Sunday, 18 September 2011

Duggins - another Ulster-Scots word

I always read Diarmaid O Muirithe's weekly column in the Irish Times on The Words We Use and recently he highlighted another Ulster-Scots word duggins, which was sent to him by a reader from North Antrim.  She wrote, 'My mother used the word duggins to describe worn clothes.'

This is a variant of the Scots noun deug and is found only in the plural.  It was used in G Ridpath's Answer to Presbyterian Eloquence (1663): 'Tell them if they stur again, they shall awe be cut in dewgs.'  It was also used by Ramsay in his Poems (1721).  Here in Ulster is is in the 1880 Antrim and Down glossary by W H Patterson.

The monumental Dictionary of the Scots Language, which is available online, says that the Old Scots has duigs, meaning pieces or fragments, from 1596.  It is of obscure origin but may be connected with the Middle Dutch douck, meaning cloth or rag.

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