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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.

CUDDY, CUDDIE, n.1 Also abbr. form cud.

1. A donkey, an ass. Gen.Sc. exc. I.Sc. (Bnff., Abd., Fif., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Also used fig. of a stupid or obstinate person (Uls. 1924 W.J.M.B. in North. Whig (4 Jan.)). Dim. cudyuch, “an ass; a sorry animal; used in a general sense” (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2).Sc. c.1860 J. B. Hunter in Scotsman (13 Sept. 1910):
“A cuddie should never handle tocher” — A stupid person should never be possessed of money.
Sc. [1862] A. Hislop Proverbs (1868) 16:
A cuddy's gallop's sune done.
Bwk. 1811–92 P. Coldwell in Minstr. of the Merse (ed. Crockett 1893) 339:
“Guid gracious! the man! isn't David the cud!” “A cud!” cried the parson; “Aye, a cuddy!” cried she.
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 38:
Ye're a bonnie pair, as the cuddie said when it saw its lugs in the mill-dam.

2. (1) Also used of a horse: a short, thick, strong horse (Abd.28 1948; Fif., Edb., Dmb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s).Bnff.2 1941:
I bocht a fine cud o' a horse in Marnan Fair.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 121:
Then all walking creatures learned to fear the bogs, because whenever a fawn or boar, a badger or a cuddie, or even the harmless little hedgehog entered them in dark moonless nights, the bogles would rise up wailing out of their holes, ...
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 25:
'Haud off your cuddy,' Lachie roared, 'or I'll break its back!' and, circumscribed as he was, he flourished the cudgel.

(2) In pl. Horse racing.Sc. 2000 Herald 21 Jun 35:
We got that wrong, and, as it appeared that I was the only one of the group hosted by Financial Times Information who had the remotest interest in the cuddies, the blame was laid firmly with The Herald.
Gsw. 1966 Archie Hind The Dear Green Place (1984) 24:
'A couple of fivers? Ten quid? What have you been doin'? Been on the cuddies? You always were an awful man for the long shots.'

3. (1) A trestle or sawing-horse (Ags.17, Fif.13, Lnk.11, Kcb.10 1941; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; m.Dmf.3 c.1920; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Edb., m.Lth. 1990s).Edb. 1910 J. B. Hunter in Scotsman (6 Sept.):
“Come off the cuddy” — Come off the trestles. [Edb. schoolboy vocab.]
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) 90:
Beside the grunstane was a stalk o' broad planks leanin' on their edges on a cross beam of fir aboot, mebbe, twal' feet frae the grun'. This was, and is yet, caa'd a joiner's cuddy.
[Cf. use of mear in Mason's mear, and horse in Eng. sawing-horse.]

(2) The “horse” in a gymnasium (Abd.27 1946; Ags.17, Edb.5, Lnk.11 1941).Per. 1987 Roger Leitch ed. The Book of Sandy Stewart 33:
... things fer jumpin ower: 'cuddies' we usetae caa them ...

4. “A weight mounted on wheels; a loaded bogie, used to counter-balance the hutch on a cuddie brae” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 22, cuddie; Ayr. 1946 (per wm.Sc.1), cuddy). Also comb. cuddie-brae, “an inclined roadway, worked in the same manner as a self-acting incline, the cuddie serving as a drag on the full hutch running down” (Barrowman).

5. Phrs.: (1) cowe the cuddy, see Cow, v.1, n.2, III (5); †(2) cuddy and the powks, lit. donkey and the bags: “a school game — two boys join hands and feet over the back of a third, the which creeps away with them on hands and knees to a certain distance, and if able to do this, he, the cuddy, must have a ride as one of the powks, on some other's back” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 154); (3) cuddy (cuddie)-loup-the-dyke, the game of leap-frog (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slk. 1947 (per Abd.27)); (4) haud (keep) the cuddie reekin(g) “make constant exertion, used in relation to any business” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2, haud —; 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol. (both forms)); (5) nae halfers, nae quarters, nae cuddy bites, “said on finding something in company with another person. Unless this was said, the person accompanying you could claim half the find, on shouting ‘halfers'” (Lnk.3 1927; Lnk.11 1941); (6) never said cuddy wid ye lick, failed to to offer someone a share of food etc. Cf. Collie n.1 and v. I. 2. (Bnff., Edb., Dmf. 2000s); (7) skin the cuddy, a boys' game in which one boy had to pass over the backs of others, to snatch a cap from the head of the boy at the end (Abd. c.1890 “Turlundie” in Abd. Press and Jnl. (4 April 1938)).(3) m.Sc. 1945 L. Derwent Tammy Troot 14:
“Hullo, Froggy,” said Tammy, bobbing up to him, “Come on an' show us how to play cuddy-loup-the-dyke.”
(6) Edb. 1983:
She had a big packet o biscuits an never said cuddy wid ye lick.

6. Combs.: (1) cuddy-ass, cuddie-, cuddyackus, = 1. (Bnff.2, Ags.17, Fif.13, Slg.3, Arg.1 1941); (2) cuddieback, a piggyback (Fif., m.Lth. 1990s); †(3) cuddy-block, “a blockhead” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (4) cuddy-cart, a donkey-cart (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.13, Slg.3 1941); (5) cuddy-heed (heid), a stupid, empty-headed person (Edb. 1910 J. B. Hunter Old Heriot's Vocab. in Scotsman (9 Sept.)); (6) cuddy-heel, cuddie-, an iron heel on a boot or shoe (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 236; Slg.3, Lnk.11 1941); (7) cuddy-hoose, “a donkey's stable” (Slk.1 1929); (8) cuddie-lade, “any load of a heavy and bulky character” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; 1941 (per Lnk.11)); (9) cuddy-lane, ? a lane narrow enough for only an ass to pass through as opposed to carts; (10) cuddie-loup(s), cuddy-, “the game of leap-frog” (Ib., -loups); (11) cuddie-lugs, “long ears; a person having such” (Ib.); (12) cuddy's lugs, the leaves of the great mullein, Verbascum thapsus (Rxb. 1886 B. and H. 135; 1941 (per Lnk.11)); (13) cuddie-ride, a ride on one's shoulders, a pick-a-back (Per. 1910); (14) cuddy's kiss, see quot.; (15) cuddy (cuddie)-trot, a disease of sheep, also known as Scrapy or Scratchie, the characteristic of which is excessive rubbing or scratching by the sheep (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., cuddie-, rare); (16) Scotch cuddy, a pedlar (Kcb.1, Kcb.10 1941).(1) Ags. 1932 Forfar Dispatch (6 Oct.) 3/2:
I'd raither ony day be a deid dog than a livin cuddyackus.
Ayr. 1825 A. Crawford Tales of my Grandmother I. 152:
Auld Andrew Gemmil the Gaberlunzie — an' his cuddie-ass.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck, etc. II. 332:
I never gang ower the door [of a witch's dwelling] but I think I'll come in a goossy or a cuddy-ass.
(4) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.:
He . . . got Robbie Rough to yoke his cuddy cart.
Edb. 1872 J. Smith Jenny Blair's Maunderings (1881) 48:
The raggit proprietor o' a cuddy-cart filled wi' leeks an' cabbages.
(5) Ags.17 1941, rare:
Och! he's jist a cuddie heid.
(6) Sc. [1851] G. Outram Lyrics (1874) 76:
An' she's got a great cuddie-heel to her shae, An' I've got a patch for my een!
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin ix.:
Tryin' if . . . I cud distinguish amang the fit-marks in the gutters the prints o' Tibbie's cuddie-heels.
(9) Dmf. 1824 Letters T. Carlyle to his Brother (Marrs 1968) 172:
I saw St Giles' Seven Dials, and Dyoss street: it is a city of Cuddy-lanes.
(10) Lth. 1885 “J. Strathesk” More Bits from Blinkbonny 33:
The boys had also the “peeries,” and the “taps.” . . . Tig, . . . Cuddy loup.
(14) Fif. 1938 Proc. Sc. Anthrop. and Folk-Lore Soc. III. 9:
"Blind tongue" - which is played by rasping a goose-grass leaf on the tongue of the unwary innocent - a proceeding we in our unregenerate schooldays in Fife called a "cuddy's kiss."
(15) Rxb. 1922 J. P. M'Gowan in Kelso Chron. (17 March) 4/1:
Besides scrapie, the disease was known as . . . cuddy trot.
(16) Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” House with Green Shutters 96:
The “Scotch Cuddy” is so called because he is a beast of burden, and not from the nature of his wits. He is a travelling packman.

[Not in O.Sc. Of doubtful origin: it has been suggested that it is the same as Cuddy, familiar dim. of Cuthbert; cf. the analogous use of Neddy.]

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"Cuddy n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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