I left Scotland as a five year old, and have lived elsewhere ever since. As a child I was very conscious of my accent – and even more of the dialect words my family used – cringing every time my parents uttered some Scots word or phrase my friends couldn’t possibly understand.
As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that some of those words and phrases captured an idea or a feeling much better than anything else in my vocabulary, and I like to think it’s a sign my maturity that I now use many of the same terms; certainly in my thinking, but increasingly in my speech.
1. Glakit: foolish or daft, but my mother tended to use it for geeky-looking types, so I’ve adopted it almost as a term of affection for my fellow-geeks.
2. Scunner: irritation or annoyance.
3. Clype: to tell tales, or tell on someone. Antipodeans use “dob” – as in “he dobbed them in.”
4. Drookit: to get soaking wet.
5. Baffies: slippers. As a child I absolutely hated this word with a passion I now find unimaginable. I died a thousand deaths every time my parents uttered the word, and I longed to be spirited away into a family that just wore slippers. Then the other day I found myself describing a man I’d seen out collecting his mail as wearing “trackies (sweat pants) and baffies”, and I just loved the way it sounded. Sorry Mum and Dad!!!
6. Skelp: to slap, as in “I’ll gie you a skelpit lug (ear)”
7. Dreich: dull. Cold, damp and miserable miserable weather.
8. Guddle: means to catch fish by hand in a stream, but in our house it meant any sort of messy play – not necessarily just in water. I think I spent my childhood being told to “stop guddling.”
9. Bidie-in: co-habitee. This one didn’t exist in my childhood, but it describes my relationship with the Big T nicely.
10. Clart: to coat or cover. In our house it meant to engage in play that got us dirty. Like guddling, clarting about was actively discouraged.
And because I use this one too …
11. Shoogly: shakey.
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