Scottish word of the week: Wynd

Butts Wynd, in St Andrews. Picture: Complimentary
Butts Wynd, in St Andrews. Picture: Complimentary
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THERE are a number of Scottish words used in street names that have all but fallen out of regular use and, were it not for these exisiting roads, would have vanished completely.

Words like close and mews are rarely heard in every day conversation but still exist in street names. The word’wynd’ can be found in a number of Scotland’s larger towns but nearly always, as the name suggests, refers to a ‘winding’ street.

One infamous ‘wynd’ is situated in the Fife university town of St Andrews, and is home to the institution’s IT department.

The source of much amusement for the more puerile amongst the students, Butts Wynd is a narrow street between the town’s North Street and the Scores overlooking the sea. It also leads to St Salvator’s Quad and the library.

A wynd (prounounced like ‘wined’) is, generally speaking, a narrow lane or alley leading off a major thoroughfare. Readers familiar with Edinburgh may be aware of ‘Old Tolbooth Wynd,’ a dark alley leading off the Royal Mile.

Interestingly enough, the French equivalent is ‘venelle’ - and coincidentally, there is a similar narrow alley called the ‘Vennel’, with steps leading up to Heriot Row from the Grassmarket.