Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scottish (and/or British) Words I Hope I'll Always Keep Using

There were a few American words I continued to use when I moved to Scotland, like "ya'll", "elevator" and "sidewalk". However, there are a lot of British words I still use, and to be honest, I hope I always use, at least around the house with Scott and the kids.

- petrol (gasoline)
- nappies (diapers)
- trolley (shopping cart)
- queue (line up)
- pram (baby buggy)
- chips (fries)
- crisps (chips)
- mobile (cell phone)
- cinema (movies)
- biscuit (cookie, cracker)
- bin (trash can)
- boot (trunk)
- hoover (vacuum)
- creche (nursery)
[Edited to add:] - pants (underwear) and trousers (pants). I just can't call trousers "pants" anymore without giggling like a school girl!

And I still insist my kids call me "mummy" instead of "mom" or "mommy".

There are also those incomparable uniquely Scottish words that I hope we never lose.

- numpty
- eejit
- drookit
- besom
- glaikit
- crabbit
- dour
- dreich
- tumshie
- blether
- aye

I'm sure there are others. There are some phrases I still like to use too and want to keep.

- At the end of the day (like saying, "when it's all said and done")
- It's all six and one half. (Six and half a dozen = It's all the same, one way or the other)
- It would be rude not to!
- As you do (Example: "I was walking down the street, as you do..." but more often used ironically, when it's not something you typically do. "So I was trying to trap this fox... as you do..."
- bits and bobs

And there's a few Gaelic phrases we still use. Fifi still likes to say her Gaelic grace before meals, and we still like to say:

- Mar sin leibh
- Tha gaol agam ort
- Madainn mhath

Fifinally, I still like our little Cockney rhyming slangs. I caught myself saying yesterday at soccer "I haven't had that in donkeys!" Makes total sense to me.

- donkey's (donkey's ears = years)
- [Haven't got a] Scooby (Scooby Doo = clue)
- [A cuppa] Rosie (Rosie Lee = tea. More of a father-in-law thing to say, but I use it from time to time.)
- On your Todd (Todd Sloan = alone)
- [Telling a] porky (porky pie = lie)

Scott says he's already finding himself switching over to American words, probably much the same way I switched over to British words quickly so as not to stand out like a sore thumb. (He still uses them around the house a lot, though, and he definitely gets more Scottish again when he's angry or agitated!) I, on the other hand, love the words I picked up in Scotland and don't want to lose them now. It's a decade of my life that I don't want to lose all traces of. I also like the idea of my kids growing up with their Scottish daddy (and non-Scottish mummy) using these phrases.

What are your favo(u)rite Scottishisms (or Britishisms)?


  1. What do they call sidewalks in Britain? Also, I'd love if you defined the words in your second list.

    I didn't know "at the end of the day," was British. I say that fairly often.

  2. Sidewalks are the pavement. Maybe "At the end of the day" is more widespread that Britain, but I'd never heard it or used it before. And the British use it about forty times a day. :) It's always about what is what "at the end of the day". :)


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