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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BODY, BODIE, BOADY, BUDDY, Bothie, n. Used as in St.Eng. In the sense of a human being, a person, an equivalent of the pron. one, oneself, it seems to have a wider range than in St.Eng. It may imply sympathy or contempt, the degree or quality of which is often indicated by an accompanying adj. Buddy is never used for the human body dead or alive. [′bodi, ′bɔdi, ′bʌdi Sc.; ′bɔðɪ̢ Ork., Bnff.]

 Sc. form of Eng. body.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 38:
Wan mair word fae you an' Ah'll brekk yir boady!
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 35:
Aw the lines wur doon, but there wiz boadies strung oot alang the pylons. Wan poor bastard wiz starkers.
Sh. 1991 William J. Tait in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 45:
An hert an sowl an boady seem
Pickit wi aa da bloed an ime
O history:
m.Sc. 1994 Mary McCabe Everwinding Times 93:
"Ach thae films is fur weans. Ah go mair fur Brigitte Bardot." Woody sniggered. "Whit a boady."

1. A human being, a person. = Fr. on, Ger. man, freq. in reference to the speaker's self. Gen.Sc. A bodie's sel, oneself (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923-6 Wilson; ne.Sc. 1975). Sc. c.1770 Hume in E. Mossner Life (1954) 370:
Lord canna ye let a Body amuse themselves without always clattering.
Sc. 1930 M. P. Roy in Scots Mag. (Dec.) 189:
Ma man, a bird that speaks like a buddy is no' nateral.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 77:
Bit what tripped me, whither it wus bothie, bockie or baest, Lord ken o' me, as I ken no'.
Mry. 1716 A. & H. Tayler 1715 (1936) 287:
Pleadging the most valouable things a bodie may have.
Abd.4 1930:
Tramp on a buddy's fit, ye tak' their lad fae them.
m.Sc. 1983 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 62:
Alan Bold convinces me of my wasted anger, my closed mind, that I am a bodie, both harmless and nesty, a gangster (a clansman?), a literary pitter-in o the boot, a lost causer, nostalgic for the past whose battles I still re-fight, have an inferiority complex, have never understood that my first duty is to myself, and a typical Scot.
Gsw. 1889 J. Houston Autobiography 174:
Yes, I am wantin' her. I wish ye wad gang and get her tae a body.
Ayr. a.1796 Burns Comin thro the Rye iii.:
Gin a body meet a body Comin thro' the rye.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxiii.:
“It's a nesty mornin', it's waur than a guid shower” he continued “for it seems to wat a body into the very soul.”

Phr.: nae ither bodie, no other body, no one else. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1758 D. Hume Life (Burton 1846) II. 42:
It was indeed my advice to him, when he set out for London, that he should think of no other body.

2. Also buddie, budy. With an adj. (or its equivalent), gen. indicating a varying degree of contempt or sympathy. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1989 Scotsman 31 Jan 10:
The host [Billy Kay] rejected Kay's Miniatures on the grounds people would assume he was talking to "wee toty buddies in Scots."
Bnff.(D) 1847 A. Cumming Tales of the North i. 58:
Ignorant bothies, that dinna ken a single saint's day, nor wouldna ken ae Sunday frae anither o' the calendar.
Ags.9 1926; Fif.1 1935:
She's a cantie buddy. (When a dead person is spoken of the word used is “boady.” This distinction is always observed.)
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 25:
'Aye. On ye go, son. Bleed yer sapsy liberal hert dry, why don't ye. Listen, if ye find oot he was a nice Christian buddy eftir aw, keep yer geggie shut or ye'll be oot o work again.'
Edb. 1756 Mrs Calderwood Letters, etc., in Blackw. Mag. (1885) 367:
A very civill body, just like Mr Cunninghame, the packman.
Edb. 2003:
The puir auld buddie up the stair has sterted tae get a bit daunered.
wm.Sc. 1975 William McIlvanney Docherty (1985) 76:
'That's a maiden lady in there, sur. An auld budy. ... '
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 48:
He was overtaken by thunderstorm and such a lashing of rain as he had not seen in years, as he plodded across a stretch of empty moorland. Sodden and chilled to the heart with cold and disappointment he stumbled towards a cottage under a curving rim of woodland. A sensible motherly body took in the old knitter-soldier, blanketed him, set him down at the ingle to a jug of ale, and dried out his clothes with scarcely a word spoken on either side before he took the road home to Strathaven.
Arg. 1995:
It wid be different if it wis some ould buddy.
Gsw. 1991 Maud Devine in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 123:
ma cairn
stane oan stane
aye cheyngin aye growin
wurd chukkies wurd bools cast
a mountain
bi trauchled boadies
a puddin hill o reachin
frae yin oanganger ti anither.
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 15:
A stooping, stout auld buddie taks her
painfou wey, mumblin, stumblin and slaw.
Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales of my Grandmother 186:
He'll hae a good downsittin' for ony woman body that he may tak' a fancy to. [So also a gangrel, a teyler, a beylie body.]
Gall. 1877 “Saxon” (ed.) Gall. Gossip 76:
Jock McMaster was a drucken dwabble o' a buddy.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 23:
The hump of the plaid was only too familiar, 'It's thon fearsome bodie from the tavern!'

3. A little or puny person; a child, gen. one of a large family.Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Bnff.2 1935:
He's but a bodie.
Ags. 1825 Jam.2; Fif.1 1935:
Ane of the bodies is no weel.

4. “A great number” (Bnff.2 1935).Ags.9 1927; Fif.1 1935:
Applied to fish. “There's a boady o' mackerel i' the bay.”

5. Combs: (1) a' body's (bodies') bodie: (a) a general favourite. Gen.Sc.; (b) a sycophant. Not so common; (2) body-bulk, used adv., as large as life, neck and crop (ne.Sc. 1975); (3) body keind, human being; (4) body-like, alive and unharmed. Given in N.E.D. as adj. and adv. with quots. 1570–1674.(1) (a) Edb. 1832–1846 J. Ballantine in Whistle-Binkie (3rd Series 1842) 27:
For she smiled an' she smirkit till a', man, Growing a' bodies' bodie, baith muckle an' wee, An' our folk wadna let her awa, man.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 64:
Get ye that bra' wallie name, O' ilka body's body.
Ayr. 1882 J. Hyslop Dream of a Masque 160:
Yet I wadna be a' bodies' lassie Like mony fule gawkies I ken.
(b) Ags. 1990s:
A'body's body: a sycophant.
Lth. 1898 E.D.D.:
A' body's bodie. Often used disparagingly of a time-server.
(2) Abd. 1925 H. Beaton Benachie 47:
Annie wid hae been aweirs o' pittin' her oot, body-bulk.
(3) Rxb.(D) 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 12:
No a leevin sowl — no a body keind — did A sei aa-the-gate doon Jedseide.
(4) Abd. [1768] A. Ross Helenore (1778) 72:
And fand for a' the din she was na dead; But sitting body-like, as she sat down, But ony alteration, on the ground.

6. Usu. Buddy = Paisley bodie s.v. Paisley 1. (2); a supporter of St Mirren Football Club. Also attrib. Sc. 1999 Herald 11 Sep 4:
Not long afterwards arose the cruel jest that St Mirren supporters, practising the prudent thrift of Paisley people, had learned how to go through turnstiles with both hands in their pockets. There are other tested ways to skip the toll, without the blessing of this Buddy talent or the hazard of scaling the perimeter wall.
Edb. 2004:
St Mirren supporters are called 'Buddies'. Ah've never heard them called 'Paisley Buddies' - besides ye ken they're fae Paisley because they support St Mirren!
Rnf 1990 Herald 22 Nov.:
They have their own words. Even to call themselves they have a word of their own. They call themselves Buddies. Why Buddies? Why Seestu? These are basic questions which political writers have not had the time or patience to address.

[O.Sc. body, boidye; bothy was used also in sense of person, one, oneself, as above; O.E. bodig.]

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"Body n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 May 2024 <>



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