Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

QUEY, n. Also quei, qui(e); qu(o)y, coy; quay; quhey, quhway. Deriv. and dim. forms quea (Sh. 1775 Diary J. Mill (S.H.S.) 44), queyo(o) (Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 161); queyock, -och, -ag (Cai.); queack, -ock, quai(ac)k (ne.Sc.); quaig, quaeg (Sh.); quoyack, -ach, -ock, quoick; whaig, whack, whaik, wheyg, hweg (Sh.); double dim. qua(i)kie. [m. and s.Sc. kwɑe; n.Sc. + ‡koɪ, kwe(ə)k] A heifer, a young cow, “of any age up to three years or until she has had a calf” (Sc. 1902 E.D.D.). Comb. quey calf, a female calf (Sc. 1808 Jam.), -stirk. Ork. 1710 P. Ork. A.S. XII. 57:
Sixteen kyne and queyocks.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 59:
Quey caffs are dear veal.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 121:
A new-bull'd quoy, gaing three, a berry-brown.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xxvi.:
The Deil, or else an outler Quey, Gat up an' gae a croon.
Sc. 1819 Scott H. Midlothian xxviii.:
Ye might try it on the bauson-faced year-auld quey.
Arg. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evid. IV. 3048:
Young animals under three years, heifers, stots, and queys.
ne.Sc. 1910 Scottish Studies III. 202:
Gie the tane tae the lassie, an' the tither tae the laddie. An' the quakie tae yer nainsel, John.
Uls. 1923 J. Logan Uls. in X-Rays 76:
Everyone may not know that a “quy” is a heifer or young cow.
Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Jan.–Feb.) 9:
Da whaig got better and lived to become a healthy cow.
Ayr. 1964 Kilmarnock Standard (2 May) 1:
19 Cows, Spring and recently Calved, Summer and Back-Calving, 12 Queys served, 7 Queys for service, 6 Quey Stirks, 1 Bullock Stirk, 3 Ayrshire Quey Calves.

[O.Sc. qwy, 1420, qwyok, 1497, quye, koy, 1508, Mid.Eng. quy, O.N. kvíga, id. For I.Sc. forms cf. Norw. dial. kviga, id.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Quey n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2020 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: