Useful Gaelic word: uisge

Uisge, near Loch Ailort <em>Picture: Lisa Jarvis</em>
Uisge, near Loch Ailort Picture: Lisa Jarvis
Uisge – water/rain

Listen to the pronunciation guide

This is one of the Gaelic words which varies in meaning according to dialect. In most Gaelic dialects, uisge means water of any kind, whether drinking water, the waters of the sea, or rain.

In Lewis, however, uisge is only used for rain. The only exceptions to this rule are in uisge-beatha, which is whisky, and in fixed poetic expressions such as uisgeachan na mara, meaning the waters of the sea.

In contexts such as drinking water, Lewis speakers use bùrn, which comes from the same root as Scots burn.

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