Posted by: Shanna Germain | 08/15/2009

Pg. 137: Scots Tongue


Even the coffee coasters know more Scottish than I do!


One of the fantastic things about spending time with people who grew up in this country (or who mostly grew up in this country), is how much of the ‘language’ I can learn in just a few days. Mostly because they talk, and I stop them every few minutes to say, “What does that mean?”

I learned a lot of words on the road trip this week, including some of the Scottish Rhyming Slang (which I love, by the way, but I cannot figure out how to make it work, not at all). It’s basically not really rhyming anything, it’s more of a code. You can try your hand at it by putting something into the Rhyme Translator.

Here’s how the above paragraph translated, by the way:

I learned a Hoppin’ Pot of dickie birds on the bleedin’ frog and toad trip this Bubble And Squeak, includin’ sum of the bloomin’ scottish rhymin’ Matheson Lang (which I golden dove, by the bloody way, but I cannot figure aahhht ‘a ter make it Kathy Burke, not at all). it’s basically not ‘eaven and ‘ell rhymin’ aahhht, it’s more of a code. ya can try your St. Martins-Le-Grand at it by puttin’ summit into the rhyme translator.

Yeah, right. I knew that!

Here are some other words I should have known:

American: A sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or sweater.
Scottish: A knitted sweater that you pull over your head, often with a cowled neck.
American: The one you love/dig/canoodle with.
Scottish: Candies.
American: Your butt.
Scottish: The other side (or, as they told me, “Your front bottom.). Not okay to say in polite company!


Words That Are NOT the Same:

American  —  Scottish

Fanny Pack — Bum Bag
Sandwich — Butty
Cotton Candy — Candy Floss
Two-lane Highway — Dual Carriageway
Horse Fly — Cleg
Christmas Lights — Fairy Lights
Bangs — Fringe
Pound Sign — Hash
Underwear — Kecks or Knickers
Truck — Lorry
Ground Beef — Mince
Diaper — Nappy
Gas — Petrol
Dessert — Pud (or Pudding)
Garters — Suspenders
Suspenders — Braces


Garn ‘eaven and ‘ell far and ‘eaven and ‘ell fast, s.




  1. I think the Scots rhyming slang is a bit obtuse even for someone brought up here!

    You might find Glasgow patter interesting.

    Then you’ve got tcheuchter slang, which is from up north, mostly. And lallans, which is the ‘lowlands’ dialect. (Not to mention Gaelic, which is its own proper language, of course.)

    And, um, your rhyme translator is into Cockney, from London, which is why you have there a bit of a midden of Scawts/Lahndan accents and slang!

  2. -is totally cracking up-

    See?! This is why I stick to American when I speak! I am just going to have to live here for another sixteen years or so until I get it all right! 🙂

  3. Excellent idea!

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