Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PURPIE, n.1, adj. Also purp(e)y. [′pʌrpe]

I. n. 1. The colour purple (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1930; ‡Ork., Mry. 1967); the dye of this colour. Also attrib. in comb. purpie-stick, a purple dye sold in packets with a little wooden peg for dipping it in water. Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 209:
Your very nose is a purpey colour.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 91:
On her hinderlets wur seen The purpie an' the blue.
Fif. 1880 People's Jnl. (15 Jan. 1949):
When a girl I was asked by my grandmother to go to the chemist and buy twopence worth of purpie sticks.

II. adj. Of a purple colour (Sc. 1825 Jam.), gaudy. Comb. purpie-fever, applied to a variety of diseases characterized by purplish discolouration of the skin, notably purpura, “the name vulgarly given to a putrid fever” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), probably chiefly typhus. Cf. purple-fever, id. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 109:
Now Morn, with bonny Purpie-smiles, Kisses the Air-cock o' St. Giles.
Lnk. 1844 J. Lemon St. Mungo 49:
An' there we laiggart a' our cheeks Wi' the bonnie purpie dye.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
A han' . . . gat a grip o' the nose o' ane o' the heid deesters an' gya't sic a thraw that it didna tine the purpie colour . . . for a file.

[O.Sc. purpie feaver, 1661, reduced form of purpur, O.E. purpure, O.Fr. purpre, Lat. purpura, purple, which is an altered O.E. form of the orig.]

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"Purpie n.1, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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