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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ILL-TONGUE, n.comb., v. Also -tung.

I. n. A malevolent or abusive tongue; bad language, vituperation, abuse; slander. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1777) 43:
An' very loud they me mischiev'd Wi' their ill tongues.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 215:
A'll gee ye yir arles, my boy, gehn ye dinna haud yir ill tung.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 29:
They gied me a lot o' ill tongue at the kirk yett.
Ayr. 1895 H. Ochiltree Redburn xvii.:
It'll keep down a heap o' ill-tongue in the kintrie.

Hence ppl.adj. ill-tongued, 1. given to uttering slander or abuse, vituperative (n.Sc., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall. 1958); 2. difficult to pronounce.1. Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry xix.:
Yon ill-tongu'd tinkler, Charlie Fox, May taunt you wi' his jeers an' mocks.
Sc. 1824 Lockhart Adam Blair xii.:
Twa or three ill-tongued bodies about the country that had begun to make some bits of jokes about you and her.
Rnf. 1863 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 38:
Ser's ye weel. For a' yer ill-tongued slander.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xviii.:
Tak' your hand aff me, you ill-tongued bissam.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. x.:
Get oot o' this, Duncan Ewart, ye ill-tongued scoonrel, an' nae bad-use fowk at their ain fireside.
2. Gall. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xiv.:
He wad whiles gie them swatches o' the auld ill-tongued Laitin.

II. v. To vilify, abuse (Cai., Mry., Abd. 1958).Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 68:
An' instead o' embracin' an' kissin' his wife, Aft prefers tae ill-tongue her an' kick her.

Ill-tongue n. comb., v.

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"Ill-tongue n. comb., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Jan 2023 <>



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