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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AGLEY, AGLEE, adv., adj. (See also Glee, Gleed.) [ə′gli:, ə′gləi Sc., but n.Sc. ə′gləi only.]

1. (Properly) asquint; hence, gen., off the straight, awry, obliquely. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1887 R. L. Stevenson Underwoods, Lowden Sabb. Morn xx.:
Or lads that tak a keek a-glee At sonsie lasses.
Sc. 2002 Scotsman 20 Nov 14:
It will be another reason for lying awake, as I sometimes do in the small hours, wondering where it all went agley and realising that it's going to take more than one sleepless night to sort out and wonder if the effort is worth it.
Sc. 2003 Press and Journal 15 Nov 7:
The unacceptable language of the spokesman for the commission indicates a degree of panic that their best-laid schemes have been rumbled and are about to gang agley.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 7:
"Ye spakk!" skirled he, clean bumbazed. Syne, seein Molly McKenzie frae Primary Six luikin agley at him, he fuspered insteid. "Ye spakk," quo he, in a sma voice.
Arg.1 1928:
"Gleed" is the commoner word, but "aglee" occas. heard - e.g. "His plooin wuz aa aglee."
Gsw. 2003 Sunday Herald 6 Jul 14:
But if my plans for a gap decade gang agley, I will be happy to return to full-time work.
  Dmf. 1830 R. Brown ed. Mem. Curl. Mab. 71:
Wi' canny hand they neist play down Their stanes o' glibber metal; Yet bunkers aften send aglee Although they weel did ettle.
Gall. 1824 J. MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 10:
Aglee — Not direct, off at a side; when the target is missed at shootings by a marksman, he is said to have shot aglee.

2. fig., of anything irregular, of error, or of moral obliquity: wrong, awry. Gen.Sc.Abd.(D) 1882 W. Alexander Life Among My Ain Folk 220:
A body mith gae farrer agley, aw daursay, nor licken't to ane o' yon chiels.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 16:
And, nee'bours, mind ye, the warld's a-gley Or we couldna see what we've seen the day.
m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 79:
It wisna lang ere somethin gaed agley. A muckle bourach o brush-wuid gat sweepit doonstream towards Ag and Eck, and it hit them wi an awfu dunt.
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Alan Jamieson A Day at the Office 79:
''Forget it. What's happening?''
''Everything. Smooth as planned. Nothing agley.''
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 72:
Their own plans would be sent considerably agley when Dugald stepped ahead of them in line of succession, for they had long since made arrangements to split Sir John's land into three, and even decided which areas would make the fairest packages for each of them.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Misc. Poems I. 67:
We haena mense like cruel man; Yet tho' he's paukier far than we, Whatreck, he gangs as aft aglee.
Lnk. 1881 (publ.) D. Thomson (d. 1870) Musings, etc. 226:
Nae wonner then folk gang agley, When greed's the ruling passion.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Mouse vii.:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men Gang aft agley.
Ayr. 1836 J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1845) 172:
Twa facts she constantly could see . . . To wit, her neighbour aye aglee, Hersel' for ever right.
Gall. 1824 J. MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 10:
Those, too, who follow what nature never intended them to follow are said to guide the genius Aglee.
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms xiv. 3:
Thaye ar a' gane aglee. [A.V. gone aside.]
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) IV. 85:
That lad, gin I dinna forecast aglee, wad do credit to ony kin.
Uls.2 1929:
Aglee: awry, wrong.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 77:
I could debate that, he thought. Dan Drummond has no equal here as a consumer of ink. 'On the matter of the factor looking into books, I think you're somewhat agley, Wishart. He tells me he's read the King's discourses on demonology - '

[A, pref.1 + Glee, Gley, q.v. O.Sc. has aglied, adv. = squintingly (1603, quot. in D.O.S.T.), but usually the adj. gleid, gleyd.]

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"Agley adv., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Nov 2022 <>



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