Scot's Word of the Week - Archive page 6

Use the links below to navigate to the previous Scot's words of the week....

Words found on this page:


meaning small groceries shopping, or little tasks you need to do 'doon the toon'

Your messages are the everyday shopping (usually food shopping) for the household. The word originally came from the sense of message meaning mission or errand, and was extended to messages to mean the things bought/done on this errand. Messages are normally things like a loaf of bread or pint of milk, for example you wouldn't really call your big supermarket shopping your messages. The terms: "Go your messages" and "Do your messages" are very commonly used. You would usually go your messages at the local wee shops as opposed to big high street chain stores (unless you are going to Scotmid or the Co-op which are a chain of small local grocery shops). Tasks like buying a newspaper or a lottery ticket, or paying for your daily milk/newspaper delivery can also be included as messages.

There is some debate as to whether this word is uniquely Scottish, apparently it is also used in Lancashire.

back to top


meaning to rinse

This week's Scots word, Synd (pronounce 'sign'), means to rinse or wash something superficially. For example you might "synd the dishes" which would be rinsing them in water but not washing them properly with soap.

As ever, in an effort to make the word of the week as interesting as possible, I have a fact for you about rinsing:

E Coli bacteria, caused by unsanitary conditions and contact with animal/bird manure is found increasingly in fresh fruit and vegetable produce and in particular in prepackaged salads etc advertised as 'ready to eat'. This is because many of the farmers who chop/prepare these products don't use hygienic enough procedures or change the water they rinse with often enough.

The message to this story is this: Always give your fruit, veg and salad a quick synd before you eat it or you might get E Coli poisoning. That would be bad.

back to top


meaning daydream or stupor

When I was wee I was often accused of 'being in a dwam' or 'away in a dwam' which means that I spent a lot of my time daydreaming. In Scotland someone who is daydreaming can also be said to be 'away with the fairies' (which is a phrase also used to mean that someone is crazy). Less commonly dwam is used to mean to faint or fall ill, someone who is dwamish is having fever induced delusions. The term dwam, like a lot of Scots words, originates from German (the old high German word twalm meaning giddiness).

wam is not to be confused with glaiket, although the facial expression involved might often be similar!

An example of this weeks word could be: "Sorry, could you repeat that? I was away in a wee dwam...."

Some interesting facts about daydreams....

According to Wikipedia a daydream is a form of consciousness that involves a low level of conscious activity. Daydreaming generally comprises of a fantasy while awake. Psychologists estimate that we daydream for one-third to one-half of our waking hours, although a single daydream lasts only a few minutes.

The many benefits of daydreaming include:

  • Relaxing - By mentally rehearsing events you may be anxious about in advance daydreaming can help you to handle the real events better.
  • Managing conflict - Psychologists believe that in daydreams where we 'rewind the tape' and revisit events/conversations we have had while thinking how the situation could have been different or imagining saying/doing something different helps us to find better ways of dealing with similar situations in the future.
  • Maintaining relationships - Daydreaming about communication, where you think about sharing some good news with your partner helps to psychologically maintain your relationship while you are apart. Apparently happy couples will think of each other and imagine positive scenarios about when they will next meet whereas unhappy couples will daydream about arguments or conflicts with their partner.
  • Boosting Productivity - By allowing your mind to relax and focus away from your work for a few moments daydreaming helps you to come back with a 'fresh mind' which has been shown to boost productivity in the long run. Daydreaming can also increase your creativity and has been used as a form of 'positive visualisation' to help people achieve their goals. By imagining their performance in advance, or imagining winning, athletes have actually been shown in improve their performance.
  • Relieve Boredom - A lot of us daydream when we get bored as a form of escapism. People with monotonous jobs like factory workers and security guards often use daydreams to keep their mind stimulated while they perform repetitive tasks.

So the next time you are away in a wee dwam just remember that there are plenty of good reasons for doing it!

back to top


meaning to do something vigorously (also laldie) as in 'giving it..'

This week's Scots word is a belter. The only context in which this word appears is in the phrase: "Gi'ing it laldy" (giving it laldy).

In the dictionary it says this means to do something vigorously, but that's not quite the full connotation of the word as I would use it. To give something laldy is to put your whole heart into it. A good example would be that woman you always see at Karaoke nights who has had a few too many drinks and is belting out "I Will Survive" while looking like she really believes she will. In this instance you could say she is giving it laldy. Similarly dancing and playing music are often associated with the use of this word. People who give it laldy are utterly 'in the moment', generally having a good time, and doing whatever it is with the most energy they can muster.

back to top


meaning to fiddle/tinker, a person who does this, or a fiddly task

This weeks Scots word of the week is a perfect word to describe that slightly aimless state of fiddling around with something in a totally unhurried way. Similar words are pottering and pootling. For example: "Now that I have more time I like to footer about in the kitchen"

If they ever make footering about an Olympic sport I am sure that I could be in with a chance at Gold. While writing my thesis I struggled not to be overcome by the temptation to footer about the house finding things to do instead (you know, really urgent stuff like polishing shoes or tidying that one drawer in your house filled with useless crap that doesn't go anywhere else).

A person in the process of footering is know as a footer. A task which is a footer is one which is particularly fiddly or awkward. For example, lace making is a footer, in knitting if your wool is all in a fankle it's a right footer to sort it out.

back to top


meaning covered by a mass of living things/people, infested

This weeks word of the week is a particular favourite of mine, and is usually used to describe any situation where large crowds have amassed. For example:

"The toon was hoaching wi shoppers" - The town was very busy with people shopping.

One would describe Sauchiehall Street the Saturday before Christmas, or Edinburgh during the festival, as the epitome of hoaching.

Living in Edinburgh can be busy at the best of times, but never more so than in August-September when Festival season begins. The streets are hoaching with tourists and hotel/restaurant/bar prices hit a yearly high to make the most of the extra bodies. This annual circus began 60 years ago when the Edinburgh International Festival was started to provide 'a platform for the flowering of the human spirit'. The programme of the EIF centers around classical music, theatre, opera and dance and the acts shown each year have been personally invited to perform by the EIF director. The original festival has almost totally been subsumed by the huge number of other festivals which spring up at the same time, the most famous being the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Fringe (as it is commonly known) is free for anyone to enter any form of entertainment. The result of this is literally hundreds of musical, theatrical and comedy shows taking place every day of the festival. As well as the EIF and the Fringe this year there will also be the Edinburgh Art Festival, Starbucks Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh Military tattoo, International Book Festival and International Film Festival all running at the same time.

If you want to see the true meaning of hoaching (and a lot of grumpy looking Edinbuggers just trying to go about their daily life around the millions of tourists) then come to Edinburgh during the festival. It really is a sight to see with hundreds of street performers and people advertising shows in increasingly outrageous ways to try to get your attention (for example I once saw a man put himself through a tennis racket with the strings removed in an act of extreme contortionism and lots of dislocation of joints. There was also a man last year who was dressed as a giant penis and handing out leaflets for a performance of the 'Virgin Suicides'. The things that people will do for money....)

back to top


meaning plaster cast

This week's word of the week is inspired by group member David, who might have broken his thumb.

A Stookie is a Scots word for a plaster cast used to support a broken limb or bone. It can also be used to describe a slow or dull witted person or to stand very still, especially in a transfixed or bemused way. This led to the phrase "Standing like a stookie".

Interestingly this word originated in the late 18th century as an alteration of the word stucco, which is a fine plaster used to coat wall surfaces or mould into architectural decorations.

back to top

Just for fun

A little peek into the lighter side of life within the Heriot-Watt Waves & Fields group.

Word of the Week: