It’s a word which testifies to everything that is dismal and depressing, but with a unique quality all its own.
And now, ‘dreich’ has been chosen as the most iconic Scots word in a new survey.
As part of a wide-ranging poll for Book Week Scotland, ‘glaikit’ came a close second, with ‘scunnered’ and ‘shoogle’ in third and fourth place respectively.
Nearly 2,000 people cast their votes during the initiative, which coincides with the international year of indigenous languages.
The online Dictionary of the Scots Language records the usage of ‘dreich’ from as early as 1420, revealing the word has survived – and indeed thrives – in the vocabulary of Scots in their own country and around the globe.
It was previously highlighted as the nation’s favourite Scots word in 2013, when it also topped a YouGov poll for Burns Night.
Although dreich can mean persistent, drawn-out or tedious, it is most often used today to describe damp, wet, grey weather.
Members of the public were invited to submit their favourite words through the Scottish Book Trust’s social media channels and website.
A panel of Scots language experts whittled down the many submissions into a shortlist of 20 words, which were then voted for online by the public.
Rhona Alcorn, chief executive of the Scots Language Dictionary, said: “Once again, ‘dreich’ has been chosen as the most iconic Scots word, with glaikit taking silver.
“Dreich has been part of the core vocabulary of Scots for hundreds of years, so it is especially fitting that one of its primary meanings is ‘enduring or persistent’.”
The Scottish Book Trust’s Marc Lambert said: “Dreich is such an evocative word with the ability to sum up the Scottish weather, or mood, perfectly.”
Book Week Scotland runs until Sunday.