After having dropped fankle into a previous node, to a small amount of bewilderment, I thought I'd add a short glossary of Scottish slang words. Some of them I grew up hearing from family, some I first heard when I moved up here, some I've overheard being screamed at people in the street. Some of them are here because I enjoy the sound of them, some because they might be handy to know if you're ever in the neighbourhood. Some are everyday, some are obscure, and I'm not telling you which because there's nothing Scots hate more (apart from the English and sobriety) than someone rocking up with a hearty 'Och aye tha noo, I'm a Campbell. ...no, from Florida, actually.' I make no guarantees as to accuracy, and disclaim all liability if use of any of the following results in you getting your head kicked in. Suggestions welcome.
Bawbag. Scrotum, or person held in similar esteem.
Besom. Say it 'bizzum'. A stroppy woman. Not as strong as 'bitch', say; the closest English English equivalent would be 'cow'. Insulting, but not exactly post-watershed stuff.
Blether. To chatter, gossip, talk endlessly. The opposite of haudin' your wheesht. Also implies a certain degree of talking shite.
Braw. Beautiful, attractive, fine. You can use it of a person if you're hitting on them, or of a sunset if you're being poetic. A touch cliche, especially in the formation 'a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht'.
Canny. Clever, although more in a cunning, knowing sort of way than book-clever. Not to be confused with cannae, as in 'cannot'.
Chib. To stab. If someone threatens to chib you, chances are they're a ned. If they actually do chib you, they're probably a radge. And you're quite possibly deid.
Clarty. Dirty, covered in mud.
Crabbit. Irritable, bad tempered or generally pissed off. Not to be confused with wabbit.
Cunt. There's no getting away from it, it's a pretty essential part of Scottish swearing, much more so than south of the border. So to speak.
Deid. Dead. Shuffled off this mortal coil and gone to join the choir invisible. One of the funniest and most depressing things I've ever seen was a funeral procession in Glasgow, with, in the window of the hearse, one of those big floral tributes, reading 'DEID'.
Dreich. Dreary, grey, depressing. Generally with regard to weather, Scotland having a lot of dreich days. May lead to being drookit.
Drookit. Soaking wet. Get caught out on a dreich day and you may end up both drookit and clarty.
Eejit. Idiot. Simple as that.
Fankle. A tangle, a knot. Pronounce it 'fangle'. So that mess of wiring hanging down from your computer behind the desk would be a fankle. You can use it metaphorically, too. If you're getting wound up, you could be said to have gotten yourself into a fankle.
Fenian. Catholic. Liable to start a fight calling anyone that. See sectarian violence.
Fitba'. Football. See sectarian violence.
Fuckin'. Occupies a position in colloquial Scots somewhere between 'and' and 'like'. Or maybe it's just the people I spend time with.
Gallus. Closest analogue would be chutzpah. Daring, bold, audacious, even stylish, but at the same time a little bit mental. From the idea that someone displaying such behaviour was headed for the gallows, which is a very Presbyterian sentiment.
Gers. Rangers football club. See fitba'.
Get tae fuck. Fuck off. Leave me alone. If anyone ever wants to make shitloads of money, find a trendy bit of Glasgow and open a cafe called Baguette Tae Fuck, you'll be raking it in.
Glaikit. One of my favourite Scots words. Having a vacant expression, being gormless.
Hingmy. A thing, you know not what it is. A whatchamacallit. A widget. Un bidule . You get the idea.
Hoachin'. Crowded. Busy. Heaving.
Huckle. To manhandle, or forcibly move someone.
Hun. Protestant. Liable to start a fight calling anyone that. See sectarian violence.
Ned. If you're familiar with English English, a chav. If not, harder to explain. Think working class teenager with a shiny tracksuit and a screwdriver in one sock. See also senga.
Numpty. Similar to eejit, but implies more clumsiness. Fairly mild, as insults go.
Minger. A particularly ugly person. Has now crossed the language barrier into the English chav lexicon.
Pal. Friend, albeit like 'mate', in English English. Someone calling you pal is more likely as not, not your actual pal. Sometimes quite the opposite.
Polis. Police. The friendly men and women who huckle you into the back of a van if you've chibbed someone of an evening.
Pure. Very much so. Really. So if something's pure big, it's really big. If it's pure mad big, it's really really big. If it's pure mad fuckin' mental big man, you're a ned.
Radge. Nutter. Someone looking to start a fight with the world. Not complimentary.
Sassenach. An English person. The word's a little bit of surviving Gaelic.
These days, something of a cliche. It's not a compliment, to be sure,
but in this day and age the kind of Scot who has a real problem with an
Englishman is more likely to just call them a cunt.
Sectarian violence. What used to be called football hooliganism. The Daily Record keeps telling me I should be outraged about it. Singing about Fenian blood or calling people Huns notwithstanding, my feeling is there's an equal number of radges on both sides, and that it's best left for the polis.
Sellik. Celtic football club. See fitba'.
Senga. See ned. Like that, but the female of the species. Not deadlier than the male, but a lot shriller. So called because it's Agnes backwards. Why that should be, I've no fuckin' idea.
Shoogly. Shaky, unstable, or wobbly.
Sleekit. Another favourite. Someone or something sly, or cunning, but pretty much only in a negative sense. Deceitful. The good kind of cunning is canny.
Stramash. A ruckus, or a commotion. Not necessarily a fight. Put the emphasis on the second syllable.
Teuchter. Someone from the Highlands, or who speaks Gaelic. Derogatory. Depending on use, carries connotations of either a big beardy fucker with a kilt and a claymore, or a gap-toothed drunken yokel who stares at aeroplanes. Basically, Scots see teuchters the way the rest of the world sees Scots.
Tight. Avaricious. Miserly. It's a fine line between tight and canny.
Wabbit. Thing Elmer Fudd hunts. In Scots, tired or exhausted. Not to be confused with crabbit, although you might be crabbit because you're wabbit.
Wheesht. Shut up. Be quiet. Used as an interjection. If you haud your wheesht, you're holding your tongue.
Get it right up ya, Webster, ya prick.