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A Penny Dreadful

A Brief Introduction October 16, 2008

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Entry from Oxford English Dictionary Online

Copyright © Oxford University Press 2008

donsiedonsya. and n.

SECOND EDITION 1989  
Chiefly Sc. and north dial.  

({sm}d{rfa}ns{shti})  Also doncy-cie[Origin and primary sense unknown.] 

    A. adj.

    1. ‘Affectedly neat and trim’ (Jam.); nice; hence saucy, restive (as a horse). ? Obs.

1717 RAMSAY Elegy Lucky Wood iv, She was a donsie wife and clean. 1721 KELLY Scot. Prov. 68 (Jam.) Better rough and sonsie, than bare and donsie. 1786BURNS To Auld Mare v, Tho’ ye was trickie, slee, an’ funnie, Ye ne’er was donsie. 1789 D. DAVIDSON Seasons 56 (Jam.) Come Muse! thou donsy limmer, who dost laugh, An’ claw thy hough, at bungling poets. 1892 in Northumbld. Gloss.

    2. Unlucky, untoward, unfortunate. Also, poor, dreary, low-spirited; sickly, feeble (cf. DAUNCY a.). Sc.north., and U.S. dial.

1720 A. RAMSAY Familiar Epistles 10 Has thou with Rosycrucians wandert? Or thro’ some doncie Desart danert? 1786 BURNS Address to Unco Guid ii,Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes, Their failings and mischances. 1789 D. DAVIDSON Seasons 61 (Jam.) Straight down the steep they slide wi’ canny care, For fear o’ donsy whirl into the stream. 1805 Lancaster (Pa.) Jrnl. 2 Oct. (Th.), Citizen Lafferty must have a ‘doncy’ opinion of the cause, when he is afraid to bet even. 1835 J. D. CARRICK Laird of Logan 273 Sic an unco wastrie in the way of claiths..made me a thocht donsy. 1853 Yale Lit. Mag. XVII. 223 (Th.), [She brought some letters] to my room, to keep me from feeling ‘donsy’. 1880 [see DAUNCY a.]. 1917 J. L. WAUGH Cute McCheyne 108 My faither was sawney an’ donsie.

    3. Dull or slow of comprehension; dunce-like.

1802 SIBBALD Chron. Sc. Poetry Gloss., Donsie, dunce-like, dull, stupid. 1822 GALT Sir A. Wylie III. xxviii. 237 Dinna heed the donsie creature.

    B. n. One slow of wit, a stupid; a dunce.

1825 JAMIESONDonsie, Doncie, a stupid, lubberly fellow. Roxbc1826 HOGG in Wilson Noct. Ambr. Wks. 1855 I. 213 That poor donsy.