Hogmanay is a Scottish dialect word for New Year’s Eve or a present given, especially to children, on that day. The word is recorded in Latin as early as 1443:

Et solutum xxxj die decembris magn. hagnonayse xijd. et parv. hagnonayse viijd.
(And paying on the thirty-first day of December a great hogmanay of twelve pence and a small hogmanay of eight pence.)

It’s use in English is recorded in 1604:

William Pattoun delatit to haue been singand hagmonayis on Satirday.

The origin of Hogmanay is not certain, but it most likely comes from the Middle French aguillanneuf or a variant thereof. The Scottish-French alliance of the late sixteenth century introduced a number of French words into Scottish dialect, and this is likely one of them. The first element of the French word is unknown, but the final element is likely a variation on l’an neuf (the new year).


American Heritage Dictionary, fifth edition, 2018, s. v. Hogmanay.

Dictionary of the Scots Language, s. v. hogmanay, n.

Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, November 2010, s. v. hogmanay, n.

[Discuss this post]

Powered by ExpressionEngine
Copyright 1997-2019, by David Wilton