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Shetland expressions


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Da gaw ey hings be da livir.


Dir a middin ä ivree toon's end.


Ãœt hit laek a glutton, an spewed hit laek a baest.


Da rüf is drappin shüt.


Eerin laek a grice athin a grind.


Whit means du bi 'eerin'?


An whit's da context o 'da gaw ey hings be da livir? Da gist o some o dis aald sayins is no fairly obvious tae wis young :roll: enes!

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'Da gaw ey hings be da livir' can probably have more than one similar meaning, depending on exactly where used. One is simply a warning that nothing is 100% good, there's bound to be a flaw or drawback with everything somewhere, derived I've always understood from the fact that back in the day a liver was a prized highly nutritious feed, but even it came with a small sac of bitter bile attached. Another being, "Keep alert for the smaller possibly innocent looking or hidden things that can spoil a great deal of good unless handled with respect". Derived, again, I've always understood from the fact the gall bladder is attached to the liver, and when you're killing animals for meat, you have to be careful not to allow it to leak in any way as it's contents are so strong very, very little getting on to the meat will make it too bitter tasted to eat.


'Da rüf is drappin shüt' is a warning, that someone unknown/unwelcome is eavedropping/overhearing what's being said. From the days of strae roofed houses and fireplaces in the middle of floor and the with the lum just a hole in the roof. Many of those old houses were built with the back wall dug in to the face of a slope so it was easy to get on to the roof, and people, mostly the "toon's boys", did so, and listened best they could to the conversation inside, no doubt to spread gossip and make trouble relating to what was being said in private. The insides of such roofs were soot covered from when the lum didn't vent well, and reek was trapped indoors, and a sure sign someone was on the roof was when bits of soot began to fall as a result of being dislodged by the roof flexing as the person's weight passed over it.


'Eerin' is a long high pitched screech/squeal, usually of no more than one or two notes, like a grice is liable to do when it gets excited or wound up. The grice is smart enough to know the better food is accessible through the gate, so that's where he'd make the biggest fuss, especially if he saw people around and he was hungry. 'Eerin laek a grice athin a grind' is a phrase I've mostly heard used to describe a peerie bairn that is having the mother of all tantrums and has reached the stage of just howling steadily and nothing will please them, they just have to have at it until they exhaust themselves.

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As glyed as a Turbot.


As hearse is a cock.


Da dae is lentened a cock stride a New'er-dae. (Auld New'er-dae dat wid be I doot....).


He'll fin his breeks ta be a burden til im som mornin' - Usually applied to a man who's taken a much younger wife and started to raise a young family late in life.


Dey can jüist set dem doon upoa da sam eryse is dey raise up aff ö - Appiled to someone who has undertaken a project over-enthustically and/or ill-preparedly and/or without adequate patience/planning/forethought, and is in a situation of having expended a significant amount of energy/time/expense for no purpose, as it's apparent the whole thing is impractical/impossible or needs to be begun over with a Plan "B".

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Guest Pronto

Owerheard infamous cunjo man "BOON" exclaim to his life partner "Big Red" as he got on da soothend bus ee day...


Boon - "Wife!! Hall yun gret lump o sassermit caed 3RSE aboard dis bus!"

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Guest Anonymous

Ghostrider will remember this famous expression, often stated by the beer purveyor at the Mucky Duck:


"Dat Pillie, dat pillie"

This was a statement which the said purveyor of intoxicating beverages interjected into any conversation of a sexual nature.. :lol: :lol:

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Guest Anonymous

Maybe not an expression, but fitting nevertheless.

A slightly overweight Scalloway man was told by a woman one day:

"If ony wife hed a belly laek yun upö her, shö'd be pregnant"

He quickly relpied:

"Hit wis, an shö is"

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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