Scottish Words


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Scottish words have seeped into our language and added all the color and texture of a tartan plaid. In fact, tartan, which is cloth woven in colored checks and intersecting lines, is one of the many words of Scottish origin that is now recognized world wide.

Lassie, meaning a young unmarried woman, and its companion, laddie, a young man, have been popularized through television and song. Most people in Western cultures have heard the Scottish folk song,  “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”. bonnie means pleasing to the eye.

Quite a few landforms owe their names to Scottish origins. Loch, the word for lake, has gained recognition through widely reported sightings of the legendary monster, Nessie. But words like glen, a secluded valley, and firth, an estuary, are also well recognized.

Many people became aware of words like kirk for church, or auld for old through reading the poetry of native Scotsman Robert Burns. But not all words entered the common lexicon that long ago. Only recently has haggis, a dish of suet, onions, and oatmeal minced with organ meats from a sheep or calf, become familiar to those living outside the Highlands.

School children are often aware of some of the less than complimentary Scottish terms: galoot for stupid, eejit for idiot, and puddin as in “puddin” head, for someone whose brains are remarked to be as soft as pudding.

And now you know a wee bit about how Scottish words have affected vocabularies around the world, wee meaning a little, of course,