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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DUD, n. Also †dudd. Dim. duddie, -y. Also in Eng. dial.

1. An article of clothing. Gen. in pl. = clothes, used with humorous or depreciatory force. Since 17th cent. only in colloq. or slang use in Eng. Gen.Sc. Specif. the dud = the sackcloth (of repentance) in church penance.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 48:
What is this Grave? A Wardrobe poor, Which hads our rotting Duds.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
She'll ware't a' on duds and nonsense.
Sc. 1935 I. Bennet Fishermen i.:
He was always dirty, even in his Sunday-go-to-meeting duds.
Ork. 1880 Paety Toral in E.E.P. (1889) V. 796:
Although thou hast not a whole dud, Upon thy legs and body.
Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems 54:
And my dudds are but just so an' so, A sma' thing the warse o' the wear.
Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1821) lxiv.:
He'll get the dud an' sarken gown, That ugly sark.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 74:
They'll sell Their very duds o' claes an' meal. . . . To sloke their thirst.
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters I. xi.:
There's your uncle Peter took a poor primpet-up dally, wi' feant hae't but the duds on her back.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiii.:
Their bits o' duds bein sair bladdit wi' glaur.
wm.Sc. 1978 Christine Marion Fraser Rhanna (1979) 340:
'Forget the clothes. I'm more used to wearing duddies like yourself. It would never do to work a farm wearing tweeds.' 'Wh-at? Duddies?' beamed the farmhand. 'Work clothes.' 'Ah! Isn't that quaint now? You a farmer dressed like a lord?'
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter ll. 148–150:
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit, And coost her duddies to the wark, And linket at it in her sark!
Tyr. 1929 “M. Mulcaghey” Rhymes 76:
And try to meet as best I can, My bill for duds and socks and clogs.

Comb.: dud's dyke, see quot. wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 50:
A square piece of ground, enclosed by a "dud's-dyke" or clothes-paling, used as a bleaching-green.

Phr.: the bit an' the dud, food and clothing, see Bit, n., Phr. (f).

2. A rag, an odd piece of cloth. Gen. in pl. = ragged clothing, rags, tatters. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 100:
Every Dud bids another good Day. Spoken of People in Rags and Tatters.
ne.Sc. 1862 Fraser's Mag. (Feb.) 156:
Deil a coat saving a bit dud roun' their wames.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 35:
A hair-brain'd littleane wagging a' wi' duds.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
“Oh, that'll be easy deen,” said Peter's visitor, shaking out his crumpled cotton pocket handkerchief, “the dud'll haud it fine.”
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 18:
The very craw-bogles he robb'd o' their duds.
Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Helicon 66:
Auld louzy Duds gars ay Folk fidge.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 71:
You needna wag your Duds o' clouts, . . . To think that erst you've hain'd my Tail Frae Wind and Weet.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Add. of Beelzebub ll. 45–47:
. . . the wives an' dirty brats . . . Flaffin wi' duds an' grey wi' beas'.
Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” Green Shutters vii.:
I'll knock the fleas out of your duds!
Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 30:
Here's a dud to hap its head, An' a clout to row the feetie o't.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales, etc. (1837) II. 276:
You bloom, blouse, flirt, and flash on for a day, and then a' down to pain, poverty, dudds, and debility.

3. A cloth, esp. one of coarse linen or cotton used for domestic purposes, e.g. a duster (Abd.4 1929). Often in combs. such as daily dud, a dish-cloth (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), dryin' dud, hand-, a coarse towel (Abd.13 1910, Abd.2 1940; Fif.3 1919, hand-). Used humorously for a sail. In Abd. quot. used attrib. = linen.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Rock . . . pickle Tow x.:
Since lambas I'm now gaing thirty an twa, An' never a dud sark had I yet gryt or sma'.
Mearns5 1944:
To hang up the dud, to hoist the sail.

Phr.: to dab at the dud, to do linen embroidery (Dwn. 1931 North. Whig (2 Dec.) 5/7).

4. Fig. Used contemptuously of a dull, spiritless person, esp. “one who is easily injured by cold or wet” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2). Also in Cum. dial. Now in colloq. use in Eng. of a useless or inefficient person.Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xiv.:
He's a saft dud, yon; he has nae grup o' the politics ava.
Dmf. 1840 Carlyle in Froude Life (1884) I. vii.:
A wretched Dud called —, member for —, called one day.

[O.Sc. has duddis, poor or ragged clothes, from a.1508; Mid.Eng. dudde (15th cent.), a coarse cloak. Of unknown origin.]

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"Dud n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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