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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Vag(e, Vaig(e, v. Also: wag(e, vague, waig, weag(e. [e.m.E. vage (1567), vague (1600), F. vaguer, L.vagāri.] intr.

1. a. To wander, roam, travel, journey (fra place to place, etc.). b. To wander, traipse, gad, hang about idly (on the streets, about, etc.). Also proverb. and fig.a., b. c1420 Wynt. v 3394.
Fra land to land In habit off mwnk he wes vagand [C. wauerande, W. wannand]
1498 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 74.
That na … bairnis be sene vagand on the gaitt nor yitt in the kirkis
1541 Elgin Rec. I 61.
James Falconer sall conduce him with ane master and not to pas vagane within this bruchg
1549 Compl. 111/9.
Metellus hed vagit vp and doune there ane lang tyme
1581–2 Elgin Rec. I 165.
1604 Aberd. B. Rec. II 251.
It sall not be lesum to any persone … to be fund nor sene vagand nor gangand on the streittis [etc.]
1604 Rec. Old Aberd. I 34.
1606 Craig ii 27.
The blind … archer … A libertine … With ayre-deuiding wings … Hee vaging went
c1620 Boyd Fl. Zion Exc. viii/2.
Thou idle boy, thus vagueing here and there
1640 Maister George Blacke His Masterlesse Men 16.
Bishops have been wand'ring stars, vaging from kirk & court
1645 St. A. Presb. 25.
1653 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 61.
Compeirit Robert Stewart wagobound and enactit himselff newer to be seine wageing but sould imploy him selff in sume lawfull caling
a1658 Durham Scandal (1740) 17.
To vague and gad, and cast off all duties
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii xxvi § 4.
The reason why women are excluded from witnessing, must be either that … it might … make them subject to too much familiarity with men … if they were necessitated to vague up and down at all courts
1684 Banff Ann. II 57.
If they [sc. children] be found playing or vaging about again
1693 Lanark B. Rec. 248.
They doe strictly prohibite … all persons … to goe in company or vage to the fieldis … one that day
(b) 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 21.
That na … dog or cat, vaig abrod in tyme of pest
1587 Acts III 509/1.
The saidis strangers … sall remane within this realme at thair work and sall not vaig thairfra during the … space of fyve ȝeiris
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI 98.
The saidis … beggaris … ar sufferit to vaig and wander throuchoute the haill cuntrey
1608 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 47.
That na servandis … vaig and drink in ostler housis
1624 Linlithgow B. Rec. 4 Dec.
Giue any of the watche faill in thair watcheing and be fund fra the samein waigand to pay xl s.
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 311.
Students … vaigand … within their town, armed with swords
1644 Kinghorn Kirk S. 55.
[They] were vaiging and going to landward for milk in tyme of sermon
1647 Elgin Rec. I 181.
Allexander Glasse, violer … became … actit … not to be found playing nor waiging in the night tyme
1649 Dunferm. Kirk S. 31.
Those who are … vaiging out of thair house
1684 Hay Fleming Six Saints II 194.
I … obleidges me … that the said Patrick Walker shall live regularly, and not to vaige in armes against his Majestie [etc.]
1695 Banff Ann. I 166, 167.
They doe … prohibit … all persons … to vaige or walk idly in the streets … or … goe furth off ther maister's family that day ether idly to walk or waig on the streets, in the feilds or wther wayes
(c) 1624 Elgin Rec. II 184.
George Forbes … acted himself not to prophane, weag nor vse any prophane or lewd pasteme on the Sabothe day nor weage about Spynie hareing nestis the tyme of preitching
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 637.
Hap weill vaig weill as the blind man cuist his staf
fig. 1596 Dalr. I 289/21.
[He] louset a brydle to thame to vaig in quhat lust or leicherie lyket thame best

2. fig. a. Of the mind, attention, etc.: To wander. b. In a discourse, etc.: To wander from the text or subject, to ramble.a. a1599 Rollock Wks. I 441.
We wer out of our richt wit, rebellis to God, wavering and vaging out of the richt way
1604-31 Craig ii 160.
Though wauering wits in time will vaige
1638 Johnston Diary I 381.
To … stirre up the mynds of his people quho … in thair ordinary churche … wald haive sleiped or vaiged
1652 Johnston Diary II 169.
Found my sprit vaiging whyl my hand [was] wryting
a1658 Durham Blessedness Death (1682) 40.
Sleep not neither let your minds vaig and wander
1659 A. Hay Diary 132.
I went about my weeklie search and found that the Lord has been very kind … unto me in restraining … my predominants and yet my heart hes vaiged much
1664 Pitcairn Spiritual Sacrifice 630.
Suffer his mind to vag and be diverted with trifles
b. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 145/1.
That thaye uague not from thaire text in the pulpite
1600-1610 Melvill 445.
The king sould be judge if a minister vag from his text in pulpit
1638 Adamson Muses Thr. 93.
Said Gall, monsier, you vaig
1643 Baillie II 109.
When a question is once ordered, there is no more debate of that matter; but if a man will vaige, he is quicklie taken up by Mr. Assessor

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"Vag v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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