Scottish word of the week: Blether

A basic definition of the word blether is tricky - in colloquial terms, people usually know it to mean a lengthy chat between friends.

Two lassies having a blether. Picture: TSPL
Two lassies having a blether. Picture: TSPL

But when applied to a person, blether is also a term for a gossip, a chatterbox, or someone who talks a lot of nonsense.

A bletherer can also be someone who is prone to boasting and exaggeration.

With roots as far back as the 15th century, blether has featured regularly in Scottish literature. In a poem entitled December, Thomas Given wrote:

“That frae Fashoda tae Khartoum,

though crownheeds brag and blether,

the Frenchman sees wae a’ his boom,

that England’s John’s a terror

whun rouse’t this day”

Blether is also a derivative of a longer term, bletherskite, a derogatory word for someone who rambles on in a foolish manner.

Recently voted to be one of Scotland’s favourite words, blether remains widely used across the country. From TV programmes to newspaper headlines, there seems to be no shortage of blethers.