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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.

FLAE, n.2 Also flay (Sh. 1880 Jam.) fley.

Sc. (I., m. and s.Sc.) forms of Eng. flea. Dim. fleck [flaeock] (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Adj. flaeie, abounding in fleas (Sc. 1825 Jam.). [fle:]Sc. 1729 Ramsay T.T.Misc. (1876) II. 176:
Five hundred flaes, a fendy flock.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 43:
Menzies o' Moths an' Flaes are shook, An i' the floor they howder.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xix.:
As crouse as a cat when the flaes are kaimed aff her.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 6:
He t'oucht no' bit what the flaes on her claes hed aeten the flesh aff o' his beens.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 158:
“Them that lies doon wi' dogs may expec' to rise wi' flaes,” is meant to express the truism that people's characters are bound to reflect those of their associates.
Rxb. 1910 Jedburgh Gazette (13 May):
Kirsty had the can'le lichtit tryin' tae catch a flae.
Lth. 1945 Weekly Scotsman (14 April):
The actual flea Archie would call a “fley”: in the north we called it a “flech.”

Combs.: †1.flae-lugged, flea-luggit, harum-scarum, harebrained. Hence, by back-formation, flae-lug, a scatterbrained individual (Kcb.4 c.1900); 2. flea-sticker, humorously, for a tailor (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). See Stick.1. Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.T.Misc. 166:
Wi' flea-lugged sharny-fac't Laurie, And shangy mou'd halucket Meg.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 220:
This is a silly, flea-lugged-like lad.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxxvii.:
A lad of a methodical nature, and no a hurly-burly ramstam, like yon flea-luggit thing, Jamie.
Ayr. 1834 Galt Lit. Life III. 19:
King David himself was not driven demented with such a flea-luggit creature as that desperate Crumbie of ours was.

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"Flae n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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