Headwords are shown in bold red type.
Variant Spellings. Modern Scots is widely spoken but not often written, and many
words therefore have variant spellings based on the writer's attempt to represent his/her
pronounciation of the word, which can very depending on where he/she is from.
The main entry for a word comes at the spelling which is believed to be the most common in
current use. The number of variants has been minimized to make this dictionary easier to
follow, but where a number of spellings are in common use, the most common variant(s) is shown
after the headword, eg:
cock-a-leekie or cockieleekie
cock-a-leekie is a soup made from a fowl boiled with leeks. Some recipes
fae (pronounced fay) or frae (pronounced fray):
Fae means from.
some guy fae Tollcross
...Where'd he get that fae?
The variant form is given an entry of its own, referring the reader to the main entry, unless
the variant would come within five entries of the headword. Hence, there is an entry for
frae but not one for cockieleekie.
Pronunciations are given for words which might be difficult or cunfusing for the
non-Scots speaker. They are shown either be respelling, with the stressed syllable in bold, or
by rhyming them with a word with a similar pronunciation.
ca' or caa (pronounced caw)
ceilidh (pronounced kale-ee)
caber (rhymes with labour)
There are a number of regional variations in pronunciation in Scotland: in general the form
shown is a West Central Scotland one, that being the most widely spoken dialect, but where a
word is most common in a particular area, the pronunciation appropriate to that region is
Where more than one way of pronouncing a word is in widespread use, all these pronunciations
dicht (pronounced diCHt or dite)
In respellings, each syllable has been shown in a form likely to be clear to all speakers of
British English. However, the following points should be noted:
||always represents the hard "g" in gun, never
the soft "g" in gin
||represents the "ch" in cheese or
||represents the guttural sound represented by the
"ch" in the Scots loch and in the German composer Bach
||represents the unvoiced "th" in thin,
three, or bath
||represents the voiced "th" in this,
father, or bathe
||represents a vowel sound used in Scots but not in
English. It is the vowel in the normal Scottish pronunciation of bite, pronounced a bit
like "eye" but shorter. It is also used in the Scots pronunciation of Fife and
tide, as distinct from the longer vowel in five and tied
||words which, in southern English, start "wh-" but
are pronounced as if they started "w-" (eg what, white) are always pronounced
with an initial "wh" sound in Scots. This sound is rather like the "h" in hit and the
"w" in wit pronounced almost simultaneously.