According to the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL), one definition of kiltie is “a man wearing a kilt, a soldier in a Highland regiment”. An early example of this comes from David Vedder’s Poems (1842):
“In double quick time did the kilties career... The weavers an’ hecklers, they scamper’d like deer”.
By the 1990s, “kilties” had become synonymous with Scotland generally:
“Kilties invade: a group of kilted sportsmen and musicians are set to invade Nova Scotia in Canada Thursday. Shinty players from clubs in Skye and Kingussie have teamed up with musicians for the 14-day exchange.”
(Aberdeen Evening Express, July 1991)
In 2012, the Wishaw Press reported from a tour of Skye that:
“Next up was Neist Point Lighthouse… for some dramatic photos … before a breathless climb back up the hill to find Richard, a kilty, who looked like he had come straight out of Braveheart”.
Finally, Michael Patterson, a performer who entertains in care homes and wears the kilt, was reported in the Edinburgh News of February 2021 as saying:
“I used to vow I'd give it all up when they stopped referring to me as ‘son’. Sadly, that happened about a year or two back, but then they started calling me ‘The Kilty Man’. Their eyes light up when I walk in and they can be quite cheeky, although in a nice way... I learned very quickly to avoid anyone with a walking stick… I know to keep my distance otherwise that stick will be lifting my kilt before I know it."
This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel. Visit DSL Online at https://dsl.ac.uk.