Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

G, n., letter of the alphabet.

The seventh letter of the alphabet, now called gee [dȝi:, ‡s.Sc. dȝəi], but earlier [dȝe:] (Bnff. 1836 in Ellis E.E.P. V. 777), geh [ge:] (ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 38). The letter has two sounds: (1) that of the voiced back or velar plosive [g] and (2), when assibilated, that of the consonant diphthong [dȝ], occasionally [ȝ], sometimes also written dge, ge, j. The distinctions correspond in the main to those of Eng., except as noted below.

Sc. usages:

1. g has followed the development of O.E. ȝ to y before the palatal vowels in Yett (O.E. ȝeat), Foryet (O.E. forȝietan) in contrast to Eng. gate, forget, which derive from other grammatical forms with back vowels. g [g] is retained in Girdle, Girn, v.1, n.1, Girn, n.2, v.2, Girse, Girsle, these being metathetic from orig. gr- forms.

2. g [g] corresponds to Eng. -dge ( < O.E. -cȝ) in Brig, Dreg, n.2, Rig, Seg, Thig (see P.L.D. § 66.1). This development is gen. also in n.Eng. dial. and is commonly held to be due to the substitution of the corresponding Scand. sound.

3. g [g] occurs irreg. in final position in some words, e.g. Craig, n.2, Flag, n.4, Fleg, v.1, n.1 See etym. notes s.v.

4. g [g] is reg. retained in pronunciation initially before n in I. and n.Sc., now obsol., as in Gnap, Gnash, gnaw, Gnidge [gn-]. See P.L.D. §§ 66, 136, 165 and cf. K.

5. g [g] is commonly palatalised in I. and n.Sc. to gy-, as in gyang (Gang), gyad (Gad, n.3), gya (Gie, v.1), and further advanced, occas. in Sh. and Bch., to dy-, dj-, e.g. dyelro (Geldro), djemblet for Gemlet; Dyang, Dying. See P.L.D. § 141.3.

6. g [g] appears for c, k, in Darg, n.1, Gravat, Fegs, Gleg (= Cleg), and is common in ne.Sc., esp. before n, e.g. Gnap, gnappert (Knapparts), Gnip, phairg (Ferge, q.v.), Goslip, Grottly.

7. g [g] occas. interchanges with d, as in Drieshach, Drodlich, Duo, Guck; Wheegle.

8. g [dȝ] is reg. unvoiced to ch [tʃ], initially in Ork. and Cai. (see P.L.D. § 158) and finally in a few words, esp. Porritch, Pottitch, porridge, potage (see P.L.D. § 94), with further reduction to sh [ʃ] in Damish, Manish.

9. g [dȝ] is reduced to [ȝ], esp. in s.Sc., after n, as in cringe, change, stranger (see Zai § 379). This change is also common in colloq. Eng.g [ȝ] also develops from s after n, as in RingeWhinge, O.Sc. clenge (O.E. hwinsian, clnsian).

10. g [dȝ], final, is freq. developed from -d in s.Sc., as in curmudge (Curmud), Dadge, n.1, Fladge, and cf. Fid and Fidge, obs. Eng. flod and Flodge.

11. g is also found in two digraphs: (1) gh [x], as in light, night, etc., forfoghen, sough, sheugh, teugh, and now commonly written ch. The gh spelling is common in the 18th cent. and is due to a desire to assimilate the appearance of the word to the Eng. form; (2) ng [ŋ], (i) as in fangle (Fankle), ingle, single, tangle; finger, hunger, langer (Lang), never [ŋg] as in Eng. This development, in conjunction with 2. above, explains the Sc. form Sing, Eng. singe (Mid.Eng. sengen); (ii) freq. interchanging with -nk-, as in fangle, Fankle; hangal, Hankle, v.; Rang, Rank; Tangle, Tankle; and with -ny- [ɲ], esp. in Lnk., now obs., as in Cangle, Canyel; dangle, Danyel, v. The reduction of ng to n before th, as in Lenth, Strenth, and in the unaccented termination -ing, as in vbl.ns. and adjs. comin, fleein, makin, rinnin, etc.; mornin, herrin, shillin, which is found in Mid.Eng. and O.Sc., has persisted in Mod.Sc.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"G ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: