Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GLESCA, n.prop. Also Glesgo, -ga; -co (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.), Glasca, -co. Variant forms and usages of the place-name Glasgow. [′glɛskə, ′glɛzgə, ′gle-] 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 (9) (Fif. 1954); †(2) Glasca broon, a brand of snuff; also attrib. = snuff-coloured; †(3) Glasgow brose meal, see quots.; †(4) Glasgow capon, = (9); (5) 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; (6) Glesca Jock, coir rope used in binding hay-stacks (Mry., Abd. 1954); (7) 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; ‡(8) Glesca leggies, bandy legs, ricketty legs being associated especially with the poorer inhabitants of Glasgow (Inv. 1954); (9) 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, id. (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 (14); †(10) 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; †(11) Glasgow punch, punch made with “rum, cold water, sugar, lemons, limes” (Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 235); ‡(12) Glesca pyke (peak), a type of horse-collar with a high peak, made in Glasgow (Abd. 1954); (13) 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; †(14) Glesca Toun Councillor, a salt herring (m.Lth. c.1870); cf. (9); (15) 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) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) (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) 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.”
(10) 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.
(11) 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.
(12) 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?”

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"Glesca prop. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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