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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLAG, n.5, v.2 Also flauk (Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Heather and Snow xxii.), by conflation with flake.

I. n. A large snow-flake (Mry. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc. 1951). Also in n.Eng. dial.Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 1:
Like flags when weaving braed they fa' The heralds o' a hurricane o' snaw.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 20:
Now the snaw in spune-drift flew, And fient a flag was on him.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 154:
When snow is falling in flakes (“flags”) the saying is that the folks in Orkney are plucking geese.

Deriv.: flaggie, of snow, in large 1891 John C. Milne Myths and Supersititions of the Buchan District (1987) 14:
Cruikshank Booth, who lived in the middle of the last century, at Hillhead of Bruxie, was returning home from New Deer one fine winter night when the moon as shining full and clear. There had been a fall of soft, "flaggie" snow in the earlier part of the evening, so that footprints could be distinctly seen.

II. v. Of snow, to fall in large flakes (Abd.7 1925; Bnff.2 1942). Vbl.n. flagin, a large snow-flake (Abd. 1951); “a piece of thin, flaky material. Used rather loosely now, and in a generally contemptuous manner” (Ork. 1929 Marw., flagan).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 47:
It flaggit on a' day yesterday.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Heave awa' that muckle flagan o' dirt.

[Cogn. with flake. Cf. Dan. sneflage, snow-flake, Norw. dial. flak, a flake of anything, flakna, flagna, to flake off, O.N. flakna, id.]

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"Flag n.5, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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