Visiting Scotland? Learn the lingo…

Travel Dictionary: Scottish Words and Phrases

During a stay at The Kingsmills Hotel in the Scottish Highlands, you’re sure to come across many friendly locals. We Highlanders do, of course, speak English, but in our own unique way! So today, we thought we’d share with you some helpful Scottish words and phrases, to help you out when travelling around the Highlands.

The Scottish Accent

First of all, you need to get to know our accent. Now, it has been said that the Scottish accent is quite difficult to understand. But here, the Dialect Coach from TV series Outlander, gives us an overview of the many different accents from around the country. Including the Highlands and Inverness accents. So this might help you out a little. Did you realise there were so many different Scottish accents?

Scottish words and phrases

Here, we’ve picked out a few local words and phrases that are useful to know when visiting Scotland…

Slàinte Mhath – We use this Scots Gaelic phrase to mean “cheers” or “good health”, usually with a dram of whisky in hand. It’s pronounced “Slanj-a-va”.

Braw – Braw means good or fine. So you may hear “It’s a braw day”.

Wee – You may already be familiar with this word, meaning “small”. But you’ll notice we use it a lot here in Scotland.

Hogmanay – Perhaps the most important night in the Scottish calendar. This is our word for New Year’s Eve. And here is Scotland, we celebrate Hogmanay in style!

Outwith – In Scotland, this means “outside”, and may be used in phrases such as “outwith normal opening hours” or “outwith the local area”.

Blether – To blether is to chat informally. It’s both a verb and a noun. So you can blether about the weather, or you can have a wee blether. If you talk a lot, you can even be a bit of a blether!

Bonnie – Bonnie means “beautiful” and it’s a very useful world out here in the Scottish Highlands. The perfect way to describe our most spectacular surroundings.

Dug – Dug simply means “dog” in Scottish dialect. Bring your wee pal with you to the Highlands, we have dug-friendly rooms at The Kingsmills!

Heilan Coo – The iconic “Highland cow“. You’ll spot many of these cute hairy beasts during a Highland holiday.

Haste ye back – This is an old saying, which means “come back soon”. You might still see it on signs around Scotland, particularly when you’re leaving a shop or attraction.

Highland Cow lying down with glens in the background
The “Heilan Coo” is a distinctive breed of cattle, with long hair and horns, which originated in the Scottish Highlands.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a few Scottish words and phrases. Try to use them during your next stay with us in Inverness.