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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AUNTIE, AUNTY, n. [′ɑntɪ̢, ′ɑnti]

1. As in colloq. Eng. but more freq., a familiar term = aunt.Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 37:
Geordie Runciman the carrier — a frien' o' my ain, bein mairrit on the wife's auntie.

Combs.: (1) Auntie Beenie, a woman who is rather old-fashioned in dress or manner (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1975, a richt Auntie Beenie). See Beenie; (2) Auntie Katie, a boys' game in which one boy stands with his back against a wall, others form a row of bended backs lined out from him and the other side by leap-frogging as far forward as they can one after the other try to bring the whole lot down by their combined weight (Gsw. 1934 Glasgow Herald (21 April)).

2. “A vulgar name for a loose woman, one who keeps a brothel” (Jam.6 1887).

3. “The bottle,” drink; a drinking-bout.Gsw. 1838–1846 A. Rodger Poems, etc. (1897) 54:
It's cheering to coup aff our horn — But makin' ower free wi' our aunty Is sure to bring trouble the morn.
[The term aunty was commonly applied to an unmarried woman who kept an inn or public house, and hence its application to the drink obtained at such places. In the West of S[cot]. it is still a common saying when a person is seen in liquor — “He's been seein' his aunty” (Jam.6 1887).]

4. Phrases: (1) eat up, ye're at yer auntie's, help yourself liberally; (2) I wouldn't call the Queen my auntie, what we have is as good as anyone else's; (3) Ma auntie! or your Auntie Kate! expressions of derision or contempt.(1) Sc. 2002 Guardian 18 Jan 19:
Further to Fritz Spiegl's Liverpudlian adjuration to start eating (Letters, January), the Glasgow version is "Eat up, ye're at yer Auntie's" - though why it should be grannies in Liverpool but aunties in Glasgow, I have no idea. My dad encourages diners with the words, "Stick in till ye stick oot!", but then he's a Church of Scotland minister (retired) so is naeb'dy's auntie.
Ags. 1990s:
Eat up, ye're at yer auntie's: eat up!
Gsw. 1977 Alan Spence in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 155:
All the glasses were drained and set down empty on the table. 'C'mon now people,' said Tommy. 'Get wired in therr!' 'Eat up,' said Mary. 'Yer at yer auntie's!'
(2) Sc. 2000 Herald 26 Jan 28:
When I was but a littly tiny lad I had, like everyone else in Glasgow, a great civic pride in our water. We may have had more flea bites than freckles, and looked like Mel Gibson in Braveheart with blue ointment painted over our impetigo'd faces, but as far as the stuff that came through the lead pipes and out of the one (cold) tap in the house and the cistern of the stairhead privy was concerned, we wouldn't call the Queen our auntie.
Ags. 1990s:
Ah widna ca the Queen muh Auntie: I wouldn't call the Queen my auntie; I wouldn't change places with anyone.
(3) Lnk. 1915 “I. Hay” First Hund. Thousand 54:
“Yon's Gairmany.” “Gairmany ma auntie!” retorts Mucklewame.
Lnk. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money 29:
“They're a terrible folk the Germans.” “The Germans, your Auntie Kate!” said Nellie blithely.

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"Auntie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2024 <>



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