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1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Scotland, its people, their English dialects, or their Gaelic language
2. any of the English dialects spoken or written in Scotland
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a group of Celtic tribes. The Scots are first mentioned by later Roman writers, in connection with raids by Scots and Picts into the Roman province of Britain. They originally lived in Ireland, and this explains why “Scottia” is one of the names by which Ireland is known in Roman sources. Subsequently—probably in the middle of the first millennium A.D.—some of the Scots resettled in northern Britain. Here, after subduing the Picts, they founded a kingdom in the mid-ninth century that came to be called Scotland.



a nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense) inhabiting the northern half of the island of Great Britain and adjacent islands. According to a 1975 estimate, the Scots number more than 5.2 million. Often the Scots are counted together with the Gaels, the remaining descendants of the Celtic-speaking population of the Highlands. Scottish immigrants and their descendants also live in the USA (250,000), Canada (more than 200,000), Australia (more than 150,000), and New Zealand (more than 50,000). The Scots speak a dialect of English; their literary language is English. The majority are Presbyterians, although approximately 15 percent are Catholics.

The Scots are descended from local tribes of Picts and from Celtic tribes called Scots, who came from Ireland in the fifth and sixth centuries. In the seventh century these tribes partly intermingled with Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons that had arrived in Scotland and whose language they adopted. The Scottish nationality formed during the consolidation of the Scottish state (11th century) and the struggle against the English conquerors. The political union of Scotland with England in the early 18th century and the British government’s policy of assimilating the Scots did not succeed in fusing the Scots with the English.

In certain features of their traditional culture and daily life, the Scots resemble the Irish. In the Highlands, the clan system was preserved into the 18th century. Elements of the traditional male costume, such as the kilt, the plaid, and knitted knee socks, have been retained, as have special foods and holidays. The Scots have a singing tradition that goes back to the historical ballad and the heroic Celtic tale.


Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.