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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.

SPURG, n. Dim. form spurgie. A sparrow, Passer domesticus (Abd. 1825 Jam., Mry. 1925, spurgie; ne.Sc. 1971, spurgie), most freq. in dim. form; also a nickname for one whose step is like the hop of a sparrow (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Comb. spurgie-hocht, ppl.adj., with thin legs like a sparrow. Cf. Spur, Spurdie, Spug. [′spʌrg(i)]Abd. 1849 “Johnny Raw” Human Misery 17:
How to slaughter Spurgies by the score.
Bnff. 1859 Zoologist XVII. 6598:
The House Sparrow. . . . We call it “spurgie.”
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan viii.:
The spurgs amon' the thack begin to cheep.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiv.:
Spurgie-hocht mennies dinna set 'e kilt.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 26:
He heard the young pleasure-seekers win hame frae the discos, fusslin an chirpin tae ane anither like mirky spurgies.

[Prob. a reduced form of Spur, n.2, + -Ock, dim. suff. For -k > -g after r, cf. Darg.]

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"Spurg n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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