Tag Archive for: skene dubh

Well that’s how you pronounce it. But what is the origin of this term for the famous Scottish ankle knife, and how do you spell it?

Sgian dubh literally means ‘dark (dubh) knife (sgian)’ in Scots Gaelic. The ‘dubh’ refers to its secretive, hidden nature, rather than its physical colour. The idea was to have a small, hidden knife that could be used if you’d been disarmed, or had surrendered your arms at a meeting.

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of wrong alternative spellings out there. Here’s a collection of the one’s we’ve found but let us know if you have another one!

Sgian dhu – probably the most common mis-spelling

Skene dhu – is also common

Sgian du

Skene dubh

Skene du

Skean dubh

Skean dhu

Skean du