Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

There are few sounds more pleasing to the ear than the lilting tones of a Scottish accent, but it would be a mistake to assume that local slang is universal. This nation of more than 5 million inhabitants has a variety of regional accents and dialects, each with its own jargon. A visit to the cosmopolitan city of Edinburgh, however, dilutes it to the largest and most common phrases. Here are some of the most commonly heard Scottish words and expressions in the capital.


Aye is frequently substituted for the word ‘yes’ in everyday speech in Scotland. In contrast, ‘aye, right’ is used to express disbelief (consider it the Scottish equivalent of ‘yeah, right’).


Exciting conversation, witty repartee, and quips and wisecracks are all examples of good conversation.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In EdinburghBlether

The phrase “having a blether” encompasses catching up, gossiping, and conversing for extended periods of time. Ideal with a cup of tea or a dram of whisky.


Braw is a traditional example of Scottish slang. In the eponymous comic strip Oor Wullie, the titular character frequently employs this phrase to describe wonderful, brilliant, and fantastical things. Someone may have “braw banter,” or your hotel room’s view may be braw.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In Edinburgh
Utterly wonderful and fantastic | © Fiona McDonnell


A chancer is an individual who boldly “takes a chance” by taking risks and making unreasonable requests. This is typically accompanied by a sly sense of self-awareness. That person who repeatedly requests cigarettes but never buys any? Chancer.


To steal, nick, or nab something. If someone else were to organize your belongings, you could dispose of them.


Don’t. As in: “Do not forget your umbrella.”


Undoubtedly, Scotland experiences a fair amount of gloomy weather. For days that are dreary and overcast, dreich is an apt term.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In EdinburghFae

From. You can be fae Edinburgh, fae Glasgow, fae Aberdeen – fae anywhere, really.

Fizzy juice

Soft drinks, soda, or carbonated sugar water. Scots would tell you that there is no better carbonated beverage than a can of ice-cold Irn-Bru.

Get tae

Used to advise someone to depart (sometimes followed by the F-word in particularly heated circumstances). It may also be used ironically when someone is lying or embellishing a story.

Haud yer wheesht

Used to tell a person to be quiet or to stop speaking. The defining characteristic of Scottish motherhood since time immemorial.


To learn. As in: “I know Moira from the road.” In contrast, “dinnae ken” indicates ignorance.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In Edinburgh
Supermarket or grocery items | © Fiona McDonnell


Items found in a supermarket or grocery store. Unrelated to postal employees

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

This adage provides sage business advice, stating that small amounts of money, when invested wisely, will eventually grow into substantial sums. Scrooge McDuck would endorse this. It is also enjoyable to say aloud.


Pale and ailing. It is also used to mock individuals who lack a tan.


Ignore someone completely on purpose. Scots are generally offended by being pied, but not by the delectable pastries available in their bakeries.

Pure barry

Absolutely wonderful and marvelous. Braw 2.0.


A person who is disruptive or aggressive. This phrase is used to describe absurd or unjust situations.


Repulsive and vile. Not to be confused with taxi ranks, where individuals wait to be picked up.


Food, dishes, or nourishment The traditional Scottish scran consists of cullen skink, mince and tatties, and the ubiquitous haggis.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In EdinburghShan

Unfair. For instance, if someone cut in front of a line or if a bacon roll contained only half a piece of bacon. In these circumstances, you have every right to use the term “well shan” to describe the injustice.

Skedaddle aff

To hurry along in a merry manner. It can also be used to express “leave me alone.”


To go out on the skite is to have a night out (usually fueled by alcohol). Some of the most legendary nights on the skite occur in the thriving bars, pubs, and clubs of Edinburgh.

30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In Edinburgh
Very, very drunk | © Fiona McDonnell


Very, very drunk. Synonym: reeking.


The highest level of endorsement, expressing appreciation for something. As in: “That was some neat garbage.”

Wur tearin’ the tartan

To be captivated by a compelling conversation. In other words, having a lengthy discussion.

Yer heid’s full o’ mince

It is undesirable to have a head full of mince because it implies that a person’s speech is, quite frankly, nonsensical.

Topic: 30 Scottish Phrases And Sayings You’ll Hear In Edinburgh

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