Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A day’s work, the task of a day; also, a defined quantity or amount of work, or of the product of work, done in a certain time or at a certain rate of payment; a task.
  • n. Informal form of dog.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A day's work; also, a fixed amount of work, whether more or less than that of a day.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A day's work; a task for a day. It is sometimes redundantly called day's darg.
  • n. Hence A certain task of work, whether more or less than the measure of a day.
  • To be employed at day-work.

Etymologies

First attested in late Middle English; a syncopic form of daywork, developed through the series of forms: daywork → daywerk → daywark → dawark → *da’ark → dark → darg. (Wiktionary)
The ŏ of dog (dŏg) has merged with ä in many American dialects. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ane's the wish yoke's us thegither, ane's the darg that lies afore

    Gillie Mor

  • And when, on Monday evening, Francis, on receipt of no fewer than four blows in a single round -- a record, shook him by the hand and said that if ever he happened to want a leetle darg that was a perfect bag of tricks and had got a pedigree, mind you, he, Francis, would be proud to supply that animal, Sheen felt that the moment had come to approach

    The White Feather

  • But my heart was sore for the poor creature, and, in very truth, I bring back no light heart, save to see you twain again, for I fear me that the worst of the darg {30} is still to do.

    A Monk of Fife

  • Like the prodigal, he grew that ashamit o 'what he had dene, that he gied up his kirk, and gaed hame to the day's darg upon his father's ferm.

    Salted with Fire

  • To "tine a darg," is to lose a day's work: you have arrived too late.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

  • A drudger gets a darg, and a drucken wife the drucken penny.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

  • He ne'er did a gude darg that gaed grumbling about it.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

  • ` ` Na, Laird, '' Jeanie replied, endeavouring as much as she could to express herself with composure, notwithstanding she still trembled, ` ` I canna gang in --- I have a lang day's darg afore me --- I maun be twenty mile o 'gate the night yet, if feet will carry me.' '

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • But to ken that ane's purpose is right, and to make their heart strong, is the way to get through the warst day's darg.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • [301] In 1827 Scott was one day heard saying, as he saw Peter guiding the plough on the haugh: -- "Egad, auld Pepe's whistling at his darg: if things get round with me, easy will be his cushion!"

    The Journal of Sir Walter Scott From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • darg/dag/ (say dahg)
    noun 1. a day's work.

    2. Mining a production quota.

    –verb (i) 3. Mining to record one's daily output.
    Middle English dawerk, Old English dægweorc day-work

    October 24, 2013

  • A day's work.

    In the UK, darg has mainly been Scots and northern English usage, though it did appear in Life in the London Streets by Richard Rowe, published in 1881: "He must go out bone-grubbing; but even his dull face showed, or seemed to my fancy to show, that, his dreary ‘daily darg' got through, he wanted to hide in a hole." However, Mr Rowe spent some years working for the Scotsman in Edinburgh, so probably picked it up there.

    It was taken to Australia and New Zealand by emigrants. Though Rowe spent 14 years in Australia from 1853 on, it's unlikely he heard it there, as it began to appear in print in both countries only in the 1920s. It has now fallen out of favour once again — the Australian Dictionary Centre included darg in a list of words in 2000 for which it would like printed evidence, noting that it had none after 1978. Some has since come in, but it is clearly rare these days.

    The darg referred not to how much work you could do in a day, but how much was considered a reasonable day's work, or one's allotted or fixed share of work for the day. A New Zealand journalist, Fred Miller, who wrote a column in the old Southland Daily News with the title The Daily Darg, noted in his book Ink on My Fingers in 1967: "Theoretically, when you have finished your darg you go home."

    The darg was often a matter of dispute between workers and bosses, as Dan Stalker explained by e-mail: "The challenge for Australian managers in the 60s and 70s was 'lifting the darg'. New technology meant more could be done in less time, while staff were resistant to 'upping the darg'."
    The OED says that it's a half-swallowed version of daywork, a day's work, especially the amount of land that could be ploughed in one day (hence a close equivalent of acre).
    (from World Wide Words)

    May 28, 2008