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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

SLAIGER, v., n. Also slaigger, slegger, slaeggur; slagger, -ar; †slyaager (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.). [′slegər]

I. v. 1. tr. (1) To besmear with some soft, wet substance, to bedaub, as with mud, filth or the like (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Cai., Mry., Bnff., m. and s.Sc. 1970); to work in a messy way. Ppl.adj. slaigerin, dirty, slovenly, slatternly (Id.). Derivs. slaigerer, an untidy worker, a sloppy slovenly person (Cld. 1825 Jam.); slaigersom, dirty or slovenly in one's actions (Cld. 1880 Jam.).Slg. c.1860 Trans. Slg. Arch. Soc. (1923) 23:
Wi' bauchles a' slaiggered owre.
Hdg. 1886 J. P. Reid Facts and Fancies 131:
[We] whiles gat a lickin' for slaig'rin' oor claes.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xxviii. 10:
Himsel 'll gang ower wi' a slaigerin soss, Heid-ower-heels, in the sheuch that his ain hauns howkit.
Lnk. 1925 W. Queen Guide to We're a' Coortin' 41:
Slaigger yer breid weel wi' jeely.
Fif. 1932 M. Bell Pickles and Ploys 132:
Some o' ye slaigered the baith ends o' it.
w.Lth. 1960 People's Jnl. (5 Nov.) 7:
A bunnet, auld an' slaigered wi' pent.

(2) To apply, smear or daub on (a soft wet substance) (Cai. 1970).Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 26:
The mortar was weel slaigered on.
Rxb. 1952 Scots Mag. (March) 459:
Noo awat, it [beauty] is shallower far, When sae aft it's slaigered oot o' a jar.
m.Sc. 1994 Agnes Thompson in James Robertson Tongue in Yer Heid 122:
Whit Ah widnae gie fur a fish supper, slaiggered wi salt an vinegar.
Ayr. 2000:
His hair wiz slaigert doun wi brylcream.

2. intr. (1) To eat or drink in a messy, slovenly way (Slk. 1825 Jam., esp. of dogs; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166; Mry., Slg., wm. and s.Sc. 1970); (2) to walk messily in soft wet soil, to splash through mud, to flounder about in walking, to plod along in a weary, careless way, to puddle about in dirt (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Peb., wm.Sc. 1970). Deriv. slaigerer, n., one who walks messily or lethargically (Cld. 1880 Jam.).(2) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 236:
I'm tired gaun slaigerin' through a place like this a' morning.
Rxb. 1904 Border Mag. (July) 140:
Wi' slorpin feet, I platch an' slaiger.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 60:
They may slaiger, or play fitba' in the street.

(3) to make a gurgling or growling noise in the throat (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166).

II. n. 1. A wet, soggy or slimy mess, a soft wet lump, daub, smear of mud, sloppy food or the like (Knr. 1825 Jam., Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166, slagger; e., wm. and s.Sc. 1970). Also fig. Deriv. slaiggery, adj., messy.Slg. 1767 Session Papers, Petition J. Callendar (13 Feb.) 18:
The said new-thrown-up earth being all turned mire and slagger.
Cld. 1825 Jam.:
A slaiger o' dirt; a slaiger o' cauld parritch.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 39:
To clap a slaiger o' mustard on't.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xix. 26:
A callan that splairges an ugsome slaiger on his ain name.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 279:
An illdeedie, muck-th'-byre slaeggur!
Lnk. 1951 G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 14:
The saecond last pock was sae slaiggery.
Abd. 1956 People's Jnl. (21 July):
A slagger o' blaeberry pie an' ream.

2. The act of bedaubing, a slovenly untidy way of working, slovenly work (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.; Slg., Fif., Lth., wm. and s.Sc. 1970).

3. A dirty way of eating, a slobbering (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166).

4. (The act of making) a gurgling noise in the throat; a growling sound, the growl of a dog (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166).

[Deriv. of Slag, n.1 Cf. P.L.D. § 49 (1). Also in n.Eng. dial.]

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"Slaiger v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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