Mawdelit is one of the Scots words discussed in a programme I watched last night called Blethering Scots. It was described as an illness you pretend to have to get time off work, and comes from the French mal de lit, which is related to the medieval Latin malum lecti – an illness that confines one to bed or a bed-sickness.
Other words mentioned in the programme include:
- fankle – to catch in a snare, to trap; to tangle, ravel, mix up; confused, tangled, and the related words fankled and fanglet
Example: It was jist the ither day I got fankled wi’ some o’ ma accoonts.
- stramash – an uproar, commotion, hubbub, disturbance, a broil, squabble, row; to shatter, to smash to pieces
Example: There arose a stramash doon stairs fiercer than ordinary.
- glaikit – stupid, foolish; thoughtless, irresponsible, flighty; playful, full of pranks; wanton; sportive, roguish (of the eyes); deceitful, shifty.
Example: There rest him weel; for eith [also] can we Spare mony glakit gouks [fools] like he.
One contributor to the programme mentioned that it was unusual to see such words written down when he was young and that children were told that these words were wrong when they used them in school. Nowadays, however, some schools are teaching Scots and encourage its use. It is also used to a limited extent in the media.