Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ONGANG, n., v. Also -geng. See Gang, v. [′ongɑŋ]

1. The starting up or setting in motion of a piece of machinery, esp. a mill (Bnff. 1880 Jam.; Abd. 1964). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 120:
The drum broke jist at the on-gang o' the mill.

2. The start of grazing by store-cattle after wintering indoors, in phr. the ongang o' the girse. Abd. 1952  Buchan Observer (6 May):
We are at that critical period, dubbed “The Ongang o' the Girse,” that is when the store cattle are turned afield to graze for the season.

3. Rowdy or unrestrained behaviour, antics (Abd.7 1925; Sh. (-g(y)eng), Abd. 1964). Also in vbl.n. ongangin. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 120:
The ongang it they keepit wee ane anither wiz jist ugfou.
Gsw. 1868  J. Young Poems 33:
For my ain part I canna quarrel Wi' the on-gangin o' the warl.
Kcb. 1897  Crockett Lads' Love ix.:
Ye'll break your mither's heart wi' your ongangin'!
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 21:
A meind o wunderin its folk dinna think black burnin shame o it [a lorry]s ongangeen!

[On-, pref.1, + Gang.]

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"Ongang n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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