AskDefine | Define Scot

Dictionary Definition

Scot n : a native or inhabitant of Scotland [syn: Scotsman, Scotchman]

User Contributed Dictionary

see scot



Scottas < Scotti.

Proper noun

en-proper noun Scots
  1. A person born in or native to Scotland.
  2. A given name, a rare spelling variant of Scott.


a person born in or native to Scotland
  • Czech: Skot
  • Danish: skotte
  • Dutch: Schot, Schotse.
  • Estonian: šotlane (male, female), šotlanna (female)
  • French: Écossais, Écossaise
  • Italian: scozzese
  • Japanese: スコットランド人
  • Norwegian: skotte
  • Polish: Szkot, Szkotka
  • Scottish Gaelic: Albannach
  • Spanish: escocés, escocesa

Derived terms


Extensive Definition

The Scottish people (Scottish Gaelic: Albannaich (plural)) are a nation and an ethnic group indigenous to Scotland.
Historically, as an ethnic group, they emerged from an amalgamation of Celtic (Picts, Gaels, Brythons) and Germanic (Angles, Norse) populations.
In modern use, "Scottish people" or "Scots" refers to anyone born or living in Scotland. In another sense, it applies to people who are descended from the Scots and who identify ethnically as Scottish. While the Latin word Scoti originally applied to a particular, 5th century, Gaelic tribe that inhabited areas in the north of Ireland and western Scotland, the term Scots is now used to describe all Scottish people. Though usually considered archaic or pejorative, the term Scotch has also been used for the Scottish people, but this use has been primarily by people outside of Scotland.
There are people of Scottish descent in many countries other than Scotland. Emigration, influenced by factors such as the Highland and Lowland Clearances, and the formation of the British Empire, has resulted in Scottish people being found throughout the world. Large populations of Scottish people settled the new-world lands of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, with a large Scottish presence being particularly noticeable in Canada. They took with them their Scottish languages and culture.
Scotland has seen migration and settlement of peoples at different periods in its history. The Dalriadic Gaels, the Picts and the Britons had respective origin myths, like most Dark Age European peoples. Germanic people such as Angles and Saxons arrived beginning in the 7th century while the Norse settled many regions of Scotland from the 8th century onwards. In the High Middle Ages, from the reign of David I of Scotland, there was some immigration from France, England and the Low Countries. Many famous Scottish family names, including those bearing the names which became Bruce, Balliol, Murray and Stewart came to Scotland at this time.

The indigenous ethnic groups of Scotland

In the Early Middle Ages, Scotland had several ethnic or cultural groups labeled as such in contemporary sources, namely the Picts, the Gaels(Scots), the Britons, with the Angles settling in the far southeast of the country in smaller numbers. Culturally, these peoples are grouped according to language. Almost all of Scotland until the 13th century spoke Celtic languages and these included, at least initially, the Britons, as well as the Gaels and the Picts. Germanic peoples included the Angles of Northumbria, who settled in southeastern Scotland, and later the Norse arriving from Norway in the north and west.
With the arrival of the Gaels, use of the Gaelic language spread throughout nearly the whole of Scotland by the 9th century, reaching a peak in the eleventh century. Not all of medieval Scotland was Gaelic-speaking, however. Southeast of the Firth of Forth in Lothian and the Borders, a northern variety of Middle English, also known as Early Scots, was spoken. Eastern Caithness and the Northern Isles were Norn-speaking. From 1200 to 1500 the Early Scots language spread across the lowland parts of Scotland between Galloway and the Highland line.
From 1500 until recent years, Scotland was commonly divided by language into two groups of people, the Gaelic-speaking "Highlanders" and the Scots-speaking (later English-speaking) "Lowlanders". Today, immigrants have brought other languages, but almost every adult throughout Scotland is fluent in the English language.

Scottish people abroad



Historically, Scottish people have spoken many different languages and dialects. The Pictish language, Norse, Norman-French and Brythonic languages have been spoken by descendants of Scottish people. However, none of these are in use today. The remaining three major languages of the Scottish people are English, Lowland Scots (various dialects) and Gaelic. Of these three, English is the most common form as a first language. There are some other minority languages of the Scottish people, such as Spanish, used by the population of Scots in Argentina.
The Norn language was spoken in the Northern Isles into the early modern period — the current dialects of Shetlandic and Orcadian are heavily influenced by it, to this day.

Scottish English

After the Union of Crowns in 1603, the Scottish Court moved with James VI & I to London and English vocabulary began to be used by the Scottish upper classes. While Scots remained a common spoken language, the southern Scottish English dialect was the preferred language for publications from the 18th century to the present day.

Scots Language

Lowland Scots, also known as Lallans or Doric, is a language of Germanic origin. It has its roots in Northern Middle English. After the wars of independence, the English used by Lowland Scots speakers evolved in a different direction to that of Modern English. Since 1424, this language, known to its speakers as Inglis, was used by the Scottish Parliament in its statutes. By the middle of the 15th century, the language's name had changed from Inglis to Scottis. The reformation, from 1560 onwards, saw the beginning of a decline in the use of Scots forms. With the establishment of the Protestant Presbyterian religion, and lacking a Scots translation of the bible, they used the Geneva Edition. From that point on; God spoke English, not Scots. Scots continued to be used in official legal and court documents throughout the 18th century. However, due to the adoption of the southern standard by officialdom and the Education system the use of written Scots declined. Lowland Scots is still a popular spoken language with over 1.5 million Scots speakers in Scotland. The Scots language is used by about 30,000 Ulster Scots and is known in official circles as Ullans. In 1993, Ulster Scots was recognised, along with Scots, as a variety of the Scots language by the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages.

Scottish Gaelic

Saint Ninian (c. 360–432), is credited with bringing Christianity to Scotland. He was born in the Roman province of Valentia which is either modern day Galloway or Cumberland. At about the age of twenty, he went to Rome to study theology. He stayed there for fifteen years and was ordained as a Bishop by Damasus around the end of the 4th century. He was sent back to preach to his native people. He built his church in the Roman province of Valentia in the town of Leucapia, now called Whithorn in Galloway, Scotland. The local tribe was called the Novantes. He constructed the first church in Britain to be made of stone. He named the church Candida Casa, which means "white house". He traveled throughout Scotland, and converted the Picts (aka Caledonians) to Christianity.
In 431, Saint Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine I to be Primus Episcopus — first bishop of the Scots believing in Christ.
Saint Patrick (died 17 March 493), is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and is the patron Saint of Ireland. In 563, Saint Columba (7 December, 5219 June, 597) left Ireland with twelve companions and founded a church on the small island of Iona. This became the central hub of Christianity in the Highlands of Scotland. Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland, was instrumental in moving the Scottish Church closer to Rome. Throughout the Middle Ages, Scotland remained Roman Catholic.
Lutheran ideas were introduced to Scotland in the 16th century. Although they were initially suppressed and outlawed by the state, Protestant Presbyterianism became popular. This was the Scottish Reformation. Bolstered by reformers such as John Knox, the Reformed Church became the established church in Scotland with an act of 1560. This developed into the Presbyterian church.
Religious ideology was to be a driving force throughout the 17th century. The Covenanters were to play an important role in the wars and in the later reinstatement of Charles II. Though Charles then turned persecutor, trying to stamp out the Covenanters. Many of the Covenanters emigrated to the "new" lands of America and Canada which were then seeing an influx of immigrants.
The 18th century would again see the Scottish people at war, with the mainly Catholic led Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745. Lowland Scots tended to support the English, Protestant Hanoverian King's red coats while the Highlanders and others stood with the Jacobites against the Hanoverian forces.
The modern people of Scotland remain a mix of different religions. The Protestant and Catholic divisions still remain in the society. In the United States, people of Scottish and Scots-Irish descent are chiefly Protestant, with many belonging to the Baptist or Methodist churches, or various Presbyterian denominations.







Many Scottish surnames have become "Anglicised" (made to sound English) over the centuries. Davidson, Bruce (originally Brus), Campbell, Salmond, Marshall, Christie and Joy are just a few of many examples. This reflected the gradual spread of English, also known as Early Scots, from around the 13th century onwards, through Scotland beyond its traditional area in the Lothians. It also reflected some deliberate political attempts to promote the English language in the outlying regions of Scotland, including following the Union of the Crowns, and then the Act of Union of 1707 and the subsequent defeat of rebellions.
However, many Scottish surnames have remained predominantly Gaelic albeit written according to English orthographic practice (as with Irish surnames). Thus MacAoidh in Gaelic is Mackay in English, and MacGill-Eain in Gaelic is MacLean; O'Maolagan is Milligan and so on. Mac (sometimes Mc) is common as, effectively, it means "son of". MacDonald, McAuley, Balliol, Gilmore, Gilmour, MacKinley, MacKintosh, MacKenzie, MacNiell, MacRyan, MacPhearson, MacLear, McDonald, McKenzie, MacAra, MacNamara, MacManus, Lauder, Menzies, Galloway and Duncan are just a few of many examples of traditional Scottish surnames. There are, of course, also the many surnames, like Wallace and Morton, stemming from parts of Scotland which were settled by peoples other than the (Gaelic) Scots, and the most common surnames in Scotland are Smith and Brown.
In 1603, the English and Scottish Crowns united under King James VI of Scotland (King James I of England).


The word Scotia was used by the Romans, as early as the 1st century CE, as the name of one of the tribes in what is now Scotland. The Romans also used Scotia to refer to the Gaels living in Ireland. The Venerable Bede (c. 672 or 673 – May 27, 735) uses the word Scottorum for the nation from Ireland who settled part of the Pictish lands: "Scottorum nationem in Pictorum parte recipit." This we can infer to mean the arrival of the people, also know as the Gaels, in the Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the western edge of Scotland. It is of note that Bede used the word natio (nation) for the Scots, where he often refers to other peoples, such as the Picts, with the word gens (race). In the 10th century Anglo Saxon Chronicle, the word Scot is mentioned as a reference to the "Land of the Gaels". The word Scottorum was again used by an Irish king in 1005: Imperator Scottorum was the title given to Brian Bóruma by his notary, Mael Suthain, in the Book of Armagh. This style was subsequently copied by the Scottish kings. Basileus Scottorum appears on the great seal of King Edgar (1074–1107). Alexander I (c. 1078–1124) used the words Rex Scottorum on his great seal, as did many of his successors up to and including James II.
In modern times the words Scot and Scottish are applied mainly to inhabitants of Scotland. The possible ancient Irish connotations are largely forgotten. The language known as Ulster Scots, spoken in parts of northeastern Ireland, is the result of 17th and 18th century immigration to Ireland from Scotland.
In the English language, the word Scotch is a term to describe a thing from Scotland, such as Scotch whisky. However, when referring to people, the preferred term is Scots. Many Scottish people find the term Scotch to be offensive when applied to people. The Oxford Dictionary describes Scotch as an old-fashioned term for "Scottish".

See also



  • Ritchie, A. & Breeze, D.J. Invaders of Scotland HMSO. (?1991) ISBN-X
  • David Armitage, "The Scottish Diaspora" in Jenny Wormald (ed.), Scotland: A History. Oxford UP, Oxford, 2005. ISBN
  • "Pioneers".

External links

Scot in Welsh: Albanwyr
Scot in German: Schotten
Scot in French: Peuple écossais
Scot in Scottish Gaelic: Gaidheal
Scot in Galician: escocés
Scot in Lithuanian: Škotai
Scot in Dutch: Schotten (volk)
Scot in Russian: Шотландцы
Scot in Serbian: Шкоти
Scot in Thai: ชาวสกอตแลนด์
Scot in Ukrainian: Шотландці

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, admission, admission fee, allowance, anchorage, assessment, bill, blackmail, blood money, brokerage, carfare, cellarage, charge, charges, cover charge, demand, dockage, dues, emolument, entrance fee, exaction, exactment, fare, fee, footing, hire, hush money, initiation fee, license fee, mileage, pilotage, portage, reckoning, retainer, retaining fee, salvage, scot and lot, shot, stipend, storage, toll, towage, tribute, wharfage
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