Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHISKY, n., v. Also whiskie, -ey; whusk(e)y; ¶huskie (Sc. 1745 D. Nicholas Intercepted Post (1956) 78); reduced form whisk (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 216; Ags. 1810 J. Paterson Poems 121; Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 219). For earlier forms see Usquebae and ne.Sc. forms see Fuskie. The form was adopted in Eng. in the middle of the 18th c. [′ʍɪski, ′ʍʌski]

I. n. A spirit distilled from malted barley in a pot still, with or without the addition of unmalted grain spirit, gen. from maize, made in a patent still. Malt whisky is made from malted barley only, blended whisky is a mixture of malt and grain whisky. See Maut, I. 3. (10). The word was adopted from Sc. and Ir. in St. Eng. in the mid-18th c. Also attrib. and in phrs. to get in one's whisky, to become intoxicated, to ken whisky on someane, to perceive that someone has been drinking. See Ken, v., 2.; to take the whisky can, to take to drink. Sc. 1715 Bk. Sc. Pasquils (Maidment 1868) 404:
Whiskie shall put our brains in rage.
Sc. 1747 Forfeited Estate Papers (S.H.S.) 61:
There are fourteen or fifteen different stills in this barony for Distilling of Aqua Vitae or Whiskie.
Edb. 1772–3 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 52, 208:
Wi' Highland whisky scour our hawses . . . Whisky gills or dribbs o' wine.
Sc. 1779 H. Arnot Hist. Edb. 302 Note:
Whisky is a spirituous liquor used by the poorer class of people in Scotland. Sometimes it is distilled from corn, sometimes from potatoes, sometimes from any vegetable trash that will ferment.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Scotch Drink xviii.:
O Whisky! soul o plays an pranks!
Lth. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 53:
I'll play their clerk a bonny plisky Some night when he gets in his whisky.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 112:
The sweet brewn whusky toddy.
Sc. 1849 T. Thomson Brewing 337:
The whisky made by smugglers in Scotland is universally preferred by the inhabitants, and is purchased at a higher price, under the name of Highland whisky. This is partly owing to its being made entirely from malt.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 6:
He forsook his ain fireside And took the whisky can.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd vi.:
Whusky aboon tay aye gies me the he'rt-burn.
Arg. 1900 E. F. Heddle Colina's Island iii.:
Gregor's neighbours kent whisky on him.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 336:
Whutever else wus wantin, the whuskey bud be there.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo xii.:
A disgust at whusky and yill.
Sc. 1966 R. B. Lockhart Scotch 60:
The blending of grain and malt whiskies, which is to-day a highly developed art, was not introduced until after 1860.

Special Combs.: 1. whisky-brose, = Athole brose, q.v.; 2. whisky-buckie, -bukkie, -y, see quots., prob. from Buckie, n.1; 3. whusky cube, a small square-shaped bottle of whisky in which some proprietary brands of whisky are sold; 4. whisky-fair, a gathering to drink whisky, a carousal among friends; 5. whisky-houff, a tavern where whisky can be obtained. See Howf, n., 3.; 6. whisky-house, id.; 1. Whisky Jean, — Jane, a nickname for the town of Kirkcudbright (Kcb. 1897 66th Report Brit. Ass. 495), prob. with reference to the smuggling of spirits which was formerly prevalent in the area. The name may have been coined by Burns as quoted; 8. whisky maker, a distiller of whisky; 9. whisky mell, a whisky bottle shaped like a mason's mallet. See Mell, n.1, 9.; 10. whisky-nancy, a jocular term for whisky; 11. whisky-pig, a jar for holding whisky (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 479; I.Sc. 1974). See Pig, n.2, 1.; 12. whisky-pistot, a spirit-flask (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); 13. whisky-plash, a liberal supply of whisky, a drinking-bout (Ib.); 14. whisky-plook, a pimple on the face ascribed to too much whisky drinking (Per. 1974). Cf. 16. See Plouk, n.1; 15. whisky-splore, a spree of whisky-drinking; 16. whisky-tacket, = 14. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 449; ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lth., Lnk. 1974); 11. whisky-wife, a woman who sells whisky. 1. Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Tales I. 307:
Whisky-brose shall be my breakfast, and my supper shall be the untaken-down spirit.
2. Abd. 1872 J. Michie Deeside Tales 208:
A “whisky bukky” [1908 edn.: buckie] a compound of whisky and oatmeal rolled together like a great pill of two or three pounds' weight, in fact “Atholl brose” of portable consistence.
ne.Sc. 1904 W. M. Smith Romance Poaching 178:
“Whisky bukkies” forming the staple article of his solid food. These were simply oatmeal saturated with whisky, in the form of balls or sausage-shaped rolls.
3. Peb. 1938 J. Dickson Poems 49:
Johnnie Walker whusky cubes, In case hill herds turn dry.
4. Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 349, 256:
A' his drucken freens, yt use't tae hae whuskey-fair wi him whun he cam alang. . . . It was whuskey-fair as lang as it [money] lastit.
5. Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 22:
See them . . . saunterin' Slowly to their whisky-houff.
6. Sc. 1767 Scots Mag. (April) 222:
Grant kept a whisky-house, as did Macdonald.
Bnff. 1778 V. Gaffney Lordship Strathavon (S.C.) 113:
I think all the whiskie houses in this lordship should be laid dry for some time.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 43:
Jock stauchers to the whisky-house.
7. Dmf. 1789 Burns Five Carlins iv.:
Whisky Jean, that took her gill In Galloway sae wide.
8. Kcd. 1890 J. Kerr Reminisc. 32:
Whiskymakers wha prepare the trash.
9. Abd. 1939 Huntly Express (5 May) 1:
Tumblers, Spirit Bottles, Whisky Mell.
10. Abd. 1820 A. Skene Poems 16:
Nane ither can their spirits cheer, But whisky-nancy.
12. Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 59:
Wi' whisky-pistols in their fabs.
14. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 163:
Whiskey Plooks that brunt for wooks On town-guard soldiers faces.
15. Ayr. 1818 J. Kennedy Poet. Wks. 43:
To join the whisky splore, Wi' the Boys that night.
16. Sc. a.1841 D. Vedder Poems (1878) 179:
There's naething in your head the noo But whisky tackets!
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie II iv.:
Her face was a' oot wi' whisky-tackets.
17. Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 48:
Plenty an' peace, at their ain ingle-side, Are better to them than a whisky-wife's pride.
Gall. 1902 Gallovidian IV. 96:
The whisky wife was in the dumps about it.

II. v. In ppl.adj. whiskied, affected by whisky, tipsy (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 479). Also in deriv. form whiskified, whisky-, id. Orig. Sc., later adopted in Eng. Sc. 1805 Scots Mag. (June) 462:
If at a chance, unlucky time, Ye're whiskify'd to try a rhyme.
Ayr. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 90:
Though they're whiskified indeed.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxi.:
Mr Phelim had come hame well whiskyfied.
Wgt. 1878 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 167:
As soon as they were whiskied up to fighting pitch.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 249:
That'll teach you, I hope, to bide out of my way, you whiskied old wife.

[Variant form of usque s.v. Usquebae, q.v. ]

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"Whisky n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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