‘Q-ing’ or ‘Queueing’: Scottish Slang Guide

Halloween day was simply a ‘braw’ day with the annual Samhuinn Fire Festival taking place on Calton Hill.

One of the first culture shocks I had after moving to Edinburgh from the United States was coming across the quirky sayings and term use here. I remember my friend saying that we need to get in the queue (while my mind simply registered this as ‘Q’) and being very confused. Of course, you do what everyone does when they do not want to admit that they do not know something and thus save themselves from embarrassment, you just nod your head and smile. However, I did not get away with this reaction (since my face gives my thoughts away). My friend quickly made fun of me and then explained this novel action of what we were doing, namely, ‘queueing’. Fast forward two months, and you will catch me using this funky term on the daily.

Originally, I was going to tie in the fact that I now use ‘queue’ to talk about my experience at the Samhuinn Fire Festival and how amazing it was, but since I am now rambling about this, I figured it would be more entertaining and possibly even helpful for those who have made and tried to hide the ‘confused puppy dog face’ when encountering these new words or sayings. So, down below I will provide a slang guide to these alien-like words that we secretly already cherish but have yet to master! I will also include some rather fun and unique ones that I have come across!


aye right: “Yeah, right.” A phrase used when you don’t believe something that you’re told.


balloon: If someone is testing your patience with words that hold no meaning, then that person in question is ‘full of air’, and is therefore a balloon.


bonnie: beautiful. “She’s a bonnie lass.”


braw: brilliant, fantastic. “It was a braw day.” Someone may have braw banter or the view may be braw.


dour: stern or gloomy in manner or appearance; it can also refer to someone who is stubborn or obstinate


fizzy juice: soda or any carbonated drink. “Do you want a fizzy juice?”


“haud yer wheesht!”: “Be quiet!” or “Hold your tongue!”


“hou’s it gaun?”: “How are you doing?”


ken: to know, used freely as punctuation on the East coast. “Ken whit ah mean, ken? Aye, ah



mocket: dirty or unclean. “Your shoes are mocket after walking in the mud all day!”


peely wally: pale, off-colour. “She’s had the flu and she’s looking a bit peely-wally.”


piece: sandwich. “Don’t forget your piece for lunch!”


radge: a tad rambunctious or loopy. For instance, “he’s radge” would suggest that he is as mad as a hatter. Or, “that’s well radge” is used if something is utterly crazy or even unfair.


scran: food. “We cannot go out on an empty belly, any chance of some scran?”


shan: unfair.  It someone were to cut in front of the queue or a bacon roll had only a half a piece of bacon inside, then it is appropriate to describe the scenario as being ‘well shan’.


yer a chancer: you’re pushing your luck.