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The Arcane Dictionary of Forgotten Scottish Words

A reference guide and translation aid to the vernacular, slang and often forgotten language of Scotland. 

Note: There are many sources available for translating the more well-known Scottish words, so we have decided to concentrate solely on archiving the really rare words - the ones in danger of becoming extinct. With your help we can stop this happening.


Boaglies:  a homemade condiment made from a combination of dried and crushed berries and used widely up until the early part of the 20th century to provide necessary flavour to a variety of traditional dishes and to mask the scent of less palatable fare. Berries commonly used included haw, rowan, bilberry and rosehip although the exact combination of ingredients would vary both by district and seasonal availability. Boaglies were often sprinkled over the most unlikely of foodstuffs including puddings, soups and fish. e.g. "Yer fish pie's fair reekin' the day Morag. Am no munchin' yon till ye put a wee sprachlin' o' boaglies on it, hen."

Brothage or brauthidge:  a period of enforced abstinence, often as a punishment. e.g. "Twa weeks brauthidge fae the wife for ha'en nae mind o' her birthday" might mean a fortnight in the spare room. This term is thought to originate from the time when a heavy or "staunup" soup made from leftovers was reluctantly consumed for several days following a period of feasting such as at Christmas or New Year.

Bumbaleeriebree:  a vernacular term for diarrhoea. An acute dose of which may lead to a "stoory arse-sheugh" or staining around the upper buttock gap.

Clapsishod:  an early musical instrument resembling a harpsichord, but driven by the windbag from a set of bagpipes. Thought to be the forerunner of the modern day accordian.

Cledgie:  a member of the clergy.  Note: in parts of Galloway, cledgie is also used as a name for the small area just below one's nose. e.g. "You've got a snotter on yer cledgie."

Cluttonmungie:  a sandwich (or piece) made with the end slices (ootsiders) of a loaf and filled with the entire contents of one's main course. A Burns' Supper cluttonmungie, for example, would contain haggis with mashed turnip and potatoes whilst a more contemporary cluttonmungie could well be filled with a deep fried pizza and chips with salt and sauce. e.g. “I’m pure stervin’ hen. Gonnae make us a cluttonmungie for ma tea?”  Note: The word cluttonmungie is believed to have derived from the French gloutonmanger (glouton meaning glutton; and manger, meaning to eat.)

Craik:  a biscuit made by pouring leftover porridge into a drawer and leaving it overnight until it hardens. Often served to a welcome guest with "a wee goldie" or dram.

Fecklescretchin:  scratching in a furtive and surreptitious way using a rotary motion and possibly involving an implement. "The dancefloor was hot and sweaty and I found myself fecklescretchin’ my arse-sheugh against the back of a chair."

Flangerins:  a derogatory term for a group of undesirables taken from an ancient name for the spume which would collect around the rim of a bathtub after it had been used by several members of an extended family. As in, “Awa ya crowd a manky flangerins an hae a scrub!”

Floacht:  a combination of a cough, a regurgitation and a spit.
"I was scoffing a pie and drinking a pint at the same time. Some of
it went down the wrong way and I was choking, but I managed to floacht it all up, and carry on."

Fudscunnert:  loss of libido in a male.

Geggiefankelt:  tongue-tied or muddled in conversation, often as a result of the excessive consumption of alcohol.

Godclype:  a minister, "Holy Willie", or religious zealot.  

Hawshawt (or Hawshawt Day):  the day in March when whisky stills would be drained then scrubbed-out to remove impurities using a 'langshafted haw broom' (to avoid intoxication) and a soap-like paste made from roasted peat and porridge.

Heidstoor:  dandruff.

Morncock:  morning stiffness, as in, "Get me my baggy
trousers, Morag, as I have a persistent morncock and have to go out for the papers."

Nipscart:  a miser.  As tight as "twa coats o' paint".

Pawfly:  paltry.

Scrachle o' cledgies:  literally "a gaggle of clergymen", but widely used to describe "a bunch of softies".

Scladgie:  a waif. Often used to describe a young and rather scraggy female of the type that one might meet on a night out in Kilmarnock. “Am aff doon tae Clatty Pats tae pu’ a scladgie.”

Sclunger:  a vicious weapon, often used to both kill and gut large fish such as basking sharks, which consisted of a long pole with a gaff hook at one end and a hoe attachment at the other.

Scroatypartans:  pubic lice (pthirius pubis).

Scrog:  a stunted bush. (See also scrogfud and scroggiefuddit.)

Scrogfud:  from the word scrog meaning "a stunted bush", scrogfud is a modern term employed to describe the recent fashion for feminine waxing and is widely used as an alternative to both of the common English terms, brazilian and hollywood.

Scroggiefuddit:  an adjective used to describe the sporter of a scrogfud.

Scroggieheidit:  a term used to describe someone with a very short haircut.

Scruntlefecht:  a dispute, often spawning from a minor incident, which has developed into 'a bit of a stramash', but which remains unlikely to leave anyone on the receiving end of a severe "panelling" or "bleaching".

Skiddleflume:  the spout of a pot or kettle.

Slevergeggie:  someone who is so drunk that they no longer make sense.

Smeatster:  a boaster. One who would never tire of boring his companions about his bravery or daring feats, be they real or imagined. As in, "He's a bit of a smeatster that yin."

Snebbit:  an ambitious loner or outsider. One who would forsake his ain kith and kin to achieve his own aims. “He wis a wee snebbit o' a man.”

Snibbens:  a small amount of money or loose change. From the ancient custom whereby a laird would throw a few coins (or snibbens) to his tenant in return for the services rendered to him by his wife-to-be on the eve of their marriage.

Sprachlin:  a light sprinkling.

Sprechleton:  a heavily freckled youth.

Sprettlesneck:  is the itchy, tingly feeling you get in your nose before you sneeze. In some cultures it means you are going to get angry with someone, but in Scotland it means someone is going to get angry with you. Thus feeling 'sprecklesneckit' gives you a warning, and you can get your retaliation in first.

Tickleygiblet:  clitoris.

Thrapplecreech:  phlegm.

Whigmaleerie:  has a number of meanings including -  a fanciful notion, a piece of ornamentation in a dress, a game played at a drinking club or a fantastical contraption. Nowadays, it is often applied to an outdoor rotary clothes dryer.

Yellagleet :  a disturbing ailment spread by sexual congress (neisseria gonorrhoea).

 

 

 




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