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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid



DINGIE, DINGY v to rebuff, to ignore, fail to keep a (romantic) appointment


Dingie (pronounced with the ‘ing’ as in sing) is a recently recorded addition to Scottish Language Dictionaries’ Word Collection and will be added to the revised editions of our dictionaries. I think the best informal translation would be the colloquial English phrase ‘to knock back’. 


Dingie is a derivation of the Scots ‘ding’ which is defined in the Dictionary of Scots Language as “To knock, beat or strike: to drive; to push suddenly and forcibly; to displace or overturn by shoving” and the very earliest example of ‘ding’ in DSL comes from the Legends of the Saints by John Barbour (1380):


“…With stanys gert men his mouth dinge”.  


The first written example of the modern ‘dingie’ comes from The Dictionary of Playground Slang by Chris Lewis (2003) and he defines it as follows:


“to stand some up or ignore them….Used as ‘He pure dingied me, by the way…’ Circa 1980s-current (Scot)”.


How he knows it was current in the 1980s, however, he does not say. The next piece of evidence was have is from oral informants from Edinburgh in 2006 and 2009 respectively. One is from a schoolboy which would fit in with Chris Lewis’s findings but the other is from an adult woman. 


All the examples so far found are from the twenty first century and was recently used by Gary Tank Commander (the alter ego of comedian Greg McHugh) when he interviewed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and asked her if she would ‘dingy Donald Trump’ to which the First Minister replied that: “America will dingy Donald Trump before I do!”.


Scots Word of the Week is written by Pauline Cairns Speitel of Scottish Language Dictionaries.

First published May 9th 2016.