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[kol-ee] /ˈkɒl i/
one of a breed of dogs having a usually long, black, tan, and white or sable and white coat, raised originally in Scotland for herding sheep.
Origin of collie
1645-55; perhaps Scots colle coal (in reference to the original coloration of the breed) + -ie; compare Middle English Colle dog's name
Related forms
collielike, adjective


[kol-ee] /ˈkɒl i/ British Dialect
verb (used with object), collied, collying.
to blacken as with coal dust; begrime.
grime; soot.
1555-65; variant of collow (v.), Middle English colwen, derivative of Old English col coal; see -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for collies
Historical Examples
  • "The Novice class in collies is going to be called presently," he told the Mistress.

    Lad: A Dog Albert Payson Terhune
  • You put me verra much in mind of one of my collies—I declare if you don't!

    The Story of Wool Sara Ware Bassett
  • Sir J——s M——e, a Highlander, observed to his gamekeeper, that he never saw the shepherds coaxing and caressing their collies.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • The winners of the first and second prizes departed with their collies.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • Then I looked up and saw a head peering down into the amphitheater—the head of Dunnoo, my dog-boy, who attended to my collies.

    Insect Stories Vernon L. Kellogg
  • collies are particular, and this one hated to sit with the wind in his face.

  • The reputation for uncertain temper which collies have is not well grounded.

  • Finally, lagging some yards behind, limped Murdo's two collies.

  • collies, fit to win silver cups, do not often find their way into the mountaineer cabins in the Kentucky hinterland.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • There were big dogs and little dogs, mastiffs, fox terriers and collies.

    Bound to Succeed Allen Chapman
British Dictionary definitions for collies


any of several silky-coated breeds of dog developed for herding sheep and cattle See Border collie, rough collie, bearded collie
Word Origin
C17: Scottish, probably from earlier colie black with coal dust, from colecoal


noun (pl) -lies
soot or grime, such as coal dust
verb collies, collying, collied
(transitive) to begrime; besmirch
Word Origin
C16: ultimately from Old English colcoal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for collies



1650s, possibly from dialectal coaly "coal-black," the color of some breeds (cf. colley, "sheep with black face and legs," attested from 1793; Middle English colfox, "coal-fox," a variety of fox with tail and both ears tipped with black; and colley, Somerset dialectal name for "blackbird"). Or from Scandinavian proper name Colle, which is known to have been applied to dogs in Middle English ("Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Gerlond" [Chaucer]); or perhaps a convergence of the two.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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