Edinburgh sayings: A to Z of Edinburgh slang words and phrases you will ‘ken’ if you're from here
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In the city’s posher suburbs such as Morningside and Stockbridge, the natives pride themselves on their flawless diction and restrained vocabulary. But while the more refined areas of Edinburgh channel the spirit of Muriel Spark’s Miss Jean Brodie, it’s the likes of Leith and Dalry where you will hear the more interesting slang.
Leith, in particular, is a hotbed for hilarious words and phrases, with the work of locally-born Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh key in bringing the old port’s language to the fore.
Trainspotting was written almost entirely in Welsh’s Leith dialect, with some exciting and interesting turns of phrase used along the way.
Many Edinburgh words have their origins in the Roma language, which was traditionally spoken by travelling people in southern Scotland. However, there are certain Edinburgh words and phrases you’re unlikely to hear elsewhere in Scotland.
Some are a little choice for these pages – to say the least – but we’ve compiled a few here for your amusement:
An Edinburgh glossary
Bampot - mad; idiot. Is often shortened to just ‘bam’.
Barry - fantastic or great
Bog - toilet
Bolt – go away, or get lost
Boost – same as above, to tell someone to vacate your space (‘boost, ya goblin’ is a phrase that seemingly originated in Portobello, but is now used as far afield as Oslo)
Bunker - worktop, kitchen counter
Chore: To steal something
Chum - join on a journey (Chumming a friend doon the road)
Deek - look at
Dinnae - don’t
Embra - Edinburgh
Feart - afraid of
Foostie - stale
Gadgie: usually used to describe a man or boy who engages in loutish behaviour.
Hud-oan - wait, as in wait for me
Haud yer weesht - be quiet
Ken - Know. ('I ken what you mean')
Nash: Hurry up
Radge - crazy or uncontrollable (A person can either be a radge, ‘go radge’, or do something radge)
Reekin’ - drunk
Steamin’ - see above
Scoobied - clueless (Scooby Doo is rhyming slang for clue)
Shan - a shame, or disappointing (A bad day at work could be ‘well shan’). Can also mean unkind (‘that was shan saying that to him’)