Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SUGARALLIE, n. Also -all(e)y, -alla, -aloe, -ali(e), -alae, -all, -awly, -aully, -olie, -ellie, -y, -ella; succreali; also in full form sugarallie crieshe (see etym. note). [ʃugər′ɑle; wm.Sc. -′ole; n., em.Sc. -′ɛle]

1. Liquorice, esp. when made up as a sweet, Black Sugar, a stick or other confection of liquorice (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif., Lth. (-ellie), Ayr. (-allie) 1923–6 Wilson). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. m.Lth. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 21:
Sulphur, salt fish, sugar allie.
e.Lth. 1842 Children in Mines Report (2) 465:
Mother gives me 3d., which I spend in sugaralleys and sweeties.
Gsw. 1854 Glasgow Past & Present (1884) II. 167:
All the porter, however, which was brewed in Glasgow at this time was of a very inferior quality, being extremely dark in its colour, and coarse in its flavour. It was generally understood to have contained a strong infusion of liquorice or “sugarallie crieshe,” as our operatives called it.
Gsw. 1880 H. Barclay Old Glasgow 152:
A third Volunteer body was the “grocers,” which was in mockery termed the “Sugar-aloe” corps.
Lnk. 1910 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 74:
Dabbities, peevers, and thick sugar-all.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xvii.:
Long tubes of sugarella.
Rxb. 1922 Kelso Chronicle (6 Jan.) 4:
Sugaralae, composed of liquorice sugar and elecampane (Inula Helenium) was dissolved in the mouth [as a cough cure].
s.Sc. 1947 L. Derwent Clashmaclavers 87:
Whiles a lucky-bag I'd try, Or sticky sugar-alla buy.

2. In Combs.: (1) sugarellie button, a liquorice sweet made in a disc form like a button; ‡(2) sugarallie hat, a tall black silk hat, specif. as orig. worn by policemen (m.Sc. 1971); hence used as a nickname for a policeman, occas. shortened to sugarallie; (3) sugarally mountains, a name for the heaps of black waste from the St. Rollox Chemical Works dumped in mounds in the Cranhill district of Glasgow; (4) sugarallie water, a children's drink made by dissolving a piece of liquorice in a bottle of water. Gen.Sc. (1) Ags. 1886 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 148:
Flossie had a weakness for sugarellie buttons.
(2) Ags. 1887 J. McBain Arbroath 104:
Their bonnets were replaced by “sugarellie hats.”
Gsw. 1899 Gsw. Herald (23 Dec.) 8:
The term “sugar-ally” was applied to the “Peeler” from his tall hat having strips of metal up the sides, not unlike sticks of black sugar.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie 65:
The sugaraully hats the polis used to hae.
Ags. 1948 J. C. Rodger Lang Strang 29:
In comes the mannie Wi' the sugarellie hat [the minister].
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth i. vi.:
Yelling derisively: “Sugarawlly Hat ,” to the might and majesty of law.
(3) Gsw. 1965 Scotsman (26 Aug.) 13:
An area of ugly waste heaps known euphemistically as the Sugarally Mountains.
(4) Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xxii.:
Bairns gaily shook their bottles of sugarelly water into a froth.
Bte. 1913 Rymour Club Misc. II. 77:
Sugar ally water, as black as the lum, If you gather up your pins, I'll gie ye some. (The reference is to liquorice with water in a bottle, a sip of which is given in exchange for a pin, a button, etc.).
Kcb. 1923 W. D. Lyell Justice Clerk I. iv.:
What say ye to a sma' bottle o' sugaralie water?
Gsw. 1947 J. F. Hendry Fernie Brae 10:
Shall we make some sugarolly water?

[A shortened form of sugar alicreesh (see Alicreesh). O.Sc. sukker lagrace, 1576, succour alacreische, liquorice, 1581.]

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"Sugarallie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <>



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