Interesting Scottish Proverbs
Proverbs, as we all know, are sayings, advice given in short sentences or statements of the truth. Scottish proverbs are no different and some of the proverbs used in Scotland date back hundreds of years. Proverbs used by the Scottish can sometimes have a catchy rhyme to them or have a touch of humor, but no matter how they are spoken they are part and parcel of the Scottish culture and tradition.
Scottish proverbs are used everyday and we can often relate to most
them, such as: A gloved cat was never a good hunter; A great boaster is
rarely a great performer; Better be friends at a distance
enemies at home; Danger past, God Forgotten; If you laugh at your ain
the company will laugh at you; and Pride and grace ne’er dwell in ae
What most people do not realize is that there are around three thousand proverbs that are exclusive to Scotland. Most of these exclusive proverbs are short
directly to the point. A few examples are: All Stuarts are not sib
to the king; Ye never heard a fisher cry stinking fish; and Cast not out
foul water till you bring in the clean.
In some instances, the proverbs are exclusive to a specific area. To
one example, there are a few well-known proverbs that originate from
It is said that this region was the first to have a complete collection
sayings and proverbs, compiled in the 16th century by David Ferguson.
you hear proverbs such as: Fareweel, Bonny Scotland, I’m awa’ tae Fife;
deaf man will hear the clink o’ money; and Choose yer wife wi’ her
on, you can be certain they are from Fife.
Visitors will often hear the Scottish ramble in some language that
from being understood by tourists. This is because some of the Scottish
still make use of the Gaelic proverbs. To make it a little easier to
understand, here are two. The first proverb is, ‘S fhearr caraid sa
na crun san sporran, which means that a friend in court is worth more
crown in the purse, or an easier translation would be to say, that when
hit hard times, a friend is better than money. The second proverb
like this: Bhith beo beathail ged nach bitheadh tu beo ach leth-uair.
Directly translated, it means, to live life to the full, though you
only live half an hour.
Scottish proverbs often illustrate a powerful expression of
can immortalize a community, remind us of our own mortality or merely
to keep tradition and old values alive. They offer wisdom to the young,
advice to the adults and reminds modern Scotland of its past.
Last updated: October 23, 2018