A Scot’s wee guide to Edinburgh slang

A Scot’s wee guide to Edinburgh slang

Planning a visit up to the Athens of the North? You might need to know some slang before you get here. Us Scots have a particular way of saying things, and we don’t want you to get too confused. Luckily, our boutique hotel in Edinburgh has created a list of all the key phrases you need to know.

Edinburgh castle


Unlike other places, in Edinburgh this doesn’t mean your friend. Chum means to head on a journey with someone, although we guess you could go on a chum with your mate!
Example: I’ll chum you to the Turquoise Thistle.


Edinburgh natives use this word to replace ‘know’, so don’t confuse it with a name. We also use it to agree with something, so instead of saying ‘I know’, we’d say ‘I ken’ (although ‘I’ is pronounced ‘ah’ of course).
Example: I ken the secret location of Panda & Sons.


This is our word for don’t, and is sometimes said as ‘dinna’. When you dinnae ken something, it means you don’t know.
Example: Dinnae forget your rain coat.


Steer clear when you hear this word being used. Stooshie means to bicker or have a small spat with someone, but don’t worry, it won’t escalate.
Example: There was a stooshie at Princes Street last night, but it’s all good now.


Having a catch-up, gossip, or just chatting for a long period of time about nothing in particular. Often with a cuppa or a dram of whisky.
Example: Sorry I was so long, me and my mate were having a blether.


Has something disappointing or unfortunate happened to you? It was pure shan. We use this to describe anything from the weather, to a bad meal, to when you forget your favourite outfit at home on holiday.
Example: I can’t believe the rain today, it’s well shan.


On a lighter note, barry means something is good! We use this to describe anything and everything, and it’s pretty much the opposite of ‘shan’.
Example: That show at Edinburgh Playhouse was well barry.


Even better than barry. This classic piece of Scottish slang means something is brilliant, amazing, or fantastic. Careful to pay attention to the context though, we’re known for a bit of sarcasm.
Example: The view from my hotel room is braw.


Another one that’s not what you think it is. Healthy means a large amount of something, although that can either be good or bad depending on the context.
Example: This pub serves well healthy portions.

Not a Scooby

When you have absolutely no idea about something. Scooby Doo is the rhyming slang for clue, so the opposite of this is not having a scooby.
Example: I didn’t have a scooby what any of this Edinburgh slang meant at first, but now I ken.

Panoramic view of Edinburgh

We hope we’ve given you a good understanding of Edinburgh slang before you get up here. If not, our staff are always happy to do some translating. Our luxury hotel has a healthy portion of Scottish hospitality, why not check out what we’re all about?


Our Edinburgh hotel lies within the Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage site and occupies five original Georgian townhouses just moments from both Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle.

Our hotel in Edinburgh has preserved many of the original features including decorative stairwells and a unique cupola. The chic and contemporary interior reflects the life and vibrancy of Edinburgh today.

There are 60 individual Edinburgh hotel bedrooms and junior suites to choose from and our regular guests have their firm favourites. Each guestroom in our Edinburgh city centre hotel is individually decorated reflecting the neighbourhood story with details of Edinburgh’s rich history and Summer Festival traditions.

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Welcome to Hotel Indigo Edinburgh on York Place

Our 4-star boutique hotel in Edinburgh offers everything you’ll need during your stay in the historic city of Edinburgh. Whether you’re staying for business or leisure, our luxury hotel in Edinburgh is the perfect base to start your exploration of the city rated ‘second top UK destination by TripAdvisor’ along with being ranked ‘second in the world for quality of life’.

If you are looking for the best boutique hotels in Edinburgh, look no further than us right here at Hotel Indigo Edinburgh on York Place, ideally located in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, just moments from St. James Quarter, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. Relax at our modern hotel set in 5 traditional Georgian townhouses decorated with chic and contemporary interiors which reflect the vibrancy of Edinburgh today. Admire the hotel’s beautifully preserved features such as the original stairwells and unique cupola. Each guestroom in our Edinburgh city centre hotel is individually designed to reflect the neighbourhood story, with details of Edinburgh’s rich history and Summer Festival traditions, and feature supremely comfortable beds, rainfall showers and friendly service so you’ll feel at home from the moment you arrive. Our Edinburgh hotel staff are here to help you have a great stay and offer in-depth local knowledge about what’s on and where to go in the world-famous city of Edinburgh. Enjoy our hotel’s cosy, atmospheric, bar & lounge which offers a superb range of local beers, speciality whiskies and gins.

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Hotel Indigo Edinburgh’s Latest Special Offers

Giraffe themed Room

Ultimate Giraffe Package

Celebrate the return of the Edinburgh Zoo giraffes with our exclusive package. Paying homage to these majestic creatures with subtle yet stylish touches, the suite features elegant decor and a teepee bed for any little ones. Enjoy complimentary breakfast and zoo tickets, then unwind in your spa-inspired rainfall shower. T&Cs apply.

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Couple sitting on bench

City Plus

Upgrade your Edinburgh city break with our ultimate hotel bundle. Treat yourself with a free bottle of Prosecco, wine or beers on arrival, then start your day right with a delicious Scottish breakfast on us. With no deposit and free cancellation until the day before you visit, you’ll be able to kick back and relax. T&Cs apply.

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Our Boutique City Centre Edinburgh Hotel

We’re a hotel in Edinburgh city centre, minutes away from Waverley Train Station, Princes Street and St Andrews Square.

Boutique City Centre Streed, colourful shops

Food & Drink

Join us for breakfast, and fuel up for the day ahead with our selection of continental items and a-la carte dishes which are cooked to order using local produce where possible. You can’t stay at our Edinburgh hotel without trying a ‘Wee Dram’. We have a selection of fine whisky to take you around the most famous Scottish distilleries, with the occasional stop off in places such as Wales and Japan. Alternatively, try one of our craft beers or ‘softies’.

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