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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SWAGE, v. Also swaage, swa(a)dge, swauge-. [swɑdʒ]

1. intr. To subside, settle down, shrink from a swollen condition, of floods or the like, the stomach after a meal, etc. (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 214, 1914 Angus Gl.; I. and n.Sc. 1972); of a liquid: to sink in, be absorbed (wm.Sc. 1946).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 59:
Her stammack had nae maughts sick meat to swage.
Dmf. 1820 J. Johnstone Poems 25:
Through some rattan-houkit hole The sooty waters 'swaging roll.
Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 236:
They [floods] 'll swage ere Beltane-tide.
Abd. 1949:
Wyte till my stamack swadge a bit.

2. tr. To take in and digest (food) (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Kcd. 1944; Sh., Cai. 1972).Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
As mukkel as ever he can swaadge.
Cai. 1952:
Pit the beasts in 'ere and lat them swadge their fill.

3. intr. To relax after a good meal, to sit back and let it digest (Ork., n.Sc. 1972).ne.Sc. 1912 Scotsman (19 Jan.):
After a hearty Sunday dinner it was advisable to “swadge” for some time.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xix.:
Ye'll need to sit an' swage a while.
Abd. 1962 Aberdeen Grammar School Mag. 38:
Efter their tattie-soup an' puddin, they got their tay an' syne flappit amon' the strae tae swaadge.

4. To assuage, slake thirst, etc. Hence swauger, a long, satisfying drink of liquor.Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 143:
Than we took a swauger O' whiskie we had smugglin brewn, Outwittins o' the gauger.

[Aphetic form of Eng. assuage, now obs. in the above senses. For 1. cf. Genesis viii. 1.]

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"Swage v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Jun 2023 <>



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