Adjectives are words added to nouns to qualify them or to limit their denotation by
reference to quality, number or position.
Bridge of Craigisla, Angus
Adjectives are usually formed from
nouns and verbs by adding <-ie> or where
words are shared with or similar to Standard English
<-y> may be used.
The internal inconsistency caused by unpredictably
using <-ie> or<-y> will
be found on this site. Some writers simply use one
or the other.
A creashie cloot.
A greasy cloth.
A stany gate.A
The duddie claes.The
The reekie lum.The
The stourie brace.The
The grippy puggieThe
The present participles of verbs (-in) may also
be used as adjectives.
The rummlin brig.The
A stoondin blaw.A stunning blow.
Thae claes is lowpin.Those
clothes are full of lice etc.
A kittlin pair o buitsA
(very) small pair of boots.
The past participles of verbs may also
be used as adjectives. The forms end in in (e)n
being the most common.
The thruishen corn.The
The feart laddie.The
The drucken mannie.The
The cuisten baw.The
The shoddit horse.The
The thrawn wifie.The
The droukit dug.The
The soopit fluir.The
Suffixes and prefixes.
Adjectives may also be formed by adding
the suffixes <-n> and <-en>
or <-ern> to nouns.
The stanern waw.The
The treen buirds.The
A straen tattie-bogle.A
A ooen dishcloot.A woollen dishcloth.
The suffix <lin> or
<lins> signifies 'direction', 'manner',
'condition' or 'degree'.
It's a snell eastlin wind.It
is a fierce east wind.
The hauflins laddie.The
He wis blindlins fou yestreen.He
was blind drunk last night.
The caller nor'lin wind
blew 'ithoot lissins.The fresh north wind blew without
The fishwifes wis sellin wastlin
herrin.The fishwives were selling
Scots inscribed dog bowl
The suffix <fu> implies
the subjective condition.
A fearfu wee dug.A
timid little dog.
The suithfu chield.The
The waefu weedae.
The melancholy widow.
Awfu dreich wather.
Awfully dreary weather.
The thochtfu Dominie.
The thoughtful headmaster.
An awfu mishanter.An
The suffix <some> also
implies the subjective condition.
A gruesome carline.A
ghastly old woman.
A braw lichtsome day.A
beautiful joyous day.
A winsome young man.A
charming young man.
A waesome ongaun.
A sad going occurance.
The suffix <rif(e)>
signifies 'full of the quality of'.
The bairn's awfu waukrif.
The baby is awfully wakeful.
It's a gey an cauldrif day
the day.It's an extremely
cold day today.
Adjectives may be formed by suffixing
<like> can be attached to adjectives
to qualify the meaning.
The nicht wis black-like.The
night was blackish.
Siclike fowk gars me grue.
Such people make me shudder.
She gied a wicelike ootcome, sae weel
pitten on.She presented
a good appearance, being so well dressed.
The auld plane-tree wis vainisht-like.
The old sycamore tree had a
Both kynd or kin can
also be used after adjectives to qualify the meaning.
Wi aw the wark, it wis gaun tae be a lang kynd
o a day.
With all the work, it was going
to be a longish day.
Thare wis nae muin tae be seen; it wis a black
kin o a nicht.
There was no moon th be seen;
it was a blackish night.
The prefix <cam> signifies
The camsheuch auld gowk
wadna lat me see his dochter.
The ill-natured old fool wouldn't
let me see his daughter.
The raip wis sae camshauchelt
A coudna unraivel't.The
rope was so tangled that I couldn't untangle it.
A cammelt crummock.A
Thae's gey an camsteirie nowt.Those
are extremely unruly cattle.
siccan (sic kin). With
the indefinite article added siccan becomes sicna.
Sicna day as A hae haed, siccan
cauld as it is.Such a
kind of day as I have had, so cold as it is.
Adjectives don't usually change their
form in the plural, the following exceptions exist.
In Mid Northern and North Northern
Scots this and that are used as plurals
rather than thir and thae.
Demonstrative adjectives point out
people and objects.
Definite demonstrative adjectives
refer to a particular person or object.
This and thir refer
to objects near the person speaking.
That and thae refer to objects near
the person spoken to.
Yon (thon) refers to objects farther
off in place or time.
Northern Scots uses this and that as
the plural rather than thir and thae.
A dinna like thae tatties.I
don't like those potatoes.
Whase bairns is thir?Whose
are these children?
Dae ye see yon tree?
Do you see that tree over there?
A aft mynd o yon time.
I often think of that time
He's a richt timmer-heid thon.
That man is a absolute blockhead.
A haena seen him this lang
time.I haven't seen him
for a long time.
She haedna seen him this
mony a year.She hadn't
seen him for many years.
Indefinite demonstrative adjectives
do not refer to any particular person or object.
Are thare ony parritch left?Is
any porridge left?
He didna hae ony ither anes.He
didn't have any others.
She coft anither
She bought another bag of apples.
A wad liefer hae the ither.I
would rather have the other
The chields speirt whit ither
haed.The fellows inquired
what each other had.
He’s been amang the nieces
an ithers o Kirsten’s kin.
He’s been among the nieces
and Christina’s other relations.
In single syllable words comparisons
are formed by suffixing er (comparative) and
The comparative expresses more or
greater degree The superlative expresses the greatest
or highest degree.
An alternative to near is naur, nauerer
or naur(d)er and naur(d)est.
If the adjective ends with ee
the comparative and superlative are formed by adding
-er and -est respectively e.g. wee
(small), wee-er, wee-est.
Note the comparative of like - liker
meaning more like.
In words of two or more syllables
the comparative is formed by prefixing mair,
and the superlative is formed by suffixing maist.
The tree's mair muckle nor the hoose.
The tree is larger than the
The hoose is the muckle maist biggin
in the toun.The house
is the largest building in town.
Sometimes double comparatives are
He's mair aulder nor me.He's
older than me.
It's mair sweeter nor hinnie.It's
sweeter than honey.
The maist bonniest lassie.The
Mony, mair and maist
are used with countable nouns.
Muckle, mair and maist are used
with uncountable nouns.
The nouns of number, quantity and
distribution are often used as adjectives, others are:
Yon's an orra chield.
That is an odd fellow.
It's no aft that the sun's
oot for sae lang.It is
infrequent that the sun shines for so long.
Thare's no mony fowk come.
There are only a few people
who have come.
Aye nou an than thare's an
antrin blast o wind.Every
now and then there is an occasional blast of wind.
Several nouns, adverbs and prepositions
of place are used as adjectives.
is only used to refer to the inner room of a dwelling.
**In colloquial speech in is often shortened
to i' in unstressed positions before consonants
and is sometimes written as such.
The interrogative adjectives are:
Interrogatives ask questions.
The older whilk corresponding
to Standard English 'which' is now obsolete in speech
but may occur in literature. Whilk may be replaced
Whilk cou's that?Whit cou's
that?Which cow is that?
Whilk haund will ye tak?Whit
haund will ye tak?Which
hand will you take?
Whitten (whit kin o)
is used both singularly and in the plural and can
mean, depending on situation or context, 'what kind
of?' or 'what sort of?'
With the indefinite article added whitten becomes
Whit kintra dae ye come
frae?Which (part of the)
country do you come from?
Whit year wis thay mairit in?In
which year were they married?
Whitten baccie's that?What
kind of tabacco is that?
Whitten fowk dis siclike?
What kind of people do such
Whitna body's yon?What
kind of a person is he (or she)?
Whitna cou's it ye hae?
What kind of a cow is it that
<wan> is a negative prefix roughly corresponding
That wis ae wanchancie mishanter.
That was a singularly unfortunate
Thon bour-tree is awfu wanshapen.
Yonder elder tree is awfully
The tint gear wis wanawnt.The
lost belongings were unclaimed.
Yer dochter's a wansonsie wee lassie.
Your daughter is a mischievous
Negative adjectives nae and
The negative adjective nae
is used before nouns.
A hae nae siller in ma pootch.I
have no money in my pocket.
It's nae guid greetin.It's
no good crying.
Nae dout ye’ll weir
yer flannen wrapper.
No doubt you’ll wear
your flannel smock.
Nane o the twa.None
of the two.
Nane o thaim.None
Thare'll nane o the twa
o ye'll gang.Neither of
you shall go.
Negative attributes can be expressed
by adding less to the noun or verb.
The careless wee laddie.The
careless little boy.
The fushionless sodger.
The faint-hearted soldier.
A hairmless wee lamm.A
harmless little lamb.
A thochtless thing tae dae.A
thoughtless thing to do.