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The following is a 'Rough Guide' to the Ayrshire Dialect. It is not my intention to attempt to translate the works of Robert Burns - much of the language used by him is too obscure even for me! However, I have attempted to compile a list of words and phrases which a visitor to the area might encounter. Questions or comments relating to this section of the site should be sent to me, Hazel Rae 

See this before you email me!

Some of these words are not used frequently, others are still in use, to a greater or lesser extent. The frequently used ones will be highlighted with *. Some of the commonly used words are now considered 'slang'. To add to confusion, some words have more than one meaning, depending on the context in which they are used. For example:

If you are 'humphy backit', then you have a slouch. Yet backit is listed here as meaning backwards......that's because it does! Ye bumbazed yit? Just for fun, I have placed some phrases between some of the tables, showing usage of some of the words - with translations, of course! There's more.........

This is not a complete list of words and phrases, this website would not be large enough to accommodate all of the dialect. Please be patient there are some largish tables loading. This section of the site is as complete as I will ever make it.

Before all the academics out there get on their high horses and start emailing me claiming I have misspelled or wrongly translated something - don't bother! The spelling is irrelevant and we could argue about this all day long, but I won't. Even within Ayrshire itself there will be differences in translation, pronunciation and spelling. I live here, I hear this dialect everyday and contrary to popular belief, it is not widely spoken anymore. It is more likely that visitors to the area will hear well spoken Queens English, with the odd Ayrshire word thrown in! Resulting in something of a hybrid dialect.

  1. A to B
  2. C to D
  3. E to G
  4. H to J
  5. K to N
  6. O to R
  7. S to T
  8. The rest of the Alphabet

A to B 

* a' = all abread = abroad * a'day = day-long, all day
* albeit = although abreed = in breadth adle = putrid water
abeigh = at a distance acquent = acquainted * adled = putrified, soured
aboon = above acqueesh = between ado = to do
* aff = off * afore = before * aft = often
* ahin = behind * ain = own, mine akwart = awkward
* alane = alone * alang = along * aneath = beneath
* an' = and * ance = once * ane = one
* anither = another * a's = all is * atween = between
* auld = old * Auld Reekie = Edinburgh * awa = away
* awfa' = awful * awffie = awful * ay = always
* aff = off * aye = yes  
* ba' = ball * babi = baby * backit = backwards
* baillie = magisrate/official * bairn = child * baith = both
* bamboozle = to trick * bane = bone * bannock = thick cake
barley-bree = whiskey barm = yeast Bartie = Devil
* bauld = bold bawbee = halfpenny bearded-bere = ripe barley
beastie = animal,vermin etc * belang = belong bellum = assault
* ben = into, within bere = barley bestead = provided
bethankit = God be thanked * bide = stay * bing = heap
* bit = place E.g. "ma bit"     (my place) *blather/blether = chatter * blaw = blow or exaggerate
* bocked = vomited * boke = vomit blythe = cheerful
* bonnie = beautiful bogles = hobgoblins * brae = hillside
* brang = brought * brung = brought * braw = handsome
breastie = breast * breeks = trousers * brig = bridge
brither = brother * brer = brother brose = oatmeal dish
bumbazed = confused bunker = window seat * bunker = coal house/room
* burdie = bird * burn = stream * breed = bread
  * but an ben = small cottage  

' Wheesht wi yer blawin' = Stop exaggerating!               

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C to D

* ca' = call * cadger = hawker * caller = colder, bracing
* canna(e) = cannot * cannie = cautious * careerin' = rushing
* care na = care not carle = old man carline - old woman
* cauld = cold chancy = fortunate, lucky chanters = bagpipes
chap = liquid measure * chap = knock,rap chimla = fireplace
chuffie = fat faced, chubby clachan = village * claes = clothes
* clatty = dirty, mucky clavers  = tales, stories cleek = clutch
cleekit = linked arms * cleeky = secretive, aloof  usually referencing groups of people clinkumbell = bell ringer
clinty = stony * clish-ma-claver = nonsence corbie = crow
cotter = cottage dweller couthie = loving, pleasant * cowpit = knocked over
* crabbit = irritable, surly * crack = conversation * craig  = rock
* craw = crow creel = basket * creeshie  = greasy
* cronie = friend * croon = hum crummock = crooked staff
* cry = tell, call * champit = mashed curple = buttocks
  * claggy = sticky, thick  
daidlin  = waddling * daunner = walk, stroll * daur = dare
* daurs = dares * dawd = lump,clump delvin = digging
* diddle = con, mislead * dinnae = do not * dizzen = dozen
* dochter = daughter * doo = dove * douk = duck
* dour = sullen, miserable * do'tin = doddering * drap = drop
* dreeping = dripping * droukit = drenched, soaked * drouth = thirst
dud = puddle * duddies = ragged/old clothes * dyke = dry stone wall

Ya dour faced git! = You miserable person!

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E to G 

e'ebrie = eyebrow * ee = eye * een = eyes
* en' = end ettercup = spider * evermair = evermore
     
* fa' = fall * fae = from Fasten- e'en = Shrove Tuesday
* farl = small oatcake * faut = fault * fear't = frightened, afraid
* fecht = fight feerie = sturdy feil = many
* fidgit = restless findy = substantial * fit = foot
* flit = move foggage = coarse grass * forbye = besides
forfairn = worn out * forgie = forgive * forrit/furrit = forward
* fu' = drunk foul-fa'-ye = ill befall you, a curse frae  = from
* fud = backside fustit = decayed * foosty = mouldy
* footer = fidget, meddle * foggy bummer = bee  
* gub = mouth * gab = chatter gae = go
* gang = go gangrel  = vagrant * gaun = going
* gawky = awkward * gear = possessions * gie  = give
gilpey = young woman * girdle = griddle * girn = moan, snarl
* glaikit = dim,foolish * gled = glad * gloaming = twighlight
* grannie = grand mother * greet = cry, weep grumphie = pig
* grun = ground gruntle = snout guddle = mangle
* guddle = state of chaos * gid = good gully = large knife
gumlie = muddy * gumption = common sense  
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H to J

* ha' = hall habber = stutter * haddie = haddock
* hadnae = had not * hae = have * hae't = have it
* hairum-scarum = wild hale = hearty * hale = whole
* hame = home * hankers = desires harkit = listened, heard
hassock = large amount * haud = hold * hurl = roll
* hersel = her self * heelan' = highland * heelan's = highlands
* himsel = himself * hing = hang * houlet = owl
howdie = midwife * howk = dig * howker = digger
* hunkers = knees, haunches * hurdies = haunches * hure = whore
  * howf = shed, hut  
ingle = fireplace inlyin' = child bearing * ither = other
* itsel' = itself izles = embers  
     
* jag = pin prick jawpish = tricky jillet = jilt
* jinglan = jingling jo = sweetheart * jeely = jam
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K to N

kae = jackdaw * kail = cabbage katy-handit = left - handed
kebbuck = cheese * keek = peep keekin' glass = miror
* kelpies = water spirit * ken = know * kent = knew
ket = fleece * kirk = church kirn = harvest supper
kist = chest kith = acquaintance * knowe = hillock
knurl = dwarf kyte = belly  
     
lady-landers - ladybird laigh = low lairing = sinking
laith = loath lammie = lamb landlowper = vagabond, tramp
lang = long lang syne = long ago langsum = tedious
* lea' = leave * len' = lend * luck = look
linn = waterfall lint = flax loan = lane
* lug = ear * lum = chimney  
     
* mair = more * maist = most * maister = master
mak = make mantie = gown mashlum = mixed grain
maskin pot = tea pot meikle = large * men' = mend, repair
menzie = follower merk = old Scottish coin  middin = dung heap
* middin = mess * mind = remember * mirk(y) = gloom(y)
* mither = mother * monie =many muckle = great
* masel' = myself    
     
* na = no nack = trick *naebody = nobody
* nane = none * neebor = neighbour *neednae = need not
newlins = lately * nicht = night * nick = cut
* no = not * nocht = nought * noddle =brain
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O to R

o'boot = gratis * ocht = ought * o'erlay = overlay
o'erlay = smock * onie = any ourie = shivery
* oursel = ourself * oursels = ourselves * ower = over
* oxter = armpit * oose = fluff  
     
pang = cram pawkie = cunning pechan = stomach
pechin = out of breath peltry = rubbish, trash penny-fee = wages
penny-wheep = small beer * pickle = tiny amount * pit = put
pliver = plover pooch = pouch * pook = pluck
poussie = cat, hare * pownie = pony * presses = cupboards
* pu' = pull pussie = hare * pooder = powder
     
raff = plenty ragweed = ragwort ramfeezl'd = exhausted
rampin' = raging raploch = homespun * rattle = strike, hit
raucle = fearless reek = smoke * reek = odour, smell
* richt = right rive = split * roon = round
* rummle = stir, mix about * runckle = wrinkle,crease ruth = sorrow

'Ye cannae gie oot lik that ! Luck et the runcles on they claes!' = You cannot go out like that! Look at the creases on those clothes!

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S to T

* sae = so saebins = since it is so * saft = soft
* sair = sore,hard sairie = sorrowful sall = shall
sark = shirt saumont = salmon * saut/sot = salt
scantlins = scarcely *scunner = disgust scrievin = moving along
* scrimpit = short,frugal *scrimpin = being frugal sculduggery = fornication
seelfu = pleasant * shanks = legs *shanna/shinni = should not
shavie = prank shawpit = shelled sheugh = ditch
* sheil = shed * shoon/shin = shoes * shouldna = should not
* sich = such sidelins = sideways siller = silver
* sin = since * shin = soon * skelp = smack, strike
* skelpin = smacking * skelpin = rushing skinking = watery
skinklin = small * skrimmish = skirmish skurrivaig = vagabond, tramp
* skyte = lash out slae = slow * slee = sly
* sleekit = sly, cunning smeddum = powder * smiddie = smithy
smirtle = coy smile * smoor = smother *smirr = fine drizzle
smurr = fine drizzle * snash = abuse, cheek * snaw = snow
* snick/sneck =  door latch snirtle = snigger * sodger = soldier
* sole = sill sonnet = song sonsie = pleasant
* soor = sour * sook/souk = suck souter = cobbler
speal = climb * shpeel = long winded * spunk = spirit, character
spunkie = will o' the wisp * stan/ston/stun = stand * stane = stone
* steer  = stir * swall'd/swallt = swelled * stirk = young cow
studdie = anvil stumpie = stout swankie = fine fellow
* sweet = sweat * sweetin = sweating *swither = hestitate/muse
  * swally = swallow  
tackits = shoe nails *tackitty bits = heavy boots * tae = toe
* taen = taken taigle = hinder * tak = take
* tap = top tapetless = thoughtless tapsalteerie = topsy turvy
* telt = told * teat/tate = small quantity * thae = they
* thankit = thanked * thegither = together * themsel,themsels = themselves
* thocht = thought * thole  = endure,tolerate * thon = that
* thowe = thaw thrang = crowd * thrapple = throat
* threed = thread threep = maintain timmer = timber
tittle = whisper * tittle tattle = gossip,tale Tod Lowrie = fox
* toon = town * tummle = tumble,knock over * twa = two
     
 

This is a lullaby my grannie and mother used to sing and I have sung to my own children, translating it makes no sense at all :-))

'Wee chookie burdie, toe low low. Laid an egg on the winda sole.

The winda sole, began tae crack, an wee chookie burdie said...Quack Quack!!'

My children have always loved it and regarded it as their job to chorus the 'Quack, Quack!'

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The rest of the Alphabet

unco = strange unfauld = unfold * unner = under
* uptae = up to    
     
vauntie = proud verra = very vittles = food
vogie = concieted vowt = vault * vowt = vowed
     
*wa' = wall wabster = weaver * waddin = wedding
*wadnae/widnae = would not * wan = one warnae = were not
* wurnae = were not * wat = wet *water fit = river mouth
* wean = child * weel = well * wha = who
* whalpit  = whelped * whar = when * wheen = quantity, lots
whirligiggums = useless things *whisht/wheesht = quiet,silence * whup = whip
* whit = what * wi' = with * winna = would not
* widnae = would not * win = wind * win's = winds
* wunner = wonder * wid = wood * wrang = wrong
     
* yaird = yard * ye = you *  ye'd = you would
* ye'll = you will * yer = your * yersel = yourself
* yersels = yourselves * yince = once * yon = that
* yonner = yonder younker = youth * yowe = ewe
  yowie = lamb  
 
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