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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).

KATE, prop.n. The female christian name used in Sc. phrs.: 1. curly kate, the rounded top crust of a loaf of bread (Per. c.1905, Ags. 1952 Bulletin (8 May), Ags. 1959); 2. Kate Kennedy, a mythical personage in whose honour a historical pageant is performed annually in spring by the students of St Andrews University and who is impersonated by a male first-year student. The origin of the celebration seems to date from about 1848; it was suppressed for rowdiness in 1881 and not resumed till 1926. The name apparently was taken from the name of one of the College bells (see Scots Mag. (March 1934) 415–19 and R. G. Cant Univ. St Andrews (1946) 118). Freq. used attrib.1. Sc. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 108:
His mother sliced off the square heel of the loaf — the middle part that curved up was Curly Kate.
2. Fif. 1859 Fife Herald (24 Feb.) 3:
Eleven of the students attending the United College celebrating (?) the natal day of “Kate Kennedy.”
Fif. 1866 St Andrews Gazette (30 June):
“Kate Kennedy” . . . was always rung at nine o'clock at night.
Fif. 1867 United Coll. Minutes MS. (27 March):
The disorders committed of late years by the Students within and without the College on a day of February capriciously selected by them, which they choose to call “Kate Kennedy's day.”
Sc. 1885 E. J. Guthrie Old Sc. Customs 218:
The following celebration is observed annually by students of St Andrews attending the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard, during the fourth year. Kate Kennedy's Day is yearly fixed by the observers for the last week in February or the beginning of March. The students meet at an appointed place at noon, when they attire themselves in masquerade attire. They then form a procession. The leading performer Kate Kennedy, is dressed in female garb and mounted on horseback. Kate has a bodyguard, attended by a mounted escort. A drummer leads the way discoursing martial music. Each member of the procession represents some historical character. . . . The cavalcade first proceeds to the college quadrangle, where Kate receives a congratulatory address. They then visit the private houses of the different professors who are cheered or hooted according to the estimation in which they are held. The day's proceedings terminate in a banquet.
Fif. 1955 Scotsman (1 Dec.) 6:
The men students, certainly, with their annual Kate Kennedy procession do honour St Andrew along with a host of other celebrated Scottish figures.

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"Kate prop. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/kate_prop_n>

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