Dialect is a very rich, expressive form of speech, which in this age of television and video is dying out, giving way to standard usage, Americanisms and Australian slang.
Fife Council Libraries brought out a booklet ‘Fine Ham an’ Haddie’ a good few years ago (LONG OUT OF PRINT).
So my brother who runs his own Facebook page entitled Kirkcaldy in Old Pictures and Postcards asked his group a simple question.
What “Fife” words or “Scottish” words, or phrases would flummox a foreigner, and for the purposes of this topic a foreigner is anyone from the other side of the Scottish borders?
May I congratulate the members of this closed Facebook page for all their inputs. I will sit here with my Baffies on sorting the words and phrases out, oh and baffies was the most popular word sent in, still guessing readers? they are (slippers)
The response has been fantastic I have decided to use the answers here to preserve them, some might need clarified even to locals.
The words and spelling are as the reader has given, I have tried to correct obvious errors if I spot them and also tidy up the phrases. Please remember many words and phrases could mean totally different things in other areas of Scotland.
If you submitted a word or phrase to Kirkcaldy in Old Picture Postcards and you think I have given the wrong meaning or if you can see your word or phrase with NO meaning please feel free to email me Tommy at email@example.com with the title FIFE DIALECT FROM READERS giving the name or phrase and what you think the word or phrase should be or what you thought it meant. I will then amend it on this page, once again thanks again to everyone.
Ashet – (A large, shallow, oval dish used for serving food; A term used in Scotland taken from French for plate, ‘assiette’)(Soldiers from the Napoleonic wars were allowed into the Grass Market to trade. They sold Assiette Tarte…this became the Scottish Ashet Pies)
Back Haunder – (a blow made with the back of the hand)(a secret and illegal payment, a bribe)(or a tip for work carried out)
Baffy/Baffies/ – (slipper/slippers) (the most popular word said by readers)
Barry – (as is good)
Bawhair – (in Scotland it is a recognised unit of measurement)
Bawheid – (scottish dialect for ballhead. One who is ignorant and unnecessarily stupid.)(A term of endearment generally reserved for good looking intelligent guys whose friends are in awe of him.There’s the big man what a bawheid he is (secretly i think he’s immense)
Bealin – (raging/anger/rotten)(“Ahm no eaten this. It’s bealin.”)
Besom – (broom), difficult woman (figuratively)
Birl – (Twirling someone around and lifting them up is giving them a birl)
Bob’s your Uncle – (everything is complete, there is no more to be done)(this used to annoy me as Bob was my fathers name, no my uncle)
Bogie – (child’s toy cart, thing we used to build from a wooden box and a set of pram wheels)(Mucus from your nose)
Bowster – (scottish variant of bolster, a long bag of cloth completely filled with soft material, a long pillow or cushion)
(Ma mither aye liked ta hae a ‘Bowster’ on the bed)
Brae – (slope, small hill)
Breeks – (trousers)
Bum Fluff – (the first beard growth of an adolescent)
Bunker – (draining board/now would be worktop)(coal)(cupboard where people kept coal)(I think bunker must be a Fife word. We moved 100 miles north to Aberdeen but my son and daughter still call it a bunker, much to the irritation of their Aberdonian families as to them a bunker is where you keep coal! The kitchen has worktop.
Cabins – (round flattish rolls with many small puncture holes on top)
Cadis – (the dust on the canvas backing on Linoleum)(I used to have to dust the ‘cadis’ from the linoleum.)
Carrie wheekit – (what your webmaster is left handed)
Chackit – (a Fife word actually meaning Drunk, but many folk have different meanings)
Charpoy – (bed) (Links area talk)
Chore – (to steal)(“It wis choried”, “gaun oot on the chore”)
Cleek/Cleeking – (a metal hook used to look for crabs under rocks)
Clert/Clerty – (a person soiled, muddy, dirty)
Clipe – (scots word ‘clipe’ is one of those curious elements of the scots tongue which is both a noun and a verb at the same time. To clipe on someone means to ‘tell on them’, or ‘grass them up’ – usually to the teacher. Those who indulge in the act of cliping on someone are often referred to simply as a ‘clipe’. The word itself hasn’t always had such negative scholastic connotations – Clipe was originally used to describe a storyteller, or simple tale, and even gossip in some cases.
Clipshear – (forky tail)(in England an earwig)
Clootie Dumpling – (clootie, diminutive of Scots cloot, is a strip or piece of cloth, a rag or item of clothing)(clootie dumpling is made with flour, breadcrumbs, dried fruit (sultanas and currants), suet, sugar and spice with some milk to bind it, and sometimes golden syrup. Ingredients are mixed well into a dough, then wrapped up in a floured cloth, placed in a large pan of boiling water and simmered for a couple of hours before being lifted out and dried before the fire or in an oven. Recipes vary from region to region e.g. in North Fife and Dundee it is not common to use breadcrumbs but the use of treacle is common.
Close – (a walkway between 2 houses)(As in she left her bucket n the close)(closes were great for courting couples)
Coorie in – (cuddle close)(I what they done in the close and the rest)
Coo’s lick – (cowlick, tuft of hair hanging over the forehead)
Crabbit – (grumpy or miserable)
Curny/Curnie – (a company especially of persons)
Cushie doo – (wood pigeon)
Dibble – (wooden tool for making holes in the soil for planting)
Doon – (down)
Doo – (pigeon)
Doolander/Doo-lichter – (an extra large cap/hat)(because the skip at the front is big enough for your racing pigeons to land on!)(used by pigeon fanciers among the coalminers)
Doutit – (if ye didnae unnerstaund summit!)(If you did not understand something)(Ah micht no be a geenius but Ah’m no ‘DOUTIT’)
Dreich – (dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather)
Drookit – (extremely wet, drenched)(Ma mither often gien me a guid skelp if A’ cam hame ‘drookit’)
Droont – (extremly wet and soaking)
Dyke – (wall)
Fams – (for hands)(possibly a term used in Gallatown area of Kirkcaldy)
Feart – (frightened)
Gadge – (as in geezer)(Scottish term. A minging person, schemie)(an insult, similar to twat, idiot or stupid)
Gallivanting – (go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment.)(Ha yi been oot gallivanting)
Gamp – (an umbrella, especially a large unwieldy one)
Garret – (attic/loft)
Ginger – (lemonade)(Remember being up near Inverness when a kid with a Gaswegian pal and we argued as to ask for ‘juice’ or ‘ginger’ in a shop. Pal asked for ‘ginger’ and the lady replied they didn’t have any ginger beer, would juice do?
Girnin – (crying/greetin)
Glaikit – (as in stupid)(stupid, foolish, not very bright, thoughtless, vacant)
Goofersnatcher – (remote control) (Links area talk)
Grannied – (often used in pool when the loser hasn’t potted a single ball)(used in other sports as well)
Grauvit – (Scarf)(It’s cauld the day – get your grauvit on)
Grippit – (feeling the need to run to the toilet for a poo/No.2)
Gutties – (trainers)
Gutty – (catapult)
Hankers/Hunkers – (getting down on your knees)
Hatch/Bowly – (a small serving door usually from the kitchen to living room)
Hawndless – (hopeless using your hands)
Hornies – (scots for police)(from Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 136:
He [the dog] would immediately dive into the tent and crawl under the straw of a bed, as soon as I or any of us said ‘Hornies binging’ (police coming)(again used in Gallatown area of Kirkcaldy)
Houk – (as in potato picking)(Tattie houking)
Hurlie – (child’s toy cart, thing we used to build from a wooden box and a set of pram wheels)(a term from Leslie, Fife)
I’m aw stecky – (all stiff and sore)
Jaicket – (jacket)
Jamped – (jumped)(I jamped off the wall)
Jigger – (door) (Links area talk)
Joogle – (dog)(As in a, ‘that’s a barry deekin’ Joogle’)(possibly a term used in Gallatown area of Kirkcaldy)
Ken – (Do you know him)(who on earth is he?)
Keich – (Scottish word for poo/have a poo)
Lavvy/pan – (toilet)(toilet seat)
Leerie – (Licht, Light)(Put the Leerie on)(switch the light on)
Lobby – (hall)
Lobby press – (hall cupboard)
Loup – (jump)(as in the dug’s louped the pailin (fence) an he’s diggin at the taw’ies.(potatoes))
Lugs – (ears)
Ma Di – (my granpaw)
Mantle peece – (shelf above fire or a surround where a mantle clock would have sat in the middle)
Mawkit/Mauchit – (dirty, filthy, sticky, muddy)
Messages – (shopping, groceries)(Away fur the messages. Said this to a neighbour when lived in London)(yes they do speak to neighbours) and she just gave me a look then disappeared into the house. Later found she had no idea what messages were)
Mickle – (a small amount but can also be a large amount)(see phrase ‘Many a mickle mak a muckle’)
Midden – (cess pit, rubbish pile, compost heap)
(1.An unsightly mess.)(Haven’t you tidied your room yet?.It’s a midden!)
(2.An extremely unattractive female)(Wouldnae touch her with yours mate,she’s a right midden)
(3.A football stadium of ill repute where the great unwashed gather bi-weekly)(Parkhead in the East end of Glasgow Commonly referred to as “The Midden”.)
Minger – (an unattractive or unpleasant person or thing)
Mingin – (A person (usually of the female gender) who is gross or disgusting to look at or touch. In other words, they are definitely not aesthetically pleasing)(“The house was mingin” meaning it was dirty, smelly, the kind with sticky carpets!!
the garbage bin has not been emptied for weeks–mingin)(it was mingin at Starks Park!! not aesthetically pleasing to the eye)
Muckle – (Much)(used for small and big) see (Peerie)(I always thought “muckle” was a slang word for big. I was doing a course a few years back and the lecturer was a painter origionaly. He told me ” muckle” was a unit of measurement for mixing colours into paint)
Nordy – (as in “Nordy Crossback Jeans”)
Nunk – (apple)
Ony rod – (any way)
Oxters – (armpits)
Parritch – (porridge)
Partans/Parkins – (crabs)(most fifers called them partans, folk from West Wemyss called them parkins)
Pauldies – (hopscotch)(Used an old cherry blossom shoe polish tin bashed flat or a wee stane/stone)
Pawkie/Pawkies – (mitts)(wily or sly)(from Scots pauk – a trick)
Peelly Wally – (pale and sickly in appearance)
Peerie (used for small and big) see (Muckle)
Pipper – (newspaper)
Plout/Potted Hough/Potted heid – (boiled shin of beef)
Poke – (up turned witches hat like bag of sweets or chips usually)
Puckle – (an imprecise amount; a few)(Give me a puckle. How much of a puckle? Make it a muckle puckle) (see Muckle)
Puddick – (Frog)
Puggled – (tiredness and fatigue)
Pus – (the white muck that comes out of a zit/boil when you pop it)(a bastardization of the word face)
Reddin up – (tidying)(cleaning up)
Reel of thread – (for the sewing machine a purn).
Sair Heid – (sponge cake with icing a top with greaseproof paper around it)
Sassenach – (an englishman (saxon)
Saundy Lowpers – (sand flies)
Scaffie – (scavenger, a road/street sweeper)
Scramble or Skooroot – (an old Scottish tradition which takes place at weddings. When the bride leaves her home to go to the church or chapel, the father of the bride throws coins from the car/vehicle. The local children then scramble for them, collecting as much as the can)
Scratcher or pit – (bed)
Screeve – (car) (Links area talk)
Scullery – (kitchen)
Scunnered – (a Scots word used to mean that you are world weary, down-trodden, and thoroughly bereft of any lust for life)
Shairn – (shārn (Scot.) cow-dung)
Shiftin – (Moving House/Home)(Yae wir flittin hen!) Ma Maw’s fae Aberdawr and Ma Dad’s fae Singhapwahr so wir shiftin’ tae Dunnikawr tae a wee hooose oan the estate.)
Shooglier/Shooglie/Shoogly – (one of the many Scots words that are so appropriate to their contexts that they are
difficult to translate into English. With reference to something such as a table or chair, the word wobbly is often used as the equivalent of shooglie/shoogly)
Simmit and Drawers – (was Vest and Pants)(When I frequented a pub in the 70’s an old man used to say when 2 brothers walked in here they come “Simmit and Drawers” same time and same order coming in door Simmit first then Drawers yes folks “Vest and Pants” why I asked, he said because they are always together. All three gentlemen long since gone sadly.
Sitooterie – a Scots colloquial term, though not a common one in print. It means a place to sit out in, a summerhouse or gazebo, from sit plus oot (a Scots pronunciation of out) plus the noun ending –erie of French origin that’s familiar from words like menagerie and rotisserie. (until I was 12 I never understood the word for my Grans wee seat, for me and her, we would sit on the bench, looking over my Grandad, Auld Tam Butchart’s Garden. “Gran, why is this called a Sitootery?” “Coz efter years o scunnerin’ him hae built the lip oan the shelf an’ noo when it rains we move it unner the shelf yir Granfaither built an’ it becomes a Situnnery!!)
Skelp – (hit someone)
Skitch – (a wedge for a door)
Skunnert – (energyless, can’t be bothered, utter boredom) (aw man am skunnert oot ma brain)
Skoosh – (bottle of pop/juice)(Ah remember my English schooled daughter saying “Dad, where’s inderthebunker, Gran said there’s a bottle of Skoosh inder the bunker”)
Slaister – (work Messily)
Slaverin/ Haverin – (To talk nonsense, gibberish, to speak rubbish)
Sleekit – (cunning, crafty, sly, ingratiating, generally untrustworthy)
Slept in – (to continue sleeping after the time that you usually wake up)
Sooster – (as in a beauty)
Spaver – (zip/flies on trousers/your flies/zips undone)
Splinter – (a skelb/skelf)
Spurtle – (a wooden stick/spoon used in porridge making)
Squeebs – (fireworks)
Stardies – (scots for police)(gestapo)(used in Den Road area of Kirkcaldy)
Staun – (stand)
Stocious – (drunk)
Stappit foo/fu – (to be totally full up! after eating!)
Tattie Howkers – (potato pickers)
Tumshie – (turnip)
Wabbit – (pale and weak (as after illness or exertion))
Well – (the house water tap)
Wheen – (a considerable amount or number)
Wheest – (tell someone to shut up)
Winching – (courting)(The origins of this word come from “wench”, the old fashioned word for woman.)
Yaks – (eyes)
Ye cannie tak the breeks aff a heilin man – (you cannot take away something which does not exist)
Yir like twa ply reek – (very thin person)
A canny cum oot am no alood – (I cannot come out i am not aloud)(usually to play)
Ah mind playin wi ma “GIRD”, ma “PEERIE”, an’ fleein doon braes on ma”BOGIE”…Ma head often ‘Birlin’ when Ah cam aff. Ma maw said ma claes were ‘Mauchit’ , if Ah’d been up the ‘Coup’, chasin rats wi ma slug-gun… or chasin the local fermers ‘Stots’in thir field, fur a bit o fun. – (I remember playing with my GIRD (a running toy made of mild steel hoop and you can run for miles behind a gird) and my PEERIE (small spinning wooden top with simple whip)(and flying down braes(slopes/small hills) on my BOGIE(child’s toy cart, thing we used to build from a wooden box and a set of pram wheels) my head often birlin(spinning) when I came off. My mother said my clothes were MAUCHIT (dirty, filthy, sticky, muddy), as if I had been up the COUP (rubbish/garbage tip), chasing rats with my slug gun(airgun firing lead pellets) or chasing the local farmers Stots (cattle) in their field for a bit of fun)
Ah’ll swing fur Ye – (if I catch you, I’ll be hung for murder)
A jeely piece – (a sandwich made with some flavour of jam)
A piece on jam – (a sandwich made with jam)(my mum still says this after 40 years in Australia my kids still laugh.)
A mind fine faw’in intae the sooerage pond …. coodnae git rid o the stink !…A wis reekin ! – (i remember falling into the sewage pond and could not get rid of the smell, I was smelling really unpleasant)
A leapy/lippie of tatties – (a basket of potatoes)(a quarter of a peck was a forpet (a corruption of ‘fourth peck’) or lippie (from the Anglo-Saxon leap, meaning a ‘basket’).
Aff no weel – (off work not feeling well)
Ahm awa tae shoot the craw – (I am away home then)
Am aw oot ti play roonders – (i’m away out to play rounders)(only thing close is perhaps baseball in the USA)
Ah telt yae, yir een are too big fir yir belly! – (i told you your eyes are too big for your stomach)(you are trying to eat more than your stomach can hold/you’ll be sick)
All fit yer erse – (i’ll kick your backside)
Am gonnie caw ye oot – (i’m going to knock you out)
Am seek a broke ma flask at the totties – (I’m sick I broke my vacuum flask at the Potato picking)
Are we were going for a wee Hurl – (are we going for a a small run in the car)
Av got fer big brers – (I have 4 older brothers)
Awa an chase yersel – (away and chase yourself)(tell someone to shoo off/go away)
Away an bile yur heid – (Get lost, shut up)(you do not know what you are talking about)
Awa ye gan ya glaekit midden – (away you go you stupid/unattractive person)
Ben the Hoose – (in the kitchen)
Bottle of Clear please – (bottle of Lemonade)(in Fife)
Breakfast, denner, tea and supper in that order – (order of meal names usually in Fife, other areas had different names and order)
Bring it ben with ye – (bring it through with you, usually from the kitchen)
‘Burstin’ fura crap!! – (in a desperate hurry to get to the toilet for a No.2/Poo)
‘Burstin’ fura pee!! – (in a desperate hurry to get to the toilet to pass urine)
Deek thae skeggies – (look at those trainers)
Did anyone else get a ‘shivery bite’ after swimming? – (“A shivery-bite was a the sugary doughnut that we would have after our grandpa had taken us swimming as kids. It was so called because we were invariably still a little bit cold and our hair damp after having got out of the pool and dried ourselves off.”)
Did yi sneck the door – (did you remember to lock the door)
Dinnae pit yur baffies oan the bunker – (don’t put your slippers on the draining board)(now it would be worktop)(putting shoes or slippers on things was bad luck)
Do you ken Ken, cos the Ken i ken kens the Ken you ken. Ken what i mean ken? – (Do you know Ken, because the Ken I know, knows the Ken you know. Know what I mean Ken?)
Face like a torn baffie – (he’s/she’s really grumpy (baffie is a slipper by the way)
“Gonnae no dae that?” – (a popular saying used by the lighthouse keepers in the TV comedy show Chewin the Fat) (will you stop doing that)
Get ur feet aff the couche – (take your feet off the sofa)
Get yur hauns oot yur pooches. a’ll skelp yi aff the lug – (get your hands out your pockets or I’ll hit you off the ear)
Gie it a guid dicht doon – (Give it a good wipe down)
Haud your wheesht – (hold your tongue, stop talking)(be quiet)(a common saying in a family of several bairns)
How are you hen – (how are you feeling today (hen means female in this situation)(one of my mothers favourite saying)
If I was being contrary , I was conter – (in opposition, oppositely, counter)
If my gran was helping me to find something , she’d point to it and say – (“Yonder it is!”)
If ye flee wi the craws ye get shot wi the craws – (If you wish to be associated with a particular high risk and/or high profile situation and benefit from the rewards of that association, you have to accept the consequences if things go wrong – you cannot dissociate yourself.)
If yer gaun through tae the scullery pit the kettle oan – (If you are going into the kitchen put the kettle on)(switch the kettle on to boil please)
If you went out to play and got filthy , you were ‘black’ or ‘Muckin.’ – (dirty or really filthy)
I’ll skelp yir arse or you’re gonna get a leathering – (I will hit your backside/bum or you will get a good hit with the leather belt)(usually when father came home after you misbehaved)
I’ll have a packet o’ plain – (Can I have a packet of plain crisps)
I’m puggled, can I have a cuddyback / coalyback – (tiredness and fatigue)(representing carrying a bag of coal, or carrying a jockey on a horse (cuddyback)carrying a person on your back (A backie (coalyback) without a bike is a piggie-back)
In the press – (cupboard)
Is the tea masked – (“mask the tea” is not to hide it but to wait until it has infused)
I still ask for a fleas cemetery – (fruit cake)(at the bakers, get some weird looks.)
“It taks a lang spain tae sup wi’ a fly Fifer!” – ( folk from the county of Fife are somewhat cunning and devious (‘fly’). (Original version “It takes a long spoon to sup with the Devil!”)
I used to go for a ‘hurl’ after too many beers – (I used to vomit/be sick after too many beers)
I worked beside an Aberdonian guy, Sandy. who went to the tool store keeper and asked for some bolts. – (the storekeeper asked how many?)
It’s in the poo doon thing in the sideboard – (it is in the wee cupboard in the sideboard)
It’s ma ba’ an am gawn hame – (It is my football and I am going home)
It’s no the ootside yer in – (do not behave inside the house like you behave outside the house)
Like a coo wi a gun – (not a competent person to carry out a particular task safely)
Like Jocky Carney’s horse – (when someone eats fast) ( this may be a Cardenden saying)(probably different persons horse in each village or town)
Many a Mickle mak a Muckle – (In this phrase, a mickle is a small amount of something (the Scots usage is intended in this proverb) and a muckle is a large amount, so the saying means that you can accumulate a great deal by many small savings)
My Grandad called me pirn heid – (if he thought I was being daft)
My Grandad said he was going to get ‘shifted’ – (he was changing his clothes)
My husband’s grannys favourite ‘ away an scart yer whirlie wi a whin’!!! Don’t ask?!? – (possibly away and scratch your bed(on castors) with a stick/gorse) if not any ideas readers?
No use doin the washin there is no drooth – (no point doing or hanging out the washing there is no breeze or wind)
Ne’er cast a cloot til May be oot – (do not discard warm clothing until May is out) (my late mother in laws favourite saying)
Och dicht yer snottery beek – (oh wipe your runny nose)
Ootsiders in our pan loaf (Gauny make ma piece an ootsider) – (Will you make my sandwich from the thick, outside slices of the bread)(The heel o the half loaf)
Or some ‘skirlie’ with their fried egg? – (Skirlie is an old-fashioned savoury oat dish from Scotland made with oats and onions cooked in butter or dripping.)
Play time at school was when you ate your leaf piece – (a piece was originally the ‘porage’ that was poured into the lined sideboard drawer until it hardened and then cut up into ‘pieces’ which were then taken for lunch on the job, now packed lunch)(Leave time being alternative expression for play time at school) Always spoken as leaf piece)
Pow – (head)(as in bumped your head)(I still use it today).
Pit a poltice on a bile – (put a poltice on a boil)
Pit the wid in the hole – (shut the door)
Put the big light on – (usually means switch/put the main light in your living room on, but could refer to any room)
Put yer claes on or get dressed – (put your clothes on or get dressed)
See whit ye kin dae aboot that dug rakin in the bucket the ashes are gonna be aw er the plice – (can you stop the dog scratching in the bucket the coal ashes will be going all over the place)
See you and yer fancy wizeodanes – (ways of doing stuff)
Shortbread Petticoat Tails – (Shortbread has been attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, who in the mid-16th century was said to be very fond of Petticoat Tails, a thin, crisp, buttery shortbread originally flavoured with caraway seeds. There are two theories regarding the name of these biscuits. It has been suggested that the name “petticoat tail” may be a corruption of the French petites gatelles (“little cakes”).However these traditional Scottish shortbread biscuits may in fact date back beyond the 12th century. The triangles fit together into a circle and echo the shape of the pieces of fabric used to make a full-gored petticoat during the reign of Elizabeth I. The theory here is that the name may have come from the word for the pattern which was ‘tally’, and so the biscuits became known as ‘petticoat tallis’.
Spoke in a ‘pan loafy’ voice? As in the one my mum used to use on the phone? – (to speak in a posh or affected manner)
Sugarelly water – (soft drink made with liquorice)
Takin’ a crack at the craws wi ma GUTTY- (taking a shot at the crows with my catapult)
Tell Ben tae come ben. If Ben doesnae come ben, tell Ben i’ll be ben to bring Ben ben – (take it slow, you’ll figure it out)
That’s put your gas at a peep! – (That’s put you in your place.)
The tatties are ben the hoose in the scullery press – (the potatoes are through in the kitchen cupboard)
Trauchled to dith – (Roughly speaking, to be trauchled is to be utterly exhausted, overburdened, overworked, and harassed, in all cases physically, mentally and, probably, emotionally)(A youngish mother got on the bus, or rather she staggered on. She was trying to hold a baby in one arm while folding up an enormous buggy with the other, all the while trying to stop a toddler from rampaging up the bus and hold on to her clutch of plastic bags. She looked ready to drop and well past the end of her tether. She was, indeed, trauchled)(feels like your dying/death)
Toodle loo – (cheerio, goodbye, see you later) (another of my mothers favourite sayings)
‘Touching cloth’ when you’re grippit – (when the turtle head of ones faeces pretudes to the extent that it touches the cloth which comprises ones underwear. A crude expression with a mighty impact.)
Wan mair word! – Wan mair word fae yae an ah’ll slap yae roond the legs…. Noo say yir sorry? – (one more word from you and I will hit you around the legs, now say you are sorry)
Watch ye dinnae pit the lum up – (be careful you do not set the chimney on fire)
Well, that’s me LOUSED for the day – better clock oot and get tae the pub,… a mean hame fur ma denner – (well thats me LOUSED(finished work) for the day I better clock out(punch time card) and go to the pub(public house for drinks) I mean go home for my dinner(maybe it was his tea depends how you said it)
Wha’ else wis given Caster Isle as a we’an…Ah’ wis… an’ Ah mind ‘pukkin’ – (who else was given castor oil as a bairn I was and I remember vomiting/being sick)
Who stys doon stairs fae ye – (who lives downstairs from you)
Ye hav a face like a skelpet backside (again very polite word used) – (you have a face like a slapped backside/bottom/bum)
Yer Jaickets oan a shaky nail – (commonly used to inform people that they have, or are about to, step over the line)
Yill git new sanshoes when the mans been and emptyied the telly – (you will get new sand/gym shoes/plimsols when the man has emptied the meter at the back of the television)(you used to put money in television to watch it and pay rental)
You could’nae see green cheese but yer een wid reel – (If you see someone getting something you want it too)
You used to get The Tash/Strap/Tawse/Lochgelly at school when you were bad – (a length of leather which would be split in various strips depending on teachers evilness in wanting to punish you)(Not that I ever got it mind you)(aye, richt)
You’d think I’d nothing else to do right now – (you would think I can just stop everything to help you)
Beelin, Neebs, shuch and dicht – (As in – ‘You’re beelin’ neebs, awa and gie yer shuch a gid dichtin’)
Your like a doo lookin out frae under a dookit – (your like a pigeon looking our from under the dovecot)(you need your fringe cut, front of hair)
Your aw carriwheekit – (you’re all left handed)
You’re awfie stechie – (you’re very stiff)
Yer shed’s squint – (hair parting)(parting in hair is not straight!)
Yup and mup – (Like when your Mum shouted you to make sure you were getting ready for school)(Mum – “Oy, yup – it’s time fur skill”)
Readers can contact me with what they think they meant with the sayings below, as some have more than one meaning and I don’t want offend anyone with the wrong interpretation.
A half loaf or a pan loaf –
Av had enuf fur noo av got tay gan doon the street see yi aw efter –
A ken what ye will git all take ma hawnd aff yer jaw in a minute –
Am gonna shoot the craw a be back efter –
Am no poon the washmachine oot fur wan pair o breeks all dae thum on sunday wi the rest o washin and get thum hung oot –
Aw and fix the candlewick on the big bed bit dinny pit the big light oan –
Awa an dicht yir skeery whae a whin –
Bahoofie for bathroom –
Bus conductress used to say Come oon get aff –
Check oot the bonnie deekin yaks on that chavvy gadge –
“Dae you roll thae coo’s een at me” –
Dinny stund there and greet or a will gee yi summin to greet fur –
Gan Ben the room –
Gaun fir a dook –
Going for a half loaf –
How many is there? Och there’s a –
In the name o’ a’ that’s guid,they’d tak the very bite oot o’ yer mooth –
In the name o the wee man !!! –
It’s ben the hoose –
It’s confusing as a bairn when yer mum asks for a pan half and the shopkeeper gave her a complete loaf –
Ken ye dinae faw doon the kundie –
Kinnel or poo the drawer oot on the fire –
Looking at the bird outside I’d say drookit –
My father asked when on holiday in England for a half loaf and the shop keeper started to cut a loaf in half –
My grandad said “s’I” instead of I said or Says I. Sounds like sigh It was always ” s’I tae him and says he to me” –
Sair heed and gonna gee ma maw a haund making clooty dumpling in the big pan –
Skiff and skiffed –
‘They live in a wee but an ben’ –
Today is very dreek and drooket –
Twa hunner –
Your hair’s aw clampit doon –
Your jersey’s duggit –
Yive started awbudy talkin then buggerd aff yirsell –
Where do you stay instead of where do you live –
Who else got a spoonful of malt in the winter? –
Thanks for your web page, I’ve enjoyed remembering a lot of these words.
Others I remember are:
Di = grandfather
Boorach = total mess (as in “that bedroom is a total boorach, get it redd up”)
Hansel = a gift for luck, especially at New Year
What is the word/slang for down and out/homeless
Gaun fer a door
Going for a swim
Gaun fer a door
Going for a swim
Dook is the one I remember from Dysart.
Gaun fer a door
Going for a swim
This was wonderful. Made me homesick for Kirkcaldy whete I was born and Cardenden where I lived. There is no where like The Kingdom
Curny/curnie was also used for pinky
Planked. When it was getting near Christmas, mother caught me looking for my presents. She said I was wasting my time because they’d been planked – in otter words, well hidden.
Wha will tae Cupar mun tae Cupar – better tae gang nor be taen
I grew up in Newport in Fife and now live in Australia and am eighty years old my daughter told me about your page and gosh how it brought back memories !! I noticed there were a couple of words you did not have on your lists
Goodie which means nightdress and Cundy which means drain (in the street)
Thank you so much for giving me so many memories and so much enjoyment
Cundy meaning a street drain
Goonie meaning a nightdress
Goonie meaning nightdress
Cundy meaning outside drain
Not sure if it’s fife or a West Lothian thing but callin folk skeeries? Wid Ye look at thon pair o skeeries ie bedraggled non attractive
In West Fife we used to say someone was skeerie (scary) if they were a bit weird, spaced-out and unpredictable. Folk would say….” I widny like tae be in the same room alone wi’ her as she’s (he’s) skeerie”.
Wal – My granny used this to refer to the water tap on the bath or sink.
A half loaf or a pan loaf – Loaf pans were originally double sized and dough laid side by side so came out joined.
Awa and fix the candlewick on the big bed bit dinny pit the big light oan – Place the candlewick cover (Thick twisted cotton woven into a blanket ) over the made up bed or remove or turn down if already on but do not switch on the ceiling light.
How many is there? Och there’s a – often followed by whean meaning quite a lot.
Kinnel or poo the drawer oot on the fire – Light the fire or pull out the metal plate that closes the narrow vent up the back of the fire basket making the fire ‘draw’ causing an increase in air flow causing faster burning of the fuel.
Connekit wi – My granny and grandad used this to refer to relationship through marriage as in ‘Aggie is connekit wi Mary Broon’. Either through their husbands or family if one of them is not married.
Siver – drain in the road gutter
Graip – three-tined fork for digging dung or bait
Growing up in Kelty we used to call a bogie a guider not sure about the spelling.
Having moved to Northern England in 1959 it was great to see all the phrases and words I used to use ,it took me back to my boyhood, Great days!!!
SLIDER – When Divito’s ice-cream van came round we could either get ice cream in a cone (cornet) or inside two wafers commonly referred to as a SLIDER. We’d say to Joe Divito…”Can I get twa cones for my mither (mother) and faither (father) and a slider for masel (myself).
When something went wrong (i.e. tits up) and retribution was imminent, you’d be told…”Aye, yer erse is oot the windae noo”….(translation)….”Yes, your backside is over the window-sill now”….presumably meaning that once your backside (erse/arse) had protruded beyond the sill, you’d lose your balance and fall to the ground!
What a fabulous site. Grew up in St Andrews. We used to buy Puggy Buns with our Sair Heids. At school we used to have a leafpiece. Wonder where that sandwich name came from. After 46yrs in Australia I have forgotten some words. Thankful for reminding me
Thanks for kind comments this site is my own personal site, any ideas for new info is always appreciated. TM.
Hi Tom – Our woollen jerseys were always “duggit” because my mother would throw them in the washing machine with all the other clothes and they’d come out shrunk and with the wool gone all thick and horrid. I suppose with 5 children and no help in the house she figured she didn’t have the time or the energy to sort the washing into different “types”. It didn’t half get my goat, though, especially when the woollen things were fairly new!
Great site, by the way.
Big place Fife. Meaning a fair amount of dialect differences from town to town in small region. Not sure we would all recognize the terms from all over Fife, depending on where we grew up. There was a big diversity in Kirkcaldy when I grew up in the 70’s. Many different dialects within the same town. “Bawhair” as a recognized unit of measurement had me kilen wirsel!! 🙂
caw yer heed aff /knock your head off .
also to caw yer pan oot/very tired after exertion from manual labour.
Great site.I was checking that gully is the Morningside for siver as I remember from Dysart 80+ years ago. I remember scllmming the dykes (climbing over the back walls of the back greens) with one of my cousins. She said it was quicker than walking back up the road. My grandfather used to send me for”a bawbees worth of black strippit baws”- a halfpenny’s worth of peppermint balls. My granny used the water closet never the lavvy.
I’m a born and bred New Zealander but knew nearly all of these thanks to Scottish parents. Heard “haud yer wheesht or you’ll gae a whallop roond yer lugs” so many times when I was wee!
One I didn’t see mentioned above unless I missed it, was sma-beefies which means minced/ground beef. (Small beef!!) That always made me laugh.
Another word is ‘Hackit’….meaning ugly. Used in the following fashion…She’s a wee smasher but her big sister is hackit!
Dosser….your room is like a doss hoose…untidy
I use the word “skelb” for a slivver of wood under a finger nail, but my wife, who belongs through yonner calls it a skelf.
Aw ya gowk, meaning April fool.
My auntie from Kirkcaldy would take one look at my legs in shorts and say ‘Yir like twa pyre reek on a windy dee’.
‘Your like two chimney’s smoke on a windy day’
Loved reading this, thank you for setting up this site…know most of the words and sayings, but still found a few hadnt heard of…my family mostly from Dunfermline area but some Cardenden….all Fife but amazing the different words and sayings even within a few miles…