Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

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. 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.”
Bnff.2 1941:
It's time 'at Bob wis reddin' oot that condie, I doot.
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.

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.

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.

[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.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2021 <>



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