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Hurricane Bawbag 

Photo Credit: Max Titov. Image link
Speaker: Robert – lives in Lanarkshire, age group 55-64

Officially called Cyclone Friedhelm, Hurricane Bawbag was a storm that took place in December 2011, bringing very strong winds to Scotland, the UK and parts of Scandinavia. Annoyed with the bad weather, locals came up with a special name for the storm which quickly went viral online: Hurricane Bawbag. 

“Bawbag”, meaning “scrotum”, is a word used usually to talk about someone who is being annoying. But while you might hear people saying things like “stop being a bawbag” when they’re annoyed with someone, you might also hear friends calling each other “bawbag” in a joking, friendly way. If you want to try it out, we recommend you try someone you know well rather than a stranger in the pub or your English teacher!

Although it has been a while since the original Hurricane Bawbag, it is still well remembered. 

Example conversation:

Speakers: Robert & Peggy
What They’re SayingSimple English
A: That’s quite the wind oot there.The wind outside is very strong.
B: Aye, reckon we might have another Hurricane Bawbag coming oor way.Yeah, I reckon (think) we might have another Hurricane Bawbag coming our way.

Pish and Shite

Photo Credit: Raychel Sanner. Image link
Speaker: Robert – lives in Lanarkshire, age group 55-64
Speaker: Robert – lives in Lanarkshire, age group 55-64
Speaker: Jennifer – lives in Midlothian (grew up in Ayrshire), age group 45-54

Two strong words with similar meanings here. Pish can roughly be understood to mean piss, while shite means shit. In both instances, when used in the context of weather they refer to the kinds of days which are very unpleasant to go out in. Generally this would mean heavy rain, strong wind and grey skies.

Example conversation:

Speakers: Robert & Peggy
What They’re SayingSimple English
A: It’s a pish day th’day, nae doubt.It’s a terrible day today, no doubt.
B: Aye, proper shite!Yeah, really shit!

Pishing It Doon

Photo Credit: Sven Brandsma. Image link
Speaker: Robert – lives in Lanarkshire, age group 55-64
Speaker: Jennifer – lives in Midlothian (grew up in Ayrshire), age group 45-54

Following on from pish, pishing it doon describes an experience of heavy rain. This is because the phrase means pissing it down, and is something like a metaphor for the clouds peeing (urinating) on you! If it’s pishing it doon then you’ll know not to leave the house without an umbrella at the very least

Example conversation:

Speakers: Robert & Peggy
What They’re SayingSimple English
A: It’s fair pishing it doon oot there!It’s really raining heavily out there!
B: Is it aye? Thought you were looking a wee bit wet!Is it? I thought you looked a bit wet!

Taps Aff

Photo Credit: Tobias Gonzalez. Image link
Speaker: Robert – lives in Lanarkshire, age group 55-64

Taps aff literally means “tops off”, and can be used to describe weather where it is hot enough to go naked from above the waist. During the summer you may see people, generally men, sitting in parks or wandering the streets with nothing or little on above the waist. You may even see this at temperatures you think are still a little chilly! But in either case, you know that Scottish summer has arrived, and it must be time for taps aff season.

Example conversation:

Speakers: Robert & Peggy
What They’re SayingSimple English
A: Whit a day! It’s taps aff for sure.What a day! It’s tops off weather for sure.
B: Oh aye, I willnae be needing ma t-shirt.Oh yes, I won’t need my t-shirt.

Well now you know everything you need to to get started with chatting about the weather in Scotland – even a few terms you might want to be careful about how you use!

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