Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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COGGLE, Cogle, Kog(e)l, Cuggle, Kug(e)l, Kuggle, Kuggal, v.1 [kɔgl n.Sc., s.Sc.; kog(ə)l I.Sc., m.Sc.; kʌgl Ayr.]

1. intr.

(1) To rock, totter, shake (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., kuggle; 1914 Angus Gl., kuggal), “properly of something round or roundish, unable to rest on its foundation; also of anything having an unsubstantial foundation to rest on” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), kug(e)l, kog(e)l). Gen.Sc. Sc. 1824 J. E. Shortreed in Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 282–283:
We often travelled in an auld low-wheeled phaeton that he had, and a queer sight it was to see it cogglin' first up on ae side and then on the other as we gaed alang the burn or the brae sides.
Bnff. 1923 Bnffsh. Jnl. (19 June) 8:
We sat doon [in a boat] an' coggled aboot a' wye.
Abd. after 1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shepherd MS. 56:
Ae time upon a jaw they're cogling high That you wad think their masts wad hit the sky.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 137:
The wee bit boat — right grand I wyte — Comes coggling to the shore.

(2) With prep. ower: to overturn (Lnl.1 1937). m.Sc. 1931 J. M. Ressich in Glasgow Herald (8 Aug.):
Ane o' the wheels row'd clean aff an' the cairtie coggled richt ower an' smashed a shaft an' maist o' his gear.

2. tr. “To cause any thing to rock; or move from side to side, so as to seem ready to be overset” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.2, Abd.2 1937). Also followed by ower. Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To kugl a ting ower.

Hence (1) coggled, adj., shaky,.fig. muddled; (2) coggly, cogly, cuggly, adj., unsteady, easily overturned (Slg.3, Lnl.1 1937); also used as an adv.; (3) cogglety, id. (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). (1) Gsw. 1920 F. Niven Tale that is Told xi.:
Even he, who noted so little, and . . . generally saw it wrong and got a coggled impression, must have seen that Neil had a special friend in our home.
(2) Ags. 1934 (per Ags.1):
That thing's sittin' gey cogly.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 149:
It's amang the wee botheraations ye get knocked cogly. Ye sit on yer hat or get cross wi a ticht collar.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Thir Notandums 25:
At the trance door, Provost Painch's fit took the bass, and he being aye a wee cuggly onyway, he played stot against the door-cheek.
Kcb. 1930 Old Saying (per Kcb.2):
If ye dinna tak care, me and you will dance on a peat and ye'll get the coggly end o't.

[Origin uncertain. Perhaps from Eng. (now only dial.) coggle (itself of doubtful history), a rounded stone, such as would be unsteady to the tread, cf. etym. note to Coble, v. and n.1; or perhaps a frequentative formed from obs. Eng. cog, a small boat, from its rocking motion on the sea (the two earliest quots. refer to small boats, and the existenee of Coble, v. and Cockle, v.2 used in the same way would serve as precedent). It may, however, be imitative, cf. joggle, Shoggle, etc.]

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"Coggle v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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