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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

COG, Cogue, Coag, Cogg, Cowg, Coug, Kog, n.1 Also ¶coig, after O.Sc. Also dim. cog(g)ie, cowgie. Cf. Cag. [kɔg, kog Sc.; kʌug Cai. (see P.L.D. § 149)]

1. A wooden vessel, made of staves and girded with metal bands, used in milking cows, carrying water, or in drinking or eating. One or two staves longer than the rest form the handle or handles. Angus Gl. (1914) gives the form kog for Sh. Used also to indicate the contents, as in Eng. cup. “A small tub used by fishermen” (Cai.8 1934, coug). Gen.Sc.Ork.1 1930:
Whaur's the cauf's cog tae gie hid milk in?
Cai.(D) 1922 J. Horne Poems and Plays 9:
A cowgie fu' o' sooans.
Abd. 1916 A. Gibson Under the Cruisie 13:
And milking coggies scoured and clean, And flaggons glistening in their sheen.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 69:
Cley cuttie, parritch-coggie, tass,
scartit oot upo this stane;
sair jeedgement on Mulroy they pass,
wha gied thaim nither saucht nor hain.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin xxx.:
Tibbie, armed wi' a brush an' a cogfu' o' saepy-graith, scoored oor bits o' furniture.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 5:
"Aye, aye Faither, I ken." Hugh's soothing promise slid out as easily as the last smooth mouthful of broth from his coggie.
Ayr. publ. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc., and Poems 264:
But gie me the lan' whaur auld plays are in vogue, An' the cake an' the kebbock gae down wi' a cog.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Men of the Moss-Hags liv.:
So she set out to bring the water in a wooden cogie with a handle.

2. “A measure used at some mills, containing the fourth part of a peck” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.2).Abd. 1814 Proof respecting the Mill of Inveramsay 1 (Jam.2):
A cog of sheeling is one-fourth of a peck, and is equal in value at least to one peck of meal.
Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. 148:
The cog with which the shealing was measured was allowed to be “made or mended,” according to the fancy of the multurer; and so its size was as likely to be wrong as right.

3. Phrases and combs.: †(1) cog and soup, food and drink; (2) cog-boyne, a small tub (Rnf. 1734 W. Hector Judicial Rec. I. 244). See Boyne; (3) cog-cut, see quot.; †(4) cog-gilt (see quot.); (5) cogg-wame, a pot-belly (Fif.10 1937); (6) cog-wymed, pot-bellied; †(7) hatted coag, “cream with warm milk from the cow milked into it” (Lnk. 1793 D. Ure Hist. of Rutherglen 98); (8) to coup the cog, to drink (Bnff.2, Abd.22 1937); (9) to get one's meat in a riven cog, to get a scolding, esp. from one's wife; (10) to tak a stav(e) oot o' (some) one's cogue (coag), to reduce one's own expenditure (Kcb.1 1937), or curtail someone else's allowance.(1) wm.Sc. [1835–37] Laird of Logan (1868) 158:
Andrew came home to his breakfast at the usual time, expecting to find his “cog and soup” set out awaiting him.
(3) Fif. 1885 D. Beveridge Culross II. 350:
What used to be known as the cog-cut — i.e. the primitive style of haircutting by placing a "cog" or wooden bowl on the head and cutting the hair all round.
(4) Ork. 1905 Dennison Ork. Weddings 31:
The company, as they sat at the tables, was divided into what was called “cog-gilts,” consisting of twenty-four persons, twelve on each side of the table — the name was most likely derived from the fact that each “cog-gilt” had an ale cog appropriated to its own use. . . . All the members of one “cog-gilt” drank out of one vessel.
(5) Sc. [1769] D. Herd Sc. Songs (1776) II. 183:
A pair of white legs, and a good cogg-wame.
(6) Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Cog-wymed . . . is not merely applied to persons grown up, but to children, those especially whose bellies are distended by eating great quantities of undigestible food, or of that which is not solid.
(8) Abd. 1841 J. Imlah Poems and Songs 186:
Cauld kail, and castocks . . . . . . never be they scant with those Wha coup the cog in Bon-Accord.
(9) Edb. 1734 W. Mitchel Wonderful Sermon to Students 7:
My Wife's first Husband was a strong able Fellow, and I am far short of him, and because of that, many Times I get my Meat thro' the Reek, or else in a riven Cog.
(10) Bnff.2 1937:
Boggie wiz aye an upsettin' mannie, bit yon loss'll gar 'im tak' a stave oot o's cogue.
Uls. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.):
A'll tak a stav' oot o' his coag.

4. Proverbial uses:Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 176:
It is good to have our Coag out, when it rains Kail.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Sc. Proverbs 6:
I ken by my cog when my cow's milket.
Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 88:
Dinna cast awa' the cog when the cow flings, i.e. do not act rashly when you meet with a misfortune.

[O.Sc. cog, coge, cogue, a wooden vessel made of hooped staves, first date 1502 (D.O.S.T.). Origin uncertain; prob. from O.N. kaggi, a keg or cask, and cogn. with Eng. keg, earlier cag.]

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"Cog n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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