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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCROG, n.1, v. Also scrogg, skrog; scroog; skroug, scrowg; scrug. [skrog; Cai. skrʌug]

I. n. 1. A stunted or crooked bush or low tree, freq. of hawthorn (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 191; Dmf. 1894 Trans.-Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 155; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor); in pl.: undergrowth, brushwood, scrub (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 37; n., e. and sm.Sc., Uls. 1969). Also used fig. Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb. scrog(g)-bush, a stunted bush.Sc. 1709 Compend of Securities 151:
Brooms, Woods, Parks, Scrogs, Trees growing Timber.
Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 132:
Your Howms, and Braes and shady Scrog.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 4:
Frae 'mang the scroggs, the yorlins fly in cluds.
Peb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XII. 379:
Juniper bushes, and other brush-wood, which, in the old dialect of the country, received the general denomination of scrogs.
Sc. 1801 John Thomson in Child Ballads No. 266 B. iv.:
And they hae banged that grim Soudan . . . And sae hae they that ill woman, Upon a scrogg-bush him beside.
Sc. 1805 Scott Last Minstrel iv. vi.:
Until I turn'd at Priesthaugh Scrogg.
Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 24:
Ower the dvke an' through the scroggs.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin viii.:
A grand table-claith that was dryin' on a scrog near-bye.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Memories (1894) 151:
A scrog of low wood and a pool.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 78:
Scaurs cover't wi whuns an scroggs.
Abd., Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
She gaed throw the wud an' lan't on a skrog (Abd.). She gaed throo the wud a' day an' took a scrog at e'en (Fif.). Said of a woman who had a lot of rich suitors and married a poor one.
Cai. 1931 N. M. Gunn Morning Tide ix.:
“There'll soon be nothing left but old scrogs”. “Like yourself!”
Arg. 1948 Scots. Mag. (Feb.) 340:
Down among the scrog of birch.
ne.Sc. 1996 Ronald W. McDonald in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 66:
E fairies Knowe wis an oot-o-e-wye, flat tappit hillockie; a dreich place, wie e sidelings sair owergrown wi scrog it raxed fir e sky wi scruntit beuchs an twistit cleuks.
Uls. 2005:
He was looking for his ball in amang the scrogs.

Hence scrog(g)ie, -y, scrugy, (1) full of scrogs, bushy, covered with undergrowth or scrub (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., e. and sm.Sc. 1969); (2) of a tree: stunted or crooked, with gnarled branches (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne., e. and sm.Sc. 1969); rough, in gen. Also fig. of the limbs.(1) Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale (1815) 119:
On both sides of the scroggie braes.
Ayr. 1787 Burns My Hoggie i.:
Amang the braes sae scroggie.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 98:
Thro' cowslip banks, an' heathrie braes, Or scroggie glens.
Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 98:
Nae scroggy hoghs, or backs twa fauld, When ye lap owre the pailin'.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 63:
Through green howm and scroggie dingle, Where the crimpled breckans grow.
Gall. 1881 Bards Gall. (Harper 1889) 10:
Ilk scroggy knowe and shady plantin'.
Rxb. 1904 W. Laidlaw Poetry 68:
The primrose on the scroggy bank Beneath the blooming slae.
(2) Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 18:
Nane but the clinty Craigs and scrogy Briers.
Sc. 1759 Session Papers, Wallace v. Morrison (15 Jan.) 33:
Two small scruggy-trees which grew about the root of that stone-dyke.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. ix.:
The scroggie thorns of the Fourmerkland.
Ayr. 1868 A. McKay Ingleside Lilts 174:
Thou'll fin' life's road is hard and scroggie.
Ags. 1880 G. W. Donald Poems 25:
Its branches scroggie Bend or battle wi' the storm.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders vii.:
The knowe of the “scroggie thorns”.

2. A gnarled or crooked branch, stump or root of a tree (Mry. 1913 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 150; Ork. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 803; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1969), specif. one found submerged in a peat bog (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Adj. scroggie.Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales 72:
An earthen bothy fu' o' reek . . . Wi scrogs for fire.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 206:
Wi' her pockmarkit face, black an' rough as a scrog.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 135:
She lickit it wi' a scrog.
Abd. 1945 Scots Mag. (March) 498:
To prevent the reek blowing back on them, the old maids had their lum thatched in autumn with scroogs of broom three feet in height.

3. In Heraldry: the leafless branch of a tree.Sc. 1780 J. Edmondson Heraldry Gl.:
Scrogs, the term used by the Scots in blazoning a small branch of a tree.
Sc. 1903 J. B. Paul Ordinary of Arms 53:
Azure a chevron or between two scrogs (starved branches) in chief.

4. The crab-apple tree or its fruit (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.B.; em.Sc. (b), s.Sc. 1969; Uls. 1990s). Also dim. scroggie (Ib.). Combs. scrog(gie)-aipple, id. (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 79; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), scrog-jeely, crab-apple jelly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), scrog-tree.Bwk. c.1887 R. M. Calder Songs (1897) 65:
The scrogg tree in the meadow.
Rxb. 1901 W. Laidlaw Poetry 66:
The scrogs that fringe the water-side.
Rxb. 1965 Hawick Express (4 Aug.) 4:
Those who gathered hines, blaeberries and scroggs with us.

5. Anything dried up or shrivelled, as overcooked meat or bread (Cai. 1969): fig. a lean, scraggy animal or person (Cai. 1969).Arg.2 1935:
He caas them yowes: I caa them jist a wheen o' owld scroggs.
Cai. 1962 John o' Groat Liter. Soc. 19:
Believe me some could do with a feed Poor skinny lookan skrougs.

6. Buttons used in the game of Buttonie (Mry.1 1925).

II. v. 1. Only in ppl.adj. scroggit, -ed, gnarled, with rough, crooked branches, stunted (Rxb. 1942 Zai).Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 172:
The auld scrogged hawthorn.

2. To cut undergrowth and scrub (in a wood). Cf. I. 1. Arg. 1821-2 Clanranald MSS. (Record Office):
Scrogging Tormore.

[O.Sc. scrogg, brushwood, skroggy, adj., 1513, Mid.Eng. skrogg, brushwood, of doubtful etym. The form appears to be a Northern equivalent of the Southern Eng. shrog with sim. meanings, and may be of Scand. orig., cogn. with scrag, something lean, bony or gnarled, Swed. dial. skragg, something haggard, old or torn, Norw. dial. skragg, a shrivelled miserable creature, a lean horse, but the phonology is uncertain. Cf. Scrag, Eng. dial. shrag. Prob. the same word appears as a place-name Skrogges in Peebles shire, 1296.]

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"Scrog n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/scrog_n1_v>

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