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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PILLIEDACUS, n. Also pilie-, pilly-; billie-, -y; poly-; polli-; -dawkus, -dockus, -da(c)kus, -dargus. Gen. in phr. the heid pilliedacus, the person in command, the leading figure, the boss, “the big cheese”, usu. with critical and sarcastic implication (Ags. 1910; Kcd., Ags., Rxb. 1921 T.S.D.C. 18; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pollidockus; ne. and em.Sc.(a) 1965). [pɪle′dɑkəs, bɪle-]Ags. 1858 People's Jnl. (7 Aug.) 2:
Tammas, who somehow had made himself “head polydacus” in the concern.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 24:
At comin' hame o' bairns, an' at marriages an' kirns, She is head billie-dawkus aye, be sure.
Ags. 1932 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 377:
It's true they'd a Principal; what need they care? Oor John was the heid pilliedawkus.
Abd. 1953 People's Jnl. (13 Sept.):
Women were now the heid pillydackuses in rural life and he maintained that they should be put in charge of all affairs.

[Orig. doubtful. Phs. Billie, a fellow, + a mock Latin element, for which cf. Docus, Jodocus, luckydaicus s.v. Luckie.]

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"Pilliedacus n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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