‘Dreich’ tops poll of favourite Scots words

OF all the words in the Scots language, it is perhaps appropriate that ‘dreich’ should, ahem, reign over them all.

Ahead of Burns Night on Friday, a new poll has revealed that the word, which usually refers to wet, cold or gloomy weather, has been voted as the nation’s favourite with 23 per cent of the public vote.

Dreich beats other oft-used words such as ‘glaikit’ (20 per cent), meaning stupid or foolish, blether (12 per cent), meaning to be talkative, and crabbit (11 per cent), meaning grumpy or sour-faced.

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The You Gov survey asked adults across the country to select their number one Scots word from a list of eight options, including sleekit (six per cent), beastie (5 per cent), and braw (6 per cent), many of which were also favourites of Robert Burns.

Lassies across the country also proved their love for gossip with 17 per cent of female Scots voting ‘blether’ as their number one word, while ‘glaikit’ came up trumps with 35 to 44 year old respondents at 26 per cent.

Speaking ahead of this year’s Burns Night celebrations, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scots is intrinsic to our nation’s culture, heritage, and identity. It is also one of our living languages which are as relevant today as they were in Robert Burns’ time - many of the words highlighted in this survey have no direct English translation, demonstrating their enduring appeal. My own personal favourite word is ‘bùrach’, which means ‘a right mess’, and is from the Gaelic. There’s also a Scottish folk rock group called Bùrach, and I think it’s a great name for a band.”