One of the things I love about being Scottish (and there are many) is that us Scots have our own little Scottish words, phrases, slang and accents. I know from travelling a lot that we can sometimes be hard to understand for people who aren’t familiar with our accents and the fact that we talk at a rate of a million miles per hour, especially after a few drinks! To make things even more confusing for visitors different towns, sometimes only 30 miles apart, have completely different accents and slang words. SCOTTISH SLANG We have some pretty great Scottish slang words and if I tried to document them all for you I’d be here forever. So, I wanted to share a few of my favourites that you might want to know if you’re planning to visit my beautiful country, or you might just want to have a good giggle at. Try them out and you’ll impress the locals!


We’ll start off with an easy one – aye simply means yes. e.g. ‘Would you like an Irn Bru?’ ‘Aye, please’. 


The opposite of aye – naw or nah mean no. e.g. ‘Do you like whisky? ‘nah’. Yup, I don’t actually like Scotland’s national drink. Don’t tell anyone.


Image source


Another easy one – wee means small or little. e.g. ‘look at that lovely wee dog’ 


My lovely wee puppy


A common phrase in Scotland ‘ah it’s pure Baltic’ meaning ‘oh it’s rather cold’ – baltic means cold or freezing. As it’s cold pretty much 10 months of the year up here in Scotland, you’ll probably hear this at some point during a visit.


If you’re visiting Glasgow then you’ll definitely need to know this one – squinty means crooked, twisted or not straight. We have a bridge in Glasgow that EVERYONE calls The Squinty Bridge. I didn’t actually know it’s proper name until I looked it up for the purposes of this article. If you need directions to it during a visit to Glasgow just ask for The Squinty Bridge and you’ll be sent in the right direction.


The Squinty Bridge aka The Clyde Arc (Image source)

I didn’t actually realise this was a Scottish slang word until I was on a trip to France a few years ago and loudly exclaimed ‘wow look how squinty that house is’ to be met with blank looks from the rest of the English journalists in the group. Cringe!


This is one of my favourite Scottish slang words – eejit means idiot. e.g. ‘check that big eejit over there’ 


Okay so in non-American English fanny means a girl’s lady bits but here in Scotland it’s just another term for an idiot and it’s not really all that insulting.


If you’re planning to go out and enjoy a few drinks during a visit to Scotland then knowing this one might come in handy – steamin’ means very drunk.

e.g. ‘I’m gonna need to take her home, she’s steamin” 


I’d probably be steamin’ after more than 1 of these…


Another alcohol related one – bevvy means an alcoholic drink.

e.g. ‘who’s up for a bevvy the night?’ 

Taps aff

This one is majorly tongue in cheek for most Scottish people however, some do use this. Taps aff is used to describe a warm day when it’s warm enough for guys to take their tops off. Yes, that’s right, in Scotland as soon as it gets warm guys start stripping off but unfortunately they aren’t all quite as handsome as this guy…


Image source

There’s even a website where you can check to see if the weather in Glasgow is taps aff or taps oan. Highly amusing!

Have you heard any of these Scottish slang phrases or words used in Scotland? What are your favourites?