Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Collieshangie

collieshangie [kol-ee-shang-ee ]
(Archaic Scottish)
1 a noisy quarrel; a confused uproar.
2 a dogfight
3 Talk, consultation, animated or gossiping conversation, with no idea of conflict implied


"What like's all this collieshangie?" said he. I had never heard of a collieshangie in my days, but with the racket all about us in the city, I could have no doubt as to the man's meaning. (Robert Louis Stevenson, St Ives)

Sitting too long by the Barrel, MacBane and Donald Dow did quarrel, And in a colleshangee landed. (William Meston, Old Mother Grimm's Tales)

Queen Victoria wrote in her diary on Wednesday 6 September 1869: "At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us and having occasional 'collie-shangies' (a Scotch word for quarrels or rows) with collies when we came near cottages." (Portrait of Queen Victoria's favourite dog in auction, BBC Berkshire, 2011)


Origin uncertain; not in O.Sc. Gael. coileid, noise, hubbub, stir, has been suggested as the first element; the suggestion that it comes from Collie, a dog, + , a piece of wood or other encumbrance attached to a dog's tail (thereby causing it to make a noisy disturbance), is doubtful on the grounds that the earliest known use of the word = a disturbance, quarrel between two men. (Dictionary of the Scots Language)

One of the most vivid terms for such occasions is a Scots term that is, sadly, rarely used. Collieshangie is thought to be a compound of the Collie dog breed and shangie, a term for an object tied to a dog's tail. When shangies were tied to a Collie's tail, it is said to have made them irritable. It has also been said that 'collie' could derive from coileid, a Gaelic word meaning a noise or disturbance. Collieshangie's precise origin and definition is diffuse - it can mean anything from a minor disagreement to a physical brawl, but in phonetic terms it does not instinctively suggest violence. ('Scottish word of the week', The Scotsman)

Mid 18th century of unknown origin (Lexico)

Tags: c, noun, scots, scottish, slang, wordsmith: sallymn

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