A history of Scottish insults

Students take part in a rectorial battle in a haze of smoke (?) at the Old Quad of Edinburgh University, November 1963.

Students take part in a rectorial battle in a haze of smoke (?) at the Old Quad of Edinburgh University, November 1963.

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THERE is something unique about the Scottish tongue when it comes to insults. It’s aggressive without effort, with a few simple phrases able to send someone on their way.

The Scots language was the country’s original tongue, dating back 1,400 years ago.

Robert Carlyle as Begbie in the Scottish film.

Robert Carlyle as Begbie in the Scottish film.

During the Middle Ages the language developed and grew apart from its sister tongue in England, until a distinct Scots language had evolved.

At one time Scots was the national language of Scotland, spoken by Scottish kings, and was used to write the official records of the country.

Now the Scots language becomes a point of pride with some people, using words that - outside of some regions of Scotland - have never been heard.

And with the ability to deliver a well timed insult viewed as almost an art form, by using some of these simple phrases, you’ll never be left tongue tied with a red face.

We take a look at some very Scottish insults, let us know if we’ve missed any off the list:

Awa’ n bile yer heid - Get lost

Bampot - Idiot

Boggin - foul-smelling

Bowfin - unpleasant

Clipe “Don’t be a wee clipe” - tattle-tale, snitch

Doaty - Stupid, simple

Dobber - Idiot, jerk

Doolally - Not the full shilling

Eejit - Idiot

Feartie - Coward

Gommy - Simple-looking, idiot

Gowk - fool, simpleton

Hackit - Ugly

Howlin’ - Smelly

Jakey - Alcoholic

Lavvy heid - Toilet head

Midden - dirty, unkempt

READ MORE: A history of the Edinburgh accent

Mince “You’re talking mince” - Rubbish

Numpty - Idiot

Naff - Boring, rubish

Roaster - Idiot

Rocket - Insane, unpredictable

Scabby - Dirty

Shut yer pus - Shut up; shut your mouth

Tube - Idiot

Yer aff yer heid - You’re crazy

Yer bum’s oot the windae - You’re talking nonsense; not making sense

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