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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

COLLIE, Colly, Colley, n.1 and v. [′kɔle, ′kolɪ̢]

I. n.

1. The Scottish sheep-dog, remarkable for its sagacity. Collie has for some time been commonly used in Eng., but designates a large thoroughbred dog differing considerably from the original Sc. type. In sm.Sc. it was used as “a general name (sometimes particular) for curs” (Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems II., Gl.). Often attrib. with tyke, etc.Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) viii.:
A French tourist . . . has recorded, as one of the memorabilia of Caledonia, that the state maintained in each village a relay of curs, called collies, whose duty it was to chase the chevaux de poste (too starved and exhausted to move without such a stimulus) from one hamlet to another.
Sc. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae the French 93:
The Mappy saw a collie at fou' speed, An' said . . . “If I had but my wush, a dog I'd be!”
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 26:
Gin we hadna been a pair o' gye strang rouchtous [rouchtons], we wad hae lain like the thick-nosed collytyke that day.

2. In phr. Collie, wull ye lick (taste)?, an invitation to anyone to partake of food (Bnff.2, Ags.1, Lnl.1 1937). Gen. used with a neg. in the preceding sentence.Sc. 1899 Mont.-Fleming 26:
Ah, weel, an' he never said tae me, Collie, wull ye taste?
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 117:
But deil ane o' them . . . Said till's, "Colley, will ye taste?"
m.Sc. 1922 “O. Douglas” Ann and her Mother xiii.:
I've sat whole nichts in their hooses an' they never so much as said to me, “Collie, wull ye lick?”

3. Combs.: (1) colly dougs, “the soubriquet by which the gowned students [of Glasgow] were known to the ‘Keelies'” (Gsw. 1927 D. Murray Old College of Glasgow 564). Also Buttery Willie (Wullie) Collie, the corresponding term in use in Abd. (Abd. 1874 N. N. Maclean Life at a North. Univ. (1906) 50–51, — Wullie — ). [Collie (colly) here may be a corruption of college.]; (2) collie dug, (i) = n. 1. Also fig.; (ii) rhyming slang for mug, a gullible person (Gsw. 1990s). (1) Abd. 1894 I. M. Caesar in Abd. Univ. Review (Summer 1942) 183–184:
Do the children still hail the students as they pass along Mounthooly with “Buttery Willie Collie”? One morning I was going from Marischal to King's with Rachel Annand, who in those days had a glorious head of Titian hair, when an urchin called out, “Buttery Willie Collie: reid-heided Collie!”
(2) (i) Sc. 1996 Times 7 Jun :
This is the Dumfriesshire heartland for Blackface sheep, Collie dugs, and belted Galloways that win at Smithfield.
Sc. 1997 Scotland on Sunday 3 Aug 20:
And if you will forgive some non-PC language, she's a lot easier on the eye than John McCririck - but then so is my collie dug.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 7 Feb 13:
Insch Golf Club near Aberdeen have made a "collie dug" called Cuillin a member in recognition of the thousands of balls it has retrieved over the years.
Sc. 2004 Express 15 Dec 16:
Wendy points out that Scotland has one of the world's highest percentages of women Parliamentarians. But the jury's still out on whether they have made a vast difference. Or on whether some of them - and I certainly do not mean Wendy - get by by emulating the worst male characteristics: thrashing around like career-crazed crocodiles, or becoming collie dugs trotting at the heels of some male politician.
(ii) Sc. 1999 Herald 6 Sep 21:
...bearing on that average price, perhaps pulling the whole market downwards.
But then, what would a wee bit collie dug know?

4. An old edible crab, poss. because of the dark colour of its shell, by association with coal (see etym. note). Gall. 1933-5 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 270:
When it becomes too old to moult and breed it is called a "collie".

II. v.

1. tr. ‡(1) To wrangle or quarrel with (someone) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.).Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
We cou'd hardly keep them frae colleyin' ane anither.

†(2) “To domineer over; as, ‘That herd callant has nae a dog's life about the house; he's perfectly collied by them'” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; s.Sc. 1990s).

†(3) “To abash, to put to silence in an argument; in allusion to a dog, who, when mastered or affronted, walks off with his tail between his feet” (Fif. 1808 Jam.).

2. intr. “To yield in a contest, to knock under” (Lth. 1825 Jam.2).

[O.Sc. has collie, a shepherd's dog, a.1651 (D.O.S.T.). Origin uncertain: Chaucer's Colle, the name of a dog; dial. Eng. colly, adj., black, grimy (from O.E. col, coal); and Gael. cuilean, a whelp, have all been suggested. The last suggestion is doubtful, as an [u] pronunciation has never been used in Sc.]

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"Collie n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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