Search on for most iconic Scots word! Book Week Scotland @BookWeekScot #ScotsWord #Scottish #Books

Search on for most iconic Scots word

Shortlist revealed for Book Week Scotland

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today revealed the shortlist for their Book Week Scotland vote. Tying in with A Year of Conversation and the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the public were invited to submit iconic Scots words through the charity’s social media channels and website. Over 200 words were nominated, from various dialects such as Doric, Shetlandic, Dundonian and Glaswegian.

The vote has already sparked debate, as some words, including ‘mankie’, were found not to be especially Scots, despite many believing so. Conversely, some were surprised to discover ‘outwith’ is rarely used outside Scots-speaking areas. Some of the most popular words nominated include: ‘dreich’, ‘scunnered’ and ‘glaikit’.

A panel of Scots language experts met to whittle down the longlist, including Rhona Alcorn, CEO of the Scots Language Dictionary; Michael Hance, former Director of the Scots Language Centre; Bruce Eunson, Scots Language Coordinator for Education Scotland and Anna Stewart, New Writers Awardee and Scots writer.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “This year’s vote for Book Week Scotland celebrates Scots: from the everyday words we use in conversation, to the words we may be encountering for the first time. We received many wonderful anecdotes through our submissions, highlighting that Scots remains a vital and important part of cultural heritage, passed down from generation to generation.”

The panel decided on thirty iconic Scots words that have stood the test of time, and are well-loved and well-used by the nation. The shortlist is as follows:

1.    Beastie. Familiar and affectionate contraction of beast.

2.    Besom. Also bissom, bizzem, bizzum. A term of contempt applied jocularly to a woman or young girl.

3.    Braw. Also bra’, braa. Of things: fine, splendid, illustrious; also used ironically.

4.    Bumfle. Also bumfill. An untidy bundle; a pucker, ruffle, in a garment.

5.    Burn. A brook or stream, also known as the water used in brewing.

6.    Clipe. Also clype, klipe, claip. To tell tales about, inform against someone.

7.    Collie-buckie. Also coalie-back(ie), coalie buck(ie), collie-back(ie), cuddie-back. A piggy-back, a ride on one’s shoulders.

8.    Dreich. Long-drawn-out, protracted, hence tedious, wearisome.

9.    Dwam. A stupor, a trance; a day-dream, reverie.

10.  Eeksie-peeksie. Also eeksy-peeksy. On an equality, much alike, six and half a dozen.

11.  Fankle. Also fangle. To tangle, ravel, mix up.

12.  Glaikit. Also gleckit, gleekit. Stupid, foolish; thoughtless, irresponsible, flighty, frivolous.

13.  Gloamin. Evening twilight, dusk.

14.  Guising. Also guisin. Mummer, masquerader, especially in modern times one of a party of children who go in disguise from door to door at various festivals.

15.  Haver. Also haiver. To talk in a foolish or trivial manner, speak nonsense, to babble, gossip.

16.  Ken. To know, be aware of, apprehend, learn.

17.  Neeps. Turnip, often served with haggis and tatties.

18.  Nyaff. Also nyaf. A small, conceited, impudent, chattering fellow.

19.  Outwith. Also ootwith. Outside, out of, beyond.

20.  Piece. A piece of bread and butter, jam, or the like, a snack, usually of bread, scone or oatcake, a sandwich.

21.  Scunnered. Also scunnert. To make (one) bored, uninterested or antipathetic.

22.  Shoogle. Also shoggle, schochle. To shake, joggle, to cause to totter or rock, to swing backwards and forwards.

23.  Sitooterie. In a restaurant etc., an area where patrons can sit outside; a conservatory.

24.  Sleekit. Insinuating, sly, cunning, specious, not altogether to be trusted.

25.  Smirr. Also smir. A fine rain, drizzle, occas. also of sleet or snow.

26.  Smoorikin. Also smooriken. To exchange kisses, to cuddle, ‘canoodle’

27.  Stappit. Blocked, choked, stuffed.

28.  Totie. Also totty, toatie. Small, diminutive, tiny.

29.  Wabbit. Also wubbit, wappit. Exhausted, tired out, played out, feeble, without energy.

30.  Wheest. Also whisht, weesht. To silence, to cause to be quiet, to hush, quieten.

Voting is now open, and the public can pick the word they believe to be most iconic at Scottish Book Trust’s website. The most popular word will be announced during Book Week Scotland, which runs from 18-24 November 2019. You can vote here –

During Book Week, illustrator Alex T Smith will doodle his favourite Scots words, inspired by the public vote. Also, to celebrate the 20th birthday of The Gruffalo, Scottish Book Trust will host a special BBC Authors Live on 21 November. Julia Donaldson’s classic tale will be read by James Robertson in Scots and Catriona Lexy Campbell in Gaelic.

The Gaelic Books Council are also running their own vote to find the nation’s favourite Gaelic word. The public have already submitted words at Wigtown Book Festival, the Mòd and through social media. Nominations can be made at their website, and the favourite word will also be announced during Book Week Scotland.

November will also see the launch of 100 Favourite Scots Words, edited by Pauline Cairns Speitel. The book contains words selected from Scottish Language Dictionaries’ long-standing Scots Word of the Week article in the Saturday Herald. Pauline will be discussing her selection on Tuesday 19 November at the National Library of Scotland. More information and ticket details can be found here.

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.   @scottishbktrust

Book Week Scotland

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £26,000 from SLIC, Book Week Scotland 2019 will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust from 18 November – 24 November.

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2019 and how you can get involved, visit where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area. Follow @Bookweekscot on Twitter, check out #bookweekscotland or like the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.

Creative Scotland

Scottish Book Trust is supported by Creative Scotland through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit

Follow us @creativescots and

7 thoughts on “Search on for most iconic Scots word! Book Week Scotland @BookWeekScot #ScotsWord #Scottish #Books

  1. Sitooterie, this should be the winner!! 😆 I’m loving this post and the Scottish words. I’m gonna be reading this out to my other half later (he’s Scottish) so he can laugh at my pathetic attempt to pronounce this lot! 🤣


  2. I basically use most of these regularly. Agree on the wee comment above and we also have a very distinct e on the end of the shxt….surely shxxte is only Scottish 🙂


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