If it’s Scottish, there’s no ‘e’

I recently asked a good friend of mine, a Scottish man, for a recommendation on a quality Scottish whiskey. Another friend had done me a favour and I wanted to say thanks in that ever so manly of ways – through heavily intoxicating liquors. So I turned to my good Scottish friend and asked: Can you recommend a quality Scottish whiskey, maybe something in the £50 range?

And whilst the response was friendly, it was also stern in the way that only the Scottish can deliver: If it’s Scottish you want, there’s no ‘e’ in whisky. I floundered for a minute. Had I really misspelt whisky? Surely, no. A quick check of the Cambridge Dictionaries Online (What wonderful folks they are up there at Cambridge, providing alternate spellings for the various ways that English speakers around the world may spell!) showed me that the Scots, and perhaps people all over the UK, spell whisky without an ‘e’. It’s the Americans (me!) and the Irish (me through a passport!) who use the ‘e’. Hmmm … who knew? (Aside from the good people in Cambridge, of course!)

Lesson learned. If it’s quality Scottish whisky you want, learned men ask for it without an ‘e’.

So, you might be wondering, what was the recommendation? It was suggested that I pick up something from The Macallan, perhaps from the twenty-five year old range.

2 thoughts on “If it’s Scottish, there’s no ‘e’”

  1. Do the Irish and Scottish spellings have any gaelic connections? Just curious as there is a gaelic word for whiskey (I’m a Yank). I wonder if Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic had different spellings for the word.

  2. That I am not sure of. I am not versed at all in Gaelic. After my Scottish friend corrected my spelling, I used the Cambridge Online Dictionary to look into the definition of whiskey. As you can read in that definition, Cambridge seems to think that Americans and Irish use the ‘e’. There is no information about the etymology of the word – so I have no idea about the origins aside from a recording of the Clancy Brothers where they explain that ‘uisge beatha’ means of the ‘water of life’ in old Celtic.

Comments are closed.