‘Dreich’ tops poll as nation’s favourite Scots word


  Ahead of Burns Night on 25th January, a new poll has revealed ‘dreich’ as Scotland’s favourite word in the Scots language. 

The You Gov survey* asked adults across the country to select their number one Scots word from a list of options including some of Robert Burns’ own favourites.

With 23 per cent of the public vote, and perhaps proving Scotland’s love for talking about the weather, the word ‘dreich’ meaning ‘wet’, ‘cold’ and ‘gloomy’ trumped other classics such as ‘glaikit’ (20%), ‘blether’ (12%) and ‘crabbit’ (11%).

‘Sleekit’ (6%), ‘beastie’ (5%) and ‘braw’ (6%) – just some of the words made famous by our national Bard’s iconic songs and poetry – also featured.

Lassies across the country also proved their love for gossip with 17% of female Scots voting ‘blether’ as their number one word, while ‘glaikit’ came up trumps with 35 to 44 year old respondents at 26%.

This poll follows the launch of an online interactive game, ‘Rhyme with Rabbie’, which allows Scots to follow in the steps of the great poet and pen their very own Scots masterpiece. 

Speaking ahead of this year’s Burns Night celebrations, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scots is intrinsic to our nation’s culture, heritage, and identity. It is also one of our living languages which are as relevant today as they were in Robert Burns’ time – many of the words highlighted in this survey have no direct English translation, demonstrating their enduring appeal. My own personal favourite word is ‘bùrach’, which means ‘a right mess’, and is from the Gaelic. There’s also a Scottish folk rock group called Bùrach, and I think it’s a great name for a band.”

Burns Night is the culmination of Scotland’s Winter Festivals and celebratory events will be taking place across the country. Scotland’s friends the world over will also be joining in the fun with Burns Night celebrations happening across the globe from New York to Sydney and Toronto to Beijing.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 392 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 17th January 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+). Respondents were asked to choose their favourite word in Scots language from a list of 8 options: Crabbit, Blether, Haiver, Beastie, Sleekit, Braw, Glaikit and Dreich. 

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