Saturday 23rd April 2016: Do you spell jobbie(y) with a IE or a Y?

I did my Masters at drama school with many English and American students. We were pally with the undergraduate actors and, while hanging out with them, it became clear that one of my classmates had never heard the word ‘jobby’. This shocked the English and American undergraduate actors. It seemed that their Scottish classmates used the word jobby roughly (roughagely?) five times a day. And why wouldn’t you? It brings you all sorts of joy when people who don’t know that in Scotland it means ‘poo’ use it to just mean ‘a wee thing’: ‘Will you hand me the blue jobbie for the carrots?’; ‘I think you get a special jobbie to fix that bit of a bike’. Etc.

To answer the question, though, I have used the spellings that the OED prefers above: ‘jobbY’ for poo; ‘jobbIE’ for small job, or object that does a job, or even a place.

BUT, one of those things that is great about writing this blog, I discovered that according to the OED, the use of ‘jobby’ for poo is, wait for it, AMERICAN – first recorded in 1981. And sure enough, the first recording that the Scots Language Dictionary has for that usage is as late as 1989. I am SHOCKED. Also the quotation they have from the corpus for the first Scots use of ‘jobby’ gies me the dry boaks.

FOR FURTHER INTEREST on the Y versus IE stuff, have a look at my other blog post on the meaning of the word ‘higmy’.


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