Glossary of Terms
I am compiling a glossary of words and terms to include with the series. Some of these words are Gaelic. Some are English but have fallen out of use or need explaining for non-UK citizens. Some are simply English words as used by Scots. Please contact me if you spot any errors or would like to contribute!
A la mamelouk - style of sleeve in the Regency Era, long, tight-fitting
A nighean - maiden, girl
Aboot - about
Abyss - vat of hot wax used in candlemaking
Afeart - afraid
American War of Independence - What Great Britain called (and still calls) the American Revolutionary War.
And you'll let me - if you'll let me
Apoplexy - stroke
Atepomarus - Celtic deity associated with horses.
Awa' - away
Aye - yes
Bairn - child
Bampot - higher degree of idiocy than numpty
Bank Note - very new at the turn of the 19th Century, like a personal check
Bannock - a round, flat cake made of oats, typically unleavened, associated with Scotland and northern England
Barrister - lawyer entitled to practice as an advocate, particularly in the higher courts
Bawbag - testicles
Bawdy House - Brothel
Beastie, Mannie, etc - Scots seem fond of diminutive names
Bed Curtains - curtains hung from the bed canopy
Bedchamber - same as bedroom
Bell - the call a stag makes when he is rutting
Bergomat - oily extract from the Seville orange tree used to scent soaps and flavor tea
Bisom - a difficult or irritating woman
Blackguard - a person who behaves in a particularly dishonorable or contemptible way
Blether - talk idly
Bollocks - testicles
Bonnie - attractive, beautiful, pretty
Brae - Scottish equivalent of a hill
Braw - fine, brave
Brawling - fighting
Breeks - a Scottish term for breeches or britches cut off just below the knee
Burn - stream
Burr - a dialect such as Scots with a rolling r
Bushy House - the residence of the Duke of Clarence located outside southwest London.
Caithness - the Northeastern most County of Scotland
Canny - having good judgment, also can mean pleasant or nice
Carter - a person who drove carriages
Chemisette - similar to a camisole, worn to be visible beneath an open-necked gown
Cheviot - a breed of sheep with short thick wool
Chivalry - code of conduct adhered to by noblemen since medieval times
Chuck Farthing - popular children's rhyme
Clootie Dumpling - A traditional dessert pudding made with flour, breadcrumbs, dried fruit, suet, sugar and spice with some milk to bind it, and sometimes golden syrup. Ingredients are mixed well into a dough, then wrapped up in a floured cloth, placed in a large pan of boiling water and simmered for a couple of hours before being lifted out and dried before the fire or in an oven.
Clotheid - Clot head, idiot
Cock and Pies - a mild explicative
Corbies - crows
Couldnae - couldn't
Countess - wife of an Earl
Crabbit - bad tempered
Crofter - a person who occupies and works a small landholding known as a croft, paying rent to the landlord of the croft.
Cuff - to hit someone with an open hand
Culloden - the last battle of the 45 Rising in which hundreds of Highland Jacobites were slaughtered.
Daft - crazy
Didnae - didn't
Dinnae - don't
Dirk - the long dagger traditionally carried by Highland Warriors
Dobber - slang for penis, akin to calling someone a dick.
Dodgy - unsavory or dangerous
Doon - down
Dorothea Jordan - famous British actress and mistress of Prince William IV, Duke of Clarence, she bore him no less than ten illegitimate children. Lucy is fictional. It is worth mentioning that, at the time, the Prince would not be allowed to marry anyone who was not of the peerage.
Doublet - a man's short, closefitting jacket
Dreekit - soaking wet
Duke - highest British hereditary title
Dunrobin Castle - Centuries old home of the dukes and earls of Sutherland located on the shore of the Murray Firth just northeast of Golspie
Earl - British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess
Empire silhouette, Empire line, Empire waist or just Empire is a style in women's clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats.
Factor - Manager of a large estate
Fashed - worried, dinnae fash yourself - don't worry about it
Fletching - the feathers on an arrow
Gangway - walkway from ship to shore
Gaoler - old spelling for jailer
General Clinton - Highest-ranking officer in the British Army during the American Revolution.
General Washington - Highest-ranking officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He authorized a plot to kidnap Prince William IV. It failed.
Get a bit of our own back - get revenge
Gie - give
Girth - strap used to keep the saddle in place
Gomeril - idiot
Goodwife - same as wife
Gorse - a yellow-flowered shrub of the pea family, the leaves of which are modified to form spines, native to Western Europe
Gowans - daisies
Gralloch - an ancient prayer of thanks
Guinea - roughly one pound, a handsome sum at the time
Habit and Repute - has been convicted of same crime previously, or is known by others to have repeated this crime
Haggis - a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal's stomach.
Hasnae - hasn't
Havenae - haven't
Heid - head
Heiland Charge - a battlefield shock tactic in which thousands of warriors would simply run at the enemy screaming. It required a high degree of courage and commitment on the part of the warriors. They often charged in clan clusters. It was very effective, unless used in the face of cannon.
Hessian Boots - tall leather boots fashioned after those worn by Hessian soldiers
Higgledy-piggledy - randomly
High Court of Justiciary - like the supreme court of Scotland
Highlander - Person who lives in the Highlands of Scotland generally distinguished as the area of Scotland north of the Grampian Mountains.
Indentured - under contract to work for another person for no pay but in exchange for passage to a new country, typical indenture contract lasted seven years
Is ought amiss - is something wrong
Jacobite Rising - in 1745, Charles Edward Stuart and his supporters attempted to regain the British throne for the House of Stuart. The ultimate failure of the rising led to the dismantling of the clan system in Scotland.
Je ne sais pas - I don't know
Je t'aime, ma petite - I love you, sweetheart.
Jugged - to have an iron manacle placed around one's neck
Keep - fortified tower usually built in the Middle Ages
Ken - to know, to understand
Kerch - it was customary for married women in Scotland to cover their hair with kerchief or mop hat
Kerfuffled - disturbed, confused
King George III - during his reign, King George III experienced several bouts of what appeared to be madness. While he was incapacitated, his son was made Prince Regent. This is why this particular period in history is called the Regency Era.
Knave - a dishonest or unscrupulous man
Livery - uniform for male servants of the house, usually footmen
Loon - teenage boy
Lucy's Spaniel - Hercules was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, King Charles II having been credited with the breed's popularity.
Magistrate - like a judge
Mayhap - maybe or perhaps
Merket Cross - Market Cross denoted the center of town and was used to post notices for the general public
Midshipman - Officer Cadet or most junior commissioned officer in the Royal Navy.
Mingin' - smelly
Mon cher - sweetheart
Mon dieu - my god
Nae - no
Nance - effeminate
Neeps - Turnips
No mind - never mind
Nock, draw, loose - the act of notching the arrow on the bowstring, drawing the bowstring back, and letting the arrow loose.
Nounou - French term for nanny
Numpty - idiot
Oot - out
Order of the Thistle - Most ancient and noble order of chivalry is the highest honor in Scotland. Fell out of disuse for many years. William IV is credited for its reinstitution.
Painted Miniature - a miniature portrait executed in gouache or watercolor on vellum or ivory popular until the development of photography.
Patrick Sellar - Lady Sutherland's factor, a ruthless figure in the 19th Century Highland Clearings
Peely-Wally - looking unwell
Peerage - class of people in Great Britain holding hereditary or honorary title.
Pelisse Jacket - A pelisse was originally a short fur lined or fur trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loose over the left shoulder of hussar light cavalry soldiers, ostensibly to prevent sword cuts. The name was also applied to a fashionable style of woman's coat worn in the early 19th century.
Philibeg - (filibeg) a small kilt, as opposed to the great kilt.
Plaid - often meaning the wool tartan cloth draped over the shoulder, useful as a cloak or shelter from the elements.
Post the banns or Call the banns - to announce one's intention to marry by posting it with the church giving anyone ample opportunity to put forward a reason why the marriage may not be lawful.
Pretty Little Pocket Book - popular children's book of the time
Prince William IV, Duke of Clarence - the third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.
Privy - Out House, outdoor toilet
Privy Closet - indoor toilet
Public House - tavern
Qu' est-que c'est? - what is it?
Queue - A hairstyle in which a man's long hair is gathered into a ponytail or braid. Men often braided their long hair to keep it out of their eyes when working or fighting
Quim - vagina
Rammie - fight
Red Deer - one of the largest deer species common to Scotland
Redcoat - a British soldier, neither trusted nor appreciated in the Highlands
Reticule - woman's small handbag
Scairt - scared
Shift - undergarment like a slip
Shilling - British coin equal to one twentieth of a pound or twelve pence
Sir John Cope - British General who figured early in the '45 Rising and suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Prestonpans
Skeps - coiled hemp beehives
Sleekit - sly
Sporran - a small pouch worn around the waist so as to hang in front of the kilt as part of men's Scottish Highland dress
Stone - unit of measuring weight roughly equivalent to 14 pounds
Sutherland - the county bordering Caithness to the west.
Sweeting - term of endearment, like sweetheart
Tartan - woolen cloth woven in one of several patterns of plaid
Tatties - potatoes
Tawsing - disciplining, usually with a leather strap.
That'll do - a shepherd's call for the herding dogs to return
Thatched Roof - roof made with straw, rushes, or heather
The Dress Act - came into force on 1 August 1746 after the failure of Charles Stuart to regain the throne. The Act made wearing the Highland Dress including tartan or a kilt illegal in Scotland.
The noo - now
Ton père veut parler avec vous - your father would speak with you
Tot - a shot of whiskey
Vennel - a narrow alley between houses
Vien - hurry
Viscount - British noble man ranking above a baron and below an Earl
Waistcoat - vest worn over a man's shirt and under his jacket
Wean - baby
Wee - small
Wheesht - used as hush, or calm down, or there, there now
White Hart - a rare genetic anomaly in the red deer species, not albino, a white hart is an all white stag.
Wi' - with
Willie - penis
Willnae - won't
Willow bark tea - used as aspirin
Yaffin' - talking