Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MAVIS, n. Also mevies (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 37); mavish (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.); Uls. a.1908 Traynor (1953)), and dim. forms mavosie (Sc. 1791 Young Beichan in Child Ballads (1956) I. 465); ma(a)vie (n.Sc. 1867 N. Macleod Starling xiii.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson); maivie (Slg. 1902 W. C. Paterson Echoes 34); ¶erron. marvie. [′me:vɪs]

1. The song-thrush, Turdus ericetorum. Gen.Sc. Now only poet. or dial. in Eng. Sc. 1706 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 434:
To a man brought a nest with 5 young marvies [sic].
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. iv.:
Delightfu' notes That warble through the merle or mavis' throats.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 156:
How cou'd you troke the Mavis' note For “penny pies, all piping hot?”
Ayr. 1794 Burns Ca' the yowes (2nd set) i.:
Hark, the mavis' e'ening sang Sounding Clouden's woods amang.
Sc. 1813 Scott Lady of Lake iv. xii.:
Merry it is in the good greenwood, Where the mavis and merle are singing.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 79:
She's singin' like a mavie.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sk. and Poems 18:
He had a good tenor voice, and could sing like a mavis.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith (1913) 6:
Nae a blackbird nor a mavis, that hae pipin' for their trade.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 89:
The mavis was thrang in the Eliock wuds, An' O, he pipit rarely.
w.Sc. 1917 H. Foulis Jimmy Swan 297:
They look on me and my carnations like a kind o' glimpse o' the country, where the mavie whistles and the milk comes from.
Ayr. 1950 D. Mackie Doon the Burn 25:
I hearken to the magic flute, On which the mavie pipes to me.

2. Fig. A variegated marble (Ags., Per. 1919 T.S.D.C.), from its speckled appearance.

3. Combs.: (1) big mavis, the missel thrush, Turdus viscivorus (Bwk. 1874 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club VII. 295; Ags. 1962); (2) cinder mavis, see quot. and cf. Cinder-Mavis; (3) mavis-skate, the sharp-nosed ray, Raja oxyrhynchus, from the similarity in shape and colour of its pectoral fins and beak; (4) midden mavis, see Midden. (2) Edb. 1960:
Cinder-Mavis. A person who sits habitually and lazes by the fire, a lazy fire-hugging person.
(3) Edb. 1811 Wernerian Soc. Trans. I. 553:
Oxyrhinchus. Sharp-nosed Ray; White-skate; Friar-skate; May-skate or Mavis-skate. This is now and then got when the nets are shot near the mouth of the Frith.

[O.Sc. maviss, c.1420, Mid.Eng. mavys, O.Fr. mauvis, id.]

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"Mavis n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 May 2021 <>



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