Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DUNCH, Dunsh, v., n. Also dunsch, †dunge (em.Sc.(a) 1894 “I.Maclaren” Bonnie Brier Bush 208). Also in Eng. dial. [dʌnʃ]

I. v., tr. and intr.

1. To strike with a sharp blow, to knock, bump, push; in mod. use gen. to jog with the elbow, to nudge. Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. dunschin, a blow. Sc. 1819  Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
Here the cooper admonished his mother-in-law with his elbow . . . “Ye needna be dunshin that gate, John,” continued the old lady.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 178:
The roof, sae laigh, that you canna keep on your hat, or it'll be dunshed down atower your ee-brees.
Sc. 1846  Anon. Muckomachy 56:
Enarm'd wi' truncheons, Ready for dunschins.
Sc. 1887  Jam.6, Add.:
The boat dunched on the rock.
Abd. 1922  Swatches 84:
He wis furled aboot an faced John, fa dunched 'im doon in a cheer wi' a dird that made's teeth rattle again.
Edb. 1882  (3rd ed.) J. Smith Canty Jock 34:
Dunchin, an' winkin' at yin anither to keep awake.
Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 29:
I dunshed ane or twa beside me wi' my fit, and tellt them of the ploy.
Gall. 1901  Trotter Gall. Gossip 354:
Whiles they wud sweer at him, whiles they wud boo at him, an whiles they wud dunch him.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 1:
Cairts an hurlbarrihs an yirrint-vans an thing, that every-wee-bittie dunsht other i the strooshie.
Uls. 1897  A. M'Ilroy Lint in the Bell iv.:
Atween the auld wife dunchin' on the yin side, an' Betty Ann pookin' his coat tails on the ither, it was impossible tae get peace tae sing wi' ony degree o' comfort.

2. Of animals: to butt (Fif.13 1941; Cld. 1825 Jam.2; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 190, dunsh; Kcb. correspondents 1949; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). Vbl.n. and ppl.adj. dunching. Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 49:
The unco brute much dunching dried Frae twa-year-alls and stirks.
Dmf. 1823  Dmf. Courier (Sept.):
Down he tumbled . . . on the backs of the unoffending cows. They . . . returned the compliment by kicking and dunshing.
Ant. a.1873  F. Grose Gl., MS. Add.:
A dunching stirk — a steer or young bull that begins to butt before he has got horns.

Hence (1) duncher, dunsher, (a) a hornless cow given to butting (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs.; Uls. 1924 North. Whig (5 Jan.)); (b) in pl.: a child's word for railway buffers (m.Sc. c.1890); (2) dunchy, given to butting (Uls. 1916 C. C. Russell Ulster 38 0

II. n.

1. A blow, a bump, a smart push (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr., Gl. 691), esp. one with the elbow, a nudge (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Dim. dungel (wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 421). Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 40:
Lest Satan, wha is stannin girnin ahint our back, gie us a dunge when we're no mindin, and bury us in the brimstone.
Sc. 1886  R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped xiii.:
She . . . struck the reef with such a dunch as threw us all flat upon the deck.
Ags. 1860  A. Whamond James Tacket xxxi.:
He lichted wi' sic a dunsh on the pavement.
Lth. 1925  C. P. Slater Marget Pow 187:
I was preparin' to gie him the real facks o' the case, when Leeby gave me the maist awfu' dunch wi' her elby.
wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 457:
A bit dunch wi' the fit will made them [stones] come down.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 31:
Stair Whalbert . . . suddenly gied my arm a dunsh.
Kcb. 1893  S. R. Crockett Stickit Minister 86:
Gin I hadna gi'en ye that dunch, ye micht hae preachen nane at Cauldshaws this nicht.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 164:
But yet, what reck? we downa jook, We'll staun' a dunch, nor think o' fa'in'.
Dwn. 1911  F. E. Crichton Soundless Tide xv.:
A've hit me head some kind o' dunch.

Hence dunchie, dim., a child's game in which, while hopping on one leg, one child tries to upset another by bumping with the upper arm (Ayr. 1915; Slk. 1949).

2. A butt from an animal (Kcb.9, Kcb.10 1941). Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Sc. Verses 36:
Billy shied and wheeled roon' wi' a dunch like a ram, Heid ower heels doon the brae gaed Kate Galloway's Tam.
Uls. c.1920  J. Logan Uls. in X-Rays (2nd ed.) vi.:
If a cow gives you a “dunch” it means that she has given you a “knock” with her head.

3. Fig. Dim. dunchie.

†(1) A short, thick-set person (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Hence dunchy, “squat, short and thick” (Ib.).

(2) A hunk of bread. Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 202:
An' aiblins, whiles, an extra “dunchie”.

(3) “A bundle or truss of rags, straw, etc.” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 42, dunsch), a bunch. Abd. 1941 2 :
“There's a dunch o' bonnie dilse tae you, my dear,” said a fish-wife to a customer's daughter.

[O.Sc. has dunche, duns(c)h, to punch, thump, from a.1651, but the n. is not found. The v. appears in Eng. from the 13th cent. and the n. in the 15th. Of uncertain origin: either a nasalised form of Dush, v., n.1, q.v., or simply of onomat. origin, cf. Dunt. For fig. extensions cf. Dad, n.2, 3. and Dunt.]

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



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