Pining for the West

Scottish Words | November 15, 2009

I think that the various countries and regions that make up Britain all have dialect words of their own which are in danger of being lost.

My son’s partner comes from Rochdale and the only word which she knows from that area is ‘crockle’ – which apparently means to go over on your ankle. I really like it, but it isn’t a word which you can use very often, unless you’re unlucky enough to have very weak ankles.

I’ve noticed recently that quite a few Scottish words have found their way into mainstream British vocabulary. The words manky and minging spring to mind and I think that possibly we have Justin and Colin to thank for those ones being taken up by the rest of the country. At first my attitude was — they’re nicking our culture, but I’ve decided that it is a better option than the alternative, which is losing the words altogether.

Scottish dialect words tend to be looked down upon by the so called ‘middle classes’, I think they are seen as being ‘common’, and we can’t have that can we? So quite a lot of words have been in danger of dying out, which would be a real shame.

To combat this I’m starting a series of weekly blog posts featuring one Scottish word each week.

This week’s word is – scunnered.

Scunnered means that you are sick fed up with something or someone, you are totally disgusted to the point of feeling ill.
In the childrens T.V. programme Supergran there was a character called Skunner Campbell, slightly different spelling but he had the name because he was a dastardly character whom Supergran was absolutely scunnered with.

I am scunnered with the government because they seem to be letting the bankers away with everything and won’t step in to stop them from giving themselves massive bonuses.

So you get the general idea of scunnered, I’m sure. Use it – don’t lose it.



  1. I find scunnered a very locupletative word. It also describes the way I feel at the moment. I wonder if Justin and Colin will be coming out with that in the jungle? (I’m a Celeb get me out of here). Yes, scunnered, I like that one, it’s one of those words that sums up, even without knowing the meaning.
    I’ve not heard ‘crockle’ before, but here’s another one: ‘Belting’ this means smashing.

    Comment by echostains — November 16, 2009 @ 12:11 am

    • Yes, I’ve heard of belting, is that originally Liverpudlian? I seem to read it in a sort of Paul O’Grady accent. Are you just generally scunnered or is there a particular reason? The rain here would scunner anyone, you need the lights on all day at the moment and that doesn’t help much as they are the energy saving ones. I’ve never watched I’m a Celeb. Justin and Colin will bicker all the time, they’ll probably win.

      Comment by piningforthewest — November 16, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

      • Yes it probably is Liverpudlian as in ‘She’s got beltin legs…they belt together when she walks’ (Liverpool humour lol!) Colin and Justin are too busy chunnering (that’s a good one) about Katie Price to bicker at the moment, but its early days. Colin is keeping his head down…but Justin has his claws out, the viewers are bound to vote to make him eat some bugs soon lol!
        Dark days do indeed scunner me too

        Comment by echostains — November 17, 2009 @ 12:56 am

  2. I am scunnered that Scots has now, sadly, more or less declined to being a dialect of English.
    It was, once, on its own, one of the great languages of mediævalEurope,capable of producing outstanding works such as Ane Satire Of The Thrie Estaits (1552) by David Lindsay.

    Comment by Jack Stephen — November 16, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

    • Hello Jack, Yes it’s a tragedy that the language has been allowed to almost die out, especially when you think of all the money which has been thrown at Gaelic over the years to try to keep it alive. Absolutely nothing has been done to keep Scots going, so we will just have to keep using the words and passing them on, even into English usage which is better than the alternative.

      Comment by piningforthewest — November 16, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

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