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Mini Scots Glossary

Alphabetical Index

(click on the letter)



a' all
a'm I am
a'thegither altogether
abee alone
abstersion the act of wiping clean
abune above, over
aff off
afore before
again, agane against
ahint behind
aiblins perhaps
aik snag
ain own
air early
airn iron
ait, aits oats
ajee ajar, awry, off the right line
amaist almost
amerce to fine, to deduct
an if
ance once
andrea ferrara the Highland broadsword
ane one
anent concerning, about
anes once
“anes and awa" now and again
“anes and for aye" once for all
aneuch enough
anilia old wives' tales
anither another
anker a Dutch liquid measure, containing 10 wine gallons
ariette a short air
atween between
aughteen eighteen
auld old
auld farrand sagacious
auld warld ancient
avondow the River Forth
awa' away
awe to owe
aweel well
awin' owing
awsome appalling, terrible
ayont the fire beside the fire


baff a shot
bagganets bayonets
baik curtsy
bailie an alderman, or magistrate
bairn a child
baith both
ban to curse
band a bond
bang a spring, a bound
banning cursing
bantling a young child, a brat
barefit barefooted
barkit stripped of bark
barkit aik snag a barked oak stick
barm yeast
bauld bold
bawbee a halfpenny
bawdrons a cat
baxters bakers
beflumm'd fooled by cajoling talk
begunk disappointment
beild a shelter
ben inside, within
ben, to be far to be in favour
bent a kind of grass; metaphorically, the moor
bent sandy hillock
bicker a wooden vessel for liquor
bicker to throw (as with stones), to quarrel
bicker bowl, porridge-dish
bide to wait, to stay
bide tryst wait at the rendezvous
bieldy sheltered, cosy
bigging a building
bike a nest
binna be not
birkie a lively fellow
birl to toss, to drink copiously
birlieman a minor official appointed to settle local disputes
bit spot, place
bittock a little bit, a short distance
black-fishing fishing for salmon at night by means of torches
blasting puffing and blowing
bleeze, bleize a blaze
bleezing blazing, making a show
blether to jabber
blether, blethers rattling nonsense, foolish talk
bletherin’, phrasin' chield silly, palavering fellow
blude, bluid blood
blythe happy, glad
bobbit danced up and down
bodle a copper coin, the sixth part of an English penny
bogle a ghost, a scarecrow
bole an aperture
bonnie pretty
boune prepare
bountith a gratuity given in addition to wages
bourock a small heap of stones, a hut of loose stones
bra' fine, splendid
braid broad
braid-claith broadcloth
brander broil on a gridiron
braw fine, brave
brawly finely, bravely
brechan a tartan plaid
breekless without breeches
breeks breeches, trousers
brig a bridge
brisket breast
brissel-lock a turkey-cock
brocard principle, maxim
brochan gruel
brogue Highland shoe
broo' soup
brose a kind of pottage made by pouring water or broth on meal, which is stirred while the liquid is poured
brownie a domestic goblin or spirit
bruckle uncertain, unstable
bruik possess, enjoy
buckie a perverse or refractory person
bumbaized amazed, stupefied, confounded
burn a rivulet, a brook
busking preparing, making ready
buttock-mail a fine extracted by the church in cases of fornication
by-word motto
byre a cow-house


ca' to call; also to drive, to work
cadger a carrier, a huckster, a hawker
cadger a hawker
caitiff a mean, despicable person
callant a lad, a young man, a stripling
caller fresh, freshen
calm sough, to keep a to be discreetly silent
canna cannot
cannily carefully, quietly
canny cautious, prudent
cantrip a trick, piece of mischief
cap-out To drink cap-out, in drinking to leave nothing in the vessel
carle a fellow
carles fellows
carline a hag, a beldame
cateran a robber, a freebooter
caterans Highland marauders
cauld cold
cauldrife chilly
caunle a candle
caup a shell
caution security
chack a snack
chafts jaws
chamber chiels fellow prisoners
change-house ale-house, inn
chap to strike
chapman a peddler, a hawker
chappin a liquid measure
chappit struck
cheat-the-wuddie defrauding the gallows of its rightful prey
cheatry deceitful
chiel, chield a young fellow, a young man, a fellow
chimley a chimney
choul jowl
chuckie-stanes small pebbles
clachan a hamlet or village
claes clothes
clamhewit a blow
clash scandal, gossip, tale, voluble account
clatter noise
clauts clots, scrapings
clavers gossip, idle talk
clean cap out drinking deeply so that nothing remains
clerkit written
clinkum-clankum a rattling sound
cloot a hoof
clour a blow or the resulting lump or swelling
clout a rag, a cloth used for household purposes
clow a clove
cocket a customs warrant
cockle-headed whimsical, singular in conduct
cockyleeky soup usually made of a fowl boiled with leeks
codlings baking apples
cog a wooden vessel
cogfu' a basinful
coghling gasping or blowing like a person out of breath
coif a close-fitting cap
collogue to scheme together
compearance the act of presenting oneself in a court
coost to cast
corbie a crow, a raven
coronach a dirge, a lament for the dead either sung or played on the bagpipes
coup a fall or tumble, to upset
coup the crans go to wreck, to be overturned
coup the creels to tumble heels over head
cousin-red kinship
cow cut short
cowe a stalk, a twig
crack a talk, gossip
cracking crouse boasting
cracks boastful talk, brag
craig the neck, the throat; also a crag
craig neck or throat
creagh pillage
creel a basket for the back
crouse cheery, confident
crowdy a sort of pottage made of oatmeal
cuitle up to do for, diddle; also tickle
cupar- "will to cupar maun to cupar" a willful man must have his way
curliewarlies fantastic figures or ornaments on stone
cut-lugged crop-eared


daffin' thoughtless gaiety, frolicsome play, foolery
daft silly, crazy
daft days the holidays at Christmas and the New Year
daiker to toil as in job-work
darkening twilight
darn dern, to conceal
daur to dare
deaving deafening, annoying by constant talk
deil the devil
deil a haet devil a bit
deil's over jock wabster the devil to pay
deliver active, agile
dern secret, hidden; dark, desolate
ding to pull down, to beat
dings beats, gets the better of dingle
dinna do not
dirdum an ado, uproar, tumult
disna does not
divot a turf, thin sod for thatching
doil'd stupid, crazed
dooms very, exceedingly
dorlach knapsack, portmanteau
douce sober, sedate, quiet
doun down
douncome a downfall
dour stubborn, inflexible
dourlach a satchel, a knapsack
dousely quietly
dovering dozing, half asleep
dow dove; hence dear one, darling
dow'd was unable
dowff dull, listless, inactive
dree to suffer
droghling walking slowly, staggering
drow a cold mist, a drizzle
duinhe-wassal a Highland gentleman


e' en evening
e'enow just now, at this moment
een eyes
elf-locks a tangled mass of hair
eneuch eneugh, enow, enough
etter-cap a bad-tempered, spiteeful person
ettled intended
even to equal
evidents proofs


fa' befall; also who
fa'ard favored
fa'en fallen
far-awa' distant
fash trouble, annoyance, vexation
fashious troublesome
fastern's-e'en Shrove Tuesday
fat what
fauld a fold, also churchyard; hence church
fause false
fause-face a mask
faut a fault
feal loyal, faithful
feck a part, period, portion
feckless useless, feeble, weak
fee wages
fend to defend, to provide for oneself
fendy thrifty, resourceful
ferlie wonder, wonderful
feught fought
file to soil
fizzenless useless, tasteless
flae a flea
flee a fly
fleech to wheedle
fleer to jeer
fleg a fright
flemit chased, driven away
fley to frighten
fleyt railed at, scolded
flit to remove from one house to another, to transport
flow-moss wet moss, a morass
fluff a squib, an explosion of gunpowder
flyte to scold
foist and a warming-pan It was a popular report that the Pretender was a supposititious child and was introduced into the royal bed within a warming-pan
forbye besides
forfoughen breathless, exhausted
forgather to come together
foris-familiation discharge from the family
forpit the fourth part of a peck
fozy soft, spongy
frae from
fu' full
fule a fool
fusionless tasteless, useless


gabble absurd talk
gaberlunzie a professional or licensed beggar
gad an iron bar used in forging
gae gave
gaed went
gaen gone
gally-glasses armed retainers
gambadoes leggings or gaiters
gang go, move
gang-there-out wandering
gar to make, to oblige
gar'd made, forced
garring causing
gartan'd fastened with a garter
gash sharp, shrewd; also sourlooking
gate way, manner, fashion
gauger an exciseman
gaun going
gaunt to yawn
gear property, goods
gentles gentlefolk
ghaist a ghost
gien given
gill-ravager a depredator
gillies Highland menservants
gillravaging plundering, devouring
gin if, suppose, also by the time that
girdle an iron plate for frying cakes on
gite shelter
gled a kite
gleed twisted
gleg adroit, quick
glegly quickly, actively, brightly
gliff gliffing, an instant
glisk a glimpse
gloamin' the twilight
gloom a frown
glower to stare
glum sour-looking
gomeril a blockhead, a fool
gowd gold
gowk a cuckoo, a fool
gowling howling, scolding
graning groaning
grat wept
gree to agree
greet to weep, to cry
grew to shiver, to shudder
grewsome blood-curdling, ill-omened
greybeard a large earthenware or stoneware jar for holding spirits
grice a sucking pig
grieve a steward, a bailiff
grilse a young salmon
grip gripe
gripple mean, grasping
gritt great
grounsill threshold or window-sill
gude guid, God, good
gudeman husband, the head of the house
guide to employ
gulpins simpletons
gutty big-bellied


ha niel sassenach (Gaelic) I have no English
ha' a hall
ha' narra have never a
hadden holden, held
hae have
haet a whit
haggis the pluck etc., of a sheep with minced meat, oatmeal, onions, etc.
haildome sanctity
haill hale, whore, also healthy, unhurt
hallan an inner wall or partition erected in a cottage between the door and the fireplace to act as a shield from the draught of the door; an outer wall before a door to stop the wind.
hallion a rogue, a worthless fellow
hantle a good deal, a great many
“ha nun gregarach" (Gaelic) It is a MacGregor
har'st harvest
harn-pan a brain-pan, a skull
harne home
harns brains
harried plundered
harry to rob
hassock anything thick, bushy
haud to hold
hauding means
hauld a habitation
haulds places of resort
havena have not
havings behavior
heather-cowe a toft or twig of heath
hempie a rogue worthy of the gallows
her my
her-nainsel myself
hership plundering
het hot
hinder-end extremity, termination
hinderlands buttocks
hirdy-girdy topsy-turvy
hog a young unshorn sheep
hoodie-craw the hooded crow
horned nolt cattle
horning a warrant for arrest for debt
horse-couper horse-dealer
hosenet a small net used for rivulet fishing
hough thigh, ham
houlerying hauling
howe a hollow
howe a plain bounded by hills
howlet an owl
hoy to incite, to call
hurdies the buttocks, hips
hure harlot
hurley-house a large, tumbledown house
hussy a jade
huz us


i'se I shall
ilk each, every
ill-fa'ard ill favored
ill-guided ill-treated
ingan an onion
ingle the fire
intromit to meddle with
intromitting interfering; illegal handling of property
ither other
ivy-tod an ivy-bush


jalouse to suspect
jannock a bannock; a cake generally made of barley meal, peas-meal, or oatmeal
jaud a jade
jaw to dash; also a wave
jeddart cast a legal trial after the infliction of punishment
jeisticor a close-fitting jacket
joctaleg a clasp knife
joseph a riding-cloak
jouk to dodge, to duck.
jouk and let the jaw gae by duck and let the wave go by
jowing-in bell the tolling of a large bell .
justified made the victim of justice; hanged


kail cabbage.
kail through the reek a good scolding, a severe punishment
kailyard a cabbage garden
kaim to comb
kale greens, broth
keek to peep, to glimpse
kelty aff the glass quite empty
kemping striving, struggle
kemple a bundle of straw of a certain quantity
ken to know
kend knew, known
kenna don't know
kerne a retainer, a freebooter
kimmer a gossip. Used as denoting a married woman
kinrick a kingdom
kippage state of excitement or anger
kirk a church
kittle vexatious, sensitive, also tickle; stab
kittle cast a difficult or ticklish part
knap southron to speak like the English
knarry stump of an oak
kraemes warehouses where goods were crammed or packed; also a range of booths for the sale of goods
kye cows
kyloes Highland cattle
kynrik a kingdom
kythes seems


laigh low
laird a squire, a lord of the manor
laith loath
land-louper a roving vagabond; a scamp
lang long
lang lug a great deal
lang-kale full-grown colewort
lang-nebbit long-nosed
lapper to curdle, to coagulate
lass-quean a female servant
lassie lassock a little girl
lave the remainder
lawin lawing a reckonning, a bill for food and drink
leasing breeding discord between king and people
leasing-making slandering, calumny
leddy a lady
lee a lie
leg-bail to run away
“let a be” not to mention
lightlied slighted
lilt to sing cheerfully
limmer a jade; also a scoundrel
limmers hussies, jades; rogues, thieves
linking walking quickly and lightly, active
loon a fellow
loons rogues, scoundrels; young men
loot let
lound quiet
loup to leap
lowe a flame
luckie a widow. Addressed also to a housewife or landlady in general
luckpenny a small sum returned by a person receiving money in consequence of a bargain
lug the ear
lunzie string the cord of a knapsack hung at the hip


mails rents, payments in money or kind made under a lease
main-bread bread of the finest quality
mainprize the deliverance of a prisoner on security for his appearance
mair more
mair by token especially, moreover
make a spune or spoil a horn to be completely successful or complete ruined
malison a curse
malvaise malmsey - a sweet wine
manse a parsonage
mask make or infuse tea
maud a checked plaid or wrap
maun must
maunna must not
maw to mow
mear a mare
mends, to the over and above
mense sense, discretion
merk a Scots coin, value 13s 4d
messan a little dog
mettle spirit; capable of enduring much fatigue
mickle much, great, large
mickle, muckle great, much
midden a dunghill, a rubbish heap
midden cocks dunghill cocks
middenstead the place where a dunghill stands
mint to aim, to attempt, to endeavor
misguggled spoiled by careless handling
misguided misused, ill-treated
mistryst to alarm
morn, the tomorrow
mouls earth
mousted powdered with 'must' or hair-powder
muckle much
mutch a woman's linen or muslin cap
mutchkin an English pint


nae no
naething nothing
naig a nag
nainsell ownself
nane none
napery table linen
nashgab impertinent chatter
natheless nevertheless
nay-say a refusal
neb the nose
neist next
neither to haud nor to bind a proverbial phrase expressive of violence difficult to control
neuk a nook, a comer'
nevoy a nephew
nicknacket a gimcrack
nipperty-tipperty affectedly neat
nowte black cattle


ohon, ohonari alas! woe is me!
ony any
ony gate anyhow
opensteek open, or ornamental, stitch
opine to suppose, to presume
or before, ere; sooner than
ordinar ordinary, common, usual
ordinaries devices or bearings on a coat of arms
orra odd
orra-time occasionally
ou, ow an interjection expressive of surprise
ower over
owsen oxen


paddock a frog
paiks a beating, a chastisement
paitrick partridge
panelled indicted, arraigned
panged stuffed
parochine a parish
parritch porridge
pat a pot; also to put
pawnies peacocks, turkeys
pearlins a species of lace made of thread or silk
peers pears
pendicles parts
pendicles and pertinents all adjuncts and dependencies of a property except the regality
penny-fee wages
penny-wedding a wedding at which the guests defray expenses by contribution
philabeg kilt
phrasin' making long or fine speeches
pickle a small quantity of anything
pickle in your ain pockneuk to depend on your own exertions
pide to stay
pier-glass mirror
pike to strike out with the beak
pinch an iron lever
pinners lappets, pinafores, napkins
pirn a reel, a bobbin
plack a small copper coin, value the third part of an English penny
pleugh a plough
pliskie a mischievous trick
ploy a prank, a frolic
pock-pudding, a poke pudding a term contemptuously applied to an Englishman from the idea of his feeding much on this dish
pockmanty a portmanteau
poind to distrait
pootry poultry
potato-bogle a scarecrow
pottingars cooks, chefs
pou'd, pu'd pulled
poulerying pulling
pow the head
powtering poking, prodding
pretty brave, smart
provost a Scots mayor
public an inn or tavern
puir poor
pund a pound.
pund scots = 1s 8d English money
putten put


quean a wench, a hussy
queans young girls, maidservants
queez-maddam a French pear


raddle to riddle, to pierce with shot
rae a roe
ram-stam forward, headlong, rash
rant the act of frolicking
rap aff to go off hastily with noise
rap and rend to rob with violence
rathe ready, quick
rax to stretch
rax their thrapples stretch their throats
red-wud stark mad
redd to clear up, to advise, intervene between, separate
reek smoke
reft seized, robbed
refutch refuge
reik a prank, an adventure
reises rushes
reisted roasted, smoked
reive to pillage, to rob
remeed remedy.
remeed of law remedy of law, formerly applicable to the obtaining of justice
reset of intercommuned persons the harboring of proscribed people
riding o' the scots parliament denoting the cavalcade of the king to the Parliament House in Edinburgh
rigg a ridge
riggin' the top of a house
riggs arable land
rinthereouts cut-throats
rive to tear, to split, to rift
rock a distaff, a spindle
rokelay a short cloak with a long cape
roose praise
roup to sell by auction
routh's company plenty of company
routing bellowing, roaring
row to roll
rowed wrapped, enveloped
rubbit robbed
rudas a haggard old woman; also stubborn, stern
rudas cantankerous, rough-mannered
rue-bargain smart-money
rug to pull roughly


sackless useless, silly, feeble, simple, innocent
sae so
sain to bless
sain bless
sair sore
sair een sore eyes
sall shall
sap a ninny
sark a shirt
sassenach an Englishman
saut salt
saw to sow
sax six
scart a cormorant
scarted marked by a pen, scribbled on
scaur to frighten
schellum a low worthless fellow
scouping bounding
screed to rend, to tear
seamaws seagulls
searcher a town officer
sell o't itself
selled sold
ser'ing serving
set to become one (as to rank, etc.)
sett a pattern
shabble a hanger
shanks legs
shaw a wood; also a green glade, the flat at the bottom of a hill
she I or he
shear to clip, to cut, to reap
shelty a pony
sherra, shirra a sheriff
shoon shoes
shore to threaten
shouther the shoulder
sic, siccan such
sike a stream usually dry in summer; a marshy area
siller money
sin' since
singit singed
skaith harm, damage
skart scratching
skeps bee-hives
skilpit insipid
skinker one who serves out drink
skirling screaming
skreigh a screech, a loud shrill cry
skreigh o' day the dawn
skyte a nasty person, a meager person, an ugly person
slabber froth
slash a het haggis to open a dangerous business
smaik a silly mean fellow
smoky suspicious
snag a stick or branch
sneck to notch, to cut with a sudden stroke, a cut with a scissors
sneckdrawer a sly, cunning person
snell sharp, severe, terrible
sodgers soldiers
soothfast honest
sorn to demand bed and board
sort to accommodate, to manage
sorted supplied, satisfactorily furnished
sough-"to keep a calm sough" to be discreetly silent
soum a sum
souple active, supple; also cunning, subtle
sowens steeped and soured oatmeal dust
spang the act of springing
sparry-grass asparagus
speer to ask, to inquire
speerings tidings, intelligence
splore a row, a riot
sponsible respectable
sporran a purse
sprack lively, animated
spreagh, spreagherie cattle stealing; also a small spoil, paltry booty.
spreehery loot
spulzie the taking of booty or spoils
spune a spoon.
spung'd pockets having been picked
staff out o' my bicker a heavy loss
stead to be of use
steek to shut, to fasten
steer to molest
stentmaster an assessor of a town or parish
stibbler a clerical probationer
stickit a sermon broke down in the pulpit
stieve firm
stink worthless
stint stop
stirk a bullock or heifer between one and two years old
stoor hardy, rough
stot a bullock about three years old
stoup a liquid measure, a flagon
stow to cut off, to lop
strae straw
strathspey a Highland dance
streeks lies down flat
stricken fought
suld should
sum some
sune soon
sybo a young onion
syne since, ago


tae toe
tae, tane the one
taen taken
taiglit tired
take the bent to fly for safety.
tass a glass, a goblet
tass o' aqua vitae a glass of brandy
tatty a potato
tatty-pow a potato-head
tawpie a foolish, awkward girl
teinds tithes
thae these, those
that- "no that bonny" not so very pretty
thegither together
thereawa’ thereabout
thig to beg
thir these, those
thrang throng, busy, bustle
thrapple the throat
thraw to thwart, to twist
threepit averred, contended
through-ganging active, spirited
through-gaun a severe philippic, entering into all the minutiae of one's conduct
through-stane a flat gravestone
thrum a story
tig a twitch, a tap
till to
till't to it
tirrivies fits of passion
tither the other
titling a former customhouse name for stock fish
to cheat the wudddie to escape the gallows
tocherless having no dowry
tod a fox; also a bush
tolbooth a jail
took a beat (of drum)
toom empty
tow a rope.
tow on their rock business on hand
toy a linen or woolen head dress hanging down over the shoulders worn by old women of the lower classes
trews Trousers , also trousers, often made of tartan
troking a transaction
trotcosey a riding-hood
trow trust
tryste an appointment
tuik took
tuilzie a scuffle, skirmish
tup a ram
turnspit a dog kept to turn the roasting-spit by running within a kind of tread-wheel connected with it
twa two
twal twelve
twasome a pair, a couple
tyke a dog; also a person with a churlish disposition


umwhile sometimes, formerly
unchancy unlucky, dangerous
unco uncommon, considerable, exceptional
unco thing a sad thing
unfreend an enemy
unsonsy unlucky; dreary, suggesting the idea of evil spirits
uphaud to uphold
usquebaugh whiskey


vaiselle table-service; plates and dishes
varsal universal
vidette mounted sentry in advance of an army
vilipend to treat contemptuously, to speak of with disparagement or contempt; to abuse or vilify
vivers food, victuals


wa' a wall
wa's up way up
wabster a weaver
wad would; also bet
wadna would not
wadset a legal deed, usually one by which a debtor gives his lands or other heritable property to his creditor so that the latter may draw the rents in payment of the debt
wae sorry
wally-draigle a feeble person
wame the belly; also a hollow
wanchancy unlucky; dangerous
wapping stout, clever
ware wore, also waste, expend
warse worse
warst worst
warstle to wrestle
warstling wrestling
wat wet
wather weather
watna don't know, whatnot
waur worse
waur mistrysted greatly disappointed
we'se we shall
wean a child
weasand the throat
wee little
wee ajee e' enow a little awry just now
weel well
weel-faured, weel-far'd handsome
weel-kenned ganger a well known trotter
weil an eddy
weird destiny
weise, weize to guide, to direct
weising aiming
well-a-wa! wella-way! an exclamation of sorrow
wha, whae who
whang a thong
whare where
what for why
what’s yer wull? What is your pleasure?
wheen a number or quantity
whigamore a contemptuous appellation for Presbyterians
whigmaleeries gimcracks
whiles sometimes
whilk which
whin gorse
whingeing whining
whisht be silent
whisht! hush! be silent!
whummle overturn, overthrow
whuppit awa carried off
wi' with
will to cupar, maun to cupar a willful man must have his way
window-bole the part of a cottage window that is filled by a wooden blind
winnle a turning-frame
wist knew
witting knowledge
won get
wooden shoes and warmingpans the French and the Pretender Prince Charles Edward Stuart
wot know
wotna know not
writer an attorney
wud mad
wuddie, wuddy gallows’s rope.
wull will.
wush, wuss to wish, to recommend
wyte blame


yestreen last night
yet a gate
yill ale
yill-house an alehouse
yule Christmas