Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOGLE, Boggle, Boogle, Bogill, n. and v.1 [bogl; bɔgl Sc.; bugl centr.–w.Rxb.]

I. n.

1. A ghost, spectre, phantom, causing fright. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Sc. Proverbs 150:
Ye're ower auld farren to be fleyed wi' bogles.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann, etc. 17:
The mune hung, deaved wi' sunset, no a spunk o' pride intill her, Nae better nor a bogle, till the licht was awa.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 62:
O'er the Grayfriars, whare, at mirkest hour, Bogles and spectres wont to tak their tour.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 94:
Auld folks wha liv'd in days o' yore, Could nightly tell us tales galore, 'Bout warlocks, witches, brownies, boggles, That sometimes ev'ry traveller oggles.

2. A scarecrow; applied also to human beings: a “fright.” Gen.Sc. Lnl. 1881 H. Shanks Musings under the Beeches 224:
Nor shall it be that thou at last, . . . Shalt duty do in tatie field. To bogle's back I'll never yield My coat!
Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor (1903) ii.:
I never cud unnerstaun' hoo yer brither Rubbert cud mairry sic an auld bogle.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Surfaceman's Later Poems 36:
It's an auld wife's story, to fricht the bairns, As a bogle frichts a craw.

3. A game. See phr. (1) infra.

4. Phrases: (1) bogle, bogle about the bush, bogle —, bogill about the stacks, a form of “hide-and-seek” played by young people. Cf. Barley-Brack(s), 2. Given as obs. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923; (2) bogle catch the fairy, id. (1) Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Bogill about the stacks, or simply, Bogle, a play of children or young people, in which one hunts several others around the stacks of corn in a barnyard. . . . The name has probably originated from the idea of the huntsman employed being a scare-crow to the rest.
Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Streams from Helicon 79:
We went to the Barn-Yard and play'd bogle about the Stacks.
Slk. 1755 J. Elliot Flowers of the Forest iv. in Songs of Scot. (ed. R. Chambers 1880) 23:
At e'en, in the gloaming, nae swankies are roaming 'Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play.
fig. Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) lxxi.:
I circumvented them — I played at bogle about the bush wi' them.
(2) Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems, etc. 193:
As round the rucks we jinking play, At “Bogle catch the fairy.”

5. Combs.: (1) bogle-bo, “hobgoblin or spectre” (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Gloss.); (2) bogle-day, see Buggle, n.1; (3) bogle keik, bo-peep, hide-and-seek. Cf. Bogie-Keek; (4) bogle-knowes, knolls supposed to be haunted by apparitions; †(5) bogle-rad, afraid of bogles, ghosts. Given as obs. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923, which gives also the form boogle-raad for s.Rxb. See Rad; ‡(6) bogle-ridden, idem. Given for ne.Rxb. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923; (7) bogle-shanks, ghostly shadows (legs); (8) bogle-wark, witchcraft, ghostly interference; (9) tatie-, tattie-bogle, a scarecrow set among growing potatoes. Often used fig. Gen.Sc. (1) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 173:
Or has some Bogle-bo Glowrin frae 'mang auld Waws gi'en ye a Fleg?
Rxb. c.1734 Anon. in Elegy on John Hasty, Hawick Arch. Soc. (1913) 56:
If a young swankie wi' his joe, In some dark nook play'd bogle-bo.
(3) fig. Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 168:
An' thae wha now his favour seek, Wad stand afar, An' ne'er play at him bogle keik.
(4) Peb. 1793 Carlop Green (ed. R. D. C. Brown 1832) 31:
The Loch where on its bottom deep Its kelpie's cot remains, The Glyn where the Kow-craig at nights Still bogle-knowes retains.
(5) Rxb. 1820 A.M. in Edin. Mag. (Aug.) 132:
The master being less “bogle-rad” than his servants . . . seized the wizard, and chastised him off hand.
(7) Sc. 1925 “Domsie” Sc. Poems, Hairst-mune:
Auld hairst-mune aboon the stooks, Fine I ken ye by your looks, . . . Cuistin' bogle-shanks for lang, When the hervesters are thrang.
(8) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet, Letter xi.:
Sir John hushed the matter up, and the funeral passed over without mair bogle-wark.
(9) Abd. 1929 N. M. Campbell in Sc. Readings, etc. (ed. T. W. Paterson) 55:
Preserve a' livin'. Is't a tatie bogle ye're tryin' to mak yersel'?
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger, etc. (1916) 20:
He was like a tattie-bogle, his claes flapp'd on his back.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems and Sketches 237:
The folk'll think it's a tattie bogle deserting his post if they see me in this state!

II. v. To bewitch, bamboozle. Sc. 1723 R. McWard Contendings 69:
To bogle us, with beautiful, and blazing Words, into that degree of compliance with the council-curates.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Slg.3 1935:
Bogle, properly, to terrify; but apparently used as signifying to enchant, bewitch, or blind.

[First quot. in D.O.S.T. (see bogill) from Dunbar (c.1500–c.1512). N.E.D. says that the word was introduced into Eng. in 19th cent., where boggle became the more common form. Deriv. is uncertain. Phs. connected with Welsh †bwg, ghost, hobgoblin, bwgwl, fear (Spurrell's Eng.-Welsh Dict.); Mid.Eng. bugge (14th cent.), terror, bugbear.]

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"Bogle n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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