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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SPAG, n., v. Also spaag, spague, spyaug; spaig. [sp(j)ɑ:g; Cai. + speg]

I. n. 1. A paw, hand, foot (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., spaig; Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C., spague; Cai. 1971), esp. a big, clumsy, ungainly hand or foot (Uls. 1929; Cai. 1958). Derivs. spa(a)gach, adj., flat-footed, with clumsy or misshapen feet (Arg. 1882 Arg. Herald (3 June); Cai., Inv. 1971), n., a clumsy-footed person; spaggy-fitted, splay-footed (Arg., Dmf. 1958). See also Spyogg, n.1Mry., Dmb. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
Keep in yer spyaugs.
Arg.1 1931:
She's jist a spagach for uvver trippin ower something. We'll no need tae tak him: he's that spagach he's nae use for a lang waak.
Cai. 1965 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. 30:
Wee Donallie Piper tuned his drones, one ‘spagan' foot beating the time.

2. A boy's game, described in II. below (Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 116).

II. v. To straddle, in the game of spague (see quot.).Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 116:
Boys throw their bonnets between the straddling legs of a blindfolded boy, and then “tell the boy to spague this, meaning to go and look for the bonnets.”

Ppl.adj. spagan, splay-footed (Arg., Dmf. 1958).

[Gael. spàg, a claw, paw, animal's foot.]

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"Spag n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2022 <>



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