EDINBURGH is a city of contrasts and differences, and that extends to the dialect of its residents. Just as the Old and New Towns radically differ in style, so do the accents and vocabularies of the city’s residents.
In upper-crust areas such as Stockbridge and Morningside, residents pride themselves on their flawless diction and restrained vocabulary. While the more refined areas of Edinburgh channel the spirit of Miss Jean Brodie, it’s the likes of Leith and Tollcross that offer the more interesting slang.
Leith in particular is a hotbed for interesting words and phrases, with the work of Irvine Welsh key in bringing the area’s language to the fore.
The likes of Trainspotting and Filth are written almost entirely in Welsh’s Leith dialect, with some exciting and interesting turns of phrase used along the way.
Many Edinburgh words have their origins in the Roma language, traditionally spoken by travelling people in southern Scotland.
Some of the sayings are a little choice for these pages, but we’ve collected a few here:
An Edinburgh glossary
Embra - Edinburgh
Baffies - slippers
Bampot - mad; idiot
Barry - fantastic or great
Bunker - worktop, kitchen counter
Chum - join on a journey (Chumming a friend doon the road)
Cludgie - toilet
Deek - look at
Dinnae - don’t
Feart - afraid of
Foostie - stale
Gadgie: usually used to describe a man or boy who engages in loutish behaviour.
Radge - crazy or uncontrollable (A person can either be a radge, or ‘go radge’)
Reeking - drunk
Scoobied - clueless (Scooby Doo is rhyming slang for clue)
Shan - a shame, or disappointing (A bad day at work could be ‘well shan’)