A lesson in Scottish – must know phrases!


Whether you’re coming to Scotland for a short holiday or making a longer term move, understanding (or at least partly understanding) what the locals are saying to you is always helpful. If you think you would have no issues holding a conversation with Scottish locals because you took English lessons or come from an English speaking country, you may be surprised at first. To help you tune in to the Scottish English, here are some useful, random words and phrases you could use to try to impress the locals…


Heilan’ coo= highland cow

Aye = yes

Wee= little

Ejeet= idiot

Bam-pot = idiot

Laddie = boy

Lassie = girl

Bonnie/ braw= beautiful/ handsome

highland cow


‘Keep yer heid!’ = keep calm

‘Yer erse is oot the windae’ = you’re out of luck

‘That’s pure manky/mankin/mingin/boggin/mockit’ = that’s not nice

‘Is the cat deid?’ or ‘Yer troosers are heavy budgied’ = your trousers are too short

‘I’ll smash ye in yer puss’ = I’ll punch you in the face

‘Gie it laldy!’ = give it your all!

‘He/she’s an awfy blether’ = He/she’s talks too much/ he/she’s a gossip

‘Dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs!’ = don’t tell your me/someone how to do such and such

‘Fa’ on yer kisser’ = fall flat your face

‘Haud yer wheesht’‘Shut yer geggie’, ‘Shut yer gub/gob’ = be quiet

‘Ah dinnae ken’ = I don’t know

‘Gonnae no’ dae that!’ = do not do that

‘Ma heid’s mince’ = my head’s a little mixed up

‘Yer oot yer face’ = you’re drunk

‘Yer aff yer heid’ = you’re crazy

‘Yer a numpty bawbag’ = you’re an idiot

‘A’m ferr puggled’ = I’m exhausted

‘Fit a bonnie haddock/cheil/quine’ = what a good-looking person / man / woman

‘Fit a loon’ = what a silly person

‘That’s pure honkin/hummin/bowfin’ = that smells unpleasant.