Learn how to speak like a local with these ‘rerr’ (really good) Doric words and their meanings. From ‘bosie’ to ‘bide’ and beyond, our guide to this colourful Scots dialect will help you make the most of your next visit to northeast Scotland!
AA ABOOT DORIC
All About Doric
Spoken all the way from Keith (Scotland’s first ‘Scots Toun’) in Moray Speyside to Aberdeenshire and down to Dundee and Angus, Doric is one of the main dialects of the Scots language – and arguably its most musical.
From buzzing ‘foggy bummers’ (bumblebees) to the beauty of a ‘bonny gloamin’ (a pretty sunset), Doric is a dialect brimming with wonderful, colourful expressions that its speakers are fiercely proud and protective of.
That’s not to say that all Doric speakers sound the same, though. From town to town, village to village, and farm to fishing port, Doric words and phrases can differ massively – and even the same words can sound very different depending on where you find yourself. As a result, you’ll hear a huge range of Doric words on your adventures around the northeast – sometimes describing the same thing!
A seagull in Peterhead, for example, is a ‘pyool’. Spot the same bird mooching for fish and chips in Aberdeen, however, and you might hear it called a ‘gallus scurry’. Each town and village in the northeast has its own distinctive character and the dialect – and the shouts you’ll hear aimed at rogue seagulls – reflect that.
Don’t be afraid to ask what a phrase means but, whatever you do, just make sure you don’t call it ‘slang!’ Check out our list below to get a head start on the local lingo.
FOO DIV YE SPIK DORIC?
How do you speak Doric?
In Doric: Foo’re ye deein?
In English: How are you doing?
Doric speakers are a friendly bunch; expect to hear this a lot on your travels around the northeast!
In Doric: Far div ye bide?
In English: Where do you live?
Looking to answer this in Doric? You’re either a ‘toonser’ (live in a city) or a ‘teuchter’ (live in a rural area)!
In Doric: I’m fair trauchled
In English: I’m exhausted.
With so much to see and do in the northeast, this is how you’ll end up after a day of exploring!
In Doric: Dinna fash yersel.
In English: Don’t trouble yourself.
Just to keep you on your linguistic toes, ‘fash’ can also mean ‘fish’ in Doric!
In Doric: Cam ower an gie’s a bosie.
In English: Come over and give me a cuddle.
If in doubt, a big bosie can solve most problems.
In Doric: Like snaa aff a dyke.
In English: Like snow off a wall.
In the northeast, things like good butteries (a tasty, flaky, savoury bread roll) don’t ‘sell out quickly’; they go ‘like snaa aff a dyke!’
In Doric: I’m pechin.
In English: I’m out of breath.
A walk along the spectacular Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail will leave you breathless in more ways than one!
In Doric: Ye’re a sicht fer sair een.
In English: You’re a sight for sore eyes.
Freshly caught fish, a cold pint of craft beer, a world-famous Aberdeen Angus steak and delicious Cullen Skink are just some of the delights you’ll find in the northeast larder that will make you utter this phrase!
In Doric: If yer bradie’s ower het, ye’ll hae tae blaa it.
In English: If your bridie/pie is too hot, you’ll have to blow on it.
A warning heard in pastry shops throughout the northeast!
In Doric: Fit they deein doon the herbour wi aa thon crans an larries?
In English: What are they doing down at the harbour with all those cranes and lorries?
In the northeast, the harbour is the heart of many coastal towns and villages.
In Doric: It’s aye caul in Aiberdeenshire in November, myne an hap up!
In English: It’s always cold in Aberdeenshire in November, remember to wrap up!
As Scottish comedian Billy Connolly famously said, there’s no such thing as bad weather; just the wrong clothes!
In Doric: Fit a loon!
In English: What a man/boy!
In the northeast, there are no ‘boys’ and ‘girls;’ there are ‘loons’ and ‘quines.’
WANT TE KEN MAIR?
Want to know more?
Scots, the ‘mither tongue’ that Doric forms part of, is just one of three native languages spoken in Scotland today, the other two being English and Scottish Gaelic.
Fancy learning more about our founding language? Check out our guide to Gaelic language and history!
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