Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BODACH, BODDACH, n. [′bodəx, ′bɔdəx]

1. “An old man” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6; Cai.8 1934). Often used in a more or less contemptuous way. Sc. 1924  P. MacGillivray in Scots Mag. (July) 241:
Twa bodachs, I mind, had a threep yae day, Aboot man's chief end.
Arg. 1882  Argyllsh. Herald (3 June):
It didna dae the boddach nae guid.

2. A person of small stature. Sc. 1934  A. Fraser Herd of the Hills 247:
He told of how Alicky Mag, the daft wee bodach that he was, had been taken away at last.
n.Sc. 1898  E.D.D.;
2 :
The new doctor's jist a wee bit bodach. dim. bodachan.
Sc. 1916  M. and J. Findlater Seen and Heard I. 42:
A braw bodachan ye'll mak' o' the bairn.

3. “Used by Scott and others in the sense of a spectre, bugaboo” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6). Sc. 1827  Scott Highland Widow i.:
Oh! then the mystery is out. There is a bogle or a brownie, a witch or a gyre-carlin, a bodach or a fairy, in the case?
n.Sc. 1898  E.D.D.:
In ye binna quayet, the bodach ill cum doon the lum an' tak ye.

4. “A familiar name for the devil” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

5. Fish names: (1) ‡bodach, “the small ringed seal, Phoca foetida” (n.Sc. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); (2) in comb. bodachruadh, “the red gurnard: also the red rock cod” (Arg. 1936 L. M'Innes Dial. S. Kintyre).

[Gael. bodach, an old man, a churlish old man, a mutchkin. O.Sc. has boddoch, a mutchkin, early 17th cent. (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Bodach n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



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