Scottish Book Trust have compiled a list of ‘iconic Scots words’ and I’m so glad they did. I’m still floundering when it comes to even the passive understanding of some of them, let alone being able to use them, accurately or not. Please let there never be a test on Scots to continue living here!
1. Beastie. Familiar and affectionate contraction of beast.
2. Besom. Also bissom, bizzem, bizzum. A term of contempt applied jocularly to a woman or young girl.
3. Braw. Also bra’, braa. Of things: fine, splendid, illustrious; also used ironically.
4. Bumfle. Also bumfill. An untidy bundle; a pucker, ruffle, in a garment.
5. Burn. A brook or stream, also known as the water used in brewing.
6. Clipe. Also clype, klipe, claip. To tell tales about, inform against someone.
7. Collie-buckie. Also coalie-back(ie), coalie buck(ie), collie-back(ie), cuddie-back. A piggy-back, a ride on one’s shoulders.
8. Dreich. Long-drawn-out, protracted, hence tedious, wearisome.
9. Dwam. A stupor, a trance; a day-dream, reverie.
10. Eeksie-peeksie. Also eeksy-peeksy. On an equality, much alike, six and half a dozen.
11. Fankle. Also fangle. To tangle, ravel, mix up.
12. Glaikit. Also gleckit, gleekit. Stupid, foolish; thoughtless, irresponsible, flighty, frivolous.
13. Gloamin. Evening twilight, dusk.
14. Guising. Also guisin. Mummer, masquerader, especially in modern times one of a party of children who go in disguise from door to door at various festivals.
15. Haver. Also haiver. To talk in a foolish or trivial manner, speak nonsense, to babble, gossip.
16. Ken. To know, be aware of, apprehend, learn.
17. Neeps. Turnip, often served with haggis and tatties.
18. Nyaff. Also nyaf. A small, conceited, impudent, chattering fellow.
19. Outwith. Also ootwith. Outside, out of, beyond.
20. Piece. A piece of bread and butter, jam, or the like, a snack, usually of bread, scone or oatcake, a sandwich.
21. Scunnered. Also scunnert. To make (one) bored, uninterested or antipathetic.
22. Shoogle. Also shoggle, schochle. To shake, joggle, to cause to totter or rock, to swing backwards and forwards.
23. Sitooterie. In a restaurant etc., an area where patrons can sit outside; a conservatory.
24. Sleekit. Insinuating, sly, cunning, specious, not altogether to be trusted.
25. Smirr. Also smir. A fine rain, drizzle, occas. also of sleet or snow.
26. Smoorikin. Also smooriken. To exchange kisses, to cuddle, ‘canoodle’
27. Stappit. Blocked, choked, stuffed.
28. Totie. Also totty, toatie. Small, diminutive, tiny.
29. Wabbit. Also wubbit, wappit. Exhausted, tired out, played out, feeble, without energy.
30. Wheest. Also whisht, weesht. To silence, to cause to be quiet, to hush, quieten.
For Book Week Scotland, later this month, you can vote for your favourite word. Sitooterie has a certain ring to it, I feel. But I’ll stop havering now.