9 Wonderful Scottish Words to Bring in the New Year

9 Wonderful Scottish Words to Bring in the New Year


I’m sure a group of linguists could have themselves a lovely long debate about peculiarities in the speech of the people of Scotland. Is Scots its own language? Is Gaelic dead? Isn’t all Scottish a dialect of English? And so on. I have no idea what the academic consensus is but as a person who lived for many years just 70 miles from the Scottish border and yet could not understand a word of what was being said to me on a trip to Glasgow I can assure you, Scotland has its own language. And a beautiful, lyrical, colorful language it is.

I’ve blethered on enough and I’m feeling fairly wabbit so read on for 9 wonderful Scottish words to bring in the New Year.

Blether is a fairly friendly word used to refer to extensive chit chat, the sort that goes on so long you need to stop for refreshments.




No, this is not a mispronunciation of everybody’s favorite floppy-eared friend, the word wabbit is often used to describe the feeling of a mild hangover or exhaustion following a long week at work.


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Unsurprisingly the Scottish have lots of words to describe bad weather. Dreich with its impressively throaty rasp on the ‘ch’ at the end most perfectly sums up the feeling of a miserable spring day in Scotland.


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To be fankled used to be a state that only referred to tangled-up wool but now it can be used to refer to anything that can get itself muddled or tatted, eg. Bicycle chain, Christmas lights, earphones, hair and thought patterns.

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A Gaelic term from Saxon times that survives in Scotland to this day, Sassenach is a mildly derogatory term that can refer to any English person.



Related to the scots word glaiks which means ‘tricks or pranks’.




Mawkit derives from the Old Norse word ‘mawk’ which quite hideously means maggot. Rather than referring to something that’s simply dirty, mawkit is used for things that are filthy or rotten.




Gutty is thought to derive from gutta-percha, a form of rubber made from the percha tree, native to Malaysia. The word gutty has been in use since the nineteenth century and was used to refer to anything made from this form of rubber.




Another friendly term to describe an act that isn’t always so friendly, to pockle is to steal but the kind of stealing that’s not real stealing, like taking paper clips from the office or helping yourself to an extra helping of lunch that no one wants anyway.

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