Your Scottish Slang Scots Word O’ The Day: Scunner

This entry is part 8 of 29 in the series Your Scots Word Of The Day

Seventh in a series
(scun·ner) Dialect, chiefly Scot -v.
1. to feel aversion.
2. to produce a feeling of disgust or loathing in.
3. a strong dislike (often in “tak a scunner“, or “git oot o’ ma face ya wee scunner“).
4. an object of dislike; nuisance.

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20 responses to “Your Scottish Slang Scots Word O’ The Day: Scunner”

  1. brad Avatar

    Did someone give you a scottish dictionary for Christmas or something, I have to say that this one is the best one yet.

    1. Gordon Macpherson Avatar

      These words are not “slang”. The are part of the language of Lowland Scots, which remain within the local language of present day Scotland. Sadly other slang or vulgar language seems to increase from other parts of the British isles and USA.

      1. Ken Mackenzie Avatar
        Ken Mackenzie

        You sir are spot on. As a Glaswegian brought up in England , I remember a lot if these words. My grandmother used most of them. The most commonly used is scunner. It’s literal meaning is that if loathing, it is however used daily by the Scots meaning naughty, bad, as in ya we scunner.

  2. Doug Stewart Avatar

    Oh, they get better.
    It’s from a tea towel.
    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  3. Carol Shuttle Avatar

    Re: Scunner: This is my new favorite word but was never sure exactly if I was using it properly until I read your site. I read M.C. Beaton’s books on Hamish Macbeth, a small town copper from the Sutherland area, very funny. Hamish frequently uses this term on the local deadbeats. Thanks for the clarity.

    1. Diana Avatar

      3 cheers for Hamish Macbeth, a man whose lifestyle I’m trying to imitate now that I’m retired!

    2. Nikola Avatar

      I use this word all the time… that bairn scunners me with its nose hahaha

  4. Brian MacNeil Avatar
    Brian MacNeil

    SCUNNER is not slang – it is guid Scots usage. sort out your definition please.

  5. peter may Avatar
    peter may

    Years ago my Scottish landlady might tell me in what seemed to be a gently chiding way,”I’m fair scunnered wi’ ye”.I encountered “scunner” again today in a short story by R.L.Stevenson and looked the meaning
    to find it to be my slang word of the day ; a lovely word.

    1. John Carr Avatar
      John Carr

      Would love to know what story that was. R.L. Stevenson was one of my favourite authors as a boy.

  6. lucy Avatar

    I heard it here, is that the right pronunciation? Guy cracks me up

  7. D Copland Avatar
    D Copland

    Or, Ah’m fair scunnered” Almost uncomfortably full.

  8. Margaret Stewart Avatar
    Margaret Stewart

    I grew up in Glasgow and a word, which I believe is spelled ‘messan’
    My grannie would say to me, when I was being difficult, ye are jist a wee messan….
    I think it means a nuisance, but perhaps your dictionary will clarify the meaning

  9. Hamerdoon Avatar

    Pronounced – scunnert – it means ‘fed up’ (NOT in an eating sense) – it means you are unhappy/slightly depressed/pissed off/angry/irritated/irritable/ – it is usually time associated i.e. you have been scunnert for a period of time – you just don’t immediately become scunnert, it builds over time until you tell someone you are “jist scunnert wi’ it a’”.
    You are a ‘wee scunner’ can be a term of endearment for a toddler. You are a ‘total scunner’ means you are annoyed (fed up) with that person.
    Scots is NOT slang or

  10. Hamerdoon Avatar

    My post on this appears to have disappeared!
    Pronounced scunnert (Scots verbs often have ‘it’ endings rather than ‘ed’, hence irrespective of ending, there is a tendency to pronounce the ending as ‘it’).
    It does not mean uncommonly full as in being full of food. Being ‘fed up’ in Scots means being slightly depressed, irritated, irritable, annoyed, feeling dreich etc. This is what scunnert means. You would not say you were scunnert to indicate being full of food, that is not its meaning.
    It can be a term of endearment particularly for toddlers e.g. Yer a richt wee scunner, sae ye ur!! But normally for adults it means yer annoyed with them, often as a precursor and jocular way to inform them that any more nonsense and being scunnert will turn into anger!!
    Scots is not slang!!!!
    Google Scots language centre and then Edinburgh university’s Scots language dictionary.

    1. paranoid_numanoid Avatar

      It’s perfectly possible that “scunnert” originally meant “full up/fed up” in a physical sense, as your correspondent D Copland points out, and later in a metaphorical sense, as with many other terms in all languages.
      Eg, “fed up”!

  11. Hamerdoon Avatar

    Opps, apologies, it appeared again!!!

  12. Robert McDicken Avatar

    Shoogly -wobbly. Fell sinnery -fell apart. Shough-ditch. gundy -gutter.
    Are some that my father used.
    [email protected]
    Robert McDicken

  13. Ken Christie Avatar
    Ken Christie

    Hi Doug,
    Thanks for the Scottish words, but being born and raised in Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland, I find that your definition of ‘Scunner’ is a little harsh vis. ‘…to produce a feeling of disgust and loathing’
    it is a lot softer than that. A scunner is a bore or an annoying person, or to feel scunnered is to be bored and having nothing to do.

  14. phil Avatar

    in the same neck o’ the wids is – ‘it wid gie ye the dry boak’

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