Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FLY, n., v. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. The wing of a fowl; “the front or rim part of a mutch” (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Abd. a.1929  :
Gie her the fly an a bit o the breist.

2. Wile, astuteness. Cf. slang adj. fly, shrewd. Edb. 1926  A. Muir Blue Bonnet 68:
They're stronger nor me . . . but I'm thinking I've mair fly.

II. Combs.: ‡1. fly cairt, the cart of an itinerant salesman (Abd. 1952). Hence fly-cairter, a travelling merchant (Id.); 2. fly-cup, a quick cup of tea, taken as a refresher between meals (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Often abbreviated to fly. Prob. orig. from the notion of a surreptitious cup at a time when tea-drinking was less common; 3. flying bent, see Flee, v.1, n.1, B. 2.; 4. flying flock, — stock, do.; ¶5. flyjack, any sharp or astute person, esp. an official quick to notice evasions of regulations. Only in slang use. Used attrib. in quot.; 6. fly-net, a kind of net used for catching salmon. 2. Abd. 1926  E. Duthie Three Short Plays 9:
A' the men folk like a fly cup.
Sc. 1953  Scotsman (23 Sept.):
Though people drank tea at other meals and even paused a moment for a “fly cup” in between, tea as an institution was for long confined to the afternoon and evening.
5. Clc. 1852  G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 32:
It's no the puir that we've to pay, But [a] wheen proud, halfpaced, gay Flyjack inspectors.
6. Kcd. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XI. 207:
Stake-nets and fly-nets are used on the sea-beach, and bag-nets in the inlets on the sea-coast.
Sc. 1868  Acts Parl. 31 & 32 Vict. cxxiii. 24:
Every Fishery at which Stake, Weir, or Stake Nets, Fly Nets, or Bag Nets are used.

III. Deriv.: flyer, an ornamental part of a bridle, a horse brass. Abd. 1880  G. Webster Crim. Officer 55:
A pocket-beuk, wi' ¥5 in bank notes an' siller, an' a pair o' bress flyers for the taps o' horses bridles, stown.

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"Fly n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2019 <>



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