28 Scottish Slang Words You Should Know

DGLimages/iStock via Getty Images
DGLimages/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re thinking that the slang people use in Scotland can't be that different from the slang in England—it’s the same words, just pronounced differently, right?—well, neeb, have a swatch below and find out just how wrong you are.

  1. Bawhair: used to determine a very short distance; literally meaning the width of a pubic hair. “That was a bawhair away man!”
  1. Boak: to throw up, or be very close to it. “Cut that oot you, that’s giein me the boak.”
  1. Clarty/Clatty: someone of questionable personal hygiene. “He’s a clatty basturt.”
  1. Dobber: slang for penis, but more commonly used as an insult. “Shut it, ya dobber.”
  1. Gallus: the fine line between confidence and arrogance, or otherwise something bold or daring. Often misused as a general term of endearment for literally anything. “Aye I took her out for dinner on Saturday. She’s gallus, man.”
  1. Glaikit: someone who is gullible and/or lacks common sense. “She’s alright, but a bit glaikit.”
  1. Heid-the-baw: an idiot
  1. Bampot: an unhinged idiot.
  1. Diddy: a spineless idiot.
  1. Fandan: a pretentious idiot.
  1. Radge: a dangerous idiot.
  1. Walloper: an idiot (again).
  1. Hackit: haggard, ugly, usually used in reference to a woman. “Don’t listen to that hackit old bint.”
  1. Jobbie: a turd, and a plague on the existence of anyone named Robbie.
  1. Ken: to know, used freely as punctuation on the East coast. “Ken whit ah mean, ken? Aye, ah ken.”
  1. Lecky: electricity; though usually focused on the bill, not the actual thing. “There’s me having to put a tenner in that lecky again because you’ll no turn yer telly off!”
  1. Loon: a northern term for boy.
  1. Quine: a northern term for girl.
  1. Mawkit: disgusting, covered in dirt. “C’mere lassie, yer mawkit.”
  1. Neebs: friend; derived from neebur (derived itself from neighbor). “Aye, nae danger neebs, catch you the morn.”
  1. Scunnert: fed up, bored, done with life; derived from scunnered. “Aye I’m working tae 5, scunnert wae it neebs.”
  1. Sleekit: sneaky, disingenuous. “Aw they politicians ur sleekit basturts hen, if any ae them shook my hand ah’d count ma fingers eftir it.”
  1. Swatch: a brief look. “That’s gallus man, gies a swatch.”
  1. Teuchter: general term used by Glaswegian people to refer to Scottish people who don’t share their accent; most widely in reference to those from the Highlands and northern areas. “Wit even is your voice, ya teuchter diddy.”
  1. Weegie: the term the rest of Scotland uses to refer to the type of people who say the above. “Wit even is your voice, ya weegie.”
  1. Wheesht: shut up. “Gies peace man, wheesht.”
  1. Whitey: to vomit, literally this time; usually alcohol-related. “Here I’m being thrown out, the bouncer just caught me whiteying in the toilet and he’s no happy.”
  1. Yaldi: an expression of pure happiness or joy. “Monday is a holiday? Yaldi!"

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Wa Wa Wee Wa: The Origin of Borat's Favorite Catchphrase

Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

When Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released in 2006, a new audience was exposed to Borat Sagdiyev, a “journalist” portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen who had made frequent appearances on the comedian’s Da Ali G Show.

Soon, in our country there was problem: People mimicked Borat’s catchphrases, "very nice" and “wa wa wee wa,” incessantly. The latter phrase was used to denote surprise or happiness on Borat’s part. While some may have assumed it was made up, it turns out that it actually means something.

Wa wa wee wa is Hebrew, which Cohen speaks throughout the film and which helped make Borat a hit in Israel. (Cohen is himself Jewish.) It was taken from an Israeli comedy show and is the equivalent of the word wow. Reportedly, the expression was popular among Israelis, and they appreciated Cohen’s use of it.

The original Borat also sees Cohen singing a popular Hebrew folk song, “Koom Bachur Atzel,” or “get up lazy boy,” among other Hebrew mentions. It remains to be seen how much of it he’ll be speaking in the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It premieres on Amazon Prime Friday, October 23.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]