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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

MAGA, prop. n. Also Maaga. A familiar name in literary circles in Edinburgh for Blackwood's Magazine, founded in 1817 by William Blackwood, the publisher, who is said to have gen. referred to it by this title.Sc. 1820 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) VI. 242:
I really hope you will pause before you undertake to be the Boaz of the Maga.
Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 296:
At the same time, it's kittlier to write in the Quarterly than in Maga.
Sc. 1878 M. Porter Ann. Pub. Ho. (1898) III. 412:
Aytoun's Lays all came first in “Maga”, as did much of Mrs Hemans and Mrs Southey, also Mrs Barret Browning's “Cry of the Children”.
Sc. 1932 J. Buchan Sir W. Scott 175:
The first years of “ma Maaga”, as he [Blackwood] called his journal, were notorious for its offences against literary decency.
Edb. 1983:
Maga - The name was used up to demise of Magazine in 1980; in fact used on the cover for a time.
Sc. 1994 Herald 13 Oct 14:
Galt became famous for his fiction only after he appeared in Blackwood's Magazine. Like the new review, Blackwood's, sometimes called the Maga, cherished good writers, while encouraging eccentrics and other heidbangers.
Sc. 1997 Herald 5 Apr 14:
... James Hogg had to put up with the caricature of himself as an inspired idiot of an Ettrick Shepherd created by John Wilson (aka Christopher North) and featured in the Noctes Ambrosionae series in Blackwood's Magazine (aka Maga) in the 1820s and 1830s.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 20 Sep 3:
Karl Miller's excellent new book on James Hogg, Electric Shepherd, has had me turning again to the Noctes Ambrosianae, those imaginary conversations which were a feature of Blackwood's Magazine in the 1820s ...
I hadn't done more than dip into the Noctes for a long time, not indeed since David Fletcher, the only editor of the "Maga" not to have been a member of the Blackwood family ...

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"Maga prop. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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