Glaswegian Slang: 65 Hilarious Glaswegian sayings you’ll only hear in Glasgow
Glaswegians are renowned for their unique and wonderful sense of humour and over the years, Glaswegians have shortened words, invented their own sayings and with that unmistakable accent, can often make English sound like an entirely different language which makes it more difficult even for friends elsewhere in other parts of Scotland to understand a single word.
We asked our Glaswegian hot tub technicians (Hot Tub Hire Glasgow), our managing directors Mum and our customers for their favourite Glasga sayings and phrases and the list below is what you all came up with. If you think we've missed any out then put down the gingy bottle and gie us laldy over on Facebook and Twitter. And shut that window, cos it’s pure baltic in here.
49 Hilarious Glaswegian sayings you’ll only hear in Glasgow and phrases you should know if your planning a trip to Glasgow
1. Awa' an bile yer heid
Translation: In English is "Away and boil your head". Means Get lost. Let’s face it, Glasgow has plenty of phrases telling you where to go. Like some others, this one implies that you’ve to go for talking nonsense – so much nonsense, in fact, that you’ve to boil your own head in shame for being so ridiculous.
Literally, away you go, meaning “I do not believe you.” #awayyego
A common phrase in Scotland ‘ah it’s pure Baltic’ meaning ‘oh it’s rather cold’ – baltic means cold or freezing. As it’s cold pretty much 10 months of the year up here in Scotland, you’ll probably hear this at some point during a visit. #purebaltic #weather #scotland
Idiot (derogatory term) an objectionable and foolish person. See also: Eejit, Heid Case, Nugget, Spanner. #bampot
A man's scrotum, or ball sack. Can be used as both a term of affection among friends ("Awrite ya bawbag") as well as an insult (Whit you sayin' ya bawbag?").
Bawbag is a term of endearment in Scotland, according to the Macmillan dictionary. The slang for scrotum was used north of the border for decades before becoming a worldwide Twitter phenomenon when a devastating 2011 storm was dubbed “Hurricane Bawbag” #bawbag
Balls, as in a male scotum (also see: Bawbag). Usually used as a negative denouncement of a situation e.g. "This is baws.” #bigbaws
Not a BMW, but rather, a blushing red face caused by embarrassment.
11. Bevvied Up - Blazin, ,Blootered, Blotto, Burst, Charred / Dunted / Gassed / Heavy Bongoed / Mad Wae It / Mingin' / Moolured / Pished / Reekin' / Rubbered / Steamboats / Steamin'
Just as the Inuit Eskimos have 97 words for snow, Glasgwegian's have many different words being drunk i.e. intoxicated with alcohol.
12. Big Man / Wee Man
Literally a large man or a small man, but commonly used as a friendly term regardless of the size of the subject e.g. "Awrite Big Man," or "Hows's it goin' Wee Man?"
13. Bolt ya rocket
Translated simply, this phrase means 'go away' – but with an added insult at the end. 'Rocket' is essentially an extremely satisfying way to dub someone a complete idiot
(also see: Clatty, Mauchit, Manky, Mingin') - Disgusting, dirty, filthy or foul e.g. “That’s boggin’”
Picture, if you will, wandering forth onto the streets of Glasgow in search of the mythical deep fried Mars Bar. You might love it – all oily batter and melted chocolate. But if you don’t, there’s only one word for your disgust, and that word is boggin. Example: “That’s boggin man!” You can also use this word in place of dirty or filthy – but use it to describe someone (to their face at least) and you might get a punch in the geggy.
Meaning good or pleasant, derived from the Old Scot’s word for “brave.”
Also know as 'Bucky'. A high-caffeine alcoholic tonic wine made by monks in Devon, popular among Neds. Has to be tasted to be believed (see: Boggin’). According to the Scottish Sun In 2018, Sales of 'Bucky' have soared (+3,600 bottles per day) since the Scottish Government crackdown on cheap alcohol.
17. Buttoned up the back
Is someone trying to take you for a fool or make a mug of you? Then this is the phrase you’ve been searching for. Used regularly by many a Glasgow parent, it’s usually a question, as in ‘D’ye think ahm buttoned up the back?’ implemented after they’ve been told a bold faced lie. The answer (in case you’re wondering) is always no, they’re not.
Generally describes being happy or excited. “Mate I am absolutely buzzin for a takeaway the night”
By the way, usually used to introduce a new topic of conversation, or at the end of a sentence to emphasise a point, e.g. “My wife’s pure stunning bytheway.”
Not a voucher, but rather a slang term for someone’s face.
(see also: Dour) - Foul-tempered.
Used to describe an idiotic/stupid person. “He missed his exam the day he’s a pure dafty”
23. Did ye, aye?
A very common and important phrase among Scottish lingo, word for word translates as "did you, yes?". "Did ye aye" is an extremely condescending phrase used to shut down the person you're talking to if you think they're speaking pish. Can be used to convey that you think someone's telling lies, being a fanny, being pretentious or simply to tell someone to go away. A very useful and versatile phrase.
24. Diz / Diz’nae
Does / Does not (not be confused with the animation company Disney).
A penis (see also: Walopper). Again, it can be used as both a term of affection among friends ("Awrite ya dobber") as well as an insult ("Whit you sayin' ya dobber?").
This is one of my favourite Scottish slang words – eejit means idiot. e.g. ‘check that big eejit over there’
It might not have its own weather event yet, but give it time. A fandan is a lot like a bawbag, in that it can be term of endearment or abuse, depending on who’s talking. It’s also a certain female body part – imagine the Scottish equivalent of The Inbetweeners when we say “the room was wall to wall fandan” and you’ll get the picture.
Slang word for “from,” e.g. “Where ye fae?” - Where you from?
Gallus is more than a just a west end pub – it’s that swagger, the strut you save for walking into a club or dancing like Beyonce (or so you think). This one can swing either way, from the compliment (stylish, impressive, cheeky in a good way) to the all-out insult (mouthy, brash, needing to shut their geggy). It may have gone the way of ‘banter’ in recent times thanks to those pesky westenders (Glasgow Uni students, we’re looking at you) – but it’s still a pure gallus word to pull out on occasion.
30. Gaun yersel!
This one needs an exclamation – and it’s for special occasions only. We might have many a phrase for telling people to get lost, but nothing shows encouragement in Glasgow like a cry of ‘gaun yersel!’ (go on yourself). It’s often followed up with ‘big man’ or ‘wee man’ (depending on the recipient) and it’s a sure-fire sign that the speaker is behind you all the way.
32. Giein it laldy
It’s fast approaching midnight, you’ve had a wee swally and you’re feeling gallus. Should you rock up to a club and hit the dancefloor, there’s only one thing for it – and that’s giein it laldy. It means really going for it, getting mad wae it and regretting nothing. Forget tomorrow’s hangover – it’ll be soothed with texts from your friends telling you were totally giein it laldy last night. Worth it.
You would think that in Glasgow, ginger would be the word for red hair, for carrot top – but you would be wrong. Sure, it has that use too, but chances are that when your average Glesga punter asks you for some ginger, or even a gingy bottle, they’re either looking to quench their thirst with a fizzy drink, or they’re looking to score the 30p they’ll get for returning those prized glass bottles. Whether they mean Irn Bru specifically or fizz in general is up for debate – either way, now you’ll know to step away from the redhead and hand over a can instead. 'I'm fair gaspin' after that poke of chips. Gonnae get me a bottle o' ginger?
The single best word to describe someone with a silly look on their face, this word translates as stupid, careless, gormless – daft, in a word. But let’s face it, daft isn’t as fun to wrap your mooth around as glaikit
35. Glasgow Kiss
An affectionate name for a head-butt.
If you’re greetin, you’re probably not a happy chappy. The word can be used to describe anything from a bit of a moan to all-out sobbing – and it’s usually used in phrases, again, telling you to zip it. See also: greetin face – one of the best insults in the Glasgow collection.
Informal. Of a person (especially a woman): ugly, very unattractive. Of a thing: extremely unappealing or unpleasant, horrible.
38. Havnae a scooby
And you thought it was only cockneys who were fond of the old rhyming slang. If you ask a Glaswegian for directions and this is the response, they don’t have a Scooby Doo – in other words, a clue. Not to be confused with the city’s other scooby, the mighty scooby snack – an artery-clogging feast of a roll fit for the king of cartoon dogs himself.
Nothing e.g. “I won hee-haw last night.”
Smelly (see also: Reekin)
41. How/how no?
Oh, I know this one, I hear you say. A request for instructions! Well, not quite. In Glasgow ‘how’ is just as likely to mean ‘why’ – for example: “Gonnae no dae that…” “How?” “Just gonnae no.” Add a ‘no’ on the end and you’re really driving the point home with a touch of indignation, Glesga style.
42. Jimmy Riddle
Rhyming slang for “piddle,” meaning to urinate (see also: Slash).
To go on a drinking binge e.g. "Out on the lash (see also: Randan, Raz)
44. Lorne sausage
Also known as square sausage.
45. Lose the rag
To lose one’s temper.
A negative term, usually to describe someone's level of skill, e.g. "He was mince," meaning "His performance was poor.”
Acronym for Non-Educated Delinquent. These troubled youths are often flocking around the streets in packs wearing baseballs caps and sickly bright tracksuits. The Scottish equivalent of the English Chav.
A pale skin colour, which, given the lack of sun, is what half of Glasgow’s population have. The other half have what is known as “tango-skin,” as like the drink they are bright orange for having spent too much time in one of the city’s numerous tanning salons.
Many visitors to Scotland may overhear the locals referring to what sounds like ‘peace.’ What they’re actually talking about is their lunch, or a snack. A ‘piece’ is generally a sandwich, regardless of filling. What the English might know as a ‘chip butty’ is known in Scotland as a ‘chip piece’ for example.
Translation: an adjective used to describe anything that is generally not good.
Usage: John, how wis Hogmanay (New Year) pal? It was pure pish man!. Similar word: mince
51. Pure dead brilliant!
While it may seem a contradiction in terms, “pure” and “dead” are used in tandem to emphasise the world “brilliant” in a positive manner.
To eat, usually quickly, e.g. “He scoffed it down.” - see also: Wolfed
Rhyming slang, where “scooby” means Scooby Doo i.e. clue. For example, “I don’t have a scooby,” meaning “I do not have a clue.”
54. Shut yer geggy
There’s not a lot to this one, so stop going on about it. No, really. A geggy’s a mouth (or a mooth) and you’re being asked to refrain from opening it. In other words, zip it and haud yer wheesht.
A somewhat onomatopoeic word that once put the fear of God into misbehaving children across Scotland, a skelp means to beat or to slap. Widespread among hacked-off parents of yesteryear, use of the term was never far away from a threat to a son or daughter’s hindquarters. Indeed, a skelped bum was rivalled only by a trip to the dentist or a Monday morning on the list of things children dreaded most.
To salivate over something - see also: Slaverin
57. Smidge / Smidgeon
A small piece.
58. Square Go
An evenly matched fight or duel, sometimes posed as a question, e.g. “Square go, pal?”
What’s that clinking in your bag on the Friday walk home? A few bottles of plonk or cans of top quality lager, perhaps? That’ll be your carry out – and what’s contained within is ‘a wee swally’, or an alcoholic beverage or 10. Don’t be fooled by the singular – you can never have just the one when the word swally is involved.
To smash something or to drink very quickly e.g. “I tanned that pint.”
61. Taps aff
Remember when it was pure baltic? Well now it’s that one day of the year when the sun shines on gorgeous Glesga and us grateful, peely wally types take to the city’s many parks, benches or spare bits of grass. How do we know that the sun is out? Put that thermometer away – the only indicator Glasgow needs is a peek out the window to see if taps are oan or aff. There’s even a website which will tell you the current status, setting taps aff at around 17 degrees – but we’ve all seen the odd anomaly as low as 14 or 15.
(pronounced chook-ter) - Someone from Scotland but out with Glasgow, commonly used a derogatory term.
Child e.g. “That’s a cute wee wean.”
63. Um / Ur / Urnae
Am / Are / Are not.
64. Wiz / Wiz’nae
Was / Was not.
Weegie is a slang term referring to people from Glasgow in Scotland, which is used as a noun or adjective. It is a contraction of the word Glaswegian, referring to people from Glasgow.
An informal and, to some, insulting term in Scotland, it can be heard regularly on radio stations such as Talk 107 or Sunny Govan FM
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