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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SLOUNGE, v., n. Also sloonge; sloonje, slounje; slunge. [em., wm.Sc. slun(d)ʒ, Sh., Cai., Wgt. slʌn(d)ʒ]

I. v. 1. To idle or loaf about, to move or walk in a slouching, lethargic manner (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Lth. 1882 P. McNeill Preston 92; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., sloonge; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 266; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Per., Fif., Lnk., Wgt., Rxb. 1970). Hence slounger, slounjour, n., an idler, loafer (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Traynor; Cai. 1970); sloungin-like, adj., depressed-looking, having a weary slouching gait (Sc. 1808 Jam.).m.Lth. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 157:
Fell Poverty, he slounges by.
Ayr. 1809 W. Craw Poet. Epistles 34:
Ye swarthy, slungeing, ill-swill'd bitch.
Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 51:
The idle slounjours wha sell whisky and ither sorts of drink.
Slk. 1832 Hogg Altrive Tales 180:
He came slounging back, hanging his head.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 169:
The lang gousty daberlick o' a cheel cam slungin' up the street.
Lnk. 1877 W. McHutchison Poems 141:
Scores slunge about dirty an' fou'.
Fif. 1899 Proc. Philosoph. Soc. Gsw. xxx. 56:
The throo'-ga'n mother could not endure sloongin.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 226:
'They had a son and a daughter that went tae private schuils. Ye didna see much o them. The boy was in his room playin Elvis Costello records, or he'd be oot wi his mates. The girl was fifteen. She jist seemed tae slounge aboot the hoose, bored like her ma. Am I richt?'

2. To behave furtively and stealthily, to skulk in a sneaky, hang-dog way (Slk. 1825 Jam.); to hang about in the hope of getting food (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Wgt., Rxb. 1970). Hence slounger, n., a skulker, a furtive sneaky person. Also used attrib. = sneaking, stealthy.Rnf. 1842 R. Clark Rhymes 16:
I hope this while that nae Physician Nor slounger beagle out perdition Seeks Robin Allan.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 251:
That sloongin' hound that's to be marriet to Skeldrin's dochter.
Edb. 1923 W. D. Lyell Justice Clerk i. iv.:
My nephew a common informer? a tale pyet? a slinkin', slungin, hypocreetical betrayer?
Abd. 1929:
That tinkler's dog cam' slungin' roon.

II. n. 1. A lazy, lounging creature, a person with dull, hungry, hang-dog skulking appearance or disposition, a lounger (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Dmf. 1930; Sh., Per., Ayr., Wgt. 1970).Sc. 1815 C. I. Johnstone Clan-Albin I. vi.:
The Saxons were a selfish, effeminate, grovelling race, mongrels and slounges.
Rnf. 1862 A. M'Gilvray Poems 273:
Ye low, lazy slounges, who live, and ne'er work.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 242:
Muckle hoeborn slunges, a lock o' years younger den mysel'.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 135:
The gude-for-naething slunges steys at hame.

2. A person or animal which is always on the look-out for food, a scrounger, a glutton, gormandizer (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., sloonge, slunge; Lth., Wgt., Rxb. 1970).Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
He's a great slounge for his guts. A greedy slounge, a phrase applied to a dog that goes about hanging his ears, and prying into every corner for food.

3. A skulking, sneaking person, a sly, mean, trouble-making, untrustworthy fellow (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 428, slunge; Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 157; Ayr. 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 298, slunge; Ayr., Gall. 1970).Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael II. vi.:
Now Finlay, the slunge, had taken care never to let on of the messages.

[Appar. an altered form of Loonge, lounge, with prothetic s. See S, letter, 5. O.Sc. slunge, to slink, 1680.]

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"Slounge v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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