Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BELLY, BILLY, BULLY, v.2 and n.

1. v. To bellow, cry, weep loudly. [′bɛl, ′bɪl, ′bʌl]

(1) Belly. Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 65:
Belly. To weep with a loud noise.
Mry.2 1933:
Belly. To bellow, cry, esp. of children.

(2) Billy. Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 49:
Ilk cuddoch [young cow] billying o'er the green Against auld crummy ran.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders xlvi.:
Frae far an' near they come to hear Rob Gomerel tell aboot the Broonie that billied at him.

(3) Bully. Bnff.9 c.1927; Abd.13 1914; Ags.1 1934:
When a child is crying loudly, they say “Fat are ye bullyin' at?”

ppl.adj. bullyan. Bch. 1928 (per Abd.15):
He's a bullyan breet, aye yowlin at the loon.

2. n. A bellow. Bnff.9 c.1927:
The coo gid a bully.

[The termination y may represent a common Sc. substitute for ow; bellow is expl. by some as resulting from a confusion of O.E. bellan, to roar, and belgan, to be angry, or the rare verb bylg(e)an, to bellow. Billy may be derived from the last-named or be a derivative from Bill, n.1, q.v., Sc. for bull. The form bully prob. comes direct from a variant pronunciation of bull.]

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"Belly v.2, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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