More dreich than braw – ‘most iconic Scots word’ revealed

Dreich has beaten braw, glaikit and scunnered to be named as the “most iconic Scots word” by the Scottish Book Trust.

It received 259 of the 1,895 votes cast in a poll as part of Book Week Scotland which was run with the hope of prompting discussion around well-loved and well-used words.

Originally meaning “enduring” or “slow, tedious”, over time dreich has come to be defined as “dreary, hard to bear” and “dull, gloomy”.


Braw, which is defined as “fine, good, or pleasing”, came eighth in the poll with just 77 votes, while glaikit – translated as “stupid, foolish; thoughtless, irresponsible” – received 225 votes for second place.

Scottish Book Trust chief executive Marc Lambert said: “We were overwhelmed by the many submissions for our iconic Scots words vote – it’s certainly a subject close to people’s hearts.

“Dreich is such an evocative word with the ability to sum up the Scottish weather – or mood – perfectly. It’s also a word that is very well used here in Scotland and beyond.

“It’s fantastic to see the vibrant conversation around Scots language as we celebrate Book Week Scotland.”

The top 10 words were:
1. Dreich – 259 votes
2. Glaikit – 225 votes
3. Scunnered – 199 votes
4. Shoogle – 125 votes
5. Wheest – 114 votes
6. Fankle – 93 votes
7. Outwith – 80 votes
8. Braw – 77 votes
9. Beastie – 76 votes
10. Bumfle – 59 votes