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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FILLEBEG, n. Also fil(l)abeg, feely-, fielie-, fili-, feil-, phila-, phile-, phili-, phelie-; filipeg (Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 34). The kilt. Gen.Sc., mostly in literary use.Sc. 1745 Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine Families II. 478:
He thought fitt to make a present of his Feelybeg this morning to the boy Maclain.
Sc. 1746 Acts 19 Geo. II. c. 39. § 17:
No Man or Boy within that part of Great Britain called Scotland . . . shall on any Pretence whatsoever wear or put on the Clothes commonly called the Highland Clothes, the Plaid, Philebeg or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder Belts.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Jolly Beggars, John Highlandman ii.:
With his philibeg an' tartan plaid, An' guid claymore down by his side.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 480:
The country dress . . . is a bonnet, a short coat, a little kilt, or philebeg, tartan hose, and a plaid.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xliv.:
As if she had never seen a shentleman in a philabeg pefore.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xv.:
Others, again, still wore the highland philabeg.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road ii.:
Its capital [Inveraray] become a Lowland town in all except the language, with a philabeg or weapon scarcely to be seen upon its causeway, save on a fair or market day.
sm.Sc. 1979 Alan Temperley Tales of Galloway (1986) 1:
Roun' his hairy form there was naething seen,
But a philabeg o' the rashes green,
And his knotted knees played ay knoit between:
What a sight was Aiken-drum!

[Gael.féilead-beg, “little kilt,” the féileadh being originally the whole plaid which, when belted, gave rise to the modern kilt.]

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



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