Scottish word of the day: Carnaptious

THERE are a number of appropriate words in the Scots language to describe every form of anger, from slightly miffed to incandescent with rage.

Carnaptious, our Scottish word of the day, is most often used to describe someone ill-tempered and grumpy; most likely on the warpath and looking for a fight for very little, if any reason.

Etymologists believe the word may be derived from the verb ‘knap’, meaning to bite or to snap, appropriate enough when you consider the way a person who is said to be ‘carnaptious’ can make you feel.

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Normally associated with the elderly, the term has fallen out of use in favour of the milder ‘crabbit,’ which unfortunately doesn’t really convey the same sort of anger.

Francis Begbie, the infamous hardman of Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ novel and portrayed so vividly by Robert Carlyle in the big screen version, is a fine example of a carnaptious soul. Who can forget that violent scene in the pub, where all hell breaks loose when someone has the audacity to knock into Begbie?

Although falling out of popular use, and not nearly as common as it used to be, carnaptious is still a term reserved by some Scots to describe that pent-up, unwavering anger simmering beneath someone’s surface.