Scottish words of the week: The Doric

Young MacGuffin (far right), one of the most famous Doric speakers in the world thanks to his role in Pixar's Brave. Picture: AP
Young MacGuffin (far right), one of the most famous Doric speakers in the world thanks to his role in Pixar's Brave. Picture: AP
Share this article
Have your say

AS Scottish regional dialects go, the Doric can be one of the toughest to pick up. Allow us to assist with our brief guide to the history of the north east dialect, and some of the best phrases to come from it.

The name Doric derives from ancient Greece, and the dialect of the Dorians. The Dorians spoke in a more rural manner than their Athenian counterparts, and the name was applied to north east Scots’ language in the early 1700s.

At first the name ‘Doric’ was not confined to any single dialect, and was used as an alternative name for the Scots language generally. However, over time the north east dialect began to take sole possession of the name.

By the 1800s, journalists began writing articles in the Doric about topics of local interest, and Doric poetry soon followed.

As time passed, the Doric became entrenched in the culture of the north east, to the point where it can be difficult for outsiders to catch up, and the constant use of ‘F’ in place of ‘wh’ and ‘Ee’ sounds instead of ‘Oh’ sounds can make things a little confusing.

Robert Gordon University compiled a Doric Dictionary for visiting oil executives earlier this year, to help those at conferences get their heads around the local lingo, and to ease communication in the oil capital of Europe.

The Doric even managed to grab a cameo role in Disney Pixar’s smash hit Scottish animation Brave.

The character of Young MacGuffin, voiced by Trainspotting star and Moray native Kevin McKidd, speaks in a variant of the dialect inspired by McKidd’s grandfather.

Rather fittingly, the film’s official website describes the Doric-speaking character as “incomprehensible to most”, with MacGuffin’s accent a faithful Holywood take on a beloved Scottish institution.

Here are some of our favourite Doric expressions and phrases, including those suggested by our friends on Facebook

• Bosie - Hug or cuddle

• Cappie - Ice-cream cone

• Clype - To tell tales

• Dookers - Swimsuit

• Dreich - Overcast and miserable weather

• Fan div ye yoke? - When do you start work?

• Fan ye aff? - When are you going?

• Fit like? - How are you?

• Foo mony? - How many?

• Foo’s yer doos? - How are you?

• Fooge - Play truant

• Hellach - Noisy, or awkward

• Loun - Boy

• Pucklie - Small amount

• Quine - Girl

• Sook - Sycophant

• Stappit - Full, well-fed

• Scurry - Seagull

Have we missed your favourite Doric phrase? Let us know in the comments below.

Our guide to the Edinburgh lingo

The best of Glasgow banter

Dundee’s dialect