Scottish words: Words only heard in an Edinburgh school playground

Children playing hopscotch
Children playing hopscotch
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EDINBURGH playground banter can be healthy good - unless you live outside the capital when the local vernacular may seem a bit rank.

We take a look at a selection of words that can be heard in an Edinburgh playground - ya ken?

Children on the climbing frame in a playground in 1965.

Children on the climbing frame in a playground in 1965.


Means stealing or taking something that isn’t yours.

Sentence: ‘Did you chore that from Menzies?’ / ‘He chored my best Pogs’


Children playing in Victoria Park Edinburgh - Marjory Fleming goes down chute.

Children playing in Victoria Park Edinburgh - Marjory Fleming goes down chute.

Talk a lot, often going off-subject or talking nonsense.

Sentences: ‘Stop your spraffing’ / ‘He was just having a spraff’


Word meaning very good, when used combined with tidy means attractive member of the opposite sex.

Children on roundabout

Children on roundabout

Sentences: ‘That steak bake was healthy good’ / ‘That laddie was healthy tidy’ (pronounced heaaaaaaaalfay).


The result of a clipe might be the distribution of one of these - a punny, short for punishment exercise.

Also referred to as “lines”, so-called because the offender, who would often write these punishment exercises in a classroom after school, would have to write out a self-admonishing sentence (“I should not have called Mrs Meacher a silly wee cow”) again and again, ad naseum.


God help you if you if you were one of these, especially if you were a boy. “Telling on someone” or “grassing them up” by going to a teacher and relaying how wee Jonnie flicked a marker pen at big Neil in class is a cardinal sin: you just don’t do it (unless it’s something a lot more serious, obviously).

A janitor is, in itself, a word used widely in Scottish schools, but Scottish children often use the abbreviation “jannie”. As abbreviations go it’s especially informal (mostly because it carries all the gravitas of a freshly squeezed whoopie cushion), and may be viewed by some teachers - and indeed janitors - with a raised eyebrow.


Horrible, disgusting, vile.

Can be used to describe a person, a person’s actions or an item you find unpleasant.

Sentence: ‘That Peach Shnapps and lemonade tastes rank.’

READ MORE - A history of Scottish words: Edinburgh


Means unfair or when something rubbish happens to you.

Sentence: ‘It’s pure shan Mr McKenzie won’t let me skip history for a school play rehearsal’ / Why are they always picking on Matty, that’s shan like’


To accompany someone, or tag along with them.

Sentence: ‘Will you chum me to the shops?’ / Fancy a chum?


Disbelieving something that someone says

Sentence: ‘Chinny that actually happened’

Means incredibly drunk, out your face drunk, can also be said as ‘reeko’

Sentence: ‘Did you see Fraser last night? He was pure reekin’.

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