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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

RAGABASH, n., adj. Also ragabasch, ragabrash; ragabus, rag-a-buss, ragabush, ¶-bast.

I. n. 1. A good-for-nothing, a ragamuffin (Bwk., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 351). Also in n.Eng. dial. Now only dial. in Eng.Slk. 1718 T. Craig-Brown History Slk. (1886) I. 439:
He was nothing but a liar and a reprobate, and a Jacobite villain and knave, and . . . a ragabast [sic].
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 4:
ah'm mentul
pure radge
a richt ramstoorie ragabasch

2. Used coll.: a ragged, motley crew, riff-raff (Ayr. 1967).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 267:
The ragabash were ordered back, And then began the hubble.
Ayr. 1870 J. Hunter Life Studies 41:
He was gaun to the ither warl' wi sae mony rag-a-brash that he was ashamed o'.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 108:
The Saxons wus naither gude, gran', nor noble, but wus joost a set o' mean, greedy, cruel, deceitfu ragabrash, no half as gude as ordinary savages.

II. adj. Rough, uncouth, beggarly (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); good-for-nothing (Slk. 1825 Jam.).Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xv.:
However, I came something to mysel again, an' Davie he thought proper to ascribe it a' to his bit ragabash prayer.
Sc. 1829 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 802:
The ragabash rascals, who sham being ministers.

[E.M.E. raggabash, = 1., appar. a fanciful formation from Rag, n.1]

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



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