- Robin A Crawford
- ARRSE Rating
- 3.5 Mushroom Heads
The plain, pure English they can deftly read;
Yet when without the book they come to speak,
Their lingo seems half English half Greek.
Robert Leighton 1869.
Not the normal fare for this website but a handy book nonetheless, especially if those south of the Border are thinking of having a staycation in Scotland this year.
The book is as it says, just a lovely treasury of Scots words using the various dialects and languages from around Scotland: Gaelic, Doric, Lallans, Roman and Norman French – and dare I say it “Weegie”. The book title just means Gossip, the passing of it and gossip can be cold!
Some of the words will be clear to those who have never ventured north of the Tweed, like “cranachan” – a lovely dessert involving whisky, oatmeal, fruit(usually raspberries) and of course whisky (never whiskey!) Also “Atholl Brose” which if made properly has left a nice hangover the night after a Mess do. Another “weel ken’t” word is “Sassenach”, which is derived from the word Saxon, really now means Lowlander as opposed to Highlander but has morphed into a slightly derogatory description of the natives from south of the Tweed
But there are other deep words that have such meaning and force in a few letters of the alphabet
“Bahookie”, one’s derriere
Hirple – walk with a limp
Houghmagandie – sexual intercourse
Stramash – a fight
Stravaig – to avoid responsibility, walk away from something
Ochone – a highland lament or expression of sadness
These are but a few of the 1,000 words explained in the book and the book itself is not an exhausting list as there are many, many more words which may make up Volume 2.
There are words that have a completely different meaning depending on which side of the Border you happen to be on. In many parts of Scotland, the word “Messages” means going for the shopping, whereas south of the Border they refer to communications.
Words for flora and fauna are included, especially birds such as “cushie doo” a turtle dove; “corbie” a crow; or “hoodie” also a crow but this time a hooded crow, or “dovekie”, a black guillemot.
Quite a few of the words come from the Scottish legal system such as “hamesucken” which is the offence of entering a person’s home and assaulting them. “Advocate” the Scottish term for a Barrister or lawyer who can plead in the High Court.
So come on all you Quines and Loons, dinnae be carnaptious and crabbit and get a copy of this very informative book and bring some fun among all the filmagaries. Sit back wi’ yer bidie-in have a drappie of your favourite tipple and enjoy. A treasure trove it indeed is. The book is finished off with an extensive bibliography and notes on where the word has been unsed in literatuire.
A bit of a niche book, but one I enjoy and will enjoy having on my shelf to refer to, so really can only give it 3.5 Mr MRHs