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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

-SIE, suff. Also -sy. [-si]

1. Used as in Eng. following nouns, with hypocoristic force, in Sc. esp. with dim. forms of proper names, nicknames, etc., e.g. Domsie, Josie (Joe), Maisie, Willsie; pasie ( < Pa, papa), mawsie ( < Maw, n.4); and with common nouns as bodsie (Bod, n.2), Klivsie, knabsie (Knab, n.4), napsie (Knap, n.1), cf. Eng. Betsy, Nancy, Patsy. Now chiefly in children's use, e.g. in names of figures in chuckstones and hopscotch, see Onesie, Twosie, etc.

2. Used after adjs. and nouns to form secondary adjs. with modifying force, = rather, somewhat, as with Eng. -ish, e.g. Bigsie, Bodsy, Dursie, Gronasy, grunyasie (see Grunyie, n.1), japsy (see Jaup, II. 1.), knacksy (see Knackie), snapsie, (see Snap, n.1). Cosie might be thus explained as a deriv. of Cosh.

[In 1. the ending has developed from hypocoristic -Se + -Ie, suff., phs. orig. from words in which -s was part of the uncompounded noun, as in Girzie, Jamesie. In 2. the usage suggests a reduced form of -ish (Sc. †-is) + -Ie, suff., giving a double dim. force, no doubt with influence from forms where -s is part of the root as in drowsy, saucy.]

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"-sie suffix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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