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Last Sunday was World Toilet Day, hence this week’s word. Dictionaries of the Scots Language defines cludgie as


“a slang term for a water-closet”.



Many of our examples hark back to the days of shared tenement toilets. In Anna Blair’s Tea at Miss Cranston’s (1985), based on the reminiscences of Glasgow folk, one contributor recalls:


“There was no bathroom in that place mind ... and all the families shared the landin’ cludgey”;


a situation that created a


“longing for elegant porcelain”


in Christine Marion Fraser (Green Are My Mountains, 1990) which


“stemmed from my Govan days when there was just a stairhead ‘cludge’ with newspaper squares pinned on the door and bigger squares decorating the scrubbed wooden floor.”



The term is still very much in use, popping up in a poem by Stuart A Paterson called Slater (published by the Ulster Scots Community Network in February 2023).


“Oan the flair o ma cludgie Ah fin a slater, It insae there ten meenits later. Ah’m feart o speeders an alligators, but mair than thon Ah’m feart of slaters.”



And accessed in November 2023 from The Scottish Corpus of Text and Speech, I came across this wee poem (Deep Cheep) from The closemouth jottings of Wullie MacKersall by Michael Hamish Glen.


“Ah had a budgie, It was blue; Lived in the cludgie, Next tae the loo.
Doon came the cistern, Wi a muckle rush, Noo ma budgie's Jist a busted flush.”



As with many Scots words, the origin is obscure but it’s perhaps a conflation of closet and lodge.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel.

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