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This page has 5 definitions of Scottish in English. Scottish is an adjective and noun. Also define these 3 related words and terms: Scotland, Scottish English, and Scottish Gaelic.

See also: scottish



From Middle English Scottisch, Scotissch, Scotisch, scottissh, from Old English Scottysċ, Scyttisċ, equivalent to Scot +‎ -ish. Compare West Frisian Skotsk (Scottish), Dutch Schots (Scottish), German schottisch (Scottish), Danish skotsk (Scottish), Icelandic skoskur (Scottish). Doublet of Scotch.



Scottish (comparative more Scottish, superlative most Scottish)

  1. Of a thing or concept, of or pertaining to Scotland.
  2. Of a person, native to, born in or whose ancestors originally came from Scotland.



Scottish (countable and uncountable, plural Scottish)

  1. (collective, in the plural) the Scottish; the people of Scotland.
  2. (uncountable) short for Scottish English, the varieties of English spoken in Scotland.
  3. (uncountable, rare) short for Scottish Gaelic.
    • Scottish Gaelic definition
      The Gaelic language of Scotland, spoken primarily in the northern and western parts of the country, with important communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Scottish Gaelic had its widest influence between 800 and 1200 C.E., as place names throughout Scotland attest.

Related terms


Usage notes

Formerly, "Scotch" was used as an alternative for "Scots" or "Scottish". The current convention is as follows:

  • "Scottish" for most purposes, including people, animals, and things in general.
  • "Scots" also for people, and for identifiably human matters and institutions (e.g., the Scots, Scotsmen; Scots Law (capitalized); the Scots language, which is never "the Scottish language"; rarely Scots culture, which is more commonly Scottish culture). It appears in combining form in Scots-Irish. The Scots pine is named after Scotland, though not limited to it.
  • "Scotch" is sometimes (and decreasingly) used for foods produced in Scotland (e.g., Scotch salmon, Scotch tomatoes; more commonly Scottish), and always for Scotch whisky (never "Scottish whisky"). It also appears in Scotch bonnet, Scotch egg, Scotch broth and the scotch doubles tournament format (which is usually lower-cased); and in the Scotch Game or Scotch Opening in chess. Scotch is otherwise best avoided, especially as applied to people, as Scots themselves consider it offensive, including the archaic Scotchmen and Scotchwomen.

Further reading