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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

LAGGIN, n., v. Also -ing, -en, -an, lagen; ‡lyagin (Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 439); laig(g)en, leg(g)en, -in, legan; logging. [′l(j)ɑgən, ′legən]

I. n. 1. The projection of the staves beyond the bottom of a barrel, churn or other wooden vessel (Sc. 1825 Jam., laggen, leggin; Sh., Mry., Abd., Per., Lth. 1960), usu. bearing the lowest of its hoops, the hoop itself (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 307).Abd. 1729 Third S.C. Misc. II. 142:
The [cider] press which is a log of timber about 3 foot square with a legen 2 inches deep and covered with lead, and stroup for letting the liquor run out.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 179:
There ane about the mou' o't, And ane about the body o't, And ane about the leggen o't, And that's a girdit coggie!
Lnk. 1885 J. Hamilton Poems 378:
He was strictly enjoined to make the “laigen,” or bottom hoop, of rowan tree, which was supposed to be an infallible specific in cases of witchcraft.

Phrs. and Combs.: (1) frae lug to laggan, from handle to base of a vessel, fig. from top to bottom, from side to side (Dmf. 1960); (2) laggin-gird, -hoop, (i) the hoop at the bottom of a cask, tub or similar staved container (Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 151; Sh. 1960). Also fig. = the rim, edge, circumference, brink (cf. 3.); (ii) freq. in fig. phrs.: (a) to cast a laggin-gird, to bear an illegitimate child. Cf. En, I. 7. (2) and Gird, n.1; (b) to lose the laggin-gird, to have an attack of diarrhoea or dysentery; (c) to spring a laggin-girr, of a cask: to lose its bottom hoop, also fig. in neg. of a seasoned toper; (3) legan saw, a saw for cutting the grooves in the laggin, a croze saw (I.Sc. 1960); (4) to ungirth one's laigen, of a midwife: to deliver (a woman) of a child. Cf. (2) (ii) (a).(1) Lnk. 1889 A. G. Murdoch Readings iii. 109:
In twa ticks a young shaver had me saipit a' owre, frae lug to laggan.
Dmf. 1910 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo 18:
And he gaed away wi' a face smilin' frae lug to laggan.
(2) (i) Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 84:
An please to ca' them leggin hoops, Or kail-yard dykes, or awmry-stoops.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xii.:
Some puir dumfoundered soul that has been bumbased and stoundit at the view o' the lang Hopes an' the Downfa's o' Eternity, comed daundering away frae about the laiggen girds o' Heaven to the waefu' gang that he left behind.
Dmf. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 406:
Ye'll souk the laggin-gird off the quaigh.
Abd. 1847 Gill Binklets 100:
A brewing cask which had lost its lagen gird.
(ii) (a) Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 77:
I . . . coost a Legen-girth my sell, Lang or I married Tammie.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 28:
There wis ane o' the queans, I believe, had casten a lagen-gird.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads II. 387:
The best apology for having cast a leggen girth hersel.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 65:
She has coosten a lagen-gird.
(b) Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.:
Naething wad bide i' me ava. I fair thocht I'd lost the laggen-gird.
(c) wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 228:
He was passed as a seasoned cask — “nae danger noo o' his springin a leggin girr.”
(3) Ork. 1747 P. Ork. A.S. XII. 50:
A Coupers Atch, a Legan Saw.
(4) Edb. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 100:
You hear, an' e'en ungirth their laigen; O Howdie, o' three shapes an' names.

2. The angle in the inside of a cask, dish, etc. formed by the meeting of sides and bottom (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1905 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. 124; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., ne.Sc. 1960, leggin, lyagin). Phrs. lip and laggin, the rims at the top and bottom of a drinking vessel, as a means of measuring the amount contained in it, as explained in 1825 quot., where the phr. is used as a v.; also adj. = full to overflowing (Uls. 1953 Traynor), applied to a slobbery-mouthed person (Ib.); to claut etc., the laggen, to scrape or drain a dish clean of food or drink.Ayr. 1786 Burns Dream xv.:
The laggen they hae clautet Fu' clean that day.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 1:
The little feckless bee, wi' pantry toom An' hinny-crock ev'n wi' the laggin lick'd.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 48:
Ere cogs are to the leggin Half-clear'd this night.
Gall. 1822 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 422:
I have seen him skim off the brat, and leave the “clauted” loggings for the service of his dog.
Fif. 1825 Jam.:
A phrase applied to drink in a vessel. When the vessel is held obliquely, if the liquid contained in it does not at the same time touch the leggin, or angle in the bottom, and the lip or rim, a person may refuse to receive it, saying “There's no a drink there, it 'ill no lip and leggin.”
s.Sc. 1863 Border Mag. (Oct.) 234:
This process was now interrupted by the getting of the gray basin into which the porridge behoved to be poured; and poured it was, the process being followed by the sound of “the clauting o' the laggan,” so familiar to Scotch ears.
Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Writings 25:
An' aye haud square wi' lip an' leggin', Wauchts o' gweed mou frauchty drink.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (22 July):
Lat's see if der no a drap or sae i' da leggin' o'm.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 339:
When the wee pan boils briskly on the ingle, They talk about the “laggan” o' the “pingle”.
Abd.5 1931:
The bottle is doon gey near the lyagin.

3. The edge, rim, border, as of a hill (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); of the sky: the horizon; of a shoe: the welt, where sole and upper are joined (Rxb. 1960).Slk. 1822 Hogg Tales (1874) 679:
Folk should bow to the bush they get bield frae, but take care o' lying ower near the laiggens o't.
Slk. 1832 Trans. Highl. Soc. 295:
They saw at every turn the white-faced shilpit-like wretches crawling about the laiggins of the hills.
Gall. 1897 R. Ringan's Plewman Cracks 53: 
As the mists o' the laggan skail awa' When the glorious sun braks thro'.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 32:
I saw the “hunt” in the bracken high (When the frosty sun had set) Gae cannily by On the laggens o' the sky.

II. v. To repair the laggin of a hooped vessel (Cld. 1825 Jam.).

[O.Sc. laging, = 1., from 1508; O.N. lǫgg, Icel. laggar, the ledge or rim at the bottom of a cask, -in(g), n. ending.]

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"Laggin n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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