Scots’ unique phrases can be insightful and offer much-needed perspective while others like “yer bum’s oot the windae” are just plain funny.
Scottish words and sayings, combined with a world-famous accent, can easily make the English used here sound like a totally separate tongue. It aptly reflects the fact that Scotland historically never had one uniform language spoken by all its ancestors (and to this day we still have languages like Scots and Scottish Gaelic.)
We asked our Scotsman readers what “their favourite Scottish saying is” and they offered spectacular answers from “yer lookin’ peely wally” (you look sick) to the classic “whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye” (what’s meant to be will be!)
These are 40 of Scotland’s favourite Scottish sayings and phrases as voted by our Scotsman readers.
1. Square go
Officially a 'square go' refers to an unarmed brawl, and it is something you exclaim when you're challenging someone to fight you. Photo: kozorog on Canva Pro
2. Yer looking a bit peely wally
'Peely wally' refers to being pale or sickly looking. If you have a Scottish parent then you probably heard "you're looking a wee bit peely wally" when you were growing up. Photo: designer491 via Canva Pro
3. Up tae high doh
Often used to refer to a state of agitation, if someone's "up tae high doh" then you're better staying out their way. Photo: amazingmikael via Canva Pro
4. Pin yer lugs back
"Lug" is the Scots word for an ear, so in this case the saying means to listen up and pay attention. Photo: mediaphotos via Canva Pro