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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lug, n.1 Also: luge, lugg(e; logg, loge; loug(e, lowg; looge; luig(e, luidge. [Orig. Sc., also north. e.m.E. (1624) lugg (of a pan); and appearing also in e.m.E. (1592–1659) as a slang synonym of ‘ear’.Of Scand. origin, in an original sense of ‘something that can be pulled or laid hold of, an appendage’: cf. Sw. lugg forelock, and Lug v.]Not in the earliest sources, in which the word for ‘ear’ is Ere. The older use may have been as sense 1, sense 2 being a later colloquial sense-transference, or, alternatively, sense 2 may have existed earlier but remained unrecorded as a purely colloquial use.With this word the sense ‘the ear as an appendage of the head’, ‘the external ear’ is the usual one, the sense ‘the ear as organ of hearing’ being uncommon and late, whereas with Ere both these senses are common throughout the Older Sc. period.

1. A flap (or ? the peak) of a cap or bonnet; a flap (or ? the tongue) of a shoe. 1494 Treas. Acc. I. 225.
Fra Henry Cant, ij cappis wyth luggis, price xxxvj s.
1549 Compl. 43/3.
Euyrie scheiphird hed ane horne spune in The lug of there bonet
1623 Perth Kirk S. MS. 25 Sept.
Johne Ogiluye cordaner … denyit that he mendit onye schone bott onle wes peirssing the lugeis of ane pair schone

2. The ear of a human, as part of the body.Freq. with reference to the cutting off (the whole or part of), nailing, or burning, the ear as a legal penalty, and in other references (including, frequently, threats) to the cutting or pulling of a person's ears.Hingaris at (for) luggis, ear-rings: see Hingar n. 2 (in Suppl.). Lug-wyres, ? id.Pyke-lug, an ear-pick: see Pike-.An apparent early example is the personal name ‘Michael blaklug’ (1457 Aberd. B. Rec. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 132), ‘Michael blakluggis’ (1470 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 49).(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 82.
The tarsall gaif him tug for tug A stanchell hang in ilka lug
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4559.
Ane nobill kaip [= cap] imperiell, Quhilk is … ordanit … for … kingis, For princely and imperiall Fulis, Thay sowld have luggis als lang as mvlis
1561 Inverness Rec. I. 59.
Calling him [the minister] commone pulpet flitter … and saing he bat Freyr Andro Mc Neyll luge
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 47.
The flesche … to be cuttit in pecis, and distribute amang Thame, that ane sould get a lug, another ane arme
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 544 (H).
His luggs baith lang and leane [T. lasie] quha can hut lacke, That to the trone hes tane so many a take?
Id. Ib. 749 (H).
Lousie [T. Laisie] lugges
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 133.
He schew thy [a witch's] mark vnder thy left lug
1618 Trial Isobel Inch 6.
Ane aigit woman with a sheir clippit ane lock of his quhit hair abune his lug
1632–3 Justiciary Cases I. 204. 1681 Cleland 105.
He stroakes his beard and rubs his chin And clawes his luggs
1686 Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 42 (see Lundering vbl. n.). c 1700 Fugitive Poetry II. xli. 93.
Te man's lang whip … Made crack apout her eyn An hat her lugs wit sic a phisk [etc.]
proverbs a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 373.
Better sua, nor under the lug with a pund stane
Ib. No. 1839.
Ye wald tyne baith your lugs and they were louse
(2) 1515 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 159.
To be scurgeit to the gallows and thair his lug takkit to the beame
1530 Ib. II. 27.
Vnder the pane of cutting of his lug
a1568 Pedder C. 71.
Syne cutt thair luggis that ȝe may knaw Thir peddir knavis be burges men
1557 Inverness Rec. I. 8.
Quhat ever tha be that makis fyr in the Ellon salbe punist with ane nale in his luge
1575 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 39.
That thay incontinent remufe thame selffis of this toun … vnder the pane of … burnyng throuch the lug
1576 Crail B. Ct. 26 Nov.
Bayth his lowggis to be nalit to the trone
1582 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 43. 1590 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 122.
Under the payne of tyning his lugis
1590 Culross I. 130. 1592 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 75. 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 134.
His [a thief's] taker sall cause cutt ane of his lugges [Acts I, to cut his eyr of], … his other lug [Acts I. ear]
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. MS. 36 b.
He is decernit to be taine and ane peice of his lug cuttit af
1655 Nicoll Diary 153.
The marschellis man, quha wes apoynted to haif cuttit Mr. Patrik Maxwell haill lug, bot being buddit did only cutt af a pairt of his lug
1662 Gunn Cross Kirk Peebles 183. 1697 Banff Ann. I. 98.(3) 1540 Lynd. Sat. 1939.
Quhae devill maid ȝow a gentillman wald nocht stow [Ch. cut] ȝour luggis?
1549–50 Elgin Rec. I. 101.
Thomas Russell is cum in vill … for the bostyne to cut her lovg the said tyme
1548–56 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXIII. 41.
The mutilatioun and demembering of Maister Johne Girvane of his lug
1558 Melrose Reg. Rec. III. 161. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7853.
The theif quhilk I on the gallous gart hing … baith his luggis thay stowit quite him fra
Ib. 7872. 1565 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 638/2. 1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 176. 1611 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 89.
In saying he suld nok ane lug furth of his head
1629 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 199. c1650 Spalding II. 428. ?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 102.
Luggasque gulæo hoc Ex capite cuttabo
1686 Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 67 (see Lib v.2 2 b).(4) 1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 214.
Convict … of the … rugging and ryving of his lug to the effusioun of his blude
c1590 Fowler II. 23/29.
Away damnable heretique, I sal pluk ȝour luggs
1657 R. Moray Lett. 4/14 Dec.
You say that for which I would draw your lug an inch long were I within reach of it
1699 Kingarth Par. Rec. 201.
[He] only did draw his daughters lug for making a lie
(5) 1627 Orkn. & Shetl. Test. I. 170.
Tua penner inkhornis [6 s.], … sex luge wyres [6 s.], … thrie hundreth single naillis

b. The ear of an animal. Also attrib. in luig-top and Lug-mark, -marking.Common in contexts referring to ear-marks.Luig-top, an ear-bow, one of a pair of ornamental or protective coverings for a horse's ears (in the mod. dial. as lug-cap).Also as a surname or nickname of one John Sowlug, stableman (1506–7 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 86).Asse-luggis, see As n.2 attrib. Prick-luggs, see Prik.(1) a1500 Henr. Pract. Medic. 56, 70.
The lug of ane lempet is nocht to forsaik; … The lug of ane lyoun
1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 437.
That na craftisman by hidis bot as the law requires, … the louge and the horne elik lang
1566 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 225; 1585 Ib. IV. 407.
It … hes bene observit … that all scheip war flane throuche to the luggis
1568 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 37. 1573 Tyrie in Cath. Tr. 6/8.
Bot euin as that asse, being … cleirlie espyet be his lang luggis [etc.]
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 235. 1590 Crim. Trials I. ii. 212. 1590–1 Reg. Privy C. IV. 601.
Johne Patersoun … cuttit his horse luggis and brak his cairtis
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 53.
Kaithrein Makteir brocht watter of hir making of herbis … and bad … put it in thair [cows'] lugis
1677 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 23 Feb.
Ane cow with calfe called the browne lugs cow
1678 Cleland 28.(2) 1525–6 Stirling B. Rec. I. 25.
James Pattoun … deponit … that the sow … was Dave Bellis … quhowbeit that hir lug was cuttit, and on cuttit the tyme that he saild hir
15.. Bk. Dean Lismore p. 96.
The crop of the richt lug cuttit and a foit blak
1623 Orkney & Shetl. Test. I. 94.
His eldest merk to wit tua helmeins vpon the left luge [etc.]
1629 Orkney & Shetl. Sheriff Ct. MS. 13 b.
That nae man sall vse of sheip callet of auld the kings mark quhilk is both the luggis off
1667 Kelso Baillie Ct. 70 b.
Thrie [ewes] cutt in the fair luige
1670 Ib. 71.
Ane gray sand colored naig … cutt in the near loge
(3) proverb a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1706) 290.
Ye cannot make a silk purse of a sows lug
(4) attrib. 1537 Treas. Acc. VI. 336.
Deliverit to James Purves tua wattering brydillis, … Item, the said day, sex heid geris and sex luig [pr. ling] toppis of ledder, price xxiiij s.

c. In various special phrases.About one's lugs, about one's ears, all around one: said of a shower of liquid falling over one, a shower of blows about the head, hair hanging loose over the head, a house burned about one. At one's lug, just at one's ear, at one's side, close by. Over the lugs, over lug and horn, over head and ears, so as to be completely immersed. (To pull) be (the) luggis, violently or roughly. To pow (= pull) one's lug, to have his ear or attention, to be in favour with him. To tak one be the (lap of) the lug, to get him by the ear, take or lay hold of him. To hing by the lug of (anything), to keep a firm hold of it, hang on to, cling to it (as a purpose). To hing the lugs, lay one's lugs on one's neck, ‘to let one's ears droop’, to be crestfallen, dejected, or cowed: cf. hing-lugg'd, Luggit a. 3 b.(1) 1520–1 Alloway Baron Ct. 15 Jan.
[He] tuk furth a caldroun that wes full of drink & spilt the drink about the wiffis luggis
1536 Lynd. Answ. Flyting 56.
Quharthrow drink, draf & iuggis Come rudely rinnand doun about ȝour luggis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1732.
This grewhound … Into his mouth his hors taill wald he tak About his luggis, oft times he wald it schaik
1567 Inv. Q. Mary cxxvi. n.
Sche cam … in sa miserable a stait, her hairs hingand about her loggs
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 172.
A doosane of suddartis … gave the lard iniurious wordis, bidding him come out … or elis they suld burne the hous about his luggis
1616 Dalyell Darker Superst. 451.
[She] raif the curtch aff hir head, … , shuik hir hair about hir luidgis
1630 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 607.
The said Uthrid … strake the compleanar about the lugs with the said hors wand
c 1700 Fugitive Poetry II. xli. 102.
Her nain shell tid get A tish of water poured town Apout her nain shell's lugs
(2) 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 118/3.
For hou can youre lawis be keipit in the countrey, gif thay be brokin at your lugge?
1637 Rothes' Affairs Kirk App. 199.
Is there no uther parte of the kirke to sing masse in, but thou must sing it at my lugge?
1691 Continuation Historical Relation Late General Assembly 25.
None … was more guilty than my self, for mass was said … at my lug, and yet I never opened my mouth
(3) 1678 Cleland 26.
For these who's duk't over lug and horn, In snow or dubbs as soon as born, More boasterous weather may endure
Life and Trials of William Sinclair (1721) 16.
Remember Jonah fled from God, and the Lord found him out, and doucked him over the lugs
a 1706 Mare of Colinton in Watson's Coll. i. 48.
For Willie Tamson well I ween Fell in a pool o'er baith the een, … And Rob … O'er both the lugs he fell beside him
(4) a1500 Colk. Sow i. 141.
All the remanent him [a dog] ruggis, Sum be leggis. sum be luggis
1559 St. A. Kirk S. 107.
I sall pul thé owt of the pulpot be the luggis & chais thé out of this town!
(5) a1605 Montg. Son. lxvi. 14.
So, sillie I, opprest with barmie jugg[is], Invyis ȝour state, that's pouing Bacchus [luggis]
(6) 1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I. 100.
Thow baid hir gang withe thé … and tak the man be the lug that was standen befoir hir
a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 401.
He will be bauld to tak thee, as it wer, be the lug, suppois thou were ane king
Ib. 414.
To take kingis and princes be the lug and leid them to Christ
1661 Elgin Rec. II. 298.
John Rind did tak him be the lap of the lug
1692 Pitcairn Assembly iv. ii. (1817) 63.
Did Christ, when he whipt the buyers … out of the temple, take every particular huckster-wife by the lug?
(7) c1700 M. Bruce Good News (1708) 54.
Since the cause is put in his hand, ye have ay good reason to hing by the lug of it
(8) ?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 144.
Et luggas necko imponens, sic cucurrit absens, Non audens gimpare iterum, ne worsa tulisset
1679-81 Short Compend xxxiii.
Mongst whom there was both kid and king Who drowsily their lugs did hing With countenance demured

d. (?). 1658 R. Moray Lett. 21 Mar.
She said it was a good Scots four shilling piece. Nay, my bairn, said he, you have litle skill of Scots coyne. It is a fair six shilling piece at the least my doue, for I am sure it hath the rose at the lug of it

3. (Less commonly,) The ear as the organ of hearing. 1581 Burne Disput. 150.
Nather heir thay [sc. the angels] our prayeris, vtherwyse thay vald haue ouer lang luggis
a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 399.
It [sc. the Gospel] hes bene ane sound in the lug, bot not ane licht in the saull
1666 Wodrow Hist. II. 56.
The provost … when he saw me altogether refusing, he rounded in my lug

b. In special phrases.To lay, or lend, (to) one's lug, to give attentive ear, listen attentively. To blaw in one's luggis, in the mod. dial. = to flatter, wheedle, cajole (one).(1) a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 376.
For gaze with thy eie as thou will, lay to thy lug as thou wil … gif thou haue bot an naturall ear and ane naturall eie, thou sall not see nor heir
1604-31 Craig Pilgr. & Heremite 5.
I drew me darne to the doore, … And as I lent to my lug, this well I heard
a 1708 Prince of Tartaria Voyage Cowper in Fife 2.
He had the patience to lend his lugs to the out-running of two glasses, with their respective appendixes
(2) 1581 Sat. P. xliv. 109.
Thus Sathan in ȝour knauish luggis bleu, Stil to deny all treuth and veritie, Sua that amang ȝou salbe fund richt feu Bot ar infectit vith deulish blasphemie

4. transf. A handle or projecting lug, often one of a pair, of a vessel of any kind. 1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Ansa, the lug of ony weschell
1613 Conv. Burghs II. 403.
To caus make ane competent nummer of measurs … , good and sufficient with lugs, for metting of the said hering
1629 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II. 295.
For tuo yrone luges to ane burnestand
1638 Edinb. Test. LVIII. 335 b.
Ane grit silver dische with twa lugis
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII. 354. 1696 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 740 (15 Aug.).
Ane copper kettle with boule and looges
1697 Sc. N. & Q. 2 Ser. II. 90.
Two new queichs with 4 luggs, thrie round queichs without lugs
1703 Ib.
A big quech cup with three lugs

b. Applied to certain projections or ‘horns’ on a saddle. 1601 Treas. Acc. MS. (1601–1604) 181.
v angellis to gilt the … luggis of the saidill and brydill bit, the lugis and pendes

c. The projecting point of a rock: see Crag-lug n.

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"Lug n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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