Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DUMMIE, -Y, n. Also †dumbie. A dumb person (sometimes considered to possess second sight). Orig. Sc. but since 19th cent. also in colloq. and n.dial. use in Eng.Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (1800) II. 362:
To be a dummie ten years running.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 87:
Dummy will not lye.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 27:
If anything was lost and could not be found, if anything was stolen and the thief could not be traced out, if any matter was in dependence and the issue anxiously looked for, the dummy's skill was called into requisition.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 26:
But he's a dummy till his sin, fan han'lin' oor platoon.
Ags. 1888 J. M. Barrie Auld Licht Idylls iv.:
By that time . . . Hendry Robb, the “dummy”, had sold his last barrowful.
Fif. 1718 in D. Beveridge Culross (1885) II. 111:
He had recourse to a dumbie . . . upon the Munday, desiring him to make discovery who it was who broke his house and stole his goods.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet iv.:
For shame, men, the theme, men, Even dumbies' tongues might lowse.
w.Sc. 1879 J. Napier Folk Lore 73:
This dummy carried with him a slate, a pencil, and a piece of chalk, by use of which he gave his answers.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost ix.:
Standing at the bar like a dumbie, and looking round her . . . like a demented creature.

Combs.: (1) dummy law, a children's term for an enforced period of silence; (2) dummie's trade, a kind of charade in which the "in" side must act out the riddle without uttering a word or even showing their teeth which disqualifies them and ends the game (wm. Lth. 1920).(1)Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 132:
For a time there was scarcely a word exchanged. . . . Then Jimmy said, glancing half-shyly around him, “Is't to be a case o' dummy law, as the weans say, a' the road?”

[From dumb. O.Sc. has dummy, -ie, dumbie, id., from 1588.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Dummie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: