The Scottish Government has just published the results of a poll to identify the nation’s favourite Scots word. The winner was “dreich”, which means “wet”, “cold” and/or “gloomy”. I’m not sure if that describes the Scottish weather, or just our character.
Respondents were asked to choose their favourite from a list of 8 Scots language words that, along with dreich, included:
crabbit bad-tempered, grumpy
blether to chat, often at great length; can be used as a noun referring to the person doing the blethering and may also involve a lot of haivering…
haiver to talk nonsense
beastie an insect, or the diminutive of beast, as in “sleekit, cowrin, timorous beastie”
sleekit smooth or glossy, as in “sleek”. Also means, much less attractively, cunning, crafty, sly, ingratiating, unctuous and generally untrustworthy
braw good, great, good-looking (as in “a braw lass”)
glaikit slow-witted or foolish, often used in the phrase “glaikit-looking”.
Apart from “braw”, it’s an unprepossessing list. Or maybe that, too, is a reflection of the Scottish character?
I wish they’d included “fankle” — a really useful word meaning a tangle, muddle or state of confusion. And what about the wonderful “sonsie” (attractive, especially if pleasingly plump too) as in “a right sonsie lassie”?
Are any of your favourites missing from the list?
- ‘Blethering Scots’ (bearsdeneng.wordpress.com)
By Marian Dougan