Celebrating Scotland: 10 Things I Love About My Country #6 Language


Should Scotland remain part of the UK now that we have been removed from the EU despite voting against it?

When we had the vote for Scottish Independence I voted to remain part of the UK because I was happy being Scottish, part of the UK and part of the EU. Now that it has been decided for us/against us to leave the EU my thoughts about becoming an independent Scotland have changed.

I am so proud to say I live in Scotland when I think of all the great music this amazing country has produced. So # in this series is Language.

Since it is language and I do have a touch of OCD (or CDO as I prefer to call it) I shall list them alphabetically. These are all also words that I genuinely use on a daily basis and a fair few of them are more local to Aberdeen.


This is an expression of surprise, impatience or disgust. Often best followed by a swear word. For example, I used it earlier today when I got up early to do some work in the garden only to realise that it was raining – “Ach, for f*** sake” was my statement.


This means “away”. Scottish people seem to like dropping letters from words as in this case – where is the “y”? Well, the “y” went awa. It appears to be becoming a theme that these three-letter Scottish words are always best when followed by a swear word. If someone tells you something that you just don’t believe then you can tell them to “awa and shite” which basically means that you are telling them that they are talking nonsense.


This is what some people want us to vote for in the referendum. They call it “vote yes” but surely as the Scots never say yes, we say “aye” that “vote aye” would have been a better campaign slogan – just saying!


This time we are not taking letters awa, no, we are actually adding them on. “Dae” means “do”. To use it in my sentence from this morning (with a few bonus Scottish words)  I said “Ach for f*** sake, it’s pishing doon ootside whit am ah gonnae “dae” noo?”


No, it doesn’t just mean a very large distance awa. It’s also an Aberdonian way of saying “where”. So, every time before I leave the house there are echoes of  “far’s ma phone, far’s ma phone?” Usually the answer soon follows as “ah, ers it er” translates as “there it is there”


People from Aberdeen don’t use this to describe someone as good-looking or how good at exercise a person is, instead they use it in place of the word “what”. It has to be my favourite Aberdeen word! Follow it with “like” and this is how we greet each other rather than saying “hello”. A simple “fit like?” is usually answered with “aye, aye, nae bad” or “chauvin awa”.


Meaning “going” and can be used with other of the “three-letter words” here. “Far ye gan?” meaning “where are you going? “I’m gan awa” meaning “I’m going away”. “Gan awa and shite”


Translated as “hey” but not usually used in a friendly tone. Most commonly used to give someone a telling off or when you are about to insult them as in “haw you, ya bawbag” would mean “excuse me you I dislike you and think of you as a testicle.”

However, if  “haw” is preceded by “hee” to make “hee-haw” then this is one of the funniest Scottish words and means “nothing”. An example being “it’s got hee-haw tae dae wi you” would mean “it’s got nothing to do with you”


People all over the world must wonder who the “Ken” person is as us Scots mention him all the time. Okay, he is not a man. We say “ken” in place of “know” and we say it all the time. In Aberdeen if you don’t know the answer to a question then you say “ah da ken” which means “I don’t know”. Or, if you are of limited knowledge then you basically “ken hee-haw”.


The Aberdonian way of saying “man” as Geordies would say “why aye man” we would say “aye, aye min” as a type of greeting. If we were shouting at the person we would say “HAW, min!”

Nae or Naw

The opposite of “aye” and pretty self-explanatory.


Very similar to “ach” but more relaxed. Most people may have heard of “och aye the noo?” which I have never, ever said and it doesn’t really make sense to me. It’s hard to sum this word up but let’s just say if there’s something that makes you curl your lip up then you would say “och” when you do it.


The opposite of “in” i.e. “out”. I used this word in Spain once in an elevator when a group of Spaniards were taking ages to get out of the lift. A simple shout of “oot” seemed to both confuse them and make them hurry the f*** up at the same time.


Little, small, tiny, miniscule and any other forms of measurement for things that aren’t large. Isn’t it simpler to have only one word for them? I think so. So, anything that isn’t large in Scotland is just, simply “wee”.

There are hundreds of other great Scottish words, both of the three-letter variety and others that aren’t so “wee” but  “och” I’m “oot” of time and I’m about to make my spellchecker have a nervous breakdown so let’s leave it there and here’s an amusing video that shows off a lot of the words described in this post. Enjoy!

Are you proud of your country? Let me know about it in the comments below or tweet me @SteveSays2014 and don’t forget to take a look at other posts in this series.



16 thoughts on “Celebrating Scotland: 10 Things I Love About My Country #6 Language

      1. So it means that American TV show was essentially named… Nothing. Haha! Oh, I want to use it in a sentence now, but not sure if I can as my Scottish blood is very thin indeed.


  1. See, I think I read y’all’s accents stronger than they may actually be. The few people I have talked to in (via internet) or from Scotland don’t sound like what most of us think y’all should (thanks to The Simpsons, Mike Myers and Star Trek for that LOL)



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