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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BOGLE, Boggle, Boogle, Bogill, n. and v.1 [bogl; bɔgl Sc.; bugl centr.–w.Rxb.]

I. n.

1. A ghost, spectre, phantom, causing fright. Gen.Sc. Also fig.Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Sc. Proverbs 150:
Ye're ower auld farren to be fleyed wi' bogles.
Sc. 1988 Scotsman 27 Apr 10:
Mr Rifkind and his fellow-travellers in Westminster persist in threatening us with the bogle of "the break-up of the United Kingdom," just as Sir Russell Fairgrieve and Mr John J MacKay pronounce yet again on the shibboleth of "the slippery slope of separatism."
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 25:
Round the corner of the barn they scurried, their hands touching the rough stones in case they lost their direction and the darkness, the witches and the bogles claimed them.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann, etc. 17:
The mune hung, deaved wi' sunset, no a spunk o' pride intill her, Nae better nor a bogle, till the licht was awa.
m.Sc. 1982 Stewart McGavin in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 38:
the mists smoor
hale mountain waas
turn peerie craigs tae
inaccessible pinnacles
an sheddaes tae
bleezan bogles.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 121:
... and the black Bog King sat at the bottom under the reeds and the mud and the sticky green slime, and ruled it all, and the bogs became full of ghoulies and bogles and dead things and horrors that crept in the night.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 62:
O'er the Grayfriars, whare, at mirkest hour, Bogles and spectres wont to tak their tour.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 94:
Auld folks wha liv'd in days o' yore, Could nightly tell us tales galore, 'Bout warlocks, witches, brownies, boggles, That sometimes ev'ry traveller oggles.

2. A scarecrow; applied also to human beings: a “fright.” Gen.Sc.Lnl. 1881 H. Shanks Musings under the Beeches 224:
Nor shall it be that thou at last, . . . Shalt duty do in tatie field. To bogle's back I'll never yield My coat!
Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor (1903) ii.:
I never cud unnerstaun' hoo yer brither Rubbert cud mairry sic an auld bogle.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Surfaceman's Later Poems 36:
It's an auld wife's story, to fricht the bairns, As a bogle frichts a craw.

3. A game. See phr. (1) infra.

4. Phrases: (1) bogle, bogle about the bush, bogle —, bogill about the stacks, a form of “hide-and-seek” played by young people. Cf. Barley-Brack(s), 2. Given as obs. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923; (2) bogle catch the fairy, id.(1) Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Bogill about the stacks, or simply, Bogle, a play of children or young people, in which one hunts several others around the stacks of corn in a barnyard. . . . The name has probably originated from the idea of the huntsman employed being a scare-crow to the rest.
Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Streams from Helicon 79:
We went to the Barn-Yard and play'd bogle about the Stacks.
Slk. 1755 J. Elliot Flowers of the Forest iv. in Songs of Scot. (ed. R. Chambers 1880) 23:
At e'en, in the gloaming, nae swankies are roaming 'Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play.
fig. Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) lxxi.:
I circumvented them — I played at bogle about the bush wi' them.
(2) Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems, etc. 193:
As round the rucks we jinking play, At “Bogle catch the fairy.”

5. Combs.: (1) bogle-bo, “hobgoblin or spectre” (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Gloss.). Also in form bogill-bae (Abd. 1897 G. MacDonald Salted with Fire xxvi.); (2) bogle-day, see Buggle, n.1; (3) bogle keik, bo-peep, hide-and-seek. Cf. Bogie-Keek; (4) bogle-knowes, knolls supposed to be haunted by apparitions; †(5) bogle-rad, afraid of bogles, ghosts. Given as obs. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923, which gives also the form boogle-raad for s.Rxb. See Rad; ‡(6) bogle-ridden, idem. Given for ne.Rxb. in Watson Rxb. W.-B. 1923; (7) bogle-shanks, ghostly shadows (legs); (8) bogle-wark, witchcraft, ghostly interference; (9) tatie-, tattie-bogle, a scarecrow set among growing potatoes. Often used fig. Gen.Sc.(1) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 173:
Or has some Bogle-bo Glowrin frae 'mang auld Waws gi'en ye a Fleg?
Rxb. c.1734 Anon. in Elegy on John Hasty, Hawick Arch. Soc. (1913) 56:
If a young swankie wi' his joe, In some dark nook play'd bogle-bo.
(3) fig. Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 168:
An' thae wha now his favour seek, Wad stand afar, An' ne'er play at him bogle keik.
(4) Peb. 1793 Carlop Green (ed. R. D. C. Brown 1832) 31:
The Loch where on its bottom deep Its kelpie's cot remains, The Glyn where the Kow-craig at nights Still bogle-knowes retains.
(5) Rxb. 1820 A.M. in Edin. Mag. (Aug.) 132:
The master being less “bogle-rad” than his servants . . . seized the wizard, and chastised him off hand.
(7) Sc. 1925 “Domsie” Sc. Poems, Hairst-mune:
Auld hairst-mune aboon the stooks, Fine I ken ye by your looks, . . . Cuistin' bogle-shanks for lang, When the hervesters are thrang.
(8) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet, Letter xi.:
Sir John hushed the matter up, and the funeral passed over without mair bogle-wark.
(9) Abd. 1929 N. M. Campbell in Sc. Readings, etc. (ed. T. W. Paterson) 55:
Preserve a' livin'. Is't a tatie bogle ye're tryin' to mak yersel'?
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger, etc. (1916) 20:
He was like a tattie-bogle, his claes flapp'd on his back.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems and Sketches 237:
The folk'll think it's a tattie bogle deserting his post if they see me in this state!

II. v. To bewitch, bamboozle.Sc. 1723 R. McWard Contendings 69:
To bogle us, with beautiful, and blazing Words, into that degree of compliance with the council-curates.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Slg.3 1935:
Bogle, properly, to terrify; but apparently used as signifying to enchant, bewitch, or blind.

[First quot. in D.O.S.T. (see Bogill) from The Poems of William Dunbar (c.1500–c.1512). N.E.D. says that the word was introduced into Eng. in 19th cent., where boggle became the more common form. Deriv. is uncertain. Phs. connected with Welsh †bwg, ghost, hobgoblin, bwgwl, fear (Spurrell's Eng.-Welsh Dict.); Mid.Eng. bugge (14th cent.), terror, bugbear.]

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"Bogle n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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