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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLESSIE, -Y, n. Also glassy, -ie, glaissie (e.Lth.). [′glɛse, ′glese (see P.L.D. § 48.1.(1))]

1. The name given to a home-made candy sweetmeat; “a kind of toffee often made at home from black treacle” (Gsw.1 1916; ‡Per., Bwk., Kcb. 1954). See also quots.Gsw. 1853 Gsw. Past & Present (1884) II. 161:
At the foot of the Candleriggs there were always several stands kept by women, who sold glassy, sugar plums, caraways, raisins, etc.
Ayr. 1871 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 301:
Aleck had a bit of gundy, glassy, or blackman (the stuff was known by any or all of these names) stuck on his thumb.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 234:
But the glessy! Who that ever tasted it can forget the stick of sheeny, golden rock, which stretched while you were eating it to gossamer threads of silver glistening like cobwebs in the sun!
Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 226:
Glessie (an old-fashioned sweetmeat). Soft sugar, syrup, butter, cream of tartar, water . . . Boil briskly, without stirring, for half an hour . . . Pour in thin sheets on buttered tins. When cold, chop it up, or pull out as for Black Man and cut into sticks.

2. A glass playing marble (Slg. 1910 Dundee Advertiser (5 July), glessie). Gen.Sc. Also attrib. with bool.Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo iii.:
My faither . . . had bocht me a hummin' peerie and a plumper glessy bool.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 126:
A fankled bit string, then a plunker an' glassie.
Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 177:
The most valued of all the marbles was the “Glessie”, made, as its name implies, of clear glass with beautiful interior usually in strands of divers colours.
Edb. 1991 Dae Ye Mind ...? Volume Three of Stories and Memories from Members of St. Ann's Reminiscence Group 32:
I had been playing booley when the tuppence wrapped in a bit paper completed its journey from two storeys up, on the back of my skull. The impact coincided with me nickeling my "glessie" and it popped right into the hole. I had won two coloured "glessies"!

[Adj. from Gless, n., above = made of glass, or having a smooth, glass-like surface, used substantivally.]

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"Glessie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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