How to contribute

You can contribute comments, photographs or videos to the Historical Thesaurus of Scots project. First, click the Register link in the right-hand column of any page to become a registered user.

If you see a word or phrase for which you have an image (such as a shape of cloud or type of marble), you can upload a photograph or make a comment in the Comment box under the list of words in that category. For examples, please see the cloud images which illustrate gait-hair, hen scartsmirlie-backs and pouthered lawyr. You can also copy in a link to an image on a Flickr site.

** Please only send us your own images, not ones you have found online.**  Your contribution will be sent to our research team for review and you may see it feature on our site in the near future. You can also comment directly on our blog posts. Alternatively, you can tweet your images to our Twitter account @scotsthesaurus.

If you have a photograph you would like to submit, but you are not sure which word it illustrates, you can upload it to this page, using the Comment box below. Our research team will review all contributions and either assign them to a category, or post them here as unassigned images in the meantime.

Please feel free to email us too! We welcome comments about our site, and would love to hear from you if you have found the Thesaurus useful or illuminating. See our Contact page for details.

17 thoughts on “How to contribute

    1. Susan Rennie

      Very nice word, Eric, so thanks for pointing it out. We have a note of it from SND under the entry ‘spoach’ – see, senses 3 and 4 – but the latest evidence there is from 1958, and it is always good to get confirmation that a word is still being used. We will include it when we get to the category of ‘looking’ in the Thesaurus. We’d be grateful for more information on exactly where it is still used – maybe with an example sentence or two.

    1. Susan Rennie

      Not all parts of verbs are listed in the HTS, Jimmy. If you search for ‘smirr’ (the root form) you should find the entry, and you can then go to the DSL for more information on the verb. You can also try searching for smirr* which should pick up other related words if they are in the HTS.

  1. Prof_fr


    I thought a SKELF was a large splinter… At least it was when I lived and went to school in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the 1960s

    Not a wee bitty snaeflake

    1. Susan Rennie

      Yes it is, Chris – but is means a snawflake forby that. If you have a look at the full entry in SND (follow the link on the relevant HTS page) you’ll see the meaning of ‘splinter’ listed. We haven’t got to that category yet in the Thesaurus, but it will definitely be in there when we do.

  2. Jock Tamson

    Are there not lots of Scots words for snow because people speak different dialects? Is it any surprise that there are more words for marbles than football? After all, football is a modern game, and words such as “fitba” are simply how some people pronounce them.

    1. Susan Rennie

      Ay, many of them are from different dialects or regions, but we also have historical variants and we count different senses, too, so the numbers soon add up. The first citations we have for ‘futball’ are from the 15th century (, so it goes far back in Scots, but hasn’t spawned as many names for types of shot or game as marbles/bools, which has many local variations. Also there aren’t many varieties of the ball itself – but there are lots of different kinds of bool!

  3. RDalgleish

    Hi – I saw explanation of word “skelf” – Snow :: Snowflake :: Type of snow :: Large snowflake

    This word has another meaning – a “skelf” is a small splinter. Yet another word for such a splinter is a “spale”.

    1. Susan Rennie

      Your are right on both accounts, Richard. Skelf means both a large snowflake AND a splinter. Spale or spail is also a splinter, or a taper for lighting a fire. We haven’t got round to those categories in our Thesaurus yet – but we will eventually!

  4. Roy Brown

    My father used to call a section of an orange a “liffy” [no idea of the best spelling]. His family was from Saltcoats, I believe. Got any ideas. Thanks for your help, Cheers

  5. Jim Hunter

    I have 2 terms related to SNOW – both used orally by my grandparents & mother (born Largs, Ayrshire) and known to my wife (born Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. I do not remember coming across either in print.
    1) “It’s pilin” – this refers to the build-up to a heavy fall. Usually there is little or no wind, the clouds get dark grey and black, usually with a greenish or purplish tinge, there may be a rare flake.
    2) It’s purlin” – this is often the next stage, though it can also happen with a less threatening sky. There are thinly scattered falls of small hard flakes of snow – “wee purls”

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