Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PUSS, n. Also dim. forms poussie (Ayr. 1785 Burns 1st Ep. to J. Lapraik i.; Sc. 1812 Popular Opinions 69), poosie, -y (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 172; Rnf. 1878 Good Words 184), pusey (Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 151), pooshey (Uls. 1897 A. McIlroy Lint in the Bell x.), poushey (Lnk. 1838 J. Morrison McIlwham Papers Letter i.). Sc. forms and usages:

1. As in Eng.: a cat. Comb. and phr. (1) as quiet (calm, etc.) as pussie, “as quiet as a cat when watching for her prey” (Sc. 1825 Jam.); in a quiet tranquil manner (Ork. Bnff., Ags., sm.Sc., Uls. 1967); (2) pussy-baudrons, -bawdrons, an affectionate name for a cat (Mry. 1930; Abd. 1965). See also Baudrons; (3) pussy-cat, a catkin of the willow or hazel (Ayr. 1930); (4) red-nebbed pussy, the puffin, Fratercula arctica (Mry. 1930). See Neb. (1) m.Lth. 1811  H. MacNeill Bygane Times 50:
Big a dainty, neat bit housie, And live, when auld, as calm as pousie.
Fif. 1823  W. Tennant Cardinal Beaton 172:
A' quiet peaceable-livin' buddies yonder . . . frae the beathel up to the minister, as quiet's pussie, the hail tot o' them.
(2) Kcb. 1893  Crockett Raiders v.:
She listened, innocent as pussy-bawdrons thinking on the cream-jug.
Lnk. 1930  Scots Mag. (Jan.) 301:
Like pussy-badrans at the cream.

2. A hare (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 248; Bnff. 1925; Uls. 1967). Obs. or dial. in Eng. Comb. puss-pay, -pie, a hare pie. Ayr. 1790  Burns Tam o' Shanter 195:
As open pussie's mortal foes, When, pop! she starts before their nose.
Sc. c.1805  Jolly Beggars in
Child Ballads No. 279 A. ix.:
Out spak our goudwife, an she was not sae shay, He'se gett a dish of lang kell, besids a puss pay.
Ayr. 1824  A. Crawford Tales Grandmother 295:
On such days as he did not forgather with the unlucky hare, every thing prospered with him; while . . . the morning that witnessed his meeting with poor puss, was sure to be overclouded by some misfortune.
Sc. 1834  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1864) IV. 98:
“I howp poosie's tasty, sir?” “I have rarely ate a sweeter and richer leveret.”
Per. 1857  J. Stewart Sketches 105:
On yonder muir whaur poussie whids.
Dmf. 1863  R. Quinn Heather Lintie 71:
As aft through fiel's I chanced tae stray. An' lang-lugged pussy cam' my way.

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"Puss n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Mar 2018 <>



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