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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
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.

BOY, n. Also boay. Sc. usages.

Sc. form of Eng. boy.Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 3:
Ah telt ye ah saw ma boay oan that thing.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 23:
MARIE-LOUISE An ah've already told you, that's fine by me ... Jist you go ahead an move intae the livin-room ... Roger kin come'n sleep wi me ...
LEOPOLD Whoiver heard ae a mither sleepin wi her wee boay?

Sc. usages:

1. “A male person of any age or condition, if unmarried and residing in the parental home” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); a man of any age. Gen.Sc. Cai.7 1935 gives it as obs. or obsol.Edb. 1992:
Has the boy come tae fix the cooker yet?
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 26:
Daft as each other! Her yin passion
Is you and yours, I swear!
And this boay couldny love you mair.
He's fairly burnin' tae be yir man.
Gsw. 1939 Edward Gaitens in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 22:
It was stifling down here; very soon he breathed with great difficulty, and his head was throbbing painfully when the ganger shouted: 'Come on boays! Up on deck for yer blow!'
Gsw. 1988 George MacDonald Fraser The Sheikh and the Dustbin (1989) 117:
"He minds me a bit o' Jackie O'Connell that used tae be in C Company, ye mind him? Irish boy,..."
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 5:
It wiz a picture, boay. Wisen up. Hiv ye ever done time?
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle, etc. ii. ii.:
As in Ireland all the sons of the house are “boys” so long as they remain under the roof-tree, even though they may carry grey heads on their shoulders.

2. Used specifically for an apprentice (Lnl.1 1935).Lnk. 1928 H. Lauder Roamin' in the Gloamin' iii.:
My Uncle Sandy was a “bottomer” in Eddlewood Colliery, and one of his mates agreed to give me a start as his “boy.”

3. A term of commendation and praise; always with the definite article. Also the wee boy (Edb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s). Gen.Sc. Rnf. 1972 Bill Bryden Willie Rough 25:
Pat knows. Pat's the wee boy.
Gsw.(D) 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor (1903) ii.:
“If a beast wis gaun fur to pu' ma heid aff,” remarked Macgregor, who had grown suddenly bold, “I — I — I wud gi'e't a kick!” “Ye're the boy!” said his father.
Gsw. 1949-55 Bud Neill, compiled by Ranald MacColl Lobey's the Wee Boy!: The Collected Lobey Dosser (1992) :
Lobey's the Wee Boy!
Gsw. 1970 George MacDonald Fraser The General Danced at Dawn (1988) 34:
"We're the wee boys."
Gsw. 1992 Herald (27 Nov.)  16:
The competition entries had Latin galore. Ian Black of Maryhill came up with Lobey Puer Parvus Est which means, of course, Lobey's the Wee Boy.

4. Used with auld: “a name for the devil; or one with devilish habits” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 23).Ags. 1894 “Fergus Mackenzie” Humours of Glenbruar xiii.:
It'll land richt i' the fryin'-pan, an' Annie'll think it's the auld boy himsel' come doon to see her.

5. Dims. boyag (Cai.); boyan (e.Rs.1 1928); boyackie (Abd. (coast) 1975); boyagie (Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 139).Cai. 1899 W. Sinclair Sc. Life & Humour 100:
Some of the wee bit boyackies.
Cai. 1930 Caithness Forum in John o' Groat Jnl. (17 Jan.):
A wis a fouchlin' [clumsy] boyag at a hairvest dance.
[The termination -ag is the Cai. equivalent of the common Sc. dim. -ock; -an is Gael.]

6. Comb.: boy-lassie, a boyish girl, a hoyden.Kcb. 1911 S. R. Crockett Smugglers xiv.:
She was never more to be the accomplice of horse-copers; the gipsy “boy-lassie” who could hold her own with tooth and nail.

7. Bhoy, a player for Celtic Football Club; in pl. the team itself.Sc. 1988 Jimmy Black Yellow Wednesday 50:
Legend had it that Crannie's devotion to the Bhoys reached such a quality of selflessness, that the Celtic Board decided on a course of action never taken before and certainly never taken since.
Sc. 1999 Herald (13 Oct.)  36:
Lambert a happy Bhoy after extending Celtic contract.
Gsw. 1964 George Friel The Boy who Wanted Peace (1985) 5:
What I say is, the Bhoys ought to spend money on a good inside forward. They've got a lot o' good young yins but the young yins need an auld heid.

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"Boy n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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