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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

EGG, n. Also eeg (Sh.). Sc. usages:

I. Phrs.: 1. aff (o') one's eggs, (1) mistaken, in error (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Ork., ne., m., s.Sc. 1945); (2) nervous or “jumpy” (Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Kcb. 1945; Dmf. 2000s); 2. a peeled egg, fig., a rich inheritance; sometimes found as a farm-name in ne.Sc. (Abd.27 1950); 3. to brak (break) an egg, a curling term, see also Brak, v., Phr. (2); 4. to cast eggs, to tell fortunes by breaking eggs, see also Cast, v., I. 23. (2); 5. to crack an egg, = 3.; see Crack, v., 5. (2).1. (1) Rnf. 1792 A. Wilson Poems (1844) 207:
And troth my lads ye're aff your eggs.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
“Ye're a' aff your eggs, and on cauld chuckie-stanes.” The allusion is evidently to a fowl leaving her eggs, or sitting on something else, supposing they are under her.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxxvii.:
Ah! ye ken naething about it — ye ne'er was farther aff your eggs in thinking sae.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 62:
“Woman, your education's been sairly neglected.” “Ye're aff your eggs there, guidman, for Cockie Mitchell . . . gied me as guid a schulein' as his abeelities wad allow.”
Sh. 1897 Sh. News (18 Sept.):
Na, boy, doo's aff o' dy eggs for wance.
Ayr. 1902 P. McConnell Agric. Geology 291:
As a matter of judging by its horns, the learned professor is slightly off his eggs.
(2) Ayr. 1833 J. Galt Stories of the Study Vol. II 210:
He didna appear to me, what a reformer ought to be...Accordingly, I was a little off my eggs.
Abd. 1922 J. Wight in Swatches 56:
Tam Toshach wis ower sair aff's eggs tae sit quaitlins doon aside Tibbockie Gowan.
2. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 369:
You have come to a peel'd Egg. Spoken to those who have got an Estate, Place or Preferment ready prepar'd for their hand; or as the English say, Cut and dry.
Fif. 1865 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvii.:
Here was a peeled egg that few hae the like o' to sit doon till when they first enter into the matrimonial state.
Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 20. 36:
The reactionary Parties who have won New Zealand and Australia from Labour are lucky to have inherited prosperous countries, or, to use an homely expression, “twa gude peeled eegs.”
3. Lnk. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 56:
Just break an egg on't — gi'e him days, Supe, supe him up — another says.
4. Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 71:
I've casen eggs this fourty year, To mony a lad an' lass; An' what I said, baith douce an' queer, Has ever come to pass.
Abd. c.1830 Sc. N. and Q. (1st Series) IV. 52:
Boys used to look forward to the feast of Shrove Tuesday or Fasterns Even with favourable remembrances of tasty “sauty bannocks” and “castin' o' the eggs” for fortune-telling.

II. Combs.: 1. egg-bed, the ovary of a fowl (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.2 1927); also used fig. of the mind; 2. egg-creel, an egg-basket; 3. egg-doup, (1) the broad end of an egg, see Doup, n.1; †(2) a woman's cap shaped behind like the end of an egg, hence ppl.adj. egg-doupit; ‡4. egg-paulder, egg merchant (Abd.4 1929, Abd.27 1950); 5. egg-scurm, egg-shell (Sh.10, Ork.5 1948); see also Scurm; 6. egg-siller, money obtained from the selling of eggs (Bnff., Abd., Ags., m.Lth. 1945); 7. egg-skuttle = 5. (Ork.5 1950): 8. egg-wife, a poultry woman (Abd.27 1950).1. Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds vi.:
I'll no say what's in the egg-bed o' my brain.
2. Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 93:
It's no the time for you to quarrel About an egg-creel, or auld barrel, A shankless shool or teethless raik.
3. (2) Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 108:
And, in her rage she seems to clutch At Firhill's clean, new-pipit mutch, And grins, wi' ill-disguised disdain, It's no an egg-doup like her ain.
Ib. 206:
Wi' a blue-spotted wrapper, an' egg-doupit mutch, At her side were a cushion, a sheers, an' a pouch.
5. Sh. 1876 J. M. Saxby Daala-Mist 177:
The swell will aften . . . toss a boat ta bits upo' the rocks as if she were an egg-scurm.
6. Abd. 1922 A. Buchan in Swatches 17:
Clae's an' sheen sae dear — a pair o' beets for wee Jamie costin' egg-siller for a fortnicht.
8. Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 103:
While Saunders gets the egg-wife rais'd, Wha muckle was, and dour.

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"Egg n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Mar 2023 <>



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