kail or kale:
Kail is a type of cabbage or any dish made from cabbage, particularly a
vegetable broth or stew.
Kail also means food in general. This now old-fashioned sense of the word derives
from the fact that kail was once one of the staple foods of the Scottish diet.
I will be back here to my kail against ane o'clock.
The phrase cauld kail het again in its literal sense means yesterday's leftover
food reheated and served again. It is also used figuratively to mean a story that one has
heard countless times before.
Kail is the Scots form of cole.
kailyard or kaleyard:
A kailyard is a vegetable patch or kitchen garden.
Kailyard is also used to allude to an unrealistically sentimental and couthy
picture of Scottish life similar to that which the writers of the Kailyard School are
often accused of displaying.
the decayed romanticism of tartanry and kailyard
Kailyard School or Kaleyard School:
The Kailyard School is the name given to a group of Scottish writers who
depicted rural life in Scotland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such
writers, of whom J.M. Barrie is the most famous, used authentic dialect in their works but
tended to paint a rather idealized or sentimental portrait of country life.
keech (pronounced keeCH):
To keek is to peep or glance at something.
She keeked out through the curtains.
A keek is also a peep or a glance.
Take a keek out of the window.
The word is from the Middle Dutch kîken to look.
A keeker is a black eye.
I had a right keeker the next morning.
The word is from keek.
A keekhole is a peephole or a chink in a door or wall.
keelie (rhymes with steely):
- A keelie is a young working-class male from a city or large town. The term
is generally derogatory and implies that the person is rough, tough, and a potential hooligan.
In Glasgow, however, it is sometimes used more neutrally. Also, in Glasgow girls can be called
The word comes from the Gaelic gille a lad.
- A keelie is also an old-fashioned name for a kestrel.
This sense is probably imitative of the bird's cry.
keepie-uppie (pronounced keep-e-up-ee):
Keepie-uppie is the skill of juggling with a football with one's feet, knees,
chest, and head.
In Scottish folklore, a kelpie is a water spirit or demon in the form of a
horse. Kelpies were believed to inhabit lochs and rivers, and to lure the unwary to
Kelpie is possibly from the Gaelic cailpeach a bullock.
Kelvinside (pronounced kel-vin-side):
A Kelvinside accent is an affected and over-refined form of Scottish English
spoken by some of the genteel upper-middle class inhabitants of the Glasgow area.
It is named after a wealthy residential area in the West End of Glasgow.
One of the characteristics of the Kelvinside accent is the pronunciation of "ah" as
These little French fencies are ectually rether nice.
In Edinburgh the equivalent accent is known as Morningside.
To ken is to know. The past tense and past participle is kent.
The word is in frequent everyday use everywhere in Scotland, with the exception of the
I kent I'd find ye here.
Ken is also used as a filler word to make a pause in speaking or add slight
emphasis to a statement in the same way as 'you know'.
...D'ye ken wee Quigley fae Darvel?
...It's nice to see a weel-kent face.
Mickey Weir's no playin' for the Hibs the day, ken.
I kent his faither is a derogatory phrase used to remind those who have achieved
success (especially if achieved away from Scotland) that they are no better than anyone else.
Burn's simple, defiantly human assertion that 'a man's a man for a' that' is
inevitably recycled as the reductive and degrading putdown 'I kent his faither'.
The word ultimately derives from the Old Norse kenna to perceive.
Kenspeckle means familiar, well-known, or easily recognized.
He is a kenspeckle figure in Glasgow's Asian community.
The word perhaps comes from the Old Norse kennispecki power of
Kep is a now chiefly Northeastern word meaning to catch.
It can also mean to catch a bus or train.
I keppit e bus at e heid o e road.
The word comes from an obsolete sense of keep, to put oneself in the way
In children's games a cry of keys! indicates the speaker's desire for a truce or a
temporary suspension of the rules. The word is chiefly found in Western Scotland, children in
the East generally using the term barley instead.
To say that someone kicks with the left foot is a humorous way of saying that the
person is a Catholic.
Someone described as kicking with the wrong foot professes a different religion from that
of the speaker. This phrase is used especially by Protestants of Catholics and vice versa.
Scottish members of non-Christian religions have yet to be heard employing this expression.
The terms allude to the belief in the North of Ireland that Catholic farm workers use their
left foot to push the spade when digging, and Protestants the right.
Kilmarnock football team is nicknamed Killie.
Killie's victory was all the more remarkable in that they achieved it with ten
Kilmarnock bonnet (pronounced kill-mar-nock
A Kilmarnock bonnet is a flat broad cap made of blue, red, or black wool.
This type of cap was produced in Kilmarnock, an Ayrshire town once noted for its textile
A kilt is a knee-length pleated skirt, especially one in tartan, worn as part of a
man's Highland dress. Originally worn in the
Highlands and then by Scottish regiments in the British Army, kilts are now to be seen
adorning Scotsmen (whether Highlanders or Lowlanders) at weddings, graduations, and other
The word comes from the Danish kilte to tuck up.
A kiltie is a jocular and slightly derogatory word used to describe a man wearing
Kincardine (pronounced kin-card-in):
Kincardine or Kincardineshire is a former county in Northeastern Scotland, on
the East Coast south of Aberdeen. It is now administered by Aberdeenshire single-tier local
council. It is also known as the Mearns.
Kinross (pronounced kin-ross):
Kinross or Kinross-shire is a former county of Eastern Scotland, inland from
Fife. It is now administered by Perthshire and Kinross single-tier local council.
A kirk is a Presbyterian church.
a small local country kirk
It is sometimes used, with an initial capital, in the name of individual churches.
...Off she went to kirk.
Bothkennar Kirk near Falkirk
The word derives from the Old Norse kirkja.
The Kirk is a less formal name for the Church of Scotland.
He is the convenor of the Kirk's committee on chaplains.
kir-coo-bree-sher or kir-coo-bree-shire):
kirking or kirkin:
A kirking is a ceremonial attendance at a church, especially by councillors and
officials after the election of a new town council.
At the traditional Kirking of the Council last month he averted a row over the robes by
wearing a kilt in the McDuff tartan.
In a Presbyterian Church, the kirk session is the body responsible for governing the
affairs of an individual church in a parish. It consists of the minister and the elders
A kist is a large chest or wooden box.
A kist is also the chest (the part of the body).
The word is a Scottish form of chest.
kist o' whistles:
A kist o' whistles is a derogatory name for a church organ. The phrase, originally
used by those opposed to the use of musical instruments in church, is now mainly literary.
A kist o' whistles is also a wheezy chest or a person with a wheezy chest.
kittle or kittlie:
1. Someone who is kittle is unpredictable and capricious.
To kittle also means to be puzzling or troubling to someone.
2. Another sense of kittle is to tickle or be ticklish.
klondyker or Klondyker:
A klondyker is a large vessel which buys fish direct from the fishermen in Scottish
waters, then processes the fish on board before returning to its home port, invariably in
Part of the Klondyker fleet, the vessel was reputedly bought by a Nigerian
A klondyker can also be someone who works on one of these ships.
He said that the klondykers had remained relatively calm, despite the captain and most of
the officers having been killed or injured by the blast.
The activity of buying and processing fish in this way is called klondyking.
The name comes from Klondyke in Alaska, a gold-mining centre, with allusion to the
profits which could be made by fishermen who sold their fish to these factory ships.
Knock is an old-fashioned or literary word for a clock.
The old Tolbooth knock can still be seen in the town's museum.
knock is a Scottish variant of clock.
knowe or know (pronounced
A knowe is a small rounded hill.
The word is a Scots form of knoll.
knype on (pronounced knipe on):
To knype on is a Northeastern term meaning to keep going or slog away at something,
often used in the sense of going steadily through life without any great mishap.
It is sometimes shortened to knype.
"Foo ye doin?" "Oh, knypin."
Knype literally means to knock and is probably onomatopoeic in origin.
Kye are cattle. The word is a plural form of coo.
A kyle is a narrow strait of the sea or narrow part of a river. It is used mainly in
Kyle of Lochalsh
The word comes from the Gaelic caol narrow.
...the Kyles of Bute