Things in Scots: Running the Asset Edition – Eariwig


For the longest time, I had no idea that this week’s word wasn’t English. One of its meanings is the same as its English counterpart–earwig. But there is another meaning in Scots (and quite possibly Northumbrian), which you’ll find in the example below.

Here’s the snippet… (unedited first draft)

Elle took her time, lingering in the kitchen, inching closer to the two men who no doubt had forgotten her. There were a couple of stools at the end of the countertop, close enough that she could listen in without either Adam or Ward noticing. With her back to them, she focused all of her concentration on their hushed voices.

Ward was doing most of the talking, something about an auction, but she couldn’t catch anything more than that.

“Want him to repeat that, or were you able to catch enough while you were eariwigin?” Adam’s tone was more irritated than angry.

There was no point denying that she’d been eavesdropping on them. She spun around on the stool, coffee mug cradled in her hand. “I missed most of it.” She took a sip of coffee, just enough to appear unfazed by his sudden acknowledgement of her existence. “What’s the auction for?”

“None of your concern,” Adam said.

Running the Asset (Deniable Unit #1)

Hopefully, Elle and Adam made the meaning of eariwigin clear. But, if not, eariwig means eavesdrop; eariwigin is the act of doing it.

That’s it for this week

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’d love to hear your comments on how easy or difficult it was to get the gist of eariwig as it appeared in the quote.

Interested in some Scots words from Running the Asset that are a wee bit too hot for the site? Sign up for my newsletter and get them straight to your inbox.

If you find yourself inspired by the Scots words I share, add the tag #TiS or #ThingsinScots to your writing/art/photo post and drop your link in the comments.

If you want to see more Scots posts, check out the original series, Things in Scots.

Thanks for reading. Take care, and I hope to see you next week for more Scots on Manuscript Mondays!

Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband,, and our squirrel army.​

18 thoughts on “Things in Scots: Running the Asset Edition – Eariwig

  1. bushboy says:

    Didn’t get eariwigin fully but did get the gist of it. Does the newsletter have parts of the manuscript like the ones I used to read from your blog ages ago?

    1. Thanks for letting me know! That’s so helpful 🤩
      The newsletter will have longer snippets than the site does, and they’re a tad graphic on the naughty parts.
      I think the stories you remember were from Genre Scribes… I will get back to that, I promise. You know, doing that for the newsletter is a great idea! I might just do that. Thanks for the suggestion, Brian! 🤩🤗

      1. bushboy says:

        I’ll sign up as I didn’t realise that there are two stories on the go. Sound like fun

      2. Oops, sorry! There’s only the one story at the moment (Running the Asset–the same as on the site). But, later, I’ll bring other stories into the mix. For now, it’s all about book 1. (If you want me to remove you from the list, just let me know–or click the unsubscribe in the email–and I’ll do that for you 😊)

      3. bushboy says:

        No I was just wondering 🙂

  2. bushboy says:

    I was watching the Scottish womens fitba on the weekend. I coudnae unnerstaun half what the commentators were saying 😂😂

    1. 🤣 Was it just Scots talking to Scots? If there’s no English speaker there/active in the conversation, we kinda just go ten to the dozen. Same happens when we get over-excited. 😂

      1. bushboy says:

        It was a bit of English and Scot to Scot chatter I think. The speed talking did my head in at times 🤪

      2. Our version of English is Standard Scottish English/Scottish Standard English (SSE) and it has a lot of Scots words, grammar, and pronunciations which make it difficult for non-SSE speakers to catch. We honestly think we’re speaking English and can’t believe when people say they can’t understand most of it. 🤣

      3. bushboy says:

        I watched the WSPL yesterday and they are not speaking English except for the occasional break down in play or half time or end of the game when they do.

      4. If you eat enough sugar it’ll get you to the right speed to catch some of it. 🤣🤣🤣

      5. bushboy says:


  3. I got this one, perhaps I am not familiar with earwig in English! ( Afrikaans being my first language 😀 )

    1. Awesome, Aletta!
      Sorry about the assumption. I have no excuse, given that English is my second, too! 🤦‍♀️ The Scots word eariwig is oorwig in Afrikaans.

      1. Thanks Susan, not a word we often use!

  4. Chris Hall says:

    ‘Earwigging’ – very familiar to me. I’m not sure where I picked up the expression though. I seem to have known it forever.

    1. Excellent! Jez (N. Yorkshire) also knew the phrase, but can’t quite remember where he heard it, either. I’d checked several English dictionaries for it, but earwiggin means giving someone an earbashing/a telling off.
      I decided that if Jez knew the word, then it must be part of the Northumbrian language (a close relative to the Scots language).

      1. Chris Hall says:

        Definitely found in both Liverpool and York!

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