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Published by jack elliot


A common use in Scotland is to call someone from Paisley a “Paisley buddy”. “buddy” is a phonetic spelling of the Scots word “body” or person as in “abody”-everybody. In Robert Burns’ song “Comin Through the Rye” it is used in every verse and particularly
“Gin a body meet a body
Comin through the rye
Gin a body kiss a body
Need a body cry”
It was and still is pronounced “buddy” and can be used in a variety of ways: “A puir body”-A poor soul, “A gey queer body”-An odd person and so on. Since many speakers of Lowland Scots went to America from its earliest beginnings as an English colony (James VI, King of Scots succeeded Elizabeth of England in 1603 and Jamestown is named after him) and the settlers referred to as Scotch-Irish(Lowland Scots who were settled first in what is now Northern Ireland and subsequently emigrated to America for reasons of religious freedom) their linguistic and other contributions to America are generally overlooked. Many slave owners in the Southern states were of Scottish heritage and also many in the Caribbean who supplied slaves to American plantations. Their vocabulary, dialect and so on would have been learned by their slaves. It is worth noting how African American families have names of Scottish origin and that the majority of US Presidents are from “Scotch-Irish” backgrounds. I would suggest that this is the most likely origin of the word.

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