Springthyme Records • Springthyme Music


Scotland's Living Tradition in Song and Music

Scots Words!
Dictionary of the Scots Language

PERHAPS you need to know the meaning of a Scots word such as: GANG, STRAVAIG, DOWIE, MUCKLE, HAIRST, SAIR, MUCKLE, HAAR, SKELF, PEERIE or HARL?

This webpage gives easy access to the online Dictionary of the Scots Language. This is divided into two parts - Scots words from the 1700s to the present to be found in the The Scottish National Dictionary (SND) which can be accessed in the box below. If you cannot find the word (or just for interest) use the pull down menu to access the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOSN) - words in use from the 12th to the end of the 17th centuries. Many words may be found in both sections of the dictionary although, in some cases, usages may have changed.

Just type in the word to the box below and press return and you will find you are then deep into the Scots language - the language of Robert Burns, the language of the Scots ballads, the language of the Bothy Ballads and the language of the Scots makars.

As with any language, the Scots tongue has its regional dialects. The dictionary includes useful dialect maps showing the regional distribution of dialects of Scots: the Mid Scots of the central lowlands including the Ayrshire Scots of Robert Burns, the Northern Scots of the Mearns and Aberdeenshire (locally referred to as the Doric) and the Southern Scots of the Borders. A second, linked map plots the English dialects south of the border - try the links - Language Maps (DjVu) or Dialects of Scots (jpg) or Dialects of English (jpg)

Go to ScotLinks if you would like to see more pages about the Scots language. For further information on the Scots language, origins, development and current status go to the website for the Dictionary of the Scots Language or the Scots Dictionaries Organisation. Click here also for access to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary.


You will find many Scots words used in the songs and ballads on the Springthyme Records website and the dictionary can be accessed direct from other pages on the site.

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