- Descriptive Adjectives
Here are some braw words!
- "Braw" - If something is "braw" it is excellent, as in the well worn music hall phrase "It's a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht, the nicht". "Braw" is derived from "brave"
- "Bear the gree" - This is the motto of Bearsden, a smart suburban Glasgow burgh. Few people living there know that it means "Excel!"
- "Beezer" - Something excellent. Most of the boys and girls who bought a comic named the "Beezer" did not know that was what it meant.
- "Brammer" - In the West of Scotland this is used to describe anything which is very good as in "That's a brammer new caur ye hiv". It is said to derive from the Hindu god Brahma, one of the most important of the gods and since it is of relatively recent origin it is possible.
- Couthie - agreeable, genial, kindly, sociable, friendly, homely, unsophisticated. A simple word with a lot of meanings! Often associated woth "cantie (cheerful, pleasant)as in "cantie and couthie and kindly the best" as in the song "Westering Home".
- "By-ordinar" - extraordinary, unusual or outstanding.
- "Ferlie" - a marvel and a wonder. Derived from a Norse word "ferligr" for dreadful or monstrous.
- "Gallus" - Originally used to describe someone who was self-confident and daring it is now a word of approval in Glasgow. It is derived from "gallows" and originally described someone who was a rascal. Not to be confused with "galluses" which are braces for holding up trousers (but no doubt derived also from the gallows...)
- "Gey" - very or exceptional. "It gets gey warm in here"
- "Lichtsome" - delightful. If you are delighted then you are "hert gled".
- "Muckle" - very large. "Ye muckle sumph!" = "You big idiot!"
- "Nae bad" - not bad or, in other words, quite good!
- "A Stoater" - Really exceptional, often used by boys to describe a girl regarded as a "wee smasher". The same word can be used as a verb meaning to stagger as in "He stoatered up the road from the pub."
- "Unco braw" - pronounced "ung-ka" unca means very or extremely and is surprisingly derived from "uncouth"; while "braw" means excellent and is the Scots form of "brave". The "unco guid" on the other hand, are rigidly righteous as in the Burns poem "Address to the Unco Guid".
- "Ya beauty!" - an exclamation of delight and approval.
Having covered some "braw" words, we are being much more "dour" in this section.
- "Dour" - rhymes with 'moor' and describes someone who is stern, severe and gloomy. Someone who is "glumshie" is even more sullen and bad tempered.
- Drookit Totally soaked, usually from being out in the rain. On the other hand, droothy describes a thirsty person who needs a drink - especially an alcoholic one!
- Glaikit is one of many Scots words to describe someone who lacks intelligence, in this case someone who is foolish and thoughtless - others are bampot (tending to be really crazy) and blethering skite is someone who talks a load of nonsense.
- "Greetin' face" or "torn face" and "soor face" are all used to describe someone who is looking miserable.
- Mawkit means very dirty as in "your semmit is mawkit". Semmit? - why that's an under-vest!
- Peely wally Pale, sick and unhealthy such as "He's lookin awfy peely wally. He needs a good holiday".
- "Pettit lip" - someone who has has a sullen, sulky expression.
- "Wabbit" - Nothing to do with Roger, just exhausted and miserable - often associated with the way you feel with a really head cold.
- "Wha' stole yer scone" and "Wha caud ye patten face my bonnie wee lamb" are used to greet someone who is looking glum.
Some words to use when you are impatient and discontented.
- "Awa wi ye" - expressing incredulity...
- "Go to Banff" or "Gang tae Buckie" or "Go tae Freuchie" or "Go tae Freuchie and fry mice" or "Go to Hexham" - all variations on wishing that the individual would go to the everlasting bonfires....
- "Ham-a-haddie" - an unlikely story.
- "Hoch aye" - a resigned 'yes' but with no great enthusiasm.
- "Hoots mon" - dismissing someone else's opinion.
- "I hae ma doots" - I am very dubious about this....
- "Maybe aye and maybe hooch aye" - I'm not convinced....
- "Michty me" - said when showing surprise or even exasperation.
- "See someone far enough" - annoyed with someone and wishing they would disappear.
- "You're a bletherin' skite" - You are talking nonsense!
In this section we're becoming a bit exhausted and careworn!
- "A sair pech" - an exhausting struggle.
- "Cauld comfort" - unfriendly and inhospitable.
- "Crabbit" - bad tempered.
- "Doon moued" - literally "down in the mouth" or depressed.
- "Dowie" - sad and dispirited. "Dinna be sae dowie, my wee lamb, it micht never happen!" If things get really bad then the person may well start to "bubble" (weep in a snivelling, blubbering fashion) or may even "have a guid greet" (have a good cry).
- "Dreich" - the archetypical, expressive, Scots word for dreary and hard to bear. Often applied to a dull, damp winter's day!
- "Fiddle face" - a long face.
- "Girn" - to complain peevishly as in "He's a right girn, so he is." Often used about irritable children who "girn" but can be applied to adults too!
- "Glower" - to scowl or look at fiercely.
- "Greetin faced" - someone who always looks miserable. Such people are likely to be asked "Who stole your scone?"
- "Hing the pettit lip" - to sulk or have an injured expression on your face as in Don't you hing the pettit lip wi' me, my lad. Not to be confused with "having a hing" which refers to leaning out of a window to watch the passers by or chat to neighbours.
- "Look like a chowed mouse" - have a careworn expression.
- "Puggled" - unable to do anything more due to exhaustion.
- "Sair forfochen" or "Fair forfochten" - exhausted and worn out after a great deal of effort.
- "Scunner" - irritated, disgusted or fed up. You can be "scunnered" by something such as "This weather is a right scunner" or you can call someone a "scunner" as in "Awa ye go, ye wee scunner!"
- "Thole" - suffer, endure or put up with something, particularly where there is no alternative as in "Ye'll jist hiv tae thole the toothache until ye get tae the dentist."
- "Tontine face" - a face distorted as a result of being glum.
- "Torn face" - bad tempered and sulky as in "She's a right torn face the day."
- "Trauchled" - harassed and struggling as in "It wis an offa trauchle at the shops the day."
- "Wabbit" - exhausted and feeble, often used to describe someone who is suffering from a head cold or the flu.
- "Wi your head under your oxter" - literally "with your head under your armpit" applied to someone who is downcast.
Here are some colourful words.
- "As black as the earl of Hell's waistcoat" - pitch black.
- "Blae" - blue. The "blaeberry" is the bilberry and "blawart" is one of a number of blue plants such as harewell and the speedwell.
- "Broon" - brown, while "faughie" is pale brown.
- "Gawden" - golden.
- "Pyot" - multi-coloured. It is also the name for a magpie while the "sea pyot" is the oyster catcher.
- "Redd/rid" - red.
- "Reekie" - black with smoke. Edinburgh's nickname is "Auld Reekie".
- "Siller" - silver, often used to refer to silver coins.
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