We’re an international Society with a Scottish soul, and sometimes the perfect word or expression comes from close to home. In case you’re struggling with our local language, here’s a guide to help you work out what we’re on about.
Are ye dancin’?: Lit. Would you care for a dance?
Traditional form of courtship in Glasgow’s dance halls, also used to ask if you want to take part in something or not. The conversational exchange usually following the lines of: Are ye dancin’? / Are ye askin’? / Ah’m askin’ / Ah’m dancin’.
Belter: exceptional in quality, see also Stoater
Usage: See that dram I had at The Vaults last night, it was a pure belter.
Usage: That was a braw party at Hogmanay.
Coorie in: cosy up together, preferably in front of a warming fireplace
Usage: I can’t wait to get in out of this rain and coorie in at the fire in The Vaults with a dram.
Crabbit: grumpy or ill-tempered
Usage: That barman was a bit crabbit, he looked like he’d sucked a lemon.
Usage: I’ve got a right drooth on me, I’ll have a beer before I start on the whisky.
Gie it laldy: approach a task with 100 per cent commitment
Usage: When he gets up to sing he likes to gie it laldy.
Glaikit: daft or stupid
Usage: When I asked for directions to The Vaults she just gave me a glaikit look, she had no idea.
Glasgow kiss: a headbutt. Nothing to do with a meeting of lips, more a clash of heads
Haud yer wheest: Be quiet
Usage: Haud yer wheest, I’m fed up listening to your complaining.
Hogmanay: New Year’s Eve. Celebrated with great enthusiasm across Scotland, always involving whisky and a rendition of Auld Lang Syne
Peely wally: very pale or sickly in appearance
Usage: You’ve never seen so many peely wally bodies than when the sun shines on Leith Walk and the guys get their taps aff.
Sassenach: a not entirely complimentary term for those from south of the Scottish border
Usage: She might be a Sassenach but she loves Scotland.
Scunnered: weary or fed up
Usage: I’m scunnered with this work, wish I could get to the pub.
Stoater: exceptional in quality, see also Belter
Usage: See that dram I had at The Vaults last night, it was a pure stoater.
Taps aff: Lit. tops off. A common reaction in Scotland to the first sign of sunny weather, removing your shirt to expose peely-wally flesh
Usage: The forecast is for taps aff with a chance of chest hair.
Wha’s like us?: Lit. “Who is like us?” Used in the sense of “Who could possibly compare with us?”.
Usage: Usually used in the traditional drinking toast: “Here’s tae us, Wha’s like us?”, a question answered with: “Damned few and they’re a’ deid”, or “Very few and they’re all dead.”