Coltas an Duine / Personal Appearance

Donald R. Morrison ( Dòmhnall R. Moireasdan )
Na Hearadh, Scalpaigh [Harris, Scalpay]
  • [NOTES: the questionnaire has a slip filled in by Mr Morrison attached to it (see below).]
[mùn]Quotation: Faodaidh i mùn an aghaidh na gaoth tuath air mo shon-sa. (Forgive me! if this is rather distasteful.) Source: Traditional. Notes: Reference to a girl who jilted a gentleman, him saying she may do likewise in coldness for him.
Coltas an duine (Personal Appearance)
duine le ra-spars[?] showy.
susbainteachpurposeful, substance, of substance.
purpasachpurposeful, business character.
greannachirritable, unpleasant.
borbwild, fierce.
fiadhaichwild, distant.
upraideachbusy character.
carachfly, ...
duin’-an-t-saoghailman of the world.
cianaila sad man, destructive to cause sadness.
cùbachhiding in a crouching way.
grùnndailwell-founded, of stability.
grànndaugly, distasteful.
lagail[sic] lawful, lawful in speech.
neo-àbhaisdeachuncommon, no ordinary, unique.
duilichcausing grievances.
cacachdifficult to keep up with.
mhialachd(uncommon word) harmless.
graingealachcomplainer, ‘especially in the way of sickness’.
drabhaghardly a drop.
druthagwee drop.
siochaire-builgpithless puffed up character.
failuntidy female, dirty female.
maide-ramasagaidh(yes) battering ram.
sgeileidtalkative female.
pliob, pliobsop, sop [sic] [sob, sob?].
bliob, bliobsoft second motion rhythm noise of the satellite on its journey (in) to space.
diog, diogsound of the clock.
falchanwhisky in hiding.
sgarbhhalf bottle of whisky.
casan-cloimhepussy-foot – reference to the softness of death.
sgriogalold character, oldish appearance.
sgiolagadh‘withdrawing food from whelks’.
sùileantubers (potatoes).
claoidhean[?] part of the potato. Claodhan – sing. Plural – claodhain.
singealadhsetting the tubers (potatoes) in the drill.
cothachadhpacing against a gale of wind.
spitheidplug pin, or wooden pin from a wooden cask or bottle.
sgulgaireachdskulling [sic], loafing.
muc-bhreacRoqual [sic] [Rorqual?] whale.
cuiteag-ghormblue whiting.
sgìlleaganplaster from the contents of an egg, breaking an egg, spilling.
ròicroast (mutton).
rothlagrowlock; roll of wool.
sleightigslither, sliding.
sgailcbroken apart.
gràn-innseanachmaize (meal) grain. They used to give such to hens (Scalpay).
cleitreachfemale exhibiting unwanted talk, unmannerly female.
crabhagminiature peat bank.
sibealtall man.
goradhsudden jerk.
sumanadhunusual dress, unusual clothes, coat (also summons). C’a ’n d’fhuair thu sumanadh. Still in use, etc.
craiteachan(also) sprinkle.
cnàmhairebony, bony character.
ringealadhdelay, delaying.
stuttaraon your wits. Bi air do stuttara – be on your wits, intact.
sguitlireachdscullery work.
Shapes and general appearance
cho fada ri gu siorruidhas long as ‘for ever’.
cho caol ri minidhas thin as an augaur [sic] [auger?].
cho grànnda ris a’ pheacadhas ugly as sin.
piollagachshabby, in tattered clothes.
cho reamhar ri ròinas fat as a seal.
plosg de dhuinea wobbly fat man.
cailleach de dhuineclumsy man, scary.
duine subailteflexible man.
le craiceann gairtidhwith a withering look of a skin.
dearg bhusachruddy cheeks.
dearg air an aghaidhfresh-complexioned.
cha ’eil eanchainn circe aigevoid of ‘brains’, intelligence.
miaraitteadh[sic] a weakling of a man.
colas a bhidhidh[sic] well-fed.
cù duineunpopular character.
nach b’e ’n cù emean, careless behaviour.
mac-na-striopaich[?] personifying.
colas a’ chealgaire dhubhblack deceiver.
colas a’ chealgairethe appearance of a deceiver.
colas na muicethe appearance (snout) of a sow.
colas an t-sàtainthe appearance of Satan.
cha robh colas a chaochlaidh airthere was no variation.
duine ceòlmhorof musical talent.
mar muc le feòilas fat as a pig.
sùilean camsquint-eyed.
le bial a’ tuiteamthe bottom lip giving this impression.
(colas) duine air mullach nan teud[?] at the height of his jollity or enjoyment.
duine cròcachhaving big hand [sic].
duine meiteadh e meata[?] [no?]
sliomaire de dhuineslimy.
casan camachdachbow [sic] legs.
Deformities, blemishes, scars
foine ribeach air a sròina ... wart on her nose.
spuir-eòinI am not sure of this as being a birthmark at the moment. I think you could be quite safe in noting likewise, that is if you haven’t any other definition.
bial-cama twist in the mouth.
suil-bheagone eye smaller than the other.
làrach-at-a-bhuinn-duibha mark left after the disappearance of the swelling, festering wound.
fearstana small wart of a blackish nature on the skin. (The word is not in use on Scalpay today, but perhaps in other places?)
rùsgadhparched skin.
marteannandried skin in the wind, and effected through the movement of cloth next to the skin.
struichdain srùichdain[?] oir [or?] gàgan [q.v.], crevices or breakings between the fingers.
gàgan‘skin breaks’.
làrach-na-banachaigmark left after inoculation.
cas-an-fhithichthis is an old term, it’s out of use here now but it may have survived somewhere else. I think it means a mark of a scar on the face or hands, the scriabadh form as if a bird (raven) scratched the face with its claws. A permanent mark. If you haven’t any other definition, I think you are quite safe with this.
sgriabadhscratch, at the moment but eventually the mark disappears.
cailin fiar-shùileacha squint-eyed girl.
spot-tachaisitch spot.
Beauty and ugliness
sliobadhstroking as of a gentleman combing (continually) his hair.
dha phonaigeadhperhaps from the word padding, a lady powdering herself. It may have derived from the old folk’s attempt at describing the first recollection of Powder.
cuir fùdar oirreI have heard this used by an old man once (Powder).
sgnodadh a’ bhoineiddoffing his bonnet.
ite-na-h-aidfeather in her cap (literally) and (mentally).
[diachainn]rud-a-dh’fhagad[sic]-a-muir leis-an-diachainn – what the sea unobserved to carry as not considered valid... and still sorry in doing [?] so when we have: diachainn = dichuimhn’ [?] – forgetfulness.
bu tu ’n diachainna lady causing illusionment [sic].
cur sgolapaigeadhputting embroidery on cloth. Cus sgolapaigeadh – too much embroidery.
dha teannachadh fhéintightening herself her clothes being too loose.
s dha truimmigeadhtrimming.
dha smonaigeadhputting up exemptional [sic] [exceptional?] smoke.
Strength, fitness and the opposite
cho làidir ris an leomhainnas strong as a lion.
cho fallain ri fiadhhealthy as a deer.
mar fiadh na beinnehealthy as deer, as healthy as the deer of the hill.
cho làidir ri Samsonas strong as Samson.
cho ruighinn ris an teàrras tough as tar.
cho lag ris a’ chuileigas weak as a fly.
marbh ri sgadanan dead as a herring.
geal ri sneachdaas white as snow.
cho fuar ris a’ bhàsas cold as death.
luath ris an neasas fast as weasel.
luath ri geàrras fast as a hare.
dubh mar am fitheachblack as the raven.
cho buan ris an darachas lasting as the oak.
cho balbh ris an uaighas quiet as the grave.
cho sona ris an rìghas happy as the king.
cho fada ris an t-siorruidheachdas long as eternity.
cho carach ris a’ mhadadh ruadhas cunning as a fox.
cho amaideach ri na h-eòinas ‘foolish’ as the birds.
[note](I am not sure if this is the way you want it done? I’ll better leave this as it is until I hear from you again.)
Ways of walking, sitting, lying; words for ‘clumsy’, ‘fidgety’ and so on
air a chorra-bidtip-toe.
na shuidh air a leth-tharsainnsitting half-sided.
luaiseanach[sic] fidgety.
coiseachd spàgairea splay-footed walk.
coiseachd slaodacha drawling walk.
coiseachd aotramlight walk.
coiseachd sgiobaltatidy walk.
coiseachd thromthrobbing movement.
coiseachd spliadhachsplay-footed walk.
a’ coiseachd air a chorra-bidwalking tip-toed.
a’ coiseachd cho stopachstraight and perpendicular (army fashion).
a’ stabhdailslithering, or ‘stamping’ slightly.
a’ slaodadh a chasanpulling his feet.
a’ coiseachd caran stadachirregular walk.
a’ coiseachd critheanacha shaky walk.
a’ stampadhstampeding.
a’ stalcadh a chas(an)putting pressure on his feet in a striking movement.
coiseachd-bheòlively steps.
coiseachd thuige is bhuaithebackwards and forward.
e beiteadh an rathaid[sic] a drunkard’s walk.
siubhail air astarfast on a journey.
le mall cheumwith a slow step.
trotanslow carefree movement.
trotansmall steps.
le ceumannan mora fadalong big steps.
na shuidh air a mhàssitting on his buttock.
coiseachd dhiona continual pace.
Pulling faces, frowns, other expressions; also gestures
slugadh an t-sùlairethe swallowing of the solan goose (lit.).
aodann-seimhpeaceful face.
mar aingeallike an angel, comeliness, innocence.
mar an easgannas pliable as an eel, wriggles himself like an eel.
nàrachmodest, shy.
aghaidh neo aodann sgreabachscabby.
aodann claiseachfurrowed face.
[craiceann]Tha ’n craiceann th’air aodann a’ coimhead aosda – the skin of his face depicts age.
sùilean-biorachstaring eyes.
sùilean-ciùinmild eyes, eyes of endearment.
droch-shiùil[sic] evil eye.
colas-millidhlook of destruction.
mullach-na-leisgethe height of laziness.
colas-an-uilcthe appearance of evil.
tha ’m bhochdainn na h-aodannthere is the ‘poorness’ in his face (literally), showing sign of illness, etc. etc.
nach ann air a tha tuar eagallachoff colour, frightful look.
aodann air mar putaswelled [sic].
ghearradh a leth-cheann an càisthe thinness of his cheeks, cheek bones could cut cheese (literally).
[eagal]Chuir e eagail air an dearg mheirleach – ‘at seeing him, his face, a stealer, a ‘real stealer’, would collapse’ (putting it this way to make it more easily understood), one rendering.
[tachais]Cha mhor nach ’eil e dha thachais fhéin le fhiaclan – expressing his ignorance.
cur charan dhe air an ùrlarsomersaulting.
dath a’ bhàis aircolour of death.
dol timchioll ’na charangoing round in circles.
nach b’e’n craoisire eglutton.
a cholas le fallaissweating freely.
[leac]Leac fo mo mhiaran [sic], cha toigh leam sud idir – a person feeling such says it depicts the disease of cancer, in some instances.
cnap fo mo mheòirlump under my thumb, a character denoting some unusual diagnosis.
tha craiceann odhar aira dun skin (colour).
[sùil]a shùilean a’ dearg lasadh ’na cheann – his eyes show signs of extremity of anger or perhaps pain.
[each-uisge]Cha chreid or [?] chunnaic mi na fhac e t’each-uisge – phantom fright or unusual fright, etc.
[greannach]cho greannach ri biast-dhubh ann an càrn – as irritable as an otter in a ‘cairn’.
t’eile chait ach feòilwhat else but luxury, etc.
leig an dorgha leislet him to his own.
Clean and untidy
loireachdrab, murky, muddy, discoloured.
faileachof a smelly filth.
drabhachleaving the scrubbing process partly undried.
aon-mhàlone mess, complete mess.
mar fail-mhuclike the (smelly) filth of pigs. (See the word faileach = fàile -ach.) (drabhach = drabh (dregs) -ach.) etc. etc.
drabhassegs, dirt.
drabhag‘little drop’.
a ghiadh!interjection in the event of approaching putrified substance.
trusdaireachdfilthy language.
drabasdachdfilthy language, filthy talk.
foileachanother form of faileach [q.v.].
suaitheantaridiqilous [sic] [ridiculous?].
mar an t-uabhalclean [?] like an apple.
mar chnaimhwhite as a bone.
mar sneachd[white?] as snow.
mar cailc[white?] as chalk.
cho soilleir ris a’ ghréin
tigh càilmhor or càlorsome say thus or use this form in the material sense.
mar an daoimeanlike diomand [sic] [diamond?].
[poit-mhùin](uile càil na àite fhéin ’s a’ phoit mhùin air an dreasair – have you ever heard it?)
[glanadh]a’ sior ghlanadh a rud a tha glan mar a tha – cleaning what is clean already, in other words a daily routine.
glan mar an t-òrclean as gold.

^ Return To Top ^