View site in Scots

Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid



PUGGLED adjective exhausted; drunk


Scots have many terms for exhaustion, weariness and, of course, drunkenness - and puggled can mean all of these.


Early examples in the Dictionary of the Scots Language ( are sparse although the definition given is one saying that it is a general Scots word meaning: “at a standstill from exhaustion or frustration, done for, at the end of one’s resources.” General Scots in this context means that it should be understood by all Scots speakers.


Scottish Language Dictionaries’ research has revealed examples from both past and present. The following is from the Sunday Post of 31st March 1935 where the journalist seems to be indeed at the end of his resources:


“I am bankrupt of expression, Here was a game that demanded the most lyrical writings. But, to use the words of the terracing fan, “I’m puggled!” The game left me limp. As I squeezed down Hampden’s stairway ….”.


And being at a standstill from exhaustion still figures in the twenty-first century with this example from the Aberdeen Evening Express of August 8th 2011:


“On London’s hottest day of the year so far, I was slumped in a puggled heap by the time he and his brother arrived, half an hour late…”.


Drunkenness, however looms large in the late twentieth century and the twenty-first, this from Kate Muir writing about Scots words for inebriation in the Times Diary of 5th January 1997:


“For instance, “puggled” means giggly drunk, whereas “paralytic” is drunk bordering on hospitalisation.”


Finally, this rather alarming headline from the Daily Record of 28th August 2016:


“planely puggled; pilots held at airport after they’re accused of being over the limit over the limit for transatlantic flight”. 


As with many of our words the etymology is obscure and requires much research.


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

First published 5th March 2017.