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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MESSAGE, n. Also messige. Sc. usage: a visit to a shop to make purchases, most commonly in pl. of the purchases made, one's shopping. Gen.Sc. Phr. to go the messages, to do one's shopping. Sc. 1788 Caled. Mag. (Sept.) 516:
Janet Baxter . . . said she was out a message about eight o'clock on the evening of the robbery.
wm.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs. McCraw 30:
A'd tae keep the bairn at hame tae rin the messiges.
Arg. 1952 N. Mitchison Lobsters on the Agenda i.:
I'll get my messages at the shop while I'm down.
Gsw. 1957 Bulletin (2 March):
Because their wives could not buy their weekly messages on Friday nights over 100 men staged a lightning strike in Glasgow yesterday.
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 18:
... for the first time in my life I had no messages to go, either for Grannie, or anybody else. No duties of any kind.
Gsw. 1984 James Kelman The Busconductor Hines 96:
It was pointless worrying over foolish items. She had merely gone a message and forgotten to advise him beforehand.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 13:
Or I was sent for the messages to Agnes Meldrum's shop and house, by the east pier.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 24:
The place wis in Old Ford Road and I made mi wye doon, but whin I got tae Millburn Road I met mi pal Deck, wha wis gan tae the shop for messages for the workers in anither fish-hoose.
Edb. 1990 James Allan Ford in Joy Hendry Chapman 59 Jan 45:
A day or two after my mother had made a lone seagull of me, she stopped by my bollard on her way up to the Kirkgate to get butcher meat for my father's tea, and asked if I would like to go with her. But boys who went messages with their mothers were called bairns or jessies, and I had to refuse.
Slg. 1991 Janet Paisley in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 128:
An ma mither actin like she's feedin a refugee,
cookin a week's messages jist tae gie me this enormous lunch.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 5:
And we used to run messages for each other, even from one end of the town to the other, from the wee shop across the road.
Gsw. 1995 Chris Dolan Poor Angels 93:
The daughter kissed the mother on the cheek and started taking the messages out of the bags, naming everything as she went along: white fish, mussels, prawns, spinach, ...
Edb. 1998 Gordon Legge Near Neighbours (1999) 55:
It was never a bother to run you a message or look after your weans, never any trouble to help you out with a flitting or lend you a hand with your decorating.
Sc. 2000 Herald 8 May 15:
... I had spent Saturday in Johnstone and Paisley asking people, who were not marching but were mostly just out for their messages, to sign a petition in support of the Govan workers.

Combs. (1) message bag, a shopping bag (Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s); (2) message basket, a shopping basket (Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s); (3) message-bike, a delivery boy's bicycle (Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s); (4) message boy, an errand-boy. Gen.Sc. (1)Edb. 1938 Fred Urquhart Time Will Knit (1988) 16:
She had a straw message-bag with bottles in it at her feet.
(2)Abd. 1992 Sheila Douglas ed. The Sang's the Thing: Voices from Lowland Scotland 147:
I also mak smaller sizes, an yins wi a hannle for message baskets, square an oval shape.
(3)e.Lth. 1972 Mollie Hunter A Sound of Chariots (1988) 13:
She took one canvas bag off the counter and Bridie reached up for the other one. It was heavy and she had to walk slowly with it to where the message-bikes were leaning against the outside wall of the shop.
(4)Kcb. 1896 Crockett Cleg Kelly vii.:
I came . . . to ask about the situation of message-boy.
m.Sc. 1917 O. Douglas The Setons iii., x.:
A message-boy went past, with his empty basket over his head, whistling a doleful tune. . . . He went to school (except when he "plunk't"), ran messages for shops.

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"Message n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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