The Scotland tag features articles that mention Scotland, its people and culture and any content that relates to Scotland and its markets.

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421 Scots' words for snow

Great Scots! 421 Words for Snow

421 Scots' words for snow

There’s Snow Stopping the Scots!

It has been documented that the Inuits of Greenland, and parts of Alaska, have more than 50 words for snow, but recently we discovered that the Scots have 421 words for snow. You might think that northerly countries like Iceland or Greenland have more words for snow given their freezing temperatures, but the Scots reign supreme for more ways to describe the light, white stuff.

Academics at the University of Glasgow started a project to compile a thesaurus of Scots words. The Historical Thesaurus of Scots is the first of its kind and is being published online. The team of researchers has appealed to the public to send in their own words. They’re even accepting images to illustrate Scots words in all categories.

Always About Weather

Weather and Sport were the first two categories to gain the most entries when the thesaurus was set-up. The game of marbles overtook football for the most synonyms — a staggering 369 words.

“Weather has been a vital part of people’s lives in Scotland for centuries. The number and variety of words in the language show how important it was for our ancestors to communicate about the weather, which could so easily affect their livelihoods.”

“You might expect sports like football and golf to loom large in the thesaurus, but it turns out that there are actually more words relating to marbles – which is an indication of how popular the game has been with generations of Scottish children”, states Dr Susan Rennie, lecturer in English and Scots language at the University of Glasgow.

Other elements of weather like clouds and mist have many entries in the thesaurus.

Some Scots words for Snow

  • snaw — snow
  • snawie — snowy
  • blin-drift — drifting snow
  • skovin — a large snowflake
  • flindrikin — a slight snow shower
  • flukra — snow falling in large flakes
  • spitters — small drops or flakes of wind-driven snow and rain

View all the words and images online at scotsthesaurus.org and follow them on Twitter @scotsthesaurus.

Graham,
The STAR Team

Great Scots! Scots Gaelic and English Stay Together

Great Scots! Scots Gaelic and English Stay Together

Great Scots!

Scots Gaelic and English Stay Together, Despite the Vote

Today, 18th of September, all Scottish people head to the polling stations to cast their utmost important votes. Their votes will decide the future of the United Kingdom as a whole. Will Scotland become an independent state?

Regardless or the result of the vote today #indyref, #voteyes, #voteno, both the English and Scottish languages will stay together! There will always be a Scots legacy in England.

With a media frenzy gathering pace throughout and all eyes on Scotland, we decided to look at some peculiar words in the English language that have their origins in Scottish Gaelic and Scots.

Scots Gaelic

Before we proceed, you probably noticed that we mentioned Scottish Gaelic and Scots. Aren’t they the same? Not at all. Scottish Gaelic or Gàidhlig is in the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. It’s indigenous to Scotland. Scottish Gaelic derived from Middle Irish during the 10th to 12th centuries and thus, is descended from Old Irish. Other notable languages in the Goidelic family are Manx and Irish (no surprise there!).

Scots

Scots or Scots language is a variety of Gaelic spoken in the lowlands of Scotland and parts of Ulster (Northern Ireland). Scholars and linguistic experts have been debating over the linguistic status and social significance of Scots. Is it a language or a dialect? There is no universally accepted criteria to distinguish a language from a dialect so they’ll be arguing about it for some time to come.

The Words

Scots English Meaning
Clan (also clann) originally from Gaelic: “family”; children, progeny, offspring, even tribe
Haver / Haiver to talk in a foolish manner, to talk nonsense
Bonnie (also bonny) originally from French: “bon” meaning good; attractive, pretty, applies to both genders
Laddie a young boy; adolescent male
Lassie a young girl; adolescent female
Plaid (also plaide) originally from Gaelic: “blanket”; to fold [past participle of ply, giving to ‘plied’ based on Scots’ pronunciation]
Tweed a cloth woven in a twilled pattern

Of course, there are many other Scots words in use in English. You might even be using some of them without knowing it. Do you know any other Scots or Scots Gaelic words in English?

Graham,
The STAR Team