The Scots language is wonderfully complex, beautifully poetic and, at times, unapologetically blunt. It’s also fair to say that it can be a little difficult to understand, especially when words often having different meanings in different regions of the country.

However, it’s known the world over for being rich, varied and incredibly expressive – us Scots certainly have a way with words! Another thing that’s true about Scots is that it’s a language packed with punchy expressions and truisms.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the best Scottish expressions with you. So, haud yer wheesht (be quiet) and tak’ a gander (have a look) at these bonnie (beautiful) expressions. You never know when one might come in handy for you!..



“We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns”.

Translation: “We’re all created equal”. (Jock Tamson is a Scottish term for ‘everyman’)

“Failin means yer playin”.

Translation: “It’s better to be doing badly than not taking part at all”.



“Ye mak a better door than a windae”.

Translation: “You’re standing in my way, and I can’t see through you”.


“A lie is half-way roon Scotland afore the truth has its boots oan”.

Translation: “News travels fast, so be careful what you are saying”.



“Mony a mickle maks a muckle”.

Translation: “If you look after the pennies then the pounds will look after themselves”.


“Ye look like something the cat dragged in”.

Translation:  “You look like a dishevelled mess”.



“Dinnae be a wee clipe”.

Translation: “Stop being a little gossip”.


“Keep the heid”.

Translation: “Keep calm, and carry on – everything will be ok”.



“Haud yer wheesht!”

Translation: “Keep your mouth shut!”

“Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye”.

Translation: “If it’s meant to be, then it will happen for you”.



“Yer bum’s oot the windae”.

Translation: “You’re talking absolute nonsense”.


“A’ yer eggs are double-yoakit”.

Translation: “You’re always embellishing your stories”.



“Yer a long time deid”.

Translation: “Seize the day and live life to the fullest, you never know what might happen”.


“Lang may yer lum reek”.

Translation: “I wish you good luck and good fortune for the future”.



“Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk”.

Translation: “Good things come in small packages”.

“Yer heid’s fu’ o’ mince”.

Translation: “Your head is in the clouds”.



“Tatties o’wer the side”.

Translation: “It’s all gone horribly wrong – a disaster”

“Yer aywis at the cow’s tail”.

Translation: “You’re always walking slowly, dragging your heels”.

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