Scotch

From Academic Kids

In older times Scotch was an adjective meaning 'of Scotland'. Nowadays the preferred adjective is Scottish, and Scotch usually pertains to a recipe such as Scotch whisky. The remainder of this article is about the word.

Contents

Scotch, Scottish or Scots?

The adjective or noun Scotch is an Early Modern English (16th century) contraction of the English word Scottish which was later adopted into Older Scots. It more or less replaced Scottish as the prevailing term in England. Scots (the modern Scots form of Older Scots Scottis1) predominated in Scotland until the 18th century when anglification became fashionable and Scotch was used in both England and Scotland.

From the early 19th century Scots or Scottish were the preferred usages among educated Scottish people, Scotch being regarded as an anglicized affectation. Scotch is sometimes still used by the working classes who often regard Scots as an anglicized affectation.

In modern English usage the general term for things from or pertaining to Scotland is Scottish. Scots is usually reserved for the Scots language and legal system. Scotch remains in use only for phrases like Scotch broth and Scotch terrier, etc. One cynical joke is that Scotch can only be used for things which can be bought, such as whisky, eggs and politicians.

See also

Other meanings

  • A scotch is another name for a chock, a wedge which is placed under a wheel to stop it moving.
  • To scotch a rumor is to quash or refute it.
  • A scotch egg is a boiled egg served wrapped in sausage meat, then dipped in breadcrumbs, and fried.
  • A scotch pancake is a small, often buttered, sweet pancake served as a teatime dessert
  • Scotch Tape is a commercial brand name for a type of adhesive tape made by the 3M company.
  • Scotch mist is a term for something which doesn't exist.
  • Scotch mist is also a cocktail whose main ingredient is whisky.
  • Hopscotch is an English name for the children's game of peevers, where a bed is marked out with chalk lines on the pavement to form a series of squares and the children (usually girls) take turns to slide the peever (often a round stone or a shoe polish tin filled with sand) along the bed and then try to hop and jump from square to square to reach the peever without misstep. The Scotch in hopscotch means a slight surface cut - especially a notch that is made to keep a tally referring to the scratches made on the ground when marking the bed. The Romans also played hopscotch scotching the idea of it being a Scotch game.
  • Butterscotch is a kind of hard toffee. The scotch has the same origin as in hopscotch. The toffee was notched, or scored, to make it easier to break into pieces.

Footnote

  1. Inglis was the Older Lowland Scots for English and the modern form can still be found in Surnames and place names as Ingles or Inglis (IPA) e.g. Ingleston or Ingliston etc.
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