Posted by: christinelaennec | May 20, 2011


Affa fine: the Dafter is taking the advice on the poster to Keep Calm and Eat Cake!

When I think of what the word “fine” means, something slightly more positive than “okay” is what comes to my mind.  “How are you?” “Fine.”  “Can I borrow a pencil?” “Sure, fine.”  But here in Aberdeen people also use the word “fine” in a highly positive way, particularly in regards to food.  If something you’re eating is “fine” (or better yet “affa fine”) then it’s absolutely delicious.  For example, a child taking the first lick of an ice cream cone might comment, “Ah, that’s fine.”

This use of “fine” really struck me when we first came here, and I loved how that ordinary word was suddenly elevated to the precious kind of “fine”:  fine jewellery, fine wines, fine silk.  Perhaps we should use “fine” this way more often!

Here is a photo of the Dafter letting us know that this cake looks “affa fine”.  She’s back from her school trip, and she had a fine time.  (Thanks for all the encouraging comments.)

I hope you’re all fine!



  1. What a fine post Christine. The Dafter looks great – glad she had a fine time. it is a very fine word, but quite catching.

  2. I’m doing quite fine, quite fine indeed! I’d be even better (can a person be affa fine? I wonder) if I had some of that cake though 😉

  3. ‘Fine’ is a word I’ve found myself using quite a lot in recent years. But then, I also use the word ‘crazy’ a good deal, too. Love the photograph.

  4. Hi Christine,
    That’s so interesting, I love the little nuances of places and people. Did you both enter the shop and buy any cake? The dafter is a fine girl! I also really like the word ‘nice’ but it’s not used so much any more.

  5. it strikes me as an old-fashioned word that we’ve lost the richness of. i’m glad people in Aberdeen still use it that way. i looked it up in the dictionary and it says “superior in kind, quality or appearance” amongst other things. it also says “free from impurity” .. interesting. the picture of your daughter is delightful … she seems like a fun girl. i’m glad she had a good time away.

  6. In my family we still use the expression “I fancy something right fine” to signify a desire for tasty comestibles.

  7. “A fine piece” was the term used when someone posted a cake to a colleague via the internal mail system recently after the colleague complained they couldn’t get across town to a charity cake sale! And yes, the cake survived the journey! My granny would have called it a “fancy piece”, but I think that might have other connotations up here…

  8. Hello, all, and thanks so much for your comments!

    Barefoot Crofter – Yes, the Dafter did very well to go, and she enjoyed herself, thanks.

    Mags – I’m not sure, but I don’t think a person can be affa fine. (Are there any Aberdonian readers to tell us?)

    Martin – glad you liked the photo too. ‘Crazy’ is another excellent word, with a few hidden meanings. When I first heard the term ‘crazy paving’ here I thought it was very funny.

    Vicky – we resisted the temptation to go into the shop. And, like you, I often think that ‘nice’ is a fine word. Sometimes there’s no better word than ‘nice’.

    ajb – ah, I never knew ‘fine’ also meant ‘free of impurity’ – that must be how it’s used in regards to gold. Yes, the Dafter is a very fun girl, I really enjoy her company.

    Teuchter – hello there! Nice of you to stop by. I love your family expression!

    Roobeedoo – How funny about your posted “fine piece”. I’ve also heard people talk about a “fancy piece” – pronounced “funcy” to my ears!

  9. “Keep Calm Eat Cake” I think I’ll make that my motto 🙂

  10. The “Keep Calm and Carry On” logo seems to be everywhere at the moment. Your Cake variation reminded me of a T-shirt we saw in Braemar last week.

    and Ceilidh

  11. You’ve just made me so homesick (again!) for Aberdeen. There is an appreciation in the North East for the true, simple pleasures of life, which are no less precious for being simple. ‘Affa fine’ has a whole world of gemutlichkeit within it.

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