Hughoc, Davoc and Peggoc – January 1901

If the suffix oc (not necessarily a diminutive) be peculiar to Burns and Ayrshire then its significance cannot be perfectly appreciated outside that county. It is familiar, humorous, tender, sometimes irate.

The mother speaks of “oor Hughoc” when she is particularly proud of him. The other boys never bring complaints against “Hughie;” it is always Hughoc that is in fault. On odd occasions, he is Hugh or Hughie, but put him in a humorous situation and he must be “Hughoc.” A very good example of paternal fondness expressed in oc is that verse quoted by “Ochil” —- “Till faith, wee Davoc’s turned sae gleg.”

Probably, on certain occasions, he was called “Davie” oftener than Davoc. I have myself been called Peggoc on occasions that required special emphasis but that is rather hyper Scotch. It appears that these forms are going out of use, being considered vulgar or at least very offhand and disrespectful. You will hear a mother reprove her boys, “Ye’re no’ to say Hughoc or Jamoc. It’s no’ nice.”

(Note Margaret’s brothers were Hugh, James, William)

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