Scottish words of the week: The Edinburgh dialect

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL


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.

Some of the sayings are a little choice for these pages, but we’ve collected a few here with the help of our friends on Facebook.

An Edinburgh glossary

Embra - Edinburgh

Baffies - slippers

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

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’)

• Have we forgotten any great Edinburgh slang or sayings? Let us know in the comments.

Scotland’s Dialects






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