If you thought Scots only loved to quaff the special liquid called whiskey, wolf down haggis, and play bagpipe, then you are totally not wrong. But there’s one more thing that Scots love to do – exult their pungent wit and reek of self-deprecating humor. We bring to you 35 famous and funny Scottish proverbs and sayings.
“Wink at small faults, for you have great ones yourself.”
― Scottish Proverb
If you are someone who is planning to visit the majestic country of lochs, beautiful mountains, and bucolic farmlands that just defy description, then this article promises to be a great deal of help to you. Apart from the picturesque beauty and the ginger-haired population, Scotland is distinct for its special dish of dry humor that is flecked with sarcasm and served with quick (and wicked) wit. For the uninitiated, the Scots may come across as the stereotypical dour, but we warrant you, you’ll be besotted to the hilt once you get a dose of their loquacity and hospitality.
While the Gaelic-English dialect can be very bamboozling and can float over and past you, the following funny Scottish proverbs and sayings will act as your needful guide.
Funny Scottish Proverbs
“Better be the lucky man than the lucky man’s son.”
“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.”
“Fools look to tomorrow; wise men use tonight.”
“Common sense hides shame.”
“Get what you can and keep what you have; that’s the way to get rich.”
“Never draw your dirk when a blow will do it.”
“Never let your feet run faster than your shoes.”
“To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties.”
“They that smell least, smell best.”
“Never marry for money. You can borrow it cheaper.”
“They speak of my drinking but never think of my thirst.”
“Marriages are all happy–it’s having breakfast together that causes most of the trouble.”
“Hang a thief when he’s young, an he’ll no’ steal when he’s auld.”
“Him that’s born to be hanged will never be drowned.”
“He who marries a chicken soon gets henpecked.”
“No matter how much you applaud the jukebox, you have put another quarter in for an encore.”
Funny Scottish Sayings
“Dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs!”
Translation: Don’t teach your grandma to suck eggs, you better don’t!
Meaning: Don’t try to be smarty-pants with someone who is an expert.
“I’ll gie ye a skelpit lug!”
Translation: I’ll give you a slap on your ear. OUCH.
You have probably had a good demonstration of this.
“A nod’s as guid as a wink tae a blind horse.”
Translation: A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.
Meaning: Well, you can’t really get someone to interpret your signs, if that someone is determined not to listen to you. So you better get the straight words out from your gob.
“Is the cat deid?”
Translation: Has the cat died?
This is derisively used to bring attention to people wearing short trousers.
“Don’t be a wee clipe!”
Translation: Don’t be such a little tattler.
“Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye!”
Translation: What’s destined to happen will happen.
“Keep the heid!”
Translation: Keep your head.
Meaning: Keep calm and don’t lose your wig!
“Haud yer wheesht!”
Translation: Hold your tongue.
Meaning: A person with a pretty face can look good even in something as drab as a dish-cloth.
“I’m fair puckled!”
Translation: I’m out of puff or out of breath.
“Yer bum’s oot the windae.”
Translation: Your derrière is out of the window. (Quite an imagination!)
Meaning: You are talking applesauce.
“Lang may yer lum reek!”
Translation: Long may your chimney smoke.
Meaning: May you live a long life of prosperity.
“We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns!”
Translation: We are all god’s children.
“It’s a dreich day ootside!”
Translation: This is used to convey your meteorological-induced misery.
“Ah dinnae ken.”
Translation: I don’t know.
“Noo jist haud on!”
Translation: Now just hold on.
“Yer aff yer heid!”
Translation: You are off your head. (Most of us don’t exercise a good control over it.)