Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CADGER, n. Used in Sc. as in St.Eng. to mean a travelling hawker (chiefly of fish), or beggar, but note the following peculiarly Sc. uses.

1. “A person of a disagreeable temper” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 21; Bnff.2, Abd.22 1938).

2. In proverb: The King's Errand may come in the Cadger's Gate (Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs 62), the king will come in the cadger's road, a great man may need the services of a humble one. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.22, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1938. Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies of Lennox 175:
I telt ye then that the day micht come when the king would come in the cadger's road, an' ye micht be gled o' a nicht's lodgin's frae me.

3. In phrs.: (1) cadger's brose (see quot.); (2) cadger's dizzen = 13 (Cai.7 1938); (3) cadger's news, stale news (Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.10 1938); (4) cadger's whips, used by children learning to write to indicate letters such as r which have a curve resembling the whip of the cadger; known to Ags.1, Ags.17 1938; (5) to bolt the cadger, to cowp —, to vomit (Ags.1 1938; Ags.17 1938, cowp — ). (1) Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 199:
Cadger's Brose is like aigar brose [see Aigars], only the meal is placed among boiling water in a little pan, and stirred till all the lumps are broken.
(3) Ags.(D) 1890 Brechin Advertiser (20 May) 3/4:
It's nae doot cadger's news to tell you 'at wir dear native land abounds in such beautiful glimpses.
(4) Ags. 1880 Arbroath Guide (6 March) 4/4:
We first began wi' links an' hooks, An' syne wi' cadger's whips an' crooks.
(5) Ags. 1894 Brechin Advertiser (26 June) 3/4:
Puir things, they paid the piper by boltin' the cadger.

[See etym. note to Cadge, v.1]

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"Cadger n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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