GreeneFisher Publications™

  Sarasota, Florida, USA 

Early 20th Century Fisherrow

A Brief Glossary of Scots Terms

Auld Hornie                         -the devil

Auld Reekie                        -Edinburgh (so called due to the large amount of factory smoke at the time)

bairns                                  -children

bannock                              -a round flatbread baked on a griddle

bawbees                             -coins of small value

besom                                 -broom

birsed                                  -bruised

boiler                                   -tea kettle

bothie                                  -primitive dwelling

brae                                     -a hillock, particularly the slope of the hill side

brattle                                  -the physical feeling produced by thunder

brother-bairns                     -cousins

buckies                                -edible mollusks of the Forth

bungfull                               -large quantity

burn                                     -a small river or stream

but and ben                         -as a single phrase refers to a house

cairn                                    -a pyramid of stones acting as a monument to the dead

callan                                   -a young man

caller                                    -fresh

carlin                                    -elderly

chapel                                  -any non-Presbyterian church, particularly used to refer to the English church

clarty                                    -filthy, dirty

clash                                    -to strike or slam

clog-foot                               -an oversized or club foot

coggie-cart                           -a wooden push-cart often made from half of a barrel

couthie                                 -agreeable, friendly

crack loofs                            -shake hands

creashie-mealie                   -a dish comprised primarily of oatmeal fried in some form of fat

creel                                     -a basket, usually wicker, for keeping fish in

cruive                                    -a fish trap placed in a river, figuratively means to confine many people in one place

dafferie                                 -to fool around

dang                                     -to strike

daunder                                -to walk slowly or aimlessly without urgency

dee                                       -die

deep-plate                            -bowl

dominie                                -a schoolmaster, sometimes used to refer to a clergyman

doomster                              -the official who pronounced sentence in Scots courts of law

door-cheek                           -door-post

door-sole                              -a door’s threshold

douce                                   -quietly

dover                                    -doze off

dreich                                   -protracted and wearisome

droll                                      -somewhat crazed

dulesome                             -sorrowful, melancholy

dulse                                    -edible seaweed

efterins                                 -leftovers or after effects

eldritch                                 -eerie, queer

fain                                       -preference

fash                                      -trouble or conflict, to fret or be or make angry

fettle                                     -physical strength or force of will

foond                                    -foundation

flourish                                 -spring

gaen aboot body                  -a vagrant

Gansay                                -Guernsey

gar                                        -to urge on

gleek                                     -to jeer at

gloaming                               -twilight time near to dusk

glower                                   -to stare at

gour                                      -mucous

greet                                     -to cry

grummie                               -surly

hackit                                    -ugly

haggis                                   -a dish consisting of sheep organs minced and mixed with suet, oatmeal and onion and boiled in a sheep's stomach

hinder                                   -the posterior of a person

hip and hoy                          -to goad with excitement

hoch                                     -the thigh

howes                                  -depression

hurdies                                 -the buttocks and / or hips

ilka                                       -every

ilka body’s body                   -a popular person

ilka-day dress                      -everyday dress

jaupled                                 -dandled about

jimp                                      -slender, thin

jouk the schuil                     -to skip school

keech                                  -defecate

keek                                     -to peek at

kick-bonnety                        -an abusive game in which a boy’s hat is snatched from his head and thrown on the ground to be kicked about

kirk                                       -church

kirstening                             -christening

knappie                                -bumpy

kyne                                     -cattle

lane                                      -lone

lick-my-doup                        -“ass-kisser”

linn                                       -waterfall

loofs                                     -the palm of the hand

lown                                     -windless, calm, still

lug                                        -ear

man muckle                         -a grown man

manse                                  -parsonage

menseless                           -lacking in manners

muckle                                 -much, many

nebbiness                            -to be contradictory or nebbish

neep                                     -short for turneep (turnip)

nullifidian                              -agnostic or atheist

orraster                                 -a person who performs odd jobs as needed

oxter                                     -the armpit

partans                                 -crabs

paunch                                 -stomach

penny-jo                               -a cheap prostitute

pewling                                 -whining or complaining

pickmaw                               -a black-headed gull

pirl                                        -to twist or to be coiled

pirlie finger                           -the little finger

pockful                                 -small bagfull

pouk                                     -to tug or pluck

reavel-raivel                         -long-winded or senseless talk, figuratively means excessive disorder

reived                                   -raided, robbed

reek                                      -smoke

rise                                       -a joke

roup                                     -auction

rummlegumption                  -commotion or disturbance, figuratively refers to upset digestion

saltire                                   -a cross in the form of an X associated with Scotland’s patron saint Andrew who was martyred on a diagonal cross

sark                                      -shirt

scarletina                             -scarlet fever

scart                                     -to scratch out with the nails or an object (such as a tool like a rake or hoe)

scauders                              -jellyfish

scauds                                 -something that floats on water, particularly suds

scotch-hoppers                    -archaic term (16th to 17th century) for hop-scotch

screiving                              -writing

seamaw                               -seagull

sepad                                   -to uphold as being the truth

settle                                    -a long wooden bench

siller                                     -money

skirled                                  -something, usually a sound, that creates discord or clamor

slip                                       -miscarriage

sneck                                   -to lock

squattled                              -in a position of squatting

steid                                     -foundation

stravaiger                             -to wander

striffin                                   -membrane

sunday braws                      -church clothes

swage                                  -digest

swither                                 -to act nervously or be nervous

tackety-boots                       -hob-nailed boots

take tent                               -to pay attention to

tane                                     -contraction of the + one

tawse                                   -a leather strap with two or more tails use for schoolhouse discipline

thirldom                               -servitude or subordination

thrapple                               -the throat

thrawn                                 -twisted, crooked

thrawnie                              -Mary’s word for “zombie”, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Thrawn Janet (1881)

thrums                                 -frayed fabric; the purring of a cat

tirry                                      -commotion, quarrelsome

toom                                    -empty

trauchle                               -to drag

trig                                       -neat or trim

trojan                                   -an overgrown person

unco body                           -a stranger or an odd person

victualler                              -a merchant

wand-chair                          -a wicker chair

watterie                               -the bathroom

wean                                   -an infant or small child, contraction of wee + one

wee folk                              -the lower class

wee schuil                          -pre-school or kindergarten

widdie-rope                        -willow branches interlaced to make a rope

wight                                  -usually found in poetry to refer to a person

winnock                              -window

winnock-bole                      -a recessed window

winze                                  -curse

wulks                                  -whelks (sea mollusks)

wynd                                  -a narrow street or lane that typically winds about

yestreen                             -yesterday + evening