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Spik Doric: Lesson 99

Spik Doric: Lesson 99

Pooch. Concrete noun, transitive verb. A pocket, to salt away. Rhymes with mooch. Nothing to do with dogs, this is the Doric word for a pocket. A pair of trousers without decently deep pooches or a decent number of pooches is not a proper pair of trousers. Pooch doesn’t just apply to tailoring, however. If […]

Spik Doric: Lesson 98

Spik Doric: Lesson 98

Saps. Common noun. A mix of torn bread/buns and warm milk. Pronounced exactly as it looks. There was almost a ritual belief throughout northern Scotland in the first half of the 20th century and before in the restorative powers of a bowl of stale bread or buns soaked in warm milk. Saps were the first resort of grandmas […]

Wullie and Dode at the vet

Wullie and Dode at the vet

Wullie and Dode discovered one morning that another two of their pet rabbits had died in the night and that three more were looking poorly. “That’s it,” Wullie told Dode; “we’ve lost 45 rubbits this past fortnicht. We’d better mak an appointment tae see the vet.” The vet took them into the consulting room where […]

Spik Doric: Lesson 97

Spik Doric: Lesson 97

Guts. Verb, common noun. To consume to excess, a gourmand. Pronounced exactly as it looks; the same as the English word. Guts means two different things in Doric, and three if you count the widespread usage of the English definition. The English word means your own insides or the entrails of an animal. For instance, the […]

Spik Doric: Lesson 96

Spik Doric: Lesson 96

Sclabdadder. Concrete noun. A huge and unmanageable item. Emphasis on the second syllable (sclabDADder). I first encountered this Doric word after my grandfather spotted the eight-year-old me trying to eat what in English would be called a doorstep sandwich. According to family legend, my little hands were trying to keep the entire assembly in ae bit, and the […]

Spik Doric: Lesson 95

Spik Doric: Lesson 95

Orts. Concrete noun. Bits and pieces, odds and ends. Rhymes with “sorts”. Not long after I transferred from The Press and Journal newsroom to the Features Department in 1981, I noticed that my new boss, Features Editor Ron Knox, had a four-drawer filing cabinet. I forget what the labels on the top three drawers were, but the […]

Spik Doric: Lesson 94

Spik Doric: Lesson 94

Marless. Adjective. Not matching. Emphasis on the first syllable: MARless. When there is a close family resemblance between siblings or generations, the Doric phrase is: “He’s jist his faither’s marra”, meaning: “He is simply his father’s double.” Conversely, if something doesn’t match at all, Doric describes it as “marless”. I suppose the closest English meaning is […]

Looking for Doric detectives

Looking for Doric detectives

A few weeks ago, I was approached privately by a reader who wanted to know if I could help her trace the origins of a Doric saying. She had done her detective best, but had drawn a blank. I promised I would enlist the help of the Doric mafia throughout the North-east to see if we […]

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