Whit’s Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye: Scottish Inspiration for Life


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One of the aspects of travel that I most appreciate is learning about a new culture. The people, the language and the customs all reveal more about a country.

Scotland is dear to my heart. I’ve visited that beautiful country more than any other. And during my visits I’ve collected a variety of proverbs, sayings and expressions that are equally dear to me.

These are some of my favorite finds, Scottish inspiration for life…mine and others.


Scottish Inspiration for Life title


Scottish Inspiration for Life

I’ve embraced my Scottish heritage, from practicing afternoon tea to wearing my clan’s tartan to adopting Scottish expressions. For sure, there are many humorous Scottish sayings, with some that cause non-Scots to scratch their heads in bewilderment.

This collection shares some of the deep wisdom from the earthy, practical people of Scotland while maintaining their unique wording and yes, their wit.

We’re A’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns

Translation: We are all God’s children, all created equal.

Jock Tamson is the Scottish term for “everyman”. No one is better than anyone else and every person has value.

This saying originated in the 19th century with a much loved Scots minister, Reverend John Thomsan. He was fond of calling his congregation his “bairns” which means children.

Failin Means Yer Playin

Translation: It’s better to try and fail than not try at all.

Some add “ye cannae win if yer no in the game”. You’ll never know what you can do if you don’t try!

Get this inspirational saying on a tee!

Scottish Inspiration for Life Royal Mile
Scottish Inspiration for Life – the beauty of the Royal Mile in Old Town.

A Nod’s as Guid as a Wink for a Blind Horse

Translation: Explain yourself well and make your meaning clear.

Make your words precise and clear and then don’t worry if some don’t understand your meaning or agree with you. You may not change people’s minds but it’s not worth the stress and hassle to argue. Say what you mean and stand by your words and then move on.

A Lie is Half-Way Roon Scotland Afore the Truth Has Its Boots Oan

Translation: Watch what you say. Bad news, lies and gossip travel fast.

Speak the truth. A lie not only catches the liar eventually, it spreads much faster than the truth. And be discerning with what you hear or read. It may not be true.

Scottish Inspiration for Life Edinburgh Castle
Scottish Inspiration for Life – Edinburgh Castle

It’s a Lang Road That’s No Goat a Turnin

Translation: It’s a long road that does not have a turn.

Don’t lose heart. Things won’t go on in the same direction forever. Even during challenging or dark times, don’t give up. Keep going. This will pass and things will get better.

Keep the Heid

Translation: Keep calm and carry on.

Everything will be okay. Don’t get anxious or upset. Stay level headed. You will get through this.

Scottish Inspiration for Life Dean Village laundry
Scottish Inspiration for Life – laundry drying in Dean Village

Yer a Long Time Deid

Translation: Seize the day and live it to the fullest.

We are all mortal. Death comes soon enough. Don’t wait to do the things you really want to do in life. Pursue what brings you joy, with no regrets.

Lang May Yer Lum Reek

Translation: Good luck and good fortune to you, in the future.

This phrase is typically used during New Year’s as a toast to one’s health and a wish for long life. The phrase literally means “long may your chimney smoke”.

Scottish Inspiration for Life John Knox House
Scottish Inspiration for Life – John Knox House on Royal Mile

Whit’s Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye

Translation: What’s meant for you will come to you.

This expression is my current favorite. It’s similar to the expression “what will be, will be”. I love it because the expression reminds me to stay in the flow of life and trust that what is meant for me, will come to me at the exact right time. If I stay open, then I can’t miss what’s for me. And if it’s not for me, it won’t happen. I can accept that and let it go.

This saying is on a shirt as well. I’m ordering one!

Which Scottish Inspiration for Life is Your Favorite?

I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this inspirational list. Every time I visit Scotland, I jot another one down. And when I read these, I hear them spoken, in my head, with a thick Scottish accent.

You can find more fun Scottish sayings HERE.

Which one of these expressions is your favorite?

Scottish Inspiration for Life Thirlestane Castle
I dreamed of seeing this castle all of my life. It didn’t go by me. I’ve been to Thirlestane Castle three times now.


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