Scottish words: gaberlunzie

At the moment I’m reading The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope and he had a habit, in common with Dickens and other Victorian writers, of giving some of his characters comical or descriptive names, like Mr Gitemthruit. But it was the name Lord Gaberlunzie which struck me, because I realised from previous Trollope books which I’ve read that he had a good knowledge of Scotland and things Scottish and I’m wondering where he got all his information from, he must have had close Scottish friends of relatives.

A gaberlunzie was originally a licensed beggar but became used to mean just a beggar or even a vagrant. It’s one of those Scottish words which has a ‘z’ in it when it should really be a ‘yogh‘. So the correct pronunciation should probably be gaberlunyie.

If only poor Alaric Tudor in The Three Clerks had realised what Undy Scott’s family title meant then he would have been on his guard against him but then – there wouldn’t have been a story!

In the 1970s there was a folk group called Gaberlunzie. I found this clip of them on You Tube but I don’t know when it was filmed.

4 thoughts on “Scottish words: gaberlunzie

  1. Another new word for my Scotland vocabulary section. If I use it, my kids will think I’m really weird.Just going back to my “Scot” roots.

    • Lorraine,
      To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever fitted it into a conversation. I’m sure my kids think I’m weird anyway so we might as well confirm their suspicions!

  2. I remember the folk duo! Enjoyed looking at the video. Had to laugh at the sullen wee lad in the audience who, realising the camera was on him suddenly became all smiley and animated!!!

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