Outlander has been credited for sparking a ‘renaissance’ of Scottish heritage languages with expressions like “Sassenach” catching on with the show’s global fanbase.
Outlander season 7 has arrived but even long-time fans are confused by the Scottish vocabulary peppered throughout the show. If that includes you, we could say “dinna fash” (don’t worry) but will not because that is an example of the Scots language and today we’re tackling Scottish Gaelic.
As a staunch advocate of endangered Scottish languages, the series author Diana Gabaldon has expressed her desire to save the Celtic tongue through her writing and has been widely praised for her Gaelic inclusion.
For Valentine’s Day 2023, we compiled a list of romantic Gaelic phrases in Outlander for all the Jamie and Claire’s out there. Now, we’re covering a broader spectrum of Gaelic words which - hopefully - you can incorporate into your own vocabulary.
As Gaelic is far removed from English pronunciation, the phonetics in this article are only well-intended suggestions. We recommend websites like Learn Gaelic to help you sound out words like a native. That said, tiugainn teuchters (“chookin choochters”) i.e., let’s go Highlanders!
Thought to derive from the term ‘Saxon’, the Gaelic word “Sassenach” refers to an English person. In Outlander, Jamie uses it as a term of affection when addressing Claire. You can pronounce the word by sounding out “sass-un-nak”. Photo: Submitted
2. Slàinte Mhath
This is a toast in Scottish Gaelic, traditionally expressed over whisky, which translates to “good health”. The “Slàinte” part refers to health and the “mhath” simply means good. To pronounce this iconic phrase you can say it like “SLANtchih va”. Photo: Submitted
3. Mo Nighean Donn
Speaking Gaelic, Jamie used the phrase “mo nighean donn” when referring to his wife Claire. If we translate the phrase we get “my brown haired lass” in reference to her striking brunette locks. Pronounce it by saying “mo-neein-down”. Photo: YouTube Screenshot
4. Pòg mo thòin
Simply put, this cheeky expression is used to tell someone to “kiss my a**”. Essentially, letting someone know that you will not be doing that which they have asked of you. To pronounce it, sound out the following: “poke-mo-hoiyn”. Photo: Submitted