Talk Like a Highlander – 1000 Archaic and Scottish Words from the Works of Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott wrote his novels with a particular aim of preserving the suppressed and rapidly vanishing culture of classic Scotland. This he accomplished not only through exquisite portrayals of landscape and character, but also through language. Below is an alphabetical list of 1000 colorful words and phrases gleaned from Walter Scott’s historical novels, with their definitions.

Some of these are just archaic English words that were once commonly used by Scotsmen among many others in the British Isles, perhaps with a typically northern origin or locus of popularity. A few are actual Gaelic words. By far the most, however, represent a specifically Scottish take on the English language– a Scots dialect– whether by abbreviation, admixture with Gaelic, mutation, slang, or neologism. Together they convey much of the character of the ancient Scot, including his humor, honor, earthy simplicity, pragmatism, heartiness, love of tradition and merriment, and, perhaps more than any of these, his fierce tie to the land.

See below this list for details and resources.

‘A, he, I.
A’, all.
ABLEEZE, blazing.
ABLINS, aiblins, perhaps.
ABOON, ABUNE, above.
ABULYIEMENTS, habiliments, accoutrements.
ABY, ABYE, endure, suffer.
ACCOLADE, the salutation marking the bestowal of knighthood.
AE, one.
AFF, off.
AFORE, before.
AFTERHEND, afterwards.
AGANE, against.
AGEE, AJEE, awry, off the right line, obliquely, wrong.
A-GUISARDING, masquerading.
AHINT, behind.
AIK, an oak.
AILS, hinders, prevents.
AIN, own.
AITS, oats.
ALANE, alone.
AMAIST, almost.
AMANG, among.
AMBRY, a cupboard, a pantry.
AN, if.
ANCE, once.
ANE, one.
ANENT, about, respecting, opposite.
ANEUCH, enough.
ANNEXIS AND CONNEXIS, anything connected with possession of right of property.
ARRAY, annoy, trouble.
ASSOILZIED, absolved, discharged, acquitted.
ASSYTHMENT, satisfaction, compensation.
ATWEEL, I wot well, I know well.
AULD, old.
AULD FIFTEEN, The fifteen judges of the Court of Session of Scotland.
AULD THREEP, a superstitious notion.
AVISE, advise, deliberate.
AWA’, away.
AWEEL, well.
AWFU’, awful.
AWMOUS, alms.
AWSOME, awful, terrible.
AY, AYE, yes.
AYE, always, ever.
BAFF, a blow.
BAGGANET, a bayonet.
BAIK, beck, curtsy, reverence.
BAILIE, a city magistrate in Scotland.
BAIRN, a child.
BAITH, both.
BAITTLE, rich pasture.
BALDRICK, girdle.
BALLANT, a ballad.
BAN, curse.
BANES, bones.
BANG-UP, get up quickly, bounce.
BANNOCK, a flat round or oval cake.
BARKEN, stiffen, dry to a crust.
BARLEY, a parley, a truce.
BARROW-TRAMS, the shafts of a hand barrow.
BAUD, a quantity, or bed, or whins (furze, gorse) growing closely, covering a considerable space (Jamieson).
BAULD, bold.
BAULDER, bolder.
BAULKS, ridges.
BAWBEE, a halfpenny.
BAWTY, sly, cunning.
BAXTER, a baker.
BAYGANET, bayonet.
BEES, in the, bewildered, stupefied.
BEFLUMM’D, flattered, cajoled.
BEGUNK, a trick, a cheat.
BELIKE, perhaps.
BELIVE, BELYVE, by and by, speedily.
BEN, within, inside.
BENEMPT, named.
BENT, an open field.
BERLING, a galley.
BHAIRD, a bard.
BICKER, a wooden dish.
BIDE, stay, endure.
BIELD, a shelter, a house.
BIELDY, affording shelter.
BIGGING, building.
BIGGIT, built.
BILLIE, a brother, a companion.
BING OUT AND TOUR, go out and watch.
BINNA, be not.
BIRK, a birch tree.
BIRLIEMAN, a peace officer.
BIT, a little.
BITTLE, beat with a bat.
BITTOCK, a little bit.
BLACK PETER, a portmanteau.
BLACK-COCK, the black grouse.
BLACK-FISHING, fishing by torchlight, poaching.
BLATE, shy, bashful.
BLAWN, blown.
BLEAR, obscure.
BLETHERS, babbling, foolish talk.
BLINKED, glanced.
BLOOD-WITE, compensation, fine for bloodshed.
BLUDE, BLUID, blood.
BLUNKER, a cloth printer.
BLYTHE, gay, glad.
BODACH, old man, bug-a-boo.
BODDLE, BODLE, a copper coin, worth one third of an English penny.
BODE, what is bidden, offer.
BOGLE ABOUT THE BUSH, beat about the bush, a children’s game.
BOGLE, a goblin, spectre, bugbear, scarecrow.
BOLE, a bowl.
BONNET, a cap.
BONNIE, beautiful, comely, fine,
BONSPIEL, a match game at curling.
BOOT-KETCH, a boot-jack.
BOTTLE-HEAD, beetle-head, stupid fellow.
BOUNE, prepared.
BOW, a boll.
BOWSTER, a bolster.
BRA’, fine, handsome, showy.
BRAE, the side of a hill.
BRANDER, broil.
BRAW, fine.
BREEKS, breeches.
BRENT, smooth, unwrinkled.
BRIGG, a bridge.
BRISSEL-COCK, a turkey cock.
BROCARD, first element of the law.
BROCK, a badger, a dirty fellow.
BROD, a church collection plate.
BROGUES, Highland shoes.
BROKEN MEN, outlaws.
BROO’, brew, broth.
BROUGHT FAR BEN, held in special favor
BROWST, a brewing.
BRUCKLE, brittle, infirm, disordered.
BRUIK, enjoy, possess.
BRULZIE, bruilzie, a broil, a fray.
BUCKIE, a perverse or refractory person.
BUCKKAR, a smuggling lugger.
BUDGET, a boot-jack.
BULLSEGG, a gelded bull.
BULLY-HUFF, a bully, a braggart.
BURD, bird, a term of familiarity.
BURN, a brook.
BUSKING, dress, decoration.
BUTTOCK-MAIL, an ecclesisastical fine for fornication or incontinence.
BYDAND, abiding, awaiting.
BYE, besides.
CA’, call.
CADGER, a country carrier, hawker.
CAILLIACHS, old women on whom devolved the duty of lamenting for the dead, which the Irish call keening.
CAKE-HOUSE, a house of entertainment.
CALLANT, a stripling, a fine fellow, a youth.
CAM, came.
CANNA, cannot.
CANNILY, prudently.
CANNY, prudent, skillful, lucky, cautious.
CANTER, a canting, whining beggar.
CANTLE, a fragment, a corner.
CANTRIP, a trick.
CANTY, cheerful.
CAPONS, castrated cocks.
CARLE, a churl, a fellow, an old man.
CAST, lot, fate.
CATERAN, a Highland irregular soldier, a freebooter.
CAULD, cold.
CEAN-KINNE, chief of a Highland clan (Jamieson)
CHAFFERING, bargaining.
CHA N’EIL BEURL AGAM, I don’t speak English.
CHAP, a customer.
CHAPPING-STICK, a stick to strike with.
CHEERER, spirits and hot water.
CHIEL, CHIELD, a young man.
CHLAIN, clan.
CHUMLAY, a chimney.
CLACHAN, a village, a hamlet.
CLAMHEWIT, CLAMYHEWIT, hack, blow, drubbing.
CLASH, chatter, gossip, idle talk.
CLASHES, lies, scandal.
CLATTER, prattle, noisy talk.
CLAUGHT, clutched, caught.
CLAW, scratch.
CLAW FAVOUR, curry favour.
CLAYMORE, a broad two-edged Highland sword.
CLECKING, hatching.
CLEEK, a hook.
CLEIK the cunzie, steal the silver.
CLODDED, threw heavily.
CLOSE, a lane, a narrow passage.
CLOUR, a bump, a bruise, a heavy blow, a dint caused by a blow.
CLOYED A DUD, stolen a rag.
COB, beat.
COBLE, a small flat-bottomoed fishing boat.
COCKY-LEEKY, a soup made of a cock, seasoned with leeks.
COGHLING AND DROGHLING, wheezing and blowing.
COGS, wooden vessels.
COGUE, a round wooden vessel.
COLLOP, piece or slice of meat (OED)
COME O’ WILL, a child of love.
CONCUSSED, violently shaken, disturbed, forced.
CORONACH, a dirge.
CORRIE, a mountain hollow.
COTTAR, cottage.
COUP, fall.
COVE, a cave.
COW YER CRACKS, cut short your talk, hold your tongues.
CRACK, boast.
CRAIG, the neck, the throat.
CRAME, a booth, a merchant’s shop.
CRAMES, merchants’ shops, booths.
CRAMP-RING, shackles, fetters.
CRANKING, creaking.
CRAW, crow.
CREAGH, an incursion for plunder, termed on the Borders a raid.
CREEL, a basket.
CROFT, piece of ground adjoining to a house, land of superior quality still cropped (Jamieson)
CROUSE, bold, courageous.
CRUMMY, a cow with crooked horns.
CUDDY, an ass.
CUITTLE, tickle.
CURRAGH, a Highland boat.
CUSP, an entrance to a house.
CUSSER, a courser, a stallion. daft, mad, foolish.
CUT-LUGGED, crop-eared.
CUTTIT, cut.
DAFT, silly, foolish, mad, crazy, frolicsome.
DARKENING, the dusk.
DARKMANS, night.
DAUR, dare.
DAURNA, dare not.
DEACON, expert tradesman, literally elected chairman of trade guild.
DEAD-THRAW, death-agony.
DEATH-RUCKLE, death-rattle.
DEAVING, deafening.
DEBINDED, bound down.
DECREET, an order of decree.
DEEVIL, DEIL, devil.
DEEVIL’S BUCKIE, devil’s brat.
DEIL-BE-LICKIT, nothing, naught.
DELIVER, light, agile.
DEOCH AN DORUIS, the stirrup-cup or parting drink.
DERN, hidden, concealed, secret.
DIAOUL, devil.
DIKE, a wall, a ditch.
DING, knock, beat, surpass.
DINGING, slamming.
DINGLE, a dell, a hollow.
DINGLE, dinnle, tingle, vibrate with sound.
DINMONTS, wethers in the second year.
DINNA, do not, did not.
DIRK, highland dagger.
DISPONED, made over.
DIVOT, fuel.
DIZZEN, a dozen.
DOER, an agent, a manager.
DOG-HEAD, the hammer of a gun.
DOIL’D, crazed, silly, stupid.
DOITED, having the faculties impaired.
DOO, a dove.
DOOKET, dukit, a dovecot.
DOON, doun, down.
DORLACH, a bundle, valise.
DOUN, down.
DOUSE THE GLIM, put out the light.
DOVERING, dozing.
DOW, a dove, to list, to wish.
DOWF, DOWFF, dull, spiritless.
DRAP, a drop.
DRAPPIE, a little drop, a small quantity of drink.
DROGHLING AND COGHLING, wheezing and blowing.
DRUMMING, driving.
DUB, a puddle.
DUDS, clothes.
DUINHÉ-WASSEL, DUINÉ-WASSEL, DUNNIEWASSAL, a Highland gentleman, usually the cadet of a family of rank.
DUNE, done.
EANARUICH, the regalia presented by Rob Roy to the Laird of Tullibody.
EARN, eagle.
EASSEL, provincial for eastward.
EEN, eyes.
EFFEIR, what is becoming.
ENDLANG, along.
ENEUGH, enough.
ERGASTULO, in a penitentiary.
ETTER-CAP, a spider, an ill-natured or hot-headed person.
EVENING, putting on the same level. faem, foam.
EVITE, avoid, escape.
EWEST, ewast, contiguous.
EXEEMED, exempt.
FA’, fall.
FACTOR, land-agent.
FACTORY, stewardship, agency.
FAIR-STRAE, natural.
FALLOW, a fellow.
FAMBLES, hands.
FASH, trouble.
FAST-DAY, a week-day set apart preparatory to Sacrament Sunday.
FAULD, fold.
FAUSE, false.
FEAL, fuel.
FEAL AND DIVOT, turf and thatch.
FEARED, afraid.
FEARSOME, frightful.
FECK, a quantity, a part.
FECKLESS, feeble.
FEIFTEEN, the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.
FELL, a skin.
FENDY, good at making a shift.
FERNSEED, gather the, make invisible.
FIE, mad, foredoomed.
FIENT A BIT, never a bit
FIENT A HAET, not the least.
FIRE-RAISING, setting an incendiary fire.
FIRLOT, a quarter of a boll.
FIT, a foot.
FLEMIT, frightened,
FLESH, fleesh, a fleece.
FLEYT, frightened, shy.
FLEYT, stormed.
FLICK, cut.
FLIT, remove.
FOND, glad to.
FORBEARS, ancestors.
FORBYE, besides.
FORGIE, forgive.
FORTALICE, a fortress (Jamieson).
FOUMART, a polecat.
FOUN, fun.
FOWK, people.
FRACTIOUS, irascible.
FRAE, from.
FREEND, friend.
FRUMMAGEM’D, throttled, hanged.
FU’, full.
FUEL FEAL AND DIVOT, the right of cutting peat and turf.
FULE-BODY, a foolish person. gae, go.
FULE, fool, foolish.
GABERLUNZIE, a kind of professional beggar.
GAD, a goad, a rod.
GAE, go.
GAE OUT, to go into rebellion.
GAED, went.
GALLOWAY, a horse not more than fourteen hands high.
GANE, gone.
GANG-THERE-OUT, wandering.
GANG, go.
GANGREL, vagrant.
GAR, make, cause
GARTAN’D, gartered.
GATE, gait, way, manner, place.
GAUN, going.
GAY, gey, very, moderately.
GEAR, goods, property.
GELDING, a castrated horse.
GENTLE or SEMPLE, high born or common people.
GHAIST, a ghost.
GIE, give.
GILLFLIRT, a flirty girl.
GILLIE-WET-FOOT, a barefooted Highland lad.
GILLIE, a servant, an attendant.
GILL-STOUP, a bucket for carrying water (Jamieson).
GIMMER, a ewe from one to two years old.
GIN, if.
GITE, crazy, a noodle, covering.
GLED, a kite or hawk.
GLEG, quick, clever, sharp.
GLIFFING, a surprise, an instant.
GLISK, a glimpse.
GLISKED, glimpsed.
GLOWER, glare.
GOWAN, a field daisy.
GOWD, gold, money.
GOWPEN, a double handful.
GRANING, groaning.
GRAT, wept.
GREE, agree.
GREET, weep.
GREYBEARD, a stone bottle or jug.
GRICE, gryce, gris, a pig.
GRIEVE, an overseer.
GRIPPET, grasped, caught.
GRIPPLE, rapacious, niggardly, grasping.
GRUNDS, grounds.
GUDE, guid, good, God.
GUDEMAN, master of a house.
GUDEWIFE, mistress of a house.
GULPIN, a simpleton.
HA’, hall.
HADDEN, held, gone.
HADNA, had not.
HAE, have.
HAFFLIN, half grown.
HAG, a portion of copse marked off for cutting, moss, mossy moorland.
HAGGIS, a pudding peculiar to Scotland, containing oatmeal, suet, minced sheep’s liver, heart, etc., seasoned with onions, pepper, and salt, the whole mixture boiled in a sheep’s stomach.
HAICK, hack.
HAIL, whole.
HAILL, whole, unmolested, unplundered.
HALLAN, a partition, a screen.
HAME, home.
HANK, a skein of yarn.
HANSEL, a present.
HANTLE, a great deal.
HARST, harvest.
HAUD, hauld, hold.
HAUDEN, held.
HEATH-COCK, black grouse.
HECK, a hay rack.
HECK AND MANGER, in plenty, in comfortable quarters (literally the hay-rack and corn-manger of a stable).
HEEL, end.
HEEZIE, a lift.
HERDS, herders.
HERSHIPS, plunder.
HET, hot.
HEUCH, a crag, a steep bank.
HIELAND, Highland.
HILDING, a coward.
HILL-FOLK, Covenanters who worshipped on the hills.
HIMSELL, himself.
HINGING, hanging.
HINNEY, honey.
HIRSEL, a flock.
HIRST, knoll, bare summit of a hill.
HIZZIE, a housewife, a hussy.
HOG, a young sheep before its first shearing.
HORNING, charge of, a summons to pay a debt, on pain of being pronounced a rebel, to the sound of a horn.
HORSE-COUPER, horse-cowper, a horse-dealer.
HOUDIE, a midwife.
HOULERYING AND POULERYING, hustling and pulling.
HOUT, (interjection expressive of disagreement).
HOWE, a hollow.
HOWM, flat low ground.
HUMBLE-COW, a cow without horns.
HUNDS, hounds. ilka, every.
HURDIES, loins
HURDLES, the buttocks.
HURLEY-HOUSE, a large house fallen into disrepair, dilapidated mansion.
I’SE, I’ll.
ILK, each, same, the same name
ILKA, each, every.
ILL, attended with difficulty.
IN THE BEES, stupefied.
INGANS, onions.
INGLE, a fire burning upon the hearth.
INGLESIDE, fireside.
INNOCENT, imbecile, fool.
INTROMIT, meddle with.
ITHER, other. jaw-hole, a sink.
JETHART, Jedburgh.
JO, a sweetheart.
JUSTIFIED, having satisfied justice, i.e. hanged
KAHN, a skiff.
KAIL, colewort, coelwort soup.
KAIL-WORM, caterpillar.
KAIM, KAME, a low ridge, a comb.
KAIN, part of a farm-rent paid in fowls.
KEBBIE, cudgel, club, rough walking stick.
KEB-EWE, an ewe that has lost her lamb.
KEEP, a stronghold.
KEEPIT, kept, attended.
KEMPLE, a Scotch measure of straw or hay, 40 wisps.
KEN, know.
KENNA, do not know.
KENSPECKLE, gazing-stock.
KIBE, an ulcerated chilblain, a chapped heel.
KILLOGIE, the open space before a kiln fire.
KILT, upset.
KILT, the philabeg or short petticoat of a Highlander.
KILTING, girding or tucking up.
KIMMER, a female gossip.
KINDER, children.
KINRICK, kingdom.
KINTRAY, country.
KIPPAGE, disorder, confusion, rage, violent passion.
KIPPER, cured salmon salted and smoke dried, salmon in the state of spawning.
KIRK, church.
KIRK-FAST, week-day set apart for religious services preparatory to Sacrament Sunday
KIRN, churn.
KIST, a chest, trunk, coffin.
KITCHEN-FEE, drippings.
KITCHEN-MORT, kinchen-mort, a girl.
KITH, acquaintance.
KITT, a number, the whole.
KITTLE, tickle, ticklish, anxious.
KNACKS, trifles for ornament, nick-nacks.
KNAVE, a boy.
KNEVELL, knead, beat severely.
KNOBBLER, a male deer in its second year.
KOBOLD, a hobgoblin. laird, lord of the manor.
KYLOE, a small Highland cow.
LACK-A-DAY!, an exclamation denoting grief (Cheviot).
LAID, load.
LAIRD, landlord, squire, lord of the manor.
LAITH, loath.
LAMPING, beating, going quickly and with long strides.
LAMPIT, a limpet.
LANDLOUPER, a wanderer, a vagabond, a tramp.
LANG OR, long before.
LANG-LEGGIT, long-legged.
LANG-LUGGED, long-eared.
LANG, long.
LANGSYNE, long ago.
LAP AND PAUNEl, liquor and food.
LASSIE, a young girl.
LATCH, mire.
LAWING, a tavern reckoning.
LEDDIE, LEDDY, a lady.
LEECH, physician.
LEE LAND, pasture land.
LEELANE, LEEFU’LANE, all alone, quite solitary.
LEG BAIL, to give, to run away.
LEGLIN, milk-pail.
LET-A-BE, let alone.
LETHERING, tanning the hide, thrashing.
LET THAT FLEE STICK I’ THE WALL, leave that subject alone.
LETTER-GAE, the precentor is called by Allan Ramsay ‘the letter-gae of haly rhyme.’
LETTERS OF SLAINS, writ discharging murderers from civil damages.
LEUGH, laughed.
LEVIN, LEVEN, lightning, scorn.
LICKS, blows.
LIE, a word used in old Scottish legal documents to call attention to the following word or phrase.
LIFT, capture, carry off by theft.
LIFT, the sky.
LIGHTLY, make light of, disparage, to slight.
LIKE, as it were.
LILT, carol, lively air.
LIMMER, a hussy, a jade, a loose woman.
LINKS, the windings of a river, flat sandy ground on the sea-shore.
LIPPEN, trust, rely upon.
LITH, joint.
LOAN, an open place, a lane, enclosed road.
LOANING, a milking place.
LOCH, a lake.
LONG BOWLS, ninepins.
LOOBY, a booby, a lout.
LOON, a worthless fellow, a lout, a clown, a rogue, a rascal.
LOUP, leap, start.
LOURED, scowled.
LOW, blaze, flame.
LUCKIE, an old woman, landlady of a tavern.
LUG, an ear, a handle.
LUNT, blaze, torch.
LUNZIE, the loins, the waist.
LYKEWAKE, a watch at night over a dead body. mair, more.
MAE, more.
MAINS, the chief farm of an estate.
MAIR BY TOKEN, especially.
MAIR, more.
MAIST, most, almost.
MAJORING, swaggering with a military air.
MAK, make.
MALT ABUNE THE MEAL, the drink above the food, half-seas over.
MART, beef salted down for winter.
MASK, mash, infuse.
MAUN, must.
MEAL ARK, a meal chest.
MERK, an old silver coin worth 13s. 4d.
MESSAN, a little dog.
MICKLE, much, great.
MILLING IN THE DARKMANS, murder by night.
MIND, remember.
MINDED, looked after.
MIRK, dark; pit mirk, pitch dark.
MISGUGGLED, mangled, rumpled.
MISTA’EN, mistaken.
MOANED, mourned.
MONY, many.
MOONSHIE, a secretary.
MOOR-ILL, a disease among cattle.
MORN, the morn, tomorrow.
MORNING, a morning dram.
MOSS-HAG, a pit or slough in a mire or bog.
MOSS, a morass.
MOUSTED, MUISTED, powdered or cropped (of a head of hair).
MUCKLE, much, great.
MUIR, a moor, a heath.
MULES, slippers.
MUNT, mount.
MUSCAVADO, unrefined sugar.
MUTCHKIN, a measure equal to an English pint.
MYSELL, MA’SELL, myself.
NA, NAE, no, not.
NAEBODY, nobody.
NAETHING, nothing.
NAIG, nag, horse.
NAIL, the sixteenth part of a yard.
NAIN, own.
NAINSELL, own self.
NAN, of.
NANE, none.
NAPERY, table linen.
NASHGAB, impertinent chatter.
NATHELESS, NATHLESS, nevertheless.
NE’ER BE IN ME, devil be in me.
NEB, nose, tip.
NEEBOR, neighbor.
NEEDNA, need not.
NE’ER-BE-LICKIT, nothing which could be licked up by dog or cat, i.e. absolutely nothing.
NEEVE, the closed hand, fist.
NICE, simple.
NET AND COBLE, legal phrase for fishing
NEUK, nook, corner.
NIFFY-NAFFY, fastidious, conceited and finical.
NO, not
NOLT, black cattle. ony, any.
NOW, the, at once.
O’, of.
ODD-COME-SHORTLY, chance time not far in the future.
OE, OY, OYE, grandchild.
O’T, of it.
OLD TO DO, great doings.
ONDING, fall of rain or snow.
ONFALL, falling on, attack.
ONY, any.
OR, ere.
ORRA-TIME, occasionally.
ORRA, odd, unemployed, occasional.
OUT, out in rebellion.
OUT BYE, without, a little way out.
OUTCAST, a falling out, a quarrel.
OUTSHOT, projecting part of an old building.
OUT TAKE, except.
OWER, over.
OWERBY, over the way.
OWERLOUP, get over the fence, trespass on another’s property.
OWSEN, oxen.
OWT, the exterior, out.
PAIKS, punishment.
PAITRICK, a partridge.
PANGED, crammed.
PANTLER, keeper of the pantry.
PARAFFLE, ostentatious display.
PARRITCH, oatmeal porridge.
PATTLE, plough-staff.
PAUNIE, a peacock.
PAWKY, wily, sly, drolly but not mischievously.
PEAT-HAG, a bog.
PECULIUM, private property.
PEEBLE, pebble.
PEEL-HOUSE, a fortified tower.
PENDICLE, a small piece of ground.
PENNY-STANE, a stone quoit.
PERIAPTS, amulets.
PHRAISING, palavering, makign long or fine speeches.
PIBROCH, a Highland air, suited to the particular passion which the musician would either excite or assuage; generally applied to martial music (Jamieson).
PICKLE, grain of corn, small quantity of any thing.
PICK-MIRK, dark as pitch.
PIKE, pick.
PINGLE, a fuss, trouble.
PINGLED, pained, put to difficulty.
PINNERS, a headdress for women.
PIRN, a reel.
PIT, put.
PLACK, a copper coin worth one third of a penny.
PLAIDY, an outer covering for the body.
PLASH, splash.
PLENISH, furnish.
PLENISHING, furnishings.
PLOUGH-GATE OF LAND, land that can be tilled with one plough.
PLOY, an entertainment, a pastime.
POCK, a pouch, a bag.
POINDED, impounded.
POSCHAY, a post-chaise.
POTTINGER, an apothecary.
POUCHES, pockets.
POW, the head.
POWNIE, a pony.
POWNY, a pony.
POWTERING, poking, stirring.
PRECEESE, exact.
PRECENTOR, a leader of congregational singing.
PRETTY MAN, a stout, warlike fellow.
PRIN, a pin.
PUIR, poor.
QUAICH, small drinking cup.
QUEAN, a young woman, a wench.
RADE, rode.
RAMBLE, a spree.
RANDLE-TREE, a horizontal bar across a chimney, on which pot-hooks are hung; sometimes used as an opprobrious epithet.
RANDY, wild.
RANGING AND RIPING, scouring and searching.
RAPE, rope.
RASP-HOUSE, a custom-house.
RED COCK CRAW, kindle a fire.
REDD, part, separate.
REDDING-STRAIK, a blow received when trying to separate combatants.
REEK, smoke.
REIF AND WEAR, robbery and injury.
REIFS, robberies.
REISE, a bough.
REISES, twigs, branches.
REIST, smoke.
REIVER, a robber.
RESILING, retracting, withdrawing.
RETOUR, return of a writ.
RIGGS, ridges, ploughed ground.
RIN, run.
RINTHEROUT, a roving person, a vagabond.
RIPE, search.
RIVE, rend, rob.
ROKELAY, a short cloak.
ROOPIT, hoarse.
ROOSE, RUSE, extol, praise.
ROTTEN, rottan, a rat.
ROUGHIES, withered boughs, a sort of rude torch, dried heath.
ROUP, an auction.
ROUPIT, sold at auction.
ROUTING, snoring, bellowing.
ROVING, raving, delirious.
ROW, roll.
ROWED, rolled.
ROWT, cried out, bellowed,
ROYNISH, scurvy, coarse.
RUBBIT, robbed.
RUDAS, coarse, hag-like.
RULLIONS, shoes made of untanned leather.
RUMP AND DOZEN, meat and drink, a good dinner.
RUN GOODS, smuggled goods.
SACK, sackcloth.
SACK DOUDLING, bagpiping.
SAE, so.
SAFT, soft.
SAIL, shall.
SAIN, mark with the sign of the cross, bless.
SAIR, sore, very.
SALL, shall.
SAMYN, the same.
SANG, song.
SARK, a shirt.
SASSENACH, an English person (derogatory, from “Saxon”)(OED)
SAUGH, a willow tree.
SAUL, soul.
SAUMON, a salmon.
SAUT, salt.
SAX, six.
SAY, a sample.
SCAFF-RAFF, riff raff.
SCART, scratched, written on.
SCARTED, scratched, scribbled over.
SCHELLUM, a rascal.
SCHNAPS, a dram of liquor.
SCONES, flat round cakes.
SCOUPING, SCOWPING, SKELPING, skipping, leaping, running, moving hastily, scampering.
SCOURING THE CRAMP-RING, said metaphorically for being thrown into fetters or, generally, into prison.
SCRAUGHING, SCRAICHING, screaming hoarsely.
SCREED O’ DRINK, a drinking bout.
SCROLL, engross, copy.
SCUD, a heavy shower.
SEA-MAW, sea-mew, sea-gull.
SEANNACHIE, a Highland antiquary.
SEILED, strained through a cloth or sieve.
SELL, self.
SELL’D, sold.
SEMPLE, simple, poor people.
SHAKE-RAG, a tatterdemalion.
SHANKS, legs.
SHEALING, sheiling, a shed, a hut.
SHEAR, cut.
SHEARING, reaping, harvest.
SHEERS, shears.
SHERRA, a sheriff.
SHILPIT, weak, sickly.
SHOEING-HORN, something that leads to more drinking.
SHOON, shoes.
SHOUTHER, the shoulder.
SIC, SICCAN, so, such.
SICLIKE, such.
SIDIER DHU, black soldiers, independent companies raised to keep peace in the Highlands; named from the tartans they wore.
SIDIER ROY, red soldiers, King George’s men.
SIKE, SYKE, small rill or brook commonly running out of a quagmire, small rill without sand or gravel.
SILLER, silver, money.
SILLY, weak.
SIMMER, summer.
SINSYNE, since.
SKEEL, a bucket, a tub.
SKEEN, SKENE, knife.
SKENE-OCCLE, a concealed dirk (Jamieson).
SKIG, the least quantity of anything.
SLACK, a hollow, a morass.
SLAP, a breach.
SLEEPERY, sleepy.
SLIVER, slice, slit.
SLOW-HUND, a sleuth hound.
SMA’, small.
SMACK, smaik, a rogue, a low wretch.
SMOKY, suspicious.
SNAW, snow.
SNECK, cut.
SNOOD, a fillet worn by young women.
SOPITE, quiet a brawl.
SORNERS, sornars, sojourners, sturdy beggars, especially those unwelcome visitors who exact lodgings and victuals by force.
SORTED, arranged, adjusted.
SOUP O’ DRINK, a spoonful.
SOUPLE, a cudgel.
SOWENS, the seeds of oatmeal soured.
SPAE, foretell.
SPEER, ask, investigate.
SPEIR, ask.
SPENCE, the place where provisions are kept.
SPORRAN-MOLLACH, a Highland purse of goatskin.
SPRACK, animated, lively.
SPRECHERY, movables of an unimportant sort.
SPRING, a cheerful tune.
SPRUG, a sparrow.
SPUILZIE, spoil.
SPUNG, pick one’s pocket.
SPUNK, a spark.
SPURRZIE, spoil.
ST. JOHNSTONE’S TIPPET, a rope or halter for hanging.
STANG, sting, a long pole.
STARK, a heifer, a bullock.
STARK, strong, rigid, stiff.
START, betray.
STEADINGS, STEADING, STEAD, the ground on which a house stands, or the vestiges of a former building (Jamieson).
STEAK-RAID, STIKE-RAIDE, That portion of the livestock, taken in a predatory incursion, which was supposed to belong to any proprietor through whose lands the prey was driven (Jamieson).
STELL, a stall, a covert.
STICKIT, stopped, hindered.
STIEVE, STEEVE, stiff, firm, durable.
STIR YOUR GEAR, disturb your goods.
STIRK, a young steer or heifer.
STIVER, a small Dutch coin.
STOOR, rough, harsh.
STOPPIT, stopped.
STOT, a bullock.
STOUP, a jug, a drinking vessel, a wooden pitcher.
STOUR-LOOKING, gruff-looking.
STOUTHREEF, robbery.
STOWN, stolen.
STRAE, straw.
STRAE DEATH, death upon the bed-straw, natural death.
STRAIK, stroke.
STRAMMEL, straw.
STRATH, a valley through which a river runs.
STREEKS, stretches, lies.
STREIK, stretch.
SULD, should.
SUMPH, soft muddy-headed fellow.
SUNKETS, delicacies, provisions of any kind.
SUNKIE, a low stool.
SWAIR, swore.
SWART-BACK, great black-and-white gull.
SWEAR, SWEER, difficult, lazy, reluctant.
SWITHER, doubt, hesitation.
SWUIR, swore
SWURE, swore.
SYBO, onion that does not form a bulb at the root.
SYNE, SYN, SIN, before, now, ago, since.
TA’EN, taken.
TA, the.
TAIGLIT, harassed, encumbered, loitered.
TAILZIE, taillie, a deed of entail.
TAISHATR, prophet
TAIT, a tuft.
TAK, take.
TAP, the top.
TAPPIT-HEN, a pewter pot that holds three English quarts.
TARGED HIM RIGHTLY, pelted or riddled him with importunities
TASS, a cup.
TAT, that.
TAULD, told.
TAYOUT, tailliers-hors; in modern phrase, Tally-ho!
TEIL, the devil.
TEINDS, tithes.
TELL’D, told.
TELT, told.
TENT, care.
THACK, thatch.
THAE, these, those.
THEGITHER, together.
THEREAWA’, thence, thereabout.
THIR, these.
THOLE, bear, suffer.
THRAPPLE, the windpipe, the throat.
THRAW, twist, wrench.
THREEPIT, persisted, maintained obstinately.
THRISTLE, a thistle.
THROSTLE, the thrush.
THROUGH-GANGING, through-going
TILL, to.
TINT, lost.
TIPPENNY, ale at twopence a bottle.
TIRRIVIES, tantrums, hasty fits of passion.
TOCHERLESS, portionless, without dowry.
TOD, a fox.
TOFT, a bed for plants.
TOLBOOTH, a jail.
TOOM, empty.
TOUN, a town, a hamlet, a farm.
TOW, a rope.
TOY, an old-fashioned cap for women.
TREWS, trousers.
TRINDLING, rolling, trundling.
TRINE TO THE CHEAT, get hanged.
TROKING, intercourse, trafficking.
TROW, believe, suppose, trust.
TUILZIE, tuilzie, a scuffle, a quarrel, a brawl.
TUME, toom, empty.
TURN, piece of work
TURNSPIT DOGGIE, a kind of dog, long-bodied and short-legged, formerly used in turning a treadmill.
TWA, two.
TWEEL, a web.
TYKE, a dog, a rough fellow.
UMQUHILE, formerly, late.
UNCANNY, weird, unlucky.
UNCO, strange, very, uncommonly
UNKENN’D, unknown.
UNSONSY, unlucky, eerie.
UPHAUD, uphold.
UPRIGHT MAN, the leader (and greatest rogue) of the gang. wa’, wall.
USQUEBAUGH, whiskey.
VENY, venue, a bout.
VERA, very
VILIPEND, disparage
VIVERS, victuals.
WA’, wall.
WAD, would.
WADDED, wedded.
WADNA, would not
WADSET, a deed conveying property to a creditor
WAE, woe.
WAEFU’, woeful.
WAIN, a wagon; to remove.
WALD, would
WALE, choice.
WALISE, a portmanteau, saddlebags.
WAN, won.
WANCHANCY, unlucky.
WARE, spend.
WARK, work.
WARLD, the world.
WARLOCK, a wizard.
WARRANDICE, warranty, security
WASNA, was not
WASTER, a long spear.
WAUR, worse.
WEAN, a young child.
WEAR, war.
WEARY FA’, curse.
WEDDER, a wether.
WEE, small.
WEEL-FAR’D, weel-faur’d, having a good appearance.
WEEL, well.
WEISING, inclining, directing.
WEIZE, direct, incline.
WERENA, were not
WESSEL, westward.
WHA, who.
WHAAP, the (or the Hope), is the sheltered part or hollow of the hill. Hoff, howff, haaf, and haven are all modifications of the same word.
WHAR, where,
WHAT FOR, why.
WHEEN, a few.
WHIGGING, jogging.
WHILE SYNE, a while ago.
WHILES, sometimes.
WHILK, which.
WHILOME, formerly
WHIN, a few.
WHIN, furze, gorse (OED).
WHINGEING, whining.
WHINGER, a kind of knife, a hanger.
WHISHT, hush
WHISTLE, give information against one.
WHITTRET, a weasel.
WI’, with.
WIN, get.
WINNA, will not.
WIS, know
WISKE, whisk, brandish.
WITTERS, the barbs of the spear.
WOO’, wool.
WOODIE, wuddie, a rope, a halter, the gallows.
WORRICOW, a hobgoblin.
WOTS NA, does not know.
WRANG, wrong.
WRITER, an attorney.
WUDE, mad
WUDDIE, a rope, the gallows.
WUSS, wish.
YAFFING, chattering, barking.
YATE, gate.
YER, yere, your.
YONT, beyond.
YOURSELL, yourself

The definitions of nearly all of these words are repeated verbatim from Scott’s own glossaries, which are diverse, overlapping, and feature at the end of some editions of most of his novels. Even the glossary of a particular novel is not a complete guide to the local or obscure words in that work, and in no place are the existing glossaries compiled into one list. The most complete of them used to be bound with The Surgeon’s Daughter and Castle Dangerous, and is simply called “A Glossary to the Waverley Novels”. I have scanned that and include this link to the file, as the document includes many words that do not feature here, although there are quite a few words here that do not feature in that work either, or in any other of Scott’s glossaries, despite being present in the text. A complete glossary of the Waverley novels would require a specialized reading or automated bibliometric scan of all of these works, a task that has not yet been accomplished.  For my part, the above list includes most of the commonest words in this collection of novels, but I have only so far read Waverley itself with an eye specifically to discovering all of the obscure or parochial words.

Aside from entries in Scott’s glossaries, the meanings of a few of the words above were taken from the author’s explicit definition within the main body of the text, or in some simple cases from context alone. Finally, three works were used when Scott himself did not provide a definition:

John Jamieson (1846). A Dictionary of the Scottish Language: In Which The Words Are Explained In Their Different Senses, Authorized By The Names Of The Writers By Whom They Are Used, Or The Titles Of The Works In Which They Occur, And Derived From Their Originals. (William Tait pub.).  Archive link ~ Google link

Andrew Cheviot (1896). Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, And Popular Rhymes Of Scotland. (Alexander Gardner pub.).  Archive link ~ Google link

or, failing these,

The Oxford English Dictionary.

Well, tha’s me blether. Lang may yer lum reek! Mind tha’ whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye, and that we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns, an’ a’ that.

-David Lahti, 5/2018.

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Published on 24 May 2018 at 10:10 pm Comments Off on Talk Like a Highlander – 1000 Archaic and Scottish Words from the Works of Sir Walter Scott

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