Tag: Scotland

Highland cow

How well do you know Scottish words and phrases?

Scotland is observing St Andrew’s Day today — the feast day of their patron saint. Let’s celebrate with them by testing our knowledge of the Scottish tongue:

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scottish referendum

The Scottish independence referendum: one year on

This time last year, the British press (and, indeed, British conversation) was full of talk about the Scottish independence referendum. It took place on 18 September 2014, and was to determine whether or not Scotland should be an independent country – the alternative being remaining part of the United Kingdom. As discussion around the topic […]

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If you get off from your taxes 'scot free', what are you referring to?

What is the origin of the term ‘scot-free’?

To ‘get off scot-free’ means ‘to get away with something without being punished’. Since the familiar English word Scot refers to a native or inhabitant of Scotland, it is tempting to assume that this is a reference to that country. Indeed, that association seems to have existed since at least the 1500s, when the alternative […]

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The meaning of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and other Scottish words

The following is adapted from the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Scotland has given English many words—some from the Gaelic language, some from Scots, and others reflecting links to further shores. The Scots poet Robert Burns (1759–96) has also weighed in with memorable expressions. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ Anyone who has ever been to a New […]

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scottish flag

How to amuse friends and bamboozle people without even knowing it – reflections of a Scot down south

When people ask where I am from, the answer “Scotland” is not what they are expecting – that much is evident from my accent, which I haven’t lost after 14 years down south. For the most part, people find it easy enough to understand me – my Scots brogue isn’t all that impenetrable. Yet on […]

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