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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

BONXIE, n. The Great Skua, Megalestris catarrhactes. [′bɔŋksi (Jak.)]Sh. 1774 G. Low Tour thro' Ork. and Schet. (1879) 99:
Here we find that remarkable bird the Skua, called here Bonxie.
Sh. 1821 Scott Pirate (1822) iv.:
See, the very shear-waters and bonxies are making to the cliff for shelter.
Sh. 1913 G. W. Stout in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. VI. iii. 137:
The traditional stories among the natives say that the “bonxie” formerly bred in the Fair Isle in numbers.
Sh. 1992 Bobby Tulloch A Guide to Shetland's Breeding Birds 49:
(Stercorarius shua)
shet: Bonxie or Skooi (Unst)
Sh. 1992 Observer 28 Jun 14:
Shetland's great skuas - or 'bonxies' as they are known on the islands - have been turning to cannibalism in a bid to survive, writes Callum Macrae. A drastic shortage of sand eels is thought to be at the root of the problem.
Sh. 1999 Laughton Johnston in Myra Sanderson Heritage Scotland Vol. 16 No. 2 22:
Inland there is a high ridge of peaty moorland, including the Ward of Petester (Hill of the Picts), on which nests the piratical and aggressive bonxie and waders such as the plivver (golden plover) and the plivver's page (dunlin).
Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour through . . . Ork. and Sh. 201–202:
Bonxie. Skua-gull. . . . This is the Port Egmont Hen of our circumnavigators. . . . It is also called skuie.

[Deriv. of O.N. bunki, heap, cf. Norw. bunke, heap, “corpulent woman” (Jak.), hence any dumpy body.]

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"Bonxie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Nov 2022 <>



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