Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GANSEY, n. Also ganzy, -ie, genzie, -y, gensy, gensee, guenzie. [Sc. ′gɑnzi, but Crm., Mry., Lnk., Ayr., Kcb. ′gɛnzi]

1. A jersey, esp. one worn by fishermen (I. and n.Sc., Lth., Lnk., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1954). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Garnsey. Sh. 1886  J. Burgess Sk. & Poems 68:
He rubbit aff da shute wi' da sleeve o' his gansey.
Sh. 1916  J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr, Navember 15:
A gansey-sleeve wi a airm in it aye maks da boaniest belt.
Bnff. 1923  Banffshire Jnl. (5 June) 5:
Here he comes, basket on shoulder, short and sturdy, the upper part of his body sheathed in a “gansey,” always blue.
Abd. 1935  J. White Sea Road i.:
For a long afternoon he lumbered, in a sweat from high-necked gansey to his big sea-boots.
Bnff. 1950  N. Paterson Behold Thy Daughter 54:
She knitted her father a black fisherman's ganzy with buttons up the side of the neck.

2. A blue-striped cotton shirt; a farmer's short jacket made of galatea (Ayr.4 1928).

[Corrupt or variant forms of Eng. guernsey, idem. The form Garnsey (as place-name) is found in 16th cent. Eng. The dropping of the -r- suggests that the word has been borrowed from Eng. dial.]

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"Gansey n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2019 <>



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