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Culture on a Luxury Cruise: Scotland's Slang and Sayings by Laura Jeeves

Culture on a Luxury Cruise: Scotland's Slang and Sayings by
Article Posted: 09/24/2019
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Culture on a Luxury Cruise: Scotland's Slang and Sayings

Travel & Tourism
When it comes to a luxury cruise, Scotland is the ideal destination. With natural beauty beyond comparison, unique and tasty traditional cuisine and a rich history, this country is perfect for a nautical adventure down its waterways. You’ll stop at a number of different places and have fantastic experiences – more so than you would on a traditional holiday. However, all that is useless if you don’t know what the locals are saying… and the Scots are known for having a rather unusual way with words.

Learn some of the words and phrases you may hear while on your luxury cruise. Scotland is waiting – so read on to brush up on your Scottish slang.


‘Scran’ is Scottish for food… so this is one you’ll likely hear on your luxury cruise. Scotland has some downright delicious traditional scran!


You may think you know what this word means – a chum is a friend, right? Wrong! To the Scots, ‘chum’ means to go somewhere with someone. For example, if you’d like someone to come down to the shops with you, you could say, ‘Will you chum me to the shops?’


‘Blether’ means to chat away with someone. If you’re gossiping, speaking or talking, you’re blethering.


Looking for a bin while on your luxury cruise? Scotland has them – but they’re not called what you think! The word here for bin is ‘bucket’, so if you’ve got some rubbish, that’s where you’ll want to deposit it.


‘Braw’ is another common slang word. It means fantastic, great, brilliant… essentially all that’s positive and wonderful. You might hear this on your luxury cruise. Scotland is definitely a braw destination!


‘Tidy’ is another popular one – you’ll likely hear this slang word quite a lot during your holiday. It means pretty, delicious, stunning, beautiful, outstanding, lovely, bonnie… in fact, it has a very similar meaning to braw. You can use tidy to describe everything from someone who is good looking to a tasty meal.

Pure Barry

As you may have noticed by now, the Scots have a lot of words for things they find utterly fantastic and wonderful. Here’s another one: ‘pure barry’.

Yer Heid’s Full o’ Mince

Hopefully you won’t hear this one directed towards you! If someone tells you that ‘yer heid’s full o’ mince’, they’re letting you know that what you’re saying is making absolutely no sense.

Tearin’ the Tartan

Are you utterly engrossed in a fantastic conversation with a friend? According to the Scots, the two of you are ‘tearin’ the tartan’.

Keep these slang words and phrases in mind as you sail around Scotland on your luxury cruise – after all, a holiday is so much more enjoyable if you understand what the locals are saying to you.

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Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday itineraries. If you’re planning a relaxing barge cruise, Scotland, France and Italy are just a few of the great destinations you can choose. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

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