The Gift of the Gab: A Guide to Speaking Like You’re from Glasgow

If you’re in the UK at the moment, you can’t hide from all the excitement and sporting activity as the Commonwealth Games happen in Glasgow.

But aside from all the sport, the great thing about the Commonwealth Games this time around is that they’re really putting Glasgow, one of my favourite UK cities, on the map. It’s making me really happy to see so much of this great city on the telly!

Glasgow

The lovely city of Glasgow

If you haven’t been to Glasgow yet, you really should make it a stop if Scotland features in your future travel plans. And given that my other half is a Glasgow boy, I’ve decided to put together a handy guide to get you chatting like a local. Mr Holiday Addict has given me the gift of the Glasgow lingo over the years – the variety of words and phrases from different places is one of my favourite things about the UK. So without further ado, here are few Scottishisms (?) to keep up your sleeve for when you visit Glasgow…

Wean:

Pronounced like you’re referring to a person called “Wayne”, this word is used when talking about any baby or small child. It seems to have evolved from the phrase “wee one”.

Greet:

Not to be confused with a polite word of welcome when meeting someone, this word means “cry” in Glasgow.

Example: “Greetin’ like a wean.” What does it mean? Crying like a baby of course!

Oose:

This is one of my favourites. I actually have no idea how I survived without this word before I learned it. I suppose the nearest translation would be fluff, but even that’s not quite there. Think of the stuff you find at the bottom of your pocket, or the linty fibres on your black coat. That’s oose.

Foosty:

A brilliant word in my opinion! I love this one – it means something rotten or bad. Probably with a bad smell. I am pretty sure it’s used outside of Glasgow, too. But Mr Holiday Addict was the first person to bring it to my attention.

Oakster:

This one I don’t get, but it means your underarm, or armpit. So if you’re a bit hot and you tell a Glaswegian you’ve got sweaty oaksters, they might admire your efforts with the local dialect and buy you a pint to cool you down. Maybe.

Drouth:

Chances are, if you’ve got sweaty oaksters and you’re a bit warm, you’ve probably got a “drouth” (pronounced drooth). Basically, you’ve got a terrible thirst. This one is a more general Scottish term, I think. And one I find myself saying a lot, which makes my Scouse-living-in-Manchester-sprinkled-with-Glasgow a bit of a confusing dialect in its own right!

Ginger:

So you’ve got a drouth? You could do with some ginger; which refers to any form of fizzy drink. Not specifically Irn-Bru, but it could be, if that’s what you fancy and you want to be all the more authentic.

Glaekit:

Use this one when rolling your eyes and referring to a stupid person. “Are you glaekit?”

Use of the word “the”

As in, “where are we going the night?”

If you want to really fit in, you’ll avoid saying today, tonight and tomorrow and instead say, the-day, the-night and the-morra. You can also shove a “the” in before you use the word now, as in, “aye, I’ll do it the noo (now)”. By this point, you’ll start believing you’re actually Scottish.

And finally…

Use of the word “stay”

This may be one of the most useful things to know when conversing with a Glaswegian on your travels! If someone asks you where you stay, they don’t mean “x-hotel in the city centre“, what they want to know is where you live. So now you know!

What’s the strangest word or turn of phrase you’ve heard in an English speaking country? Or do you use a few odd ones where you come from yourself? There are tons out there and I’d love to hear your most random in the comments!

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