Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DIRGIE, Dirgy, n. Also dergie, da(i)rgie. See also Dredgie. [′dɪ̢rdʒi, ′dɛrdʒi]

1. A dirge.Abd. a.1807 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 105:
A Lousie on a lady's bonnet! Disgracefu' dirgy! fie upon it! An' you, forsooth, to write a sonnet On sic a theme!
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems 57:
To bear the bang o' toil sae lang Micht gar ye sing sweet Pleasure's dergie.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xi.:
As he read over what he called her dirgie, which was written on a half-sheet of grey mouldy paper.

2. A funeral feast, mainly of drink, taken gen. after the burial (Sc. 1803 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 638, dargie; Ags. 1825 Jam.2, dairgie). Also dirge.Sc. 1756 Scots Mag. (March) 147:
The intended demolition of the cross of Edinburgh has now taken place. . . . Some gentlemen who had spent the night over a social bottle, caused wine and glasses be carried thither, mounted the ancient fabric, and solemnly drank its dirge.
Sc. a.1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs (2nd ed.) II. 30:
But he was first hame at his ain ingle-side, And he helped to drink his ain dirgie.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxiii.:
What the funeral feast, or dirgie, as it is called, was to the men, the gloomy preparations of the dead body for the coffin were to the women.
Abd. after 1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shepherd in MS. Wks. III. 181:
If I were dead I'll warrant he'll cast up And to my dirgy drink a hearty cup.
Fif. 1898 “S. Tytler” Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses vi.:
The heads of the dead were still propped on big Family Bibles, and there was a lamentable amount of solemn hard-drinking at their “dergies” (wakes).
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 97:
Some of the people of the place were sitting up with her corpse . . . and drinking her dirgy.
Ayr. 1834 Galt Lit. Life III. 51:
After his dirgie she never was herself.

Derivs.: (1) dirgy-cup, a drink handed round to those present at a funeral, before the coffin leaves the house; (2) dairgie dinner, = 2; (3) dirgie like, doleful, depressing; (4) dirge-loaf (see quot.).(1) Knr. 1886 “H. Haliburton” Horace in Homespun 45:
When at my door the hearse draws up, And Kate haunds roun' the dirgy-cup.
(2) Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (June) 682:
No, Sir; that's a langsyne fashion now changed for the better; we ha'e few dairgie dinners now; an' nae instances o' the guests getting fou'.
(3) Ayr. 1834 Galt Lit. Life III. 21:
For a time she said nothing, which was vera dirgie like.
(4) Abd. 1862 N. and Q. (Dec.) 483:
Baked cakes of a particular sort are given away on All Souls' Day, to those who may chance to visit the house where they are made. The cakes are called “dirge-loaf.”

[O.Sc. dirigé, dirgy (later dergie, dairgie), the Office for the Dead, a dirge, from 1445; in sense 2. above, from 1644. From the first word of the Latin antiphon from the opening psalm in matins for the dead, Dirige, Domine . . . adapted from Ps. v. 8 (A.V.).]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Dirgie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: