Highland English - Vocabulary

Vocabulary

A list of words that appear in Highland English, although these are sometimes shared with Scottish English in general, as well as Lowland Scots, and to other areas where Highlanders have emigrated in large numbers.

  • Bodach - A Gaelic word for an old man.
  • Bothan - a hut, often an illegal drinking den.
  • Bothy - A mountain refuge.
  • Cailleach - A Gaelic word for an old woman.
  • Clearances or more commonly The Clearances, referring to the Highland Clearances
  • Cèilidh - A 'Social gathering' or, more recently, a formal evening of traditional Scottish Social Dancing.
  • Deoch-an-dorus (various spellings), meaning a "drink at the door". Translated as "one for the road", i.e. "one more drink before you leave".
  • Fear an taighe an MC (master of ceremonies), Gaelic lit. "the man of the house"
  • Firth - an estuary
  • Gàidhealtachd - A Gaelic term for the Highlands
  • Glen - A valley, usually deep and narrow, from Gaelic gleann.
  • Inversneckie, a nickname for Inverness. Also "Sneck", "Shneck" or "The Shneck".
  • Kyle or Kyles - Straits from Gaelic Caol & Caolais. 'Kyle' is also a nickname for Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Loch - A Gaelic word meaning a lake or a fjord.
  • Machair - A Gaelic word referring to a grassy coastal plain, with typical flora, usually in the Outer Hebrides ('Links' in Lowland Scotland).
  • Mach à Seo! - Let's go, literally "out of here!"
  • Mull - a headland.
  • Skimler - A parasite, a scrounge. From the Gaelic Sgimilear.
  • Strath - A wide river valley, usually shallow and wide, from Gaelic srath.
  • Tack & Tacksman (historical) -
  • Teuchter - a derogatory term applied mainly to Northern Scots and Highlanders, but also to rural Scots in general. It is sometimes used ironically by the "teuchters" themselves.
  • The Wee Frees - A nickname used, generally by outsiders and with some resulting confusion, for more than one Scottish and predominantly Highland church denomination. It has been used for the continuing post-1900 Free Church of Scotland after the union of the majority with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland, and for the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland as opposed to the Free Kirk (Free Church of Scotland). Some view its origin as being even older, referring to the "free kirk/wee kirk/auld kirk/cauld kirk" rhyme about the churches after the Disruption of 1843. The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is sometimes colloquially known as the Wee Wee Frees.
  • The Wee Paper - A nickname for the West Highland Free Press published in Skye.
  • Westie - West Highland Terrier (now a general term for this dog breed throughout the UK).
  • White Settlers, or Incomers - a derogatory term for migrants to the Highlands and Islands, often from England, but also from elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

Read more about this topic:  Highland English

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