Whisky-stop Tour

I cannot help but look at my stats in woe. For what they do not tell me. How many I wonder, as I did when I first I made that fateful change, stop by, only to pucker brow and think.. We eble the rings kite? Is it a riddle? A tribute to James Joyce? That’s definitely not English..

And no, no, its not.


I hail from Scotland. Land of the Big Bad C, where wild red hairy beasts roam the countryside with nothing but a Primark bag to protect their modestly priced purchases  – where sheep are an endangered species – where tourists risk teeth and guts. Don’t drink the orange stuff. No matter what they promise you

We’ve adopted phonetic Scots like the language no one will ever be able to spell check. Poor Rabbie.

From Trainspotting to Outlander, Wild Grow the Rushes o’ to my granny’s best Hogmany rendition of Auld Lang Syne, there is mony a man who has attempted to capture the majesty of the Scots language. And it is a language not a speech impediment –  most of the time. But most have been about as successful as this..

The current love of heids, the sudden upsurge in men named Ken and the constant apologetic apostrophising, is but an echo, and often a funhouse mirror, of what once was a proud and noble.. well, it was a language.

Scots still exists though now more as a spice on the English roast. But for my money, it’s a spice that makes the dish. And for those who truly love words it’s a delightfully succinct and peculiarly visceral language. In some ways phonetic scots is a tautology; because what we do best is get to the guts of word and drag them out, still bloody. It can conjure images archaeologists usually need special permission to exhume, and leaves a coating on your tongue that no amount of Listerine will wash away.

Some have wormed their way into the collective consciousness – wee, ilk, pinkie – and there is no doubt it’s still evolving. This is no dead language. The Spirit that founded it is still thriving; lack of education, lazy tongues, buckfast ten-day hangover.. make your choice, we like a word that gets to the point, and makes other words redundant. Even better if we can just switch a vowel or two to achieve our desired effect while non-scots have to resort to, *bold underline add emoticon with confused mono-brow*. I’ve never said disambiguation when What the fuck you on aboot? is available.

Anyway, for those who stuck around long enough to realise the Wee Blethering Skite wis awright like, a wee bit o’ a daftie, aye but nae fun wis e’er had wi’oot yin o’ them. 😀 Here’s a short Whisky-stop guide to some of the Scots words that you might encounter on here.

Blootered v. –  I thought we may as well start with the most important, so I skipped A, since unless I add awfy which is always implied, there are actually no words for drunk starting with a.. actually, I lie. There is. There is Away. If anyone in Scotland is ever ‘awa’ in any way, and you’re sure they didn’t jump on the mega bus, its probably a good bet they are drunk.. but honestly we have so many words for this we’re like eskimo’s who drink too much. See also buggered, jaiked, fleein’, muntered, blathered, pished, in fact see any word in the dictionary and add ‘ed’. I once knew a guy who got tabled almost every night. It’s more of an inflection, a slight tip of the head and wince in the delivery, than a word.

Brigadoonery n. – here is where show not tell is called for..

Bridie n.– made of meat, gravy and grease.. but its not deep fat fried.. I think. May have to check source. Excuse me while I go get stuffed..

Ceildh n. – a scrum involving an indeterminate number of people, battered toes and occasionally a pa-de-bar.. (sometimes also rumoured to have once refered to a ‘dance’).

Dottel n. – pretty much anything wee. I am a dottel. 😀 affectionate when applied to people cause we’re cute..

Dram n. – a small tipple, usually whisky. As I said to the American tourists who asked why our shops weren’t open later, ‘we’re in the pub.’ It’s dark, its cold, we’re in the pub. You need more?

Dreich adj. – are you in Scotland? Okay, look outside..

Foosty adj. – best word ever? Means dirty, smelly, musty *see also minging, clarty, boggin

Glaikit adj. – sounds a little like something a potter from Aberdeen might use but actually just a good way of saying no one’s home and the lights have burnt oot too..

Haggis n. – and it’s a good thing we do love the inside of a drinking establishment as much as we do, for terrible atrocities happen when a Scot gets loose in the countryside, as this poor animal can attest. However, if anyone is interested in a Haggis Hunt, I know a few who can organize it for a very reasonable fee.

Ken v.  – ah ken.. de ye ken, ken? to ken is to know, but the important point to remember for all you wannabe gabaldons is that Scots is a/ a lowland language predominantly, the highlands spoke Gaelic. And b/ each region of Scotland has its own peculiar dialect. Nowadays the Neds of Glesgae can be found face doon in the waters of Leith, but some words never stray too far from their roots. If you read Trainspotting you read a book set on the east coast written by a man from the east coast. We ken ken, o’er this side. The weegies tend not to.

Ned n. – Non-educated Delinquant. Fan of white tracksuits. Shinier the better, if its decomposes before the sun goes supernova it’s not got enough polyester in it. Often suffering from nasal blockages of unknown origin. *see also radge, bampot, numptie, twat, daftie, benefits scrounger

Peelly-wally adj. – Our natural skin tone..

Scunner n. v. adj.. pretty much all round, all purpose, suitable for all uses, kind of word, that I’ve never used. But I included it as an excuse to post this..

Shoogle v. – shake. I use this a lot. Like a bowl full of jelly. I should really get to the gym..

Sook n. v. – a fantastic word which is not merely an accented version of suck. Like soor, it’s distinctly Scottish and even with my posh phone voice I pronounce it as such. Sook in particular refers to a person – and the act – who likes to brown nose as well as sooking the cream out of jammy dodger.

Swallies n. – a wee drinky poo my good chap.

Wheesht n. v. – the librarians favourite. So wonderfully easy to hiss in a reproving manner. All those s’sss for emphasssiissss.

If you want a more comprehensive source try this http://www.cs.stir.ac.uk/~kjt/general/scots.html.

But I am a firm believer that language is best savoured when used, and used well. Here’s a man who knew how to use Scots like no ither.

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, an’ a’ that
The coward slave, we pass him by
We dare be poor for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
Our toil’s obscure and a’ that
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp
The man’s the gowd for a’ that

What though on hamely fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a’ that
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man’s a man, for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
Their tinsel show an’ a’ that
The honest man, though e’er sae poor
Is king o’ men for a’ that

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord
Wha struts an’ stares an’ a’ that
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word
He’s but a coof for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
His ribband, star and a’ that
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that

A prince can mak’ a belted knight
A marquise, duke, an’ a’ that
But an honest man’s aboon his might
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
Their dignities an’ a’ that
The pith o’ sense an’ pride o’ worth
Are higher rank that a’ that

Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a’ that)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth
Shall bear the gree an’ a’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
It’s coming yet for a’ that
That man to man, the world o’er
Shall brithers be for a’ that