12 dictionary words that have completely different meanings in Edinburgh
It’s been a running joke for centuries that Scots are extremely difficult to understand – with many movie stars laughing at the accent, dialect and everything in between.
But there is untapped potential in the amount of words that can mean one thing to the general public, but something completely different from the capital of Scotland.
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Here are a few words, specific to Edinburgh, that have ambiguous meanings, depending on where you live.
close – the dictionary definition says “to be nearby” – but in Edinburgh, it is a passage in a building.
messages – Usually defined by an exchange of SMS or emails between colleagues, family or friends. However, it is the act of going shopping in the capital, and used in a sentence like “I only spit for messages”. This brings us to our next term …
nibble – It is an act of pinching the skin of another person; but in Edinburgh terms it is going somewhere fast. Another word that means the same is “jump” in stores.
Room – Defined as “part of something”, like a puzzle. In Edinburgh, it’s a sandwich, usually packaged for school or work. Your parent, legal guardian, or other loved one might make pieces of cheese for you for lunch, for example.
Smoking – The dictionary defines this expression as “to let off steam”. However, in the capital, it means being absolutely drunk on your own.
Winch – It is a mechanical device used to adjust the tension of a string. But, on a night out at Whynot ?, it’s the act of kissing someone on the sticky dance floor of a club.
How? ‘Or’ What – Now I know what you all think: how can it mean anything other than its definition alone? But in Edinburgh, asking someone “How?” Is to ask WHY something happened.
Horn – Usually the term to describe the noise a goose makes, honking means that something smells or tastes particularly unpleasant in Edinburgh.
Empty – Defined as the opposite of being full, a void is the excuse many teens use to justify having a party. If your parents are away for the weekend, then a void is in full swing!
Crackle – Following the same route that the young people speak as a team, the patter is used to describe the rain falling in the street. Or, it could be used to describe how good someone’s cat is, if they are flirting, for example. Someone with a good patter is usually someone who is good at romantic projects.
Ken – No, it’s not Ken Doll, Barbie’s anatomically perfect boyfriend, but a different way of saying know. Ken, what does that mean?
Ned – Again, this is not the pious Ned Flanders in the Simpson series. A ned is a derogatory term to describe a troublemaker or group of young Scottish boys on bikes hanging out in skateparks or outside McDonalds.
We hope you enjoyed our little ‘lingo bingo’ on terms that mean something totally different in Edinburgh than what they do in the dictionary.