tie that in with annoyed, upset and disappointed all at the same time before you even come close.

It made me think of other words which were in regular use as I grew up and, perhaps its because I moved away from Scotland for a while, or maybe they’re not in such common use, but I thought I’d remind you of a few more:

Dreich – now this is a great one, and it describes the weather – there’s little point in explaining it further, but it certainly doesn’t mean bright and sunny.

Hoachin’ (and never pronounced with its missing ‘g’) is unbelievably busy – imagine a shopping centre on a dreich afternoon, or the supermarket on Christmas Eve morning!

A numpty is an absolute idiot – actually I use this one quite a lot when driving around the Highlands!

Glaikit – usually the look on someone’s face when they don’t even realise they’ve been a numpty.

Stooshie – a disagreement, or argument, often escalating into a fight.

Gallus – only ever used about the male species, and usually those of Glaswegian birthright who are, shall we say, vertically challenged and needing to portray a certain cocky image (it’s ok, as a Glaswegian I can say that, and I saw plenty of them in my youth!)

And then there were the everyday words for common things: goonie (nightdress), baffies (slippers), coorie-in (snuggle up), and my favourite – oxters (armpits) – all generally used in my childhood but, alas, no more.

So there you are, and if you’re here on a dreich evening, simply get your baffies on, pour yourself a dram, and coorie in for the night with a good book about the wonderful Scots language.

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