December 31, 2011
auld lang syne (noun)
\ohld-lang-ZYNE\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: the good old times
How do you use it?
When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, Dad made the traditional toast to auld lang syne.
Are you a word wiz?

Although it's been part of the English language since the late 1600s, "auld lang syne" doesn't sound much like an English word. Which of the following languages do you think it comes from?

"Auld lang syne" is from Scots, the English language of Scotland. In Scots, "auld lang syne" means literally "old long ago." You're probably familiar with the term from the song traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Eve, which is attributed to the Scottish national poet Robert Burns. But you may not realize that other words you probably know also come from Scots. The adjective "dinky," for example, which means, "very small and unimpressive" is of Scots origin. The word "jockey," meaning "one who rides a horse especially as a professional in a race" or "one who operates something" also comes from Scots.
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