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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MOCH, n.2, adj., v.2 Also moach, mogh, maugh, mauch-, much-; moich-, meigh-; moke-. [mox, mǫx; Ayr. + məi; m.Lth. mok]

I. n. A warm moist atmosphere, close, misty weather (Uls. 1924 W. Lutton Montiaghisms 29; Wgt. 1958; Abd. 1963).Gall. a.1900 “Mulciber Veritatis” Gallowa' Herds 11:
Tho' yer braird was sune shawn, nae doobt it was sawn, In the moch o' a tropical climate.

Deriv. mochie, -y, mauchie, -y, maughie (Uls. 1905 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. 125), mokey (m.Lth. 1948); moochy. 1. of weather: close and damp, “muggy”, misty and oppressive (ne.Sc., Fif., w.Sc. 1963); damp in gen. unaired, fusty. Hence mochiness. Also fig.; 2. of articles affected by storage in damp conditions: decayed, mouldy, fusty, putrescent; disgusting (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd. 1963); ¶3. as v., of a sheepskin: to expose to heat and damp so that the wool comes off easily.1. Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig lxxxi.:
Mair scouthry like it still does look At length comes on in mochy rook.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 93:
May comes in wi' mochy showers.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
It should be observed, that mochy is not applied to mist indiscriminately; but to that only which is produced by great heat, or an accompaniment of it, when the air is so close as to affect the organs of respiration.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 28:
Sic spates o' rain, syne mochy, dreepie weather.
Sc. 1882 Stevenson Letters (1911) II. 84:
I believe we shall have to leave this place; it is low, damp, and mauchy.
Ags. 1903 E.D.D.:
I' the time o' the Flood the deil gaed sailin' by the Ark on a barn-door, an' said, “It's a mochy mornin, mester Noah.”
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 43:
The wather's aft gey drumly, Daggy days and mochy nichts.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 7:
The Inn's sign blinters in the mochiness.
Fif. 1954 St. Andrews Citizen (4 Sept.) 5:
Tuesday was a real “mochy” day, with a close damp atmosphere.
ne.Sc. 1980 Alastair Mackie in Duncan Glen Akros 15 Dec 52:
But I mindit the haar
reekin ower the lums.
In that blin mochiness
I felt the saut o its breath,
Arg. 1993:
If that cloud wid jeest lift - it's aafu moochy as it is.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web v:
Nae Inglis wird alane can convoy the multiplicity o thocht ahin thon ae wird dreich. Dreich is a cauld, mochy, jeelin, dowie wird - a wird fur weather, character, emotion: an yon's bit scartit the tap o't, fur there's a guid gowpenfu o the eldritch steered inno't anna.
Per. 1999 Ben Coutts A Stick, Hill Boots and a Good Collie Dog 64:
For me in my young days, August, with its thundery, 'mochy' weather, was the month for maggots.
Abd. 2002 Herald 28 Oct 21:
On the 40th day of continuous rain a strange craft hove into view. When the pilot hailed him in some excitement the smallholder moved the Meerschaum from one corner of his mouth to the other, spat and greeted the visitor, with rare Buchan sang froid: "Fit like, Noah? Mochie nicht again."
2. n.Sc. 1931 I. Macpherson Shepherd's Cal. 63:
I think we'd better thresh the morn. The last stack was mochy an' the straw's just fit for bedding.
Bnff. 1953 Banffshire Jnl. (8 Sept.):
Oh! the guff o't — the fooshty, mochie yoam o' corn an' meal an' sheelicks an' a dizzen ither lang-remembert smells.
Sc. 1998 Aberdeen Evening Express 8 Oct 22:
Another tenant, Eileen Gill who lives in a flat with her 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth and 17-month-old grandchild Lucy, said: "It's a vile, mochy smell like something is rotting.
3. Kcb.4 1900:
When an aul' wife wanted to make a wecht she mochied the sheepskin to tak' the wool off it.

II. adj. 1. Of weather: close and damp, “muggy”, moist and oppressive (Sc. 1818 Sawers). Hence derivs. moichness, meighness, oppressively warm and humid atmosphere, a staleness in the air through lack of circulation. Also mochness. Also fig.Sc. a.1825 Old Ballad in Jam.2:
Your mother's spence it pleases me; But its moichness hurts me sairly.
Bwk. 1900 Scottish Farmer (29 Sept.):
The mornings are sharply frosty, but the air is somewhat “moich” at times, and the cream is ripening too quickly in spite of all we can do.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 137:
There cam a heavy rain and a meighness of the air.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 70:
' ... There's an unpleasant mochness in the air this spring, cousin. ... '

2. Of perishable foodstuffs: tainted from exposure to a warm, moist atmosphere, putrescent (Ayr. 1825 Jam., moich).

III. v. Of corn in the stack, meat, meal, etc.: to become tainted, fusty or putrescent (Sc. 1825 Jam., mo(a)ch). Hence ppl.adj. mocht (Sc. 1818 Sawers), and double formation, muchtit, tainted, fusty, putrescent (Mry. 1925; ne.Sc. 1963). Deriv. muchtie: of atmosphere: warm and moist, misty and oppressive, musty (Abd. 1963); fusty (Abd. 1919 T.S.D.C.).Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS.:
The shaves had to be lifted wi' the corn knots neist mysel' because they had to be set to the inside o' the stook to keep them fae growin' gin muchtie widder cam on.

[O.Sc. moch, = II., 1501, = III., 1624. Immediate orig. uncertain but connected with Eng. dial. moke, fog, mist, foggy weather, moky, foggy, murky, and, less nearly, with muggy. Scand. cognates are appar. Sw. dial. moket, cloudy, hazy, O.Sw. muk, damp, Dan. mug, mildew, Norw. muggen, fusty, mouldy, and ultimately muck, the root meaning being “wet and decaying”. Du. muff, putrescent, Ger. muchen, to turn mouldy, may also be connected. The form of the Sc. word may have been influenced by semantic association in certain contexts with Moch, n.1, and mochie s.v., and the diphthongal variants meigh-, moich- by association with moist, phs. also with Muith, n.1 q.v. O.Sc. has -th forms in v., from 1624.]

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"Moch n.2, adj., v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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