Scottish word of the week: Radge

ARE we a nation of radges? If you’re not from around here, and had only a passing knowledge of Scottish literature (ie. a well-thumbed copy of Trainspotting), then perhaps you might think so.

Trainspotting's Francis Begbie, played by Robert Carlyle in Danny Boyle's film adaptation. Picture: Contributed

That’s hardly just down to Irvine Welsh, and the Danny Boyle film subsequently adapted from his famous novel, but the overwhelming success of both did their bit to catapult the Scottish radge onto the international stage.

Like it or not, there seems to have been a bloom in the use of words to describe mental Scottish people, and the crazy things that we apparently get up to, in the last few decades.

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One Francis Begbie is a major culprit, obviously. He is the archetypal radge: wild, unpredictable, and violent. A man you do not want to spill a pint on.

As well as being radge, you can also go radge: a prolific, sustained bout of swearing or a violent outburst ought to do it.

It’s also used as a casual term of endearment, predominantly in the east coast (“come here, ya wee radge.”). A seemingly improbable event can also be described as being “radge”.

A word that dates back to the late 19th century, radge is probably a morphing of “rage”. According to Scots Magazine, it was adapted from radger, a seemingly extinct term for an uncontrollable creature.