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“Jougal” was only sparsely recorded in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) initially. Defined as “a dog”, it is labelled as a “gipsy” word. Our first records of it are from Watson’s 1923 Roxburghshire Word Book and the Scots Magazine of February 1950.

Whether or not jougal, deugle, joogle or juckal, (to note some of the variant spellings) was borrowed into use by the non-Gipsy population is difficult to ascertain. The following, from the Scotsman of April 2003, comes from an area frequented by the Traveller community:


“…. East Lothian observations such as ‘Ma erse is fair soakit!’, or ‘Dae ye wunnae deek ma joogal, gadge?’ should test the translator’s mettle”.


Another East Lothian example (from Haddington) records:


“‘Deek the gadgie wi the joogal; he’s trash fur the pannie, (See the man with the dog; he’s afraid of the rain).”


(The Herald February 2015).


An earlier example, from the Hawick Express of August 1919, is a poem quoted in an article discussing Romany words common in the area:


“A Gadgie when he is a chor, A Jugal always fears; For Jugals as a rule are kept By gadgies with big keirs [houses]. This means a man who goes to steal, A watchdog may expect, ‘Tis mystifying, all the same, this Berwick dialect”.


Another poem from the Brechin Review of May 1996 bemoans the limits of age:


“Noo ye peer oot yer flat, Ye’ve nae juckel nor cat, An’ yer no allowed peevie [alcohol] nor cakie”.


The origin is ultimately from the Sanskrit word for a jackal.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel, Dictionaries of the Scots Language