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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

VAIG, v., n. Also veg(e) (Abd. 1719 Rec. Old Abd. (S.C.) I. 178), vage, vague; vag(g), vaag, vaug; ne.Sc. forms esp. as n., vya(a)g, vyaug, vyague; erron. vang (Slg. 1751 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1924) 45). [′veg; ne.Sc. ‡vjag]

I. v. To wander about idly, to roam in an aimless way, to gad about (Rxb. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 379; Sc. 1808 Jam.; ‡Ork., Ags., Fif., Ayr. 1973). Deriv. vaiger, vaguer (Ags. 1926), a footloose person, a gadabout, esp. hist. one who strolled about the streets during church service. Ppl.adj. vaiging, roaming, vagrant, straying. Now chiefly liter. Also vbl.n. Also fig.Sc. 1701 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 337:
Vaging or standing idle upon the streets.
Ork. 1715 A. W. Johnston Church in Ork. (1940) 73:
Severall servants and young people doth goe avagging on the Sabbath day, . . . if any should be found to wander and vagg herafter their masters or fathers should be punished.
Sc. 1763 Boswell London Jnl. (1950) 340:
We here would never think of bestowing anything upon a vaguing Englishman except a dinner or a supper.
Gsw. 18th c. H. G. Graham Social Life (1899) I. 137:
The “seizers” or elders visited the Green in the evening haling all “vaguers” to kirk or session.
Sc. 1770 J. P. Muirhead Life James Watt (1859) 198:
The vaguing about the country.
Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 197:
By and bye the time of vaaging was over for a season.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 21:
Man was aye a wilyart sorrow and a vaguin' dyvour.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ III. xxiii.:
Tether my monie vaigin thochts.
Ayr. 1913 “Kissock” Poems 9:
The Kelpie lo'es the green burnside, Whaur ne'er a vaiger gangs.
Ork. 1951 R. Rendall Ork. Variants 11:
He was aye vaigan b' the shore.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 37:
Whit's aa your Art but a vaigin in the mirk
By the saul launcht oot frae its lang ootworn kirk
And batterit by the typhoon's rage and roar?

II. n. A vagrant, vagabond, tramp (Kcd. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Abd. 1921; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor), esp. a rough-living, disreputable person, a rascal, rogue (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Kcd., Ags. 1973); freq. applied to a woman: a gadabout, a trull, an ill-conditioned gossiping female (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 204, vyaug; Mry. 1911 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 108; Bnff., Abd. 1929, vyaag; Ags. 1973), dim. vaigie, used playfully of a lively romping girl (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); also of a roaming animal. Adj. vaigish, roaming, vagrant (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.).Ags. 1815 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1852) 20:
Your worthless carcase whilk ye brag on, I winna leave a rotten rag on, . . . Ye vaig!
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin ii.:
She's a wild vaig that.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie I. 118:
What's the meaning o' conduct like yon, ye vaig, ye?
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 64:
It's some drunken vaig, I'll warrant ye.
Uls. 1898 S. MacManus Bend of Road 33:
Ye natarnal veg ye! bad luck to ye!
Abd., Kcd. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
Pit oot that vyaug o' a hen, she's scrapin' amo' the taties.
Mry. 1931 J. Geddie Characters 128:
Oh, the vaag (or limmer). An' her richer than I am masel'!

[O.Sc. vage, to roam, 1420, Fr. vaguer, Lat. vagari, id. The n., which is much more recent, may be from the v. or phs. rather a reduced form of vaigabone, Vagabond.]

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



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