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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FOY, n., v. Also †foye. [fɔɪ, foe]

I. n. A farewell feast, an entertainment given to mark a parting (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 210), the end of a season of work, as at fishing (Sh. 1856 E. Edmondston Sk. and Tales iv.), or of an apprenticeship, a forthcoming marriage, esp. of a girl (Per., Clc. 1953), sometimes a jollification for any special occasion (Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Gall., Slk. 1953).Sc. 1700 Foulis Acc. Bk. (S.H.S.):
Decr. 19: spent at leith . . . at my sone sandies foy . . . . £5. 14. 6.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 40:
Careless tho' death shou'd make the feast her foy.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. i.:
The foy with which his landlord proposed to regale him ere his departure for Edinburgh.
Fif. 1854 “S. Tytler” Phemie Millar I. vii.:
Mr Millar could not reconcile himself to Isabella's foy being passed over, without suitable notice.
Ork. 1885 E. J. Guthrie Old Sc. Customs 176:
The Orkney fishermen who had been accustomed to associate during the season met and partook of a parting cup. . . . This meeting was known by the name of Fishers' Foy.
Fif. 1896 A. J. G. Mackay Hist. Fife 196:
The Foy, or farewell supper before Martinmas, was specially a ploughman's feast, as he often changed places at that time.
Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” Green Shutters xx.:
There was a great foy at Allan's the night before I left Edinburgh.
Abd. 1914 J. Cranna Fraserburgh 355:
The Greenlandman's “foy” was a great institution, and generally took the form of a farewell supper and dance, and what may reasonably be called a good drink, a day or two before the ships sailed.
Sh. 1931 J. Nicolson Tales 55:
Again, when the fishing was over, the men, before leaving their humble abodes and going home to their families used to gather together and celebrate what was known as “Da Foy.”
Ayr. 1949:
A young miner, when he got his first pay had to stand a treat to his mates. This was called a Foy.

Phrs. and Comb.: 1. cairtin foy, the last card-playing party for the season; 2. to drink (somebody's) foy, to drink farewell to someone (Sc. 1808 Jam.); ¶3. to sail one's foy, to depart on a voyage.1. ne.Sc. c.1870 per A. R. Yeoman:
In winter the farmers met at certain of their houses and played “Single-loo.” The farmer at whose house the last meeting for the season was held, gave the cairtin foy, usually haggis and whisky toddy.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 17:
Hae yer pairty, bit I'se hae mine later on. Gin it hid been a cairtin foy, or a nicht at the bannocks an' sowans, I'da been fair on for't.
2. Ork. 1720 in P. Ork. A.S. XI. 40:
Ane Hogshead wine I gott from my father to Drinking foy with.
Sc. 1788 R. Galloway Poems 105:
I hope we now may drink a foy To frogs, wha did our trade destroy.
Fif. 1838 A. Bethune Sc. Peasantry 101:
The two individuals whom he had appointed as his executors . . . both made their appearance in good time to drink his foy.
3. Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 178:
Ere we sail there our foy, Sailors' hearts never cloy.

II. v. To hold a farewell feast, to entertain at a foy. Rare.Sh. 1896 J. Hunter Da Last Foy 4:
Afore you foy agen, I'll faest wi' da King o' Kings in a better country.
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 291:
Pris'ners their jailers ev'n wad foy, And set a-bousing!

[O.Sc. foy-takaris, ? takers of “foys” as bribes, where the reading is doubtful, 1497. In Eng. c.1645. Mid.Du. foye, voye, id., O.Fr. voie, Lat. via, a journey.]

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"Foy n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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