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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

LAG, adj., n.1, v. Sc. usages:

I. adj. 1. Lingering or lagging behind, tardy, sluggish, slow, backward (Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict.; Fif., Lth., sm.Sc. 1960). Now rare or obs. in Eng. Also in deriv. laggie, id. (Per. 1897 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet 160).Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 198:
Bridegroom, she says, you'll spoil the dance, And at the ring you'll ay be lag.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Address to Deil iii.:
An' faith! thou's neither lag nor lame, Nor blate nor scaur.
Sc. 1790 J. Baillie Works (1853) 819:
E'en he that comes latest, and lag is, May feast upon dainties enow.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 132:
Strummin about a gill we're lag, Syne drowsy hum.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 125:
When you leave the lag clay, The part that's immortal, to bliss soar away.
e.Lth. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes 20:
Auld wisdom's yoke's owre lag o' limb Thae geniuses to haul up!
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 74:
They saw Her limpin' wearie, an' they werena lag, An' thocht that she was siccar for their bag.
m.Sc. 1979 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 40:
But the elders, they werena lag nor blate,
aa cryin to stane me for whit I'd din,

Combs.: (1) lag-end, the latter part of a period of time, the tail-end (Sh. 1960); (2) lag life-time, the remainder of one's life.(1) Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Tales (1874) 229:
Let us be married on Saturday; let the fault fall on the lag end of the week.
(2) Abd. 1844 G. Rust Poems 134:
To better act my lag life time.

2. As applied to certain days of a week in which there is no pay-day. Used in mining communities where wages were paid fortnightly.Fif. 1909 R. Holman Char. Studies 21:
On the following Monday, or what is known as “lag” Monday, come representatives of nearly all the grocery shops within a radius of many miles.
Fif. 1952 R. Holman Diamond Panes 72:
It was held generally on a “lag” Friday, with no work next day.

II. n. 1. The last in a series or in a concerted activity, a game or the like, a laggard, loiterer, one who lingers or falls behind (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., laggie). Used as a call at marbles in claiming the advantage of playing last (Abd. 1902 E.D.D., lag at the bools!). Also in Eng. dial.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 99:
He wiz lag oot o' the squeel.
Abd.13 1910:
Last at playing marbles. “Lag, lag, for last to row.”

Comb. lagabag, laggiebag (Fif. 1825 Jam.), the last or hindmost [ < lag + aback]. Also in Eng. dial.

2. In pl.: odd stalks of straw on a harvest-field left uncut by scythe or reaper (Abd.7 1925).

III. v. To put a wooden frame or branks round a cow's neck to prevent her thrusting her head through hedges, etc. (Uls. 1960).

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"Lag adj., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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