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Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) is a Celtic language native to Scotland. The Outlander Series includes many Scottish Gaelic words and phrases.

Gaelic in the Outlander Series Edit

Novels Edit

When writing the early novels of the series, Diana Gabaldon had limited access to Gaelic and Scots language resources, these including a Gaelic-English dictionary and Scottish literature and film. It was while writing the third novel, Voyager, that a helpful reader, while praising her inclusion of the language, pointed out several grammatical errors and offered to help with future use of Gaelic in the books.

Television Series Edit

The Starz television production of the Outlander series employs the knowledge and expertise of a Gaelic speaker, Àdhamh Ó Broin, as well as dialect coach Carol-Anne Crawford.

Gaelic (Gàidhlig) GlossaryEdit

Nicknames and EndearmentsEdit

Gaelic Pronunciation English Audio
sassenach /Sass-un-nakh/ outlander, or foreigner; more specifically an English person; usage generally derogatory.
The name given by the Gaelic inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland to their ‘Saxon’ or English neighbours. (Sometimes attributed to Welsh speakers: the corresponding Welsh form is Seisnig.) [1] Also used by Highlanders to refer to Lowland Scots.[2]
leannan /le-anan/ sweet-heart
vocative: a leannan (with the implication of "baby"; addressed to a daughter or other young person)
cridhe /cree/ or /kri-e/ heart
genitive: mo chridhe (my heart; used as a term of affection)
Mo chridhe
nighean /nee-an/ daughter, lass
vocative: a nighean
mo nighean donn: my brown one; my brown-haired lass
caraid /kar-id'/ friend
vocative: mo charaid /xar-id'/ (my friend; "ch" as in Scottish "loch")
gràdh /grah/ love
vocative: a ghràidh (my love, dear)[3]



  • Ciamar a tha thu [Kia-mar a haa u]: greeting; "How are you?"
  • Tha mi gle mhath [Ha Mi glay vah]: "I am very well."

In The NovelsEdit

  • In Drums of Autumn, Duncan Innes leads the group in a caithris, or a Gaelic lament for the dead. Listen to the scene read aloud by Cathy-Ann MacPhee:
DOA Gaelic Reading


The Scots language and Scottish English should not be confused with Scottish Gaelic. While the latter is a Celtic language historically spoken in the Scottish Highlands, Scots refers to the Germanic language variety spoken in the Lowlands, and Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. Linguists have yet to come to a consensus on whether Scots ought to be considered a dialect of English or its own distinct language.

Some Scots words and phrases used frequently in the Outlander novels:

  • Bairn/Wean: baby/child
  • Besom [BIZ-zum]: a woman, generally ill-tempered.
  • Braw: literally, "brave," but also implies "fine, splendid, or excellent."
  • Clot-heid: clot-head or cloth-head; an idiot or imbecile.
  • Dinna fash: Don't worry; don't be troubled or bothered.
  • Gomeral: fool, idiot.
  • Greet: to weep or grieve
  • Ken: to know (kent, kenna)

Speak Outlander SeriesEdit

STARZ has released a series of videos teaching the pronunciation of various Gaelic words and phrases, as well as other unfamiliar words.

Other Starz MediaEdit



  1. "Sassenach, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2014. Web. 25 April 2014.
  2. Scots Word of the Season: Sassenach – Accessed 25 April 2014
  3. The Gaelic-English Dictionary By Colin B.D. Mark
  4. gràdh – LearnGaelic Dictionary

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