15 words people from Edinburgh will understand

The Edinburgh skyline. Picture: TSPL
The Edinburgh skyline. Picture: TSPL
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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.

A still from Trainspotting, which was set in Edinburgh.

A still from Trainspotting, which was set in Edinburgh.

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.

Ewan McGregor in a scene from the film Trainspotting being chased in street 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:

Embra - Edinburgh Baffies - slippers

Bampot - mad; idiot

Barry - fantastic or great

Bunker - worktop, kitchen counter

Cheesing: happy 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’)