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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PIG, n.2, v.1 Also pigg, peg-. Dim. piggie, -y.

I. n. 1. A vessel, usu. of earthenware but occas. extended to one of other material; a pot, jar, pitcher, crock in gen. (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 381); specif. an earthenware hot-water bottle(Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Dmb., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s). In pl., crockery, dishes (Abd. 1965),  Gen.Sc. Hence pigfu', a dishful (ne.Sc. 1835 J. Grant Tales (1869) 158), pig(g)er, a dealer or merchant in earthenware, a seller of crockery (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 243; ne.Sc., Ags. 1965), piggery, -ie, crockery, dishes (Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present 46; Abd., Kcd. 1965), a pottery (Sc. 1825 Jam.), a crockery or china shop (Cld. 1880 Jam.).Sc. 1706 Just Reflections on a Nonsensical Pasquil 21:
[He] reduced all the potters Piggs into potsheards.
Gsw. 1711 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. IV. 117:
Pour it on a clean piggie or plate, then scum it, and boill it for your use.
Ork. 1717 H. Marwick Merchant Lairds (1936) I. 68:
One pynt honney in a earthen pigg.
Ags. 1718 R. Finlayson Arbroath Documents (1923) 30:
A pigger's stand, 2s.
Slk. 1762 Session Papers, Inch v. Bruce (31 July) 2:
Anne Inch was in Melrose Fair selling Piggs or earthen Ware.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 129:
A' his china pigs are toom.
Dmf. 1792 Studies in Sc. Liter. (1974) XI. 135:
He took up a pig-full of suds which he threw at the declarant. . . . A Crock-pig which would contain about four or five pints.
Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage II. iii.:
I would send him one of our hams, and a nice little pig of butter.
Lnk. 1818 A. Fordyce Country Wedding 17:
Tak' care of that tub, the pigry's in't.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 137:
I've cakes an' butter, cheese an' eggs, An' gear in canisters an' piggs.
Sc. 1875 A. Hislop Bk. Sc. Anecdote 275:
The greybeard . . . is made to hold generally about three gallons, but whiles they . . . hold a much larger quantity. The whusky pig, in farm-houses, is a pig of this kind.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) ii.:
I cudda bidden a month lookin' at the piggery, there wis so muckle auld-farrant plates an' bowleys.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 239:
I'll creep me up an' kirn da tip o' milk, sae dat du gets a aer o' druttle i' da pig.
Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. i. 22:
This got the name of the ale-hurry, and here the pigs of ale were kept.
Ags. 1947 J. B. Salmond Toby Jug ii.:
In certain hollows there still lay bits of broken “pigs” — pieces of earthenware glazed to brilliant blues, or in a pattern of pink roses . . . the children's toys.
Bnff. 1958 Banffshire Jnl. (1 April):
Hooever, as the sayin' is — “the piggy gangs tae the wall till ae day,” an' that day cam' tae Wullie at the lang last.

For combs. such as jeelie-pig, penny-pig, pirlie-pig, ream-pig, etc. not mentioned below, see first element. Special combs. and phrs.: (1) pig-an'-ragger, a travelling hawker giving crockery in exchange for rags (ne.Sc. 1965); (2) pig-ass, the donkey which pulls the crockery-merchant's cart; ‡(3) pig-cart, the cart carrying the crockery-merchant's stock-in-trade (wm.Sc. 1965); (4) pig-folk, itinerant crockery-dealers (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 237); (5) pig-hoose, a pottery or factory for the manufacture of coarse crockery; (6) pig-maker, a potter, a manufacturer of coarse pottery (w.Sc. 1741 A. M'Donald Galick Vocab. 53); (7) pig-man, a pottery merchant, often an itinerant one, sometimes = (1) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; ne., m. and s.Sc. 1965); (8) pig merchant, = (7); (9) pigs an' whistles, odds and ends, nick-nacks, bits and pieces, a heterogeneous collection of unimportant objects, phs. orig. the stock in trade of a tinker. Hence (i) to pigs an' whistles, to pieces, to wreck and ruin. Orig.Sc., now St. Eng.; (ii) the Pig and Whistle Light Infantry, a jocular name for the Highland Light Infantry (see Hieland, II. 7. (10)), formerly the 71st and 74th Regiments of Foot, from the elephant and horn motifs on the badge of the 71st regiment (Sc. 1949 Partridge Dict. Slang); (10) pig-shop, -chop, a stall or shop selling cheap crockery, a china-shop (Sc. 1880 Jam.; em.Sc. 1965); (11) pig-wark, a pottery; (12) pig-wife, a female vendor of crockery, usu. one going from door to door with a basket of crockery which she gave in return for rags (Sc. 1808 Jam.; em.Sc.(a) 1965); (13) pig-woman, = (12).(1) Ags. 1895 Sc. Antiquary 187:
The country perambulating stone-ware dealer, who invariably combines the collection of rags and bones, is known as a “pig-an-ragger.”
Abd. 1955 Buchan Observer (11 Oct.):
Then we had the “pig-an'-raggers” with their heavy baskets of crockery.
(2) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 79:
Frae Phoebus' beams ye apes retire, Wi' your Pig-asses.
(3) Sc. 1898 Westminster Gaz. (25 Oct.):
Sometimes the clanging of a “pig-cart” bell is heard far down the street.
(4) Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother 277:
The pig-folk ha'ing tethered their asses at our door, they gaed in to try our guidwife's yill.
(5) Gsw. 1722 Session Papers, Magistrates v. Univ. Gsw. (10 Jan.) 2:
A little house without the Gallowgate, on or near where the old pig-house was, for working of earthen pigs, pots, and other earthen vessels.
(7) Per. 1808 Atholl MSS.:
Alexander Carr Piggman in Dunkeld.
Slk. 1892 W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 36:
A thump that made the auld thing rattle like a pigman's cairt.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) xiv.:
[He] sent the ba' clean through the pigman's window.
Fif. 1926 I. Farquhar Pickletillie 156:
I heard something aboot a tailor comin'to the shop where Macgregor, the pigman, was for a while.
m.Sc. 1950 O. Douglas Farewell to Priorsford 141:
The “pigman” . . . had no connection with swine, but gave “pigs” or dishes in exchange for old clothes.
(8) Sc. 1908 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. I. 32:
To this day hawkers with crockery carts are called in Scotland “pig” merchants.
(9) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 232:
It's mony a lang day sin' last I saw your grey plaid, an' heard the clatter o' your pigs and whistles [of a travelling tinker].
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 381:
Piggs and whustles, a man's foolish furniture, nick nacks, which are always in the way.
(i) m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 18:
He to pigs and whistles went And left the land.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxxiii.:
The late Laird o' Wylie gaed last year a' to pigs and whistles.
Edb. 1827 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 281:
I doubt, man, if the Danish merchant will ken what “nae thrift” means; we had better say “he is gaun a' to pigs and whistles.”
Rnf. a.1842 J. Taylor Curling (1884) 52:
The three brothers M'Dowall beat the strangers all to pigs and whistles.
Per. 1879 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet 180:
Nae winder though fouk raise their bristles When a' thing's gaen to pigs an' whistles.
Ags. 1954 Forfar Dispatch (15 July):
Bye and bye, fin athing wiz awa tae pigs and whistles in Scotland, he brung hame James.
(10) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) vi.:
Ye wudda thocht it was ten hundred thoosand erthquakes in a pigshop.
Per. 1896 I. MacLaren Kate Carnegie 226:
His father keepit a pig shop.
(11) Lnk. 1766 Caled. Mercury (26 July) 353:
There is at present a pig and tyle-work on the land.
(12) Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 423:
Already has the pig-wife's early care Marked out a station for her crockery ware.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 381:
Pigg-wives, females who trudge the country with trackpot ware, bowls, plates, etc.; they are only one remove from common beggars, and mostly more disliked.
Ags. 1884 Brechin Advertiser (20 May) 3:
There wis a pig wife sittin on a stule an' a' 'er crockery spread out afore 'er on the street.
Per. 1951 N. B. Morrison Hidden Fairing iv.:
The old pig-wife who, putting down her heavy burden of china, would have a gossip with Kirsty.
(13) Edb. 1813 “Edinias” Ramble to Roslin 10:
A moment afore they had met a pig-woman, Coft a bowl for convenience, the spirits to toom in.

2. Specif.: (1) a flower-vase (Abd., Ags., Lth. 1965).Abd. 1701 Rec. Old Abd. (S.C.) I. 165:
Anent the tounes seall the meeting approved thereof with this motto Concordia res parve with the pigg and Lillie and three Salmond.
Sc. 1882 C. Mackay Dict. Sc. Lang. 237:
The artist asked what kind of decoration he required? The reply was, Ony thing simple, just a pig wi' a flower.

(2) an earthenware chimney-pot (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1965); also lum-pig, id. (Uls. 1965). See Lum.Sc. 1707 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 466:
To the lad helped the pigs in the chimneys to drink. . . . £0. 2. 0.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxiv.:
Pigs from the lum-heads came rattling down like thunder-claps.
Edb. 1828 M. & M. Corbett Tales & Leg. III. 181:
To hear the pigs an' sclates coming rattling doun in a' directions, is really fearfu'.
Sc. 1884 Scottish Reader (2 Aug.) 139:
John Girvan, Sweep, Slater, & Pig-putter-on.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 66:
Their crawsteppit gavels and wildernesses o' lum-piggs.

(3) a chamber-pot (Ags., Lth. 1965).Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 137:
[He] stappit baith in Kettie's pig, An' steepit them right weel 'Mang strang, that nicht.
Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willie Waly 71:
At nicht each wifie tooms her pig (Roon vessels wi' a han'le).

(4) an earthenware money-box, now sometimes made in the form of the animal pig. Gen.Sc. See Penure, Pirlie.Sc. 1819 Scott H. Midlothian xlix.:
It wad be better laid out on yon bonny grass-holms, than lying useless here in this auld pigg.
wm.Sc. 1934 T. Smellie Tea Pairty 44:
It's safer tae pit odd threpeny bits intae the pig.

(5) an earthenware jar filled with hot water used as a bed-warmer, a hot-water bottle. Gen.Sc., obsol. Also het pig, id.Sc. 1875 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdote 95:
Shall I put a pig in your bed to keep you warm?
Abd. 1920 C. Murray In Country Places 8:
Noo that cauldrife Winter's here There's a pig in ilka bed.
Gsw. 1924 J. H. Bone Crystal Set 31:
Ye canna go tae yer bed wantin' yer pig.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 9:
For aa A pat a warm pig i the bed, it was midnicht or A cam a-heat.
Ags. 1933 W. Muir Mrs. Ritchie xi.:
If I canna ha'e a lad I maun ha'e a pig.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 84:
Brawly snug wi' a haet pig apo every side o' me.

3. Earthenware as a material, a fragment or sherd of earthenware esp. as used in children's games and play (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ags. 1960). Gen.Sc., obsol.; a child's marble made of earthenware (Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C. 18); also dim. piggie, id. Freq. attrib. as in combs. Hence (1) piggie, -y, adj., made of earthenware, as in combs. piggie bank, = 2. (4) (Gen.Sc.), piggie money, broken bits of crockery used by children as money when playing at “shops” (em.Sc., Rxb. 1965), pig(gy) bool, a clay marble (Dmf. 1954; ne.Sc., Ags. 1965); (2) pigger, (i) an earthenware or clay marble (Ags. 1965); (ii) the counter used in hopscotch, a Peever, pitcher (Ags. 1934).Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 9:
Whaur wee pig penny horses pranced.
Dmf. 1873 A. Anderson Song of Labour 124:
When the simmer time cam', bringin' bools o' a' hues — The piggies, the sprecklies, the blue waterloos.
Fif. 1887 S. Tytler Logie Town I. xvi.:
Lizzie accepted the “pig” dog which resembled Lark.
Sc. 1924 Sc. Recitations (Harley) 108:
Puir folk, of course, are only delf, or pig, or common clay.
Ags. 1932 Barrie Farewell Miss J.L. 45:
She . . . made me keep my feet on her, as if she was one of them pig bottles for toasting the feet of the gentry.
Lnl. 1948:
Doldie, a large-sized marble 1½ to 2 inches in diameter and made of piggy (earthenware) and glass, very common among boys 40 years ago and still to be seen here occasionally.
(1) Rxb. 1965 Hawick Express (23 June) 3:
The boy admitted entering a house in Beaconsfield Terrace in March and stealing 13s from a piggy-bank.
Ags. 1966:
In “piggie money” the values depended on the colour or decoration of the crockery fragments, with gilt £1, with blue 1/-, with red 6d., with brown 1d.
(2) (i) Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Flights 249:
A' kinds o' bools — marble, stoner, and pigger.
Ags. 1895 J. Inglis Oor Ain Folk 94:
Our bools were known . . . as “piggers”, “marleys”, and “sclaiteys”. . . . The piggers were just crudely-formed, coarsely-burned earthenware.
Abd. 1904 Wkly. Free Press (9 April):
The marbles made of “greybeard pigs” were and still are designated “piggers”.

II. v. To purchase pigs or crockery.Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 432:
Around this gay temptation, wives are prigging; And even maidens go sometimes “a pigging”.

[Prob. orig. an extended use of Pig, n.1, from the fancied resemblance of the jar, esp. when lying on its side, to the animal. O.Sc. has pig, = 1., 1488, = 3., 1583, pigger, 1608, pig-maker, 1521, pigman, 1681, pigs and whistles, 1684.]

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"Pig n.2, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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