- Outlander -The 50 Best Times Jamie Says "Sassenach" On 'Outlander', Ranked
"Sassenach" is not usually the most flattering term a Scot can call an English person. Yet, Jamie has referred to Claire as a "Sassenach" some 180 times on Outlander. (In 67 episodes. That's approximately 2.68 "Sassenachs" an episode.) And you thought your overuse of the word "like" was a lot.
As Reverend Wakefield explained in the pilot episode (fittingly titled, "Sassenach"), it "only means 'Englishman' ... or at worst, 'Outlander.'" But as "Sassenach" is Jamie's pet name for his beloved British wife, Jamie managed to quickly evolve this often derogatory word into a term of endearment.
Even before the Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's books premiered, Sam Heughan had fans swooning over his pronunciation, as indicated by the comments of this YouTube video. The actor has clearly leaned into the fandom's love of this word since he named his whisky brand after it. And with five seasons of Outlander under his kilt, Heughan deserves an award for his many glorious deliveries of the three-syllable Gaelic word.
After a good "Sassenach," Jamie often is inspired to touch his wife. (Particularly, touch her cheek — it's a thing.) Considering that touch factor, I chose the 50 best of Jamie's Sassenachs and ranked them. Happy Sassenaching!
When: Season 4, Episode 9, "The Birds & The Bees." Jamie's sitting on a bench with Brianna after she finds him in the past.
The Stakes: His simple, direct "Sassenach" is effective in grabbing Claire's attention on the streets of Wilmington and she sees their daughter has time traveled.
Touch Factor: This moment is about mother and daughter, so Claire and Bree embrace.
49. "Ye havena called me any wicked names or uttered any words of reproach since I came home, Sassenach. Does this mean ye think I'm dying?"
When: Season 5, Episode 9, "Monsters and Heroes." He tells Claire that he knows he's in bad shape because she's been so nice to him and hasn't scolded him.
The Stakes: Claire is unsure of how to treat Jamie's wound and his little chuckle can't hide how scared he is.
Touch Factor: They hold hands, but Claire berating him gives him more comfort than any touches could.
48. "Careful, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 5, "Perpetual Adoration." Jamie remembers he has Adso in his coat while he hugs Claire.
The Stakes: Jamie's less concerned with the fact that he recently murdered a man and more concerned with making sure Claire doesn't squish the gray kitten.
Touch Factor: Claire and Jamie already got their hugs and kisses in, so now it's time to fawn over their adorable new feline family member.
47. "I've seen ye with her, Sassenach. I've seen how you—you would ha' looked with Bree."
When: Season 5, Episode 4, "The Company We Keep." Jamie asks Claire if she'd like to keep Bonnie Beardsley after partying at Brownsville.
The Stakes: He's suggesting that they raise an infant together since the couple in their 50s missed out on this experience together with Bree.
Touch Factor: They may be drunk, but don't blame the show of emotions on the alcohol. Jamie's sweet offer makes Claire teary-eyed and he smooches her hand, they kiss on the lips, and they hug.
46. "I never thought I'd be able to say such a thing again, but yes. Yes! Yes! I'm verra happy indeed, Sassenach!"
When: Season 1, Episode 16, "To Ransom A Man's Soul." Claire asks Jamie if he's happy after she tells him she's pregnant as they set sail for France.
The Stakes: Claire thought she was unable to get pregnant. So though the trauma of Black Jack Randall's abuse is still very raw, Jamie is genuinely happy for this news.
Touch Factor: This is one of the happiest Sassenachs Jamie has ever uttered. But as they embrace one another, his face shows his conflicted feelings. Even as Claire kissed him, it won't be all smooth sailing.
45. "No, Sassenach. I never loved anyone but you."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." Claire wonders if he fell in love with anyone else during their 20-year separation.
The Stakes: Claire has just asked Jamie her biggest fear and he gives her the best possible answer — though the emphasis is less on the "Sassenach" and more on the loving her.
Touch Factor: Of course, they kiss and make love after that statement.
44. "For the sight of you, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 3, "Free Will." Claire asks Jamie why he's thanking the Lord.
The Stakes: Jamie's relieved to be home at Fraser's Ridge after Lieutenant Knox killed a Regulator.
Touch Factor: Heughan's delivery could make anyone melt and the couple touches foreheads.
43. "You wouldn't expect me to be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie, now, would you?"
When: Season 1, Episode 3, "The Way Out." Claire thanks him for helping the tanner's lad when his ear was nailed to the pillory.
The Stakes: Claire mentions it was a risk, but Jamie's not so worried. Although this will be the first of many times that Jamie puts himself on the line for Claire.
Touch Factor: Their first scheme sees Jamie holding Claire as he helped her up when she pretended to faint. Love is in the air.
42. "Sassenach. Claire!"
When: Season 3, Episode 11, "Uncharted." Jamie spots the reflection of Claire's mirror in Baxley's spyglass after she's stranded on Hispaniola.
The Stakes: Jamie thinks Claire is on the Porpoise still, so he's amusingly quite surprised to see his wife turn up "in the most unlikely of places" yet again. But the stakes were higher for Claire since she would've been the one stuck with Father Fogden if he hadn't seen the light.
Touch Factor: He's got to get from the Artemis to her, so there's a time delay. But following a frantic beach run, they reunite and get their hugs and kisses in. It may not be From Here to Eternity, but it's still romantic.
41. "Oh, I dinna ken you could cook, Sassenach."
When: Season 2, Episode 8, "The Fox's Lair." Jenny growing potatoes at Lallybroch worked out well, but Mrs. Crook doesn't know how to cook them, so Claire gives some suggestions.
The Stakes: Jamie and Claire are finally back home and feeling comfortable with one another again.
Touch Factor: Who knew potatoes could be so sexy? Even when surrounded by a gaggle of kids, the embracing couple gets sultry when they kiss after Jamie seductively says, "Then we shall have a feast."
40. "No, Sassenach. Jes me."
When: Season 1, Episode 4, "The Gathering." While attempting to flee Castle Leoch, she falls into young Mr. MacTavish who pulls a knife on her. She cries out, "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ."
The Stakes: They are high for Claire since she has finally found an opportunity to return to her own time. But Jamie's funny side is on display here and he's happy to see it's her and not a member of the MacKenzie clan.
Touch Factor: It's a literal tumble in the hay for Jamie and Claire, though he helps her up rather than taking it any further.
39. "Aye, I ken, Sassenach."
When: Season 2, Episode 4, "La Dame Blanche." Claire says she was worried she could have lost the baby after she's poisoned by the Comte St. Germain.
The Stakes: Claire and Jamie aren't at their most stable in Paris, but they are united when it comes to the welfare of their unborn child.
Touch Factor: He's sitting on the bed with her as they hold hands over her stomach.
38. "Ye have no need of cloth tonight, Sassenach."
When: Season 4, Episode 6, "Blood of My Blood." Claire's trying to get out of the bath.
The Stakes: After a trying visit from Lord John Grey and William, the couple shares some alone time.
Touch Factor: Things were already steamy, but he then presents her with a new wedding ring and they have sex.
37. "Dinna fash, Sassenach. You look bonny, though ye do have a few teasel heads in your hair."
When: Season 2, Episode 8, "The Fox's Lair." Claire says she wishes she could have freshened up before meeting Jamia's grandfather.
The Stakes: Jamie's grandfather is quite scary, so I don't blame her. But who cares about stakes when this is the first time Jamie has said, "Dinna fash," to her!
Touch Factor: He's proud of his Sassenach bride. He goes to her and touches her head to pull out the weeds, but Colum interrupts before anything else can happen.
36. "Every man and woman in the world needs to know how to defend themselves, Sassenach, especially those married to a Fraser."
When: Season 1, Episode 8, "Both Sides Now." The MacKenzie camp gets raided, but Claire wasn't able to help out since she has no idea how to use the knife Jamie had given her.
The Stakes: Claire's going to put that knife to good use immediately after she learns how to use it against some Redcoats. And she really was at risk when the camp was raided. But Jamie's comment isn't severe since these two are fully in the honeymoon phase.
Touch Factor: He kisses her and their display of affection is so darn cutesy, you almost expect the Highlanders to tease them like kids in a schoolyard. Instead, a brooding, jealous Dougal broods.
35. "Bree thinks he's a better man. I thought... I thought perhaps you were beginning to feel the same, Sassenach."
When: Season 4, Episode 11, "If Not for Hope." They are on the road looking for Roger.
The Stakes: Jamie is feeling bad for himself because of what Bree said to him after she learned what he did to Roger. Not only is he comparing his fathering skills to Frank, but he's also feeling pressure to find Roger.
Touch Factor: The roles are reversed and Claire strokes Jamie's face this time around as she comforts him. Sex inevitably follows.
34. "The day is ours, Sassenach."
When: Season 2, Episode 10, "Prestonpans." Jamie excitedly comes into Claire's field hospital to tell her the Jacobites have won the battle.
The Stakes: Claire may have known that the Jacobites won at Prestonpans, but it's still good to see her husband alive.
Touch Factor: Jamie is all pumped up from winning the battle and fiercely grabs Claire in an embrace before sharing a meaningful kiss.
33. "We're not alone, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 11, "Journeycake." After Bree and Roger leave, Claire says. "And now it's just you and me again."
The Stakes: Claire needs comfort now that their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild have left for seemingly good.
Touch Factor: They sweetly embrace and engage in some head touching.
32. "Sing it for me, Sassenach."
When: Season 4, Episode 4, "Common Ground." Claire has just recited, "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)" and Jamie wants her to sing it.
The Stakes: They are happy and establishing their new home.
Touch Factor: Jamie is getting ready to make some moves as he talks about wanting to do "indecent things" and pushes Claire up against a tree, but Young Ian interrupts.
31. "Time doesna matter, Sassenach. Ye will always be beautiful to me."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." Claire worries about her gray hair after seeing Jamie for the first time in 20 years.
The Stakes: Claire isn't sure Jamie will find her attractive anymore after she takes a gamble and comes back to the past.
Touch Factor: They had already gotten their first kiss out of the way, so Jamie goes to his move of touching her face.
30. "Remind me not to get on your bad side, Sassenach."
When: Season 2, Episode 12, "The Hail Mary." Claire says if Black Jack doesn't die at the Battle of Culloden, she will keep her promise to help Jamie "bleed him."
The Stakes: Jamie is concerned that Claire convinced Mary Hawkins to marry Black Jack Randall and isn't so convinced Mary will end up a widow. Yet, Jamie's comment manages to add levity to a tense situation.
Touch Factor: As he is wont to do when he utters, "Sassenach," he goes to stroke her face. But instead, his hand lands on her shoulder. He still gets his kiss in though.
29. "You belong with me. We're mated for life, Sassenach. Will you risk the man I am for the sake of the one ye once knew?"
When: Season 3, Episode 8, "First Wife." Claire has doubts about their marriage after learning that Jamie married Laoghaire.
The Stakes: Claire's insecurities about coming back to the past are all out here, but Jamie won't accept their separation now. It's a low point for their relationship.
Touch Factor: Jamie had been stroking a teary Claire's cheek before he even got the "Sassenach" out, but they don't get any additional touches in since they are rudely interrupted by Young Ian's capture.
28. "You should work on your bedside manner, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 9, "Monsters and Heroes." Claire has just mentioned an autopsy and said that Jamie looks like he's "been roasted over a spit" when he comes home with a snakebite.
The Stakes: Jamie may be dying, but his sense of humor is intact.
Touch Factor: The only thing Claire is touching right now is his wound.
When: Season 1, Episode 9, "The Reckoning." They've just had some intense makeup sex where he says they are each other's masters... and now he wants to know what the word "fucking" means.
The Stakes: The couple had just been put through the wringer after he saved her from Black Jack Randall... and then punished her.
Touch Factor: They are all sorts of intertwined after this masterful display of sex. A very sex vocabulary lesson indeed.
26. "'Tis fine, Sassenach."
When: Season 1, Episode 4, "The Gathering." Jamie soothes Claire in the stables before escorting her back to the castle.
The Stakes: Claire is concerned about going back to the castle since she just knocked out a drunk Dougal. But Jamie's there to sincerely address and calm her fears.
Touch Factor: He grabs her hand and leads her back to the castle.
25. "Oh, Sassenach, you have not been a day late in your courses in... in all the time since ye first took me to yer bed, but it's been two months now."
When: Season 2, Episode 13, "Dragonfly in Amber." Jamie wants Claire to leave him at Culloden and go back through the stones.
The Stakes: Jamie knows he most likely will die and wants to secure the safety of his wife and unborn child. Could they be any higher?
Touch Factor: While he had been forcefully dragging her by the hand before this moment, he now tenderly touches her stomach and she confirms that she is pregnant.
24. "No promises, Sassenach."
When: Season 1, Episode 2, "Castle Leoch."After Jamie thanks Claire for bringing food to him at the stables, she replies, "Just try not to get flogged or stabbed today. That'll be thanks enough."
The Stakes: Jamie's got nothing to lose here with a little flirting with this fine Sassenach. And he's giving her a warning of what life with him will be like.
Touch Factor: Despite the flirting, this is strictly a patient-nurse visit. But Jamie's teasing eyes indicate he wishes it were more. Woo doggy, these early days of flirtation are spicy.
23. "Don't worry. Trees are safe, Sassenach."
When: Season 1, Episode 5, "Rent." After finding him taking out his anger with Dougal on the innocent forest, Claire tells him, "Try not to hit any more trees."
The Stakes: Claire is comforting Jamie this time around and her empathy diffuses his anger about Dougal using his back scars to collect money for the Jacobite cause.
Touch Factor: No touching just yet, but the eye contact they hold after this "Sassenach" is some excellent foreplay.
22. "Your special perfume. Ye wanted me, and I fell asleep without touching ye. I'm sorry, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 11, "Journeycake." Jamie awakes to find Claire in the window and sniffs out her intentions.
The Stakes: Bree and Roger may be leaving soon, but this is a simple intimate moment between them.
Touch Factor: He immediately kisses her after saying it and gets to work fulfilling her needs.
21. "Ye dinna see any marked changes, do ye, Sassenach?"
When: Season 5, Episode 7, "The Ballad of Roger Mac." Claire is examining Jamie on his 50th birthday.
The Stakes: The Battle of Alamance is looming, but they're more focusing on the passage of time.
Touch Factor: Jamie's husky delivery leads to birthday kisses… and birthday sex.
20. "Well, I do not ken who they are, Sassenach... but I'll wager... they have never traveled through time."
When: Season 2, Episode 8, "The Fox's Lair." Jamie's response after Claire says, "They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
The Stakes: They just decided that Jamie will fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie with Claire's knowledge that the Jacobites will be defeated at the Battle of Culloden — and Jamie's still able to make it lighthearted.
Touch Factor: Claire's already crying and he grabs her hand to lift her up during an excellent pause after "Sassenach," followed by a head touch, embrace, and kiss on the forehead. Classic show of emotions to his Sassenach.
19. "Sassenach. … Sleep beside me. …. I'm cold, Sassenach."
When: Season 5, Episode 9, "Monsters and Heroes." Jamie is at death's door when he asks Claire to touch him before he sleeps.
The Stakes: Jamie knows he's dying and his "Sassenachs" are growing weak.
Touch Factor: His pleas lead Claire to put her naked body on his and perform a lifesaving handjob.
18. "Oh! Sassenach."
When: Season 2, Episode 9, "Je Suis Prest." Jamie pretends he's going to "ravish" his hostage Claire and his ruse gets a little too real when she hits him in the family jewels.
The Stakes: They are lying to lil' Lord John Grey to get some intel on the British army, so they are at an advantage. But hey, Claire's plan saved Baby John from getting tortured.
Touch Factor: This "Sassenach" through gritted teeth is a response to Claire kneeing him in the balls, so it's far less touchy-feely than others. But he gets his revenge with a kiss.
17. "And then we shall see... what sort of noises ye dinna make then, Sassenach."
When: Season 3, Episode 13, "Eye of the Storm." Jamie is explaining what he'll do to Claire once he gets her on dry land and she objects to his comment that she makes "wee noises" during sex.
The Stakes: Young Ian has been saved. Geillis is dead. They're on their way back to Scotland. Time for this couple to relax and get some sexy time in.
Touch Factor: This is dirty talk done right and there is plenty of touching occurring before, during, and after this "Sassenach."
16. "Ach, nothing. There's no' much I can say waking without it sounding daft and foolish, Sassenach. I can say things while you sleep. Your dreams will ken the truth of them."
When: Season 2, Episode 11, "Vengeance Is Mine." Claire hears Jamie praying over her in Gaelic while she sleeps and asks what he was saying.
The Stakes: The Jacobites are retreating from England for the winter and it does seem that history will play out as Claire knows it will.
Touch Factor: Jamie cuddles Claire in bed, strokes her face, and brings her in for a tender kiss in this intimate moment.
15. "No matter what troubles happen around us, Sassenach... This... what it is between us... never changes."
When: Season 3, Episode 9, "The Doldrums." Claire talks about getting used to one another again after Jamie compliments her gray hair.
The Stakes: The couple is finally hitting their stride again after some impromptu boat sex. This is the Jamie and Claire that fans know and love.
Touch Factor: They are already engaged in post-coital canoodling, but this comment leads to more kissing.
14. "Goodbye, Sassenach."
When: Season 1, Episode 1, "The Devil's Mark." Jamie walks away from Claire at the Craigh na Dun stones.
The Stakes: Jamie thinks he'll never see his time-traveling Sassenach again.
Touch Factor: The kissing preceded his farewell, but they'll soon make up for it when Claire decides to stay.
13. "Sassenach, first your honeypot, now this."
When: Season 2, Episode, "Not in Scotland Anymore." Jamie brings up Claire's recent adventures in waxing when he disapproves of her plunging red dress on the way to Versailles.
The Stakes: Claire's attempts to bring them closer together in the bedroom didn't work out, but at least this time, Jamie is amused by his "daring woman" of a wife.
Touch Factor: He takes Claire's hand as he looks both proud and exasperated. But his wiggling eyebrows show he's not all that mad for one of Heughan's funniest "Sassenach" deliveries.
12. "Thank you, Sassenach. Truly."
When: Season 1, Episode 1, "Sassenach." She has helped treat Jamie's gunshot wound after he fell off his horse.
The Stakes: Claire has healed him twice now. He's already falling in love and it's the first time he calls Claire "Sassenach" ... aww!
Touch Factor: Jamie can only smolder with his eyes at this point. But they'll soon be touching on his horse.
11. "Claire! God damn you, Sassenach! If you die here now, I swear I'll kill you."
When: Season 3, Episode 13, "Eye of the Storm." Jamie has just saved Claire from drowning after the Artemis is destroyed in a storm.
The Stakes: Claire nearly drowned to death and they're not out of the woods (err… water) yet. He's too distraught to realize the irony of his statement.
Touch Factor: Claire is unresponsive, but he touches her face and starts crying.
10. "I could watch you for hours, Sassenach."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." They have woken up in bed together the morning after their reunion.
The Stakes: Jamie's not a ghost (or is he?!) and while they'll have many rough patches to come, she's still (kind of) his brown-haired girl.
Touch Factor: He's in full sultry, stroke mode.
When: Season 3, Episode 13, "Eye of the Storm." They have washed up on a shore after the Artemis shipwreck, but Claire is still not showing signs of life.
The Stakes: Jamie truly believes Claire is dead.
Touch Factor: He strokes her hair and in his heartbreak, he goes to kiss his beloved's cheek. But thankfully, his sorrow doesn't last for long since Claire sputters and shows she's still alive.
8. "I will return to ye, Sassenach."
When: Season 4, Episode 13, "Man of Worth." Jamie is trading himself for Roger with the Mohawk.
The Stakes: Jamie is about to sacrifice himself for their daughter's happiness and while he's already talking of escape, it's no guarantee. But unbeknownst to them, Young Ian has taken his uncle's place in the trade.
Touch Factor: They're passionately holding each other as Claire is resisting his farewell. His "Sassenach" prompts a kiss.
7. "Aye. I believe you, Sassenach. Although it would have been a good deal easier if you'd only been a witch."
When: Season 1, Episode 1, "The Devil's Mark." After Claire tells him she's from 200 years in the future following her witch trial.
The Stakes: Pretty fiery considering that Claire was almost just burned at the stake (well… pyre). But following the revelation that his wife is a time traveler, the 18th-century man believes her and manages to make a joke.
Touch Factor: Jamie delivers a gentle chin touch, followed by a kiss. He then kisses her forehead and strokes her hair. It's enough to make anyone melt, let alone a time traveler.
6. "No, Sassenach. I'm sure I wouldn't."
When: Season 1, Episode 13, "The Watch." Claire tells Jamie to haste back to Lallybroch "Or else... I will follow you. I will drag you back by your thick, red curls, and you won't like it one bit."
The Stakes: Jamie, the wanted man by the British, is going off on a dangerous expedition with the Watch. They won't see each other again until Wentworth Prison.
Touch Factor: Claire may have not intended things to get so steamy, but Jamie sure does as he goes in for a very sexy kiss followed by some very sexy eye-locking.
5. "Christ, to touch you, Sassenach."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." Jamie strokes Claire's body after they have had sex for the first time in 20 years.
The Stakes: Claire had no reason to worry that Jamie wouldn't want her as his speech about her white velvet skin proves.
Touch Factor: He's already stroking her, but he can't even finish saying, "Sassenach," before kissing her.
4. "It's always been forever for me, Sassenach."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." Claire has just asked if Jamie feels the same as he did when they first "lay together" after their reunion sex.
The Stakes: The deed is done, so the initial nerves may be over. But it's still nice to know Jamie's love for her is forever.
Touch Factor: He's earnest and raspy and the kissing commences again.
3. "Suppose ye might be, at that. But, d'ye know, Sassenach... I dinna think I care."
When: Season 3, Episode 6, "A. Malcolm." Claire has said, "I could be a horrible person for all you know," during their reunion.
The Stakes: The pair haven't had time alone in the bedroom yet.
Touch Factor: Jamie takes her breath away, so she touches his face and they make out. Too bad they are interrupted by the inhabitants of the brothel.
2. "So, Sassenach, are ye ready to go home?"
When: Season 1, Episode 1, "The Devil's Mark." Jamie has made the decision to send Claire back to her own time.
The Stakes: Claire isn't aware of Jamie's plan, thinking he means Lallybroch. So as he watches his love by the brook, he must resign himself to his heartbreaking task while feigning happiness for her sake.
Touch Factor: He holds out his hand and pulls her in for an abbreviated, but passionate, kiss.
1. "It doesn't matter, Sassenach. Hmmm? Don't you see how small a thing death is between us? … When my body dies, my soul will still be yours. Nothing is lost, Sassenach. Only changed."
When: Season 4, Episode 1, "America the Beautiful." The couple is having a rough day in their new land of America after Hayes is hanged and they have helped Stephen Bonnet evade his fate.
The Stakes: Despite the trying day, they are experiencing some peace as they camp for the night.
Touch Factor: The couple is relaxed with Jamie dropping a few "Sassenachs" as they sit by the fire, stroke one another, kiss, and get ready to make love. This is a mature Jamie and Claire in love and at peace together about to settle in their new home and what's better than that?