Sunday, April 22, 2018

Meh wa's aw ba' dabs

Phrase: The side of my house is marked by football imprints

The phrase "meh wa's aw ba' dabs is one peculiar to Dundee although the phenomenon would have been known throughout central Scotland.  It is a product of urban housing estates during the late 1950's to 2000 where Local Authorities pulled down the 19th century tenements in favour of terraced and semi detached housing schemes.  This style of housing with grass and communal areas around the houses also opened up the architectural element of the gable end.

To children requiring a suitable surface for a goal to practice football the gable end was unrivalled. It could be used to prevent the ball from running past the goal or in a "touch" style game where a minimal number of players was required. The inevitable accumulation of mud on the ball had the habit of being transferred to the wall leaving the eponymous "ba dab"

Householders were inevitably unimpressed with this and the representations to the participants parents invariably came in the form of " Meh wa's aw ba' dabs",  followed by a No Football sign.

 

Scots Word of the Week - Pech

PECH verb, to be out of breath, to pant.

Pech as ‘To breathe quickly and in a laboured way, to pant with exertion’, and it is in this last sense that it is most used today. An early example dates from the sixteenth century: “He will tye the burthen of them on their owne backes whilest they grone and peach” from Robert Rollock’s On the Passion.
Moving forwards through the centuries, in 1754 we find “At last, wi’ great peching an’ granin, we gat it up with a pingle [an effort]” from Robert Forbes’ A Journal from London to Portsmouth; and a character in Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) declares: “I hae been short-breathed ever since, and canna gang twenty yards without peghing like a miller’s aiver [an old carthourse]”. A more modern example is from Ian Rankin’s Strip Jack (1992): “By the time he reached the second floor, he was peching and remembering exactly why he liked living in Patience’s basement”. The fact that pech appears quite at home in a sentence that is otherwise in English, is perhaps evidence that it is widely used.

As a noun, a pech is a laboured breath or gasp. John White in his Jottings in Prose and Verse (1879) refers to “…the old man’s severe and continued pech-pech”. And predictably, the phrase out o pech means out of breath.

Scots Word of the week - Slaister

Slaister - noun, a messy person or the verb, to make mess or work in a sloppy fashion.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the origin of slaister as ‘obscure’ and the Dictionary of the Scots Language  says that its immediate origin is uncertain but it ultimately may have its roots in Scandinavia.Our earliest example of a person being a slaister with food or drink is from Roxburgh (1825) in John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of The Scottish Language first published in 1808. In the Scotsman of 26 July 1954 we have: “He maladroitly spilled his tea on the glistening tablecloth, and was promptly but not unkindly called a wee slaister." So let's here it for slaisters that manage to draigle authing down thir dukes.