Scotland: the land of haggis, tartan kilts, bagpipes, and charming lads and lasses that make the cold evenings seem a bit warmer.

You might think that visiting a country where English is the native language would be a breeze. You may even assume that all you have to do is mutter a word or two about William Wallace (They will never take our freeeeeedom!), Susan Boyle, and Ewan McGregor at the local pubs and you’ll be golden.

Before you get too confident in your kilt, think again. The Scots have always done things a wee bit differently than the rest of the world, and their local dialect is no exception. If you’re headed to the Dear Green Place anytime soon, take a moment to become familiar with the Glasgow jargon. Here are a few essential slang words every traveller needs to know to fit in.

Don’t Be a Bampot

Hopefully you won’t be called a bampot during your time in the city. This is Glasgow’s word for an idiot. It is often uttered in jest between friends or shouted during an angry quarrel. Also be on the lookout for being called a tumshie. This insult insinuates that you have the intelligence of a turnip. Aiyoh!

Don’t Get Blootered at the Pub

You’ll truly be a bampot if you make a fool of yourself while being blootered. In Glasgow tongue, being blootered means being drunk. It is commonly used when a person is acting foolishly due to public intoxication. You know, getting mabuk. You’re doing your vacation right if you sample a few local pubs, but don’t make a mess of yourself and get sloppy.

Ask to Use the Cludgie

Pleasantries like asking to use the powder room or water closet don’t get a lot of play in Glasgow. When you need to visit the restroom, simply ask the blootered gentleman on the bar stool next to you where the cludgie is. A cludgie is the word natives commonly use when referring to a bathroom.

Meet Some Great Lads and Lassies

You might get a strange look if you remark about all the polite “kids” running around the city. Lads and lassies are the terms Glasgow natives use when referring to boys and girls. These are also popular terms of endearment when speaking with people your own age, if you see a cutie while out on a walk through the lush green countryside.

Say Hello to Jimmy and Hen

Despite the frequency with which you will hear the names Jimmy and Hen spoken in the city, Scottish birth certificates are not actually filled with these two names. Jimmy and Hen are the default names assigned to people when Glaswegians don’t know their real names. Knowing this will help you appreciate local gossip and chatter without getting confused.

Ride on Clockwork Orange

The Glasgow Subway is cheerfully referred to by locals as Clockwork Orange. This is due to the bright orange paint on the original subway cars. Impress locals by asking to be pointed to the nearest stop on Clockwork Orange instead of staring at your map.


Getting more than o’ bit excited to travel to Glasgow? Keep these slang terms tucked under your kilt to fit in like you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Scottish native. A few days in Scotland’s largest city are all you need to realize that the Glasgow patter is as refined and elegant as any of the Romance languages.


Written by Matt Smith