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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLESCA, prop. n.. Also Glesgo, -ga, -gae,; Glescae, Glesgi, Gleski; Glesco (Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 12), -coo (Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.), -gie (Sc. 1896 Stevenson Weir of Hermiston v.), -ky (Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie & Madge 86), Gleska (wm.Sc. 1904 “H. Foulis” Erchie xxvii.), Glaisgo, Glasca, -co. Variant forms and usages of the place-name Glasgow. Also attrib. (Glesca Abd., Ags., Arg., Gsw., Ayr.; Glesgie Fif., Edb., Dmf., Rxb.; Glesga Arg., Gsw., Dmf.; Gleskie Ayr. 2000s). [′glɛskə, ′glɛzgə, ′gle-]

Sc. forms:m.Sc. 1983 Howard Purdie in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 60:
Byrne scatters the Glesca dross like an urchin playing hookie on a coal-bing.
m.Sc. 1983 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 62:
... counsel me in the tones of that Glesca mother who, having indulged her bairns in a trip doun the waater, heard them crying in misery as they huddled together on the crowded deck in the driving wind and rain, and counselled them to 'shu' up yir greei'n an enjoy yirsels!'
Sc. 1990 Scotsman 18 Aug 1:
But dour Glesga polis are not used to accused persons camping it up at their expense,...
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 44:
Ah, bit gie me Glesca any day. The moarnin mist risin oan the Green. The smell a the Barras oan a Sunday efternin.
Fif. 1991 William Hershaw in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 169:
It blaws fae the Kremlin ower the Lammerlaws
And through the tuim heids o Burntisland fowk
On its road to Glesgi.
Gsw. 1991 John Burrowes Mother Glasgow 137:
' ... So it's back to Bonnie Scotland. Ach, it's always great to get home ... isn't it? Dear old Glesca toun and all that.'
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 24:
Then marketing men will spill out spiel
About how us Glesca folk are really real
Fif. 1992 Sheila Douglas ed. The Sang's the Thing: Voices from Lowland Scotland 91:
We gaed doon tae the station, we loaded them on the train at Thornton an we gaed doon tae Glesgae an got shoved in a sidin at Cowlairs.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 97:
'It was almost as if we'd never left Scotland. Everywhere ye heard the tongues o Fife, Aberdeen, Glesgie, Dundee an the Borders. ... '
Gsw. 1999 Herald 25 Aug 19:
The Glesga Groucho promises a clubby atmosphere with no loud music and first-class service.
Sc. 1999 Herald 13 Sep 24:
Whatever else Glesca toon's aforementioned plain people might think of Elaine C Smith, they can't accuse her of not working hard.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 14:
The bus's noo gar aa them grue.
Nae services, - A ask ye !
A damp't disgrace,
For, fae this place,
ye'll haurly git ti Gleski.

Specif. usages:

1. A term in the game of draughts (see quot.).Sc. 1905 A. Anderson Draughts xvii.:
The “Glasgow” is formed by the first five moves: — 11–15, 23 19, 8–11, 22 17, 11–16. It has been generally known by this name since Sinclair, of Glasgow, played it against Anderson at their match in Hamilton in 1828.

2. The name given to a material of “lawn mixed with cotton” (Sc. 1777 J. Gibson Hist. Gsw. 248).Ib. 240:
Glasgows, i.e. striped lawns, are made, and can be made to any extent.

3. Combs.: ‡(1) Glasgow bailie, see (11) (Fif. 1954); †(2) Glasca broon, a brand of snuff; also attrib. = snuff-coloured; †(3) Glasgow brose meal, see quots.; †(4) Glasgow capon, = (11); (5) Glasgow Fair, The second two weeks of July taken as an annual summer holiday in Glasgow;(6) Glesca hoosie, a variety of the game of rounders (Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (6 April) 16; Sc. 1891 Sc. N. & Q. (Series 1) V. 30). For a possible orig. of the term, though with a different sense, see phr. Fair of Glasgow House s.v. Lorimer; (7) Glesca Jock, coir rope used in binding hay-stacks (Mry., Abd. 1954); (8) Glesca keelie, (a) a term (gen. contemptuous) applied to a male Glaswegian of the rougher sort. Gen.Sc.; (b) in pl.: a nickname given to the Highland Light Infantry, which is recruited largely from Glasgow (Sc. 1915 C. White Our Regiments 122). Gen.Sc. See also Keelie, n.3; (9) Glesca kiss, a headbutt. (Bnff., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s); ‡(10) Glesca leggies, bandy legs, ricketty legs being associated especially with the poorer inhabitants of Glasgow (Inv. 1954); (11) Glasgow magistrate, a salt herring of fine quality, sometimes a red herring (m.Lth. c.1870; Sc. 1880 Jam.; w.Sc. 1900; Fif., Gsw. 1954), also Glasgow bailie (Gsw., Wgt., Dmf. 1954), “from the practice of sending samples to the Bailie of the River for approval” (Farmer and Henley). See Burgh Records Gsw. (1881) 37, 258. Cf. (4) and (17); †(12) Glasgow plaid, a plaid of linen or cotton checked material, manufactured especially in Glasgow in the early 18th c. (see Burgh Records Gsw. (1908) 537); cf. 2. above; †(13) Glasgow punch, punch made with “rum, cold water, sugar, lemons, limes” (Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 235); ‡(14) Glesca pyke (peak), a type of horse-collar with a high peak, made in Glasgow (Abd. 1954); (15) Glasgow roll, A kind of bread roll (Abd. 1980s); (16) Glesca screwdriver, a hammer, so called from the practice of hammering screws in most of the way and screwing only one or two final turns, ascribed to Glasgow joiners (Abd. c.1910; Per., Fif., Lnk. 1954). Cf. Paisley screw s.v. Paisley; †(17) Glesca Toun Councillor, a salt herring (m.Lth. c.1870); cf. (11); (18) Glasgow tripe, (a) “tripe, knuckle of veal, pepper, salt, water” (Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 143); (b) fig.: a report without foundation, a mere rumour (m.Lth.1 1954).(2) Sc. 1719 W. Mitchell Discourse to the Magistrates Gsw. 10:
Before I leave them I have a mind to kill them as dead as a Glasgow Broun Salt Herring.
Ags. 1880 A. M. Soutar Hearth Rhymes 64:
When I'd got it weel charged wi the real “Glasca broon,” In its place in the press I again set it doon.
(3) Sc. 1855 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 585:
A species of peasemeal, called “Glasgow brose meal,” is much used in Scotland by invalids, in the form of porridge. [It] combines the properties of being light and easily digested, and, at the same time, of being highly nutritious.
Sc. 1864 Jnl. Agric. 407:
The fine pea-flour, universally known as “Glasgow brose-meal,” is made, we believe, from white pease imported from Canada.
(4) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 125:
A Glasgow Capon and a Fadge Ye thought a Feast.
(5)Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 141:
When the Glasgow Fair began, the visitors arrived by train and the town filled up with big-eyed girls whom we followed at discreet distances, despairing of ever arriving at a destination that was years away.
Ags. 1990s:
Glesca Fair: Glagow Fair holidays
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 8:
A crowd o' boys and lassies, runnin' everywhere
They are aw oan holiday an it's the Glesga Fair.
(6) Arg. 1901 Sc. Antiquary XVI. 49–50:
“Rounders” — which the Sassenach sometimes also calls “Dully,” and sometimes by the strange name of “Glasgow Houses.”
Abd. c.1920:
Of the games which were widely practised, the most widely spread — over the whole island, in fact — was rounders, or as we called it, Glesca Hoosie.
(7) Abd. 1936 Huntly Express (10 Jan.) 6:
His rines war feckly bits o' tarry tow an' Glesca Jock.
Abd. 1950 Ib. (13 Oct.):
“Glasgow Jock” or rope-yarn, a rough rope made of bark fibre has completely upset and brought about a discontinuance of this age-long operation of twinin' rapes.
(8) (a) Sc. 1933 St Andrews Univ. Alumnus Chronicle (Jan.) 20:
Behaviour worthy of the rowdiest Glasgow “keelies” at a Celtic-Rangers final.
Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (May) 145:
Here's this bit Glesca keelie wi' a great muckle fish on a wee trout rod.
(9)Edb. 1987:
He wiz gettin wide so Ah pit the heid oan him - gied him a Glesca kiss that is - that sin shut his face!
Gsw. 1989:
To head-butt someone is to give them a 'Glesca kiss' - especially someone from outside Glasgow.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 31 Dec 10:
However Scotmedia gives little credence to the arm-wrestling bout theory and suggests he had in fact been practising the 'Glesca kiss'.
Edb. 1991:
C'here tae A gie ye a Glesca kiss.
Sc. 1991 Daily Record 21 May :
Shy David Cumming gave a youth a "Glasgow kiss" after he was called a "poof" once too often... He headbutted the youngster, then slapped and punched him, ...
em.Sc. 1997 Ian Rankin Black & Blue (1999) 290:
Rebus ducked his head just enough to catch Breen on the bridge of the nose: no power in the 'Glasgow kiss', just enough to let Rebus past.
(11) Gsw. 1771 in G. MacGregor Hist. Gsw. (1881) 352:
It is customary also to take what is called a meridian, or a pint of ale and a salt herring, about one. A salt herring they call a “Glasgow Magistrate.”
Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck II. vi.:
Not a delicacy which the suburbs of Glasgow could produce was omitted; from the broiled Glasgow-magistrate, down to the Welsh rabbit.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums xi.:
I got the lassock to fetch me . . . a saft bile't egg on a shave o' laif, and a Glesco magistrate.
Rnf. 1950 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 171:
Herring were cured there by Walter Gibson, a merchant of Glasgow and Provost of that city in 1688, and it is perhaps because of Provost Gibson that salt herring acquired their nickname of “Glasgow Magistrates.”
Gsw. 1969 Edwin Morgan in Hamish Whyte Noise and Smoky Breath (1983) 82:
ran with a bawbee ballad five feet long / felt fishwives / gutted a brace of Glasgow magistrates ...
(12) Sc. 1700 Edb. Gazette (March 14–18):
A Glasgow Plaid half worn.
Sc. 1705 J. Spruel Accompt Current 11:
Glasgow Playds, and all sorts of fyne Worset-Camblets and other Stuffs and course Hats.
(13) Sc. 1819 J. G. Lockhart Peter's Letters lxx.:
A treacherous and detestable liquor called Glasgow punch.
Sc. 1826 “Mrs Dods” Manual ii. 336:
Glasgow punch should be made of cold water newly taken from the spring.
Gsw. 1863 R. Chambers Bk. of Days I. 469:
A dram-drinker, a wine-bibber, and a guzzler of Glasgow punch.
(14) Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (14 Nov.):
Then who would now “gae hame to this toon or that on promise of new collars, say Glesca pykes, or new leather brechams, for a quid less fee?”
(15)Sc. 1992 Herald 20 Jun 22:
Of course there are other more traditional Scottish ways: Aberdeenshire butteries, breakfast baps or morning rolls, chewy Glasgow rolls, as well as girdle scones and crisp oatcakes. The butteries and the oatcakes have already been dealt with earlier in this series. A proper Glasgow roll is impossible to make at home.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 15 Apr 7:
The Glasgow rolls are crisp and doughy, but the rowie was certainly a bit different."
ne.Sc. 2004 Aberdeen Evening Express 25 Jun 16:
"We'll just have bacon rolls," sez my quine. Just? Ye Gods, I was on action stations again. Tanking down to the shop for a packet of smoked and a poke of Glasgow rolls.

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"Glesca prop. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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