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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

CUNDY, CONDY, Cundie, Kundie, n., v. Also condie (Per. 1975). Sc. forms of Eng. conduit. Found also in n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). [′kʌndi, ′kɔndi]

I. n

1. A covered drain, a sewer or the entrance to a drain (Ags.17, Fif.13 1941); “an arched passage, for conducting, under a road, the water collected by drains from wet grounds on the upper side of the road” (Ayr. 1825 Jam.2, cundie; Rnf.1 c.1920); a tunnel, or passage. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. (Cai., Dundee, Arg., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 33:
whuin monie coals were gy nearhaun
the surface o the grallocht grun,
the maist o colliers' hames were haundie
til pitheid, juist abuin the cundie.
Cai. 1916 Old Cai. Croft in John o' Groat Jnl. (14 April):
The ground was then trenched and drained by “rubble” or metal drains. The drains emptied themselves into a leader or “cundy.”
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 156:
What brocht Alison fae London to live here? Did she rob a bank? Crash through the swing doors, arms raxed wi the weicht o money in pocks wi loot written on them, like in the comics. Bells ringing - stash the cash doon some cundy and off north on the train, wi sunglasses for a disguise.
Bnff.2 1941:
It's time 'at Bob wis reddin' oot that condie, I doot.
Dundee 1994 Matthew Fitt in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 174:
"Waatch whar ye're gaein, ya eejit." The aippul seller wis fumin bit the young lad didnae sei him, didnae even heer him. He wus doon an alang the street afore the first aippul hud tummilt intae the cundie.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 10:
the word fur cundie in bulgarian is okap
- eh, eh ken.
Fif. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (31 July) 4:
A child was found dead under a condie, or covered water track.
Lth. 1945 A. Struthers in Weekly Scotsman (14 April):
“It [rabbit] jinked doon that ‘cundy,'” he said, pointing to a dry, covered-in drain at the foot of the garden.
Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 38:
Had a lozen been broken, a kundie chok't up . . . Feint a ane could hae dune't but Kate Galloway's Tam.
Ayr. 1989:
cundy [I've heard this used for a conduit or culvert carrying water beneath a path or road].

2. A passage of the body; a vein.Sc.(E) 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 36:
Ben in the bodie o' the baest It was nor day nor nicht, For a' the condies o' its bluid Low'd wi' a laich, reid licht.

3. “Sometimes used to denote a grate, or rather the hole covered by a grate, for receiving dirty water, that it may be conveyed into the common shore [sewer]” (Ags. 1825 Jam.2); the sunk space, covered by a grating, sometimes found outside shop windows.Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 179:
A thorough examination of the “cundies” under shop windows was made and any treasure trove lifted therefrom.

4. “A hole in a stone wall, for the passage of sheep” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.):. “hare holes through dykes” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 154).Lth. [1801] J. Thomson Poems (1819) 163:
And gif she [hare] to a cundy goes, Nae Sportsman guid will her expose A second time, to face her foes.
sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
cundy 2. a hare-hole in dyke.

5. “An apartment, a place for lodging; more strictly a concealed hole” (Ags. 1808 Jam., cundie). Used fig. = a sheltered nook.Ags. 1894 A. Reid Sangs 100:
The Harbour-craig gied them a beild, Its cundies huid the watchfu' e'e.

6. Mining: (1) the unfilled space between the pack walls after the coal has been removed (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 22; 1946 J. Black in Letter (16 Oct.)); the “waste”; †(2) “in steep long-wall workings, a narrow roadway without rails, down which mineral is rolled to be loaded into hutches at the bottom; a small roadway or aircourse” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 22).

7. Comb.: cundy (condie)-hole, (1) = 1. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2); (2) = 4.(1) Sc.(E) 1938 W. Soutar in Scots Mag. (April) 20:
Or lang he [mouse] cam to his ain door Doun be a condie-hole.
(2) Rxb. 1807 J. Ruickbie Wayside Cottager 109:
I mind whan neighbour Hewie's sheep, Through Wattie's cundy-holes did creep And eat the corn.

II. v. See quot. and cf. n. 6. Sc. 1950 Scotsman (12 Jan.):
"Wullie, there's a stoppage doon there, ye'll hae tae cundy some o' yir coal." That means stuffing coal into the waste to be lost for all time.

[O.Sc. has cundit, etc., a (covered) channel for water, etc., a conduit, 1513, also condit, an underground passage, 1490, a passage of the body, 1456, etc. (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cundy n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2022 <>



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