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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAPINGO, n., v. Also pap(p)ingo(e); peppingo; popingoe; papagee. [′pɑpɪŋgo, †′ pep-]

I. n. 1. A parrot. Now only arch. or hist., lit. or as a heraldic device.Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 42:
The King sent his lady on the first Yule day, A papingo aye.
Sc. 1959 Burke's Peerage 6:
Three papingoes, vert, beaked and membered gules [arms of the Abercromby family].
m.Sc. 1987 William Montgomerie in Joy Hendry Chapman 46 15:
In Mr Dawson's classroom
we stude in raws like green papingoes
singin his Esperanto hymn

2. A wooden representation of a parrot, fixed on a pole and used as a target in archery. Obs. in Eng. a.1700; a contest to shoot this down, esp. one formerly held at Kilwinning in Ayrshire and revived in 1952. Combs. Captain of the Papingo, papingo ball. -day, -medal, -prize.Ayr. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 173:
The popingoe is a bird known in heraldry. It is . . . cut out in wood, fixed in the end of a pole, and placed 120 feet high, on the steeple of the monastery [at Kilwinning]. The archer who shoots down this mark, is honoured with the title of Captain of the Popingoe. He is master of the ceremonies of the succeeding year, sends cards of invitation to the ladies, gives them a ball and supper, and transmits his honours to posterity by a medal, with suitable devices. appended to a silver arrow.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxvii.:
Saving at the annual papingo ball at Kilwinning, she was rarely seen beyond the boundaries of the Craiglands.
Sc. 1861 Scotsman (18 Feb.):
On Saturday last the Papingo Prize of the Royal Company of Archers, Queen's Body Guard for Scotland, was shot for in the Butts at Archers' Hall.
Sc. 1875 J. B. Paul Hist. Royal Co. Archers 343:
When the Meadows were thrown open, and the green was covered with people and children of all sorts and sizes, it was found inconvenient and somewhat hazardous to shoot for it in this manner [on a pole] not to speak of the great labour it took to get the requisite poles hoisted into position; so the Papingo medal is now shot for annually in the butts like an ordinary butt-prize. . . . The following are the names of the winners of the Papingo prize: — 1832 J. N. Forman, W.S. . . . 1874 J. T. Hutchison.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 50, 54:
He was always head and front at the Papingoe, carrying the Doo round the toon on tap of a painted pole, that was also decked with many models and favours that had been gi'en by the captains of previous years. . . . The attack on Papingoe day on the cruds and cream at the captain's invitation, and the knocking doon from the steeple of the painted wooden doo.
Ayr. 1954 Linen Leaves (June) 7:
“Papingo” . . . has three modern meanings. Firstly it signifies Kilwinning's traditional Archery Festival; secondly, the “Kilwinning Arrow” — the trophy awarded there, and thirdly, the target used during the Festival.

3. Nonce jocular epithet for a member of the Roman Catholic Church, a papist, from the parrot's habit of repeating words in a mechanical way and with punning reference to Paip, Pope.Sc. 1767 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 217:
[He] gives out that my favorite lady is for certain a papagee: that she goes frequently to mass and has two priests in her family.

II. v. To shoot at a target in archery, to practise archery (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 690, peppingo).

[O.Sc. papingay, a.1500, papingo, 1530, O.Fr. papingay, papegai, -gau, id., phs. orig. of African orig.]

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



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