Numpty wins heart of the nation

Scotland’s favourite word is “numpty”, says an internet poll. Fans of the word reckoned it was great for describing “general foolishness”.

Scots who took part in the online vote also nominated “helpmaboab”, “peelywally” and “scunnered”.

But it turned out that the nation’s second-most popular word was “love”, closely followed by “family”, “holiday” and “sunshine”.

Across the UK, “love” came top of the poll. It was also the favourite word in Central Scotland and Grampian, while “family” was first choice in the Highlands.

Professor David Crystal, a linguist, said yesterday: “It’s heart-warming to see that despite all our daily pressures and worries, so many positive words are turning up on this list. And it seems that we’re not just a romantic people – we’re playful too.”

The poll was organised by children’s charity I CAN, who help youngsters with learning and communication skills. The charity asked visitors to their website to help to build a virtual wall of the UK’s best-loved words. When the wall grew to a mile long, I CAN earned a £50,000 donation from Openreach, the division of BT which gives other firms access to the company’s phone exchanges.

Bob Downes, of Openreach Scotland, said: “We’ve had great Scottish support for this project.”

Celebrities added their favourite words to the wall. Newsreader Michael Buerk chose “airwaves”, former Atomic Kitten star Natasha Hamilton went for “family” and 80s pop pin-up Kim Wilde picked “child”.

The words can be seen at