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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GUSSIE, n. Also gussy, guis(s)ie, †gussey, †goos(s)y, -ie; gu(i)s(s); goss. [Sc. ′gʌs(e), but Per., Fif., Rxb. ′gøs(e)]

1. (1) A pig, esp. a young pig or sow (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 250; Ags., Fif., Peb., Kcb., Dmf., s.Sc. 1955). Also used attrib. Cf. Gissie.Abd. 1814 P. Buchan Recreation 133:
The cow, to chew her cud is laid; Or gussey to the beans has broke.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Hunt of Eildon (1874) 234:
She didna only change me intil an ill-faurd he-sow, but guidit me shamefully ill a' the time I was a goossy.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 265:
When simmer suns were blazing high, . . . Whan gussey in the dub did lie.
Ags. 1855 A. Douglas Ferryden (1857) 93:
Gee's a pennyworth o' straw to bed my grannie's gussie sow wi'.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar v.:
Sandy himsel' lyin' snorkin' an' wamblin' in his naked bed like a gussy swine in a stye!
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 1:
The road was thrang wui droves o nowt . . . an hoggies an grumphies an guissies.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 25:
She stirs the meat I' the gussie's troch.

(2) Used as an int. as a call to a pig (Dmf., Rxb. 1825 Jam., gussie; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 250, guiss; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ags., Slg., Fif., Dmf., s.Sc. 1955). Also guss-guss (em.Sc.(a), Kcb., Dmf., Rxb. 1955).Peb. 1817 R. Brown Lintoun Green 68:
The carles, Goosy! Goosy! groan'd; The grannies Goosy! grane.
Sc. 1909 Colville 133:
The pig . . . thereafter in process of assuming a douce obesity, was familiarly addressed as Gus-gus! [p. 67, goosie! goosie!]

2. Applied fig. to a fat, gross person, a “porker”; “a coarse lusty woman” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); as a nickname (Ags. 1955).Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxiii.:
It fell . . . nearly on to the knees o' a great fat gussie o' a loon they ca' Jock Wabster.

3. A ham (Mearns 3 1920, goss).

4. One of the divisions of an orange (Ags. 1905 E.D.D. Suppt., Ags. 1955), so called from their gen. similarity in shape to young pigs huddled together.Ags. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 233:
In Dundee, orange or tangerine segments were always called gussies.

5. A hot-water bottle (Rxb. 1955), a play on the various meanings of pig, s.v. Pig, n.1, Pig, n.2

6. A ball or large marble, in n.phr. guissie-in-the-kirk, “a game in which one boy endeavours to roll a ball or large marble (the “guissie”) into a central hole (the “kirk”), despite his opponents' efforts to drive it back” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif. 1955).

[A variant of Gissie, q.v.]

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"Gussie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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