Here we will host a selection of various Gaelic and Scottish words, as well as their respective meanings.

 

If you have any words that you would like added, please let us know.

A

Auld Lang Syne = It is the title of a Scots poem written by Robert Burns, and is often sung to ring in the New Year, but also may be played at the end of a gathering/ceilidh, or at a funeral. If literally translated into English, it means 'old long since' and can also be considered as 'long, long ago' or 'days gone by.'

Aboot = About

Agley = Awry

Ah dinnae ken = I don't know

Ah umnae = I am not

Ain = Own

Am a pure nick = I don't look very presentable

Am pure done in = I'm feeling very tired

Arasaid = Ladies' tartan wrap

Àrsaidh = Old, ancient

Auld = Old

Aye = Yes  

B

Bahooky = Backside, bum

Bairn = Baby

Barmekin, barmkin, barnekin = a Medieval defensive enclosure found around smaller castles and tower houses in Scotland. As well as the residence, outbuildings were also included, plus a place to protect livestock during cattle raids. From the Roman barbican, meaning an outer fortification of a city or castle. Kirkhope and Smailholm are castles on the Scotttish borders that had a barmekin.

Baw = Ball

Ben = Mountain, or through

Bide = Wait, or stay

Birl = Spin or whirl (as with Scottish country dancing)

Blether = Talkative, (Have a blether is to have a chat)

Bodhran = A drum, popular in Scottish and Irish music, originally used to provide cadence for both pipers and warriors.

Boinead boirach = Balmoral bonnet

Bonnie = Beautiful

Bowfing = Smelly, horrible

Brae = Hill

Braw = Good, or brilliant

Breeks = Trousers

Bridie = A baked shortcrust pastry with minced beef, onions, and spices. One hole on top signifies no onions, two holes signify onions have been added.

Brog, brogan = Simple deerskin shoes

Brogues = Footwear made of skin, light weight, with holes punched in to let out the water from streams and rivers

Bubba = Derived from brother, a nickname given to boys, especially the eldest son. Outside the family, an affectionate term for a buddy.

Burn = Stream

C

Cantle = Metalwork clasp on a dress sporran

Cath dath, Cada = war pattern on hosiery, tartan hose

Ceilidh = Dance, social gathering (Scottish Gaelic word for 'visit')

Ceud mile failte = A hundred, thousand welcomes

Clan = Derived from the Gaelic clann, meaning children or stock. In Scotland it can mean a tribe, race or family unit.

Come ben the hoose = Come in the house, welcome

Concomitant = A flag or banner

Coo = Cow

Covenanters = A 17th century Presbyterian religious movement to free Scotland of Catholicism, to develop the operation of a Scottish Parliament, and began a revolution throughout the British Isles.

Crabbit = Bad tempered

Cry = Call

Cuaran = Boot

Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn = An old Scottish Gaelic blessing meaning “I’ll put a stone on your cairn.”

D

Dae = Do

Dauner = Walk (I'm away for a dauner)

Dealg = Pin, fastener

Didnae = Didn't 

Dinnae = Don't

Dinnlin = Vibrating, tingling

Dirk = A Scottish long dagger, with a blade length of 7 to 14 inches. Its blade length and style varied. A weapon of offense, used with the targe and sword. Scotsmen would swear oaths on their dirk. 

Dram = A small unit of volume, referring to a drink of Scotch whisky

Drookit = Soaking wet

Dule, dool = To grieve or sorrow. 

Dunt = Bump

E

 

F

Failing means yer playin = When you fail at something at least you're trying

Fairings = Love tokens, which could be sweets, hair ribbons or small jewelry items

Fantoosh = Posh, swanky

Feile = Kilted

Feileadh-beag = The small kilt (today's modern kilt), with no tartan above the waist.

Feileadh-mor = Big wrap, or plaid

Flashes = Decorative fabric, attached to the garters, to show below the fold of men's hose when wearing a kilt

Frae = From

 

G

Gallus = Bravado, over-confident

Galore = Irish Gaelic word meaning 'in abundance' or 'to sufficiency.'

Gang = Go

Gaunnae = Going to

Geegaw, gewgaw = A worthless ornament

Geggie = Mouth (shut your geggie)

Ghillie Brogues = Men's shoes, commonly worn with a modern kilt

Glaikit = Slow on the uptake

Glen = A small, narrow, secluded valley

Glif = A sudden fright or scare

Goonie = Nightgown

Greet = Cry

Guid-man = Husband

Guid=wife = Wife

Gumption = Common sense

H

Hae = Have

Haggis = A traditional Scottish dish made of sheep's pluck, oatmeal, onion, suet, spices, salt and stock

Hain = Husband

Hame = Scottish for home

Hather = Heather seller

Hather Fesgar = A facing of heather fastened with boards around the outside of the house to correct leaks of rain water, or to strengthen the rim of straw/heather baskets

Haud = Hold

Haudin = Home, house

Haver = Talk rubbish

Heather-An-Dub = Heather and daub (spelt dab), a mud slurry used with sticks for wall construction

Heather Birns = Charred sticks of heather used as writing instruments

Heather Heidit = Heather headed, disheveled hair (a bad hair day)

Highland Games = Festivals held throughout the year as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage. While centered on competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, and Scottish heavy athletics, the Games also include entertainment and exhibits related to other aspects of Scottish and Gaelic culture

Hing = Hang

Hoachin' = Very busy

Hokin' = Rummaging

Hoose = House

Houlies = Wild, drunken brawls

Hunner = Hundred

Huvnae = Haven't

I

 Ilk = Same, kind, class, family

J

 Jacobite = A partisan of the Stuarts, from the revolution of 1688

K

Kailyaird = Backyard or cabbage patch

Kebbuck = Cheese

Keek = A little look

Ken = Know

Kilt = Pleated tartan fabric (garment), to kilt is to pleat a tartan fabric

Kirk = Church

Kirtle = Medieval long lady's dress

L

Leine = Shirt, Shift, Smock

Leine-Croich = Saffron shirt, war shirt (worn by ancient Highlanders)

Lhiam-Lhiat = Inconsistent person who changes sides easily

Linn = Waterfall

Loch = Lake

Lum = Chimney

M

Mac

Mair = More

Mairiage = Marriage

Maisie = Rope panier for carrying sheaves and peat

Meenister = Minister, preacher, pastor

Merritt = Married

Mindin' = Small gift or memento 

Mo Chasen = Rough deerskin footwear

Mogan = Footless wool hose

Moor = Expanse of open, infertile land; could be considered a bog; filled mostly with sedge and grass (source of peat)

Morag

N

Naw = No

Neep, Tumshie = Turnip

Noo = Now

O

Oban 

Oot = Out

Ootby = Out of doors

Osian = Hose, stockings

P

Peallagan = Young heather used to weave doormats on Islay

Peely Wally = Pale

Peitean = Waistcoat, sleeveless jacket or vest

Philamore = Big kilt

Poke = A poke is a paper bag, to poke is to prod

Prince Charlie Jacket = Formal evening wear, usually worn today for weddings

Puirt-a-beul = Mouth music

Q

 Quaich = Ancient drinking cup with two handles and used with both hands

R

Reek = Smell, emit smoke

Reiver = Border raiders from both sides of the English-Scottish border, who often stole cattle back and forth in the 13th-16th centuries

Riddy = Red face, embarassed

Ruana = Lady's shawl or poncho

S

Saltire = Scottish flag

Sasannach, Sassenach = Englishman

Saunds = Beach

Schenachy = Bard, storyteller

Scone = Scottish quick bread, usually cut into triangles

Scott

Screwball = Unhinged, mad

Scullery = Kitchen

Scunnered = Bored, fed up

Scunner = Describes someone as being irritating

Sealie-Hoo = Child's call, or an unusual headdress

Seomain Fraoich = Heather rope

Sept = Subsidiary of a clan

Sett = Colour and pattern on a tartan

Sgal = Strong wind, gale

Sgeulachd = Story

Sgeulachd bheag = Anecdote

Sgian Dubh = Short ceremonial dagger, worn with a kilt inserted in the top of the stocking

Shaw = Woodland, the woods, a stand of trees

Shoogle = Shake

Shoon = Shoes

Sia Sgilligean = Sixpence

Siller = Silver money

Simmet = Gents singlet

Skarrach - Swiftly passing shower of rain, or a light snowfall

Skelp = Slap

Skirl = Musical sounds from a bagpipe

Skoosh = Lemonade (or fizzy drink)

Slainte = Health, salvation

Sleekit = Sly

Slitter = To spill food on yourself

Smuirich = Kiss

Snaoim Gatrain = Special knots used to tie garters

Sporran = Man's purse, worn around the waist

Sporan Molach = Hairy purse worn with the kilt

Spredith = Cattle or livestock of any kind

Spreid = Flock of sheep

Stookie = Plaster cast

Stour = Dust

T

Targe, Targaid = Target or shield

Tartan = Woven fabric; it identifies a clan or region

Tattie = Potato

Tattyboggle = Scarecrow

Thareoot = Out of doors

Thistle = National flower of Scotland

Thole the dule = Bear the evil consequences of anything

Thon = That

Tonag Mhor, Tonnag = Big shawl, woman's shoulder shawl, poncho

Toorie = Pompom atop the Glengarry and Balmoral bonnets

Torq, torc = Neckpiece, jewelry from ancient Celtic times

Trews = Tartan trousers

Triubhas = Trews, trousers

U

 Uisge beatha, Usquebagh, usquebaugh = Water of life, Scotch whiskey

V

 

W

Wean = Child

Whisky/Whiskey = An anglicized version of the Gaelic word 'uisce/uisge,' which means water. Scottish Gaelic's uisge beatha literally means 'lively water' or 'water of life.'

Whit - What

Willnae = Will not

Widnae = Would not

Windae = Window

Wummin = Women

X

 

Y

Ye = You

Yin = One

Z

 

 

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