Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Scots words in Death in a Scarlet Gown

These are some of the Scots words used in Death in a Scarlet Gown, the first Murray of Letho book. Some of these words are still in use, some are more antiquated. Others are used not only in Scotland but in northern England and Northern Ireland, too.

Ashet: a plate or large serving dish, from the French assiette. Loads of French influence in Scots.
Bairn: child
Baxter: baker
Bejant: a first year student at St. Andrews. The feminine, introduced when women were, is bejantine. At Aberdeen, a bajan or a bajanella. Thought to derive from the French bec jaune, yellow-beak.
Blackyirtly: blackguardly
Bunkwife: landlady
Cordiner: shoemaker. Also cordwainer
Flesher: butcher
Gallow-breid: a gallows bird
Gey: very, extremely
Gileynour: cheat, swindler
Greet: to cry, sob
Guddle: confusion, mess
High heidyin: literally ‘high head one’, the chief
Howff: a low pub
Humanist: lecturer in Latin
Hyte: mad, mad with rage
Ill-deedit: wicked
Ken: know
Kirk: church. Along with kist below, this shows the lovely interchange between Scots ‘k’ sound and southern English ‘ch’ sound, in church/kirk, chest/kist, breeches/breeks (ooh, I love languages!)
Kist: chest; also coffin, as a corpse is ‘kisted’ for burial.
Laldy: ‘giving him laldy’ equals ‘laying into him’, fighting strongly, or indeed ‘giving it/him wellie’.
Magistrand: a fourth year student at St. Andrews
Meschantly: wickedly, wrongfully
midden: a dungheap
parritch: porage
pleuchie: a yokel (a ploughman)
rector: the headmaster of a school
red: clear, clean, tidy
risp: a twisted iron bar, attached vertically to the wall beside a door, with a ring of metal round it to be rattled against it (a forerunner of the doorbell)
scunnered: fed up, put off, sickened of something
semi: a second year student at St. Andrews
shusy: a corpse for anatomical dissection (often stolen from a grave)
Snotterbox: nose
Stookie: a stook or sheaf of corn
Streeling: running with water or flying out in the wind
Tailzie: entail on property or land
Tawse: implement of torture employed by schoolmasters
Tertian: third year student at St. Andrews
Thole: put up with, tolerate

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