Scottish Phrases

The wit, expressive depth and wisdom of the Scottish people is something to be cherished. They know a thing or two about stoicism in the face of poor fortune, and there’s a clear knack for cutting through airs and graces too.

So here are are few expressions and truisms that should come in handy when everything turns as black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat (turns pitch black).

Note: Where absolutely necessary we’ve also provided a brief translation from Scots dialect into English:



Failing means you’re playing.It’s better to be doing badly than not taking part.
Mony a mickle maks a muckle.mickle = small thing, muckle = big thingLook after the pennies and the dollars look after themselves.
You’re all bum and parsley.You’re all mouth and trousers. You’re a blowhard.
Keep the heid.Don’t lose your head. Stay calm.
We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns.bairn = childWe are all equal in the eyes of God. Or Jock Tamson.
Heid doon arse up!Get on with it!
Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye.Que sera sera. What ever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see.
Don’t be a wee clipe.Don’t be a tattle-tale.
Yer bum’s oot the windae.You’re talking nonsense.
You’re a long time deid.Lighten up, you’ve got plenty of time to be a misery after you die.
Lang may yer lum reek.lum = chimney, reek = smokeI wish you well for the future.
Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk.Good things come in small packages.
All his eggs are double-yoakit.He’s a boastful windbag.
She doesnae hae enough room inside her for a rheumatic pain.She is thin.
You’re the wee hen that never layed away.Don’t play the innocent with me.
Tatties o’wer the side.It’s all gone pear shaped. Disaster has struck.
Haud yer wheesht!Shush! Be quiet!
It’s a lang road that’s no goat a turnin.’goat = gotDon’t lose heart in dark times, things can’t keep going in the same direction forever.
Yer aywis at the coo’s tail.coo = cowHurry up, you’re always dragging your heels.
It’s gaein be awricht ance the pain has gane awa.’As soon as that pesky bad stuff is out of the way, everything will be fine.
A clean shirt’ll do ye.You’re not long for this world. One more change of laundry and that’s it.
It’s a sair ficht for half a loaf.Life is hard work. It’s a sore fight and you only get half of what you want.
Sewn wi’ a hate needle an’ a burnin’ threed.hate = hotThis garment was made shoddily.
They have thrown a stone at my door.My loved ones have sent me to Coventry. They’re no longer speaking to me.
Ye mak a better door than a windae.Get out of the way, you’re obscuring my view.


CLICK HERE to return to the main Scotland Traveller page.



Concierge Service
Find booking your own travel just too much work? Consider using our Luxury Experience Concierge.



CLICK HERE to log out as user "scotland".


Scotland Fun Facts

Scotland Fun Facts

There are so many reasons to visit and love Scotland. From the gorgeous scenery and rich history to the culture and the personalities of the people who live here, the unique aspects of the nation are appealing to so many around the world. But delve a little deeper into all things Scottish and you will find a host of interesting facts that will leave you stunned…

Scottish Cuisine

Scottish Cuisine

Whether navigating the urban haunts of major cities, enjoying genteel market towns or experiencing remote island hideaways, exploratory food-lovers in Scotland will find a culinary scene that majors on bountiful wild harvests and top-notch meats underpinned by a strong cultural identity.

Scotland Movies

Scotland Movies

Scotland is famous for its breathtaking scenery and, not surprisingly, has been used as the location for many well-known movies. A land full of culture, mystery (I’m looking at you, Nessie) and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Scotland is always at the front of location scouts’ minds.

Unique travel experiences... where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet!



Do you want to stay up to date on all our latest trips and events?
Subscribe to our newsletter HERE

Copyright 2012-2019 The Divine Destination Collection | Powered by Wynford TICO Reg. # 2024965

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!