Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AGLEY, AGLEE, adv., adj. (See also Glee, Gleed.) [ə′gli:, ə′gləi Sc., but n.Sc. ə′gləi only.]

1. (Properly) asquint; hence, gen., off the straight, awry, obliquely. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1887  R. L. Stevenson Underwoods, Lowden Sabb. Morn xx.:
Or lads that tak a keek a-glee At sonsie lasses.
Arg. 1928 1 :
“Gleed” is the commoner word, but “aglee” occas. heard — e.g. “His plooin wuz aa aglee.”
Dmf. 1830  R. Brown ed. Mem. Curl. Mab. 71:
Wi' canny hand they neist play down Their stanes o' glibber metal; Yet bunkers aften send aglee Although they weel did ettle.
Gall. 1824  J. MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 10:
Aglee — Not direct, off at a side; when the target is missed at shootings by a marksman, he is said to have shot aglee.

2. fig., of anything irregular, of error, or of moral obliquity: wrong, awry. Gen.Sc. Abd.(D) 1882  W. Alexander Life Among My Ain Folk 220:
A body mith gae farrer agley, aw daursay, nor licken't to ane o' yon chiels.
Ags. 1921  V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 16:
And, nee'bours, mind ye, the warld's a-gley Or we couldna see what we've seen the day.
Rnf. 1813  E. Picken Misc. Poems I. 67:
We haena mense like cruel man; Yet tho' he's paukier far than we, Whatreck, he gangs as aft aglee.
Lnk. 1881  (publ.) D. Thomson (d. 1870) Musings, etc. 226:
Nae wonner then folk gang agley, When greed's the ruling passion.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To a Mouse vii.:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men Gang aft agley.
Ayr. 1836  J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1845) 172:
Twa facts she constantly could see . . . To wit, her neighbour aye aglee, Hersel' for ever right.
Gall. 1824  J. MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 10:
Those, too, who follow what nature never intended them to follow are said to guide the genius Aglee.
s.Sc. 1857  H. S. Riddell Psalms xiv. 3:
Thaye ar a' gane aglee. [A.V. gone aside.]
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1837) IV. 85:
That lad, gin I dinna forecast aglee, wad do credit to ony kin.
Uls. 1929 2 :
Aglee: awry, wrong.

[A, pref.1 + Glee, Gley, q.v. O.Sc. has aglied, adv. = squintingly (1603, quot. in D.O.S.T.), but usually the adj. gleid, gleyd.]

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"Agley adv., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



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