Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DEY, n.1 Also †dee, dei, dai, deigh. A dairymaid (Cai.7 1940, dei; n.Sc. 1808 Jam., Per. 1855 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 722, Lth., Twd. 1825 Jam.2, dee); “the person who has the superintendance of a dairy, whether that person be male or female” (Abd. 1770 N. & Q. (7th Series) IV. 22, dai, dei). [daɪ, †di:] Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems II. 168:
Blythsome Swains, Wha rant and dance, with kiltit Dees, O'er mossy Plains.
Ork. 1767  P. Fea MS. Diary (5 Sept.):
Engadged a Dey and Bowman.
Ork. 1931  in Orcadian (7 May):
Stinko waas rightly croos at dis bit o' neouse cis 'e waas trang after Divity's deigh.
Cai. 1872  M. Maclennan Peasant Life II. 169:
Ye'd make a faimous dey.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 70:
As they drew near, they heard an eldren dey, Singing fu' sweet at milking o' her ky.
Mearns a.1826  Lizzie Lindsay in Ballads (ed. Child) No. 226B. ix.:
My father, he is an auld shepherd, My mither, she is an auld dey.
Peb. 1793  Carlop Green (1817) ii. iii.:
And dees, wi' snoods, and kirtles blue, As glaiked as their tykes.

Comb.: dey-girl, -woman, idem. Sc. 1828  Scott F. M. Perth xxxii.:
The dey-girl . . . discovered that some one had taken away her grey frieze cloak.
The dey-woman . . . goes into the pantler's office with the milk.

[O.Sc. has dey-wyff, 1598, dey, 16 . . ; Mid.Eng. daie, deie, dairymaid, maidservant; O.N. deigja, dairymaid (Norw. bu-dei(gj)a, id.), cogn. with O.E. dge, a maker of bread: cf. the second syllable in lady (O.E. hlfdige). The dee form is irregular.]

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"Dey n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Oct 2018 <>



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