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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

PROG, n.1, v. Also progg, prog(u)e, proag, proog; proug (Cai.). Cf. Proke. [prog, Cai. + prʌug]

I. n. 1. A piercing weapon or instrument, a barb, dart, arrow (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1966); a thorn, spine, prickle (Per., Ayr. 1966). In dim. form proggle. Also in Eng. dial. Comb. prog-staff, a staff shod with a sharp tip or barb (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 31:
An' sin the Fates hae orders gi'en To bring the progues to Troy.
Cai. 1829 J. Hay Poems 61:
You . . . stab'd him deadly wi' thy progue, Thro' flesh an' bane.
Lnk. 1880 P. M'Arthur Amusements 64:
I've followed him through brake an' bog, Wi' mony a whin and thorny prog Richt in my face.
Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Gall. Gossip 230:
They stick oot a' ower him like the proggles o' a hurcheon.

2. A stab, thrust, poke, prod, the act of pricking or stabbing (Sc. 1825 Jam.; I.Sc., Cai., Bnff., Kcb., Uls. 1966); “a thrust or puncture with a sharp-pointed instrument” (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 178, progue). Dim. proggie, id. Also fig. a jibe, taunt, sarcasm.Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-boat viii.:
I was not so kittly as she thought, and could thole her progs and jokes with the greatest pleasance and composure.
Bnff. 1863 Banffshire Jnl. (1 Dec.) 3:
Aye wi' bluid o' martyrs fou Noo she gets an unco proggie.
Edb. 1863 Justiciary Reports (1865) 310:
He said, I gave my working jeweller a prog. I said what with? He said with a dagger.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 120:
Camsteery Rhyme, Wha's aft gien Sense a deadly progue.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 121:
When they cam' to the henmist line o' the verse he gae me a prog i' the ribs wi' his elba.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 75, 99:
This was a gran' chance to ha'e a baur wi' her, and get a progue at her history knowledge . . . Maister Strong had to gi'e him a progue in the ribs to sit still.
Sc. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayins 142:
Like the prog o' a thorn In the loof o' a drucken man.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 153:
Oh, weel, I micht a geen him a proag trow da lum wi' da pock haandle.

II. v. 1. tr. (1) To stab, pierce, prick; to poke, prod, jab (Kcd., Ayr., Lth. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 178; I.Sc., Cai., Lnl., Lnk., sm.Sc., Uls. 1966); “to prob or lance the stomach of a hoven cow” (Dmf. 1955). Also fig. Freq. form progle (Uls. 1924 W. Lutton Montiaghisms 32) to keep on poking or prodding. Deriv. progger, a pricker, marking point (wm.Sc. 1966), “a long iron spike with transverse handle used when searching for drains” (Per., Lnl., Arg. 1966), a rod used by a gravedigger (Lnl. 1966); fig., an inquisitive, interfering person, a Paul Pry (Arg. 1930).Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 28:
The King of Brutes obliged to cour; And on his Royal Paunches, thole A Dwerf to prog him with a Pole.
Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 43:
Fleechan advices prog their consciences, an peel the hyde aff their feelings in blypes.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 624:
They proggit the hazels wi' their swords and the very flaps o' the dragoons' cloaks came o'er her face.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 180:
Again, at the battle o' red Waterloo, How they pricket and proget the French thro' and thro'.
Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Gall. Gossip 249:
Weel, he rypit an better rypit, an progit the beds, an the meal airk.
Sc. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Kirk i' the Clachan 148:
A hard warsle is guid whan it progs us forrit to Christ.
Cai. 1959 John o' Groat Lit. Soc. 22:
Far yir barefeet got prouged wi' thirsels or burnt wi' nettles.
Sh. 1962 New Shetlander No. 60. 25:
Dan eftir a start, somethin proagin him i da ribs medd him waaken wi a gluff.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 52:
Yon 'kintra maitters' cam tae sic a pass:
droont sweethairts, arras-proggin, audience-deavin:
aa juist a ploy tae gie's mair sex and violence.
Abd. 1991 W. S. Milne in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 158:
bi waasps aye proggit, a rare cafuffle.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 89:
Tither tynes o the harpoon hidna proggit, an it ay howped tae win aff bi the castin o its tailie. Bit aa it wan wis the lairin o its fin in anither o the tynes, an it wis tint.
em.Sc. 2000 Neil R. MacCallum in Alec Finlay Atoms of Delight 59:
Maisic heich the bens
sangs proggin the grund
a cleuch in atwein.

(2) to probe, search (a wound) (Arg. 1825 Jam.).

2. intr., freq. with about, around, etc.: to make poking, prodding movements, to poke around (Sh. 1966).Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 45:
So! proge no in aboot mi feet, Du'll sweep awa da luck.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 82:
Wi' the shaft o' the heather bissom in his hand, progin' aboot wi't.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 117:
Nae waanderin da hills wi' a moorcavie proogin inta every fan fur karcages.

[In E.M.E. in sense I. 1. Phs. a conflation of Brog and Prod. Cf. also Mid.Eng. proke, to poke.]

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"Prog n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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