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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FIDGE, v., n. Also †fige (Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 36).

I. v. 1. intr. To fidget, move restlessly, from physical discomfort, impatience, excitement; to twitch, to itch, lit. and fig. Gen.Sc. Ppl.adj. and vbl.n. fidgin, restless, fidgetty; disquiet. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems 232:
Hab fidg'd and leugh, his Elbuck clew, Baith fear'd and fond a Sp'rit to view.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 45:
Then wi' a souple leathern whang He gart them fidge and girn ay.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ordination i.:
Kilmarnock websters fidge and claw.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 108:
I never stood to fidge an' fling, Like jads that take the fret.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 144:
A dram an' religion eas'd my heart o' its fidgin'.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 210:
Spaek to da jantleman, an' no geng fidgin' aboot da hoose yon wy.
Dmf. 1910 R. Quin Borderland (1933) 61:
Oh weary fa' this muckle toon, To lea't I'm fairly fidgin'.
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 137:
He's juist fidgin to get me settled to work.

2. Specif., esp. with adv. fain: to move about excitedly from pleasure, to exhibit uncontrolled joy (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1945). Hence phr. fidgin fain', restlessly or excitedly eager (Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif. 1945). Also fidgen glad (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 72), fidgin keen (Ayr. 1848 J. Ramsay Woodnotes 50).Sc. c.1685 Maggie Lauder in D. Herd Sc. Songs (1776) II. 72:
By my bags I'm fidgin' fain to see thee.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 218:
The wife turned him round and round, and severall lasses run out of other rooms into the shop, and they all laughed and fidged for gladness.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 6:
An' the twa bobbies were baith fidging fain, That they had gotten an oye o' their ain.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 185:
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 41:
In joy's floodtide, Rob, fidgin fain, Got back his aughty notes again.
Hdg. 1885 “S. Mucklebackit” Rural Rhymes 201:
Mr Screechlaw, there, is fidging-fu-fain an' shaking with eagerness, to say something.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 31:
Johnnie . . . seemed to edge owre a bit; but as he shifted Leezie followed, fidgin fain, it seemed, to get near him.
Sc. 1925 “H. M'Diarmid” Sangschaw 30:
Only a wee whiley-sin' it was fidgin' fu' fain In its gowd and green.

3. To shrug, twitch, jerk uncomfortably.Ayr. 1786 Burns To Sc. Represent. vi.:
Ne'er claw your lug, an' fidge your back, An' hum an' haw.
m.Sc. 1947 Scots Mag. (April) 11:
“Oh,” says the gamekeeper, fidgin' his feet aboot.

II. n. A shrug, twitch, jerk (Sh., n.Sc., Fif., m.Lth. 1951); a state of excitement, a pother (Sh.10 1951); a restless fidgetty person (Slg.3 1942). Hence fidgy, restless, wanton.Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 129:
No ane gi'es e'er a fidge or fyke, Or yet a moan.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 39:
You ill corn'd wives an' lasses fidgy Nae doubt ye're wae because he's left ye.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 103:
I thought the hint was rather sharp for me, So gae a fidge, and only said, we'll see.
Lnk. 1877 W. McHutchison Poems 87:
The least bit fidge, ye'll tak alarm.
Ags. 1879 in A. L. Fenton Forfar Poets 155:
By this the hour was wearin' late, An' each got fidgie on his seat.
Sc. 1890 Bon-Accord (22 March) 9:
Fae a fidge o' a lass and a fadge o' a wife, good Lord deliver us.
Gall. 1896 Crockett Cleg Kelly xxviii.:
“Gin ye are in sic' a fidge” quoth Alick.

[O.Sc. fidge, to fidget, a.1585, E.M.E. fidge, id., 1575. Prob. of imit. orig., related to Fid, Fitch.]

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"Fidge v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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