This page has been set up to publish your sayings, (now closed).
There are literally hundreds of old Scottish sayings, new ones and slang words. I can’t possibly remember them all, and that’s why I’m grateful to you for sending your sayings in. You must have heard your granny come out with some right old crackers, plus, there’s a whole new generation of scottish slang emerging out there.
Here Are Your Sayings …..
Means : “Go and just get lost would you”
Thanks to Keiran Hill, Perth, Scotland for this.
Means : “I’ve kind of gone off it”
Thanks to Aaron Smail, Vancouver, Canada for this.
Means : Full for now (after a meal).
Thanks to Lorna Guenter, Terrace, BC, Canada for this.
Means : Totally drunk.
Thanks to Valerie Fleming, Switzerland for this.
Means : oh what, that car is very nice.
“Weesht yer puss!”
Means : shut your face/be quiet.
Thanks to Andrew Shortreed, Edinburgh, Scotland for these.
Means : A jibe at someone who is making a fool of themselves eg a drunk person singing or someone who has just tripped up.
“Haud ma haund grannie, the band’s cummin’!”
Means : A jibe at a couple holding hands in public.
“There’s no muckle drouth the day.”
Means : Meaning it will take the washing a long time to dry.
“All his eggs are double-yoakit!”
Means : A comment on someone who boasts.
“She’s the talk o’ the steamie!”
Means : Refers to someone who is the subject of much local gossip (‘steamie’ meaning a communal wash-house.)
“It taks a lang spain tae sup wi’ a fly Fifer!”
Means : Meaning folk from the county of Fife are somewhat cunning and devious (‘fly’). (Original version “It takes a long spoon to sup with the Devil!”)
“He’s no’ the full shill’n’.”
Means : Meaning someone isn’t too bright.(Shill’n’, ie shilling, was a coin in old currency).
Means : We had to be a bit careful with this one because it could mean either a tip (money) or a punishment (being hit on the ear with the back of the hand), depending on circumstances!
Thanks to Richard Wheeler, Edinburgh, Scotland for these.
Means : To hide something.
Means : Fireworks.
Means : Mosquitos.
Thanks to Karla Wark, Calgary, Canada for these.
Means : Reference to a very thin lady.
Thanks to Malcom Lobban, Adelaide, Australia for this.
Means : You’re pretending innocence.
Thanks to Val Campbell, Las Vegas, US for this.
Means : Someone doesn’t look too well.
“Aw hallaw! Ye’ll have had yer tea”
Means : A traditional Scottish welcome to the home.
“See you? See ma fist?”
Means : Scottish threat of violence.
Thanks to Richard Wheeler, Edinburgh, Scotland for these.
Means : A friend or family member has stopped speaking to you.
Thanks to Rachel Mcghee, West Lothian, Scotland for this.
Means : ??? The first Ben is a man’s name. The second ben means ‘through’ (You’ll figure it out)
Thanks to Scott Hunter, Edinburgh, Scotland for this.
Means : Left handed person.
Thanks to Gill Thompsom, Blantyre, Scotland for this.
Means : Fed up.
Into everything but a working jaiket.
Means : Workshy.
Lying there like a ludgin hoose cat.
Means : Someone lazing about.
Handsome is as handsome does.
Means : Applied usually to a good looking man who thinks he can get away with stuff.
Thanks to James Ferguson, UK, for these.
Means : No Chance
Thanks to Ron MacMillan, UK for this.
Means : Toilet
Thanks to Dianne Cameron, Markham, Canada for this.
Means : A forward roll
Thanks to David, Houston, Scotland for this.
Means : Kitchen worktop surface (“It’s oan the bunker next tae the sink”). Editors Note : – In the West of Scotland “the bunker” was the coal cellar.
Thanks to David, Australia for this.
Means : Where you from? (Originated as fair aboots, then changed to what it sounded like).
Thanks to Sarah-Jane Pirie, Aberdeen, Scotland for this.
Means : Return soon.
Thanks to Margaret Anne Faichney, Airth, Falkirk, Scotland for this.
Means : You’re full of it.
Thanks to Carolyn, United States for this.
Means : Wipe your nose and go away.
Thanks to Iain Trainor, Perth, Australia for this.
Means : Those shoes will make your feet perspire.
Thanks to Rita Finn, Perth, Australia for this.
Means : Please stop talking.
Thanks to John McIntosh, Daventry, for this.
Means : What is your name and where are you from.
Tatties o’wer the side
Means : Everything has gone wrong.
Thanks to James, Aberdeen, for these.
Means : Awkward moment when you go to introduce someone but you can’t remember their name. “Pardon my tartle!”
Thanks to Anna, United States, for this.
Means : Can i get a pie, a bridie, and an onion one as well.
Means : How you doing?
Means : Do one, get out of my way.
Means : Soaking wet.
Means : Know.
Here’s an example of two men called ken, talking about two men called Ken, and using “ken” instead of “know” …..
Do you ken Ken, cos the Ken i ken kens the Ken you ken. Ken what i mean ken?
Means : Do you know Ken, because the Ken I know, knows the Ken you know. Know what I mean Ken?
Thanks to Ashleigh West, Perth, Scotland, for these.
Means : Sore body part
Put your feet oan
Means : Go for a walk.
Thanks to Mandy Hutchison, West Lothian, for these.
Means : Going away.
Ower (pronounced ‘ouwer’)
Means : Over.
Thanks to Jimmy, UK, for these.
Means : Big headed.
Gie’s me the Jaundice
Means : Disgusting.
Away wae the fairies
Means : Describes a simple or strange person.
Ten bob sliders
Means : School gym shoes.
Means : Training shoes.
Means : Sore body part.
Means : Scratching the body.
Thanks to Mandy Hutchison, West Lothian, for these.
Means different things : It can mean no, or really, or you’re talking rubbish! For example … A girl asks permission to leave work at the end of a shift. The supervisor says “away ye go”. The girl asks, “Do you mean ‘away ye go (as in GO!) or “away ye go (as in NO, don’t go!)”
Thanks to Liz Casciani, UK for this.
Means : Not paying attention).
Means : Over there.
Trollied, mortal, fu, guttered, sloshed, half cut
Means : Words which describe being drunk.
Granny grey hips
Means : Someone behaving older than they are.
Means : A wet cloth.
Doon the pits
Means : Down the coal mines.
Means : East coast saying for kids that hang around the streets.
Means : West coast saying for kids that hang around the streets. (Non educated delinquients)
Means : Great.
Means : Suicide.
Thanks to Gemma Hutchison, Edinburgh, for these.
Means : Left handed, (awkward fisted).
Means : Person, ( cheeky bisom = cheeky person).
Means : Cheeky, (sauncy face).
Thanks to Jane Watson, Newark, for these.
Means : to fidget!
Thanks to Claire Dillon, Carluke, Scotland.
Means : The zip on gentlemens trousers.
Means : Braces (for holding up trousers).
Means : Umbrella.
Means : Underarms.
It’s a lang road that’s no goat a turnin
Means : Things have to change at some time.
Thanks to Grace Drysdale, UK, for these.
Means : very embarrassed, extremely humiliated!
Thanks to Alice Mackenzie, Inverness, Scotland.
Means : Helping the farmer gather potatoes from the field.
Means : Quick wipe of the face with a damp cloth.
Yer aywis at the coo’s tail
Means : You’re always lagging behind everyone else.
Ben the room
Means : In another part of the house.
Awa’ fir the messages
Means : Away to buy groceries.
Means : Someone who is afraid of a challenge.
It’s gaein be awricht ance the pain has gane awa
Means : Everything will turn out alright once your troubles are over.
If ye dinnae stop yer greetin’ I’ll gie ye something to greet fir
Means : If you don’t stop crying I will smack you.
Means : Pigeon.
Thanks to Rob, UK, for these.
Means : Someone who picks cigarette ends off the street to make rollups from the tobacco in them.
Thanks to Terrence Foley, UK.
Means : Playing in water.
You could’nae see green cheese but yer een wid reel
Means : If you see someone getting something you want it too.
Thanks to Bill Barr, Carluke, Scotland, for these.
Means : Cold.
Means : Great, Brilliant.
Means : Shouted at.
Means : Piggy back.
Means : Cannot.
Means : Cold.
Means : “Sling a dingy” is to ignore someone.
Thanks to Jacqui Henderson, Edinburgh, Scotland, for these.
Translates to : Glasgow kiss – means to head butt someone.
Often used to replace the word “why”.
Thanks to Aimee, Edinburgh, Scotland, for these.
Translates to : My wife, who is not Scottish, came up with a couple of phrases but told me not to look at your page.
Thanks to Iain Campbell, Bern, Switzerland.
Means : A drain at the side of the road.
Means : Honestly.
Ma heed’s burlin’
Means : My head is spinning.
Means : You silly idiot.
Yer talkin mince
Means : You’re talking rubbish.
Thanks to Ricky Rowe, Kilmarnock, Scotland, for these.
Means : Have you been ill for a long time?
A clean shirt’l do ye
Means : You probably won’t live long enough to need another one.
Thanks to Deborah Murphy, Barrington, IL, U.S. for these.
Thanks to Jan Weir, Toronto, Canada.
Means : Do a handstand.
Thanks to Jack Smith, Woodbridge, U.S.
Thanks to Joyce, UK.
Means : A sore fight, no matter how hard you struggle, you never get the full loaf.
Thanks to Stephen Barnes, Sydney, Australia.
Means : You are getting above yourself, out of order, cocky
Thanks to Roger Turner, Torksey, UK.
Means : bad stitching which easily falls apart(sewn with a hot needle and a burning thread).
Paralysis of the galluses
Means : Lazy, unhelpful, not lifting a finger etc.
Thanks to Dorothy, Australia for these.
Means : Doing a summersault.
Thanks to Bob S, Goderich, Canada for this one.
Means : Staying up to the very early hours of the morning.
Thanks to Cate Tannock, Mauchline, Scotland for this one.
Means : I was so hungry I could have eaten a horse with its head covered in scabs.
Thanks to Stewart Bell, North Bay, Canada for this one.
Means : You stupid idiot.
Yer pints are loused.
Means : Aberdonian for your shoelaces are undone.
Thanks to Richard Neilson, Thornhill, British Virgin Islands for these.
Means : I’ll beat you up, teach you a lesson you won’t forget.
Thanks to Sylvia Hughes, Toronto, Canada for this one.
Means : Large feet.
Dinnae fasch yerself.
Means : Calm down, don’t get your knickers in a twist.
Means : Fist fight
Thanks to Jo Fairbank, UK, for contributing to Your Sayings.
Lang may your lum reek and a wee mouse never leaves your cupboard with a tear in its eye.
Means : May you always have fuel for warmth and food in the house
My thanks to Graeme McKenzie Dickson, Tauranga, New Zealand for this one.
Means : Santa will not come down your chimney because you’ve been cheeky.
Thanks to Patrick McDowall, Seattle, U.S. for this one.
Means : I’m fairly done in and have no strength.
Thanks to Lizzie Paterson, Fife, Scotland, for this one.
Means : The Boss.
Heid the ba’. (head the ball)
Means : Nutter.
A sair fecht. (a sore fight)
Means : A bad, or sad thing.
A face like a smacked arse.
Means : Unprepossessing.
A face like a bulldog chewin’ a wasp.
Means : Not very happy.
An awfy pie-faced lassie.
Means : A plain girl.
Thanks to Jacquelyn Murphie, UK, for contributing to Your Sayings.
Means : Away and boil your head. (I’ve never heard the second part)
Thanks to Julie Forsyth, Manchester, England, for this one.
Means : An admonishment to someone who worries too much.
Heid doon arse up.
Means : Concentrate on your job.
Cum intae the body o’ the kirk.
Means : An invitation to an outsider to join in.
Ye mak a better door than a windae.
Means : Comment to someone standing in front of the TV.
Thanks to David Wilson, Perth, Scotland, for contributing to your sayings.
Means : You’re not as daft as you make out.
Thanks to Lynsey, UK, for this one.
Means : Leave now, and you’ll never be back.
Thanks to Stevie Wilson, UK, for this one.
Means : A wee drink at the door, and it comes from a song of the same name, by Harry Lauder.
Thanks to Gene Gemmell, United States, for contributing to Your Sayings.
Editors note …..
The chorus goes :
Just a wee deoch an doris, just a wee drop, that’s all.
Just a wee deoch an doris afore ye gang awa.
There’s a wee wifie waitin’ in a wee but an ben.
If you can say, “It’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht”,
Then yer a’richt, ye ken.
Gang awa – go away.
But an Ben – a two roomed cottage.
Braw bricht moonlicht nicht – fine bright moonlight night.
A’richt – allright
Ken – know.
Means : Everyone mistakes this for the month of May but it refers to the May bush, when it would bloom it meant summer had began.
Awe tae the wan side like Gourock!
Means : Gourock is a riverside town built between the river clyde and high hills. “Awe tae the wan side like Gourock!” means “lopsided” as Gourock is all built up at the beachfront but sparse up the hill. It’s a west of scotland saying. (Thanks to Alistair Cameron from Glasgow for the translation)
Thanks to Vicki Lee, Lochwinnoch, Scotland, for these scottish sayings.
Means : That’s put you in your place.
Thanks to Jim Lang, UK, for this one.
Means : Think of old age as ten years older than you are now.
Thanks to May McCabe, Canada, for this one.
Means : Never discard your winter clothes until the end of May.
Thanks to Jill Fisher, UK, for this one.
Means : People only remember what they want to remember.
Thanks to Alex McBride, Scotland, for this one.
Means : It’s a reference to the boss, the head person.
Thanks to James Docherty, Scotland, for this one.
Means : ‘you’re an idiot, a nut case’.
Yer faither wisnae a glazier
Means : ‘you are blocking my view of the TV – kindly move’.
Ma heid was gi’en me g(j)ip
Means : ‘my head was really sore’ (as in hangover)
Awa ben the hoose
Means : ‘please leave me alone, and go to another room’
Ye hink ah came up the Clyde in the last banana boat
Means : ‘do you think I’m stupid’
Thanks to Keith Robertson for these.
Comments are now closed. Sincere thanks to everyone who contributed.