Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CADGE, v.1 and n.1 [kɑdʒ]

1. v., tr. and intr. Given in N.E.D. as obs. exc. dial., but included in the Un. Eng. Dict. in sense (3), and in Concise in senses (1) and (3).

(1) tr. To hawk or peddle wares; “to go about from place to place collecting articles for sale, as eggs, butter, poultry, etc.” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6). Gen.Sc. Also used fig. of a person, see first quot. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 200:
E'er I t'Apollo did ye cadge, And got ye on his Honour's Badge, Ungratefou Beast! A Glasgow Capon and a Fadge Ye thought a Feast.
Abd. 1928  J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 10:
Fa but a feel wid cadge manures An' seeds on sic a day?
Edb. 1895  J. Tweeddale Moff xi.:
But, at any rate, Johnnie took to the road, and had cadged between Preencod and Scuttlebridge.
Kcb. 1894  S. R. Crockett Raiders v.:
I'll never be grocer, nor yet chandler. . . . I wad cadge keel first.

(2) tr. To carry loads, parcels, etc. (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1938). Also fig. to carry (tales). Sc. 1895  “N. Roy” Horseman's Word xxxix.:
A strappin' deam to cadge a creel or gather sheaves at hairst-time.
Lnk. 1838  McIlwham Papers (ed. J. Morrison) Letter i. 8:
I wish . . . to mention to ye a report a Rafrilan' chiel has cadged ower wi' him, an' which I ken to be a lie.
Ayr. 1858  M. Porteous Souter Johnny 11:
Tam's weary naigs, that on the road Frae Carrick shore cadg'd monie a load.

(3) intr. To beg, sponge; “to beg from house to house for alms” (Arg.1 1929); to loaf or skulk about with the idea of picking up food, etc. Known to Cai.7, Bnff.2, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1938. “To do any mean or contemptible work” (Gsw. 1910 (per Ayr.1)). Abd. 1932  D. Campbell Bamboozled 6:
Cadge roon like the sooter's loonie; he collecks doses [of cigarette cards].
Bwk. 1856  G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 81:
Clarty Kirstan . . . cadgin' up and cadgin' down.

2. n. In phrs.: (1) to be on the cadge, to be engaged in begging; †(2) to lay on the cadge, to beg or bargain skilfully. (1) Kcb. 1914 6 :
I'm on the cadge the day for the Sustentation Fund.
(2) Sc. 1832–1846  W. Finlay in Whistle-Binkie (2nd Series) 68:
What a skilful tradesman he turn'd out — he could “lay on the cadge” better than ony walleteer that e'er coost a pock o'er his shouther.

[The v. does not appear in O.Sc., although the n. cadgear, an itinerant dealer in fish, etc. (c.1470–1480), and cadge, a round for begging in (1692), are both given in D.O.S.T. Origin uncerain; perhaps connected with Eng. catch.]

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"Cadge v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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