11 words and phrases you’ll only hear in Edinburgh
Trainspotting Ewan McGregor

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If the Edinburgh dialect in Trainspotting is all Greek to you, don’t despair.

We’ve put together a handy slang dictionary to guide you through any awkward Edinburgh-centric conversation, and to help you avoid a punch-up in the pub with Begbie.

1. Shan

Brought into play to describe unfair or generally quite rubbish circumstances. Denied entry into Hive in your early twenties because the bouncer feels “It’s a student club, mate”? Shan times. Realised you’re out of voddie at one minute past ten? So very, very shan.

Use it in a sentence: “Whit d’ye mean it’s not your round? Dinnae be shan.”

2. Radge

The spelling might differ depending on who you ask, but the meaning is universal around these parts. A ‘radge’ is an individual who consistently acts in a noticeably crazy or angry way. Alternatively, someone who ‘goes radge’ every now and again is just venting their frustration and it’s completely healthy.

Use it in a sentence: “I tried to go to Hive last night but the bouncer was a total radge.”

[Disclaimer: We don’t think any of the bouncers at Hive are total radges really, but if you are then stop it. You can be a student in your twenties and even thirties, okay?]

3. Rank

Disgusting. Vile. Hideous. Vomit-inducing. If somebody in Edinburgh ever refers to you as ‘rank’ then you have our express permission to give them a good telling off.

Use it in a sentence: “That Buckfast tastes rank.”

4. Spraff

Someone who is constantly ‘spraffin” too much is an individual who just will. Not. Stop. Talking. There’s one in every workplace – it might even be you. Do us all a favour, chatty, and think afore ye spraff.

Use it in a sentence: “Dinnae spraff nonsense.”

5. Haud yer weesht

An Edinburgh phrase often delivered to people who just will not stop spraffin’ drivel, ‘haud yer weesht’ is a wonderfully onomatopoeic way to tell those around you to simply be quiet. And, let’s face it, if you’ve got a real chatterbox among you you’ll probably need to say it more than once.

Use it in a sentence: “If you dinnae haud yer weesht, I’ll be forced to inform HR that you are a serious distraction in the office.”

6. Nash

To move quickly, run or run away. With a similar definition to its rhyming word friend ‘dash’, ‘nash’ may not be used as frequently today as it was in Trainspotting era Edinburgh but it’s still a quintessentially Edinburgh word that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Use it in a sentence: “Got tae nash, I’m late for my disciplinary meeting with the HR team.”

7. Gadgie

Originally used to describe someone who lived in the city centre, these days the word ‘gadgie’ is more of an Edinburgh insult. Pretty much interchangeable with the now slightly out-dated term ‘NED’ (non-educated delinquent) you’re likely to find a true gadgie wearing trackie bottoms, enjoying some Frosty Jack’s cider al fresco at lunch time and generally causing a bit of a ruckus. Or you can just use the word to offend your overly sensitive pals.

Use it in a sentence: “Those Adidas trackies make you look like a right gadgie.”

8. Pie

To purposely ignore someone, whether by text, online or in person. ‘Pie-ing’ a friend or loved one is the lowest of the low, and to be ‘pied’ really stings. Not to be confused with throwing a pie or having a pie thrown in your face which would also sting, but in a different way.

Use it in a sentence: “I waved to yer pal drinking Frosty Jack’s in the Meadows yesterday and he totally pied me.”

9. Chore

Be aware that if someone asks you to help with a chore in the Edinburgh area, they may well be inducting you into a life of crime. Locally to ‘chore’ (or ‘go out on the chore’) means to steal, and that’s anything from playful chip-pinching to full on grand theft auto.

Use it in a sentence: “She just choried ma chips and/or car!”

10. Stooshie

A ‘stooshie’ is a little bit of bother. Strong words may have been exchanged at the pub, but it came to nothing – that’s a stooshie. Stay vigilant during a stooshie to make sure it doesn’t turn into a stramash, and – just to be on the safe side – avoid drinking or socialising around any radge gadgies where possible.

Use it in a sentence: “There was a bit of a stooshie after the match, but luckily no pints were spilled.”

11. Fud

There are some rather unsavoury genitalia-related definitions attached to the word ‘fud’, but in Edinburgh the term is most commonly use to describe a friend who is acting like a complete idiot. That mate who always has one too many on a night out and ends up attempting to climb Castle Rock? Fud. Or the one who likes to initiate ‘cheeky banter’ with Edinburgh’s finest? Total fud.

Use it in a sentence: “Give that poor policeman his hat back, ya fud, or we’re all getting arrested.”

Main image: Getty Images

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