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A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable
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Art, Culture & Music, Reference
Publication Date
04 October 2012
Hardback (also available as an eBook)
In Stock
Birlinn Limited

A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘This is the best compendium of Scottish life, lore, language and literature since John MacTaggart’s “Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia” of 1824’ – The Times

'A linguistic and etymological treasure trove that once picked up it's virtually impossible to put down' – Scottish Field

‘A lifesaver for those in need of diversion and enlightenment. … Under Crofton’s collector’s eye, the rollicking spirit of Scotland, old and modern, comes proudly alive’ – Sunday Herald 

'A sheer joy' – Scottish Life (US and Canada)

This authoritative, entertaining and eminently browsable reference book, arranged in easily accessible A–Z format, is an absorbing and imaginative feast of Scottish lore, language, history and culture, from the mythical origins of the Scots in Scythia to the contemporary Scotland of the Holyrood parliament and Trainspotting. Here Tartan Tories rub shoulders with Torry girls, the Misery from the Manse exchanges a nod with Stalin’s Granny, Thomas the Rhymer and the Wizard of Reay walk hand in hand with Bible John, and the reader is taken for a rollercoaster ride round Caledonia, from Furry Boots City to the Costa Clyde, via the Cold Shoulder of Scotland, the West Lothian Alps and the Reykjavik of the South. The result is a breathtaking and quirky celebration of Scotland, packed with fact and anecdote.

Ian Crofton worked as a publisher of general reference books for twenty years (Collins, Guinness, Macmillan and Dorling Kindersley), and for the past decade have been a freelance editor and writer. He is the co-author (with John Ayto) of Brewer’s Britain and Ireland and of the revised edition of Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable. He was also editor-in-chief of The Guinness Encyclopedia (1990).