Culture

The very dab: Scots words show 'innovation and self-deprecation'

Geggie, bampot and sitooterie all made the cut for the Oxford English Dictionary in a new update

More than 40 Scots words have been added to or updated in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in the latest lexicon refresh.

Following the ‘words where you are’ appeal which asked the public to submit words from their own regional dialect, the Scots words help make up the 650 which have been added to the OED this month.

If some of these were to slip from your geggie (mouth) you could look a bit of a bauchle (a laughing stock) – and even get your jotters (dismissed from your job).

Other highlights include fantoosh – an adjective for someone who is flashy and stylish (but often used disparagingly to imply pretentiousness) – and baffies, a well-known term for slippers.

Fiona McPherson, senior editor on the OED and a former Weegie (another recent addition to the dictionary) said: “It was a great joy to work on these Scottish words, some of which were familiar to me, and a good number of which were submitted via our the Free The Word campaign of 2017.

“The variety of words included show innovation, self-deprecation, and a sense of humour, and are all worthy additions to the OED.”

There is no shortage of insults in the latest batch of Scots words. Someone who is annoying, stupid or obnoxious might be dubbed a roaster, a tube or a bam (with variations bampot and bamstick).

And in the case of some new additions, there is little mystery: a sitooterie is a place in which to sit out.

The OED team explains: “While it might initially sound exotic, it’s made up of simple elements: sit, oot (a Scots variant of out), and the suffix -erie, all added together to form the sense ‘a place in which to sit out’. Originally, from at least the 1920s, this was a secluded area, such as an alcove or recess, within a building, where people could sit apart from others.

“By the 1990s this original sense had become rare, and the word developed its now usual sense of an area where people can sit outside or a structure such as a conservatory or gazebo.”

Each new entry or new meaning was extensively researched to find earliest usages in the Scots language.

Jane Johnson, another OED senior editor, said: “There is a long and colourful tradition of insults in Scottish culture. Scots poets in the 16th century took part in flytings ‘public contests where they traded tirades of abusive verse.

“It’s still true that there is no shortage of Scottish words available to choose from if you want to label someone an idiot, and the March release includes a wide variety of such insults.

“Be warned though – injudicious use of these terms may result in a warning to shut your geggie.”

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