Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Who said these Scots words and phrases in the House of Commons first?

Scots phrases
The Houses of Parliament.

Scots has been spoken in Scotland for several centuries and a conservative estimate puts speakers today at around 1.5 million, spread across the length and breadth of the country.

In fact, it’s recognised as the largest minority language in the UK, despite it not being officially learned, taught or standardised in any way.

Its popularity is evident on the streets of Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow – but it’s also got a place at the heart of the British establishment.

Scots words have been uttered in the House of Commons on hundreds of occasions over the centuries – below we take a look at who said some of the more well known phrases and words first.

Peelie-wally/pale or ill-looking

Former Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar first used this phrase in a 1995 debate on John Major’s plan for jobseekers.

John Major.

Mr Dewar said: “The national insurance holiday for those who have been unemployed for two years is a peelie-wally little attempt to deal with a real problem. It is worth about £6 a week. That is the incentive. Surely the Government who invented the national lottery can do better than that.”


Aberdeenshire West MP Russell Fairgrieve used the word dreich in reference to SNP plans for Scotland to be independent in Europe.

Mr Fairgrieve, speaking to the Scottish Secretary, said: “Will he assure us that he will resist the dreich and dreary separatist policies and ideas of the Scottish National Party and other newly-founded European vocalists who would like us to operate in the European institutions as five million people — putting us on a par with Denmark and Ireland — instead of as at present, with the 55 million United Kingdom muscle, with Germany and France?”

Scunnered/dislike or fed up

Greenock MP Dr Dickson Mabon used the phrase first in 1959 in a debate on state-aided schools.

Dr Dickson observed: “In my constituency a fee-paying school has a very good reputation, but it is a well-known fact that the local high school, which is not fee-paying, has a better educational standard at the moment.

“If the people become scunnered, MPs opposite will find it difficult to oppose a Labour Government on this issue if they propose to deal once and for all with the Scottish position.”

Stookie/a plaster cast

Former first minister Alex Salmond threw this word at government ministers in 1993 in a fury over funding for Scotland.

Addressing junior Scotland Office ministers he said: “His role throughout the debate seems to have been to sit like a stookie, saying absolutely nothing.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond.

“When it has been pointed out that the total assistance budget of the Scottish Office is worth a third of what it was worth when the Government took office, the Minister has wriggled uncomfortably in his seat.”


Glasgow Springburn MP Frederick Macquisten first used the word in the Commons chamber 1919 in a debate on trade unions.

Mr Macquisten was defending the right of workers to cast secret ballots when considering strike action, without which he warned there would likely be more strikes.

He said: “It is often the case in regard to a trade dispute where you have an open ballot that the British working man, who is like all Britishers, one of the most pugnacious animals in the world — they are all what we call in Scotland, “Thrawn, a bit” — is impelled by the very fact of an issue being put before him in this way to say, ‘is this going to be a fight; then I am on the side of war’.”

Mony a mickle maks a muckle/Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves

Major Bertie Leighton MP first used the phrase in a debate in 1943.

The Oswestry MP made the comment in a debate on funding for woodland maintenance and the need not to forget smaller wooded areas.

He said: “There must be in England a very large number of small woodlands, and we should not forget that ‘mony a mickle maks a muckle’.”

  • Why not search for your own House of Commons Scots phrases here, or take our Scots quiz here.