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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

SCALLAG, n. Also scalag, skallag, scallack; ¶skelach; †scol(l)og. A kind of land-labourer in the Highlands, a farm-servant (see quots.) (Sc. 1825 Jam.); a country bumpkin (Cai. 1972 D. Omand Cai. Book 256). Hist. Sometimes used as a form of address to a boy = my lad, young fellow. [′skɑlək]Sc. a.1714 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 480:
McLeane of Lochbuy wes kild by Duncane Moir, McKenzie's great scallack.
Hebr. 1793 J. L. Buchanan Travels W. Hebr. 6:
The scallag, whether male or female, is a poor being, who, for mere subsistence, becomes a predial slave to another, whether a subtenant, a tacksman, or a laird. The scallag builds his own hut with sods and boughs of trees; and if he is sent from one part of the country to another, he moves off his sticks, and, by means of these, forms a new hut in another place . . . Five days in the week he works for his master; the sixth is allowed to himself, for the cultivation of some scrap of land.
Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 X. 370:
A single male servant, (here called scalag).
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road ix.:
His men, he said, were scalags — landless folk of Cluny's country.
Rs. 1911:
Are thou no gaean to the skeel, scallack?

[O.Sc. scoloc (Latin docum.) 1206, scallaig, 1667, Gael. sgalag, id., a bond-servant, Ir. scológ, a tenant of church land, orig. a disciple of a saint, a student in a monastery, a scholar, from scol, school.]

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"Scallag n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/scallag>

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