I’ve been meaning to write this list for ages and AGES. Unfortunately, quite a few times I’ve sat down to write and when I tried to think of funny or strange sayings, I couldn’t think of anything! It seems that after four years of living here, I’ve just gotten used to all the odd things people say every day. I just don’t notice them anymore! Thankfully a friend of mine and I were laughing about scottish sayings the other day and I got a bunch of good ideas! So, without further ado…funny things scottish people say! For a blog that’s supposed to be about my life living in Scotland, it’s about damn time.
(Also, I realize that one or two of these things might be things that British people in general say, but, well, I live in Scotland. So I really can’t say if they’re used other places. To me, they’re Scottish!)
Cuppa – This is something I hear on a regular basis. I think it’s funny and actually kind of cute. It’s used as in ‘would you like a cuppa?’ Apparently there’s no need to clarify a cup of what exactly, because everybody knows you mean a tea or coffee. Yes, people here love their tea and coffee. Except it’s ALL instant coffee. The only place you can regularly get a cup of brewed coffee is starbucks. You’ll understand why I stick to tea.
Dookit – This is a term (also spelled doocot) that’s used at work to describe our individual mailboxes where messages and mail is kept. It’s an old scottish term that literally means ‘pigeonhole’ in old scots. I’ve never heard the mailboxes described as anything else and for the first year and a half of working I was completely mystified. Where did this term come from? What did it mean?! Am I the only one confused?! Apparently not, since my English friend was as confused as I was.
Wee beasties – I find this term hilarious just because I think it’s so beautifully expressive. ‘Wee beasties’ is a common term for any small annoying insect. I’ve heard this used to describe lice, mosquitos, small bettles and anything else that invades a home or personal space and is yucky, gross or annoying. Horrible wee beasties!
Scooby – This is rhyming slang from ‘Scooby doo’, meaning ‘clue.’ It’s mainly used as ‘I haven’t got a scooby’. I’ve also heard the full term used a lot too, ‘I haven’t got a scooby doo’. Even my ex-boyfriend’s mom would use this, so apparently rhyming slang is just as common in Glasgow as it is in London.
Stooky – I have NO idea where this came from, but it means a cast, as is put on a broken limb. Makes the whole ‘breaking bones’ thing seem almost cute, with a phrase like that describing the cast.
Messages – Nope, this does not just mean ‘a short communication’! But if you did think that, you’d be just like me. This means shopping, or more specifically the sort of day to day food shopping that you’d do locally. The first time I heard this I was at a visit with a client, who was describing her day to day schedule to support her dad, who had cancer. She said she’d go out each morning to ‘pick up messages.’ I was so confused. I kept thinking, ‘messages from whom?!’ Thank GOD I didn’t ask her that and waited until I got back to the office to ask my co-workers. They laughed at me and then told me what it meant. They laugh at me a lot at work.
Baltic – Very VERY cold. Which is has been these past few days. Perfect way to describe a miserably cold day.
Hen – This is a term of endearment for women, used very often. I get called ‘hen’ often throughout the day by people who don’t know me at all. In my experience, scottish people are much more likely to use endearments on a very regular basis (‘love’, ‘hen’, even ‘petal’ by one woman I work with). I range from thinking it’s cute to being kind of annoyed. There are definitely some people that I want to yell, ‘I am NOT your hen!’
Minging, Bogging – Gross, disgusting, smelly. ‘Minging’ is generally used more to describe a person, while ‘bogging’ is more about a location (‘his house was bogging’). Though it can be used to describe a person, if it means that his physical person is very dirty (often used a work, because some of our clients haven’t quite learned the nuances of doing their laundry and taking showers). ‘Minging’ is more to describe a person who is very physically unattractive. There have been too many nights out at the pub where all the guys were just minging. Definitely an unfortunate night out when that happens.
‘Hee haw’ – I think this phrase is the funniest because I actually remember the show ‘Hee Haw’ when it was on tv when I was a kid. This doesn’t have anything to do with that, but I always think of it when I hear the term. This means ‘nothing’, like ‘I went shopping but I got hee haw.’
‘How no?’ – This phrase means ‘why not?’ As in, ‘I don’t like that.’ ‘How no?’ I’ve heard ‘how’ used interchangeably with ‘why’, though not everyone uses this. A lot of these phrases or terms are used depending on where people come from.
‘That’s me’ – This is one of those phrases that is used constantly but when you actually think about what it means, it makes NO sense. People say ‘that’s me’ when they’re finished with something. For instance, at the rock climbing wall I’ve heard people say ‘that’s me!’ when they’ve finished the climb and are ready to come back down. Or people will say this at work when they’re done for the day. ‘Right, that’s me. See you tomorrow!’ But what does it mean? That’s me what exactly? Obviously it’s just a shortened version of ‘that is me now finished with this task’ or something, but I still think it’s funny.
‘The back of 3’ – This is a phrase to describe time. Now. For all you lovely people who haven’t ever heard this term, what do you think this means? My first instinct? Just before three o’clock, say around 2:45. To me, logically time moves forward, so when you’re at the back of three, you’re behind three so you’re not there yet, meaning that it is 2:45. Well, if anyone else thinks logically like me, you are wrong. ‘The back of three’ means 3:10, or just past three. Yeah, I don’t know either.
And it wouldn’t be Glasgow without terms for being drunk: bladdered, rubbered, guttered, steaming, pissed, mullerd, and many many more. One of my favorite drunk slang terms is buckfast commando. Buckfast is a very strong tonic wine that is sold here in Scotland (also called ‘buckie). The stuff is VILE. But it’s strong and it’s cheap. So it’s the favorite choice of alcohol for many young, stupid men and women who seem to roam the streets late at night. A ‘buckfast commando’ is someone who has drunk a wee bit too much buckfast and becomes at once both incredibly aggressive and stupidly fearless. Buckfast commandos are the type of people who get into fights and think they’re invincible, before usually finding out that they are not.
Wow, that ended up being a much longer list than I thought! There are a ton of others I’m sure, but that’ll keep you for now I think! Hope that gives a tiny taste of Glasgow. And it should also explain why not a week goes by that I don’t have to ask at least once, ‘um…what does that mean?’