Scottish word of the week: Boke

IF we use the number of Scottish words available for expressing disgust as any sort of guide, then it would seem that we’re not shy of doing so.

An inebriated student is helped inside an ambulance in Edinburgh's Grassmarket. Picture: Jane Barlow

“That’s mingin’,” is a not uncommon reply to a story furnished with overly graphic or unpleasant detail (like a burst pluke, for example); similarly, you might say that something “gives you the boke” (alternative spelling: “boak”), which conveys disgust more explicitly because it describes the act of throwing up. It can also generally describe a sickly feeling; it’s a markedly more flexible (and strangely charismatic) expression than simply saying that you feel ill.

There are other cousins of the word too that seem to have emerged more recently. Bowf is an unpleasant smell, but if you describe something as “bowfin’” then it could be applied in the same way as “boke” or “mingin’”.

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Finally, you may have also heard reference to “the dry boke”. That’s when you, after you’ve thrown up (usually in a figurative sense), you keep retching anyway. Boggin’, isn’t it? (Yep, there’s another one.)



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