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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).

MAGGOT, n. Also magot(t), -et, maggit, -at, -et (Jam.). Sc. forms and usages:

1. A whim, a fancy, fad, idée fixe, a “bee in one's bonnet” (Cld. 1880 Jam., maggat, -et). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Now mainly dial. in Eng. Phr. to cross the maggot, to go against one's prejudices or crotchets.Abd. 1719 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 78:
Unthinking people . . . which, because after all they are not satisfied, thinks every bodys magott no better then their own.
Sc. 1757 Smollett Reprisal ii. iii.:
Now we man tak care of the poor waff lassie and defend her from the maggots of this daft Frenchman.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlv.:
To speak to him about that or anything else that crosses the maggot, wad be to set the kiln a-low.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 106:
She's as fu' o' maggots as the Bride o' Preston, Wha stopt hauf-way, as she gaed to the Kirk.
Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 106:
On vain feckless maggots to ware oor bawbees.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 12:
For aa that, A'd taen the maggot inti ma heed.

2. Derivs.: (1) maggotive, mag(g)ative, mageteeve, and augmented forms maggativous, maggoteevish (Bnff.6 1950), capricious, crotchety, contrary, perverse (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 111; Abd. 1930); (2) maggot(t)y, maggaty, id. (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Bnff. 1880 Jam., maggaty; Ags. 1907; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 257; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Kcd., em., wm. and s.Sc. 1962); Combs. maggoty-heided, id. (Ags. 1962). maggoty-pow, a whimsical, crotchety person (Sc. 1887 T. Darlington Folk-speech S.Cheshire (E.D.S.) 252). See Pow.(1) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 111:
“He's a peer, maggative bodie. Fah wid mine fat he diz?” Maggativous is another form and has more force than maggative.
s.Sc. 1892 Scots Mag. (May) 403:
He was always very much taken up with one hobby or another. In the words of the outside world, he was “awfully maggotive”.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 160:
The widder's some magative for a' that. It's fyles nae mowse.
Kcd. 1958 Mearns Leader (17 Oct.):
He's a thrawn, mageteeve auld sorra, as weel I ken.
(2) Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption v.:
But that chance ye'll ne'er ha'e noo, efter offendin' him wi' your maggotty notions.
Ags. 1893 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. 26:
Ye are a maggoty-heided wratch, Dominie Will.

3. Phr. to tak the maggot, of clothes: to become moth-eaten.Mry. 1865 W. H. L. Tester Poems 79:
My black silk vest has taen the maggit.

4. A troublesome child (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; s.Sc. 1962). Also in Eng. dial.

[Meanings 1. and 2. derive from the notion that a maggot in the brain was responsible for eccentric notions.]

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"Maggot n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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