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A Definitive Guide to Edinburgh Slang

For any non-native visitor to Edinburgh, trying to understand the local lingo can be a headache worthy task. What are “Baffies” and who are these guys “Ken” and “Barry” that everyone seems to know? Fear not, here at Parliament House Hotel, we appreciate visiting a new city can be disorientating, so we’ve decided to compose for you, the definitive guide to Edinburgh slang.

The Edinburgh Slang Glossary

Two friends at the cinema

“Chum” – This word, contrary to popular belief, in actual fact means to accompany. So this terminology may be used in the sentence “Gonnae chum me tae the pictures?” (“Would you like to go to the cinema with me?”)

“Ken” – A common phrase among locals, this is not the name of a popular man, but rather translates to the verb: to know. For instance, “Ken whit I mean?”(“Do you know what I mean?”)

“Barry” – Again, not another well-loved Edinburgh chap, but actually an expression for something that is considered fantastic or great. “The night was barry!” (“Tonight was wonderful”)

A ham sandwich on white bread and cut in half

“Piece” – A piece is simply a local term for a sandwich. For instance, “Dinnae forget your ham piece!” (“Don’t forget your ham sandwich!”)

“Shot” – If you find yourself taking part in a conversation featuring this term, fear not, nobody will brandish a water gun. This simply means to try something. For instance, “Gies a shot of yer new bike.” (“May I please try out your new bike?”)

“Bucket” – This derivation is a little less out there and translates to a rubbish bin. For example “Chuck that piece in the bucket.” (“Could you please put the sandwich in the bin?”)

White and beige dressing gown and slippers on bed

“Baffies” – Cosy, comfy and soothing to your feet, the term “Baffies” is colloquial for slippers. So, you might hear “They baffies look cosy” (“Those slippers look warm”)

“Housecoat” – Housecoat is a Scottish word for a dressing gown. For example “I’m putting oan my housecoat and baffies” (I’m wearing my dressing gown and slippers)

“Cludgie” – A stodgy sounding term, the “Cludgie” is another term for a water closet or toilet. For example “Where’s the cludgie?” (“Where is the nearest rest room please?”)

Red can of fresh cola

“Juice” – In Edinburgh, juice is not a freshly-squeezed fruit drink. Instead, it’s a fizzy soda, such as Coke or Irn Bru. “Gies a can o’ juice” (“Please may a have a fizzy drink?”)

“Feart” – This word is used to express fear. For instance, “Am feart tae go oan that ghost tour!” (“I am too scared to take that ghost tour!”)

“Shan” – A term meaning bad or terrible. An example being “That wis pure shan, pal” (“That was very disappointing, my friend”)

A couple walking through a narrow close in Edinburgh

“Close” – A narrow passage or alleyway. So you could say “There’s a short cut doon that close” (There’s a short cut down that alley”)

“Radge” – Meaning crazy or cross, a person can be a radge, or they can act radge, it works both ways. “It wis so shan, I went total radge” (“It was so terrible, I got really angry”)

Understanding Edinburgh Slang

Here at Parliament House Hotel, we’ve had many years to adapt to the different accents of our guests. However, we appreciate upon first arrival, understanding our words could be daunting. Thankfully, we’re on hand to give you some help in understanding Edinburgh slang. Ready to experience the best of Edinburgh culture? Book onto one of our special offers today!

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