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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GEE, n. Also gie, gei; ¶jee (m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 38). A whim, notion, mood, fancy, caprice; a fit (gen. of sulkiness or obstinacy); a lively or daft mood (Cai.7 1954; Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd. 2000s); a song of this name.  Gen.Sc. Commonly in phr. to tak the gee, see below. [Sc. gi:, Rxb. gəi]Sc. 1714 in Jacobite Minstr. (1829) 69:
When he takes on his good dame's gees, He canna rule himsel', Sir.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross What ails the Lasses vi.:
But when I speak to them that's stately I find them ay ta'en with the gee.
Mry. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 300:
And lads, gin your lasses grow dorty, Let never their gees mak ye wae.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun 56:
The Gee, and Fare ye weel, Killavie, He sang sae sweet.
n.Sc. 1835 in H. Miller Scenes & Leg. xxii.:
Thy saucy gee shows thee to be Like a blind muzzled mole.
Sh. 1900 E.D.D.:
She'll dü it when the gie is on her.
Mry. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 20:
Queer gees that aul' fouk tak' intil their heids.
Ork.1 1925:
There's a great gee o' wark on him juist noo.
Abd. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel Fae Hame 27:
A car! fie naw, I'll nae gang gyte wi' ony sic a gee. Ma giggie's aul' an' dirdit deen, but shoggles on wi' me.
Ayr. 1927 J. Carruthers A Man Beset 66:
In a gee aboot — ye ken what.
Ork. 1988:
I had a gee for growing courgettes last year.

Phr.: to tak the gee, to take offence, to take the sulks; “to become pettish and unmanageable” (Sc. 1808 Jam.), extended also to inanimate objects. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. a.1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 87:
Then hey play up the rinawa' bride, For she has ta'en the gie.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 89:
Wha's pleugh ae day had taen the gee.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 46:
Cause ye hae tax'd the Highlan' loun He's ta'en the gee.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 12:
Cauld Cellardyke had taen the gee; Her boats, deil ane was now at sea.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff xxii.:
When it [sleep] tak's the gee it's whiles jist as kittle's the weemen tae manage.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxv.:
The tawpie's ta'en the gee at the Factor.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
Machinery which has gone out of order and seems to defy attempts at repair is said to have taen the gei.
Bch. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 14:
Nae soothin' reek cam' tae his moo', His pipe had ta'en the gee.

[Origin uncertain. O.Sc. has gee, a fit of pettishness or temper, a.1605.]

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"Gee n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2022 <>



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