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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCUG, v., n. Also skug(g), skjug (Sh.); scog(g), skog, scogue, skjoag (Sh.); scoog, scoug, skoog; scowg; skough, skeugh; ¶scig (Jam.); ¶scok-. [skʌg; skug; Cai. skʌug. See P.L.D. § 157. (2).]

I. v. 1. To conceal, screen, hide (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; em.Sc. (a) 1969); also nonce usages: in a.1774 quot., to block the view of, shut off; in 1803 quot. to cover over, blot out.Edb. a.1774 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 96:
They'll skug ill een frae you and me.
Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 258:
For that's the penance he maun drie, To scug his deadly sin.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ii. ii.:
Naebody in this country-side kens me; I'll be scoggit wi' my ain hamely manner.
Sc. 1930 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 223:
Dark as a saumon-pool, scoogit and still.

2. To shelter, shield, give protection (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Abd., Fif. 1949).Sc. 1818 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 154:
He hadnae call'd on the Halie Name That scugs in the evil hour.
Sc. 1824 R. K. Douglas Poems 134:
We're scugget fu' snug wi' a weel-bigget wa'.
Ayr. 1830 Galt Southennan I. xxiii.:
He chappit at the door wi' his knuckle, ‘Scog me!' quo' he.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 13:
It scougs gentle Mysie, that broom-wattled bower.
Bnff. 1890 W. Garden Sonnets 236:
He'd scoug my head when turnin' frail and aul'.
Fif. 1899 S. Tytler Miss Nanse v.:
He ‘scouget' you from every rough blast that blew.
Ags. 1914 I. Bell Country Clash 80:
We'll be scoogit fae the wind there.
Lth. 1923 S. A. Robertson Double Tongue 38:
Ye're cosy scougit frae the rain.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 16:
The treis that skuggeet Barnhill's staney bed.

3. refl. or intr. (1) To take shelter or refuge, seek protection (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 263; Sh., Kcd., Ags., Per., Fif. 1969).Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 155:
They scoug frae street or field, An' hap them in a lyther bield.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxi.:
Sailor lads left their vessels, and came to scog themselves with us.
Dmf. 1875 P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 10:
I was stannin scuggin' frae the rain.
Fif. 1905 S. Tytler Daughter of Manse i. v.:
When he was scoogin' in the hallan from a shoor.
Fif.14 1945:
Come and scoug under my umbrella.

(2) to hide, seek concealment, go surreptitiously, skulk, lurk, shelter behind a pretence (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1969). Adv. scugways, -wise, in a clandestine way, with a design to hide oneself (Lth. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1731 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) IV. 257:
Hereticks and evil-minded men scogged themselves under scripturall and standart phrazes.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xvi.:
I scougged myself behind a big pear-tree.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164:
He geed skuggin' up the dyke side jist gehn he wir gain't stehl.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xxiv.:
Folks that comes stravaigin' scugwise intae Tarras this gate.
Sc. 1906 J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay 49:
I “skugged” until he [a squirrel] thought the coast clear.
Bnff. 1925 G. Cumming A'anside Lilts 36:
Some scoug awa' 'mang cairts an' ploos.

4. tr. To take shelter from, to avoid, dodge, evade (bad weather, etc.) (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Sh., Cai., Per., Fif. 1969).Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 99:
We'll scug the blast an' dread nae harm.
Per. 1881 D. MacAra Crieff 164:
There's no a place to scug a shooer.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 11:
Ye'll scoug it whan it's weet.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 45:
He scoggit a' his lessons an' he loath't the thocht o' skweel.
Sh. 1963 New Shetlander No. 67. 29:
Mony a storm we're hed ta skjoag.

5. To scowl, frown, have a stupid or dismal expression (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164). Hence skuggin'(-faced, -leukin), having a gloomy countenance (Id.). This usage may have been transferred from 1782 Caled. Mercury (4 Sept.):
An' ilka scougan, flyplug lown, Speaks Greik an' Latin.

II. n. 1. Concealment, shade, a means of hiding (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Sc. 1825 Jam.). Adj. scoggy, ¶scokky, shady (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.).Sc. c.1726 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 200:
The alcove and coach are bewitching And aft to the ugly a Scogue.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxi.:
Gallanting awa under the scog and cloud o' night.

2. A shelter, protection or shield, a sheltered place, lit. and fig. (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Kcd., Ags., Fif. 1969); a hood, screen, cover as of a pram (Fif. 1971, skoog). Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. to tak (to) scoug, to take shelter (Kcd. 1969). Adj. scougy, sheltered, affording protection.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
“The scug of a brae”, the lythe of it.
Dmb. 1777 Weekly Mag. (20 Feb.) 273:
Fu' snug we'll sit beneath this scougy brae.
Mry. 1790 Aberdeen Mag. 31:
The sheep tak' to scoug, wi' a weet lagart fleece.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 300:
Whan they tak scoug in your arms.
Sc. 1826 Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 622:
But house nor hame aneath the heaven Except the skeugh of greenwood tree.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales 71:
Nae scug frae sharp affliction's wand.
Fif. 1895 G. Setoun Sunshine & Haar 241:
Keepin' close in by the houses — an' gey an' glad o' the scoug.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (4 Dec.):
A'm houpin' 'at he's juist run ta some skjug.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9:
The treis gien skug ti the Auld Cross.
Ags. 1954 Forfar Dispatch (13 May):
A thunder plunk cam on, we made for a garage and got a skog there.

3. A pretence, pretext, subterfuge, hypocritical excuse (Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fif. (1803) 34; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Mry., Bnff., Kcd. 1969).Sc. 1728 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) 20:
Under this scogg Jacobitisme and dissafection will terribly be propagated.
Lnk. 1738 Session Papers, Memorial J. Henderson:
The Petitioner under the Scog of his son is himself in possession of the Room.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.:
A' this was but a scoug to keep some ither thing oot o' sicht.
Abd.13 1910:
He did it for a skoog (for a pretence).

4. A two-faced or underhand sort of person (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.).

5. A frown, scowl, a gloomy face or expression (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164).

[O.Sc. scoug, pretence, 1456, skugg, scugg, shadow, shade, to shade, screen, 1513, O.N. skugge, shadow.]

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"Scug v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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