Scottish slang: “laldie” (laldy?)
Posted: 26 February 2012 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  331
Joined  2007-02-15

This is a common slang term in Scotland today, most used in the form:

“Gie’in it laldie” (pronounced: g(hard g)eein it laldy

It means to do something to the fullest, to the utmost, loudest (’giving it laldy’), or even to give someone a beating-up if the object is human rather than impersonal.


1. “He was standing in the street in the middle of the day belting out a song. Man, was he ever giving it laldie!”

2. “The poor guy was on the ground, senseless, but the guy was still kicking away at him, really giving him laldie”

After recently discovering that a whole bunch of the Edinburgh slang words I grew up with 40-odd year ago (and most still thriving today) were actually also found in a Romany dialect some 200km to the south (Northumbria) - a true revelation to me - I decided to have a quick check on this one, even if it is more Lowlands/national in general than Edinburgh. Who knows, perhaps another revelation in store?

There are plenty definitions of the meaning in various online resources, but few etymologies. I searched this forum but no ‘previous’ that I can find. The nearest I got was this one at It suggests OE ‘lael’ (whip, weal) as the derivation.

Perhaps one of you with access to OED online confirm/refute this origin? Thanks in advance for checking!

[ Edited: 26 February 2012 06:31 PM by BlackGrey ]
Posted: 26 February 2012 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  882
Joined  2007-06-20

Here’s the entire OED entry for laldy:

Forms:  Also laldie.
Etymology:  Of uncertain origin: probably imitative, but perhaps ultimately < Old English læl whip, weal, bruise.

A beating, a thrashing; punishment. Freq. in phr. to gie (or give) (someone) laldy and to get laldy . Now chiefly fig., esp. in phr. to gie (or give) it laldy , to do something with the utmost vigour or enthusiasm. Cf. stick n.1 4c.
1889 H. Johnston Chron. Glenbuckie 226 If it had come to the maister’s ears I’m thinking ye would have got laldie.
1912 G. Cunningham Verse 118 Ye’ll get laldie owre the bum.
1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 28 He focht alane for Israel against the Philistine, An’ fairly gied them laldie wi’ the jaw-bane o’ a cuddie.
1974 Sunday Post (Glasgow) 28 Apr. 8/3 Some bairns were giving it laldy with ball and stick.
1981 A. Gray Lanark xxxvi. 416 ‘Give him laldy, Gow!’ yelled a voice behind the pillar.
1986 W. Kay Scots (1988) 58 The author of The Complaynt of Scotland‥is nowhere more articulate than when he is giein the English laldy.
1992 I. Pattison More Rab C. Nesbitt Scripts 38 Jamesie: Brilliant this isn’t it boys! American fitba! Andra: Yi can get right mowed in and give it laldy.

Wonderful to see Rab C. Nesbitt in the OED!

Posted: 27 February 2012 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  3133
Joined  2007-01-30

Here’s the etymology from the Dictionary of the Scots Language:

[Orig. uncertain. Phs. a child’s word, mainly imit. But cf. Yks. dial. lalldabber, a blow, maybe connected with O.E. læl, a whip, weal, bruise.]

[ Edited: 27 February 2012 12:42 AM by aldiboronti ]
Posted: 02 March 2012 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  331
Joined  2007-02-15

Thanks to all for the replies, sorry for this late reaction.

Aldi, thanks for the DSL link, I’d missed that one, now bookmarked.

Zyts, Rab will walk alone into the OED, pure magic like!