Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

JAG, n.1, v.1 Also jagg. [dʒɑg]

I. n. 1. A prickle, a thorn; something which causes a sting. Gen.Sc. Also fig.Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (1905) 248:
Then flourish, thistle, flourish fair, . . . Your jags grow aye the stranger.
Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 26:
Ne'er thinkin't [cauld] ony jag or pingle.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 73:
Jag-arm'd nettles soon, I trow, The passer-by shall sting.
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken 209:
Mustard had gotten a lang jag in's forepaw.

2. A prick with a sharp instrument or thorn, a sharp blow, a prod (Sc. 1825 Jam., jag(g); Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Borders 1909 Colville 174). Gen.Sc. Also fig. Cf. mod. colloq. Eng. and U.S. use = an injection, inoculation.Sc. 1761 Session Papers, Calder v. Wallace (23 June) 4:
The Jag which that particular Patient is supposed to have got in the Blooding.
Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 361:
The jags o his bristles woud tickle her.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian ix.:
Affliction may gie him a jagg, and let the wind out o' him.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 59:
Sae whatever bless it brag, In the hiney there's a jag.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. viii.:
What's the sting of a nettle and the jag of a thorn to the scorching of eternal fire?
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxxiii.:
Ye gied Duke Wellwood's lads some most unmerciful jags aneath the ribs.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 216:
This calf-love's “speech” was hantrin “tugs”, “Nips”, “pookins”, “jags wi preens”, and “hugs”.
Ags. 1918 J. Inglis The Laird 13:
An' then the barbed wire hings me up by the breeks . . . There's gey mony jags when I'm fishin' here.
Sc. 1998 Daily Record 4 Mar 2:
Britain's Gulf forces are to be given anthrax jags. The injections begin today for more than 3500 troops.
Sc. 2003 Mirror 9 Apr :
McLeish said: "Barry trained yesterday and today and is fine for the match although he will need a jag. The injection is not so bad for his stomach as the pills are. ..."

Hence jaggie, jaggy, prickly, sharp-pointed, piercing (Fif., Lth. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.; stinging, of nettles (Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Ayr. 1959). Deriv. jagginess, pricklinesss (Bnff., Fif., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Also fig.m.Lth. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 146:
Tak up thy dwalling in our hearts, Nor let us fin' the jaggy smarts That absence frae thee maks!
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie iv.:
Thou jaggy, kittly, gleg wee thing, Wha dares to brave the piercing sting, O' Scotia's thistle.
Lnk. 1877 W. Watson Poems 104:
Lang jaggy brambles, wi' brackens an' broom.
em.Sc. 1926 H. Hendry Poems 108:
Am I no' richt in saying the prood Scottish thistle Is no' jist as jaggie as what we hae kent it?
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 31:
"Laurent! Knot ma scourge again, mak' shair it hurt.
An' hem an extra awfy jaggy bit on my hairshirt."
m.Sc. 1996 Christopher Brookmyre Quite Ugly One Morning (1997) 12:
Parlabane had been allowed to wash and been issued with the jaggy jumper, then led to an interview room where he sat for close to an hour before Inspector McGregor turned up with Dalziel, briefly rolling his eyes when he saw the shambles that was before him.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 17:
An daur ye dout that thon's the heid
That round wi jaggie thorn wis thirlt?
Or that on thon fair face the Jews
Their maukit slaivers hurlt?
Sc. 1999 Herald 28 Aug 2:
It looked a bit like an Ayrshire cow, but somehow that doesn't communicate the intimidating bigness and jagginess of the whole ridge. Cows are biggish and jaggyish in places but they just aren't eight miles long.

Comb.: jaggie wire, barbed wire (Bnff., Abd., Ags., Edb., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s).m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 50:
Nou that he's bocht the Peel an duin the ruif,
skailt jaggie wire owre aw oor richts o wey,
whit maitter gin the auld clans staun abeich
tinks want their cruives an poachin never pey.
Sc. 2001 Scotsman 23 Apr 4:
... there's the pre-arranged game whereby police erect miles of fascistic fencing that looks the business but is designed not as actual keep-people-out fencing of the jaggy wire and electric shock variety, but meant only to give the protesters something to spend a good hour tearing down on live TV, ideally with a minimum of blisters and splinters.

3. In pl. with the: used in sporting journalism as a nickname for any football team having Thistle in its name, e.g. Partick Thistle, Buckie Thistle. Also attrib. Sc. 1994 Herald 17 Oct 7:
... as wave after wave of attacks were repelled by a Jags rearguard quite brilliantly marshalled by the central defensive pairing of skipper Willie Jamieson and Gregg Watson.
ne.Sc. 1998 Press and Journal 24 Jun 28:
A total of 62.5% of the 800 votes cast deemed summer football a non-starter - a result which proved to be at odds with a local and more detailed supporters' survey carried out by Buckie Thistle.
Jags chairman Raymond Cardno said: "I'm not surprised by the P&J phone-in poll's findings, but our own survey saw 77% in favour of summer football.
Gsw. 2003 Sunday Mail 1 Jun 82-3:
But perhaps a result like this had been coming because four days earlier they struggled to get a result away to Partick Thistle when Jags striker Gerry Britton was unfairly sent off by John Underhill with the score at 1 - 1.
Inv. 2004 Daily Star 2 Jul 75:
Former St Johnstone defender Darren Dods is on the verge of clinching a deal at Inverness Caley Thistle. Jags boss John Robertson was last night in talks with the club's director of football, Graeme Bennett, hoping to be given the green light to sign the player.
Gsw. 2004 Evening Times 2 Aug 54:
Jags fans will be hoping Juan forms a partnership with French forward Armand One. Firhill regulars can greet him with a chorus of 'There's only One One.' Or perhaps this could cause confusion. Pronounced with a Maryhill twang, 'One' sounds identical to his strike-partner, Juan.
ne.Sc. 2004 Aberdeen Evening Express 27 Aug 44:
Qualifying Cup holders Buckie Thistle face a long trip in their bid to hold on to the prestigious title. The Jags have drawn Golspie Sutherland in the first round and gaffer Kevin Will expects a better performance than their league showing against Cove Rangers last weekend.

II. v. 1. To prick or pierce with a sharp instrument (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 281; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 30); to inject. Gen.Sc. Also fig.em.Sc. 1706 Mare of Collingtoun in Watson Choice Coll. i. 39:
Wha being late, he bade her ride, And with a Spur did jag her Side, But ay the silly Mare bade bide.
Slg. 1829 G. Wyse Orig. Poems 51:
And jag a wee: like our Scotch thistle To gar you think.
Sc. 1861 Chambers's Jnl. (9 Feb.) 84:
As the wise man says, “We'll no skirl afore the prin's jaggit us.”
Ags. 1900 M. Todd Burnside Lyrics 28:
Hooever hard The thorns o' life may jag us.
Dwn. 1913 F. E. S. Crichton Precepts Andy Saul 21:
Miss Ger'ldine . . . wud have her skirt in tatthers, an niver heed, an' maybe jag her hands forbye!
Gsw. 1950 H. W. Pryde McFlannel Family Affairs 74:
I'll stitch the seam up . . . If I jag you I'll tell you.
Gsw. 1980 Christine Marion Fraser Blue Above the Chimneys (1985) 74:
'Please don't make me go,' I begged. 'They'll jag me and cut me up. I might never get out again!'

Hence jagger, a prickle (Fif. 1825 Jam.); a prodder, a stick pointed with a needle for prodding (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 341); jag-the-flae, -flea, a contemptuous name for a tailor. See also Jaik-jag-the-flae, s.v. Jack, n.1Ayr. 1786 Burns Reply Trimming Ep. ii.:
Gae mind your seam, ye prick-the-louse An' jag-the-flae!

2. To feel pain resulting from the prick of something sharp (Ags., Edb., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 112:
They had to go slowly because of his father's legs. He'd been blown up in the war in North Africa and there were still bits of shrapnel in him, burrowing slowly through his body. When he walked any distance his legs would start to jag with the tiny skelfs that were in them.

[O.Sc. jag, 1507, to pierce, phs. imit. Cf. O.Sc. dag, id., of which jag may be a palatalised variant.]

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

"Jag n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Feb 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: