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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HOGMANAY, n. Also .†hogmana(e); hogminay, -ae, hogmenay, †-ai, †hogmynae, †hoguemennay, hogmonay, -ey; †hagmenay, †-ai, †hagmané; hugmanay; hug-me-nay (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 273), hugmanae (Dmf. 1815 Carlyle MS. Letter (11 Jan.)); ¶huigmanay (Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 117); ¶hoghmanay; ¶hagmonick; hangmanay (Rxb. 1832 Border Mag. (May 1938) 75, 1923 Watson W.-B.); hanginay (Rxb. 1923 Ib.); ¶hogernoany, huggeranohni (Sh. 1948 New Shetlander No. 13. 19, 24). [hɔgmə′ne:]

1. The 31st December, the last day of the year, New Year's Eve. Gen.Sc. Also found in some n.Eng. dials.Sc. 1696 Atholl MSS. (1 Jan.):
I passed on of his sh[illing]s to too poor women I brought up to my chamber yester-night to heare them sing a hog ma nae song.
Sc. 1774 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 328:
O King of Heav'n, our sorrows to allay, Turn Hogmane to twenty-ninth of May.
Sc. 1819 Lockhart Scott xliii.:
I wish you could have seen about a hundred children . . . come down yesterday to dance to the pipes, and get a piece of cake and bannock, and pence apiece in honour of hogmanay.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish iv.:
She was removed from mine to Abraham's bosom on Christmas day, and buried on Hogmanae; for it was thought uncanny to have a dead corpse in the house on the New Year's day.
Fif. 1882 S. Tytler Sc. Marriages II. 51:
The night of a Hogmanay — that chief of “the daft days” which sour dour Scotchmen included in their calendar.
Wgt. 1897 Proc. Brit. Assoc., 66th Rep. 456:
On Hogmanay the fire was “happit” with more than ordinary care to keep it from “going out”, as such a thing would be most unlucky.
Arg. c.1900 in M. M. Banks Calendar Customs Scot. (1939) II. 38:
Shortly after nightfall on Hogmanay, parties start from several parts of the town, headed by one carrying a burning tar-barrel on his head.
Mry. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 78:
Wi' gleesome mirth tae hail the birth O' nineteen twenty fower, This hogmanay.
Rxb. 1924 Kelso Chron. (4 Jan.) 2:
There is much of Hogmanay left in the big towns and cities still, albeit not so uproarious as of yore.
Fif. 1950 St Andrews Cit. (7 Jan.) 2:
Until a few years ago nearly every child in the town rose early on Hogmanay and made a round of the shops chanting the song — “My feet's cauld; my shune's thin; gie's my cakes and let me rin.”
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 14:
Mary nursed him day by day, and she was sitting beside him one afternoon just before Hogmanay, sewing quietly and talking, when he woke now and then from a dovering sleep.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 44:
Actually it was on the night before Hugmanay among all yon kinna gloomy programmes, you know, résumé of the eighties, lukkin back on all the disasters exetra [sic].
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 11:
Dougie awoke as the alarm clock clattered into life and, as he stretched his hand to snap it into silence, he realised it was Hogmanay - the last day of the year.

Phr.: to haud, etc., Hogmanay, to celebrate the passing of the old year in a convivial way.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 192:
'Twas Marr's Year — I mind fu weel the day Whan we first canty held our hog-ma-nae.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 140:
Blithe, blithe we meet thegither, Here to haud our Hogmanae.
n.Sc. 1911 T. W. Ogilvie Poems 85:
The feck o' Wilsie's cronies gay Ae nicht convened a splore, Tae celebrate their Hogmanay.

2. A New Year's gift, esp. a gift of oat-cakes, bread or the like, given to or solicited by children on New Year's Eve; the cry uttered by them; any form of hospitality, esp. a drink, given to a guest to celebrate the New Year, or a gratuity given to tradesmen and employees on that day. Also attrib. Gen.Sc. and in n.Eng. dials. Phr. to gang a-huggeranohni, see 1957 quot.Sc. 1774 Weekly Mag. (March 10) 334:
It has, so far as the memory of anyone now alive can reach, run thus: Hagmenay, Trololay.
Sc. 1790 Gentleman's Mag. (June) 499:
In some parts of Scotland, and in the North of England, till very lately, it was customary for every body to make and receive presents amongst their friends on the eve of the new year, which present was called an Hagmenay.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 27:
The cotter weanies, glad an' gay, . . . Sing at the doors for hogmanay.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 295:
It is still customary, in retired and primitive towns, for the children of the poorer class of people to get themselves on that morning swaddled in a great sheet, doubled up in front, so as to form a vast pocket, and then go along the streets in little bands, calling at the doors of the wealthier classes for an expected dole of oaten bread. Each child gets one quadrant section of oat-cake (sometimes, in the case of particular favourites, improved by an addition of cheese), and this is called their hogmanay. . . . The children, on coming to the door, cry “Hogmanay!” . . . Get up, goodwife, and shake your feathers, And dinna think that we are beggars; For we are bairns come out to play, Get up and gie's our hogmanay!
s.Sc. 1878 N. & Q. X. 59:
On December 30 last I saw a basket containing perhaps fifty currant rolls, . . . ready to give to the children who might call next day on their hogmanay errand.
Sc. 1905 Sc. Review (21 Dec.):
The visitors never failed to receive their Hogmanay which consisted usually of bun, shortbread, and wine or whisky.
Sh. 1958:
We used to go guising on New Year's Eve or, as we said, going a-huggeranohni, and sang da huggeranohni sang: Dis is guid New'r Even's Nicht, St Mary's men are we.

3. Specif. an oatcake or biscuit baked to give to the children on hogmanay. Hence comb. hogmanay-cake.Peb. 1800 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 475:
A cake of oat-meal, called a hogmoney, or noor-cake.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 67:
A particular individual, in my own knowledge, has frequently resolved two bolls of meal into hogmanay cakes.
Fif. 1886 A. Stewart Dunfermline 152:
There were usually refreshments offered and accepted, consisting of bread and cheese, currant loaf, hogmanays (or three-cornered biscuits).

4. A Hogmanay party or celebration.Sc. 1825 Aberdeen Censor 271:
At Miss Gordon's Hogmanae about eight months ago.

[O.Sc. hagmonay, = 2., from 1604. The orig. of the word has been much disputed but the only satisfactory etym. is the derivation from North. Fr. dial. hoginane, with variants hoginono, hoguinettes, etc. from 16th c. Fr. aguillanneuf, a gift given at the New Year, a children's cry for such a gift, New Year's Eve, the second element of which appears to be l'an neuf, the New Year. Agui- is obscure (not < au gui). A similar development is found in Sp. aguinaldo, id. In Scot. the word is prob. due to the French Alliance and had been borrowed a.1560.]

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"Hogmanay n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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