Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Scotch adj.

[racial stereotyping]

mean, miserly.

[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 209: Well, he’s touched me three times in a week, and I’m as Scotch as most people.
[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 26: Gar-a-rt, we ain’t all Scotch alwiz.
[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 36: Dinah told me you were a pretty good guy, except kind of Scotch with the roll.
[US]L.W. Merryweather ‘Argot of an Orphans’ Home’ in AS VII:6403: scotch, adj. 1. Stingy. 2. Strict.
[US]Maledicta III:2 172: Scotch as the deviladj phr [DA 1843] Very frugal.

In compounds

Scotch coffee (n.) [orig. naut. jargon]

hot water flavoured with burned biscuit.

Pubic Ledger 29 Aug. 1/6: For breakfast a pint of Scotch coffee and fourteen ounces of bread.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
Scotch fiddle (n.) (also Welch fiddle, Welsh fiddle) [note that a fiddle or violin also symbolizes the vagina, thus the 17C riddle commencing ‘I’ve two holes in my Belly and none in my Bum / Yet me, with much pleasure, Italians do thrum...’]

1. venereal disease.

[UK]Rochester ‘Tunbridge Wells’ in Works (1999) 52: And then more smartly to expound the Riddle / Of all this Prattle, gives her a Scotch Fiddle.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Welsh-fiddle, the Itch.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Welsh-fiddle or Scotch-Fiddle, the Itch.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]London Register in N&Q Ser. 3 V 14: ‘The Scotch Fiddle,’ by M’Pherson. Done from himself. The figure of a Highlander sitting under a tree, enjoying the greatest of pleasures, scratching where it itches [F&H].
[Scot]Caledonian Mercury 4 Feb. 2/3: The celebreated Dr J[ohnson] is now under a course of Mercury, having caught the Scotch fiddle in the embrace of a female mountaineer.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Scotch fiddle, the itch. [Ibid.] n.p.: Welch fiddle, the itch.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 13 Oct. 2/5: Scotchmen are seldom averse to the scratch [...] ne’er mean to play the Scotch fiddle again.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 190: Well, these blue-noses have caught this disease, as folks do the Scotch fiddle, by shakin hands along with the British.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall III 170: Remember a drunken fish-fag taking me in her arms, and hugging and kissing me before the crowd [...] Might do the same by Jeems [...] give him the Scotch-fiddle perhaps, or some such nasty complaint.
[US]D. Corcoran Picking from the Picayune 21: The Scotch fiddle is the only instrument, that I know of, ye can lay any claim to!
Worcester Chron. (UK) 5 May 5/4: Vagrancy — A deplorable looking person, suffering severely from a certain disease commonly called the Scotch fiddle.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 23 July 6/1: From fiddle and cross, and a great Scotch louse [...] Libera nos domine!
[Scot]Stirling Obs. (Scot.) 15 July 4/7: For a scald, or burn, or bruise, / Holloway’s matchless Ointment use / [...] / If sores [...] riddle / The sleek skin — or Scotch Fiddle.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 74/2: I dared not approach [the bed] any nearer ‘takin’ notes,’ fearful of the Egyptian plague, or it might be the Scotch Fiddle, alias the Yook.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

2. an infestation of body lice, thus play the Scotch fiddle, to suffer the such an infestation.

[Ire]Wexford Indep. 2 Jan. 1/1: The musician who plays the Scotch fiddle has gone into partnership with the dancing master who teaches the St Vitus’s dance.
[UK]S. Wales Echo 12 July 2/5: We were ordered to bundle up our clothes [...] so they could be [...] fumigated. Some of us protested [against] the dirty, lousy-looking rapscallions that the Spanish Government had told off for this duty [...] Our surmises were not far out for we all learned to play the Scotch fiddle after our clothes were returned.
Scotch greys (n.) (also Scotch grays, Scots greys/grays) [see cit. 1860]

1. lice.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Scotch Greys. Lice. […].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 207: scotch grays lice. Our northern neighbours are calumniously reported, from their living on oatmeal, to be peculiarly liable to cutaneous eruptions and parasites.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]J.H.M. Abbott Tommy Cornstalk 88: When a column halts in the afternoon in order to bivouac for the night, one of the first things infested men do is to squat down on the ground, pull off their shirts, and seek what they may find. [...] ‘Scots Greys,’ or ‘Roberts’ Horse,’ as they have been almost universally termed, like the poor, are always with you. [...] The ‘Greys’ of the veldt are certainly ‘second to none’.
[Aus]J. Furphy Rigby’s Romance (1921) Ch. viii: 🌐 But the Lord He backed up Moses, an’ sent locusts, an’ pleuro, an’ Scotch greys, an’ all manner o’ curses on the country.

2. (Aus.) large mosquitoes.

[Aus]Brisbane Courier (Qld) 11 Mar. 3/6: ‘Yes, but Lottie,’ said Julia, ‘[...] the mosquitoes, oh! dear me, I was tormented.’ Sam Brown smiled as he asked if they were Scotch greys? ‘Scotch greys, Mr. Brown? I am sure I do not know what their color was’.
[Aus]Goulburn Herald (NSW) 7 June 2/6: Goulburn is entirely free from rats, and almost so from mosquitoes, or at least of that species known as the Scotch Greys.
N. Queensland Register (Townsville, Qld) 9 Nov. 7/4: Unfortunately too, the large Scotch-grey mosquito has commenced his blood-thirsty peregrinations.
Aus. Town & Country Gaz. (Sydney) 2 Oct. 30/3: Then the guerrilla troops of the place got in their fine work. [...] They were lanky Scotch greys, and they had a bite which penetrated my trousers to the raw hide, and gave me vigorous exercise scratching the lumps they left.
[Aus]J. Furphy Rigby’s Romance Ch. 8 🌐 The Lord He backed up Moses, and sent locusts, an’ pleuro, an’ Scotch greys, an’ all manner o’ curses on the country.
H.M. Vaughan Australasian Wander-Year 270: The horrible Bush Mosquitoes, grey insects of exceptional size and ferocity known as ‘Scots Greys’ [AND].
Warburton & Robertson Buffaloes 29: The mosquitoes acquainted us of their presence. They were mostly the famous Scots Greys; they literally stood on their heads and bored in [AND].
M. Raymond Smiley Roams Road 165: Scotch Greys—that’s what they are. . . This is goin’ to be a terrageous night for mozzies [AND].
Scotch hobby (n.) [SE hobby, a small or middle-sized horse]

a small, stunted Scottish horse.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: scotch hobby a little sorry, scrubbed, low Horse of that Country.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Ipswich Jrnl 26 Sept. 3/1: To be Sold [...] a Scotch hobby.
[UK]Norfolk Chron. 28 Apr. 2/4: Lost, supposed to be Stolen [...] a dark-brown Scotch Hobby, six Years old.
[UK]Norfolk Chron. 20 Sept. 4/2: To be Sold by Auction [...] a Scotch hobby.
[UK]Norfolk Chron. 24 Jan. 3/4: To be Sold by Auction [...] small Scotch hobby.
Scotch lick (n.) [SE lick, a hit, a dab]

a poorly done job, e.g. an ill-prepared speech, a half-done piece of cleaning.

Dublin Wkly Register 11 July 6/5: ‘Tell me, did you ever see a Scotchman a fool?’ ‘No matter, this was a Scotch lick’ (loud laughter).
[UK]Cheltenham Chron. (Gloucs.) 13 Feb. 3/4: It is no compliment to Bristol that he should have thought ‘a Scotch lick’ was enough for an inaugural speech.
[Ire]Irishman 11 May 10/2: I tried to get off with giving them a ‘Scotch lick,’ for cleaning shoes [...] became odious to me.
[Ire]Cork Constitution 5 Dec. 3/7: Sir — What would you think is these Grand Jurymen should meet every quarter in order that our roads may have the chance of a ‘Scotch lick’ four times a year? — Yours etc.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 11 Dec. 8/8: I weould prefer to pay half to put it in good repair [...] because it will only get a ‘Scotch lick’ [otherwise].
[Ire]Share Slanguage.
Scotch mist (n.) [note B.E. (c.1698): ‘Scotch-mist, a sober, soaking Rain’]

anything insubstantial, mythical, esp. used sarcastically when one wants to imply that the other speaker has failed to grasp the point or, lit., perceive something that is clear and obvious.

[UK]N. Dunn Up the Junction 2: ‘What do yer think that is? Scotch mist?’ Rube points to my wedding ring.
Scotch ordinary (n.) [SE ordinary, an eating house]

a lavatory.

[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 81: The Scotch ordinary. i.e. The house of office.
Scotch pint (n.)

a bottle holding two quarts (four pints/three litres).

[Scot]Aberdeen Press & Jrnl 28 May 4/1: Superfine Jamaica Rum [...] 5s. the Scotch Pint.
[Scot]Scots Mag. 2 July 26/1: To make Hasty Soup. Take a Scotch pint of spring water, two ounces of butter [etc].
[Scot]Aberdeen Press & Jrnl 7 Aug. 3/2: Boil all these in a Scotch pint of the best ale.
[Scot]Caledonian Mercury 27 July 3/1: The price only sixpence per Scotch pint.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
Edinburgh Eve. Courant 17 Aug. 4/7: Sweet Milk — Scotch pint.
Scotsman 29 Nov. 3/5: Heather Honey, 7s. 6d. per Scotch Pint.
Green Teleg. 12 Aug. 1/2: Gooseberries [...] 4d per Scotch pint.
John o’Groats Jrnl 14 Dec. 4/3: A Scotch pint has been judicially defined as 11¾ imperial gills [...] or to put it popularly, a Scotch pint fills two ordinary black bottles [...] in Caithness [...] a Scotch pint is the contents of three black or reputed quart bottles.
[UK]Inverness Courier 18 June 1/6: Milk for Sales: Scotch pint 5½d.
Dundee People’s Jrnl 11 Mar. 10/3: The Scotch pint [...] was suppoed to be standardised by the famous ‘Stirling jug,’ a measure containing slightly more than three modern pints.
Scotch screw (n.) [screw n.1 (1b); the stereotypical Scot is too mean to offer sexual pleasure to anyone but themselves]

a nocturnal emission.

[US]Maledicta IX 60: Scotch screw n [D] Nocturnal emission.
Scotch warming-pan (n.) (also Scottish warming-pan)

1. a complaisant young woman.

[UK]Wycherley Plain-Dealer II i: Wou’d you have me your Scotch-warming Pan, with a Pox to you?
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 83: A Scotch Warming-pan. i.e. A wench.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Warming-pan, an old fashion’d large Watch. A Scotch Warming-pan, a she-bed-fellow.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Newcastle Courant ((UK) 6 Apr. 2/1: Mr Welbore Ellis’s comfortable bed [...] was more like to be filled by an Irish than a Scotch warming-pan.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

2. (also Scots warming-pan) the breaking of wind.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
Scotch wine (n.) (also wine of Scotland)


Music Hall & Theatre Rev 6 Apr. 122/2: [A]n overnight’s carouse, in which the wine of Scotland played the star part.
[UK]Sporting Times 11 Mar. 2/3: I had approached Anita’s landlady on the subject of Scotch wine—poor enough stuff it was at six-and-sixpence. Scotch there was none on this particular occasion.
[UK]Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 24 Feb. 4/6: ‘’Gene [...] liked London, but he could not stand for the way the fellows lapped up the Scotch wine’.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 136: Which [i.e. vomiting] is inclined to happen [...] if you get an overdose of Scotch wine in your guts.

In phrases

play the Scotch fiddle (v.)

see cit. 1860.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 207: ‘To play the scotch fiddle,’ to work the index finger of the right hand like a fiddlestick between the index and middle finger of the left. This provokes a Scotchman in the highest degree, it implying that he is afflicted with the itch.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
Scotch greys are in full march by the crown office, the

lice are crawling on one’s head.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: […] The Scotch greys are in full march by the crown office; the lice are crawling down his head.