J ust a little linguistics guide for some of my American friends who might be planning a visit to Scotland or have to deal with Scots on a regular basis... This is a non-comprehensive guide to some of the language idiosyncrasies in the Scottish vocabulary - i.e. differences between American English and Scottish.
Granted, some of the words and expressions are more universally British - not just Scottish...
Almost everyone is aware of some of the more basic differences. A Scotsman will say 'aye' where an American will say 'yeah'. A 'loch' is a 'lake', and 'wee' means 'small'. 'Cheers' is a multi-functional word meaning 'hello', 'goodbye', 'thanks', 'to your health' (as in a toast), and apparently 'get the hell outta my way, bozo'.
What follows is a list of others that I found during my stay in that country.
I have tended to avoid some of the more complex expressions for simplicity, but here are a few just to demonstrate what you might overhear on a bus or something...
|yer bum's oot the windy
(your bum is out the window)
|You're talking nonsense.
I assume this means that you are about to have your butt thrown out of
(the window) for talking nonsense...
|yer jake-ett's ona slack nail
(your jacket is on a slack nail)
|You're about to get fired.
This means the hook your jacket is on is loose and your
jacket is about to fall to the floor. I guess it's just a metaphor...
Note: sometimes the word "shooglie" is used instead of slack and I've also heard "slackie nail".
|don't geezus a slopey shoulder
(don't give me a slopey shoulder)
|Don't shuck your responsibility.
The imagery is of someone sloping their shoulder so that the responsibilities that are being thrust upon them just roll off.
|the ba's ina slate
(the ball is in the slate)
|We're done, unexpectedly. Game over.
This is in reference to when children would play ball in the
street and someone sent one into the gutters (which were made of slate).
|standing like coos on the dike
(standing like cows on the dike)
|Standing and staring, but not contributing...
This is in reference to the way cows will stand in a row along a fence (dike) with their heads hanging over (usually eating on the tall grass and staring at passers by). I've personally witnessed this behaviour from coos, so it's an especially poignant expression for me.
|the wheels fell off the bogey
(the wheels fell off the buggy)
|Everything went suddenly wrong.
It's like, everything was going fine until the wheels fell off the buggy.
|lookin' like the dog's breakfast||Looking very ragged, tired, or grungy
Actually, this makes perfect sense, but it still strikes me as an odd expression.
|running like a burst ass||As in a vehicle or piece of machinery not running well
This is apparently in reference to a "broken down" or exhausted donkey.
|He had a teaker of a keeker after I skelped him.||He had a really good black eye
after I punched him.
I put this one in (1) to demonstrate how a whole sentence might be put together and (2) I was afraid that bodily harm might be inflicted by the guy who gave it to me, if I didn't put it in!
I thought about adding a pronunciation guide, as well, but realized that some of the sounds I can't even make accurately with my mouth... much less ASCII characters! This does bring up an important point, though. There are many Scottish words that are actually the same as the American counterpart, yet completely unrecognizable. Examples of these are words like 'oot' which is really just 'out', 'air-th' is 'earth', 'their-tea' is 'thirty', 'windy' is 'window', and lots more...Nevertheless, in a few places I try to highlight the pronunciation if I think it's critical or interesting.
One other note, for the most part, I have only included words that I have heard in typical conversations and I have tried to capture the meaning from the context or have asked the user to help with the definition. At times, I have heard alternative uses for some of these words... I guess we find the same phenomenon in the American dialect... The bottom line: this is not a professional, definitive guide.
Here's some mostly simple words and expressions. Enjoy...
Example usage, notes, etc.
|anorak||waterproof jacket||Philip would wear his anorak, rain or shine.
This term is also used to describe an eccentric person, often one who wears an anorak.
|aluminium||aluminum||Technically these are the same, but the extra syllable sounds really strange. (al-lu-min-ee-um instead of al-lu-min-um).|
|antenatal||prenatal||The woman was just starting to take antenatal vitamins.
'ante' means before (as in antepasta) however when I first heard the expression I thought it was 'antinatal', which I believed should mean vitamins preventing babies... BTW, the "vit" in "vitamins" rhymes with "bit".
|aubergine||egg plant||Just in case you order a vegetarian meal sometime...|
|au pare||nanny||She was looking for a good au pare to watch her baby while she was at work.|
|balaclava||ski mask||Joe looked like a bank robber with that balaclava pulled over his face. The first time I heard this expression I was looking for a guy with a medeteranian pastry on his head...|
|banger||sausage||I'd like a plate of bangers and mash.
'Mash' means 'mashed potatoes'. So bangers and mash have these to delicacies mixed together.
|barney||fight||Those two get into a barney every time they're in the same room.
This has nothing to do with big purple dinosaurs, but I know what you're thinking.
|bees knees||cool||She thought her new hat was the bees knees.|
|ben||mountain||We had a tough hike up to the top of Ben Nevis.
'ben' is like the word 'mount' - in other words, if Moses would have been a highlander, he would have brought the 10 commandments down from Ben Sinai.
|bevy||drink||I'm so thirsty; I could do with a bevy right about now.
Presumably short for beverage.
|bin||trash can||He always placed his rubbish in the bin.
Also, trash bags are called bin liners.
|binny||trash man||The binnies came by about 6 in the morning and woke Thomas up early with all the clatter from unloading the bins.|
|biscuit||cookie||Well, they're sort of the same thing. Biscuits tend to be a bit thinner and crisper. Some might call shortbread a cookie, too. Then there are digestives that look like crackers and taste like cookies. Of course, they also have things called cookies... it's all very confusing.|
|blether||babble||He does tend to blether about the stupidest things.|
|blootered||drunk||I got really blootered last night, after visiting about 8 different pubs.
There are so many Scottish words and phrases that mean 'drunk' that I could not possibly represent them all here, but I'll throw in a few from time to time, just for grins.
|Blue Peter||telethon||Blue Peter is evidently a specific telethon, but the term is also used somewhat generically or discriptively.|
|boffin||nerd (sort of)||Don't invite him to the party, he's a real boffin.|
|bonnet||hood of a car||Lift the bonnet, let's see if the fan belt is tight.|
|boot||trunk of a car||Get the spare tire out of the boot so we can change the flat tyre.
Note, the spelling of tire/tyre. I have heard this term also used derogatorially to describe an old woman.
|bottom||back||You'll find shoes down at the bottom of the store.
The first time I heard this I must have walked right past the shoes a couple of times in my search for the stairs... Of course, likewise the front is called the top.
|Boxing day||the day after Christmas||I've heard a lot of different explanations for this holiday, but the most reasonable seems to be that on this day, people would box up some of their old stuff for storage or donation, to make room for their new stuff.|
|braces||suspenders||He often wore braces to keep his trousers from falling down.
Suspenders are garter belts.
|brattie||apron||Ian wore a brattie while he barbequed some burgers.|
|brig||bridge||You'll find a wee brig over the river just down the path a piece.|
|brilliant||good||Oh, you've brought me a cup of tea; that's brilliant.
It took me a while before I realized that people were just complementing me for being nice rather than because they thought I was exceptionally smart...
|bugger all||nothing||If we let the children at the sweeties first, there will be bugger all left for us.
Sometimes it's "bug all".
|bung||bribe||If you want that guy to do something for you, you'll have to slip him a bung.
This word apparently has none of the negative connotations found in American slang.
|Ian wore a bright yellow cagoul when he walked at night to have the highest visibility and ward off the effects of the everpresent drizzle.|
|candy floss||cotton candy||Her father bought her some candy floss at the fair.|
|caravan||camper||Her family liked to go camping in their caravan.|
|cattie||catalogue||Susan was ever the smart shopper and got much of her family needs from the catties.|
|ceilidh||a dance||He went to the ceilidh, though he really didn't like to dance.
Pronounced something like "kay-lee". This is not a specific dance, but a dance event.
|cello tape||scotch tape||He used cello tape to bind the torn page.
Ironic, I think, that they don't use the term 'scotch tape'. Also, most cello tape does not come with the familiar dispenser and is therefore difficult to use!
|chancer||opportunist||Jim was a chancer and never missed an opportunity to let it be known that he wanted to take Laura out to dinner.
'Opportunist' is not exactly correct, but I'm struggling for an equivalent. A 'chancer' is more like an opportunist that doesn't have a prayer...
|cheeky||silly||Ever the joker, Peter was his ususal cheeky self.|
|chemist||pharmacist||I'll just pop down to the chemist for some aspirin.|
|chinky||Chinese food||While I didn't want to unnecessarily promote politically incorrectness, this expression is used quite often and I don't think it's intended as a racial slur.|
|chips||french fries||One of his favorite meals was fish and chips.|
|choc'a'bloc||crowded||Traffic on the motorway was choc'a'bloc during rush hour.|
|chop & change||mix & match||We may have to chop & change this stuff to get it to fit.|
|chuffed||excited||After winning the big game, he was really chuffed!|
|chute||slide||My favorite thing at the swing park is sliding down the chutes.|
|claymore||sword||William Wallace was supposed to be nearly invincible with a claymore.|
|clenny||sanitation engineer||Jim pulled a large bin out to the street on Sunday nights for the clenny.|
|close||alley||To get to his house you had to leave the street and walk down the close.
Technically, not an alley, a close is a narrow passage between buildings and will usually have a name (like a street name). The word is pronounced as in "don't stand so close to me".
|cracker||good||That's cracker; I like it a lot.|
|craig||a really big rock||Sometimes you have to climb over the craigs before you can start to climb the munro.|
|creche||day care center||Since both her parents worked, little Elizabeth stayed at the creche most of the day.|
|crisps||potato chips||He had a light lunch; just a sandwich and a bag of crisps.
Two irritating things I notice about crisps in Scotland (1) they are hard to find in anything but the small individual lunch sizes and (2) they come in a multitude of flavors; prawn, smokey bacon, cheese and onion, ham and pickle, chicken tikka, salt and vinegar, and many, many more. In fact, the only flavor that can be hard to find at times is plain!
|cupboard||closet||I can't hang up all of the clothes I'd like to - there just isn't enough space in the cupboards.|
|curry||Indian food||Let's go out for a curry, then hit the pubs in Glasgow.
Some claim that curry is the national food of Scotland.
|CV||resume||Look over these CV's from some recent graduates.
CV is an abbreviation for Curriculum Vitae (which is probably Latin for "lies I tell to get a job").
|daft||stupid||That guy is really daft; I wouldn't trust him to turn out the lights without screwing things up.|
|dead||very||The puzzle was dead easy, so he completed it in only a few minutes.
You hear this in the states, but not as frequently.
|deefie||deaf ear||She didn't like him, didn't want anything to do with him, so just gave him a deefie while he continued to talk on.|
|DIY||building supply||The best place to find fencing materials is at your local DIY.
'DIY' stands for 'Do It Yourself', an abbreviation we use pretty regularly in the U.S., but I don't remember anyone ever referring to The Home Depot as The DIY.
|dodgem||bumper car||We went to the carnival and rode the dodgems for hours.|
|dodgy||questionable||He tried to build a fence, but when it was done, it looked pretty dodgy.|
|doesn't keep well||old and feeble||I'll not go out for a drink tonight. I'm staying in with my granny because she's alone and doesn't keep well.|
|donald duck||luck||That's just my donald duck.
This is an example of what is called rhyming slang - substitution of a well known name or expression rhyming with the intended word.
|dosh||money||I'd love to buy a round for the bar, but I don't have that much dosh.|
|dove cot||cubicle||If you looking for me, I sit in the first dove cot in the portakabins.
(1) Dove cot literally means a small cubby hole for a nest inside an aviary (2) the pronunciation is something like 'doo-ket'. BTW, portakabins is what they call temporary buildings.
|dram||shot of whiskey||Bartender! Give me a dram!|
|dross||garbage||After the parade was finished, there was nothing left but to clean up the dross.
Dross was originally the leftover coal bits and ash from coal fires.
|dummy||pacifier||When little Karen cried, her mother would just give her a dummy to suck on.|
|dungarees||overalls||Just then a farmer walked into the restaurant with his smelly dungarees, but no one else seemed to notice.|
|easy-peasy||piece of cake||At first, driving on these tiny roads was difficult, but now it's easy-peasy|
|emulsion||latex paint||I need to go to the DIY to pick up some emulsion to cover the marks on the wall.
I think "paint", in Scotland, only refers to laquer based wall coverings.
|estate (car)||station wagon||I went in to buy a hatchback, but ended up with an estate instead.|
|estate agent||real estate agent||If you want to buy a house, you should find a good estate agent.
I never bothered to ask what they call the guy that we call an estate agent...
|fairy lights||Christmas lights||She decorated the Christmas tree with ornaments, garland, fairy lights, and an angel for the top.|
|fanny||female nether region
(not the buttocks)
|This is mentioned here because (1) 'fanny' is not pornographic in the American context and (2) it is at the core of 90% or more of all Scottish humor...
The Scots love to ask American tourists what that strange belt is (commonly known as a fanny pack) and then snicker uncontrollably.
Oddly enough, some people name their young girls Fanny and no one finds that strange...
|first floor||scond floor||He entered the elevator from the lobby and pressed the button for the first floor.
What Americans call the first floor, is the ground floor in Scotland. Likewise, all the floors are off by one - by American standards. The 2nd floor is the 3rd, the 3rd the 4th, all very confusing. I like it better when the first is the first, and so on.
|firth||mouth of a river||The Firth of Forth is where the Forth river meets the North Sea.|
|fizzy drink||soft drink||I'll have a tuna sandwich with an orange fizzy drink.|
|flier||fall||James tripped over a cable and took a flier.|
|Our lease ran out on our first house, so we took the weekend to flit to the new place.|
|flog||hard sell||Joe was passionate about all of his ideas and would flog them to whoever would listen.|
|fly over||over pass||Go straight through that next roundabout and turn right just past the fly over.|
|fob off||drop responsibility||Don't fob off your chores or they will never get done.|
|footie||soccer||Do you want to play some footie tonight?|
|fortnight||2 weeks||He liked to play footie with his mates every fortnight.|
|French dressing||Italian dressing||There is no equivalent to what Americans call 'French dressing' in all of Europe (as far as I can tell).|
|garden||yard||We have a nice house with a fairly large garden.|
|gazumped||out bid||Specifically, in England, when buying a house, there is no concept of "contract pending". A person can bid on a house, the bid be accepted, they sell their own house, only to lose the new house to a higher bid. This is called being gazumped. The expression is often used to mean cheated, in general.|
|ginger||soft drink||He ordered a pizza and a ginger.|
|git||guy (dude)||Hey you worthless git; it's about time you arrived.|
|glen||valley||The grassy fields in the glen were a nice change from the craigs at the foot of the mountain.|
|gloamin||twilight||With the sun no longer visible, it was getting difficult to see in the gloamin.|
|go in for||ask out to play||I wonder if Stuart would like to play footie? Why don't you go in for him?|
|grotty||disheveled||Peter always dressed kind of grotty, so he was often not invited out to the pubs with the gang.
The 'grott' is pronounced as in grotto. I assume there is no connection to the similar American slang, 'groty' which comes from grotesque. (groty to the max, like I'm so sure, gag me with a spoon, ... You should hear my Moon Zappa impersonation!)
|gubbed||messed up||After the power glitch, the computer circuit was completely gubbed.|
|guttered||drunk||Yet another word for drunk.|
|Guy Fawkes Day||Fourth of July||These are really not the same thing, but have similar rituals and they are both about independence, of a sort. Guy Fawkes was apparently some sort of rebel who pissed a bunch of political types off and then burned down some of their govenrment buildings. The Scotts celebrate with fireworks and huge bon fires. Here is where the similarity ends... The Fourth of July is celebrated at a time where people sweat and drink beer - Guy Fawkes Day is generally celebrated on the coldest night of the winter and you drink mulled wine in front of a bonfire... if you're lucky.|
|hawk||hard sell||Jerry would hawk every idea that he had as if it was genius.|
|high street||expensive||He wore a high street jacket because it made him feel important.|
|hob||stove||She turned the fire down on the hob so the soup would not boil over.|
|Hogmany||New Year's Eve||Hogmany is a Scottish tradition where some people have an open house and others go from house to house for a short visit and a wee nip of the alcohol de jour.|
|holiday||vacation||He still had two weeks of holiday left over at the end of the year.
Note: all vacations are called holidays, not just, umm... holidays
|hoover||to vacuum (a verb)||After buying a new Dyson, she loved to do the hoovering.|
|ice lolly||popcicle||"Mum, can I have an ice lolly after dinner?"|
|icey||ice cream van||Susie ran to the icey that had stopped down the street to get herself an ice lolly.|
|iron monger||hardware store||I'll just pop down to the iron monger for some nails.|
|jacket potato||baked potato||He likes to eat simple, just a steak and a jacket potato.|
|jelly||gelatin (jello)||Nothing refreshes or entertains like a jiggly plate of jelly.|
|jiggery-pokery||funny business||There's a bit of jiggery-pokery going on around here, I can tell you that!|
|jing-bang||everything||Frederick bought a new cookery set that contained the whole jing-bang. Every cooking utensil you could think of was in his set.|
|joiner||carpenter||He called a joiner to come and fix the rotten boards on his house.|
|jumper||sweater||It's cold out today, you'd better wear your jumper.|
|keeker||black eye||She got a keeker when she fell and hit herself in the eye.|
|kirby grip||bobby pin||You learn these things when you have young girls to keep happy!|
|kirk||church||There's a nice little kirk on the corner with a great white steeple.|
|kit||clothes||The farmer couldn't wait to get his smelly kit off and get a bath.|
|knackered||tired or in trouble||I've been up all night, I'm completely knackered... or if I don't get this report done for my boss then I'm really knackered.|
|Kids love to walk through the woods looking for konkers.
There is a sort of game/contest that is very popular where 'konkers' are attached to a string and beat against each other. Apparently the first to shatter is the loser.
|lavvy diver||plumber||Jerry made good money as a lavvy diver, but it was disgusting work.|
|legless||drunk||Yet another word for drunk.|
|lemonade||soft drink||Sometimes this seems to mean lemon/lime flavored soft drinks, however some people use it generically. I'm not sure what they call that drink made from water, lemons and sugar...|
|lollie pop lady||crossing guard||I had to stop for the lollie pop lady.
So named because of the round stop signs on a stick that they carry.
|lorry||truck (not a pickup)||It's amazing how these huge lorries get about on these tiny roads.|
|lum||chimney||That house is so old the lum is about to collapse.|
|messages||groceries||He stayed in most of the week, but eventually had to go out for messages.|
(over 3000 feet)
|They have clubs in Scotland where members try to hike to the top of as many munros as they can.
The word 'ben' is used in names of mountains, where 'munro' refers to a classification of mountains.
|naff||worthless||As a bartender, Jake was naff, but he was handy to have around as a bouncer, in case a barney broke out.|
|neb||nose||Stop sticking your neb in where it's not wanted.|
|neep||turnip||A traditional Scottish dish is a combination of haggis, tatties, and neeps.
Tatties are potatos and haggis is... well, let's just call it a kind of sausage...
|nicked||stolen||I left my favorite pen on this table, but it got nicked.|
|noddy||silly||Wipe that noddy grin off your face.|
|nosey||look around||I just went into the shop to have a nosey, but had no intention of buying anything.|
|numpty||talentless individual||That numpty can't do even the simplest of jobs.|
|off his head||very angry||Once Peter's wife realized how much money he lost playing the lottery, she went absolutely off her head.|
|offal||entrails||Ground beef often contains bits of offal.
BTW, ironically, offal rhymes with awful.
|oregano||oregano||Yes, these are the same, but it's pronounced o-ree-gon-o thereabouts...|
|orientated||oriented||Another 'bonus' syllable word (or-ee-en-ta-ted instead of or-ee-en-ted).|
|pants||underwear||His belt was so loose, you could see his pants.
This is an important one to know because of the strange looks and snickers an American can receive when he says he needs to change his pants! Use the word 'trousers' instead to avoid social disaster.
|paracetamol||tylenol||I need some paracetamol to kill this nasty headache.
I'm not 100% sure that paracetamol is actually acetaminophen (tylenol), but it is definitely a non-aspirin substitute.
|paralytic||drunk||Another 'drunk' word.|
|pashed||drunk||A polite(?) form of pished.|
|pavement||sidewalk||Children must be careful to stay on the pavement when playing near busy streets.
Of course, in the U.S. streets are pavement, as well.
|peckish||hungry||I started to feel peckish long before lunch, because I skipped breakfast.|
|pelters||abuse||She gave me pelters every time I walked into the room.|
|piccies||movies||He took his girlfriend to the piccies.|
|piece-on-jam||jam sandwich||I'm not that hungry, I'll just have a piece-on-jam.
'piece' is sometimes used to refer to sandwiches in general, as in I'll just have a quick piece.
|pished||drunk||Let's go out and get pished!
I'm sure that there is a connection between 'pished' and 'pissed', but am assured that 'pished' is not merely a pronunciation anomaly. I'm told that pished is more drunk than pissed. I guess it's like the eskimos and snow...
|plaster||bandaid||You should go to the store and pick up a box of plasters for those cuts on your fingers.|
|platted||braided||Her hair was platted with a nice wee bow on top.|
|plonker||incompetant person||I can't stand plonkers who park at bus stops, forcing buses to stop in the street and hold up traffic.|
|plootered||drunk||Another word for drunk - sounds sort of like blootered... which in case you've forgotten is another word for drunk... Are you starting to sense a pattern here?|
|plug||pacifier||The best way to keep a baby from crying is to shove a plug in it's mouth. (see also 'dummy')|
|pokey hat||ice cream cone||The kids all gathered around the ice cream vendor to choose various flavors of pokey hats.
While we live in Scotland there was a Scottish Pipe Rock group named the Pokey Hats that played and danced in the streets of Glasgow. They were incredibly awesome and popular!
|pram||baby buggy||Some people in the mall will use their prams as missles to blast their way through the crowds.
I'm not even convinced that there are babies in them... They look like tiny coffins on wheels!
|prat||jerk||Joey was really kind of a prat and no one liked him.|
|punter||customer||I'm just standing at the checkout with the other punters.
'punter' is sometimes used to refer to just anyone.
|queue||line||He joined the queue of other customers waiting at the bar for their drinks.|
|quid||1 pound sterling||That car must have set him back a few quid!|
|razzle||night out||My wife wanted me to stay home last night, but I went out for a razzle.|
|respray||paint job for a car||This car would look pretty nice with a good respray.|
|ropey||questionable||The book was rather ropey with pages bound together using paper clips, staples, and cellotape.
This apparently derives from lashing things together.
|rubber||eraser||In her pencil case, she had a pencil, pen, ruler, and a rubber.
Very disconcerting when your ten year old daughter asks to go to the store for rubbers!
|ruck sack||back pack||She carried her books to school in her ruck sack.|
|rumdu||bum deal||Man, those guys at the tax office sure gave me a rumdu.|
|saloon (car)||sedan||I couldn't make up my mind between the 4 door saloon and the 5 door hatchback.|
|schemes||housing projects||I'm moving out of the schemes and into the country.|
|scone||biscuit||For breakfast, he usually just had coffee and a scone.
Technically, I think a scone is a particular, very dry, very hard, triangular biscuit made from a particular kind of flour, but then I saw a lot of other biscuit like things called scones in Scotland. A scone may or may not have meat, eggs, fruit, jam, or butter inside. For instance, an Egg McMuffin would definitely qualify for scone status. Potato scones are triangular potato pancakes and look nothing like other scones.
|scoobie||clue||That idiot doesn't have a scoobie.
Slang that is a shortened version of scoobie doo (in reference to the cartoon dog).
|scooped||drunk||He was really scooped after drinking 6 pints in about an hour.
Yet another expression for drunk...
|scratcher||bed||Not used with great frequency, this one can really throw an American when it does sneak into a conversation.|
|scunnard||annoyed||I'm scunnard - this software is crap.|
|shandy||beer & lemonade||Why anyone would want to pollute a perfectly good beer is beyond me, but it's pretty popular.|
|shattered||tired||After that long bike ride, I was shattered.|
|shiftie||look||Give this presentation a quick shiftie to make sure it's OK.|
|shooglie||shakey||This stack of books is all shooglie.|
|shot||try||Cindy asked her mum if she could have a shot on the swings.
While this is not an unprecedented usage in the U.S., it is used in Scotland in greater frequency and more universality.
|skelped||punched||I didn't like him so I skelped him!|
|skint||broke||After buying that new house, I'm totally skint.|
|skiving||being lazy||Joe was always skiving so he never got things done on time.|
|skoosh||soft drink||Sometimes I think there are as many different words for soft drinks as there are for being drunk... nah, my mistake. There's a lot more words that mean drunk. Ironically, skooshed is another word for drunk.|
|slag||put down||Why do you slag me whenever I walk into the room?|
|sledge||sled||Grab your sledge. There's snow on the big hill in the park.|
|smash||coins||I've got a pocket full of smash that I'd love to get rid of down at the local pub.
While this may sound cheap, and far be it from me to dispell the Scotish cheap-skate stereotype, one should remember that the one pound coin is dominant as opposed to the one pound note, so it is not uncommon for people to carry around 10 pounds or more of coins in their pocket. By-the-way, they don't call it the pound for nothing...
|snog||kiss||Give us a snog, would ya'?|
|solicitor||lawyer||If you find yourself in legal problems, you should call a solicitor.|
|spanner||monkey wrench||Hand me that spanner so I can tighten this water pipe.|
|spit||rain||What a dreary day, overcast with an occasional spit.|
|sporran||purse (male)||A Scotsman normally wears a sporran in the front of his kilt to hold it down in case a wind might try to lift the kilt.|
|spot on||exact||His aim is spot on.|
|spread||margerine||It is important for Americans to be aware of this, because the term 'spread' is used in conjunction with sandwich making. The Scots love their margerine on sandwiches, with beef, ham, cheese, and many other things that seem rather odd when combined with margerine... By-the-way, it tastes just like you'd think it would...|
|stollen||fruit cake||There are a number of cakes and puddings that look like fruit cake in various stages of overdoneness. For instance, a Christmas butter cake looks and taste like a very overdone fruit cake... just when you thought you couldn't make a lousy thing any worse. I didn't taste one, but a stollen looks the part of a typical fruit cake.|
|stone||14 pounds||The average weight for a man is about 13 stone or 182 pounds.|
|stookie||cast||He broke his arm and had to wear a stookie for 6 weeks.|
|stroppy||angry||Don't act so stroppy just because you're having a bad day.
Sometimes I hear this word used in a different context (bothersome, perhaps?).
(not a train)
|To catch a train on the 'tube', you need to walk up the street a ways, cross over to the other side of the road via the subway, then the underground station will be a block further along.|
|sugar||mild expletive||Sugar! I hate it when that happens!|
|surgery||doctor's office||Wait in the lounge until the doctor calls you into surgery to look at that nasty cold.|
|suspenders||garter belt||Men asking about suspenders will raise a few eyebrows. I say this from experience. See / say "braces".|
|swally||drink||Let's go out tonight and have a swally.|
|swanning||acting important||Joe was always swaning when he wore his new suit.|
|swing park||playground||There's a small swing park just down the street where the kids like to play.|
|ta||thanks||If I open a door for someone, they might respond with 'ta'.
This is sometimes uttered in a sharp, guttural grunt that bears a remarkable similarity to a Klingon battle cry.
|taking the mickey||the butt of a joke||At first I didn't know what everyone was laughing at, but finally realized that I was taking the mickey.
I have no clue as to the origins of this expression...
|tally||Italian food||Another culturally insensitive expression for food, included here for completeness.|
|tart up||make pretty||The report was looking pretty rough, just now, but it would tart up quite nicely once he put in some effort.|
|tattie||potato||Just throw a few tatties next to the meat on this plate.|
|tea||a meal||Boy am I hungry. I guess I'll go in for tea now.
Sometimes it's used for breakfast, sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner, and quite often for a snack break. 'Tea' also refers to the drink made from dried leaves.
|teaker||really good||That was a teaker of a fight that broke out in the bar last night.|
|that's us||we're done||We have this one last page to print and that's us.|
|theater||operating room||I'm sorry the doctor will not be able to see any patients because he is in the theater all day.
Imagine what I thought the first time I heard that...
|tickety-boo||great||No problems; everything is going along just tickety-boo.|
|tin||tin can||She was a lonely lady who often sat at home eating tuna from a tin.|
|toob||crazy nut||Joe was always acting peculiar - everyone tought he was a real toob.|
|torch||flashlight||You'll need a torch if you want to look around that dark attic.|
|trainers||sneakers||Some pubs in Glasgow will not let you in with Nike trainers.|
|trolly||shopping cart||Nothing irritates me more than shoppers who park their trollies such that they block the already too narrow aisles.|
|tuition||instruction||Jane wanted to learn to play the piano, so she signed up for piano tuition.
This refers to the actual instruction not the fees for instruction.
(not much money)
|I can't go out tonight, I hardly have a tuppins.|
|typix||white out||Interesting that both of these are named for the brand that made them famous.|
|tyre||tire||Mentioned only to highlight the spelling.|
|uni||university||Sharon hadn't added two numbers since she graduated from uni.
Obviously just a shortened version of university, though it is normally used as if a proper name or a specific university.
|vest||undershirt||Stephen often wore a vest under his jumpers to keep them from itching.
What Americans call a vest is called a waist coat, in Scotland.
|waist coat||vest||Stephen preferred three-piece suits because he liked the look of a waist coat.|
|wanker||unpleasant person||I don't hang around with Gordon too much; he's a wanker.
'wanker' has a mastabatory reference, but that doesn't seem to keep it out of general conversation.
|washing up||doing the dishes||After dinner she got the dishes ready for washing up.
Dish washing liquid is called 'washing up liquid' in the grocery store.
|weans||kids||I'd go out, but someone needs to watch the weans.
I assume it means wee ones - 'weans' is pronounced like 'waynes'.
|wellied||drunk||Another word for drunk, probably derives from the expression "well on" which means... drunk... well, what did you expect???|
|wellies||rubber boots||Better put on your wellies, the mud is very messy.|
|whinge||complain||Bill hated his job and did nothing but whinge about it.|
(or is it windy house)
|play house||The little girl loved to play with her dolls in her Wendy house.
Named after Wendy in Peter Pan. Several people have suggested that it may actually be "windy house" as in the wind blows right through it, but most Scotts agree it's "Wendy house".
|wonky||wobbly or weird||After the accident, one of the wheels seemed to be a bit wonky.|
|wooly||not clear||He had a plan, but most of his mates thought is was a bit wooly.|
|zed||zee (the letter)||He really knows everything that can be known about the game of cricket, from A to zed.
This example is, of course, a fabrication since it is theoretically impossible for one person to know everything about something as complex as cricket...