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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

DOBBIE, Dobie, Doby, n., adj. Also doobie, -y, doubie, dowbie, dawbie. [′dɔbi. ′dubi]

1. n. Also in n.Eng. dial.

(1) A dull, stupid and clumsy person, a lout (Ags. 1910 Mrs J. B. Smith W.-L., dawbie; Fif.16 1948; Slg.3, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940; Rxb. 1825 Jam.2, 1923 Watson W.-B., dob(b)ie, ‡doobie, †dowbie); the dunce of a class (Fif.13 1940; Bwk. 1900 (per Abd.27), doobie; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also attrib.Sc.(E) 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xiii.:
We a' ken you for sic a notorious daidlin kind of a dobie wi' the lasses.
Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 58:
Whiles the doubie o' the school tak's lead o' a' the rest.
Edb.3 1929:
Up dux and doon doobie.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 21:
doobie A fool or idiot.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
He's a country dobbie.
Slk. 1832 Hogg Queer Bk. 44:
He shook his doby head.

†(2) A sprite, a brownie.Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
He . . . needed not to care “for ghaist or barghaist, devil or dobbie.”
s.Sc. c.1830 T. Wilkie in Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 93:
It was a custom with every person in the South of Scotland when they yirded (hid) money, to commit it to the protection of a Dobie, or a Brownie, or any tutelar saint of the family.

2. adj. “Dull, sullen” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., dooby).

[Phs. Dobbie, familiar variant of Robbie. For sense (2) of the n. cf. Robin Goodfellow.]

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"Dobbie n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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