21 Words and Expressions You’ll Know If You Grew Up in Glasgow


Glaswegians have always had a great way with words.

Whether you’re from Glasgow or grew up with a Glaswegian relative, you’ll know that the city has its very own language.

From the overarching use of words like ‘Pure’ and ‘Dead’ to unique words and expressions like ‘Gallus’, ‘Breenge’ and ‘Bahookie’, there are thousands of words and phrases that are distinctly Glaswegian.

Many of these expressions and words aren’t used elsewhere but if outsiders know their Billy Connolly, Still Game or Stanley Baxter then they’ll be sure to recognize some of them.

1. You’ll get a swift kick up the Bahookie

A favorite saying of Glaswegian dads and granddads across the city, this usually means you’re getting on their nerves, with bahookie being a Glasgwegian word for your behind.

Glaswegians love a bit of humour.

2. Shut your geggie

Geggie is another word for mouth, so if you hear this you’re being told to shut it.

3. Bawheid

The Glaswegian for ‘Ball head’, usually refers to someone with a big head.

Not to be confused with ‘Heid the Baw’ which is a (usually affectionate) name for an irritating or annoying person, as in “Hawl Heid the Baw, get over here.”

4. Hauners (handers)

If someone goes in team handed then they’ve usually brought along their haulers, and this refers to a person who might jump into a fight or rammy to help out.

5. Bowfing/Bogging

These two roughly mean the same thing, with both referring to something that either tastes, looks, or smells unpleasant.

6. I got Hee-haw

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This means you got nothing and is a rhyming slang term replacing a slightly stronger version, F*** All, where all becomes aw.

7. Heid Bummer

This slightly confusing term refers to someone’s boss or the people who run something.

“See him? Aye well, he’s the Heid Bummer of that plumbing firm.”

8. Peely wally

Could refer to most Scots during summertime, but is usually reserved for someone who is looking a bit pale or sickly.

9. Gallus

A wide-ranging word that covers everything from flashy and cocky to bold and overconfident, it can either be used affectionately – “Aw, he looks gallus in that uniform” – or in a more derisory manner.

10. Away with the fairies/like a fart in a trance

"She's got a big plook on her face."

This refers to someone who is a bit spaced out or who has a tendency to daydream.

11. Plook

A brilliant sounding word for a spot or a boil.

“He’s got a big plook on his nose.”

12. Breenge

A less used word these days, which means to push in confidently or dive in recklessly.

13. Yer arse is parsley/Bums oot the Windae

Two typically colorful ways of telling someone they are talking nonsense.

14. Yous

21 words and expressions you'll know if you grew up in Glasgow - Daily Record

A plural form of you is often used in Glasgow when speaking to more than one person and is used in place of ‘You lot’.

“Yous coming over to mine the morra?”

15. Thingmy(jig)

Usually used when someone is struggling to remember the name of a person or thing.

“Did I tell you who I saw this morning? Big Thingmy, aw what’s his name again.”

16. Scratcher

Another name for your bed.

17. Out on the Randan

Usually refers to a big night out, with lots of drinking involved.

18. A poke

This is a Glaswegian word for a paper bag.

“You want a wee poke for your chips?”

19. Wee nyaff

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A small person or thing that is overly annoying.

20. nae-user

Someone who is no good at any given task.

“I hope I’m no working wae that nae user the night.”

21. I was Knotting myself

This means to laugh uproariously at something or someone.

“We were knotting ourselves watching Still Game last night.”

By: Sean Murphy

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  3. 5 of these are familiar to me!! I am Richmond, VA born, but have lived in several other states. Currently live in SW VA which was settled by the Scots and Irish. The one that really jumped out was ‘yous.’ In Ohio, of all places, this was used as you. Principal of the school where I taught addressed his faculty as, ” YOUS, GUYS” and we were all women!
    I chuckled every time. ‘ You’ll get a swift kick up the bahookie’ we say, bahonkie. Guess someone left out an o!! Thinga my jig I have said forever, everywhere???? Poke I heard used in this area and Arkansas. Hee Haw brought memories of the TV show. I expected to know none of these, so was very surprised. How rich is our language!!

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