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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

WHIGMALEERIE, n., v. Also whigmaleery, -malirie, -meleerie. See also Figmaleery. [ʍɪgmə′liri]

I. n. 1. A decorative or fanciful object, a piece of ornamentation, in dress, stonework, etc., used gen. with depreciatory force, a knick-knack, gew-gaw, bauble, a fantastic contrivance or contraption (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.; also of food: fancy dishes or confectionery. Also attrib.Ayr. 1793 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 529:
I, with great formality, produced my whigmeleerie cup.
ne.Sc. 1802 Edb. Mag. (July) 56:
She flings her glammer o'er their e'en, An' gars her whigmaliries sheen.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xix.:
Nane o' yere whigmaleeries and curlie-wurlies and opensteek hems about it.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel iii.:
In the whigmaleery man's back-shop.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 87:
A wife! an even-doun waster rather say, Sae mony whigmaleeries she maun hae.
Edb. 1884 R. F. Hardy Glenairlie i. v.:
They wiled me there at times, but I couldna bide their wheegmaleeries an' gennyflexions!
Sc. 1907 Ochtertyre Ho. Bk. (S.H.S.) xliv.:
Some appreciation of dainties and “whigmaleeries” is evident in the form of puddings with fruit.
Abd. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 13:
The horn o' it wis lang an' wide, an' sheenin' like the sin, Wi' a whigmaleerie at the eyn, tae pit the records in.
Lnk. 1952 G. Blake Voyage Home 73:
You're going to see a lot of nice things — skins, beads, pottery and all sorts of whigmaleeries.
Peb. 1964 Stat. Acc.3 60:
The bogus Tudor and Banker's Georgian and the whigmaleeries of the Chambers Institute.
Sc. 1967 Sc. Poetry 2. 109:
Whim-wham scrolls, and whigmaleerie urns.
Lnk. 1991 Duncan Glen Selected Poems 62:
See oot there an epic whigmaleerie walks doon the street,
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 13:
A third chukken spakk. He wis a brither o the lave, haein bin born in the same whigmaleerie - but it hid vrocht him a thochtie different, wi a braider beak an wee-er shanks.

2. A whim, fanciful notion, a crotchet, fad, vagary (Ayr. 1910; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 250; n.Sc., em.Sc., Dmb., Lnk., Dmf. 1974). Also attrib. and fig.Ayr. 1786 Burns Brigs of Ayr 97–8:
There'll be, if that day come, I'll wad a boddle, Some fewer whigmaleeries in your noddle.
Sc. 1857 H. Miller Scenes 457:
What would their grandfathers have said to the whigmaleerie of a ball!
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ii.:
Fat whigmaleerie's this noo?
wm.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs McCraw 7:
A'm an evenforrit wumman wi' nae whigmaleeries aboot me.
Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Auld Clay Biggin' 14:
This whigmaleery o' biggin' cot hooses.
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. vi.:
If he had to work for his siller like his tenantry he wid hae far fewer o' that whigmaleeries in's heid.
Sc. 1927 L. Spence Weirds 4:
A' the whigmaleerie thochts We bring the warld as boons.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 30:
What whigmaleerie gars ye jowp an' jink amang the duckies?
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
Sit doun,
pit doun yer heidy wecht
o sanctly whigmaleeries
Sc. 1988 W. R. Aitken in Joy Hendry Chapman 53 48:
Curiously, although the poems Soutar called whigmaleeries became a distinct category among his poems in Scots, he first used the word as the title of a poem he wrote in 1932 and included among the 'poems in Scots for children' in the first edition (1933) of Seeds in the Wind.

3. “The name of a ridiculous game which was occasionally used, in Angus, at a drinking club. A pin was stuck in the centre of a circle, from which there were as many radii as there were persons in the company, with the name of each person at the radius opposite to him. On the pin an index was placed, and moved round by every one in his turn; and at whatsoever person's radius it stopped, he was obliged to drink off his glass” (Ags. 1808 Jam.).

II. v. To transform, transmogrify.Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jam.) 279:
Ma ance-sae-snod wee back-shop's whigmaleerit into ae great, muckle, black sea o' treckle!

[The earliest occurrence of the word is in the form Figmaleery, a fanciful formation poss. based on Fyke, n., 4. + Ma + Leerie, n.2]

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"Whigmaleerie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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