Things in Scots: Running the Asset Edition – Polis


I’m not having a high-level brain fart. I know I just posted Wummin on Monday, but for the last month or so, I’ve been toying with switching my posting days around.

I usually post TiS on a Monday and a What I’m Reading post (when I have time to read) on a Friday. I chose those days randomly at the end of last year, and now that I’ve lived with them for five months, I can make a better choice.

So, I’ll post my new Scots word on a Friday and my reading posts on a Monday. They fit my version of the week better, too.

On to the post… Today’s word polis is pronounced poe-liss.

Here’s the snippet… (unedited first draft)

Adam looked up from his food. “Talking helps.”

“Oh really? Can it help me get over the fact I got my ex-fiancee killed?” Damn it. She’d never told anyone that they’d gotten engaged. Not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things. She’d broken up with Rosa less than twenty-four hours later and moved into a hotel with little more than a backpack of her belongings.

Adam chased around the last bit of egg on his plate with his finger, his eyebrows raised slightly. “There was no mention that you were engaged in our file.”

“What else does your file say about me?” She was more than a little curious to know how much of her fucked up life an intelligence agency knew about her. “Nothing much. Aside from you following in your da’s sticky-fingered ways. Until he let you take the fall when the polis arrived. Besides that, you’re squeaky clean and pretty boring from eleven onwards. Unless we count quitting your embassy job to work for Blackwell.”

Quit had a far nicer ring to it than fired. Not that it mattered. The result was the same, she no longer worked for the US government.

Running the Asset (Deniable Unit #1)

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the context of Adam’s dialogue gives a massive hint that polis means police.

I’m also banking on the fact that polis means police in several countries outwith Scotland and that you may have spotted the word on your travels/online. Some of those other countries include Finland (on bilingual car signage), Sweden, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Malaysia, Brunei, and probably more that I haven’t found.

Swedish Polis Car
Police Scotland Car

In Scotland, our police cars have English and Scottish Gaelic signage. The Scottish Gaelic for police is poileas and is pronounced exactly the same as polis. Hopefully, one day we’ll have the Scots language up with the Gaelic… maybe after independence.🤞

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 polis 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? (The first spicy snippet is hitting inboxes in the next couple of weeks!) 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 Fiction Friday!


10 responses to “Things in Scots: Running the Asset Edition – Polis”

  1. Knew it as soon as I saw it, Susan! I’ve heard it rather than seen it written down (not sure what that says about my travels ‘up the road’. I also spotted one of my favourite words: ‘outwith’.

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