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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CABBAGE, n. As in St.Eng., except in the following combs. and phr. which are exclusively Sc.

1. Combs.: (1) cabbage-daisie, -daisy, “Trollius europæus. Globe-flower” (Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica I. 296; ne., w.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 76, -daisy); (2) cabbage-kail, cabbage (Bnff.2, Abd.22 1938), also used attrib.; (3) cabbage-runt, “a cabbage-stalk; a castock or kail-runt” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 76); known to Abd.2, Fif.1, Kcb.1 1938; (4) cabbage stock, id. (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Fif.10, Kcb.1 1938).(2) Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
He taul' me that it [guano manure] sent up some cabbage-kail 't he try't it on fernyear like the vera shot o' a gun.
Ags. 1821 D. Shaw Humourous Songs and Poems 15:
Auld Girzie I try'd aye to gain 'er By snodly heel-capin' her hose; Sae gat ilka day to my dinner A caupfu' o' cabbage-kail brose.
(4) Sc. 1832–1846 Whistle-Binkie (2nd Series) 66:
Tak aff your hat when ye speak to a gentleman — it's no the fashion in this kintra to put hats on cabbage stocks.

2. Phr.: cabbage and kail (see quot.).wm.Sc. 1835–1837 Laird of Logan I. 80:
When the knights of the thimble give us a toast “cabbage and kail,” it is considered among them almost as comprehensive in its meaning, as “all we wish and all we want”; or, in real snip slang, “meat and claes, no forgetting the blankets.”

3. (the) cabbage (and ribs), nickname for Hibernian football club. [Rhyming slang for hibs.] Sc. 1996 Big Issue 1-14 Mar 39:
As for Trainspotting, if the film's half as good as the book it will be almost as good as 90 minutes at Easter Road. But, Irv, more vile rumours reach TSL as we go to press - we hear the movie cut the bits about the Cabbage!
Edb. 1998:
Cabbage is another wey tae talk about Hibs, as weel as the Hibees o course.
Edb. 1999:
Ah thoat yer laddie wid hiv telt ye, likesay, that Hibs wir cried the Cabbage.
Sc. 1999 Edinburgh Evening News 5 Aug 5:
Hibs fans have been flocking to the theme bar Cabbage and Ribs - taken from the traditional rhyming slang for their favourite team - with the same enthusiasm they have shown streaming through the turnstiles at Easter Road this season.
Edb. 2000:
C'moan the Cabbage!
Sc. 2002 Edinburgh Evening News 9 Feb 13:
OK, it's admittedly been a wee while since the Cabbage lifted any silverware - after all, winning the first division in 1999 was a relief rather than something to crow about.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 25 Jan 3:
Now we're in the Cabbage And Ribs, which rights the wrongs of the stadium and adorns its walls with pictures of Paddy Stanton and Co.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 2 Oct 20:
It need not stick in the craw of "the Pieman", as Chris is fondly referred to, as Hearts need any crumbs they can get.
And yes, this information was forwarded to us by a fan of the Cabbage and Ribs.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 27 May 67:
Mowbray faces a difficult problem and the media will not help his cause.Celtic sell more papers than Hibs and in the weeks and months to come every newspaper in Scotland will link Mowbray back to Parkhead. ... If anyone asks Tony Mowbray his favourite food there is only one credible answer - cabbage and ribs.

 [Of the above, the only one in D.O.S.T. is cabbage kaill, 1681 (Thanes of Cawdor 352). E.M.E. has cabbage cote, 1579. The second element has the generic meaning of “colewort” and cabbage indicates the headed or hearted species.]

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"Cabbage n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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