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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CRAIG, n.2 and v.

I. n. Also in forms crag, crage, creg; craug (Rxb. (Teviotd.) 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B., obs.); krag (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); kraeg (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).

1. The neck (Cai.7 (obsol.), Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.17, Fif.10, Slg.3, Kcb.1 1940; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 241).Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
His craig wad ken the weight o' his hurdies if they could get haud o' Rob.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 1:
"Slawer, quine, slawer gyaun doon the brae," crawed auld Attie Coutts, cockin his wizzen craig sidiewyse, like a hoodie ower a tasty corp.
Ags. 1993 Mary McIntosh in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 112:
He pit his ee tae the gaig. It wis the skimmer o a caunle, the low gien smaa licht. The har on the back o his craig prinkled at the pewlin soon cummin oot o that bleck pit.
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet of Barns iv. iv.:
And I'll no deny but that it's the maist reasonable road to tak, if ye're no feared o' breakin' your craig ower a stane or walkin' intil a peat-bog. Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 280: Sae he socht tae get somebuddy else tae risk his craig ower't.

2. The throat, the gullet (Cai.9 1946; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940).Sh. 1915 G. W. Stout in Old-Lore Misc. VIII. i. 61:
Sjhorn got up, wi' a faerless: “Be dú blyde my sjhewel,” deep doon in his creg.
Abd. 1904 W. A. G. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 80:
Aft may we meet, and joyfu' weet Our wizzened craigs wi' barley bree.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 56:
To fleg frae a' your craigs the roup, Wi' reeking het and crieshy soup.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Grose's Peregrinations (Cent. ed.) viii.:
The knife that nicket Abel's craig.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 193:
Need I tell a lad come to your time o' life, what a dry craig an' a lang crack craves?

3. Phrases and Combs.: (1) craig-band, a halter used in fastening up cattle in a byre; (2) craig-bane, the collar-bone (Edb. c.1850 (per Edb.3)); †(3) craig-cloth, — cleath, crage claith, “a neckcloth, a cravat” (Sc. 1808 Jam., crage claith); †(4) craig of mutton, “a neck of mutton” (Callander MS. notes on Ihre's Gloss. (Jam.)); (5) craig's-clos(i)e, -closs, “a jocular expression for the throat” (Ags.9 1926, -closie; Fif.13, Lnk.11, Kcb.1 1940): the expression originates in a play upon the words Craig's Close (see Close, n.1), an actual or hypothetical street-name; †(6) lang craig, “a cant term for a purse” (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl. 7); (7) to be at the crag an' the wuddie, to quarrel (Ags.2 1940); (8) to pit ower the craig, to swallow (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940).(1) Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. (1922) 15:
To save the cost of bent . . . [the farmer] wound a rope of punds and floss for a neckband or craig-band as it was more commonly called.
(3) Sc. 1733 Cock-Laird xxvi. in Orpheus Caled. (2nd ed.) I. 55:
I man' ha'e . . . Craig-cloths and Lugg-babs.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 222:
An' taking aff my craig cleath, I turned it outside in.
(5) wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan I. 93:
Gin I had sent our Stirling sma', as quickly down Craig's closs as I hae done yours, it wad hae ta'en the bark wi't.
Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 782:
I coft a drap o' Norland blue, An' doun craig's close twa toothfu's threw.
(6) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 35:
O had ye seen, wi' what a waefu' frown, He drew lang craig, and tauld the scushy down.
(7) Abd.13 1910:
“They're aye at the crag an' the wuddie,” i.e. always quarrelling.
(8) Mry.2 1880:
Pit that ower yer craig and dinna bather me again.

II. v., tr. Rare.

1. To drink, swallow. Also used intr. = to slip down the throat.Ags. 1872 Kirriemuir Observer (3 May):
That didna craig weel wi's.
Ags. 1879 G. W. Donald Poems 15:
Oh! wad they tak a swatch frae me, An' craig a social cup o' tea.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
A wonderfu' assortment o' purgatives . . . a' warranted to prove the very elixir o' life to whaever could be prevailed on to craig them.

2. (See quot.)Abd. 1939 C. Sim in Cal. Customs Scot. II. 99:
Some fishermen had the habit of taking the fish that was first hauled into the boat when they were at sea on that morning, “craiging” it, i.e. breaking its neck, squeezing some blood out of it and rubbing it over their hands.

[O.Sc. has crag(e), craig, cragg, kraig, from c.1420, the neck of a person or animal, etc., also cragbane, craig-cloath (D.O.S.T.). Bense suggests origin from Mid.Flem. krage, neck, rather than M.L.Ger. origin attributed to it by N.E.D., but the final plosive suggests that the word may have come in via Scandinavia, cf. Norw. dial. krage, collar, Mid. Sw. kraghe, neck.]

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"Craig n.2, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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