Your Scottish Slang Word O’ The Day: Greet

Twenty-third in a series

(gree·t) Dialect, chiefly Scot. ~v.
1. to cry, weep.
2. gravel or grit.
3. greetin’ (“Stope greetin’! It wisnae that sair.“)
4. greetin’ face cry baby; one who is prone to tears or constantly miserable.

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  1. Scots is NOT slang. or

    This is about much, much more than a proposition that we lighten up – we get this nonsense endlessly as part of the Scottish cultural cringe. The slang description has been and is used to diminish our proud and ancient linguistic heritage to be considered little more than a dialect of English, spoken only by uneducated peasants. There is a reason for this – Americans might think of the native American analogy – once considered uncivilised barbarians by the colonialists. You may also wish to consider the past English perception of Irishness and of their culture and language. It keeps us in our place, our own people unaware of its history, beauty and meaning. So unfortunately, describing our language as slang is hugely insulting as well as being ignorant (uneducated in fact – oh the irony). No offence intended, and I do know your uninformed description wasn’t meant to be offensive to over a million Scots speakers.


  2. Scots (a language) greet almost definitely shares an etymology with modern Norwegian “gråte” (pronounced something like gror-te) meaning to weep or cry, and evolved from Old Norse gráta meaning the same. There was a large Norse contingency in western and Scotland and the relics of Old Norse can even still be heard in the dialects of the Danelaw, modern Northumberland, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. As Scots evolved from Old English, they could have managed a strained conversation with a speaker of Norse.


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