40 Phenomenal Scottish Slang Words and Funny Scottish Lingo

Scottish Slang Words and lingo. Overhead view of the Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland, with the Firth of Forth and a hill in the distance

This article has links to products and services we love, which we may make commission from.

Don’t know nick from neebs? Don’t worry; Everything Edinburgh has your East Coast and Scottish lingo down. In addition to Scottish words and meanings, we’ve thrown in phonetics and examples so you can try the phrases for yourself and get a feel for them in context.

Trigger warning: There are sweary words; this article is supposed to be lighthearted and created for education and entertainment.

Now, let’s learn some popular and peculiar Scottish slang words that your grandmother used to say and some words you might hear on your holidays (vacation).

Join my free Scotland Facebook group to ask questions about your trip to Scotland.

Scottish Words Used Every Day 

Alright Hen/Pal (Awrite)?

Scots take:

A question asking if you are OK

North American expat in Scotland’s take:

Instead of saying a standard greeting, folks in Scotland just assume everything is fine in your world and demand it of you.

Alright, hen (Scottish word for girl) or pal (Scottish word for friend)?

Alright!

… instead of 

Hi, how are you?

Good thanks, and you?

Colington Tunnel Mural People Group Print Edinburgh_

Arse (Ahrs)

Booty, bum, ass. Opposite of fanny.

Body part or insult.

Sit on yir arse. 

This is Bum the Dog, which sits in Princes Street Gardens.

He’s not an arse, just a Bum.

Bum dog statue

Aye (Eye)

Yes. 

Is Everything Edinburgh worth a read? Aye. 

Dugald Stewart Calton Hill Edinburgh

Barry (Bah-ray)

A Scottish word for great. Also, a man’s name. 

That was a Barry laugh.

Test your Scottish word knowledge with these Scottish books

Performers on Royal Mile Edinburgh Festival Fringe_

Bonnie (Bohn-ay)

Scottish for beautiful, used more by the older generation.

What a bonnie lass (girl).

Fancy taking the family to Edinburgh? Here’s our kid-friendly guide.

ational Portrait Gallery Museum Annie Lennox Edinburgh

Braw

Something nice.

It’s a braw day in Auld Reekie.

Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Walk Park

Chore (Ch-ore)

To steal something.

Chored a glass from Hard Rock Cafe. 

Said every basic person.

Waverley Mall Edinburgh Shopping

Clarty (Clahr-tay)

Dirty.

Clean your trainers (sneakers). You look clarty.

Class (Class) 

Good, excellent, really positive. 

Something can be class or look class.

Wow, Gemma looks class.

Meadows Park Cherry Blossom Gemma pink hat

Decent (Dees-int)

Describe something favourably.

That tune is decent. 

Silent Adventure Disco Tour Edinburgh_

Gaff (Gah-f)

A gaff is relatively new as the dictionary of Scottish words go.

It means a house party thrown by a kid when their parents are out.

When I was younger, this was called an empty.

Here is the Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges talking about an empty.

Ken (Ken)

Yes, it’s a man’s name and Barbie’s boyfriend, but in Fife, on the East Coast, it’s also used at the end of a sentence for “you know”?

Traffic was bad on the bridge, ken like?

Edinburgh folks mock Fifers for their use of ken and the additional word ‘like”. 

Queensferry Crossing bridge (on the right) over the Firth of Forth with the older Forth Road bridge (on the left) and with the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. Edinburgh. Transport

Manky (Mahn-ki)

Dirty or disgusting.

*Dips fries into the milkshake*

You’re manky!

Messages (Mess-aj-ays)

Food shop.

Going to Waitrose for my messages.

Said no one, ever. 

Read next | Definitive Edinburgh restaurant guide.

Edinburgh. shopping trolley full of groceries along a supermarket aisle. Irn bru. Food

Mocket (Maw-kit)

Dirty.

Yir trews (trousers) are mocket.

Nae bother (Nay Bother) 

Alternative to “not a problem at all” or “no worries”.

Nae bother, hen.

Inverleith Park

Naw (Gnaw)

Scottish for no. 

Is haggis an animal? Naw.

Maybe associated more with the west coast of Scotland? Tell me in the comments below. 

Haggis Bon Bons Prestonfield House Food-2

Nick 

To steal or the state of something.

He nicked ma phone!

Check the nick of Ronan.

Oft! (Ohh-ft) 

This is actually pretty hard to define.

Oh! That’s really positive, or oh, ouch!

Usually used to describe someone or respond to something.

Ronan faceplants on Victoria Street. 

Oft! That’s gonna hurt.

Victoria Street at Grassmarket Edinburgh

Pelters (Pelt-urs)

Insults thrown like bullets.

Ronan’s getting pelters in this post.

Puss (Puhs)

The Scottish word for the face is usually said negatively.

Wipe that smile off yir puss.

Salt ‘n’ Sauce (Salnsawce)

Condiments of choice on chippy chips in Edinburgh. Alien to the west and rest of Scotland.

You want salnsawce on your chips?

Deep Fried Mars Bar Food Grassmarket Edinburgh

Scunnered

The Scottish word for tired. You can be scunnered, scunnered of something or scunnered of someone. 

Ronan is scunnered of Gemma’s pelters.

Shan (Shahn)

A shame or calling someone or something a shame.

I can’t make it to the party. 

That’s shan.

Homework is due Tuesday.

You’re shan, miss. (Gemma worked in an Edinburgh school when this was The word of the season).

Steamin (Steam-in)

Druuuuunk.

Ronan’s steamin and singing karaoke. Again. 

Whisky, plate with Scottish cheeses and variety of Scotch in glasses in Edinburgh food

Tea and Teatime (Tee-time)

Your tea is your dinner. Teatime is around 5-8pm. 

As the saying goes…

In Glasgow, they’ll say, do you want some tea?

In Edinburgh, they’ll say, ye would ‘av had your tea then!

Read next | Free things to do in Edinburgh – don’t skimp on fun

Scottish National Gallery Cafe Menu Food Scones Tea Edinburgh Museum Princes Street

Upty (Up-tae)

A question asking: what are you up to?

What yi upty the night?

Royal Mile Edinburgh Piper

Scottish Terms of Endearment

Much of the following Scots slang has dual meanings, so while some words are used lovingly, they can also be used negatively. 

So, if you are wondering how to insult a Scottish person, there isn’t a clear answer. 

You need to consider the context in which it is said! 

Chessels Court Ivy Heart Royal Mile Edinburgh

Bairn (Bay-rn)

Scottish slang for a child/baby. 

Tell the bairn to come in for their tea.

This Scottish nickname changes depending on whether you are on the east or west coast of Scotland.

In the West, locals say wean (way-ne), believed to be a contraction of ‘wee yin’, wee meaning small and yin meaning thing.

Street Art Baby Police Hat Edinburgh

Bawbag (Baw-bahg)

A term of endearment and an insult…depends on context.

Och yer a wee bawbag!

Greyfriars Bobby Statue Edinburgh

Belter (Belt-er)

Something good, bad or sore. 

Cruel Intentions, The Musical at the Fringe was a belter.

I banged ma heid a belter!

Eejit (Eeej-it)

A person who makes a silly decision.

The Scottish word for idiot.

That Ronan is such an eejit.

Faither (Fay-thir)

The Scottish word for Dad or Father. 

I am yir Faither ~ Scottish Darth Vader.  

Hen

Woman or girl. Used endearingly or in a patronising manner. 

Alright, hen?

Rain. Edinburgh. Pub

Neebs (Nee-bs) 

Mainly used over the Firth in Fife. 

Short for neighbour.

Alright, neebs? 

Forth Rail Bridge. Sunset. Night

Scottish Insults 

Fanny (fan-ay)

Historically, a girl’s name. 

Today, no one in their right mind would call their daughter fanny as spelled out by an Irn Bru advert!

A fanny is similar to an eejit and bawbag but more closely aligned to a fud because it is the name for a woman’s private parts.

Starting to see a theme here? We need to reclaim that bit in between our legs!

It’s also what our North American friends call a bum.

Now you know why we’re laughing. 

Ronan is such a fanny.

Fud (Fu-ud)

A woman’s private parts or a noun.

*Insert name of Prime Minister* is a fud.

Jobby (Job-eh)

Poo. Faeces or an insult. 

One of the best words in the Scottish language. 

It’s also one of the funny Scottish words that kids learn first.

Ronan is a jobby.

House of Gods wallpaper toilet

Rocket (Rocket)

Scottish word for crazy.

Ronan is a rocket.

Other Useful Scottish Phrases and Terms

Auld Reekie (Owld Reek-ay) 

Edinburgh’s nickname means ‘old smoky’ from its historic coal fires, although some tour guides and locals say it refers to how smelly the city’s sewage system (or lack thereof) used to be.

Free things to do in Edinburgh Humes Royal Mile Edinburgh

Ceilidh (Kay-lee)

It is an event where people fling/throw each other about and call it Scottish country dancing.

Let’s go to the Ghillie Dhu for Friday night’s Ceilidh!

At the ceilidh, to ask someone to dance, you say:

Ye dancin’?

Ye askin’? 

Am askin!

Then am dancin.

This is not a Scottish word for party, however.

Many Scots don’t actually attend ceilidhs unless they are at a wedding or forced to learn it at school. 

Read next | Things to do in Edinburgh at night

Scottish couple at ceilidh men in kilts

Edinburgh (Edin-bruh)

Edinboro! Edinburg! Naw!

If you really want to impress locals, arrive having rehearsed how to say the city’s name.

Say it with me… 

Edin-bruh

You may also like our Edinburgh gifts guide.

Scotts Monument with piper_

Harry Potter (Hairy Pottur, think Minerva McGonagall)

A character from a series of books by an English author who Scotland spellbound.

Did you see the Harry Potter shop in Edinburgh?

Eh, which one?

Don’t miss these virtual tours of Edinburgh – Potter locations!

Harry Potter Train

Leith (Leeth/Leef) 

Leith, a neighbourhood in Edinburgh by the Shore features in The Proclaimers song, Sunshine on Leith. 

Also, the name of The Proclaimers inspired-movie. 

While I’m worth my room on this earth

I will be with you

While the Chief puts sunshine on Leith

I’ll thank Him for His work

And your birth and my birth

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh? Here are the best areas

Leith Shore

Finally…

North American pals! Be ready and be aware that the ‘c’ word is prevalent in Scotland. 

Oh ya c…

Ohsa c…

You’re a c…

It’s a c…

He’s a good c…

I’m a c…

I was c…ed 

I c….ed my head 

That c… (aggressive)

Fun Edinburgh Gifts

Edinburgh gifts

You May Also Like

Scottish slang, funny Scottish words, Scotland travel, Scottish sayings, Scottish words and meaning, Scotland itinerary, Scotland planning, Scotland photography, Scotland itinerary, things to do in Scotland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Highlands

Essential Edinburgh Information 

Plan your trip, tips & advice
Where to stay in Edinburgh
Food & drink in Edinburgh
Best time to visit Edinburgh
Things to do in Edinburgh
How much does Edinburgh cost?
Free 7-day Scotland itinerary

Plan Your Trip To Edinburgh 

Book accommodation at Booking.com
Reserve a skip the line pass or guided tour at GetYourGuide
Save money with this Edinburgh Pass

43 thoughts on “40 Phenomenal Scottish Slang Words and Funny Scottish Lingo

  1. Degs says:

    Think the author has spent far too much time in Edinburgh and not enough time everywhere else. A lot of truth here too, especially the C word usage but things like Shan are rare outside the capital. Clarty is Clatty in the West. Ken is said almost everywhere outside Glasgow. Enjoyable read though.

    • Everything Edinburgh says:

      Hi Degs, I’m actually fae The Kingdom and this was created by three writers. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, saaaaan.

  2. Didrick Namtvedt says:

    As a Norwegian with Scottish roots, this was a very interesting, funny and enjoyable read! I’ve become very interested in all things Scotland lately due to my heritage and I’m glad I came across this blog! 🙂

  3. Kenny says:

    On the subject of the c bomb, can I point out that calling someone (male or female) a c*** is about the worst insult you can get, while calling someone (male only) a decent c*** is a compliment and calling someone (male only) a gid c*** is the ultimate compliment. Or at least it is down my way.

    • Everything Edinburgh says:

      Must be a your way thing 🙂 Chuckling at the ‘ultimate compliment’. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Kels says:

    My wife is from Morayshire and says that things ‘scunner’ her when they nearly make her boak. She doesn’t use it to describe being tired. She might say that putting raw liver in her mouth would scunner her.

  5. Mrs M says:

    This was enjoyable to read I’m from East Ayrshire , and a few of these i have actually never heard of or used maybe I’m too young (40) . We have different words for some but they mean the same! I very rarely use Scottish slang now I did when I was younger . Now I’d be classed as a jakey ! If I did 😂

  6. Michelle says:

    So right about the 0″c….” bomb!! i was seeing my doctor and she said don’t worry about swearing, cunt is a term off endearment in our house!’

  7. Devvo says:

    Canny good read this like! I’m from North East England, deffo share similarities in dialect with Scotland. Very interesting! Especially C word, can be used in any situation depending on context and tone. Daft c*** is most common here.
    Only part of the article I’m not sure is understood or conveyed properly is Bawbag means ball bag. So a Bawbag is someone who you don’t like. Fanny is someone who is cowardly/no backbone and an eejit/idiot is stupid, so different from Bawbag

      • sarah todd says:

        its not an insult here nor used endearingly! bawbag is only used playfully where I am, like “ye bawbag, oi bawbag or awrite bawbag during friendly banter. mucking around. it is negative in other places tho. fanny, muppet, eejit and rocket are all negative here. calling someone a bam is really bad. its worse than c.

        oh theres also sh!tebag = scardy/coward

    • sarah todd says:

      canny is cant where I am. a cannae dae it. also Dinnae= dont. didnae =didnt wasnae = wasnt. wulnae = wont

      I dinnae ken where it is. I cannae find it. I didnae see it over there it also wasnae over here. It wulnae be far. (story of my life) im scatter brained

  8. Dave Rogers says:

    Ahm an old “Leither” (81)and I dinnae ken a lot o’ these words, like Bawbag? Whatever happened to Wee Stotter and Yer bum’s oot the windae? The ‘c’ word was almost always used as the worst insult you could give. Mingin’ was stinkin’ and when I went back to Fife for the holidays with my Auntie, my favourite neighbour (I called her Auntie Jean) would greet me with, Haw! ye wee bugger-o’-hell, are ye back again tae bother us. Coming from her it was the best compliment I ever had.

    • Everything Edinburgh says:

      Hi Bab, I’ve spent some time researching why you would be offended by the word “slang” when the definition is:

      A type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

      I’m Scottish by the way and this was written in conjunction with another Scot.

      Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *