Scottish words: clishmaclaver/having a hing

Clishmaclaver apparently means ‘gossip’ and I came across this word on the internet quite recently. Despite the fact that I’ve lived in various different parts of Scotland all of my life (apart from a couple of years in the wilds of Essex many moons ago), I’d never come across the word clishmaclaver.

Mind you – it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. I can’t imagine anyone saying: “Come away in for a clishmaclaver.”

In the tenement buildings in Glasgow years ago women used to ‘have a hing’. They would push the bottom window of the sash windows up if they saw a friend outside, then lean their arms on the windowsill, rest their bosoms on their arms and have a good gossip, leaning out of the window.

I don’t think the gossip was ever of the nasty sort, more just a way of catching up with other peoples’ family news – and who has died recently!

Women always seemed to be worried about their children and the phrase that you often heard then was ‘ma herts roasted’ and my hearts roasted is what a mother said when she was worried sick about one of her children. Does anyone still have a roasted heart? I haven’t heard that phrase for years.

Lulu lived just around the corner from us in Glasgow and she was in my older sister’s class at school and even after we moved from Glasgow to ‘the country’ we often bumped into Lulu’s mum in our many homesick sojourns to the city. I’m 11 years younger than my sister Helen and Lulu so it always amazed me as a youngster that Lulu’s mum was always ‘that worried about my Marie’. Why was she worried? Well, she was married to a Bee Gee at about that time I think and I suppose that could be a bit of a worry.

Anyway, I’ve wandered quite a bit from clishmaclaver to Lulu but I thought I would add this video of her when she was still about 15 or 16 and singing Shout, which kicked off her career.

4 thoughts on “Scottish words: clishmaclaver/having a hing

  1. We saw Lulu at an open air concert about 5 years ago and she can still belt them out, including ‘Shout’.

    The concert was at Swindon Town football stadium, down in Wiltshire and she was on stage with Elton John.

    It was a boiling hot afternoon and was certainly a show to remember!!

    • Hi Yvonne,

      You’re one up on me as I’ve never seen her live. In fact I can’t remember when I last went to a concert or for that matter when I last experienced a boiling hot afternoon! That’s living in Scotland for you!


  2. Love her voice. I remember well when she came on the scene! Reading her autobiography at the moment. I suppose it HAS to contain lots of name-dropping, but I’m getting cheesed off with it. You can maybe clear up the MarEE or MAAri question for me?

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