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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

BONDAGER, n. A tied farm-worker, latterly a female farmworker hired for specific tasks. Also used attrib. [′bɔndɪ̢dʒər]Sc. 1933 E. S. Haldane Scotland of our Fathers v.:
There was in the Border country nearly up to the seventies of last century a curious system of “bondagers” — i.e. a householder on a farm without an “outworker” in his own family undertook to have living with him a girl or boy who would work on the farm.
Fif. 1895 “S. Tytler” Kincaid's Widow ix.:
It might be a suitable plan for hinds or bondagers but not for people of our degree.
Hdg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 191:
The farm servants are generally bound to keep bondagers . . . that is, persons to work in the barn or fields when required.
Bwk. 1930 Punch (14 May) 539/2:
And the bondagers of Berwickshire are bonny lasses too.
Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (18 Oct.) 4/3:
A band of women workers in the quaint and not altogether unpicturesque “bondager” dress.

[See etym. of Bondage,n.]

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"Bondager n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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