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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.

DOOLIE, n.1 Also dooly, doulie.

1. A hobgoblin, a spectre, bogey-man (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags.2, Ags.17 1940). Also used attrib.Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales (1908) 170–1:
For him the world swarmed with preternatural beings . . . to all which he applied the generic name of doolies.
Kcd. 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 428:
The Doolie, however, is said to have been sometimes seen.
Ags. 1841 Montrose Review (6 Aug.) 255/1:
I'll rouse my kelpie, awfu' doolie — He'll make you swarf.
Ags. 1888 J. M. Barrie Auld Licht Idylls xii.:
Sometimes on dark nights the inventor had to make his courage good by seeing the farmer past the doulie yates (ghost gates).
Ags. 1937 J. M. Barrie in Scots Mag. (July) 256:
After we parted we whistled to each other to intimate that no doolie had got us so far.

2. A scarecrow (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Also potatoe-doolie (Ib.). Cf. Tatie-doolie.

Transf. A stupid, dithering, nervous person (Ags. 1975; Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s) . Also attribwm.Sc. 1936 W. C. Tait All Her Days 165:
Come on, don't stand there like a doolie.
Gsw. 1950 H. W. Pryde McFlannel Family Affairs 30:
'It's Peter, ya dooly!' shouted Willie. 'Hame f'ae the night school'.
m.Sc. 1985 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 19:
"Och, man, you've nae notion hou blin I am, wi my wattery een in my auld age," said the doolie owl. "Forebye, I'm that dottlit, I could scarce tell you the colour o my ain feathers."
Gsw. 1990 Alan Spence The Magic Flute (1991) 69:
'Wearing this fucking dicky bow. Makes you feel like a right dooly!'

3. In pl.: (1) hardened discharge from the nostrils (Ags.1 1936; Ags.19 1950); cf. Boodie, n.1 and Boodie, n.2; (2) cobwebs, strings of soot, fluff, or the like, hanging from anything (Ags.19 1950).(2) Ags. 1949 Forfar Dispatch (11 Aug.):
My hair wiz hingin wi doolies.

4. “A large tea-leaf floating in a cup” (Ags.19 1950).

5. Comb.: dooly-man, (1) = 1; (3) = 3(1) (Sc. c.1900 M.L.A.).(1) Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters I. 73:
Her mother would threaten her with the dooly-man.

[Origin uncertain: ? deriv. of Dool. n.1]

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"Doolie n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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