Scottish word of the week: Belligut

ARE you a greedyguts? Do you have eyes bigger than your stomach? An eater of all the pies, perhaps, as the football chant goes?

Is this belligut biting more than he can chew? Picture: PA
Is this belligut biting more than he can chew? Picture: PA

If you submit to any of the aforementioned charges, you would have been branded a belligut among Cromarty locals a few decades ago. Tautological as belligut may be, there aren’t many turns of phrase that so vividly describes someone with a waistline-expanding appetite.

Belligut is a word belonging to a specific Scottish dialect in Cromarty that, sadly, died with the last speaker of the tongue, Bobby Hogg, in 2012.

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A researcher called Janine Donald set about the daunting task of recording as much of the language as she could before Bobby’s passing.

The Cromarty dialect, a mixture of Dutch and Norse, is one tailored to its community: since Cromarty is a fishing village, it has an abundance of fishing and marine-related words (eg. dolphins are ‘tumblers’; “o the teydin” means seventh fishing line).

Other wonderful oddities in the Cromarty tongue include a term for a female farm worker (‘Jenny Muck’), and ‘doorcans’, fir cones used to smoke fish.

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