We have compiled a handy list of colloquialisms found in the county of Ayrshire, Scotland which you can use if you ever find yourself conversing with a local. Some of the words that appear on this list may also help you in some other parts of the west coast but if travelling to the east coast we advise you to take a translator.
“Taes” otherwise known as “toes” or “feet fingers” is a word used in many regions of Ayrshire. Its true origin is unknown as is the reason why the linguists of Ayrshire felt the need to replace the letter “o” with an “a.”
Een is another word for eyes. It is probably more than likely that a person who uses the word “taes” to describe their toes would also use “een” to describe their eyes. An example of a common sentence used in Ayrshire would be “Hey you’ve poked my een with your taes. Going to not do that!”
Those native to Ayrshire would use the word “ken” as a replacement for the word “know.” Many Ayrshire people will do this unwittingly and dispute it irrevocably but they do in fact use the world “ken” on a daily basis. For example “Do you ken Kenny?” or “You ken what I’m talking about?” However if you are from outside Ayrshire and point out this particular trait to a native then please be prepared for an onslaught of abuse to come forth with.
This should not be confused with another term concerning excrement the Ayrshire people will often drop the last two letters off the word “pull” and expect you to understand what they mean. Examples like “Just pu’ it over here” or “Give it a pu’” may sound disgusting but they merely asking you to pull an object closer to the Ayrshire person you are engaging in conversation.
There are many spellings of this word. Some natives will spell “gads” with an “s” while others will spell it “ze” but none the less the meaning of the word is still the same. It describes disgust. You can expect to hear examples like “Gads! Did you just poke my een with your taes?” or “Did you see what Senga was wearing? Gads!” This word is used in extreme cases when descriptions such as “horrific” or “horrible” will just not suffice.
"Yin and Twa"
“Yin” and “Twa” are replacement values for “one” and “two” respectively. Some places within Ayrshire will replace the number “three” with “shree” but the less said about them the better.
The people of Ayrshire use the word “crie” and “cried” as replacements for the words “call” and “called.” This usually happens when they are struggling to remember a name or place. An example of this would be “You ken him. What do you crie him?” or “We took a trip to that place. What’s it cried again?” However there is already a widely accepted definition of the word “cry” which is:
“to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears.”
This is recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary and the rest of the English speaking world. The inhabitants of Ayrshire have cleverly adopted another word to replace the definition of “crie.” An example would be “You ken who I mean. What’s he cried? He’s always greetin’”
The word “greetin” has been used replace the original definition of “crie”
Although there is no replacement for the word “greet” as in to give a polite word of recognition or sign of welcome when meeting someone.
And that is our guide to some of the better known Ayrshire colloquilisms thanks for reading and hopefully you find this list useful when traveling through Ayrshire. Are there any words we’ve missed out. Please leave them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them ken.