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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CADDIE, CADDY, Cadie, Cawdy, Cawdey, n.1 and v. [′kɑdi]

1. n. †(1) A cadet in the army.Sc. 1724–1727 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) 53:
Tho' commissions are dear, Yet I'll buy him one this year; For he shall serve no longer a cadie — o.
Sc. 1769 Ballad in D. Herd Sc. Songs (1776) II. 170:
There was Wattie the muirland laddie . . . With sword by his side like a caddie.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xxvi.:
The gentry are no doubt philosophers enough to bring up their bairns like sheep to the slaughter, and despatch them as cadies to Bengal and the Cape of Good Hope.

†(2) One who earned a living by running errands, lighting the way in the dark with lanterns, etc. Orig. applied to a number of such persons who formed an organised corps in Edinburgh and other large towns in the early 18th cent. (See quots.)Sc. 1883 in E. S. Haldane Scotland of Our Fathers (1933) xi.:
There were in Nasmyth's younger days a number of “caddies” round the markets, i.e. sturdy women, each with a creel on her back, who acted as porters.
Abd. 1740 in Sc. Notes and Queries XII.121:
To a cadie for going to the Gallowgatehead for my horse . . . six pence.
Edb. 1713 W. Mitchel Seasonable Warning 1: 
It was cried by the Cadies through the Town.
Edb. c.1730 E. Burt Letters North Scot. (1754) I. 26–27:
The Cawdys, a very useful Black-guard, who attends the Coffee-Houses and publick Places to go of Errands; and though they are wretches, that in Rags lye upon the Stairs, and in the Streets at Night, yet are they often considerably trusted. . . . This Corps has a kind of Captain or Magistrate presiding over them whom they call the Constable of the Cawdys; and in case of Neglect or other Misdemeanour he punishes the Delinquents.
Edb. 1779 H. Arnot Hist. Edinburgh 503:
They [the cadies] are acquainted with the whole persons and places in Edinburgh; and the moment a stranger comes to town, they get notice of it.
Gsw. 1788 in G. Eyre-Todd Hist. of Glasgow (1934) III. 359:
A seal of cause was given to a company of “Running Stationers or Cadies,” who were to serve the public by going messages . . . and in other ways.

Comb. caddie girl, a message-girl. For water caddie, see Water, n., 6. (16). Edb. 1831 Perthshire Adv. (21 July): 
A female, while making her marketings in Edinburgh, dropt a one pound note in the crowd, which was restored to her by a caddie girl, who had picked it up.

(3) Extended to mean any ragamuffin or rough fellow; “a boy” (Uls.2 1929). Often used contemptuously or familiarly. W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924 2nd ed.) gives for Uls. “cawdey, a shrewd, crafty little boy.” Known to Abd.2, Fif.1 1938.Abd.16 1934:
In Aberdeen caddy, as I remember it, was in constant use amongst juveniles. It meant a lad of the rougher sort; and was about equivalent in meaning to the Glasgow word “keelie.” The latter word was totally unknown in Aberdeen.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 186:
A' ye canty, cheerie caddies, Lend a lug to Jamie's tale.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Author's Earnest Cry xix.:
But gie him't het, my hearty cocks! E'en cowe the caddie!

(4) A golf attendant; one who carries a golfer's clubs, etc. Gen.Sc. Now in common use in St.Eng. Also extended to mean “an engagement as a caddie,” see second quot.Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 287:
Many of the young . . . are employed as cadies or club-carriers.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xvi.:
I'm awa doon to the gowf-hoose to get a caddie.
Edb. 1773 in Rules of Golf (ed. C. B. Clapcott 1935) 23:
In order to preserve the holes, no Golfer or Cadie shall be allowed to make any Tee within ten yards of the hole.

2. v. To act as a caddie. Gen.Sc. Now also regarded as St.Eng. (see N.E.D. Suppl.).Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xvi.:
“Have you ever caddied before?” he demanded.

[O.Sc. cadie, caudie, a military cadet, first quot. a.1646 (D.O.S.T.), Fr. cadet, from Gascon capdet (Low Lat. capitettum, Lat. caput, a head), corresponding to Provençal capdel, and originally meaning “chief, captain.” The Gascon captains who came to fight in the north of France under Charles VI. and Charles VII. being gen. younger sons, the word cadet became a synonym for “the younger son of a noble family,” then “younger son” in gen. (Hatz. and Darm.).]

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"Caddie n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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