Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WALLYDRAG, n., v. Also wally draig, dreg, wallidrag, -dreg, waily-dreg; warrydrag, war(r)i-; and in dim. deriv. forms wal(l)ydrag(g)le, wallidraggle (Abd. 1832 A. Beattie Poems 136), wal(l)y-draigle, wallie-tragle, ¶willie-dragel, -draiggle; warri-draggle (ne.Sc. 1826 Aberdeen Censor 277, Bnff. 1973), wary-draggle, -el, worrie draggle. Also attrib. [′wɑli′drɑg(əl), -′dreg(əl), ne.Sc. + ′wɑri-]

I. n. 1. A worthless person, a wretch, a wastrel, good-for-nothing; a slovenly, untidy dishevelled person, a slut, skivvy (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., warydraggel; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial. Also attrib. and in comb. wally draggle tail, a slattern (Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 9).Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 28:
How blubber'd an' droukit the peer wary-draggels war.
Dmf. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 83:
He has na seen the wally dreg Sin in her wame it bouted.
Sc. 1811 C. K. Sharpe's Corresp. (Allardyce 1888) I. 477:
Our present Dukes of Lenox and their madames are but wallidrags in comparison.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxxiv.:
A wheen auld carles that are past flghting, and bairns that are no come till't, and wives wi' their rocks and distaffs, the very wally-draigles o' the country-side.
Slk. 1824 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
There were sae mony o' the out-wale wallie-tragle kind o' wooers there.
Sc. 1846 W. Tennant Muckomachy 45:
Thus did that willie-dragel Dick Pay for his slowness buttock-mail.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd xi.:
Keep me on for worrie draggle tae yer mistress?
Abd. 1929:
A laithfu' sweir wife — a doonricht warri-drag.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiv.:
A mengie o' warrydrags as pae-wae an' hingin-luggit like's 'imsel.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 84:
The puir wally-draigle his ae fuit has liftit
syne stoppit afore he's onythan duin.
Nae stobs has he biggit, nae slaps has he reddit,
naethan tae shaw aa this time on the muin.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 28:
Happin trails o weer an clooert pails,
Roosty speens an smaa bleacht birdies' beens,
Wallydraigle Winter's orra troke.
Dundee 2000 Matthew Fitt But n Ben A-Go-Go 88:
Watter skailed in fae gaws in the roof. The shilpit an the seik chittered unner drookit blankets while wallydraigles o laddies guddled bairnishly in the sheuchs.

2. A thin, ill-grown, undersized person or animal (Sc. 1808 Jam., wallidraggle; Mry. 1825 Ib., waridrag; Abd. 1913, warridrag; Bnff., Abd. 1973).Sc. 1736 Ramsay in Scots Mag. (Aug. 1784) 397:
No walydraggle among them all fine girls.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Shop-Bill 33:
Wary-draggle, an' sharger elf.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
We think mair about the warst wally-draigle in our ain byre.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 220:
It [a changeling child]'s but a whingin', screechin', skirlin' wallidreg — but we maun bear wi' dispensations.
Abd. 1883 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 116:
Three hide-bun' wally-draggles, an' the foort ane a — eeseless buffalo brute.
Abd. 1930 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 378:
Yon puir wallydraigle as wabbly's a reed, Her purse maun be toom.

3. (1) The smallest, weakest or youngest bird in the nest (Sc. 1770 Hailes Ancient Sc. Poems 289, wally-dragle; w.Lth., Rnf., Ayr., Dmf. 1973, -draigle). Also .fig.Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 558:
We're a' like birds hatched in ae nest . . . By weakness o' my pipe confess'd I'm wally-draggle.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xii.:
Would it no be the height o' imprudence for a man to lay hands on the wally draig when he has it in his power to catch a better bird?
Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 9:
Four o' the birds cam' oot a' richt, I dug the twa willie-draiggles that mother has in her breist the noo oot o' the shells.

(2) Also fig. of any puny stunted thing (see quot.).Dmf. 1828 Carlyle Letters (Norton 1888) I. 131:
[The Editor of the Mercury newspaper] says that I am the most beautiful penny-candle you could see in a winter night, but that, unhappily, a “murky cloud of German Transcendentalism” is descending over me; whereby . . . the light must go out in its socket; and nothing remain but the waily-dreg of the Mercury to illuminate the earth.

4. Three or four sheaves set up together without the head-sheaf for more speedy drying (Rxb. 1825 Jam., -draggle, ‡1923 Watson W.-B., -draggle, -draigle).

II. v. Only in ppl.adj. waly-draiglin, slovenly, lounging, loafing.Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie x.:
Ilk waly-draiglin', dribblin' wight, Wha sleeps a' day, an' drinks a' night.

[O.Sc. walidrag, = I. 1., 1508. The first element may represent Waly, int., the -r- forms being due to assimilation to the second element, for which cf. Draigle.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Wallydrag n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Apr 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: