10 Scottish Sayings to Inspire Your Life

Brooke Cagle

There's a lot more to Scottish culture than misty mountains and single malt whisky. In fact, our country has an incredible wealth of folk wisdom too (usually delivered in a typically blunt, funny, no-nonsense style).

So if you'd like to add a bit of inspiration to your day, then take a look at these famous Scottish sayings and proverbs...

1. 'What's fur ye will no go by ye'
Translation: 'What's for you will not go past you'
What is destined to happen will happen. So if you have a dream that you're chasing, then you never know — it might just be chasing you too...

2. 'Lang may yer lum reek!'
Translation: 'Long may your chimney smoke'
Traditionally a Hogmanay (New Year) greeting, this basically means 'may you live a long life of prosperity'. In fact, it's probably why Scottish people traditionally took a piece of coal with them to neighbour's houses on New Year's Eve.

3. 'We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns'
Translation: 'We're all God's children'.
In other words, no matter what the superficial differences between us might be, underneath it we're all the same and we're all equal. And why was God colloquially known as 'Jock Tamson'? It seems to have been an old Scottish Borders term for the 'everyman', similar to 'Joe Bloggs' or 'John Doe'.

Gary Ellis

4. 'Haud yer wheesht!'
Translation: 'Hold your tongue'.
A bit of a cheeky one, this was traditionally said by Scottish grannies across the land when the 'bairns' (children) were 'blethering' (talking nonsense). It's a pretty good rule for life though — let's face it, sometimes it's much better to listen and learn than to speak out of turn. So why not experiment with a little more enigmatic silence this year?

5. 'Dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs!'
Translation: 'Don't teach your granny to suck eggs!'
Don't try to teach people what they already know — in other words, don't be a smarty-pants. And the sucking eggs part? It's a reference to the fact that in olden days, elderly people often had fewer teeth and could only eat soft food like eggs. Thank goodness for modern dentistry!

6. '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'
No matter how hard you try, some people aren't going to pick up on your subtle hints and signals. So sometimes, being direct and to the point is best.

Alisa Anton

7. 'Keep the heid!'
Translation: 'Keep your head'
In other words, stay calm as a clam and keep your cool. And if you're ever feeling overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and give yourself some time-out (ideally do it Scottish-style with a nice strong cup of tea and scone).

8. 'Wink at small faults, for you have great ones yourself'
Similar to the bible verse of the same theme, all this means is that no one is perfect, least of all ourselves. So this proverb encourages us to deal with other people's annoying foibles with a dose of good humour and 'ribbing' (teasing), because we have our own failings too.

Priscilla Du Preez

9. 'Fools look to tomorrow, wise men use tonight'
It can be easy to get caught up with plans, goals and hopes for the future — and there's nothing wrong with that. But it's also important to avoid endlessly procrastinating, delaying your plans till a tomorrow that never comes. This saying reminds us that sometimes, you have to take firm action in the moment. Often, that first step is the most important one.

10. 'Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead.'
It can be easy to feel despondent at life's frustrations and disappointments. But none of us will be in this world forever, so why not try to find moments of joy whenever we can? For instance, by planning a wee holiday to bonny Scotland....

Interested in experiencing Scottish culture for yourself? Airhouses holiday lodges offer stunning luxury escapes deep in the Borders countryside...

You might also like:
15 Colourful Scottish Words That You Might Not Know.
The Amazing Scottish Origins of Blackmail' and 'Red-handed'.
Six Ways to 'Coorie Doon' in Style.

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