Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HAGGIS, n. Also obs. forms hag(g)ish; haggies (Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. i.); haggas(s); hag(a)s (Per. 1737 Ochtertyre Ho. Bk. (S.H.S.) 67–8); haggise.

1. A dish consisting of the pluck or heart, lungs and liver of a sheep minced and mixed with suet, oatmeal, onion and seasoning and boiled in a sheep's maw or stomach. Gen.Sc. Now regarded as a traditionally Scottish dish, but also popular in England until the beginning of the 18th cent. and still made in n.Eng. with some variation of the ingredients. Also used fig. as a term of contempt for a person. Adj. combs. haggis-fed; haggis-headed, fig. blockheaded, stupid. Kcd. 1699 Black Bk. (Anderson 1843) 94:
He saw Carnegie himself have in his hand a hot sheep's haggis.
Edb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Works (1815) 412:
Bring haggis-headed William Younger.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 38:
A Man may love a Haggish that wo'd not have the Bag bladed in his Teeth. A Man may say, or do, a Thing in his Airs, and Humour, who would not be told of it again.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (1925) 57:
Imprimis, then, a haggis fat, Weel tottl'd in a seything pat, Wi' spice and ingans weel ca'd thro'.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 14:
A piping het haggies, made of the creish of the black boul horn'd Ewe, boil'd in the meikle bag, mixt with bear meal, onions, spice and mint.
Ayr. 1787 Burns To a Haggis viii.:
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware, That jaups in luggies, But, if we wish her gratefu' prayer, Gie her a Haggis! [Also haggis-fed (Ib. vii.).]
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
Here I stand, that hae slashed as het a haggies as ony o' the twa o' ye, and thought nae muckle o' my morning's wark when it was dune.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery xiii.:
The special tup's-head and trotters, the haggis and the side of mutton, with which her table was set forth.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 186:
If I “would accompany the minister, and take a share of a haggis wi' them.”
Dmf. 1822 Carlyle Early Letters (1886) II. 28:
The lazy haggises! they must sink when we shall soar.
Lth. 1882 “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny 187:
Her stews and “hashes,” and haggises and white puddings.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 43:
Haggis and tripe, and puddin's black, and yill.
Sc. 1954 Edb. Ev. News (26 Jan.) 7:
200 people honouring “The Immortal Memory” of Robert Burns on the 195th anniversary of his birthday enthusiastically disposed of a smaller replica. The bigger haggis was feted in the traditional manner. . . At the end of the ode he plunged a long knife into the haggis to prepare portions for the 200 guests.

2. The stomach (of a man or animal), the paunch; also used attrib. (Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 40). Abd. 1755 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 28:
The second chiel was a thick, setterel, swown pallach, wi' a great chuller oner his chocks, like an ill scraped haggis.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 210:
Away then John goes to the amry and lays to the haggies, till his ain haggies cou'd had nae mair.
Bnff. 1851 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1939) 38:
I seed them taken up, desected, and their Haggises carried off to be analised.

3. A botched job, a mess (Ork. 1956). Ork. 1929 Marw.:
He'll just mak a haggis o' the job.

4. Used as an epithet for the second day's auction (sc. of inferior or mixed quality) at a large sheep sale. Rxb. 1851 Edb. Ev. Courant (25 Sept.):
The result of yesterday was realised on the sale stance to-day. Although a few lots of good sheep appeared, it was allowed, being “Haggis” (or second day), that the dealers who were not supplied would . . . give an impetus to the market, but in this they were disappointed.

5. Phrs. and combs.: (1) haggis-bag, the sheep's stomach in which a haggis is cooked (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1956); also used fig. = a windbag, a piece of empty nonsense; †(2) haggies kail, the water or broth in which a haggis has been boiled; (3) haggis royal, a rich kind of haggis (Sc. 1837 M. Dods Manual 304); (4) sweet haggis, see quot.; (5) white haggis, id. (1) Sc. 1787 S. MacIver Cookery 71:
Make the haggies-bag perfectly clean. . . . Put all the haggies-meat into the bag.
Sc. 1819 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 676:
It is more like an empty haggis-bag than any thing else.
Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption v.:
“Principles! haggis bags!” exclaimed the lady.
Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 42:
And he ate up a' the haggis bag, and his name was Aiken Drum.
(2) Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 52:
Wi' puddin broe or haggies' kail. Or something maks a battin meal.
(4) Kcb.10 1956:
There was also a white or sweet haggis, of suet, oatmeal, currants, etc., cooked and sliced when cold and hard.

[O.Sc. haggeis, haggies from c.1500, E.M.E. haggas, hagges, haggice, Mid.Eng. hagas, hageys, hagese, c.1420, id. Orig. uncertain, but prob. a deriv. of Hag. v.1, n.1, to chop.]

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"Haggis n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 May 2021 <>



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