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Glasgow patter: Wikis


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Glasgow Patter or Glaswegian is a dialect spoken in and around Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow patter has evolved among the working classes, Irish immigrants and passing seamen in the dockyards. The dialect is Anglicised west central lowland Scots or Scottish English (depending on viewpoint), and features a varied mix of typical Scots expressions and vocabulary, as well as some examples of rhyming slang, local cultural references and street slang.

The Patter is used widely in everyday speech in Glasgow, and even occasionally in broadcasting and print. It is constantly evolving and being updated with new euphemisms as well as nicknames for well-known local figures and buildings.


In the media

Michael Munro wrote a guide to Glasgow Patter entitled The Patter, first published in 1985. With illustrations by David Neilson, and later by the Paisley-born artist and playwright John Byrne, the book became very popular in Glasgow. It was followed by The Patter - Another Blast in 1988, with The Complete Patter, an updated compendium of the first and second books, being published in 1996.

In the 1970s, the Glasgow-born comedian Stanley Baxter parodied the patter on his television sketch show. "Parliamo Glasgow" was a spoof programme in which Baxter played a language coach and various scenarios using Glaswegian dialogue were played out for laughs.

Jamie Stuart, a Church of Scotland elder from the High Carntyne Church, produced "A Glasgow Bible" in 1997, relating some biblical tales in the Glaswegian vernacular.

Popular Scottish television comedies such as Rab C. Nesbitt, Chewin' the Fat and Still Game also provide reference material, and have themselves contributed popular new expressions to The Patter.

Influence from Cockney

Studies have indicated that working-class adolescents in areas such as Glasgow have begun to use certain aspects of Cockney and other Anglicisms in their speech,[1] infiltrating the traditional Glasgow patter.[2] For example, Th-fronting is commonly found, and typical Scottish features such as the postvocalic /r/ are reduced.[3]. Researches suggest the use of English speech characteristics is likely the influence of London and South East England accents featuring heavily on television.[4][5][6][7]


  • Bawbag – Literally "ball bag" (scrotum), also a fool
  • Bleachin (bleaching)  – To hit or repeadedly hit with a blunt instrument, eg. "Gie him a bleachin."
  • Buckie/Bucky – Buckfast Tonic Wine, a cheap, strong, fortified wine popular with many teenagers and others with limited disposable income
  • Click – Picking up a sexual partner, "cleek" being the Scots word for a hook or a crook
  • Dreepie – Hanging from the edge of a roof so that your feet are as close as possible to the ground
  • Electric soup – Another name for Buckfast Tonic Wine, also a Scottish comic book, or, in general, anything that is more alcoholic than tasty.
  • Ginger – Any carbonated soft drink.
  • Hauners – Assistance in a physical fight (from 'haun', meaning 'hand')
  • Jeg – Any carbonated soft drink
  • Mad wi' it (mad with it)  – Drunk or intoxicated (often abbreviated to MWI)
  • Mental – Nonsensical (may also mean tough or be an insult implying insanity if directed at a person)
  • Mintit (minted)  – Cool/amazing, also rich
  • Nat King Cole – Having sex, rhyming slang for hole, as in, "get yer hole"
  • Nugget – idiot
  • Pure dead brilliant – Outstandingly good.
  • Rocket – idiot
  • Scooby – Clue, rhyming slang from Scooby Doo.

Nicknames for Glasgow, Glasgow buildings, suburbs/new towns and well-known figures include:

  • No Mean City – A novel by A. McArthur and H. Kingsley Long which sold over 500,000 copies. First published in 1935, it depicts the life of Johnnie Stark, a "Razor-King", in the slums of Glasgow. The theme tune to the detective series Taggart, sung by Maggie Bell. and a 1979 album by the band Nazareth both take their titles from this book.
  • Polomint City – The new town of East Kilbride on the outskirts of Glasgow, so called because of its high concentration of roundabouts.
  • Pat Lazarus – Pat Lally, a former Lord Provost of Glasgow and Councillor, so called because of the repeated resurrection of his political career.


External links

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