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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MOGGAN, n., v. Also moggin, -en, -un; mogan, -en; muggan, -in; ¶morgan; moogan (Cai. 1903 E.D.D., Cai. 1963). Also abbrev. form mog (Cai. 1956), and dim. mogy (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1963). [′mogən; Cai. ′mug-]

I. n. 1. The leg of a stocking, esp. a coarse woollen stocking without a foot worn as a gaiter (n.Sc. 1963); a protective covering for the legs, freq. of sacking or straw ropes, worn when doing farm-work (Arg.1 1937; Cai. 1963). Also attrib.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 154:
But gin her bras anes were awa', I fear she'll turn out o' the fesson, An' knit up her muggans wi' straw.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 71:
Fell plundering carlins . . . Wha wi' a moggan an' a stane Knock out their brains, if ony sign O' animation should remain.
Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 125:
The lad that herdet wet an' dry Wi' moggan hose.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.:
I've a pair or twa o' stoot moggans 't aw think'll be worth fittin.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 48:
The milkers tak' their cogues at last, Draw moggins on, tie mutches fast.
Sc. 1906 Scottish Review (11 Oct.) 405:
I have memory of two pair of small legs, cased in the quaint moggans used by female Hebrideans.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 39:
When the winter was sae frosty that the cauld cam' dirlin' through Braw moggins and gweed hummle-dods.
Hebr. 1995 Angus Duncan Hebridean Island: Memories of Scarp 137:
But I hope that the moggans are still worn. The mogan - to give the Gaelic word, which according to its form must be original, while the Scots word is a derivative - is a short soleless stocking made of thick wool closely knitted and held in place by the big toe put through a single loop. It gives protection from the cold, while supplying all the advantages of bare feet on wet, muddy or slippery ground.
Sc. 2000 Scotland on Sunday 30 Jul T10:
Peterhead's football team have been linked with the sea since they were established in 1891 and went on to become known as the Blue Mogganers, after the fishermen who played the game during their short spells ashore. Moggans were the stockings they wore at work.

2. A woollen stocking; a stocking foot worn above the stockings in the house as a slipper, or above the shoes out of doors in wet or frosty weather to prevent slipping (Mry.1 1925; Ork., n.Sc., Ags. 1963); “a kind of boot put on the feet of fowls to prevent them scratching” (Uls. 1903 E.D.D., morgan). Deriv. mogganie, wearing moggans or the like, well-wrapped-up about the feet.Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Shop Bill 32:
A' the moggans are bran new.
Abd. 1847 Gill Binklets 94:
I hae had naething upon my feet for the last three months, for a' the wet weather that's been, but a pair o' auld moggans.
Arg. 1882 Argyllshire Herald (3 June):
I tok a ould moggan fit an row'd up a clary o' hech-how an' moogart an' grandivies.
Sc. 1897 Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 613:
They came into the place in their mogans at night, quiet as ghosts.
Ags. 1947:
“They war awfu mogganie about the feet”, of women coming into a restaurant during the great frost of Jan.–Feb. 1947.
Abd. 1956 People's Jnl. (3 March):
Fan I think back on yon days wi' three miles o' plitery, skiddy roads an' the sna' as hich as the hedgin', we were afa gled o' moggans on the tap o' oor beets.

3. A stocking leg, used by women to protect the arms (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Cf. Hogger, n., 1.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 143:
Had I won the length but of ae pair of sleeves, . . . And on my twa gardies like moggans wad draw.

4. Phrs. and combs.: (1) a mouse in moggans, a small person in clothes too big for him (Abd. 1963); (2) blue moggan, a stocking leg of blue wool, specif. as formerly worn for warmth at sea by Peterhead fishermen who were hence nicknamed Blue Mogganers, a sobriquet now applied to all natives of Peterhead (ne.Sc. 1963). See Blue, III. 4.; (3) hairy moggans, (i) worsted stocking legs used as gaiters (Fif. 1808 Jam.); (ii) woolly mitts (Abd. 1963); (iii) See 9.; (4) to measure a moggan wi', to make an offer of marriage to. Cf. (5); (5) to mix (one's) moggans (wi), to have sexual intercourse with; more gen., to marry (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Cf. (4) and see also under Mird, v.; (6) to wet (the sma end o') one's moggans, to be over the ankles in water (Abd.13 1910).(4) Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems 94:
Yet nane o' the nabobs, e'er ventured so near, As measure a moggan wi' Jeannie.
(5) Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1765) 35:
Wo to the night I first began To mix my moggans with thee, man.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 103:
Anither marvel'd sic a deem Wou'd moggans mix wi' his, In ony day.
Abd. 1839 Abd. New Shaver (April) 76:
The end of it was, that they agreed to “mix moggins” together.
Sc. 2002 Sunday Mail 8 Sep 18:
MIX YUR MOGGANS WITH: Have sexual intercourse with.
(6) Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 27:
I'm seer some o' them wat the sma' end o' their moggan.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 131:
I wat your moggen ye ha'e wet, And smear'd your duds!
Abd. 1842 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 298:
The common Buchan saying, for “you will wet your feet,” is, “ye'll weet the sma' end o' yer moggin.”

5. An old stocking-leg used as a purse; hence a hoard of money, savings, a bank-account (ne.Sc. 1963). Comb. moggin knot, a stocking leg knotted to contain a hoard of money.Sc. 1847 Whistle-Binkie (1890) I. 406:
But the body was aye unco cheery and canty, And his big moggin knot set my heart in a low.
Bnff. 1852 A. Harper Solitary Hours 44:
Wha, though he had great souds o' treasure, Laid up in moggans, buishts, an' bags.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 108:
The miller Had a gey muckle muggin weel packit wi' siller.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
An' fat think ye has she garr't Peter dee, but pit's han' i' the moggan, an' gi'e a five-poun' note.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Doric 52:
She'd a craftie weel happit, A moggin weel stappit Wi' siller in muckles an' sma's.
Abd. 1956 Bon-Accord (11 Oct.):
This gettin' o' a Tellyveesion thing wis merely a maitter o' pounds, shillin's an' pence, but . . . the Souter's moggin' wis weel foggit wi' sic a thing.

6. A glove with one compartment for the thumb and another for the four fingers, a mitt (Ork. 1929 Marw., moogan, mogy; Ork., n.Sc., Per. 1963); a large clumsy glove (Fif. 1957).

7. In pl., the legs (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

8. A pet name for a puppy, prob. because of the large soft paws that are characteristic at this age (Cai.8 1934).

9. In pl., the pubic hair (Edb. 1961). Also hairy moggans. Cf. 4. (5).

II. v. 1. In ppl.adj. mogganed, moggant, (1) having the legs clad in moggans. See n., 1.; (2) of poultry: having feathered legs, giving the appearance of wearing moggans. See n., 1.(1) Mry. 1851 W. Hay Lintie o' Moray 61:
He moans their moggan'd legs Frost bitten black and blue, sir.
(2) Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 56:
A protty hen, an' twenty moggant cocks.

2. To save money, to hoard in a moggan. See n., 5. Hence weel-mogganed, having much money saved, well-off (Abd.31 1963).Abd. 1951 People's Friend (14 April):
One day, after paying for their board, one was heard to say to the other, “Man, Sandy, if it wisna' fur oor meat an' oor claes, we could moggan't a!”

[Orig. obscure. The Gael. mogan, with sim. meanings, appears to be a borrowing from Sc. The form mokins, gaiters made of coarse sacking, found in Hmp. dial., and also moggin in Chs., for a clog with a wooden sole, are appar. the same word and suggest a much earlier common original not recorded, but phs. related ultimately to Moch, Muggy, etc. See note to Moch, n.2 There may be a more immediate connection with Mog, v.]

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"Moggan n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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