SCOTS writers have welcomed the word “jag” being added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as a result of the pandemic.

During the Covid-19 vaccination programme people across Scotland began debating whether the term for an injection was “jab” or a “jag”.

But now it has been decided that both are equally acceptable, with the latter now receiving an official entry in the dictionary.

The OED’s researchers found the earliest printed mention of the word in the context of vaccination was in a 1949 newspaper article.

The entry reads: “Chiefly Scottish. A hypodermic injection, esp. a vaccination.”

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It is explained in the entry that the word “jag” originates in English in the 1600s.

Scots writer Billy Kay said he was pleased to see the Scots meaning recognised and explained how authors like Walter Scott had sparked a lot of sharing of words on either side of the Border.

He told The National: “A lot of Scots words have come into English through Walter Scott, like the word galore, for example.

“There’s a lot of sharing between Scots and English, it’s a bit like Spanish and Portuguese, but those shared words can be used in different ways.

The National: Billy Kay said 'the more we can educate the English the better' after 'jag' got an entry in the dictionary Billy Kay said 'the more we can educate the English the better' after 'jag' got an entry in the dictionary

“It’s really nice to see jag being recognised. I think a lot of people in Scotland were surprised jag was not an English word.

“The more we can educate the English the better as far as I’m concerned.”

BBC Radio Scotland was criticised online during the coronavirus crisis for using the term “jab” while discussing vaccinations when most Scots were more familiar with the term “jag”.

Alistair Heather, Scots writer and presenter, said the north east was the only place where “jab” is the more common term for an injection.

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He said: “I remember during the pandemic health officials were saying 'jab' and we just thought, that’s not quite the right word and we weren’t ready to stop saying 'jag'. However, I know there was a bit of an outcry from the North East as they do say 'jab' there.

“There are lots of Scots words that have made their way into English. Walter Scott was great at introducing Scots to England. Raid is the Scots word for road but it has become part of the English language. Links, as in a links golf course, is a Scots word for that type of land.

“Jag is quite a fun one really and is an example of covert Scotticism when Scots don’t actually realise they are using a Scots word. Another example is outwith.”

More than 800 new words, senses, and phrases have been added to the dictionary in its latest update including “boosted” meaning to get an additional dose of a vaccine.

Plastic-free, superyacht, and pinkie promise have also made their way into the OED in the latest round of entries.

In a blog about the new entry of “jag”, the dictionary’s revision editor Jonathan Dent said: “Continuing on from our work on the vocabulary of the coronavirus pandemic, OED’s treatment of the language of vaccination has been boosted, a verb first used with reference to the administration of an additional dose of a vaccine in a 1959 article in the British Medical Journal on the effectiveness of a polio vaccine, and jag, a Scottish word often used—like the more general British English jab—to denote a vaccination.”