40 of the greatest Scottish sayings and phrases

People visiting Scotland can often struggle to understand the different strong accents they will find and the unique sayings everyone uses.

Scottish and Doric, Glasgow sayings and Edinburgh expressions, all over the country can be hard to follow.

Scots love language and puns, and if you really want to have as much fun as possible, you’ll want to participate.

To help you get started, here are some of our favorite classic Scottish sayings and phrases.

Whether it’s telling a joke, offering a toast, or giving a tiny bit of advice, it won’t take long for you to fit in — don’t try to mimic the accent.

• Yes, it’s true – Translation: Yes, okay. An expression used when you don’t believe something you are told.

• Yer aff yer heid – Translation: You are out of your head – a little silly.

• Pure shiny death – Translation: Really good.

• With Whit’s fur, you won’t pass by – Translation: Whatever is supposed to happen to you, will happen to you. What will be will be.

• Don’t be a little clip – Translation: don’t be a little revealer.

• Awa’ an bile yer heid – Translation: In English, it’s “Away and boil your head”. Means get lost.

• Haud yer wheesht – Translation: shut up.

• Its good ? – Translation: How are you?

• You are lucky – Translation: You push your luck.

• Beggars can choose – Translation: If you ask for something, you must not question what is given to you.

• Press view – Translation: T-shirts removed. Take off your shirt at the slightest ray of sunshine. And we literally hear every clue.

• Give me the book – Translation: It makes me sick.

• Are you going to dance? – Translation: do you go to a nightclub?

• You collapse – Translation: You are going to get slapped.

• Yer bum’s oot the windae/Yer ass is parsley – Translation: You are talking about garbage.

• I will see the photos – Translation: I go to the cinema.

• You are there – Translation: You talk nonsense/You act like an idiot.

• Ah dinnae ken – Translation: I don’t know.

• She’s a good girl – Translation: She is a beautiful girl.

• It’s crazy – Translation: To be very drunk.

• You’re snappy/You’re minin’ – Translation: You are dirty/disgusting.

• The hash of my heid – Translation: My head is mixed up.

• Your face – Translation: You are very drunk.

• No ah umnae – Translation: No, I’m not.

• Noo jist haud on! – Translation: Now hold it, slow down, take your time.

• It’s hoachin’ – Translation: It was busy.

Dinna fash yersel – A Doric expression which means do not disturb yourself.

• Talk to the devil – Translation: used when you spoke about someone and they appear.

• Up doh high – Translation: All pissed off / all pissed off.

You’re on a shoogly peg – Translation: A Scottish term meaning you are on your last warning (shaky ankle).

Mony a mickle make a muckle – Translation: This famous expression translates to “many small amounts make a much larger one”.

just trauchled – Translation: A Doric phrase for exhaustion.

It’s blowing an ootside hoolie! – Translation: It means there is a lot of wind outside.

• They are the Heid-bummer/High Heid Yin – Translation: here, the Scots call it their boss.

gi.e. a bosie – Translation: A Doric phrase that translates to “give us a hug”.

• Coorie in – Translation: Snuggle up

• It’s Barry- Translation: No, you are not referring to a person called Barry, in Edinburgh, you are saying something is fine.

• Heid straight to that circle – Translation: if you are in Dundee and someone mentions a circle, they are usually referring to a roundabout.

Gie it miss – Translation: Give it some enthusiasm

It’s just dreich ootside! – Translation: The weather is ‘minging’ (mostly wet and cold)

Don’t miss the best cultural and heritage stories from across Scotland. Sign up for our bi-weekly Scotland Now newsletter here.

Comments are closed.