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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.

ONGAE, n., v. Also ongo. Ppl.adj., vbl.n. -gain, -ga(e)n, -g(y)aun. See Gae, v., A. and Ongang below. [′onge]

I. n. 1. The act of going on, movement, progress. Rare and later in Eng.Sc. 1835 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) IV. 220:
They are as lovely as the earthly ongoings o' time can ever be.
Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 121:
We're nae gyaun tae ca wirsel's deen the first ongo.

2. A stir, fuss, pother, to-do, uproar (Sh., ne. and s.Sc. 1964).Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
They war a roch an' richt set gey puckles o' them, an a sad ongae they made o' 't.

II. v. As in Eng.: to go on, proceed, conduct oneself. Ppl.adj. ongoing, progressing without intermission, proceeding (Sc. 1882 J. Ogilvie Imp. Dict. s.v.). More freq. in vbl.n; also on-going, oangaein; gen. in pl.: = 2. above, behaviour, esp. of an unseemly or obstreperous kind, loose or rowdy conduct, goings-on (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie xviii.; Sc. 1897 Stevenson W. of Hermiston vi.; Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 222). Gen.Sc.Ags. 1710 W. M. Inglis Angus Parish (1904) 57:
Given in by Grizelle Watson, by appointment of the Presbytery, for her scandalous ongoing with Ogilvie of Peill, £10 Scots.
Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St. Kathleen III. v.:
Davie, ye scamp, that's some o' your ongaens.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vii.:
Lat yer Presbytery be fat they like the Assembly'll never thole sic ongaens.
Uls. 1897 A. M'Ilroy When Lint was in the Bell ii.:
Ye'r ongoins are sometimes like tae drive me mad.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems 193:
He micht hae waited a wee while langer, especially as he made sic an ongaun aboot his first ane.
Kcd. 1900 W. MacGillivray Glengoyne I. iv.:
The inside ongains o' the squeel.
Sh. 1915 Old-Lore Misc. VIII. i. 38:
Ise wirran, i thee time thu'll hae hard a few wheer yarns o da ongans o da Hacroos at bed i Irelan' i da ald days.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne (1929) 56:
Nailin' auld Mary Frizzel's door up, blawin' shavin'-reek in an' cryin' “Fire!” an' sic-like daft ongauns.
Ags. 1934 J. Angus Sheltering Pine I. iv. 2:
Even to this day there's queer ongaein's there.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 186:
Bryce was amazed that the brother he held in so little esteem, who had shamed the family with his ongoings with Amy Fullar, the slow, shauchling Willie, had landed this glowing creature for himself.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 40:
Ye've no been bidden tae The Carse, Rab Burns
syne yon nicht Captain Riddel flung ye oot ...
ongauns ye say ye canna mind aboot,
tho we ken ye were fou an tint the hairns.
Ags. 1990s:
Oangaeins: n. goings-on

[On-, pref.2, + Gae, v. O.Sc. ongoing, = I. 1., 1637.]

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"Ongae n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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