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^be Blbovv Series, 

A New Series of Books of Reference for Library or 
Private Use. 

Edited by G. May and Charles G. Leland. 


A Dictionary. By Alfred R. Frey. With an Index arranged 
by true names. Large post 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d. ; half 
bound, QS. 

" The first work that has been devoted to the explanation and deri- 
vation of the numberless witty and sometimes abusive appellations . . . 
it deserves the heartiest praise." — Glasgow Herald. 

" Invaluable as a storehouse of out-of-the-way memorabilia in history, 
politics, poetry, music, war, dress, satire, fashion — in fact, as a most 
carefully indexed de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis, this dictionary 
is unique." — Morning Advertiser. 


A Dictionary. By Charles Mackay, LL.D. With a Chapter 
on the Poetry, Humour, and Literary History of the Scot- 
tish Language, and an Appendix of Scottish Proverbs. 


A New French and English Dictionary of the Cant Words, 
Quaint Expressions, Slang Terms, and Flash Phrases 
used in the High and Low Life of Old and New Paris. 
By A. Barr^re, Officier de I'Instruction Publique, Pro- 
fessor R.M. Academy, Woolwich. 

The work treats of the cant of thieves ; the jargon of Parisian roughs ; 
the military, naval, parliamentary, academical, legal, and freemasons' 
slang ; of that of the workshop, the studio, the stage, the boulevards, 
the demi-monde. 



A Dictionary of Modern Words and Phrases colloquially used 
in the United States. By Charles G. Leland. 


Others to follow. 

With the Pubhshers* 
^ . Cottipliments. 




















The original intention of the Editor of this work was to make 
it a guide to the better comprehension by English readers 
of the immortal works of Robert Burns and Walter Scott, 
and of the beautiful Scottish poetry to be found in the ancient 
and modern ballads and songs of the "North Countrie," — and 
not only to the English but to all other admirers of Scottish 
literature, where it differs from that of England, and to present 
to them in accessible and convenient form such words as are 
more poetical and humorous in the Scottish language than in 
the English, or are altogether wanting in the latter. The 
design gradually extended itself as the compiler proceeded 
with his task, until it came to include large numbers of words 
derived from the Gaelic or Keltic, with which Dr. Jamieson, 
the author of the best and most copious Scottish Dictionary 
hitherto published, was very imperfectly or scarcely at all 

"Broad Scotch," says Dr. Adolphus Wagner, the erudite 
and sympathetic editor of the Poems of Robert Burns, pub- 
lished in Leipzig, in 1835, "is literally broadened, — i.e., a 
language or dialect very worn off, and blotted, whose original 
stamp often is unknowable, because the idea is not always 
to be guessed at." This strange mistake is not confined to 
the Grermans, but prevails to a large extent among English- 
men, who are of opinion that Scotch is a provincial dialect of 

1 -010° 

vi Preface, 

the English, — like that of Lancashire or Yorkshire, — and not 
entitled to be called a language. The truth is, that English 
and Lowland Scotch were originally the same, but that the 
literary and social influences of London as the real metropolis 
of both countries, especially after the transfer of the royal 
family of Stuart from Edinburgh to London, at the commence- 
ment of the seventeenth century, favoured the infusion of a 
Latin element into current English, which the Scotch were 
slow to adopt. 

In the year 1870, the author contributed two papers to 
Blackwood^ s Magazine on " The Poetry and Humour of the 
Scottish Language." Those papers are here reprinted with 
such copious additions as have extended the work to more 
than treble its original dimensions. The whole has under- 
gone careful revision and emendation, and will, it is hoped, 
be found to contain not only characteristic specimens of the 
peculiar humour, but of the abounding poetical genius of the 
ancient and modem authors who have adorned the literature 
of Scotland from the days of Barbour, Douglas, and Mont- 
gomery to those of Allan Ramsay, Robert Bums, and Walter 
Scott, and down to our own times. 

November 1887. 



The Lowland Scottish language is not a mere dialect, as many- 
English people believe ; but a true language, differing some- 
times from modern English in pronunciation, and more fre- 
quently in the possession of many beautiful words, which have 
ceased to be English, and in the use of inflexions unknown to 
literary and spoken English since the days of the author of 
Piers Ploughman and Chaucer. In fact, Scotch is for the 
most part old English. The English and Scotch languages 
are both mainly derived from various branches of the Teu- 
tonic; and five hundred years ago, may be correctly described 
as having been Anglo-Teutonic and Scoto -Teutonic. Time has 
replaced the Anglo-Teutonic by the modern English, but has 
spared the Scoto-Teutonic, which still remains a living speech. 
Though the children of one mother, the two have lived apart, 
received different educations, developed themselves under dis- 
similar circumstances, and received accretions from indepen- 
dent and unrelated sources. The English, as far as it remains 
an Anglo-Teutonic tongue, is derived from the Dutch or 
Flemish, with a large intermixture of Latin and French. The 
Scotch is indebted more immediately to the Dutch and Flemish 
spoken in Holland and Belgium, both for its fundamental and 
most characteristic words, and for its inflexion and grammar. 

viii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

The English bristles with consonants. The Scotch is as 
spangled with vowels as a meadow with daisies in the month 
of May. English, though perhaps the most muscular and 
copious language in the world, is harsh and sibilant; while 
the Scotch, with its beautiful terminational diminutives, is 
almost as soft as the Italian. English songs, like those of 
Moore and Campbell,^ however excellent they may be as 
poetical compositions, are, for these reasons, not so available 
for musical purposes as the songs of Scotland. An English- 
man, if he sings of a "pretty little girl," uses words deficient 
in euphony, and suggests comedy rather than sentiment ; but 
when a Scotsman sings of a "bonnie wee lassie," he employs 
words that are much softer than their English equivalents, 
express a tenderer and more romantic idea, and are infinitely 
better adapted to the art of the composer and the larynx of 
the singer. And the phrase is but a sample of many thou- 
sands of words that make the Scottish language more musical 
than its English sister. 

The word Teutonic is in these pages used advisedly instead 
of " Saxon " or Anglo-Saxon. The word " Saxon " is never 
applied in Germany to the German or High Dutch, or to any 
of the languages that sprang out of it, known as Low Dutch. 
Even in the little kingdom of Saxony itself, the language 
spoken by the people is always called Deutsch (or German), 
and never Saxon. The compound word Anglo-Saxon is purely 
an invention of English writers at a comparatively late period, 
and is neither justified by Philology nor History. 

^ Neither of these was an Englishman. And it is curious to note 
that no Englishman since the time of Charles II. has ever rendered 
himself very famous as a song-writer, with the sole exceptions of 
Charles Dibdin and Barry Cornwall, whose songs are by no means 
of the highest merit ; while Scotsmen and Irishmen who have written 
excellent songs, both in their own language and in English, are to be 
counted by the score — or the hundred. 

Introduction. ix 

Philology, even in the advanced period in which we now 
live, is, at the best, but a blind and groping science. It has 
made but little real progress since the invention of printing, 
having been anticipated mainly by shallow scioKsts, who based 
etymology upon fanciful guesses and vague resemblances. 
A by no means unfair specimen of the class accounted for the 
vulgar word '* sparrow-grass," a corruption of asparagus; by 
" sparrow " and '^ grass," on the assumption that the herb was 
a species of grass to which sparrows were particularly partial. 

Many of the etymologies which English literature owes to 
Dr. Samuel Johnson, his predecessors and successors, in the lexi- 
cographic industry, are frequently as ludicrously ill-founded. 

The name of the Southern portion of Great Britain has been 
derived from a supposed German tribe, who with the Jutes 
and Saxons invaded the island after the departure of the 
Romans. It happens, however, that there is no real founda- 
tion for the confident statement that the name of " Angles " 
was ever borne by or known to any German tribes. The 
invaders of the east coast of Britain, both North and South, 
came from the opposite coast of the continent, principally from 
Denmark, Holland, and Belgium, and brought their laws and 
language along with them. The true origin of the word 
" Angles " is the Keltic or Gaelic an, the definite article, and 
gaidheil (in which the dh are not pronounced), which signifies 
the "Gael" or the Celts; whence An-gael, and not Angle. 
The erroneous interpretation, still too firmly fixed in the 
minds of both the learned and the unlearned to be easily 
eradicated, was strengthened by a punning compliment paid 
by Pope Gregory the Great to a party of British youth of 
both sexes who were carried into slavery in Rome, and which 
is recorded in Hume's " History of England." " Struck with 
the beauty of their fair complexion and blooming counte- 
nances," says the historian, " Gregory asked to what country 
they belonged, and being told they were Angles^ he replied 

Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

that they ought more properly to be denominated Angels, as 
it would be a pity that the Prince of Darkness should enjoy 
so fair a prey, and that so beautiful a frontispiece should cover 
a mind so destitute of internal graces and righteousness." 

The epithet " Anglo-Saxon," now so frequently applied to 
the natives of South Britain, is of recent origin, and was 
not known in the golden age of English literature, when 
Shakspeare and Spenser flourished, nor until the second half 
of the eighteenth century. Great Britain was known to the 
Romans as Anglia centuries before the Saxons, or that section 
of them erroneously supposed to have been called Angles, 
established themselves in any part of the country. It was 
not until the Hanoverian family of the Georges had given 
three sovereigns to the country that courtly writers began to 
talk of the Anglo-Saxon origin of the people, and that the 
epithet finally became synonymous with "Enghsh." It is 
true that in the time of the Romans a small portion of the 
eastern coast of Anglia, immediately opposite Belgium and 
Holland, was called *' the Saxon shore." The name was given 
to it from the fact that successive swarms of Flemish, Dutch, 
and Danish pirates had succeeded in forming settlements on the 
littoral, though they had never been able to penetrate into the 
interior of the country. The Gael, or Celts, called these pirates 
Sassenach, as the Southern English are called to this day by 
the Gaelic and Keltic-speaking people of Wales, Ireland, and 
Scotland. The word did not originally signify a German or 
native of Saxony, but a robber. 

The Scottish people, though they do not hate the English as 
too many of the Irish unfortunately do, remark with pride that 
Scotland is a nation of itself, that it can boast of an antiquity 
as venerable and of a history as illustrious as that of its larger 
realm — the throne of which one of its native kings ascended 
by hereditary right in the seventeenth century, and in suc- 
cession to Queen Elizabeth — and they object to being called 

Introduction. xi 

Englishmen. By the Act of Union between the two nations, 
the names of England and Scotland were legislatively abolished, 
Scotland being called North Britain, and England South Britain, 
while the army, navy, and government were severally denomi- 
nated those of Great Britain, and not the army, navy, and 
government of either England or Scotland. 

But popular usage in South Britain and at the seat of 
government has proved itself stronger than the Act of Par- 
liament, and many of the Scotch themselves, yielding to the 
literary and colloquial fashion set by the South, find them- 
selves speaking, sometimes in praise, sometimes in blame, of 
the English Government. It cannot, however, be affirmed 
that the objection taken by the northern nation to the southern 
usurpation of the epithet English is in any way unreasonable, 
founded as it is upon the commonly received if not universal 
opinion that the English receive their name from the German 
" Angles." The Southern English believe this fable, and not 
aware of the fact that they are not half so much German as 
they think themselves, make light of the Scottish objection, 
and call it sentimental, and unworthy of practical considera- 
tion. But if Angles are in reality " Angael " or the Gael, the 
Scottish and Northern British people are quite as much Angael 
or English as those of the south, and the English Government 
is rightfully the designation of government of the whole 
kingdom. This fact should remove the natural jealousy of the 
Scotch, and cut away from the conceit of the South British 
the very slender and rotten foundation on which it is based. 
But until the Southern English admit the fact that a colony 
of Germans did not give name to England, but that the whole 
country of Britain, otherwise Angha, as the Romans called 
it, derives its name from the Keltic Angael^ the North British 
are quite right in objecting and in refusing to recognise in 
their Southern fellow-countrymen the sole and exclusive title 
to the honourable designation. 

xii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

The principal components of the Scottish tongue, as dis- 
tinguished from modern and literary English, are derived 
not from German or High Dutch, but from the Low Dutch, 
comprising many words once possessed by the English, but 
which have become obsolete in the latter ; secondly, words and 
inflexions derived from the Dutch or Flemish, and Danish ; 
thirdly, words derived from the French, or from the Latin 
through a French medium ; and fourthly, words derived from 
the Gaelic or Keltic language of the Highlands, and of Ireland. 
As regards the first source, it is interesting to note that in 
the Glossary appended to Mr. Thomas Wright's edition of 
those ancient and excellent alliterative poems, the '* Vision " 
and " Creed " of Piers Ploughman, there occur about two 
thousand obsolete English or Anglo-Teutonic words, many of 
which are still retained in the Scottish Lowlands ; and that in 
the Glossary to Tyrrwhitt's edition of Chaucer there occur 
upwards of six thousand words which need explanation to 
modern English readers, but fully one half of which need no 
explanation whatever to a Scotsman. Even Shakspeare is 
becoming obsolete, and uses upwards of two thousand four 
hundred words which Mr. Howard Staunton, in many respects 
his most judicious editor, thinks it necessary to collect in a 
glossary for the better elucidation of the text. Many of these 
words are perfectly familiar to a Scottish ear, and require no 
interpreter. It appears from these facts that the Scotch is 
a far more conservative language than modern English, and 
that although it does not object to receive new words, it clings 
reverently and affectionately to the old. The consequence of 
this mingled tenacity and elasticity is, that it possesses a 
vocabulary which includes for a Scotsman's use every word 
of the English language, and several thousand words which 
the English have suffered to drop into desuetude. 

In addition to this conservancy of the very bone and sinew 
of the language, the Scoto-Teutonic has an advantage over the 

Introduction. xiii 

modem English, in having reserved to itself the power, while 
retaining all the old words of the language, to eliminate from 
every word all harsh or unnecessary consonants. Thus it has 
?oe, for love ; fa\ for fall : wa\ for wall ; awfu\ for awful ; 
S7)ia\ for small ; and many hundreds of similar abbreviations 
which detract nothing from the force of the idea or the clear- 
ness of the meaning, while they soften the roughness of the 
expression. No such power resides in the English or the 
French, though it once resided in both, and very little of it in 
the German language, though it remains in all those European 
tongues which trace their origin to the Low Dutch. The 
Scottish poet or versifier may write /a' or "fall " as it pleases 
him, but his English compeer must write "fall" without 
abbreviation. Another source of the superior euphony of the 
Scoto-Teutonic is the single diminutive in ie, and the double 
diminutive in hie, formed from och or ock, or possibly from 
the Teutonic chen, as in mddchen, a little maid, which may be 
applied to any noun in the language, as loifef wifie, wifoch, 
wifikie, wife, little wife, very little wife ; hairn, hairnie, 
hairniMe, child, little child, very little child; Urd, hirdie, 
hirdikie ; and lass, lassie, lassock, lassikie, &c.^ A very few 
English nouns remain susceptible of one of these two diminu- 
tives, though in a less musical form, as lamb, lambkin ; goose, 
gosling, &c. The superior beauty of the Scottish forms of the 
diminutive is obvious. Take the following lines from Hector 
MacNeil's song, " My Boy Tammie : " — 

** I held her to my beating heart, 
My young, my smiling lammie." 

1 The following specimen of the similar diminutives common in 
the Dutch and Flemish language are extracted from the Grammaire 
Flamande of Philippe La Grue, Amsterdam, 1745 : — Manneken, little 
man ; wyfTcen, little wife ; vrouwtje, little woman ; Meysgie, little girl 
(Scottice, Missie) ; Mantje, little man ; huysje, little house ; paerdje, little 
horse ; 8cheq>je, little boat (Scottice, boatie) ; vogdtje, little bird, or 

xiv Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Were the English word lambkin substituted for lammie in 
this passage the affectionate and tender would be superseded 
by the prosaic. 

While these abbreviations and diminutives increase not 
only the melody but the naivete and archness of the spoken 
language, the retention of the old and strong inflexions of 
verbs, that are wrongfully called irregular, contributes very 
much to its force and harmony, giving it at the same time 
a superiority over the modern English, which has consented 
to allow many useful preterites and past- participles to perish 
altogether. In literary and conversational English there is 
no distinctive preterite for the verbs to heat, to het^ to hid, to 
forhid, to cast, to hit, to hurt, to put, and to set ; while only 
three of them, to heat, to hid, and to forhid, retain the past- 
participles beaten, hidden, and forbidden. The Scottish lan- 
guage, on the contrary, has retained all the ancient forms of 
these verbs ; and can say, " I cast, I coost, and I have casten 
a stone," or *' I put, I pat, or I have putten on my coat," " I 
hurt, I hurted, or I have hurten myself," and *' I let, I loot, or 
I have letten, or looten, fa' my tears," &c. 

Chaucer made an effort to introduce many French words 
into the courtly and literary English of his time, but with 
very slight success. No such systematic effort was made by 
any Scottish writer, yet, nevertheless, in consequence of the 
friendly intercourse long subsisting between France and Scot- 
land — an intercourse that was alike political, commercial, and 
social — a considerable number of words of French origin crept 
into the Scottish vernacular, and there established themselves 
with a tenacity that is not likely to be relaxed as long as the 
language continues to be spoken.- Some of these are among 
the most racy and characteristic of the differences between 
the English and the Scotch. It will be sufficient if we cite 
the following : — To fash one's self, to be troubled with or about 
anything — from se fdcher, to be angered ; douce, gentle, good- 

Introduction. xv 

tempered, courteous — from doux, soft; dour, grim, obdurate, 
slow to forgive or relent — from dur, hard ; hien, comfortable, 
well to do in worldly affairs — from hien, well j ashet, a dish — 
from assiette, a plate; a creel, a fish-basket — from creille, a 
basket ; a gigot of mutton — from gigot, a leg ; awmrie, a linen 
press, or plate-cupboard — from armoire, a movable cupboard 
or press ; honnie, beautiful and good — from ban, good ; airles 
and a*VZe-penny, money paid in advance to seal a bargain — 
from arrhes, a deposit on account; hrulzie, a fight or dispute 
— from s'emhrouiller, to quarrel; callant, a lad — from galant, 
a lover ; braw, fine — from brave, honest and courageous ; dool, 
sorrow — from deuil ; grozet, a gooseberry (which, be it said in 
parenthesis, is a popular corruption from ^orse- berry) — from 
groseille ; taujpie, a thoughtless, foolish girl, who does not look 
before her to see what she is doing — from taupe, a mole ; and 
haggis, the Scottish national dish (*' Fair fa' its honest, sonsie 
face ! ") — from hachis, a hash ; pawn, peacock — from paon ; 
caddie, a young man acting as a porter or messenger — from 
cadet, the younger born, &c. 

The Teutonic words derived immediately from the Dutch 
and Flemish, and following the rules of pronunciation of 
those languages, are exceedingly numerous. Among these are 
wanlwpe — from icanhoop, despair; wancliancie, ivanlust, loan- 
restful, and many others, where the English adopt the German 
un instead of wan. Ben, the inner, as distinguished from but, 
the outer, room of a cottage, is from binne, within, as but is 
from beuten, without. Stane, a stone, comes from steen ; 
smack, to taste^from smack ; goud, gold — from gaud; loupen, 
to leap — from loopen ; fell, cruel, violent, fierce — from fel ; 
kist, a chest — from kist ; mutch, a woman's cap — from muts ; 
ghaist, a ghost — from geest ; kame, a comb — from kam ; rock- 
lay (rocklaigh), a short coat — from rok, a petticoat or jupon ; 
het, hot — from heet; geek, to mock or make a fool of — from 
gek, a fool ; tear, knowledge — from leer, doctrine or learning ; 

xvi Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

bane or hain^ a bone — from been ; paddocJc, a toad — from pad ; 
caff^ chaff — from kaf, straw ; yooky, itchy — from yuh^ an itch ; 
clyte^ to fall heavily or suddenly to the ground — from Uuyt^ 
the sward, and Tduyter^ to fall on the sward ; Uythe, lively, 
good-humoured, from hlyde, contented. 

The Scottish words derived from the Gaelic are apparent 
in the names of places and in the colloquial phraseology of 
everyday life. Among these, hen^ glen, hum, loch, strath, corrie, 
and cairn will recur to the memory of any one who has lived 
or travelled in Scotland, or is conversant with Scottish lite- 
rature. Gillie, a boy or servant; grieve, a land-steward or 
agent, are not only ancient Scottish words, but have lately 
become English. Loof, the open palm, is derived from the 
Gaelic lamh (pronounced laff or lav), the hand; cuddle, to 
embrace — from cadail, sleep; whisky — from uisge, water; 
cla/^han, a village — from clach, a stone, and clachan, the stones ; 
croon, to hum a tune — from cruin, to lament or moan ; bailie, 
a city or borough magistrate — from haile, a town ; may serve 
as specimens of the many words which, in the natural inter- 
course between the Highlanders and the Lowlanders, have 
been derived from the ancient Gaelic by the more modem 
Scoto -Teutonic. 

Four centuries ago, the English or Anglo-Teutonic, when 
Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate were still intelligible, had a 
much greater resemblance to the Scoto-Teutonic than it has 
at the present day. William Dunbar, one of the earliest, 
as he was one of the best of the Scottish poets, and supposed 
to have been born in 1465, in the reign of James III. in 
Scotland, and of Edward IV. in England, wrote, among other 
poems, the "Thrissel and the Rose." This composition was 
alike good Scotch and good English, and equally intelligible to 
the people of both countries. It was designed to commemorate 
the marriage of James IV. with Margaret Tudor, daughter 
of King Henry VII. of England — that small cause of many 

Introduction. xvii 

great events, of which the issues have extended to our time, 
and which gave the Stuarts their title to the British throne. 
Dunbar wrote in the Scotch of the literati rather than in 
that of the common people, as did King James I. at an earlier 
period, when, a captive in Windsor Castle, he indited his 
beautiful poem, "The King's Quair," to celebrate the grace 
and loveliness of the Lady Beaufort, whom he afterwards 
married. The " Thrissel and the Rose " is only archaic in its 
orthography, and contains no words that a commonly well- 
educated Scottish ploughman cannot at this day understand, 
though it might puzzle some of the clever University men who 
write for the London press to interpret it without the aid 
of a glossary. Were the spelling of the following passages 
modernised, it would be found that there is nothing in any 
subsequent poetry, from Dunbar's day to our own, with 
which it need fear a comparison : — 

** Quhen Merche wes with variand windis, past, 
And Apryll hadd^, with her silver shouris 
Tane leif at nature, with ane orient blast. 
And lusty May, that mudder is of flouris, 
Had maid the birdis to begyn their houris 
Among the tender odouris reid and quhyt, 
Quhois harmony to heir it was delyt. 
In bed at morrowe, sleiping as I lay, 
Methocht Aurora, with her crystal een. 
In at the window lukit by the day. 
And halsit me with visage paile and grene, 
On quhois hand a lark sang fro the splene : 
' Awauk luvaris ! out of your slummering ! 
See how the lusty morrow dois upspring 1 ' " 

King James V. did not, like Dunbar, confine his poetic 
ejfforts to the speech of the learned, but is supposed to have 
written in the vernacular of the peasantry and townspeople 
his well-known poem of " Peblis to the Play." This composi- 
tion scarcely contains a word that Burns, three hundred years 


xviii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

later, would have hesitated to employ. In like manner King 
James V., in his more recent poem of " Christ's Kirk on the 
Green," written nearly three hundred and twenty years ago,^ 
made use of the language of the peasantry to describe the 
assembly of the lasses and their wooers that came to the 
"dancing and the deray," with their gloves of the ^^ raffele 
richt" (right doeskin), their "shoon of the straitis" (coarse 
cloth), and their 

*' Eirtles of the lineum [Lincoln] licht, 
Weel pressed wi' mony plaitis." 

His description of " Gillie " is equal to anything in Allan 
Kamsay or Burns, and quite as intelligible to the Scottisli 
peasantry of the present day : — 

*' Of all thir maidens mild as mcid 

Was nane say gymp as Gillie ; 
As ony rose her rude was reid, 

Hir lire was like the lily. 
Bot zallow, zallow was hir heid, 

And Kche of luif sae sillie, 
Though a' hir kin suld hae bein deid, 

Sche wuld hae bot sweit Willie." 

Captain Alexander Montgomery, who was attached to the 
service of the Regent Murray in 1577, and who enjoyed a 
pension from King James VI., wrote many poems in which 
the beauty, the strength, and the archness of the Scottish 
language were very abundantly displayed. " Tlie Cherry and 
the Slae " is particularly rich in words, that Ramsay, Scott, 
and Burns have since rendered classical, and is besides a poem 
as excellent in thought and fancy as it is copious and musical 

1 * • This is doubtful," says the late Lord Neaves, in a letter to the editor 
of this volume. ** These obscure questions are fully discussed by Dr. 
Irving in his History of Scottish Poetry. I should say the probability 
was that 'Peblis to the Play' and 'Christ's Kirk' are by the same 
authors or of the same age, and neither of them by James V." 

Introduction. xix 

in diction. Take the description of the music of the birds on 
a May morning as a specimen : — 

" The cushat croods, the corbie cries, 
The coukoo couks, the prattling pies 

To keck hir they begin. 
The jargon o' the jangling jays, 
The craiking craws and keckling kayes, 

They deaved me with their din. 
The painted pawn with Argus e'en 

Can on his mayock call ; 
The turtle wails on withered trees. 

And Echo answers all. 
Repeting, with greting, 

How fair Narcissus fell, 
By lying and spying 

His schadow in the well." 

The contemporaneous, perhaps the more recent, poetry of 
what may be called the ballad period, when the beautiful 
legendary and romantic lyrics of Scotland were sung in hall 
and bower, and spread from mouth to mouth among the 
peasantry, in the days when printing was rather for the 
hundred than for the million, as well as the comparatively 
modem effusions of Ramsay and Burns, and the later pro- 
ductions of the multitudinous poets and prose writers who 
have adorned the literature of Scotland within the present cen- 
tury, afford very convincing proofs, not only of the poetic riches, 
but of the abundant wit and humour of the Scottish people, to 
which the Scottish language lends itself far more effectually 
than the English. Long anterior to the age when the noble 
art of printing was invented for the delight and instruction of 
mankind, the poetry of the bards of the ^'JSTorth Countrie" 
was familiar not only to the people of the North Countrie 
itself, but to those of the Teutonic south — a far less poetic 
race than their Keltic brethren ; and northern ballads were re- 
cited or sung in hall and bower among the upper classes, and 

XX Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

in the popular gatherings of the multitude at fairs and festi- 
vals. These ballads, which often received an English colouring 
in travelling southwards, were highly esteemed for at least 
three centuries before the days of Shakspeare. The great 
poet was himself familiar with them, as is shown by more 
than one quotation from them in his immortal works. 

Since the time when James YI. attracted so many of his poor 
countrymen to England, to push their fortunes at the expense 
of Englishmen, who would have been glad of their places, to 
the day when Lord Bute's administration under George III. 
made all Scotsmen unpopular for his sake, and when Dr. 
Samuel Johnson, who was of Scottish extraction himself [the 
son of a Scot, established as a bookseller in Leicester], and 
pretended to dislike Scotsmen — the better perhaps to disguise 
the fact of his lineage, and turn away suspicion — up to the 
time of Charles Lamb and the late Rev. Sydney Smith, it has 
been more or less the fashion in England to indulge in jokes 
at the expense of the Scottish people, and to portray them not 
only as overhard, shrewd, and " canny " in money matters, but 
as utterly insensible to " wit." Sydney Smith, who was a wit 
himself, and very probably imbibed his jocosity from the con- 
versation of Edinburgh society, in the days when in that city 
he cultivated literature, as he himself records, upon a little 
oatmeal, is guilty of the well-known assertion that " it takes 
a surgical operation to drive a joke into a Scotsman's head." 
It would be useless to enter into any discussion on the differ- 
ences between " wit " and " humour," which are many, or even 
to attempt to define the divergency between **wit" and what 
the Scotch call " wut ; " but, in contradiction to the reverend 
joker, it is necessary to assert that the " wut " of the Scotch 
is quite equal to the *' wit " of the English, and that Scottish 
humour is superior to any humour that was ever evolved out 
of the inner consciousness or intellect of the English peasantry 
inhabiting the counties south of Yorkshire. There is one 

Introduction. xxi 

thing, however, which perhaps Sydney Smith intended when 
he wrote, without thinking very deeply, if at all, about 
what he said ; the Scotch as a rule do not like, and do not 
imderstand banter, or what in the current slang of the day 
is called "chaff." In "chaff" and "banter" there is but 
little wit, and that little is of the poorest, and contains no 
humour whatever. " Chaff " is simply vulgar impertinence ; 
and the Scotch being a plain and serious people, though 
poetical, are slow to understand and unable to appreciate it. 
But with wit, or "wut," and humour, that are deserving 
of the name, they are abundantly familiar; and their very 
seriousness enables them to enjoy them the more. The 
wittiest of men are often the most serious, if not the saddest 
and most melancholy (witness Thomas Hood, Douglas Jerrold, 
and Artemus Ward), and if the shortest possible refutation of 
Sydney Smith's assertion were required, it might be found 
in the works of Burns, Scott, and Christopher North. 
Were there no wit and humour to be found in Scotand ex- 
cept in the writings of these three illustrious Scotsmen, 
there would be enough and to spare to make an end of this 
stale "chaff;" and to show by comparison that, wit and 
humorist as Sydney Smith may have been, he was not equal 
as a wit to Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, or Professor 
Wilson. In what English poem of equal length is there to 
be found so much genuine wit and humour mingled with 
such sublimity and such true pathos and knowledge of life 
and character as in "Tam o' Shanter"? What English novel, 
by the very best of English writers, exceeds for wit and 
humour any one of the great Scottish romances and tales of 
Sir Walter Scott, the least of which would be sufficient to 
build up and sustain a high literary reputation ? And what 
collection of English jests is equal to the " Laird of Logan," 
or Dean Ramsay's " Reminiscences of Scottish Life and 
Character " ? Joe Miller's " Jest Book," and all the countless 

xxii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

stories that have been fathered upon Joe Miller — one of the 
most melancholy of men — are but dreary reading, depending 
as they mostly do for their point upon mere puns and plays 
upon words, and to a great extent being utterly deficient in 
humour. It seems to require some infusion of Keltic blood in 
a nation to make the people either witty or appreciative of 
wit ; for the dullest of all European peoples are without ex- 
ception those in whom the Keltic least prevails. There is 
little or no wit or sense of wit in the peasantry of the South 
of England, though there may be some degree of coarse 
humour. Whereas the Scottish and the Irish peasantry are 
brimful both of wit and humour. If any one would wish to 
have a compendium of wisdom, wit, humour, and abundant 
knowledge, kindly as well as unkindly, of human nature, let him 
look to Allan Ramsay's "Collection of Scots Proverbs," where 
he will find a more perfect treasury of "pawkie," "cannie," 
" cantie," shrewd, homely, and familiar philosophy than English 
literature affords. And the humour and wit are not only in 
the ideas, but in the phraseology, which is untranslateable. 
Scottish poetry and pathos find their equivalents in English 
and Teutonic, but the quaint Scottish words refuse to go into 
any other idiom. " A man's a man for a' that " — strong, 
characteristic, and nervous in the Scottish Doric, fades away 
into attenuation and hanaliU when the attempt is made to 
render the noble phrase into French or German, Italian or 
Spanish. Even in English the words lose their flavour, and 
become weak by the substitution of "all that," for the more 
emphatic "a' that." Translate into literary English the 
couplet in " Duncan Gray," in which the rejected lover of 

Grat his e'en baith bleer't and blin — ' 

Spak o' lowpin ower a lin — 

and the superior power of expressing the humorous which 
belongs to the Scottish language will at once become ap- 

Introduction. xxiii 

parent. In the same way, when Luath, the poor man's dog, 
explains to his aristocratic friend what a hard time the 
poor have of it, a literal translation of the passage into col- 
loquial English would utterly deprive it of its tenderness and 

humour : — 

A cotter howkin in a sheugh, 

Wi' dirty stanes higgin a dyke, 

Baring a quarry and sic like ; 

Himsel' an' wife he thus sustains 

A smytrie o' icee duddie loeans, 

And nocht but his hand darg to keep 

Them right and tight in thack and rape. 

The *' smytrie o' wee duddie weans " is simply inimitable, 
and sets a fair English translation and even a paraphrase 
at defiance. 

Time was within living memory when the Scotch of the 
upper classes prided themselves on their native "Doric;" 
when judges on the bench delivered their judgments in the 
broadest Scotch, and would have thought themselves guilty of 
puerile and unworthy affectation if they had preferred English 
words or English accents to the language of their boyhood ; 
when advocates pleaded in the same forcible tongue ; when 
ministers of religion found their best way to the hearts and 
to the understanding of their congregations in the use of the 
language most familiar to themselves, as well as to those 
whom they addressed ; and when ladies of the highest rank — 
celebrated alike for their wit and their beauty — sang their 
tenderest, archest, and most affecting songs, and made their 
bravest thrusts and parries in the sparkling ^ encounters of 
conversation, in the familiar speech of their own country. All 
this, however, is fast disappearing, and not only the wealthy 
and titled, who live much in London, begin to grow ashamed of 
speaking the language of their ancestors, though the sound of 
the well-beloved accents from the mouths of others is not 
unwelcome or unmusical to their ears, but even the middle- 

xxiv Dictionary of Lowland Scotch, 

class Scotch are learning to follow their example. The mem- 
bers of the legal and medical profession are afraid of the 
accusation of vulgarity that might be launched against them 
if they spoke publicly in the picturesque language of their 
fathers and grandfathers; and the clergy are unlearning in 
the pulpit the brave old speech that was good enough for 
John Knox [who was the greatest Angliciser of his day, and 
was accused by Winyet of that fault], and many thousands of 
pious preachers who, since his time, have worthily kept alive 
the faith of the Scottish people by appeals to their consciences 
in the language of their hearts. In ceasing to employ the 
*' unadorned eloquence " of the sturdy vernacular, and using 
instead of it the language of books and of the Southern English, 
it is to be feared that too ' many of these literary preachers 
have lost their former hold upon the mind of the people, and 
that they have sensibly weakened the powers of persuasion and 
conviction which they possessed when their words were in 
sympathetic unison with the current of thought and feeling that 
flowed through the broad Scottish intellect of the peasantry. 
And where fashion leads, snobbism will certainly follow, so 
that it happens even in Scotland that young Scotsmen of the 
Dundreary class will sometimes boast of their inability to 
understand the poetry of Burns and the romances of Scott on 
account of the difficulties presented by the language ! — as if 
their crass ignorance were a thing to be proud of ! 

But the old language, though of later years it has become 
unfashionable in its native land, survives not alone on the 
tongue but in the heart of the " common " people (and where 
is there such a common [or uncommon] people as the peasantry 
of Scotland ?), and has established for itself a place in the 
affections of those ardent Scotsmen who travel to the New 
World and to the remotest part of the Old, with the auri sacra 
fames, to lead them on to fortune, but who never permit that 
particular species of hunger — which is by no means peculiar to 

Introduction. xxv 

Scotsmen — to deaden their hearts to their native land, or to 
render them indifferent to their native speech, the merest 
word of which, when uttered unexpectedly under a foreign 
sky, stirs up all the latent patriotism in their minds, and opens 
their hearts, and if need be their purses, to the utterer. It 
has also by a kind of poetical justice established for itself a 
hold and a footing even in the modern English which affects 
to ignore it ; and, thanks more especially to Bums and Scott, 
and, in a minor degree, to Professor Wilson, and to the ad- 
miration which their genius has excited in England, America, 
and Australia, has engrafted many of its loveliest shoots upon 
the modern tree of actually spoken English. Every year the 
number of words that are taken like seeds or grafts from the 
Scottish conservatory, and transplanted into the fruitful Eng- 
lish garden, is on the increase, as will be seen from the following 
anthology of specimens, which might have been made ten times 
as abundant if it had been possible to squeeze into one goblet 
a whole tun of hippocrene. Many of these words are recognised 
English, permissible both in literature and conversation ; many 
others are in progress and process of adoption and assimilation ; 
and many more that are not English, and may never become 
so, are fully worthy of a place in the Dictionary of a language 
that has room for every word, let it come whence it will, that 
expresses a new meaning or a more delicate shade of an old 
meaning, than any existing forms of expression admit. Eerie^ 
and gloaming^ and cannie, and cantie, and cozie, and lift, and 
liltf and caller, and gruesome, and thud, and weird, are all of 
an ancient and noble pedigree, and were the most of them as 
English in the fifteenth century as they are fast becoming in 
the nineteenth. 

If any Scotsman at home or abroad should, in going 
over the list in this epitome, fail to discover some favourite 
word that was dear to him in childhood, and that stirs up 
the recollections of his native land, and of the days when 

xxvi Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

he "paidled in the burn," or stood by the trysting-tree 
" to meet his bonnie lassie when the kye cam' hame," — 
one word that recalls old times, old friends, and bygone 
joys and sorrows, — let him reflect that in culling a posie 
from the garden, the posie must of necessity be smaller 
than the garden itself, and that the most copious of 
selectors must omit much that he would have been glad to 
add to his garland if the space at his disposal had permitted. 
He must also remember that all the growths of the garden 
are not rare flowers, but that weeds, though worthy of respect 
in their way, are not always of appropriate introduction into 
wreaths and garlands ; and that the design of this Dictionary 
was not to include all Scotticisms, but only those venerable 
by their antiquity, quaint in their humour, touching in their 
simplicity, or admirable in their poetic meaning. 

The principal writers who have adorned the literature of 
Scotland during the last three centuries, in addition to the 
nameless and unknown minstrels to whom we owe so many of 
the rugged but beautiful ballads of the North Countrie, may 
be fairly said to have commenced with Dunbar, Barbour, 
Henryson, and Montgomery, and to have ended with Professor 
John Wilson, author of the inimitable "Noctes Ambrosianse" 
in Blackioood's Magazine. The list is long, and includes in 
the seventeenth and early years of the eighteenth centuries 
the names of William Crawford, author of many songs in 
the purest vernacular of the peasantry; of Hector MacNeil, 
whose exquisite ballad of the " Braes of Yarrow " would 
be alone sufficient to place him high in the muster roll 
of Scottish poets ; and of Allan Ramsay, author of the 
" Grentle Shepherd," a pastoral poem of which the simple 
beauty was universally acknowledged at a time when pastoral 
poems were more to the taste of the age than they have been 
for the last century, and who collected into four volumes, under 
the title of the " Tea-Table Miscellany," all the favourite songs 

Introduction. xxvii 

of the artificial period in which he flourished. Robert Burns 
had the highest reverence for the songs of Allan Ramsay, and 
considered it almost as bad as sacrilege to lay a reforming hand 
upon the compositions of his venerated predecessor, though 
Ramsay the wig-maker and barber was a star of very inferior 
magnitude and brilliancy compared with the solar effulgence 
that radiated from the genius of Burns the ploughman. 

Between the period of Ramsay and that of Burns, which 
included about sixty years of very indifferent poetical mani- 
festations, at least in Scotland, the lyric genius of the country 
continued as irrepressible, and songs of secondary merit flowed 
from the lips or pens of literate and illiterate people in a 
profuse stream. Even the unhappy events of 17 15 and 1745, 
when the adherents of the dethroned and exiled Stuarts made 
their gallant and heroic attempts to re-establish themselves in 
the land of their birth and of their love — the land which they 
believed the Stuarts had a divine right to govern — the voice 
of song continued to be heard. True and tender-hearted 
people make love even in times of national peril and calamity, 
and the Scottish people sang or made love songs as usual 
in the homely and earnest dialect of the nation ; while more 
earnest spirits gave vent to their political animosities and 
aspirations in the satirical rhymes and trenchant ballads that 
are still, under the name of " The Jacobite Minstrelsy of 
Scotland," known to all the literary students of history, as 
affording a greater insight into the social spirit of the people 
than the more staid and solid records of the mere annalist 
or philosophical historiographer are able to convey. Of the 
popular Scottish songs of the still more prolific age that com 
menced with the publication of the poems of Robert Burns, 
I have spoken in " The Book of Scottish Song," in words that 
I cannot do better than repeat in this place. 

" Scotland is rich in the literature of song. The genius of 
the people is eminently lyrical. Although rigid in religion, 

xxviii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

and often gloomy in fanaticism, they have a finer and more 
copious music, are fonder of old romance and tradition, dance 
and song, and have altogether a more poetical aptitude and 
appreciation than their English brethren. For one poet 
sprung from the ranks of the English peasantry, Scotland can 
boast of ten, if not of a hundred. Ploughmen, shepherds, gar- 
deners, weavers, tinklers, tailors, and even strolling beggars, 
have enriched the anthology of Scotland with thousands of 
songs and ballads of no mean merit. The whole land is as 
musical with the voice of song as it is with torrents and water- 
falls. Every mountain glen, every strath and loch, every 
river and stream, every grove and grassy knowe, every castle, 
and almost every cottage, has its own particular song, ballad, 
or legend ; for which the country is not so much indebted to 
scholars and men of learned leisure and intellectual refinement, 
as to the shrewd but hearty and passionate common people." 

Of the Jacobite ballads, from which many quotations appear 
in the following pages, 1 said at the same time : — 

" In the Jacobite songs more especially, the humour was far 
more conspicuous than the pathos. In the heat of the conflict, 
and when the struggle was as yet unended, and its results uncer- 
tain, ridicule and depreciation of the enemy were weapons more 
effective to stir the passions of the combatants than appeals 
to mere sentiment, even if the sentiment were as elevated as 
patriotism, or as tender as love and friendship. It was only 
when the Jacobite cause had become utterly hopeless, and when 
its illustrious adherents had laid down their lives for it on the 
bloody moor of Culloden, or on the cruel block of Tower Hill, 
or were pining in foreign lands in penury and exile, that the 
popular bards were so far inspired as to be able to strike the 
keynote of true poetry. 

" As the age was, so were they. In their verse, as in a 
mirror, were reflected the events and feelings of the time. 
When the time was hopeful, they were hopeful. When the 

Introduction. xxix 

time was ribald, insolent, jaunty, and reckless, they responded 
to its touch like the harp-string to the harper. From 1688 
to 1 746 was the day of the common rhymers of the street or 
the ale-house, or the lone farmhouse among the hills — the 
day when the men of strong feelings, rude humour, and coarse 
wit could " say their say " in language intelligible alike to 
the clansman and the chief, the ploughman and the gentle- 
man. And they were disputants who could hit as hard in the 
battles of the tongue as they could, if need were, in the battle 
of swords ; and who could wield the musket and claymore in 
physical as effectually as the sledge-hammer of invective in 
moral warfare. Satire with them was not " a polished razor 
keen," but a cudgel or a battering-ram ; not a thing that 
merely drew blood, but that broke the skull and smashed the 
bones. But after the fatal fight of Culloden the voice of the 
coarse humorist, if not altogether silenced, was softened or 
subdued. There had been a time to sing and to dance, but it 
had passed, and the day of lamentation had succeeded it. The 
rhymers had flourished in the one epoch, — it was now the turn 
of the poets. 

" Sorrow for the vanquished and indignation against the 
victors superseded all the lighter emotions which had hitherto 
found their expression in songs, ballads, and epigrams ; and 
the echoes of national music that came from Scotland came 
from saddened hearts, and from desolate and all but depopu- 
lated glens. The voice of the mourner of these days was as 
pathetic and often as vehement as the inspired strains of 
Isaiah and Jeremiah, and partook of the phraseology as well 
as sentiment of the sacred writings. In the hour of their 
prosperity the Stewarts had been but common men ; but 
when adversity befell them, they were elevated to the rank 
of heroes and demi-gods. Popular sympathy crowned them 
with graces and virtues which, as throned kings, they had 
never known ; and loyalty, wavering in the sunshine of 

XXX Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

fortune, became firm as the rocks in the tempests of 

Among the accomplished ladies who between the '45 and 
the advent of Burns adorned the poetical literature, the names 
of Lady Anne Lindsay, Mrs. Grant of Carron, Lady Grizzel 
Baillie, Mrs. Cockbum, Mrs. Crawford, and Miss Blamire 
stand conspicuous for the tender, joyous, arch, and melan- 
choly ballads which they wrote to the beautiful old melodies 
of their country, and which still retain their place amid all 
the changes of the musical taste and fashion in our time. 

Of the contemporaries of Robert Bums, whose reputations 
seem pale in the light of his genius, but who are still worthy 
of honourable mention for their contributions to the literature 
of their country, may be cited the names of the Rev. John 
Skinner, author of the renowned ballad of " Tullochgorum," 
"The Ewie wi' the Crooked Horn," and other songs still 
popular ; William Julius Mickle, the author of " There's nae 
Luck aboot the Hoose," one of the most simply beautiful 
songs that were ever inspired by the domestic affections ; 
Robert Ferguson, to whom Burns in a burst of poetic enthu- 
siasm generously erected a mortuary memorial in a grave- 
yard at Edinburgh ; Lapraik, Semple, and Logan, and in a 
succeeding generation Dr. John Leyden ; James Hogg, better 
known as the Ettrick Shepherd ; the Baroness Nairn, authoress 
of " The Land o' the Leal " and ** Caller Herrin' ; " and Robert 
Tannahill, the luckless Paisley weaver, who wrote " Jessie 
the Flower o' Dunblane ; " William Ross, the author of 
" Eleonore ; " and John Beattie, the luckless author of the 
admirable poem of "John o' Amha','' that contains passages 
of wit, humour, and descriptive power only exceeded by the 
inimitable " Tam o' Shanter " of Burns ; William Motherwell, 
Donald Carrick, Alexander Rogers, James Ballantine, and a 
very numerous multitude of bards — all more or less esteemed 
in Scotland — of which it would serve no good purpose to 

Introduction. xxxi 

recapitulate the names, even if it were possible to do so. 
Favourable specimens of their writings may be seen by all who 
care to look for them in such collections as *' Whistle-Binkie," 
" Scottish Minstrelsy " (six volumes), and the very numerous 
collections issued from the Edinburgh press from the beginning 
till the middle of the present century. 

But the greatest of all literary preservers of the Scottish lan- 
guage was undoubtedly the illustrious author of the " Waverley 
Novels." He was aided in the congenial task of perpetuating 
that language by such lesser lights of literature as Allan 
Cunningham, John Gait, and Christopher North; but Sir 
Walter Scott towered far above them all, and carried the 
name and fame of Scotland, as well as the quaint graces and 
tender archaisms of the language, to the remotest parts of 
the civilised world. 

The generations that have arisen since the old Abbey of 
Dryburgh received the mortal remains of that greatest of the 
Scottish writers, second to none of British birth, except Shak- 
speare, have lost sight in some degree of the works of the great 
Sir Walter. But though partially eclipsed in popularity, they 
are firmly established among the classics of the nineteenth 
century, not only in his own country, but in France and Ger- 
many. In their original garb — untranslateable to foreign 
nations in all their native vigour and delicate shades of mean- 
ing — they will consecrate to many a future generation that shall 
have ceased to speak Scottish, the remembrance of a noble old 
language. Yet it may be said with truth " that even in its 
ashes will live the wonted fires ;" for modern English in the 
latter half of the nineteenth century has not disdained to 
borrow from the ancient Scotch many of the strong simple 
words that the fashionable English writers of the eighteenth 
century suffered to fall into desuetude. As there has been 
pre-Baphaelitism in painting, there have been and will continue 
to be pre-Addisonianism and even pre-Shakspearianism in 

xxxii Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

the richly composite language spoken and written in these 
islands, and in the vast American and Australian continents 
that are rapidly producing a literature of their own. The 
English language of the future will in all probability comprise 
many words not now used or understood on the south of the 
Tweed, but that are quite familiar to the north of it, as 
well as in the United States and Australia. Such useful and 
poetical words as thud, gloamin\ eerie^ dree, weird, and the others 
already cited, and which have been adopted from the ancient 
Scotch by the best English writers, are a clear gain to the 
language, and are not likely to be abandoned. 

Whatever oblivion may attend the works of the great bulk 
of Scottish writers, Robert Burns and Walter Scott will cer- 
tainly live in the affection of posterity ; and if some of their 
words have already become obsolete, their wit and humour, 
their earnestness and their eloquence, and the whole spirit of 
their teachings, will survive. To aid English readers in the 
comprehension of these immortal books, and to remind Scottish 
readers of what they owe to the literary lights of their country, 
is one of the main objects of the present compilation. The 
author, if he can be called the author, or merely the artificer of 
this book, hopes that it will not only answer this particular pur- 
pose, but serve more generally to impress upon the minds of the 
people of this age how rich is the language of their ancestors, 
and what stores of literary wealth lie comparatively unknown 
and unregarded in the vernacular of what are irreverently 
called the ** common people." It is the " common people " who 
create and shape the language, and the ''uncommon people," 
known as authors, whose duty it is to help to perpetuate it in 
books for the pleasure and instruction of posterity. 

November 1887. 


Ae, the indefinite article a, or 
one, and far more emphatic in 
poetical composition than ane 
or one, as in Burns' s beautiful 
song "^e fond kiss and then 
we sever." Some of the many 
half -English editors of the 
Scottish poet have altered ae 
into " one," which to a Scottish 
ear is the reverse of an improve- 
ment. Ae does not merely 
signify ""one, but only one, and 
is definite and particular, not 
indefinite and general, in its 

Aboon, above. 

Aiblins, perhaps, possibly ; from 
able, conjoined with lin or lins, 
inclining to, as in the " westlin 
wind" — wind inclining to the 
west ; hence aiblins means inclin- 
ing to be possible. 

There's mony waur been o' the race, 
And aiblins ane been better. 

—Burns: The Dream. 
To George III. 

Aidle, ditchwater ; derivation un- 
known, but possibly from the 

Gaelic adhall, dull, heavy, stag- 

Then lug out your ladle, 
Deal brimstone like aidle, 
And roar every note of the damned. 
—Burns : Orthodox, Orthodox. 

Ail at. What ails ye at? is a 
peculiarly Scottish synonym for 
What is your objection to her, 
him, or it ? 

An old servant who took a charge of 
everything that went on in the family, hav- 
ing observed that his master had taken 
wine with every lady at the table except one 
who wore a green dress, jogged his memory 
with the question, " What ails ye at her 
in the green gown?" — Dean Ramsay. 

Air, early, from the Gaelic ear, the 
east, where the sun rises. ** An 
air winter makes a sair winter ; " 
which maybe Englished, "An 
early winter makes a surly 

Airt, a point of the compass ; also 
to direct or show the way. This 
excellent word ought to be 
adopted into English. It comes 
from the Gaelic ard, aird, a 
height. "Of a' the airts from 
which the wind can blaw," is 
better than "of all the quar- 

Aizle — Athol Brose. 

ters from which the wind can 

O' a' the airts the wind can blaw, 

I dearly lo'e the west, 
For there the bonnie lassie lives, 

The lassie I lo'e best. — Burns. 

But yon green graff (grave), now huskie 

Wad airi me to my treasure. — Burns. 

Aizle, a live coal that flies out of 
the fire. It is a superstition in 
England to call the live coals 
violently ejected from the fire 
by the gas generated in them 
by the names of "purses" or 
" coflBns," according to the fan- 
ciful resemblance which they 
bear to these articles, and which 
are supposed to be prophetic 
of money, or of a death in the 
family. Some such superstition 
seems to lie at the root of the 
Scottish word aide. 

She noticed that an aizle brunt 
Her braw new worset apron. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

Jamieson says the word was 
used metaphorically by the poet 
Douglas to describe the appear- 
ance of a country that has been 
desolated by fire and sword. In 
the Gaelic, aisleine signifies a 
death-shroud. The derivation, 
which has been suggested from 
hazel or hazel-nut, from the 
shape of the coal when ejected, 
seems untenable. The Gaelic 
aiscal, meaning joy, merri- 
ment, has also been suggested, 
as having been given by children 
to the flying embers shot out 
from the fire ; but the derivation 
from aisleine seems preferable. 

Anent, concerning, relating to. 
This word has only recently been 
admitted into the English dic- 
tionaries published in England. 
In Worcester's and Webster's 
Dictionaries, published in the 
United States, it is inserted as 
a Scotticism. Mr. Stormonth, 
in his Etymological Dictionary 
( 1 87 1 ), derives it from the Anglo- 
Saxon ongean and the Swedish 
on gent, opposite ; but the ety- 
mology seems doubtful. 

The anxiety anent them was too intense 
to admit of the poor people remaining 
quietly at home. — The Dream Numbers, 
by T. A, Trollope. 

Arl- penny, a deposit paid to 
seal a bargain ; earnest-money ; 
French arrkes. From the Gaehc 
cartas or iarlas, earnest-money, 
a pledge to complete a bar- 

Here, tak' this gowd, and never want 
Enough to gar ye drink and rant, 
And this is but an arl-penny 
To what I afterwards design ye. 

—Allan Ramsay. 

Asse, the fireplace; the hearth; 
the place where the ashes or 
cinders fall. Asse-hole or ash- 
pit is supposed by some philo- 
logists to be derivable from the 
Gaelic aisir, a receptacle ; ais, 
the back part of anything, or 

Do ye no see Rob, Jock, and Hab, 
As they are girded gallantlie, 

While I am hurklin i' the asse ? 
I'll hae a new cloak about me. 
— A ncient Ballad : Tak yourA-uld 
Cloak about ye. 

Athol brose, whisky with honey, 
taken as a morning drop; a 

Auld Lang Syne — Bab. 

powerful and indigestive mix- 
ture, that no one but a Highlander 
out in the open air and in active 
exercise during the whole day 
can safely indulge in. Why it 
is named from the district of 
Athol in preference to any other 
part of the Highlands is neither 
known nor perhaps discover- 

An' aye since he wore tartan trews 
He dearly lo'ed the Athole brose, 
And wae was he, you may suppose, 
To play farewell to whisky. 

—Neil Gow. 

Auld lang syne. This phrase, 
so peculiarly tender and beauti- 
ful, and so wholly Scotch, has 
no exact synonym in any lan- 
guage, and is untranslatable ex- 
cept by a weak periphrasis. The 
most recent English dictionaries 
have adopted it, and the expres- 
sion is now almost as common 
in England as in Scotland. Allan 
Kamsay included in "The Tea- 
Table Miscellany" a song en- 
titled " Old Long Syne," a very 
poor production. It remained 

for Robert Bums to make " Auld 
lang syne " immortal, and fix it 
for ever in the language of Great 
Britain, America, and the Anti- 
podes. Lang sin syne is a kin- 
dred, and almost as beautiful a 
phrase, which has not yet been 
adopted into English. 

A wee, a short time ; contraction 
of a ^^ wee while," or a little 
while. Bide-a-wee, wait a little. 

Upon a summer afternoon, 

A wee before the sun gaed doun. 

— The Lass d Gowrie. 

Awmrie, a chest, a cabinet, a 
secretaire ; from the French 

Close the awmrie, steek the kist, 

Or else some gear will soon be missed. 

— Sir Walter Scott : Donald Caird. 

Ayont, beyond or on the other 
side. A Northumbrian as well 
as a Scottish word. In the Eng- 
lish Border " ayont the Tweed " 
is Scotland, and on the Scottish 
side of the Border it is Eng- 


Bab. Any personal adornment 
worn by young lovers, either a 
bunch of flowers on the bosom, 
or a tassel or bow of ribbons. 
Lug-hah, an ear-ring ; wooer-babs, 
a knot of ribbons tied at the 
knee by the young peasant lads 
when they went courting. The 
word also signifies a cockade or 
other badge in the.hat or bonnet. 

Bauble is possibly of similar or 
the same origin. The word is 
derived from the Gaelic babag 
or baban, a tassel, a fringe, a 
knot, a cluster ; and babach, in- 
nocent pleasure, applied to the 
bob as a symbol. 

A cockit hat with a bob o blue ribbons 

at it. 
—Sir Walter Scott : Old Mortality 

Bairn-time — Bane-dry. 

Baim-time, a whole family of chil- 
dren, or all the children that a 
woman bears. This peculiarly 
Scottish word is a corruption 
of a bairn-teem ; from the Gaelic 
taom, the English teem, to bear, 
to produce, to pour out. 

Your Majesty, most excellent ! 

While nobles strive to please ye, 
Will ye accept a compliment 
A simple Bardie gi'es ye ? 
Thae bonny baim-tiftte Heaven has lent. 
Still higher may they heeze ye ! 
— Burns : A Dream, Addressed to 
George J II. 

The following lines, from ' * The 
Auld Farmer's New Year's Salu- 
tation to his Auld Mare, Maggie, " 
show that Bums understood the 
word in its correct sense, though 
he adopted the erroneous spell- 
ing of time instead of teem : — 

My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a', 
Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw, 
Forbye sax mae I sellt awa', 

That thou has nurst ; 
They drew me thretteen pounds an' twa, 

The very warst. 

Balow I An old lullaby in the 
Highlands, sung by nurses to 
young children, as in the pathe- 
tic ballad entitled " Lady Anne 
Bothwell's Lament : " — 

Balow ! my babe, lie still and sleep. 
It grieves me sair to see thee weep ! 

Bums has ^^ Hee, haloo!" to 
the tune of " The Highland 
Balow : " — 

Hee, ba/oo, my sweet wee Donald, 
Picture of the great Clanronald. 

The phrase is derived from the 
Gaelic bd, the equivalent of bye 

in the common English phrase 
" Bye ! bye ! " an adjuration to 
sleep — *' Go to bye-bye ; " and 
laogh, darling, whence, by the 
abbreviation of laogh into loo, 
bd-lao or balow — " Sleep, dar- 
ling." Jamieson has adopted a 
ludicrous derivation from the 
French — " bas Id le loup," which 
he mis-translates " Be still ; the 
wolf is coming." 

Bandster, one who makes a band 
or binds sheaves after the reap- 
ers in the harvest-field. 

In hairst at the shearing, nae youths now 
are jeering. 
The bandsters are lyart and wrinkled 
and grey ; 
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing or 
The flowers o' the forest are a' weed 

— Elliot : The Flowers of the Forest. 

In this pathetic lament for 
"the flowers" of Ettrick Forest 
— the young men slain at the 
doleful battle of Flodden — the 
maidens mourn in artless lan- 
guage for the loss of their lovers, 
and grieve, as in this touching 
stanza, that their fellow-labour- 
ers in the harvest -field are old 
men, wrinkled and grey, with 
their sparse locks, instead of 
the lusty youths who have died 
fighting for their country. The 
air of this melancholy but very 
beautiful song is pure Gaelic. 

Bane-dry, dry as a bone ; bane- 
idle, thoroughly idle ; not only 
idle in the flesh, but in the bone 
and marrow. 

Bang — Baudrons. 

Ban^, to beat, to subdue ; hangie 
or hangsome, quarrelsome, irri- 
table, apt to take offence ; hang- 
beggar, a constable or a con- 
stable's staff, and bangree, a 
scolding, irritable, and conten- 
tious woman. The etymology 
of these words is uncertain. 
The last seems to be derivable 
from the Gaelic ban, a woman ; 
banag, a busy little woman ; ban 
cheaird, a female tramp or gipsy. 

Bannock, an oatmeal cake, ori- 
ginally compounded with milk 
instead of water. 

Hale breaks, saxpence, and a bannock. 
— Burns : To James Tait, Glenconner. 

Bannocks o' bear-nieal, bannocks o' barley. 
—Jacobite Song. 

From the Gaelic bainne, milk. 

Bap, a small wheaten cake or roll, 
sold in Scotland for breakfast 
when porridge is not used. The 
grandfather of a late Prime 
Minister of Great Britain kept 
a small shop in Leith Walk, 
Edinburgh, where he sold 
"baps," flour, oatmeal, peas, 
&c., and where he was popu- 
larly known to the boys of 
the neighbourhood as " Sma' 
Baps," because his baps were 
reputed to be smaller than those 
of his brother tradesmen. 

Barken, to clot, to harden on the 
surface, as some viscous and 
semi-liquid mixtures do on ex- 
posure to the air. The word is 
derived from the bark or out- 
ward covering of trees. 

Barm, yeast ; old English ; not yet 
obsolete in the rural districts. 

Barmkin, a corruption of barbican, 
a watch-tower on a castle or for- 
tress. The derivation of barbi- 
can (the name of a street in old 
London, still retained) is from 
the Gaelic bar, a pinnacle 
or high place ; and beachan, a 
place of watching or observa- 
tion. From beachan is derived 
beacon, a watch-fire, a signal 

And broad and bloody rose the sun. 
And on the bamnkin shone. 

And he called a page who was witty 
and sage 
To go to the bartnkin high. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Lord Soulis. 

Bauch, insipid, tasteless, without 
flavour, as in the alliterative pro- 
verb : — 

Beauty but bounty's but bauch. 

— Allan Ramsay. 
(Beauty without goodness is without 

The etymology of this pecu- 
liarly Scottish word is uncertain, 
unless it be allied to the English 
baulk, to hinder, to impede, to 
frustrate ; or from the Gaelic 
bac, which has the same mean- 

Baudrons, a pet name for a cat, 
for which no etymology has yet 
been found. The word remains 
as unaccountable as *' Tybert," 
used by Shakspeare for the same 

Auld baudrons by the ingle sits, 
Wi' her loof her face a washin'. 
— Burns : Sic a Wife as Willie had. 

Bauk — Beastte. 

Bauk, the cross-beam in the roof 
of a cottage ; hauMe-bird, a name 
given to the bat, that haunts the 
roof. Bauk is from the English 
baulk, of which the primary 
meaning was from the Gaelic 
bac, to hinder, to frustrate, and 
was applied to the cross-beam of 
the roof because it prevented 
the roof from giving way, and 
to other wooden partitions ne- 
cessary for division. It also 
came to signify to disappoint, 
because disappointment was the 
prevention or hindering of the 
fulfilment and realisation of 

When lyart leaves bestrew the yird, 
Or, waverin' like the baukie-bird, 
Bedim cauld Boreas' blast, 
An' hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte. 
— Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

Bawbie, a halfpenny — metaphori- 
cally used for a fortune by Sir 
Alexander Boswell, the son of 
the more famous James Boswell, 
the biographer of Dr. Johnson. 
It occurs in the song of "Jen- 
nie's Bawbie:" — 

Quoth he, " My goddess, nymph, 

and queen. 
Your beauty dazzles baith my e'en," 
But deil a beauty had he seen 
But Jennie's bawbee. 

Sir Alexander took the hint 
of his song from a much older 
one: — 

A' that e'er my Jeanie had, 
My Jeanie had, my Jeanie had, 
A' that e'er my Jeanie had 

Was ae bawbie. 
There's your plack, and my plack, 
And your plack, and my plack, 

And Jeanie's bawbie. 

Bawsont or bawsins, marked 
with white on the face, as 
in cattle ; of uncertain ety- 
mology, but possibly connected 
with banh, the forehead. 

The stirk stands i' the tether, 
And our braw bawsint yade 

Will carry ye hame your com ; 
What wrad ye be at, ye jade ? 
— Wood and Married and a\ 

Bawtie, a watch-dog ; apparently 
from the Gaelic beachd, watch, 
observe, and tigh (pronounced 
tee), a house. A favourite name 
in Scotland for a faithful dog. 
The English word Towser, which 
is equally common, is also from 
the Celtic tuisle, to struggle or 
contend with. 

Bourd na' in Bawiie, lest he bite (i.e., 
do not play tricks or jest with the watch- 
dog, lest he bite you). 

Bazil, a sot, a fool ; of unknown 
etymology, but possibly con- 
nected with the Gaelic peasa- 
nach, an impertinent person. 

He scorned to sock mang weirdless fellows, 
Wi' menseless bazils in an alehouse. 
—George Beattie : John o' Amha. 

Beak or beek — common in Ayr- 
shire and Mearns — to sit by a 
fire and exposed to the full heat 
of it. 

A lion. 
To recreate his limbs and take his rest, 
Beakand his breast and bellie at the sun. 
Under a tree lay in the fair forest. 
—Robert Henryson in The Evergreen : 
The Lion and the Mouse. 

Beastie, an affectionate diminutive 
of beast, applied to any small 
and favourite animal. 

Beck — Bicker, 

Wee, sleekit, cowerin', timorous beastie, 
Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie ! 
Thou needna start awa sae hastie, 
Wi' bickerin' brattle. 

— Burns : To a Mouse. 

Beck, to curtsey. 

" It's aye gude to be ceevil," as the auld 
wife said when she beckit to the deevil. — 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Bed-fast, confined to bed or bed- 
ridden. In English, /as« as a 
suffix is scarcely used except in 
steadfast, i.e., fast fixed to the 
stead place or purpose. 

For these eight or ten months I have 
been ailing, sometimes bed-fast and some- 
times not. — Burns : Letter to Cunning- 

An earth -fast or yird-fast 
stane is a large stone firmly 
fixed in the earth. Faith-fast, 
truth- fast, and hope- fast are beau- 
tiful phrases, unused by English 
writers. If faithful and truth- 
ful, faithless and truthless, are 
permissible, why not faith-fast, 
truth-fast, and hope-fast ? 

Beet, to feed or add fuel to a 
fire or flame; from the Gaelic 
beatha, life, food, and beathaich, 
to feed, to nourish. 

May Kennedy's far-honoured name 
Lang beet his hymeneal flame. 

— Burns : To Gavin Hamilton. 

It warms me, it charms me. 
To mention but her name ; 

It heats me, it beets me. 
And sets me a' aflame. 

— Burns : Epistle to Davie. 

I wonderin' gaze on her stately steps. 
And beet my hopeless flame. 

— Allan Cunningham : Bonny 
Lady Ann. 

Beltain, the fire of Bel or Baal, 
kindled by the Druids annually 
on the first morning of May 
direct from the rays of the sun. 
Ben Ledi, in Perthshire — the 
hill of God, as the name signi- 
fies in Gaelic — was the most 
sacred of all the hills, on the 
summit of which this imposing 
ceremony was performed. The 
name of Bel or Baal is derived 
from the Gaelic beatha or bea 
{th silent), life, and uile, all ; 
whence Bel, Beul, or Baal, the 
life of all, and tain, a corrup- 
tion of teine, the fire. The cere- 
mony was also performed in Ire- 
land in pre-Christian times on 
the 2 1st of June. The word 
" Beltane " is of frequent occur- 
rence in the ballad poetry of 
Scotland, and in conjunction 
with '* Yule " or Christmas is by 
no means obsolete ; as in the 
phrase, " The love that is hot at 
Beltane may grow cauld ere 

Belyve, by-and-bye, immediately. 
This word occurs in Chaucer 
and in many old English ro- 

Hie we belyve 
And look whether Ogie be alive. 

— Romance of Sir Otuel. 

Belyve the elder bairns come droppin' in. 
^— Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Bicker, a drinking-cup, a beaker, 
a turn ; also a quarrel. 

Fill high the foaming bicker ! 

Body and soul are mine, quoth he, 

I'll have them both for liquor. 

—The Gin Fiend and his Three 

Bide — Billies, 

Setting my staff wi' a' my skill 

To keep me sicker ; 
Though leeward whiles, against my will, 

I took a bicker. 
— Burns : Death and Doctor Hornbook. 

Bicker means rapid motion, and, in a 
secondary and very common sense, quar- 
relling, fighting, a battle. Sir Walter Scott 
refers to the bickers or battles between the 
boys of Edinburgh High School and the 
Gutterbluids of the streets. In " Hal- 
lowe'en" Burns applies bickering to the 
motion of running water : — 

Whiles glistened to the nightly rays, 
Wi' bickerin, dancin' dazzle. 
— R. Drennan. 

Bide, to stop, to delay, to wait, 
to dwell or abide. 

Bield, a shelter. Of uncertain 
etymology, perhaps from huild. 
Better a wee bush than nae bield. 
Every man bends to the bush he gets 

bield frae. 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Beneath the random bield of clod or stane. 
— Burns : To a Mountain Daisy. 

Bien, comfortable, agreeable, snug, 
pleasant ; from the French hien, 
well. Lord Neaves was of opinion 
that this derivation was doubt- 
ful, but suggested no other. If 
the French etymology be inad- 
missible, the Gaelic can supply 
hinn, which means harmonious, 
pleasant, in good order ; which 
is perhaps the true root of the 

While frosty winds blaw in the drift 

Ben to the chimla lug, 
I grudge a wee the great folk's gift 
That live sae bien and snug. 

— Burns : Epistle to Davie. 
Biens the but and ben. 
— James Ballantine : The Fathers 

Bier or beir, a lament, a moan. 

As I went forth to take the air 

Intil an evening clear, 
I spied a lady in a wood 
Making a heavy bier; 
Making a heavy bier, I wot. 

While the tears dropped frae her e'en, 
And aye she sighed and said Alas ! 
For Jock o' Hazelgreen. 
— Old Ballad, on which Sir Wal- 
ter Scott modelled his "Jock 
o' Hazeldean." 

Jamieson says that heir (not 
hier) is allied to the Icelandic 
hyre, a tempest, and to old 
English hri, hyre, hine, force ; 
but it is of more probable origin 
in the Gaelic huir, to lament, 
to whine ; whence probably the 
prevalence of the custom among 
the Celtic nations of moaning 
over the dead body, and chant- 
ing the doleful coronach or 
death- wail, came afterwards to 
be applied to the hier, or table, 
board, or plank, on which the 
corpse was extended, or the 
coffin in which it was placed. 

Bigly, beautiful ; origin unknown. 

Will ye come to my bigfy bower, 
An' drink the wine wi' me ? 
— Buchan's Ancient Scottish Ballads. 

Billies, fellows, comrades, young 
men ; a term of familiarity and 

When chapman billies leave the street, 
And drouthy neebors neebors meet. 

—Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 
Rise up ! rise up now, billie dear, 

Rise up ! I speak these words to see 
Whether thou'st gotten thy deadly 
Or if God and good leaching may suc- 
cour \.\i&^.— Border Minstrelsy. 

" This word," says Jamieson, 

Bink — Bismeres. 

**is probably allied to German 
hillig, the Belgian billiks, equals, 
as denoting those that are on a 
footing as to age, rank, relation, 
affection, or employment." 

This is an error. In German, 
hillig means moderate in price, 
fair, just, equitable, reasonable. 
The Lowland Scotch billie is 
the same as the English fellow ; 
and both are derived from the 
Gaelic ba-laoch, a shepherd, a 
cowherd, a husbandman; from 
ha, cows, plural of bo, a cow, and 
laoch, a lad, a young man. 

Bink or bunker, a bench ; called 
in America a bunk. 

I set him in beside the iink, 

And gied him bread and ale to drink. 

— Herd's Collection : The Brisk 
Young Lad. 
A winnock (window) bunker in the east, 
Where sat Auld Nick in shape o' beast. 
—Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 

Bird or burd, a term of endear- 
ment, applied to a young woman 
or child. 

And by my word, the bonnie bird 
In danger shall not tarry, 

And though the storm is raging wild, 
I'll row ye o'er the ferry. 

—Thomas Campbell. 

Birdalane or burdalane. A term 
of sorrowful endearment, ap- 
plied to an only child, especially 
to a girl, to signify that she is 
without household comrades or 

And Newton Gordon, birdalane. 
And Dalgetie both stout and keen, 
—Scott's Minstrelsy. 

Birkie, a young and conceited 
person ; from the Gaelic biorach, 

a two-year-old heifer ; hioraiehe, 
a colt ; applied in derision to a 
very young man who is lively but 
not over-wise. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, 
Wha struts and stares and a' that. 
—Burns : A Mans a Man. 
" And besides, ye donnard carle ! " 
continued Sharpitlaw, " the minister did 
say that he thought he knew something 
of the features of the birkie that spoke to 
him in the Park."— Scott : Heart of 

" Weel, Janet, ye ken when I preach 
you're almost always fast asleep before 
I've well given out my text ; but when any 
of these young men from St. Andrews 
preach for me, I see you never sleep a wink. 
Now that's what I call no using me as you 
should do." "Hoot, sir," was the reply, 
"is that a'? I'll soon tell you the reason 
o' that. When you preach, we a' ken the 
Word o' God is safe in your hands; but 
when thae young birkies tak it in hand, 
ma certie ! but it tak's us a' to look after 
them." — Dean Ramsay. 

Birl, to pour out liquor ; probably 
from the same root as the Eng- 
lish purl, as in the phrase *' a 
purling stream," probably de- 
rived from the ancient but 
now obsolete Gaelic bior, a well ; 
bioral, pertaining to a well or 
like a well. 

There were three lords hirling at the wine 

On the dowie dens o' Yarrow. 

— Motherwell's Ancient Minstrelsy. 
Oh, she has birled these merry young men 
With the ale, but and the wine. 

— Border Minstrelsy : Fause Foodrage. 

Birs, the thick hair or bristles on 
the back of swine. 

The souter gave the sow a kiss. 
Humph ! quo' she, it's a' for my birs ! 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Bismeres or bismar, the keeper of 
a brothel, a bawd; from the 


Bit and Brat — Black-Mail. 

Gaelic haois, lust, lewdness, and 
mathair (pronounced ma-air), mo- 
ther ; also a prostitute. Jamie - 
son derives the word from the 
Anglo-Saxon, and quotes Kudd 
— " Bismer, contumelia, aut bis- 
merian, illudere, dehonnorare 
polluere." The Gaelic deriva- 
tion is more satisfactory than 
that from the hybrid language 
called Anglo-Saxon, which is 
but inchoate and primitive old 
English based upon corrupted 
Celtic, with superadded Dutch 
and Flemish. 

Bit and brat. To earn " bit and 
brat " is to earn food and rai- 
ment ; from the Gaelic biadh, 
food, and brat, a rag, a gar- 
ment, or clothing. 

Bittock, a small bit or piece. 
When a wayfarer on the road 
asks of a chance passer-by 
at what distance is the place 
to which he is bound, the 
probable reply is, that it is 
two, three, or any other number 
of miles " and a bittock," signify- 
ing that the respondent will not 
pledge himself to the exactitude 
of his reply, adding, with the 
proverbial cautiousness popu- 
larly ascribed in England to 
his countrymen, that there may 
be a bittock added to his com- 
putation ; though the quali- 
fying bittock has often been 
found to exceed the primary 

Black -mail. The word mail is 
derived from the Gaelic mdl. 

rent, tax, or tribute ; and malay 
a bag, a sack, a purse, a budget 
to contain the tribute. Why 
the particular exaction called 
black -mail, levied by many 
Highland chieftains in former 
times to ensure the protection 
of the herds of cattle passing 
through their territories to 
southern markets, received the 
epithet of black has never been 
clearly explained. The word 
has been supposed by some to 
designate the moral turpitude 
and blackness of character of 
those who exacted such a tax, 
and by others it has been con- 
jectured that black-mail derived 
its name froni the black cattle 
of the Highlands, for whose 
protection against thieves and 
caterans the tribute was levied ; 
while yet another set of etymo- 
logists have set forth the opinion 
that plack-mail, not 6/acA;-mail, 
was the proper word, derived 
from the small Scottish coin — 
the plaque or plack — in which 
the tribute was supposed to be 
collected. But as mail is un- 
doubtedly from the Gaelic, and 
as black-mail was a purely High- 
land extortion, and so called 
at a time when few resident 
Highland chiefs and none of 
their people spoke English, it 
is possible that black is not to 
be taken in the English sense, 
but that it had, like its associated 
word, mail, a Gaelic origin. In 
that language, blathaich — pro- 
nounced (the <A, silent) bld-aich — 
signifies to protect, to cherish. 
Thus black-mail meant the tri- 



bute or tax of protection. If 
hlach, the colour, were really in- 
tended, the Highlanders would 
have used their own word and 
called the tribute mdl-dubh . The 
Gaelic blathaich has the secon- 
dary meaning of to heat. In 
the same sense, the Flemish has 
hlaken, to warm, to animate, 
to burn. In connection with 
the idea of warming, the Scot- 
tish language has several words 
which can scarcely be explained 
by hlach in the English sense. 
The first is black-burning, which 
Jamieson says is " used in re- 
ference to shame when it is so 
great as to produce deep blush- 
ing, or to crimson the counte- 
nance." This phrase is equiva- 
lent to the English, a burning 
shame, when the cheeks burn 
or glow, not with black, but 
with red. The second is black- 
fishing, which Jamieson defines 
as fishing for salmon by night 
by means of torches. He ex- 
plains the epithet black in this 
instance by suggesting that 
"the fish" are black or foul 
when they come up the streams 
to deposit their spawn, an ex- 
planation which is wholly in- 
admissible. The third and 
fourth phrases are black-foot and 
black-sole, which both mean "a 
confidant in love affairs, or one 
who goes between a lover and 
his mistress endeavouring to 
bring the cold or coy fair one 
to compliance." In these in- 
stances, black is certainly more 
related to the idea of warming, 
inciting, animating, than to that 

of blackness. Black- foot and 
black-sole in reality mean hot- 
foot and hot-sole, as in the 
corresponding phrase, hot-haste, 
applied to the constant running 
to-and-fro of the go-between. 
Black-icinter, which signifies, 
according to Jamieson, "the 
last cart-load of grain brought 
home from the harvest-field," 
is as difficult as either of the 
phrases previously-cited to 
associate with the idea of black- 
ness, either moral or physical ; 
but rather with that of comfort, 
warmth — or provision for the 
winter months. The winter 
itself may be metaphorically 
black, but not by any exten- 
sion of meaning or of fancy can 
the epithet black, in colour, be 
associated with a cart-load of 
grain. There are two other 
equivalent phrases in Scottish 
use in which black is an epithet, 
namely, black victual, meaning 
pulse, beans and peas, and black 
crop, which has the same sig- 
nification. Jamieson says these 
crops are so called because they 
are always green, and extends 
the meaning to turnips, i pota- 
toes, &c., for the same reason ! 
But black cannot be accepted 
as equivalent to green. 

Of all the derivations ever 
suggested for black - mail, the 
word on which this disquisition 
concerning black started, the 
most unfortunate is that of 
Jamieson, who traces it to " the 
German blakmal, and to the 
Flemish blaken, to rob." It is 
sufficient for the refutation of 


Black Saxpence — Black Watch. 

Jamieson to state that there 
is no such word as hlakmal in 
the German language, and. that 
llaken, as ab'eady observed, does 
not signify to rob, but to burn. 
In conclusion, it may be stated 
that the English black has long 
been a puzzle to the compilers 
of dictionaries. There is no 
trace of it to be found in the 
sense of colour in any of the 
Teutonic languages. Black in 
German is schwarz ; in Dutch, 
Flemish, and Swedish, swai-t ; in 
Danish, svaerte ; and in old Eng- 
lish, sivarth and swarthy. 

Worcester's Dictionary de- 
lives black fvombleak. Mr. Wedg- 
wood, who is one of the latest 
authorities, says **the original 
meaning of black seems to have 
been exactly the reverse of 
the present sense, viz., shining 
white. It is, in fact," he adds, 
" radically identical with the 
French blanc, from which it 
differs only in the absence of 
the nasal." 

Perhaps it may be possible, 
ex fumo dare lucem, to kindle 
a light out of all this smoke. 
May not the real root of the Eng- 
lish black (as a colour) be the 
Gaelic bldaick, or the Flemish 
blaken, to burn ? That which is 
burned is blackened. A black man, 
or negro, is one whose skin has 
been tanned or burned by the sun ; 
and sun-burnt in this case means 
blackened. It may be said of 
this explanation, whether cor- 
rect or not, that it is at all 
events entitled to as much con- 
sideration as those from bleak 

and blanc, and that it is^ far 
more probable than either. 

Black saxpence, supposed in 
Scottish superstition to be a 
magical sixpence given by the 
Devil in payment for the soul 
of the person who accepted it. 
The virtue of this "black" six- 
pence consisted in its having 
always a bright sixpence along- 
side of it ; that as soon as it 
was taken away and spent, it was 
replaced by another, and so on 
to the " crack of doom." Jamie- 
son supposed that the infernal 
sixpence was so named from its 
colour ; but possibly, and more 
probably, it was thus designated 
from the Gaelic blathaich, pro- 
tection, as being a protection 
against absolute poverty as long 
as the unholy compact existed. 
See Black-mail and Black- Watch 
for this sense of the word 

Black-Watch, a name given to the 
Highland regiment, the brave 
and very distinguished Forty- 
Second, which has fought, bled, 
and conquered in many a hard- 
won field in every part of the 
world, where its services were 
required to vindicate the right 
and uphold the honour of Great* 
Britain. It is generally sup- 
posed that the name was given 
to them on account of the dark 
colour of the tartan which they 
wear ; but the tartan is not 
black, but very dark green, 
like the tartans of many High- 
land clans, in which green is 

Blae — Blethers. 


the predominant hue, varied 
by black, bhie, red, or yellow 
stripes in some of them. It is 
possible, however, that hlack 
in this instance, as in hlack- 
mail, &c. (which see), signifies 
protection, and that the popular 
name of the illustrious regiment 
in question signifies the ^^pro- 
tecting watch." 

Blae, of a livid blue colour, sickly 

Blaeberries, bilberries. 

The morning dlae and wan. 

— Douglas : Translation of the 

How dow you this blae eastlin' wind, 
That's like to blaw a body blind ? 

— Burns. 

Be in dread, O sirs ! Some of you will 
stand with blae countenances before the 
tribunal of God. 

— Bruce : The SouTs Confirmation. 

Blash, a gust of wind. 

Amidst a glint o' sunshine comes a blash 
o' cauld sleet. — Noctes Ainbrosiance. 

Blate, shy, modest, bashful; of 
unknown derivation. Bleid in 
Gaelic is the reverse of Hate 
in Lowland Scotch, and means 
impertinent, troublesome, for- 
ward, presuming. 

Says Lord Frank Ker, Ye are na' blate 
To bring us the news o' yer ain defeat. 
—Jacobite Ballad : Johnnie Cope. 
A blate cat makes a proud mouse. 

—Allan Ramsay. 

Blaud, to lay anything flat with 
violence, as the wind or a storm 
of rain does the corn. 

Curst common sense, that imp o' hell, 

This day M'Kinlay takes the flail, 
And he's the boy will bland her. 

— Burns : The Ordination. 
Ochon ! ochon ! cries Haughton, 

That ever I was born 
To see the Buckie burn rin bluid. 
And blauding a' the corn. 

— A berdeenshire Ballad. 

Blavers. The blue cornflower. 

Blavers that grow amid white land. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads : The 
Gardener Lad. 

Blaw-i'-my-lug, a flatterer, a 
cajoler, a wheedler ; one who 
hlows fair words into the ear of 
a ready listener for a selfish or 
sinister purpose. 

Bledoch, skim-milk ; from the 
Gaelic Ueodhach or hleoghann, 
to milk. 

She kirned the kirn and scummed it clean, 
Left the gudeman but bledoch bare. 
— Allan Ramsay's Evergreen : The 
Wife of A uchtermuchty. 

Blether, to talk nonsense, to be 
full of wind like a bladder, 
Bletherskite, nonsense. 

Blethers, nonsense, impertinence. 
Blaidry, foolish talk, from the 
Gaelic blaidaireachd, and Ueidir, 
impertinence. Bletherum-skate 
or Uetherum-sMte, sometimes cor- 
rupted into hladderskate, are 
derivatives of this word, *" Ye 
blethrin loon ' and * ye sJcyte,' " 
says Cromek, the editor of the 
" Remains of Nithsdale and 
Galloway Song, " are terms of 
familiar reproach still in use, 
and are applied to those satiric 


Blinter — Blunk. 

rogues who have the art of 
mingling falsehood with truth 
with admirable art." 

Stringing blethers up in rhyme 
For fools to sing. 

— Burns : The Vision. 

Gathers but wind to blether up a name. 
—Beaumont and Fletcher. 

Some are busy bletherin 
Right loud that day. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Right scornfully she answered him, 
Jog on your gate, you bladderskate — 
My name is Maggie Lauder. 

— Semple : Maggie Lauder. 

" She's better to-night," said one nurse 
to another. "Night's come, but it's not 
gone," replied her helpmate, in the full 
hearing of the patient, " and it's the small 
hours'll try her," "The small hours'll 
not try me as much as you do with your 
blethering tongues," remarked the patient 
with perfect sang-froid. — A Visit to the 
London Hospitals, March 23, 1870. 

I knew Bums's " Blethering Bitch," who 
in his later years lived in Tarbolton, and 
earned a scanty living by breaking stones 
on the road. In taking a walk round the 
hill mentioned in " Death and Dr. Horn- 
book," I came upon Jamie Humphrey 
(such was his name) busy at work, and 
after talking with him a short time, I 
ventured to ask him, " Is it true, Jamie, 
that you are Bums's blethering bitch ? " 
"Aye, deed am I, and mony a guid gill I 
hae gotten by it ! " This was a broad hint ; 
but I did not take it. — R. Drennan. 

Blinter, to flicker like a flame 
about to expire for want of 

Blirt, a sudden burst of grief or 
anger, also to weep, sob, and 
lament simultaneously. A ' ' blirt 
of greeting " signifies an out- 
burst of tears. The English 

hlurt is akin to the Scottish hlirt, 
though not exactly synonymous, 
and is principally used to signify 
a sudden and unpremeditated 
disclosure of what ought to 
have been kept secret, as in the 
phrase ** He blurted out the 
truth," or "He blurted out an 
oath." The root both of hlirt 
and hlurt is the Gaelic hlaor, to 
cry out or roar, and hlaoHe, 
cried out or roared. 

Blob, a large round drop of water 
or other liquid. A similar word, 
hleh, now obsolete, was once 
used in England to signify an 
air-bubble, and, in its form of 
hlebster, is the root of blister. 

We look on this troubled stream of the 
generations of men to as little purpose 
almost as idle boys do on dancing blebs or 
bubbles on the water. — Sir Thomas 
More : Consolations of the Soul. 

Her e'en the clearest blob o dew out- 
shining. — Allan Ramsay. 

The bonnie red rose, 
Wet wi' the blobs o' dew. 

— Allan Cunningham. 

Blouter, to bluster or talk idly; 
Gaelic bladair, to talk idly. 

Cacklin' about! Coleridge or blouterin 
about Byron. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Blunk, to mismanage or spoil any- 
thing by clumsy, inexpert, or 
stupid handling ; also a dull, 
stolid, and foolishly inert person, 
Jamieson thinks it is derived 
from the Icelandic Wwjirfa, sleepy- 
headed. It is more probably 
from the Gaelic blonach or blonag, 
fat, greasy ; whence fat-headed 
and stupid. 

Bluntie — Bonnieness. 


Bluntie. In the Dictionary of the 
Scottish Language by an anony- 
mous author (Edinburgh, 1818), 
bluntie is described as a stupid 
fellow. Jamieson has ''blunt, 
stupid, bare, naked," and " blun- 
tie, a sniveller," which he derives 
from the Teutonic blutten, homo 

They mool me sair, and haud me doun, 
And gar me look like bluntie. Tarn ; 

But three short years will soon wheel roun', 
And then comes ane-and-twenty, Tam. 
— Burns. 

The etymology of the English 
word blunt is uncertain, but as it 
signifies the opposite of sharp, 
the Scottish bluntie may be ac- 
cepted as a designation of one 
who is not sharp or clever. No 
English dictionary suggests any 
etymology that can reasonably 
be accepted, the nearest being 
flump, round, or rounded with- 
out a point. ** Blunt" the slang 
word for money, is supposed by 
some to be derived from the 
name of Sir John Blunt, a rich 
director of the South Sea Com- 
pany in the year 1 720. 

Bob, to make a curtsey, to bend, 
to bow down. 

Sweet was the smell of flowers, blue, white, 
and red. 
The noise of birds was maist melodious, 
The bobbing boughs bloom'd broad abune 
my head. 

— R. Henryson : The Lion and 
the Mouse. 
When she cam' ben she bobbit. 
—Chambers's Scottish Songs. 
Weel done, quo' he ; play up, quo' she ; 

Weel bobb'd, quo' Rob the Ranter, 
It's worth my while to play indeed 
When I hae sic a dancer. 

^ — Maggie Lauder. 

When she came ben she bobbit.—BvKus. 

Out came the auld maidens a' bobbin^ dis- 

—James Ballantine : The Auld 
Beggar Man. 

When she came ben she bobbit fu' low, 
And what was his errand he soon let her 

Surprised was the laird when the lady said 

As wi' a laigh curtsie she turned her aw a. 
— The Laird o' Cockpen. 

Bodle, a small Scottish coin, of 
less value than a bawbee, the sixth 
part of an English penny. 

Black Madge, she is prudent, has sense 

in her noddle, 
Is douce and respectit ; I care na' a bodle. 
— Joanna Baillie. 

Bonailie, a parting drink, a stir- 
rup-cup ; a deoch an dorus, of- 
fered to and partaken with a 
departing guest, with wishes 
for a good and pleasant journey ; 
a bon voyage. The word, some- 
times written bonalais or bonally, 
is a corrupt spelling of the 
French bonne allee, or bon aller. 

Bonnie, beautiful, good-natured, 
and cheerful — the three quali- 
ties in combination — as applied 
to a woman ; applied to natural 
objects, it simply signifies beau- 
tiful, as in *' Ye banks and braes 
o' bonnie Doon." This is an old 
English word, used by Shake- 
speare and Ben Jonson, and 
still current in the Northern 
English counties, as well as in 

Bonnieness, a word that conveys 
the sense of both prettiness 


Bonspiel — Brander. 

and goodness, that are some- 
times, but ought never, to dwell 

Bonnieness gaed to the water to wash, 
And prettiness gaed to the barn to thrash ; 
Gae tell my maister to pay me my fee, 
For bonnieness winna let prettiness be, 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

Bonspiel, sport or play. 

I hae been at mony a bonspiel, but I 
ne'er saw such a congregation on the ice 
before. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Boodie, a ghost, a sprite, a hob- 
goblin ; by some derived from 
hode, a message, the German 
hote, a messenger, and by others, 
with more probabihty, from the 
Gaelic bodach, a spectre — a word 
which is also applied irrever- 
ently to an ill-favoured and 
churlish old man. 

Borrow, to ransom, and not, as in 
Enghsh, to effect a loan. 

And in cam' her brother dear, 

A waeful man was he. 
I'd gie a' the lands I hae, 

Bonnie Jean, to borrow thee. 
Oh, borrow me, brother, borrow me. 

Or borrowed I'll never be, 
For I gar'd kill my ain dear lord, 

An' life's nae pleasure to me. 

— The Laird o Warristoun. 

Bourack or bourock, a name 
given by children to the little 
mounds of sand or earth that 
they raise on the sea-shore or in 
their playgrounds in imitation 
of castles or houses ; — a diminu- 
tive, apparently, of the word 
hower, a lady's chamber. The 
word is sometimes used for a 
shepherd's hut or shieling. In 

some parts of Scotland it signi- 
fies a heap or mound of any kind, 
and also metaphorically a heap 
or crowd of people. 

We'll ne'er big bourocks i' the sand 
together {Old Proverb), i.e., we'll never 
be familiar or closely allied in sentiment or 

Bourd, a jest, a joke ; also to jest, 
to play tricks with. In old 
English, hord. From the Gaelic 
hurt, mockery. 

The wizard could no longer bear her bord. 
But, bursting forth in laughter, to her said. 
— Spenser : Faerie Queene. 

I'll tell the bourd, but nae the body. 
A sooth bourd is nae bourd. 
They that bourd wi' cats may count upon 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Properbs. 

Bouse, to drink deeply, to revel ; 
whence the colloquial English 
word " boozy." 

Then let him bouse and deep carouse 

Wi' bumpers flowing o'er, 
Till he forgets his loves and debts. 

And minds his griefs no more. — Burns. 

And though bold Robin Hood 
Would with his Maid Marian 
Sup and botise from horn and can. 

Brae, the brow or side of a hill ; 
from the Gaehc bruaich, a hill 
side, a steep. 

We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pu'd the gowans fine, 

But mony a weary foot we've trod 
Sin auld lang syne. — Burns. 

Brander, a gridiron, also a toast- 
ing-fork; from the Teutonic 
brennen, to burn; gebrannt, 

Brander — Bree, 


Brander, a gridiron, i.e., a burner, 
on which to submit food to the 
direct action of the fire without 
the intervention of water ; from 
the Teutonic brennen, to burn, 
and gelvannt, burnt. 

Brander-bannock, a cake heated 
on a gridiron ; a common mode 
of preparing oaten cakes in Scot- 

Brankie, gaudy, showy. BranJcit, 
vain, conceited, proud of one's 
fine clothes. BrankirC a great 
show of finery. 

Where hae ye been sae braw, lad ? 

Where hae ye been sae brankie, O ? 
Where hae ye been sae braw, lad ? 

Cam' ye by Killicrankie, O ? 

— Johnson's Musical Mtiseum. 

Branne, the calf of the leg; 
whence the English Iravmy, 

Your stocking shall be like the cabbage 
That is baith braid and lang, 
Narrow, narrow at the cute (the instep or 
And braid, braid at the branne. 

— Ballad of the Gardener, from 
Kinlock's Collection. 

Brash, a sickness, a rash, an 

The lady's gane to her chamber, 

A moanful woman was she. 
As gin she had taken a sudden brash, 

An' were about to dee. 

— The Gay Gosshawk. 

Brash, a sudden gust of wind, 
also a tuzzle or fight ; brashy or 
braushie, stormy. 

Brat, a rag or clothes ; from the 
Oaelic brat, a covering, a mantle, 

a rag ; also bratach, a flag, a ban- 
ner ; whence perhaps the con- 
temptuous English term of brat, 
for a beggar's child, in allusion 
to the rags in which it is clad. 

We've aye had bit and brat, John, 

Great blessings here below ; 
And that helped to keep peace at home, 

John Anderson my jo. 
— From the old version of ' ' John A nder- 
son my Jo," abridged, amended, and 
purijied by Robert Burns. 

Bratchet, a contemptuous or angry 
term for a troublesome or mis- 
chievous child ; a diminutive of 
brat, a child, so called from the 
Gaelic brat, a rag ; synonymous 
with another Scottish phrase for 
a poor man's child, as used by 
Burns, " a smytrie o' wee duddie 
(ragged) weans." 

Brattle, clatter, or any noise made 
by the rapid collision of hard 
substances; possibly from be- 
rattle, the augmentative of the 
English word rattle. 

List'ning the doors an' windows rattle, 
I thought me on the ourie cattle, 
Or silly sheep, that tide the brattle 
O' winter war. 

—Burns: A Winter Night. 

Breathin'. ''I'll do't in a &rm<A- 
iw'," instanter, in the time 
which it would take to draw 
a breath. This phrase is far 
superior to the vulgar English 
" in a jiffy," or to the still more 
intolerable slang "the twink- 
ling of a bedpost." 

Bree, the juice, the essence, the 
spirit. Barley-Sree, the juice of 
the barley, i.e., whisky or ale. 


Breeks — Brownie. 

Brew is to extract the spirit or 
essence of barley, malt, hops, 
&c. Both hree and hrew are 
directly derived from the Gaelic 
hrigh, spirit, juice, &c. The 
Italians have hrio, spirit, energy, 
life, animation. From this 
source is derived the English 
slang word a ''brick," applied 
to a fine, high-spirited, good 
fellow. Various absurd attempts 
have been made to trace the 
expression to a Greek source 
in a spurious anecdote bor- 
rowed from Aristotle, who 
speaks of a tetragonos aner or 
*' four-cornered man," supposed 
in the slang of the Universities 
to signify a hrick. 

Breeks, the nether garments of a 
man, trousers, trews, breeches. 
The vulgar English word breeches 
is derived from the breech, the 
part of the body which they 
cover. The Scottish word has 
a more dignified origin in the 
Gaelic breaghad, attire, dress, or- 
nament, and breaghaid, adorn, 
embellish, "from which Celtic 
word," says Ainsworth in his 
Latin Dictionary, "the Romans 
derived bracca and braccatus, 
wearing trews, like the Gauls." 

Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair, 
I wad hae gien them aff my hurdies 
For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies. 

— Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 

Brent or brant, high, steep ; also 

Her fair brent brow, 
Smooth as the unwrinkled deep. 
— Allan Ramsay. 

John Anderson my jo, John, 
When we were first acquaint, 

Your locks were like the raven, 
Your bonnie brow was brent. 

— Burns : John Anderson my Jo. 
In "John Anderson my Jo," the auld 
wife means that her husband's brow was 
smooth. I believe that brent in this pas- 
sage is the past-participle of bum. Shin- 
ing is one of the effects of burning. I 
think the word is always used to mean 
smooth, unwrinkled — as in the Scottish 
phrase brent new, the English] bran new, 
shining with all the gloss of newness. — 
R. Drennan. 

Brim, fierce, disastrous, fatal, 
furious; from the Gaelic brea- 
mas, mischief, mischance. 

The brim battle of the Harlaw. 

— Allan Ramsay : Tke Evergreen. 

Bring home, to be delivered of a 

Now when nine months were past and gone, 
The lady she brought home a son. 

— Buchan's Ballads : Lord Dingwall. 

Brook, to spot, or soil, or blacken 
with soot ; brooTdt, having a 
dirty face ; and brooJcie, a nick- 
name either for a sweep or a 
blacksmith. Bruckit is tanned 
by the sun or freckled. The 
root is the Gaelic brucach, 
spotted, freckled, speckled, par- 
ticularly in the face. 

Broostle, to perspire profusely; 
also to be in a great hurry, 
bustle, or confusion. From the 
Teutonic braus, bustle, noise, 
or tumult ; brausen, to ferment, 
to rush, to roar, to snort with 
anger or impatience. 

Brownie, a household sprite in 
the ancient and not yet extinct 

Brown Study — Bubbly-jock. 


superstition of Scotland, who, if 
conciliated, performed domestic 
duties, and made himself use- 
ful and agreeable, similar in 
his character to Puck or Robin 
Good-fellow in England. From 
the Gaelic bronn, a gift, a fa- 

Brown study. This phrase, to 
signify deep, sad, or melan- 
choly meditation, was originally 
Scotch, but has long become 
familiar in English. It has 
puzzled all the philologists, who 
persist in deriving almost every 
English word and phrase from 
the Teutonic, the Greek, or the 
Latin, to the exclusion of the 
Celtic, from which even these 
three languages are largely de- 
rived. But they have made no 
guesses superior to that which 
would trace it to a brow study, be- 
cause those who fall into brown 
studies often knit their brows in 
deep thought ! The real source 
of the word is the Gaelic bron, 
sorrow, grief, sadness, melan- 
choly, mourning ; bronag, a sor- 
rowful woman ; bron bhrat, a 
mourning cloth, a cerement or 
mortcloth ; bronaeh, sorrowful, 
and bronadh, lamentation. This 
explanation ought to satisfy 
even the Keltophobists, and 
teach them to "rest and be 
thankful " in their study of this 
particular colloquialism. 

Bruik, to enjoy, to possess; 
from the Teutonic brauchen, to 
make use of. Was braucht es ? 
What is the use of it ? 

Weel bruik ye o' yon broun, broun bride, 

Between ye and the wa', 
And sae will I o' my winding-sheet. 
That suits me best of a'. 

— Jamieson's Collection : Ballad of 

Brulzie or bnilyie, a disturb- 
ance, a commotion, a quarrel. 
This word seems to be the root 
of the English brawl, broil, 
embroil, and embroilment, and 
the French embrouiller ; all de- 
rivable from the Gaelic bruUl, 
to crush, to beat, to fight, to 

Bannocks o' bear-meal, bannocks o' barley ! 
Wha' in a brulzie will first cry a parley? 
Never the lads wi' the bannocks o' barley ; 
Here's to the Highlandman's bannocks o" 
barley ! 

— ^Johnson's Musical Museum, 

Bnimble, to make a rumbling 
noise. The English rumble and 
the Lowland Scotch brumble are 
synonymous, and both appear 
to be derived from the Teutonic 
brummen, to rush audibly like 
a rapid stream ; to gurgle, to 

Bryttle, to cut up venison. 

And Johnnie has bryttled th^ deer sae weel, 
And has feasted his gude blude-hounds. 

— Border Minstrelsy : Johnnie oj 

Bubbly-jock, a turkey-cock. 

Some of the idiot's friends coming to 
visit him at a farmhouse where he resided, 
reminded him how comfortable he was, 
and how grateful he ought to be for the 
care taken of him. He admitted the fact, 
but he had his sorrows and troubles like 
wiser men. He stood in awe of the great 
turkey-cock of the farm, which used to 
run and gobble at him. "Aye ! aye ! " he 


Buckie — But, 

said, unburthening his heart, " I'm very 
weel aff, nae doubt ; but eh ! man, I'm 
sair hadden doun by the Bztbbly-jock!" 
Dean Ramsay. 

Buckie, a whelk or periwinkle. 

An' there'll be partans [crabs] an' btcckies. 
— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Buckle-to, to marry ; derived from 
the idea of fastening or joining 
together. The word occurs in 
a vulgar English song to a very 
beautiful Scottish air, which 
was written in imitation of 
the Scottish manner by Tom 
D'Urfey in the reign of Charles 
II. It has been long popular 
under the title of "Within a 
Mile of Edinburgh Town." 

Buckle-beggar signified what was 
once called a hedge-priest, who 
pretended to perform the cere- 
mony of marriage. To "buckle 
with a person" was to be en- 
gaged in argument with another. 

*' Buff nor stye," a common collo- 
quialism. To say of any one that 
" he would neither buff nor stye," 
means that he would neither do 
one thing or another, that he 
did not know his own mind, 
or that he was so obstinately 
wedded to his own purpose that 
nothing could make him deviate 
from it. It is probably a cor- 
ruption of "he would neither 
le of nor stay." Jamieson, 
however, derives buff from the 
Teutonic bof, a cheer made by 
mariners ; and thinks that stye 
may refer to the act of mounting 
the shrouds, from the Swedish 

stiga, to ascend ! He has thus 
had recourse to two languages to 
help him out of a difficulty, when 
one, and that his own, would 
have been sufficient. 

He would neither buff nor stye for father 
or mother, friend or foe. — Galt: ^The 

Buirdly, strong and stalwart, 
hearty, well-built. 

Buirdly chiels [fellows] 

Are bred in sic a way as this is. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Burnewin, a contraction of 
"Bum-the wind," the popular 
and familiar name for a black- 

Busk, to adorn, to dress ; from 
the Gaelic busgadh, a head-dress, 
an adornment for the person ; 
busgainnick, to dress, to adorn, 
to prepare. 

A bonnie bride is soon buskit. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scoti 

Busk ye, busk ye, my bonnie bride. 
Busk ye, b-uskye, my winsome marrow. 
— Hamilton of Bangor. 

But. This word in Scotland long 
preserved the meaning it once 
had in England of "without," 
and was derived etymologicaUy 
from "be out," of which it is 
an abbreviation. It remains in 
the heraldic motto of the Clan 
Chattan, " Touch not the cat 
but the glove ! " It does duty in 
the humorous Jacobite song, in 
ridicule of George I., the Elector 
of Hanover : — 

But and Ben — Cadgie. 


Wha the deil hae we gotten for a king, 

But a wee, wee German lairdie ; 
And when we gaed to bring him hame. 

He was delvin' in his yairdie, 

Sheughin kail and layin' leeks, 

But the hose, and but the breeks, 

And up his beggar duds he cleeks, 

The wee, wee German lairdie. 

But and ben, the out and in, the 
front and back rooms of a 
cotter's hut. 

Toddlin but and toddlin ben, 
I'm nae sooner slockened, than drouthy 

— Sir'Alexander Boswell : A 
Matrimonial Duet. 

Had siller been made in the kist to lock by, 
It wadna been round, but square as a dye. 
Whereas by its shape ilka body may see 
It aye was designed it should circulate free. 
Then we'll toddle but, and we'll toddle ben. 
An' aye when we get it, we'll part wi't 
again. — Ibid. 

Byspel, an accidental piece of 
good fortune ; a wonderful 
stroke of luck or dexterity. An 
epithet applied, generally in a 
half-hearted spirit of laudation, 
to any person of rare good 

qualities or successful rise in 
the world; as in the phrase 
" He's just a 6yspeZ," The word 
is from the Teutonic beispiel, an 
example ; literally a by-play. In 
this sense it is sometimes held 
to signify an illegitimate or 
a love-child, a "by-blow," a 

Byssim, a monster, also a 
worthless and shameless woman. 
Supposed to be from the Ice- 
landic bysn, a monster, a pro- 
digy. The German bose, wicked, 
and the Gaelic baois, lust, libi- 
dinousness, and also madness, 
have been suggested . as the 
root of this word. A third 
derivation is worthy of study, 
that from baoth {bao), wicked, 
and smuain, thoughts, whence 
bao - smuain, quasi bissim or 
byssom, a wicked thought, or 
a person with wicked thoughts. 
The word Bezonian, which has 
puzzled Shakespearian commen- 
tators to explain, may be allied. 


Ca', to drive, or drive in, to smite ; 
also to contend or fight ; from 
the Gaelic cath, pronounced ca\ 
to smite, to fight. 

I'll cause a man put up the fire, 

Anither ca in the stake. 
And on the head o' yon high hill 

I'll burn you for his sake. 
Buchan's Ballads : Young Prince James. 

Every naig was cad a shoe on. 
The smith and thee got roaring fu' on. 
— Burns : Tarn o' Shanter. 

Ca' cannie ! an exhortation to be- 
ware, to take heed or care as to 
what you are doing or saying ; 
ca\ to drive, and cannie, cau- 
tious or cautiously. 

Cadgie — sometimes written caigie 
— cheerful, sportive, wanton, 
friendly ; possibly from the old 
Gaelic cad, a friend, whence, 
according to some philologists, 


Cair — Cannie. 

cadie, a lad (used in the sense 
of kindness and familiarity) ; 
but, according to others, from 
the French cadet, a younger 

A cock-laird fu' cadgie 
Wi' Jeanie did meet ; 
He haused her, he kissed her, 
And ca'd her his sweet. 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs. 
Yon ill-tongued tinkler, Charlie Fox, 
May taunt you wi' his jeers and shocks ; 
But gie't him het, my hearty cocks, 

E'en cowe the cadie I 
And send him to his dicing-box 
And sportin' lady. 
— Burns : Author s Earnest Cry 
and Prayer. 

Cair, to strain through. " This 
word," says Jamieson, "is used 
in Clydesdale, and signifies to 
extract the thickest part of 
broth or hotch-potch while 
dining or supping." It is pro- 
bably from the Gaehc cir, a 
comb ; whence also the Enghsh 
word to curry a horse, and curry- 
comb, the comb used for the 

Caird, a tinker. 

Close the awmrie, steek the kist, 
Or else some gear will soon be miss'd ', 
Tell the news in brugh and glen, 
Donald Cairds come again. 

— Sir Walter Scott. 

From the Gaelic cear (i, a smith, 
a Wright, a workman ; with the 
prefix teine, fire, is derived the 
English tin-caird or tinker, a fire- 
smith. Johnson, ignorant of 
Celtic, traced tinker from tink, 
because tinkers struck a kettle 
and produced a tinkling noise 
to announce their arrival. 

Caller, fresh, cool. There is no 
exact Enghsh synonym for this 
word. " Caller herrm," " Caller 
haddie," and "Caller ow" are 
familiar cries to Edinburgh 
people, and to all strangers who 
visit that beautiful city. 

Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue, 

His breath's like caller air ; 
His very foot has music in't 
When he comes up the stair. 

— MiCKLE : There's nac Luck 
about tJie House. 
Upon a simmer Sunday morn. 
When Nature's face is fair, 
I walked forth to view the com 
And snuff the caller air. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Camsteerie, crooked, confused, 
unmanageable ; from the Gaelic 
cam, crooked, and stiuir, to steer 
or lead. 

The phalanx broken into pieces like 
camsteerie clouds. — Noctes Ambrosiams. 

Cannie, knowing, but gentle ; not 
to be easily deceived, yet not sly 
or cunning. A very expressive 
word, often used by Enghshmen 
to describe the Scotch, as in the 
phrase, "a canny Scotsman," 
one who knows what he is about. 
The word also means dexterous, 
clever at a bargain, and also for- 
tunate. It is possibly derived 
from the Gaelic ceannaich, to 
buy ; and is common in the 
North of England as well as in 

Bonny lass, canny lass, wilt thou be 

— The Cumberland Courtship. 
He mounted his mare and he rode can- 

— The Laird o' Cockpen. 

Cantie — Carle, 


Hae naething to do wi' him; he's no 

They have need of a canny cook who 
have but one egg for dinner. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Cantie, joyons, merry, talkative 
from excess of good spirits; 
from the Gaelic cainnt, speech, 
or can, to sing. 

Contented wi' little and cantie wi' mair. 

— Burns. 
Some cannie wee bodie may be my lot, 
An' I'll be cantie in thinking o't. 
— Brockett's North Country Glossary: 
Newcastle Song. 
The cantie auld folks. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 
The clachan yill had made me cantie. 
—Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Cantrip, a charm, a spell, a trick, 
a mischievous trick. The word 
is a corruption of the Gaelic 
word ceann, head, chief, prin- 
cipal, and drip, a trick. 

Coffins stood roun' like open presses, 
That showed the dead in their last dresses ; 
And by some devilish cantrip slight, 
Each in its cauld hand held a light. 

— Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 
Burns, in the " Address to the Deil," has 
another example of this word, in which the 
humour is great and the indecency greater. 
— Lord Neaves. 

Caperaoity, peevish, crabbed, apt 
to take offence, of singular and 
uncertain humour. 

" Me forward ! " answered Mrs. Patt ; 
" the capemoity, old, girning ale-wife may 
wait long enough ere I forward it ! " — 
Scott : St. Ronans Well. 

Gaelic, cabair, a gabbler, a 
tattler ; naitheas, mischief. 

Cappernoytit, slightly de- 

D'ye hear what auld Dominie Napier 
says about the mirk Monday? He says 
it's an eclipse — the sun and the moon fecht- 
ing for the upper hand ! But, Lord ! he's 
a poor capemoytit creature. — Laird of 

Carfuffle, agitation of mind, per- 
plexity ; from the Gaelic cearn^ 
a twist or wrong turn, and haoh, 
haobach, and baobhail, an alarm, 
a fright, a perplexity ; and with 
the aspirate, the b pronounced 
as/, bhaobaU, fuffle. 

Troth, my lord may be turned fule out- 
right an' he puts himsell into a carfuffle 
for ony thing ye could bring him, Edie. — 
Scott : The Antiquary. 

Carkin', grinding, oppressively 
wearying, vexatious. The root 
of this word is the Gaelic 
garg, rough, from whence also 
gargle, the rough noise pro- 
duced by a liquor to foment the 
throat, but not to be swallowed. 

The lisping infant prattlin' on his knee 
Does a' his weary carkin cares beguile, 
An' makes him quite forget his labour 
and his toil. 
— Burns : Cotter's Saturday Night. 

Carle, a man, a fellow ; from the 
Teutonic Icerl. This word, which 
was used by Chaucer, has been 
corrupted into the English churls 
which means a rude fellow. In 
Scotland it still preserves its 
original and pleasanter signifi- 

The miller was a stout carle for the nones ; 
Full big he was of braune, and eke of bones. 
— Chaucer. 

The pawky auld carle cam' ower the lea, 
Wi' mony guid e'ens and guid days to me, 
Saying, Kind sirs, for your courtesy. 
Will you lodge a silly poor man ? 
— Ritson's Caledonian Songs. 


Carle-wtfe — Carp. 

Oh ! wha's that at my chamber door ? 

Fair widow, are ye waukin' ? 
Auld carle, your suit give o'er, 

Your love lies a' in talkin'. 

— ^Allan Ramsay. 
When lairds break, carles get land. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
Up starts a carle, and gains good, 
And thence comes a' our gentle blood. 
— Idem. 
My daddie is a cankered carle. 

He'll no twine wi' his gear ; 
But let them say or let them dae. 

It's a' ane to me ; 
For he's low doun, he's in the broom, 

That's waiting for me. 

— James Carnegie, 1765. 

Carle, a man, or fellow, is also 
used adjectively for male, manly, 
strong, vigorous : as in carlc- 
hem'p, the largest seed-bearing 
stalk of hemp ; carle-dodder, the 
largest stalk of dodder-grass ; 
carle-heather or carlin-heather, the 
largest species of heather or 
erica ; carle-tangle, the largest 
species of tangle or sea-weed ; 
carle-wife, a man who does 
women's work ; carle-cai, a tom- 
cat, a male cat, &c. 

Ye have a stalk o* carle-hemp in you. 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The carle-stalk of hemp in man — 
Resolve. — Burns. 

Carle-wife, a husband who med- 
dles too much with the house- 
hold duties and privileges of 
the wife ; a much better word 
than its English equivalent — a 

Carline or carlin, an old woman. 

Cats and carlines love to sleep i' the sun. 

— Allan Ramsay. 
That auld capricious carlin Nature. 
—Burns: To James Smith. 

The Rev. Mr. Monro of Westray, preach- 
ing on the flight of Lot from Sodom, said : 
"The honest man and his family were 
ordered out of the town, and charged not 
to look back ; but the auld carlin. Lot's 
wife, looked owre her shouther, for which 
she was smote into a lump of sawt." And 
he added, with great unction : " Oh, ye 
people of Westray, if ye had had her, mony 
a day since ye wad hae putten her in the 
parritch-pat ! " — Dean Ramsay. 

Carp, by some commentators con- 
sidered to signify to sing, by 
others to rehearse, from the oft- 
recurring phrase in old ballads 
recording the performances of 
bards and minstrels — " he harpit 
and he carpU." 

And ay he harpit, and ay he carpit. 

Till a' the nobles ga'ed o'er the floor ; 
But and the music was sae sweet. 
The groom forgot the stable door. 
— Scott's Border Minstrelsy : The 
Lochmaben Harper. 

To this passage Mr. Robert 
Chambers, in his ** Collection of 
Scottish Ballads," appended the 
note: — "In the 'Minstrelsy of 
the Scottish Border ' carpit is ex- 
plained as meaning sung, but I 
suggest, with great deference, 
that it appears, from the use 
made of it in Barbour's ' Bruce,' 
that it refers to the narrative 
which the ancient minstrels ac- 
companied on their instruments." 
But Mr. Chambers has left the 
doubt exactly where he found it, 
for the old minstrels sometimes 
sang and sometimes merely re- 
cited or declaimed their stories. 
The etymology and meaning are 
both as doubtful as ever. The 
English to carp, to cavil or find 
fault, is probably connected. 

Carry — Chandlers. 


Carry, the driving clouds. 

Mirk and rainy is the night, 
No a starn (star) in a' the carry. 

— Tannahill. 

The word is derived from the 
Gaelic caraich, to move, to stir ; 
caraidhy movement. 

Castock, sometimes written cus- 
tock, a cabbage-stalk. 

There's cauld kail in Aberdeen, 

An' castocks in Stra'bogie. 

— Duke of Gordon. 

Every day's no Yule-day ; — cast the cat 
a castock. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

In their hearts they're as callous as cus- 
tocks. — Noctes Ambrosiance. 

Cateran. A Highland cateran was 
a term formerly applied in the 
Lowlands to a Highland marau- 
der or cattle-stealer, and gene- 
rally to the Highlanders, who 
were all supposed to be lawless 
depredators on the wealth of the 
Lowlands. The word is probably 
from the Gaelic cath, a battle, 
a fight ; cathach, a fighter or 
warrior; and ran, to shout, to 
roar ; whence, by emphatic de- 
nunciation, a roaring, a violent 
warrior or depredator. 

My love he was as brave a man 

As ever Scotland bred, 
Descended from a Highland clan, 

A cateran to his trade. 

— Gilderoy. 

Cauld bark. To live in ''the 
cauld bark," is to be dead and 
buried. Bark, in this meta- 
phorical euphemism, is evidently 
not traceable to hark, a boat 
or ship, or to the hark of an 

animal; but is possibly from 
hark, skin (which see), or from 
herg or }mrg or burrow, a hill or 
hillock, or slight mound raised 
over a grave. 

Cauld coal. * * He has a cauld coal 
to blaw," i.e., he is engaged in 
a hopeless undertaking; there 
is no spark of fire in it which 
can be blown into a flame. 

Cauldrife, cold-hearted, cool in 
love or friendship, indifferent - 

Gae, get you gone, you cauldrife wooer, 
Ye sour-looking cauldrife wooer. 
I straightway showed him to the door, 
Sayin', Come nae mair to me, oh ! 

—Herd's Collection: The Brisk 
Young Lad. 

Cavee. According to Jamieson, 
this is an Aberdeenshire word, 
signifying a state of commotion 
or perturbation of mind. He 
suggests its derivation from the 
French ca& vif, a matter that 
gives or requires activity (of 
mind). Is it not rather the 
Gaelic cabhag {ca-vag), hurry, 
haste, dispatch, trouble, diffi- 
culty ? whence cahhagach, hasty, 
impetuous, hurried. Cave is 
used in the "Noctes Ambro- 
sianae" as synonymous with toss. 
" Gallopin' on a grey horse that 
caves the foam from its fiery 

Chandlers, candlesticks ; the Eng- 
lish chandeliers. 

Hae ye ony pots or pans. 
Or ony broken chandlers ; 

I am a tinker to my trade, 
An' newly come frae Flanders. 


Channer — Clachan. 

As scant of siller as of grace, 

Disbanded, I'd a bad run ; 

Gae tell the lady o' the place 

I've come to clout the cauldron. 
— The Tinker, or Clout the Cauldron. 

Channer, to contend, to com- 
plain, to grumble, to chide, to 
remonstrate ; from the G-aelic 
canran, a contentious murmur- 
ing, chiding ; canranach, queru- 
lous murmuring, contentions ; 
and canranacha, petulance, ill- 

The cock doth craw, the day doth daw, 
The channeriti worm doth chide. 

— Border Minstrelsy : The Clerk's 
Twa Sons o' Ourenford. 

How the worm could channer 
or chide in the grave is incom- 
prehensible, unless one of the 
meanings of the word is to 
fret or cause to fret with vexa- 
tion. This interpretation has 
led to the supposition that 
"fret," in the sense of its for- 
mer signification of " gnaw " 
or " eat," from the German 
fressen, Flemish /re^m, as in the 
Scripture phrase ** The moth 
fretteth the garment," is synony- 
mous with channer. This, how- 
ever, is not the case, as the 
Gaelic etymology suffices to 
prove. But neither channcring 
nor fretting supplies an intelli- 
gible or satisfactory explana- 
tion of the ballad-writer's mean- 

Chap, to knock ; chaup, a blow. 

I dreamed I was deed, and carried far, 
far, far up, till I came to Heaven's yett — 
when I chappit, and chappit, and chappit, 
till at last an angel keekit out and said, 
" Wha are ye?"— Dean Ramsay. 

The chiel was stout, the chiel was stark, 
And wadna bide to chap nor ca', 

And Girzie, faint wi' holy wark, 
Had na the power to say him na ! 
— Holy Girzie. 

The Burnewin comes on like death at 
every chaup. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Chark, to make a grinding or 
grunting noise, also to com- 
plain petulantly and obstinately. 
A form of cark, with the sub- 
stitution of ch for c or ^% as in 
church for kirk, &c. 

Cheep, to chirp or chirrup like a 

Ye're nae chicken for a your cheepin. — 

Chiel, a fellow, a youth ; the same 
as the ancient English childe, 
as used by Byron in *' Childe 
Harold." From the Gaelic gULe, 
a youth. 

The brawny, bainie ploughman chiel. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 
A chiefs amang ye takin' notes. 

— Burns. 

Clachan, a village; from the 
Gaelic clach, a stone, and clachan, 
the stones or houses. 

The clachan yill (ale) had made me cantie. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 
Ye ken Jock Hornbook o' the clachan. 
— Idem. 
The clachan of Aberfoyle. 
— Sir Walter Scott : Rob Roy, 

Many English and American 
tourists in Scotland, and other 
readers of the works of Sir 
Walter Scott, imagine that 
the "clachan of Aberfoyle" 
means the m\R of Aberfoyle. 

Clart — Clepie. 


They derive the word from the 
English clack, the noise of the 
miU-wheel, and knowing no- 
thing of dachan, the village, are 
disappointed when they find 
neither windmill nor watermill 
on the classic spot. 

Clart, to defile, to make dirty. 

Clarty, dirty; from the Gaelic 
clabar or clubhar, filth, mud, 

Searching auld wives' barrels ; 

Ochon the day ! 
That clarty barm [dirty yeast] should stain 
my laurels ! 

' But — what'll ye say ? 
Those movin' things ca'd wives and weans 
Wad move the very hearts o' stanes. 

— Burns : On being Appointed 
to the Excise. 

Clatch, to daub, to do any kind 
of work carelessly, awkwardly, 
recklessly, orignorantly ; claught, 

Claur or glaur, mud, dirt, mire; 
"a gowpen o' glaur" a handful 
of mud ; "a humplock of glaur, ' ' 
a heap of mud. 

The wee laddie, greetin', said his brither 
Jock had coost a gowpen o' glaur at 
him and knockit him on the neb. — James 

Claut, to snatch, to lay hold of 
eagerly ; something that has 
been got together by greed ; a 
large heap. 

Ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten ? 
She's gotten a coof wi' a claut o' siller, 
And broken the heart o' the barley miller. 
—Burns : Meg o' the Mill. 

Claut is undoubtedly from the English 

word claw, which had the sense in olden 
time of to scratch, to gather together, and 
is in that sense still in use in some parts of 
England. Claut, in Scotch, is most fre- 
quently used as a noun, and is the name 
given to a hoe used to gather mud, &c., 
together ; to claut the roads, to gather the 
mud. I don't think the world itself con- 
tains the idea of getting together a large 
heap by greed. I don't recognise the 
other meanings, " to snatch," " to lay hold 
of eagerly." I would use a different word 
to express these meanings, — to glaum, io 
play glaum, would fit them exactly. — 
R. Drennan. 

Clavers, idle stories, silly calum- 

Hail Poesie ! thou nymph reserved ; 
In chase o' thee what crowds hae swerv'd 
Frae common sense, or sunk unnerv'd 
'Mong heaps o' clavers. 

—Burns : On Pastoral Poets. 

Claw, to flatter ; from the Gaelic 
civil, praise, and not, as igno- 
rantly supposed, from the Eng- 
lish claw, to scratch with the 
nails, in allusion to the itch. 

Claiu me and I'll claw you. — Scottish 

I laugh when I am merry, and claw no 
man in his humour. 
— Shakespeare : Much Ado about 

Claymore, the Highland broad- 
sword; from the Gaelic ciaid- 
heamh, or glaive, a sword, and 
mor, great. 

Wha on the moor a gallant clan 

From boastin' foes their banners bore. 

Who showed himself a better man 

Or fiercer waved the broad claymore ? 
— Sir Alexander Boswell. 

Clepie, deceitful ; from the Gaelic 
clihe, deceit. 


Clishmaclaver — Clunk. 

Clishmaclaver, idle talk, foolish 
gossip, incessant gabble. 

What further clish-ma-claver might been 
said. — Burns : The Brigs o' Ayr. 

From the Gaelic dis {dish), 
nimble, rapid, and dab {dabh), 
an open mouth ; dabach, gar- 
rulous ; dahaire, a babbler, a 
loud disagreeable talker ; dabar, 
the clapper of a milL 

Clocking-hen, a hen engaged in 
the act of incubation ; from 
dock or ducJc, the cry or cackle 
of the hen when hatching. The 
word is sometimes used jocu- 
larly or contemptuously for an 
elderly woman or nurse. 

Clocksie, lively, sprightly, viva- 
cious, talkative; possibly from 
dack, talk; and that, again, 
from the Gaelic dach or dock, 
a bell ; applied derisively to the 
tongue of a garrulous person, 
likened to the clapper of a bell. 

The clocksie auM laird o' the Warlock Glen, 
Wha stood without, half cowed, half 

Raised up the latch and cam' crousely ben, 
— Joanna Baillie, 

Cloot, a cloven foot ; Clootie, one 
who is hoofed or cloven-footed, 
i.e., the devil. 

O thou, whatever title suit thee, 
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie. 
— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Cloot (pronounced clute, long French «) 
is not a hoof, but the half of a hoof. We 
speak of a horse's hoof, and of a cow's 
cloots, and apply this latter word only to 
the feet of those animals that divide the 
hoof. — R. Drennan. 

Clour, a lump on the flesh caused 
by a heavy blow. 

That cane o* yours would gie a clour on 
a man's head eneuch to produce a phre- 
nological faculty. — Professor Wilson : 
Noctes A inbrosiancE. 

Clour is a heavy blow— the lump is only 
the result of a clour. — R. Drennan. 

Clout, a rag ; cloutie, a little rag, 
baby-clouts, baby-clothes. Clcmt 
also signifies a patch, or to 
patch, to mend, as in the old 
song of "Clout the Cauldron" 
(mend the kettle). 

Wha my baby-clouts will buj' ? 

—Old Song. 

A countryman in a remote part of Aber- 
deenshire got a newly coined sovereign in 
the days when such a thing was seldom 
seen, and went about showing it to his 
friends and neighbours for the charge of a 
penny each sight. Evil days unfortunately 
overtook him, and he was obliged to part 
with his beloved coin. A neighbour one 
day called upon him and asked for a sight 
of his sovereign. "Ah! man," said he, 
" it's gane ; but I'll let ye see the cloutie it 
was rowed (wrapped) in for a bawbee I " — 
Dean Ramsay. 

ClufF, to strike with the fist, to 
slap ; "a duff i' the lug," a box 
on the ear. The word is akin 
to the English fisticuff and to 

Clunk, the gurgling, confused 
sound of liquor in a bottle or 
cask when it is poured out ; 
equivalent to the Enghsh glug 
in the song of " Gluggity Glug." 
It is derived by Jamieson from 
the Danish glunk and the Swe- 
dish klunka, which have the 
same meaning. 

Clyte — Cock, 


Sir VioHno, with an air 

That showed a man o' spunk, 

Wished unison between the pair, 
And made the bottle clunk. 

—Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

An old English song has 
"and let the cannikin clink, '^ 
which is obviously from the 
same root, though clunk is more 
expressive of a duU sound than 
clink is. 

Clyte, a fall ; to stop in the midst 
of a set speech for want of words 
or ideas, and sit down sud- 
denly. "I couldna find words 
to continue my speech," said 
a Glasgow bailie, " and sae I 

I fairly clyted 

On the cauld earth. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

Clyte, a heavy, sudden kind of fall. I 
have generally heard the word as a verb 
used in connection with the word played 
— " It played clyte at my heels," " He got 
as far as the road, and then played clyte." 
— R. Drennan. 

Clytie-lass, a servant girl whose 
duty is to carry out of the 
house all filth or ordure, and 
to deposit it on the midden or 
elsewhere. The first word is ap- 
parently from the Gaelic cuil- 
aite, the back place or latrine, 
from cuU or cvZ, back, and aite, 
a place, whence by abbreviation 
clyte and clytie. 

Cock. This syllable, which enters 
into the composition of many 
words and phrases both in 
Lowland Scotch and modern 
English, has generally been 
associated with its supposed 

derivation from cock, the name 
given to the male of birds, 
and especially to the fami- 
liar gallinaceous barn-door fowl 
that " crows in the morn- 
ing." Its true derivation, how- 
ever, is from the Gaelic coc, 
which means to elevate, to 
erect, to stand up, to throw 
high, to lift, as in such phrases 
as a ^^ cocked-hat," a ^^ cockade," 
•' cock up your beaver," " cock- 
sure" (manifestly or presumedly 
sure, or pretending to be so), 
" cock-a-hoop," and many others. 
It is more common in Lowland 
Scotch than in English. To 
cock, signifies to mount one boy 
on the back of another for 
punishment on the posteriors ; 
to cock-shy, to throw a stone or 
other missile high in the air; 
cock-a-penny or cock-a-pentie, to 
live beyond one's income for 
pride or ostentation, or the dis- 
inclination to appear as poor as 
one is in reality by expending 
more pennies than one has 
honestly got ; cockie-vain, con- 
ceited, arrogant, stuck up ; 
cockie-ridie, a game among chil- 
dren, when one rides on the 
shoulders of another ; a cock- 
horse, a wooden horse, on which 
children mount for amusement ; 
cock-laird, a small landed pro- 
prietor, who affects the dignity 
and gives himself the airs of a 
great one ; cock-headed or cockle- 
headed, vain, conceited, whimsi- 
cal, stuck up ; cockemonie (which 
see) ; cock-raw, manifestly or 
plainly raw, underdone ; cock- 
up nose, a tumed-up nose, " tip- 


Cockernonte — Cod-crune. 

tilted," as Lord Tennyson more 
elegantly describes it, and cock- 
eye, a squint-eye, that cocks 
up or awry when it should 
look straight. 

None of these words have 
any connection with the male 
bird of the Gallinacese, but all 
are traceable etymologically to 
the Gaelic root of coc. Philolo- 
gists, if so disposed, may trace 
to this same source the vulgar 
and indecent English and Scot- 
tish words which may be found 
in Juvenal and Horace as 

Cockernonie, a gathering up of 
the hair of women, after a 
fashion similar to that of the 
modern " chignon," and some- 
times called a " cock-up." Mr. 
Kirkton, of Edinburgh, preach- 
ing against " cock-ups "—of 
which chignons were the re- 
presentatives a quarter of a 
century ago — said: "I have 
been all this year preaching 
against the vanity of women, 
yet I see my own daughter in 
the kirk even now with as high 
a * cock-up ' as any one of you 

Jamieson was of the opinion, 
that cocA;erno7iie signified a snood, 
or the gathering of the hair in 
a band or fillet, and derived 
the word from the Teutonic 
Tcoker, a cape, and nonne, a nun, 
i.e., such a sheath for fixing the 
hair as nuns were accustomed 
to use ! The word was a con- 
temptuous one for, false hair — a 
contrivance to make a little hair 

appear to be a good deal— and 
seems to have been compounded 
of the Gaelic coc, to stand erect, 
and neoni, nothing. 

I saw my Meg come linkin' ower the lea, 
I saw my Meg, but Meggie saw na me, 
Her cockernonie snooded up fu' sleek. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

But I doubt the daughter's a silly thing : 
an unco cockemony she had busked on her 
head at the kirk last Sunday. — Scott : 
Old Mortality. 

My gude name ! If ony body touched 
my gude name I wad neither fash council 
nor commissary. I would be down upon 
them like a sea-falcon amang a wheen wild 
geese, and the best o' them that dared to 
say onything o' Meg Dods but what was 
honest and civil, I wad soon see if her 
cockernonie was made o' her ain hair or 
other folks' !— Scott : St. Ronans' Well. 

Cod, from the Gaelic, cod, a 
cushion, a pillow, a bag, a re- 
ceptacle ; peas-cod, the shell in 
which the peas are formed and 
retained. The word is retained 
in English in an indelicate sense 
for the scrotum. 

I hae guid fire for winter weather, 
A cod o' cafF (chaff) wud fill a cradle, 

A halter an' a guid hay tether, 
A deuk about the dub to paidle. 
— The Wooin' o' Jenny and Jock. 

Cod-crune or cod-crooning, a 

curtain lecture ; from the Gaelic 
cod, a pillow, and croon, to mur- 
mur, to lament, to moan. Jamie- 
son derives the word from the 
Teutonic Tcreunen, and says it is 
sometimes called a "bowster 
(bolster) lecture." No such word, 
however, as kreunen or krunen 
is to be found in the German 

Codroch — Collte-shangie. 


Codroch, miserable, ugly, detest- 
able. These are the meanings 
assigned to the word by Allan 
Ramsay, though Jamieson, who 
cites it as used in Fifeshire and 
the Lothians, explains it as a 
rustic, or one who is dirty and 

A codroch coffe, he is sure sich, 
And lives like ony wareit wretch. 
—Pedder Coffe : The Evergreen. 

The final syllable seems to 
be the Gaelic droch, bad, evil, 
wicked, mischievous. Go is 
doubtless the Gaelic cotrih (pro- 
nounced c6), a prefix equivalent 
to the Latin co and con. Jamie- 
son derives it from the Irish 
Gaelic cudar, the rabble, a 
word that does not appear in 
O'Reilly's excellent Irish Dic- 
tionary, though cudarman and 
cudarmanta appear in it as 
synonymous with ** vulgar and 

Coffe, a fellow; in vulgar Eng- 
lish, a chap. From the German 
kaufen, to buy ; and Jcaufmann, 
a merchant, a tradesman. 

Coft, bought, purchased. Cooft, 
to buy, from kaufen, has become 
obsolete ; but cooper, a buyer or 
seller, survives in horse-cooper 
or horse-dealer. 

Then he has cqft for that ladye 

A fine silk riding-gown ; 
Likewise he co/t for that ladye 
A steed, and set her on. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads: 
Jock o' Hazelgreen {old version). 

Cog and cogie, a bowl or cup, also 
a basin. From the Gaelic cimch, 

a cup, used either for broth, ale, 
or stronger drink. 

I canna want my cogie, sir, 

I canna want my cogie ; 
I winna want my three-girred cog 

For a' the wives in Bogie. 

— Duke of Gordon. 

It's good to have our cog out when it 
rains kail ! — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

Coggle, to shake, to waggle ; from 
the Gaelic gog or cog, to shake ; 
gogail, wavering, unsteady. 
Whence probably the French 
coquette, a flirt, or one who 
wavers or is unsteady in the 
bestowal of her favours to male 

It coggled thrice, but at the last 
It rested on his shoulders fast. 
— George Beattie : John o Arnha. 

Collie-shangie, a loud dispute, a 
quarrel, an uproar, a noise of 
angry tongues. 

How the collie-shangie works 
Betwixt the Russians and the Turks. 
— Burns : To a Gentleman who Sent 
hint a Newspaper. 

" It has been supposed," says 
Jamieson, " that from collie, a 
shepherd's dog, and shangie, a 
chain, comes the word collie- 
shangie, a quarrel between two 
dogs fastened with the same 
chain." Under the word " col- 
lie," he explains it to mean a 
quarrel, as well as a dog of that 
species ; as if he believed that 
the gentle and sagacious shep- 
herd's dog was more quarrel- 
some than the rest of the 
canine species. In Gaelic, coUeid 


Conundrum — Corbie. 

means noise, confusion, uproar ; 
and coileideach, noisy, confused, 
angry ; which is no doubt the 
etymology of collie in the com- 
pound word collie-shangie. The 
meaning of shangie is diflScult 
to trace, unless it be from the 
Gaelic seang (pronounced shang), 
slender, lean, hungry. 

Conundrum, a kind of riddle sug- 
gestive of resemblances where 
no resemblances exist ; a wordy 
puzzle. The word is of com- 
paratively recent introduction 
into English, and has been sup- 
posed by some etymologists to 
be derivable from the German 
Jcennen, to know. Stormonth 
was content to trace it to the 
Anglo-Saxon cunnan; but on its 
being pointed out to him by 
the present writer, in a private 
note, after the issue of the first 
edition of his Dictionary, that 
the derivation was so far un- 
satisfactory that it did not ac- 
count for the final syllable, and 
that it was an ancient Scottish 
word, of which the components 
were the Gaelic conn, sense or 
meaning, and antrom, heavy or 
difficult, he abandoned the 
Anglo - Saxon derivation, and 
expressed his resolve to adopt 
the Gaelic etymology if his Dic- 
tionary ever reached a second 
edition. He died, unfortunately, 
before preparing a second edi- 
tion for the press. 

Coof, cuif, gowk, a fool, a sim- 
pleton, a cuckoo. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, 

Wha struts an' stares an' a' that ; 

Though hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a cut/for a' that. 

— Burns : A Man's a Man. 

Coof and gowTc, though appar- 
ently unlike each other in sound, 
are probably corruptions of the 
same Gaelic words, cudbhag 
{cuafag) and cuach, a cuckoo : — 

Ye breed of the gowk (cuckoo), ye hae 
but ae note in your voice, and ye're aye 
singing it. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

In England, a "fool" and a 
"goose" are synonymous; but 
in Scotland the cuckoo is the 
bird that symbolises stupidity. 

Cuif, fool, and blockhead, are not exact 
synonyms, — rather a useless fellow, a sort 
of male tawpie. A man may be a cuij, 
and yet the reverse of a fool or blockhead. 
— R. Drennan. 

Coo-me-doo, a term of endear- 
ment for a turtle-dove, wood 
pigeon, or cushat. 

O coo-me-doo, my love sae true. 

If ye'll come doun to me, 
Ye'se hae a cage o' guid red gowd 

Instead o' simple tree. 

— Buchan's Ballads: The Earl o' 
Mars Daughter. 

Corbie, the hooded-crow ; also 
the raven ; from the French 

Corbies will no pick out corbies' e'en 
{Old Proverb). [Signifying that two of a 
trade ought not to divulge the tricks of 
the trade ; also applied among thieves to 
a confederate who informs against them, 
or peaches. \ 

The adder lies i' the corbies nest. 

Beneath the corbies wing ; 
And the blast that rives the corbies nest 

Will soon bring hame the king. 

^ —Jacobite Song, 1745. 

Cosh — Craig. 


Cosh, quiet, snug. {See Cozie.) 

And sang fu' sweet the notes o' love, 
Till a' was cosh within. 

— Border Minstrelsy : The Gay 

Cosie, cozie, comfortable, snug, 

While some are cozie in the neuk. 
And forming assignations 
To meet some day. 
— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Jamieson says that cosie, snug, 
warm, comfortable, seems to be 
of the same derivation as cosh, a 
comfortable situation, and com- 
fortable as implying a defence 
from the cold. It is evidently 
from the Gaelic coiseag, a little, 
snug, or warm corner, a deriva- 
tion from cos and cois, a hollow, 
a recess, a corner. 

Couthie, well - known, familiar, 
handsome, and agreeable — in 
contradistinction to the English 
word uncouth. 

Some kindle, couthie, side by side, 
And burn together trimly. 

— Burns : Halloween. 
My ain couthie dame, 
O my ain couthie dame ; 
Wi' my bonny bits o' bairns, 
Aftd my ain couthie dame. 

— Ingleside Lilts. 

Covrp, to tumble over ; akin to the 
French cowp, a blow ; whence to 
suffer a blow in falling. 

I drew my scythe in sic a fury, 
I near had cowpit in my hurry. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

word is traceable in the English 
crabbed, ill-tempered. 

He that crabbs without cause should 
mease (apologise) without mends (making 
amends). — Scottish Proverb. 

Crack, talk, gossip, conversation, 
confidential discourse, a story ; 
from the Gaelic crac, to talk ; 
cracaire, a talker, a gossip, and 
cracaireachd, idle talk or chat. 
To ''crack a thing up" in Eng- 
lish is to talk it into repute 
by praise. A crach article is a 
thing highly praised. Jamieson 
derives the word from the Ger- 
man hralcen, to make a noise, 
though there is no such word in 
that language. 

But raise your arm, and tell your crack 
Before them a'. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

They're a' in famous tune 
For cracks that day. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

The cantie auld folk crackin crouse. 
The young anes rantin' through the house ; 
My heart has been sae fain to see them, 
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

A lady on hiring a servant girl in the 
country, told her, as a great indulgence, 
that she should have the liberty of attend- 
ing the kirk every Sunday, but that she 
would be expected to return home im- 
mediately after the conclusion of the ser- 
vice. The lady, however, rather unex- 
pectedly found a positive objection raised 
against this apparently reasonable arrange- 
ment. "Then I canna engage wi' ye, 
mem, for indeed I wadna gie the crack i' 
the kirkyard for a' the sermon." — Dean 

Crabb, to find fault, to be angry, 
to complain for slight cause, 
or without real necessity. This 

Craig, the neck. 

Ane got a twist o' the craig, 
Ane got a punch o' the wame 


Crambo- Clink — Croon. 

Symy Hair got lamed o' a leg, 
And syne ran wabblin' hame. 
— Border Minstrelsy : The Death of 

Crambo-clink or crambo-jingle, a 

contemptuous name for dog- 
gerel verse, and bad or medi- 
ocre attempts at poetry, which 
Douglas Jerrold, with wit as 
well as wisdom — and they are 
closely allied — described as 
"verse and ?wrse." 

A' ye wha live by crambo-clink, 
A' ye wha write and never think, 
Come mourn wi' me. 
— Burns : On a Scotch Bard. 

Amaist as soon as I could spell, 
I to the crambo-jingle fell, 

Tho' rude and rough ; 
But crooning to a body's sel' 

Does weel enough. 

— Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

Crambo seems to be derived 
from the Gaelic crom, crooked, 
or perhaps from " cramp " 
or "cramped." "Clink" and 
"jingle," assonance, conson- 
ance, or rhyme, are from the 

Creel or creil, a fish-basket ; from 
the French creiUe, with the same 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 

The boatie rows fu' weel, 
And muckle luck attend the boat, 

The merlin, and the creel. — Old Song. 

Creepie, a low stool ; from the 
Gaelic cruh, to bend low. 

I sit on my creepie arid spin at my wheel, 
An' think on the laddie that lo'es me sae 
weel. — Logie d Buchan. 

Creeshie, greasy. 

Kamesters (wool-combers) are aye cree- 
shie {Old Proverb), i.e., people are ever 
tainted with their trade, as in the phrase, 
" Millers are aye mealy." 

Crone, an old woman, a witch. 
Worcester, in his Dictionary, 
derives this word from the 
Scottish "croon" "the hollow 
muttering sound with which old 
witches uttered their incanta- 
tions." {See Croon.) 

Crony, a comrade, a dear friend, 
a boon companion ; derived in 
a favourable sense from crone. 
This Scottish word seems to 
have been introduced to English 
notice by James I. It was used 
by Swift and other writers of 
his period, and was admitted 
into Johnson's Dictionary, who 
described it as a " cant word." 

To oblige your crony Swift, 
Bring our dame a New Year's gift. 
— Swift. 
My name is Fun, your crony dear, 
The nearest friend ye ha'e. 

—Burns: The Holy Fair. 
And at his elbow Souter Johnny, 
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony. 

—Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 

Croodle, to coo like a dove: "a 
wee croodlin' doo," a term of 
endearment to an infant. 

Far ben thy dark green plantin' shade 
The cushat (wood-pigeon) croodles amor- 

ousHe. — Tannahill. 
There's ae thing keeps my heart light, 

Whate'er the world may do ; 
A bonnie, bonnie, bonnie, bonnie. 

Wee croodlin doo. — Old Song. 

Croon, to hum over a tune, to 
prelude on an instrument. The 

Crouse — Crummie. 


word seems derivable from the 
Gaelic cronan, a dull, murmur- 
ing sound, a mournful and mo- 
notonous tune. 

The sisters grey before the day 
Did croon within their cloister. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet, 
Whiles croonin o'er some auld Scots sonnet. 
— Burns : Tarn o' Shunter. 

Where auld ruined castles grey 

Nod to the moon, 
To fright the nightly wanderer's way 

Wi' eldritch croon. 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Plaintive tunes. 
Such as corpse-watching beldam croons. 
— Sttidies/rom the Antique. 

Crouse, merry, lively, brisk, bold, 
from the Gaelic craos, greedy, 
sensual, gluttonous, eager for 
any pleasure of the senses. 

A cock's aye crouse on his ain midden. — 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The cantie auld folk crackin' crouse, 
The young anes rantin' through the house. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

crowdie is thick and firm, and in 
that quality its great merit con- 
sists, as distinguished from its 
watery competitor, the nourish- 
ment of the sick-room, and not 
to be compared to the strong 
wholesome "parritch," which 
Burns designated "the chief of 
Scotland's food." 

Oh, that I had never been married, 

I'd never had nae care ; 
Now I've gotten wife and bairns. 

An' they cry crowdie evermair ! 
Once crowdie, twice crowdie. 

Three times crowdie in a day ! 

— Burns. 
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time. 

And soon I made me ready. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair, i 

My sister Kate came up the gate 
Wi' crowdie unto me, man ; 

She swore she saw the rebels run 
Frae Perth unto Dundee, man. 
— The Battle of Sheriffmuir. 

Crowdie, properly, is oatmeal mixed 
with cold water ; but it is also used for 
food in general, as in the expression, 
"I'll be hame about crowdie-t\xa.t." — R. 

Crowdie, oatmeal boiled to a 
thick consistency ; crowdie-time, 
breakfast-time or meal-time. 

Jamieson goes to the Icelandic 
for the origin of the word crowdie, 
once the favourite and general 
food of the Scottish people, in 
the days before the less nutri- 
tious potato was introduced 
into the country. But the name 
of crowdie is not so likely to 
be derived from the Icelandic 
graut-ur, gruel made of groats, 
as from the Gaelic cruaidh, 
thick, firm, of hard consistency. 
Gruel is thin, but porridge or 

Crummie, a familiar name for a 
favourite cow ; from the crooked 
horn. Gaelic crom, crooked. In 
the ancient ballad of **Tak' 
your auld cloak about ye," 
quoted by Shakespeare in 
*' Othello," the word appears 
as Crumboch 

Bell, my wife, who loves no strife, 

She said unto me quietlie. 
Rise up and save cow Crumbock's life. 

And put thine auld cloak about thee. 

The word appears as Crum- 
mock in Burns's "Epistle to 
Major Logan." - „ 


Crunt — Cupar. 

Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle, 
Lang may your elbuck jouk and diddle, 
To cheer you through the weary widdle 

O' this wide warl', 
Until you on a crummock driddle, 

A grey-hair'd carl. 

Crunt, a smart blow with a cudgel 
or fist on the crown of the 

And mony a fellow got his licks 
Wi' hearty crunt. 
—Burns : To Willie Simpson. 

This word seems to come 
either from the English crown, 
the head (hence a blow on the 
head), or from the Gaelic crun, 
which has the same meaning. 
The crown of the head, the very 
top of the head, is a common 
phrase ; the croon of the cause- 
way — the top ridge of the road, 
or the middle of the road — is a 
well-known Scotticism. In slang 
English, a crunt is called a wqp- 
jper, or one for his "nob." 

Cuddie, a donkey; supposed by 
some to be derived from the 
Gaelic cutach, bob-tailed, or 
from ceutach, grace, elegance, 
beauty, upplied to the animal 
by its owner either in affection 
or derision. 

One^day my grandfather saw Andrew 
Leslie's donkey up to the knees in a field 
of clover. " Hallo, Andrew ! " said he, " I 
thought your cztdJie wad eat nothing but 
thistles and nettles." " Ay," said he, 
" but he misbehaved himself, and I put 
him in there just to punish him." — Dean 

Cuddle. This word, which in the 
English vernacular means to em- 
brace, to fondle, to press to the 

bosom, simply signifies in Scot- 
tish parlance to sleep, and is 
derived from the Gaelic cadaiL 

An auld beddin' o' claes 
Was left me by my mither ; 

They're jet black o'er wi' flaes ; 
Ye may cuddle in them thegither. 

The bride she gaed to her bed, 

The bridegroom he came till her, 
The fiddler crept in at the foot, 
An' they a' cuddled together. 

—Maggies Tocher: The Tea- 
Table Miscellany. 

Where shall I cuddle the night ? 

— Galt : Mansie Wauch. 

Cuif or coof, a fool, a blockhead. 
{See Coop, anJLe.) 


He that will to Cupar, maun to Cupar. 

This proverb, applied to an 
obstinate man who will have his 
own way, has puzzled many 
commentators. Dean Ramsay 
asks, "Why Cupar? and whether 
is it the Cupar of Angus or the 
Cupar of Fife ? " 

It has been suggested that the 
origin of "Cupar," in the sense 
employed in the proverb, is the 
Gaelic comhar {covar), a mark, a 
sign, a proof, and that the phrase 
is equivalent to "he who will be 
a marked man (by his folly or per- 
versity) must be a marked man." 
It has also been suggested 
that " Cupar " is from comharra 
{covarra), shelter or protection 
of the sanctuary, to which a 
man resorted when hard pressed 
by justice for a crime which he 
had committed. 

Cum — Cutty-mun. 


Cum, a grain of corn ; whence 
kernel, the fruit in the nut ; 

Mind to splice high with Latin — a cum 
or two of Greek would not be amiss : and if 
ye can bring in anything about the judg- 
ment of Solomon in the original Hebrew, 
and season with a merry jest or so, the dish 
will be the more palatable. — Scott : For- 
tunes of Nigel. 

Allied words to cum are 
"kern" and "churn," a hand- 
mill for grinding corn, and 
" churn," a mill for stirring the 
milk so as to make butter. 

Cushat, a turtle-dove, a wood- 

O'er lofty aiks the cushats wail, 
And echo coos the dolefu' tale. 

— Burns : Bess and her Spinning 

Custock or castock, the edible 
stalk of cabbage ; a kail-runt. 

There's cauld kail in Aberdeen, 

An' custocks in Stra'bogie, 

An' ilka lad maun hae his lass. 

An' I maun hae my cogie. 

— Herd's Collection : The Three- 

Girred Cog. 

Cutty or cuttie, short ; from the 
Gaelic cutach, that has been cut, 
abridged, or shortened ; whence 
cwW2/-pipe, a short pipe. 

I'm no sae scant o' clean pipes as to blaw 
wi' a burnt cutty. — Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Till first ae caper, then anither, 

Tam tint his reason a' thegither, 

And roared out " Weel done, cutty sark ! " 

And in an instant a' was dark. 

— Burns : Tam o Shanter. 

Her cutty sark, o' Paisley ham, 
That when a lassie she had worn, 

In longitude though sorely scanty, 
It was her best, and she was vaunty. 

Cuttie-stool, a three-legged stool; 
a short stool, such as Jennie 
Geddes is reported to have 
thrown from the pulpit stairs 
at the head of the heretical 

A circumstance connected with Scottish 
church discipline has undergone a great 
change in my time — I mean the public 
censure from the pulpit of persons con- 
victed of a breach of the seventh command- 
ment. . . . This was performed by the 
guilty person standing up before the whole 
congregation on a raised platform called 
the cutty-stool. — Dean Ramsay. 

The culprits did not always take the ad- 
monition patiently. It is recorded of one 
of them in Ayrshire, that when accused of 
adultery by the minister, he interrupted 
and corrected his reverend monitor by 
denying the imputation, and calling out, 
"Na! na! minister; it was simple /ornie 
(fornication), and no adultery ava." — Ibid. 

Cutty-mun and tree-ladle. These 
words, according to Jamieson, 
were the names of old tunes 
once popular in Scotland. No 
trace of them, however, has 
hitherto been discovered, and 
the interpretation given to them 
by Jamieson remains a mere 
supposition on his part. Cutty- 
mun, he says, means a spoon 
with a short handle. Cutty no 
doubt signifies short or small, 
as in cutty-stool and in {Mtty- 
pipe ; but Jamieson should have 
been aware that in no known lan- 
guage does mun signify a spoon. 
Investigation would have shown 
him that the same language 
from which cutty is derived sup- 


Daff- — Dambrod. 

plied the true etymology of mwn, 
from mainne, delay, and that 
cutty-mun signified short delay. 
In like manner tree-ladle has no 
reference to a wooden spoon or 
ladle, as he supposed, but is 
derived from the Gaelic triall, 
departure on a journey, and 
luathaich, speed ; luathailteach, 
swift, speedy. Thus the old 
tune mentioned by Jamieson 
resolves itself into a Low- 
land rendering of the Gaelic, 

and signified "a short shrift 
and speedy exit." This would 
be an appropriate phrase ap- 
plied to the hanging of a High- 
land criminal by a feudal chief, 
or to i the more formal but 
equally eflScacious justice as 
administered in the Lowlands, 
and is, there can be little or no 
doubt, the real meaning of the 
name of the old song on which 
Jamieson relied for his inter- 

Daff, to make merry, to be sportive ; 
daffin', merriment. 

Wi' daffin weary grown, 
Upon a knowe they sat them down. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Dr. Adam, Rector of the High School 
of Edinburgh, rendered the Horatian ex- 
pression " desipere in loco " by the Scottish 
phrase " weel-timed daffin " — a translation 
which no one but a Scot could properly 
appreciate. — Dean Ramsay. 

I>aff has long ceased to be cur- 
rent English, though it was used 
by Shakespeare in the sense of 
to befool. In the scene between 
Leonato and Claudio in " Much 
Ado About Nothing," when 
Claudio refuses to fight with 
an old man, Leonato rephes : 

Canst thou so ^a^ me— thou who killed 
my child ? 

The Shakespearean commen- 
tators all agree that this word 
- should be doff me, or put me off. 

They interpret in the same way 
the line in King Lear : — 

The madcap Prince of Wales, that 
daff'd the world aside ! 

It would appear, however, that 
in both instances, daff was used 
in the sense which it retains in 
Scotch, that of fool or befool. 

Daft, crazy, wild, mad. 

Or maybe in a frolic daft 

To Hague or Calais take a waft. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Daidle, to trifle, to dawdle. 

Daidlin in the mock-turtle ! I hate 
a' things mock. — Nodes Ainbrosiance. 

Daiker or daker, to saunter, to 
stroll lazily or idly, or without 
defined purpose or object. 

Dambrod, draught - board or 
chess-board ; from the Flemish 
dambord ; the first syllable from 

Dapperpye — Dautie. 


the French dame^ or jcu aux 
dames, draughts. 

Mrs. Chisholm entered the shop of a 
linen-draper, and asked to be shown some 
table-cloths of a dambrod pattern. The 
shopman was taken aback at such appar- 
ently strong language as " damned broad," 
used by a respectable lady. The lady, on 
her part, was surprised at the stupidity 
of the London shopman, who did not 
understand so common a phrase. — Dean 

Dapperpye, brilliant with many- 
colours ; from dapper, neat and 
smart, the German tapfer, brave, 
English, bravery in attire, and 
pied, variegated. 

Oh, he has pu'd off his dapperpye coat. 
The silver buttons glanced bonny. 

— Border Minstrelsy : Annan 

Darg or daurk, a job of work ; 
from the Gaelic dearg, a plough. 

You will spoil the darg if you stop the 
plough to kill a mouse. — Northumbrian 

He never did a good darg that gaed 
grumbling about it. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

Monie a sair daurk we hae wrought. 

— Burns : To his Auld Mare 

Darger, a day-labourer, one who 
works by the piece or job ; also 
a ploughman. 

The croonin kye the byre drew nigh. 
The darger left his thrift. 

— Border Minstrelsy : The Water 
Kelpie. ^ 

Daud, to pelt ; also a large piece. 

I'm busy too, an' skelpin' at it. 
But bitter daudin showers ha'e wat it. 
—Burns: To J. Lapraik. 

He'll clap a shangan on her tail, 
An' set the bairns to dai4d her 
Wi' dirt this day. 
—Burns : The Ordination. 

A daud o' bannock 
Wad mak' him blithe as a body could. 
—Allan Ramsay. 

Daud and hlaud or hlad are 
synonymous in the sense of a 
large piece of anything, and 
also of pelting or driving, as 
applied to rain or wind. 

I got a great blad o' Virgil by heart. 
— Jamieson. 

Dauner or daunder, to saunter, 
to stroll leisurely, without a 

Some idle and mischievous youths waited 
for the minister on a dark night, and one 
of them, dressed as a ghost, came up to 
him in hopes of putting him in a fright. 
The minister's cool reply upset the plan. 
"Weel, Maister Ghaist, is this a general 
rising, or are ye jist taking a dauner 
frae your grave by yoursel' ? " — Dean 
Ramsay's Reminiscences. 

Daunton, to subdue, to tame, to 
daunt, to dominate, to break in 
(applied to horses) ; from the 
Gaelic dan, bold, daring, and 
danaich, to exert boldness, to 
dare, to challenge, to defy. 

To daunton me, and me sae young, 
Wi' his fause heart an' flatterin' tongue, 
That is the thing ye ne'er shall see, 
For an auld man shall never daunton me. 
— Old Song, altered by Burns. 

Daut, to fondle, to caress. 

Dautie, a darling, one who is fon- 
dled and affectionately treated ; 
allied to the English doat, doat 
upon, and dotage. 


Daw — Deas. 

Whae'er shall say I wanted Jean, 
When I did kiss and daut her. 

— Burns : Had I the ivyte. 
My dautie and my doo (dove). 

— Allan Ramsay. 
To some it may appear that daivtie may 
have had its origin from the Gaelic dalt, a 
foster-child. — Jamieson. 

Yestreen ye were your daddie's doo, 
But an your mither's dautie. 
— Bvchan's Ancient Bal/ads : The 
Trooper and Fair Maid. 

Daw, a slut, akin to the colloquial 
English dowdy, an ill -dressed 
woman or sloven. 

See-saw, Margery Daw, 

Sold her bed and lay in the straw. 

— Nursery Rhyme. 

Dawds and blawds is a phrase 
that denotes the greatest abun- 
dance. — Jamieson. 

Dawk, a drizzling rain ; dawky, 
moist, rainy, not exactly a down- 
pour of steady rain, but of inter- 
mittent drizzle. 

Day-daw, abbreviation of day- 
dawn, or dawn of day. 

Dead is often used in the sense of 
very, extremely, or entirely, as in 
the English word dead-heat. It 
occurs in Scottish parlance as 
dead-loun, very calm and still; 
dcad-cauld, extremely cold ; dead- 
ripe, very ripe, or ripe to rotten- 
ness ; dead-sweir, extremely lazy 
or tired out. 

Dear me ! Oh dear me ! Deary 

me ! These colloquial exclama- 
tions are peculiar to the Eng- 
lish and Scottish languages, and 
are indicative either of surprise, 

pain, or pity. If the word 
" dear " be accepted as correct, 
and not a corruption of some 
other word with a different 
meaning, the explanation, if 
literally translated into any 
other language, would be non- 
sensical ; in French, for in- 
stance, it would be clier moi ! 
and in German, A ch theuer mich ! 
The original word, as used by 
our British ancestors, and 
misunderstood by the Danes, 
Flemings, and Dutch, who suc- 
ceeded them in part posses- 
sion of the country, appears to 
have been the Gaelic Dia {dee-a), 
God. Oh Dia ! or Oh dear ! 
and Oh dear me ! would signify, 
God ! Oh God I or Oh my God ! 
synonymous with the French 
Mon Dieu ! or Oh mon Dieu ! and 
the German Mein Gott ! or Ach 
mein Gott ! 

Deas, a stone seat in the porch, 
or at the porch of a church, 
probably so named from its 
usual position at the right hand 
side ; from the Gaelic deas, the 
right side, on the right hand. 

An' when she came to Marie's kirk. 

An' sat down in the deas. 
The licht that came frae fair Annie 

Enlichten't a' the place. 

Vkkcy' s Reliques : Sweet William 
and Fair A nnie. 

The etymology of the Eng- 
lish and French word dais has 
given rise to much diference of 
opinion. Stormonth's English 
Dictionary defines dais as "a 
canopy over a throne, after- 
wards the whole seat," and sug- 

Deave — Deray. 


gests a derivation from the " old 
French dais, a. table, from Latin 
discus, a quoit — the raised floor 
at the upper end of a dining- 
room ; a raised seat, often cano- 
pied." Brachet's Etymological 
Dictionary, in which the com- 
piler follows Littr^, says that 
*' dais in old French always 
meant a dinner-table, but espe- 
cially a state table with a 
canopy ; that gradually the 
sense of table has been lost, 
and that of canopy prevails ; 
whereas in England the sense 
of canopy is lost, while that of 
the platform on which the table 
stands has taken its place." 

May not all these apparent 
discrepancies between canopy, 
platform, table, seat, and disk 
or discus, be explained by the 
Gaelic deas, as the real origin of 
dais ? The right-hand side of 
the host was the place of honour, 
reserved for the most distin- 
guished guest ; and the canopy 
was raised, as a matter of course, 
at the upper end of the ban- 
queting hall, where kings and 
great nobles held their festivals. 
The suggestion will be taken by 
philologists quantum vaZeat. It 
is certainly as well deserving 
of consideration as the deriva- 
tion from discus is, which has 
hitherto found favour with phi- 
lologists who are ignorant of the 

Deave, to deafen. 

Last May a braw wooer came down the 
lang glen, 
An' sair wi' his love he did deave me ; 

I said there was naethin' I hated like men, 
The deil gae wi'm to believe me. 


A drunken wife I hae at hame, 

Her noisome din aye deaves me ; 
The ale-wife, the ale-wife, 

The ale-wife she grieves me ; 
The ale-wife an' her barrelie 
They ruin me an' deave me. 

— Buchan's Scots Songs and 

Deil's-buckie or Deevil's-buckie, 

an angry epithet applied to any 
mischievous lad or small boy. 
Jamieson says huckie signifies a 
spiral shell of any kind, and 
adds that a refractory urchin 
is not only designated by irate 
persons as a deiVs buckie, but as 
a thrawn or twisted buckle. It 
may be questioned, however, 
whether huckie is not derived 
from the Gaelic buachaille, a 
cowherd, and not from a shell, 
as far more likely to be in use 
among a pastoral and agricul- 
tural peasantry than a shell, 
that is not in any way sugges- 
tive of either a good boy or a 
bad one, 

Deray, disorder, disarray. The 
word is also applied to any 
amusement of a boisterous char- 

Sic dancin' and deray. 

—Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

The word is used by the old 
poets Barbour and Douglas, but 
seldom or never by those of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies, and is all but obsolete. 


Dern — Dilly Castle. 

Dem, dismal, gloomy. 

Auld Dourie never saw a blink, 
The lodging was so dark and dem. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Chirstie's Will. 

Deuch, a drink, a draught ; a cor- 
ruption of the Gaelic deoch, which 
has the same meaning. Jamie- 
son has deuch-an-dorach and 
deuch-an-doris, both corruptions 
of the Gaelic deoch-an-dorus, a 
drink at the door, the parting 
cup, the stirrup-cup. The ale- 
house sign, once common in Eng- 
land as well as in Scotland, 
"The Dog and Duck," appears 
to have had no relation to aqua- 
tic sports, but to have been a 
corruption of the Gaelic deoch 
an diugh, a drink to-day. In 
the same manner, " Mad Dog" 
— once set up as a sign at a 
place called Odell, as recorded 
in Hotten's " History of Sign- 
boards" — is merely the GaeUc of 
math deoch or maith deoch, good 
drink. In the London slang of 
the present day, duke is a word 
used among footmen and grooms 
for gin. 

Deuk. A vulgar old song, which 
Burns altered and sent to 
"Johnson's Museum," without 
much improvement on the 
coarse original, commences with 
the lines : — 

The bairns gat out wi' an unco shout. 
The deuk's dang o'er my daddie, oh I 

The fient may care, quo' the ferlie auld wife, 
He was but a paidlin' body, oh ! 

The glossaries that accompany 
the editions of Burns issued by 

Allan Cunningham, Alexander 
Smith, and others, all agree in 
stating that deuTc signifies the 
aquatic fowl the duck. But 
" the ducTc has come over, or 
beaten over, or flown over my 
father," does not make sense of 
the passage, or convey any mean- 
ing whatever. It is probable — 
though no editor of Burns has 
hitherto hinted it — that the 
word deuk should be deuch, 
from the Gaelic deoch, drink, a 
deep potation, which appears in 
Jamieson without other allusion 
to its Gaelic origin than the 
weU-known phrase the deoch- 
an-dorus, the stirrup-cup or 
drink at the door. {See Deuch, 
ante.) Seen in this light, the 
line "the deuch' 8 dang o'er my 
daddie" would signify "the 
drink or drunkenness has beaten 
or come over my daddie," and 
there can be little doubt that 
this is the true reading. 

Dew-piece, a slight refreshment, 
a piece of bread, a scone, or oat- 
cake, given out to farm-servants 
in the early morning before pro- 
ceeding to out-of-door work. 

Dight, to wipe, or wipe off. 

Dight your mou' ere I kiss you. 

—Old Song. 

Just as I dight frae the table the wine 
drops in ma sleeve. — Nodes AmbrosiamB. 

Dilly castle. This, according to 
Jamieson, is a name given by 
boys to a mound of sand which 
they erect on the-sea shore, and 
stand upon until the advancing 

Ding — Dirdunt, 


tide surrounds it and washes it 
away. He thinks the name 
comes from the Teutonic " digle 
or digel, secretus, or from the 
Swedish doelja or dylga, oc- 
cultare suus, a hiding-place." 
The etymology was not so far 
to seek or so difficult to find as 
Dr. Jamieson supposed, but is 
of purely home origin in the 
Gaelic dile (in two syllables), a 
flood, an inundation, an over- 
flow of water. 

Ding, to beat, or beat out ; from 
the Gaelic dinn, to trample, to 
tread down. 

If ye've the deil in ye, ding him out wi' 
his brither. Ae deil dings anither. 

It's a sair dung (beaten) bairn that manna 
greet. — Allan Ramsay, Scots Proverbs. 

Ding only survives in English 
in the phrase ding, dong, bell ; 
and is the slang of working 
people out on the strike for an 
advance of wages, who call a 
comrade who has left the con- 
federacy, and yielded to the 
terms of the employer, a dung, 
i.e., one who is beaten in the 

The following ludicrous ex- 
ample of the use of dung as 
the past tense of ding, to beat, 
is given by Dean Ramsay in 
an anecdote of two bethrels 
or beadles, who were severally 
boasting of the fervour of their 
two ministers in preaching : — 

"I think," said one, "our minister did 
weel. Ay ! he gart the stour fly out o' the 
cushion." To which the other replied with 
a calm feeling of superiority, " Stour out 

o' the cushion ! Hoot ! our minister, sin' 
he cam' till us, has dung the guts out o' twa 
Bibles ! " 

Dink, from the Gaelic diong, 
worthy, highly esteemed, proud, 
is suggested by Jamieson to 
mean neat, prim, saucy. The 
word occurs in the song, "My 
lady's gown there's gairsupon't," 
in which a lover draws a contrast 
between the great lady of his 
neighbourhood and the humble 
lass that he is in love with, to 
the disadvantage of the former. 
To "dink up" is to dress gor- 
geously or ostentatiously. Gair, 
in the title of the song, signifies 
an ornamental fold in the 

My lady's dink, my lady's dressed. 
The flower and fancy o' the West ; 
But the lassie that a man lo'es best, 
That's the lass to make him blest. 

Dinsome, noisy, full of din. 

Till block an' studdie (stithy or anvil) ring 

and reel 
Wi' dinsome clamour. * 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Dirdum, noise, uproar; supposed 
to be a corruption of the Gaelic 
torman, noise, uproar, confu- 

Humph ! it's juist because — ^juist that 
the dirdum's a' about yon man's pock- 
manty.— Scott : Rob Roy. 

Sic a dirdum about naething. 

— Laird of Logan. 

What wi' the dirdum and confusion, 
and the lowpin here and there of the 
skeigh brute of a horse. — Scott: For* 
tunes of Nigel. 


Dirl — Donsie. 

Dirl, a quivering blow on a hard 

I threw a noble throw at ane. 

become much more common in 
English than " never-do-well." 

It jist played dirl upon the bane, 
But did nae mair. 
' — Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Divot, a piece of turf ready cut 
and dried for burning. 

The dell sat gimin' in the neuk, 
Rivin' sticks to roast the Duke, 
{ And aye they kept it hot below, 
Bonnie laddie ! Highland laddie ! 
Wi' peats and divots frae Glencoe, 
Bonnie laddie ! Highland laddie ! 

— Jacobite Ballad. 

Doited, confused, bewildered, 
stupid; hopelessly perplexed; 
of a darkened or hazy intellect. 

I'hou clears the head o' doited lear. 
Thou cheers the heart o' droopin' care, 
Thou even brightens dark despair 
Wi' gloomy smile. 

— BuKNS : Scotch Drink. 

Ye auld, blind, doited bodie, 

And blinder may ye be — 
'Tis but a bonnie milking cow 
My minnie gied to me. 
— Our Gudeman cam' Hame at E'en. 

This word seems to be deriv- 
able from the Gaelic doite^ dark- 
coloured, obscure. 

Doited evidently has some connection 
with the modern English word dotage, 
which again comes from dote, which an- 
ciently had, in addition to its modern 
meaning, that of to grow' dull, senseless, 
or stupid. — R. Drennan, 

Do-nae-guid and Ne'er-do-weel. 

These words are synonymous, 
and signify what the French call 
a vaurien, one who is good for 
nothing. Neer-do-weel has lately 

Donnart, stupefied. 

Just dung don- 

"Has he learning' 
nart wi' learnin'." 

—Scott : St. Ronaris Well. 

Jamieson traces this word to 
the German donner, thunder ; 
but it comes most likely from 
the Gaelic donas, ill-fortune, or 
donadh, mischief, hurt, evil — 
corrupted by the Lowland 
Scotch by the insertion of the 
letter r. The EngUsh word 
dunce appears to be from the 
same source, and signifies an 
unhappy person, who is too 
stupid to learn. 

Donnot or donot, a ne'er-do-weel, 
usually applied to an idle or 
worthless girl or woman ; a cor- 
ruption of do-nought, or do- 

Janet, thou donot, 
I'll lay my best bonnet 
Thou gets a new gudeman afore it be night. 
— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

Donsie, unlucky ; from the Gaelic 
donas, misfortune ; the reverse 
of sonas, sonsie or lucky. 

Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes, 

Their failings and mischances. 

— Burns : Address to the Ufico Guid. 

Jamieson admits that the 
word may be derived from the 
Gaelic donas, and says that it 
means not only unlucky, but 
pettish, peevish, ill-natured, 
dull, dreary. But all these epi- 
thets resolve themselves more 
or less intimately into the idea 
of unluckiness. 

Doo — Dous. 


Doo, a dove, a pigeon ; <^o-tart or 
tert, a pigeon-pie. *' My bonnie 
doo " is a familiar and tender 
salutation to a lover. Doo-cot, 
a dove-cot. 

Oh, lay me doun, my doo, my doo, 

Oh, lay me doun, my ain kind dearie ; 
For dinna ye mind upo' the time 
We met in the wood at the well sae 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Dook or douk, to dive under 
water. Colloquial English, to 
duck or dive. 

Gae douk, gae douk, the king he cried, 
Gae douk for gold and fee. 
Oh, wha will douk for Hunter's sake. 
— Herd's Collection ; Young Hunter. 

Dool or dule, pain, grief, doleful- 
ness ; from the Gaelic dolas, 
the French deuil, mourning. 

Of a' the numerous human dools, 

Thou bear'st the gree. 
— Burns : Address to the Toothache. 

I'hough dark and swift the waters pour, 
Yet here I wait in dool and sorrow ; 

For bitter fate must I endure. 
Unless I pass the stream ere morrow. 
— Legends of the Isles. 

Oh, dule on the order 
Sent our lads to the Border — 
The English for once by guile won the day. 
— The Flowers of the Forest. 

Dorty, haughty, stubborn, austere, 
supercilious ; from dour, hard 

Let dorty dames say na ! 

As lang as e'er they please, 
Seem caulder than the snaw 
While inwardly they bleeze. 
—Allan Ramsay : Polwarth on the 

Then though a minister grov/ldorty, 
Ye '11 snap your fingers 
Before his face. 
—Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

Douce, of a gentle or courteous 
disposition ; from the French 
d(yax, sweet. 

Ye dainty deacons and ye douce conveners. 
—Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

Ye Irish lords, ye knights and squires, ; 
Who represent our brughs and shires, 
An' doucely manage our aflFairs 
In Parliament. 
—Burns: The Author s Earnest Cry 
and Prayer. 

Doun - draught. A pull -down, 
draw-down, or drag-down. 

Twa men upon ae dog's a sair doun- 
draught. — Nodes A mbrosiancB. 

Dour, hard, bitter, disagreeable, 
close-fisted, severe, stern ; from 
the French and Latin, dur and 

When biting Boreas, fell and dour. 
Sharp shivers through the leafless bower. 
—Burns: A Winter Night. 

I've been harsh-tempered and dour 
enough, I know ; and it's only fitting as 
they should be hard and dour to me where 
I'm going.— A. Trollope : Vicar of Bull- 

Dous or Doos, i.e., doves. To 
''shoot amang the dous'^ is a 
metaphorical phrase for making 
an assertion at random or with- 
out knowledge. It is sometimes 
applied to any wilfully false 
assertion. The true meaning is 
merely that of an indiscriminate 
shot, in the hope of hitting or 
killing something — as in the 


Dow — Down. 

barbarous practice, miscalled 
sport, which was the fashion 
under royal patronage at Hur- 
lingham, of firing into a cloud 
of pigeons with the chance or 
the certainty of killing some of 

Dow, to be able, of which the 
synonym in the infinitive mood 
to can, from the Teutonic Tcannen, 
has long been obsolete. The 
misuse and perversion of this 
word in English in the cus- 
tomary greeting "How do you 
do?" is a remarkable instance 
of the corruption of the popular 
speech by the illiterate multi- 
tude, and its adoption after long 
currency by the literate, until it 
acquires an apparent authen- 
ticity and a real vitality which 
no correction however authori- 
tative can rectify. *' How do 
you do?'' originally meant, and 
still means, how do you douo? 
i.e., how is your strength or 
ability? how do you thrive or 
prosper or get on? as in the 
German phrase Wie geMs? or 
Wie hcfinden sie sieh ? the Italian 
Come state ? or Come sta ? in the 
French Comment vous portez 
vous ? or Comment vous va-t-iZ ? 
or the Gaelic Cia mar tha sibh 
an diugh, pronounced ca-mar-a 
shee an dew, equivalent to the 
English How are you ? The an- 
cient word doughty, strong, is a 
derivative of dow, able. Dow 
is provincial in England, but 
common in Lowland Scotch. 

Facts are chiels that winna ding, 
And downa be disputed.— Burns. 

And now he goes daundrin' about the 

An' a' he dow do is to hund the tykes. 
—Lady Grizzel Baillie. 

Dowd, stale, flat ; from the Gaelic 
daoidh, weak, feeble, worth- 

Cast na out the dowd water till ye get 
the fresh. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

Dowf, doof, doofing, doofart. 

All these words are appUed to a 
stupid, inactive, dull person, 
and appear to be the originals 
of the modern English slang a 
duffer, which has a similar 

Her <&«j^ excuses pat me mad. 

—Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

They're dowfzcnd. dowie at the best, 
Dowfaxi^ dowie, dow/axvd dowie, 

Wi' a' their variorum ; 
They canna please a Highland taste 

Compared wi' Tullochgorum. 
— Rev. John Skinner. 

Dowie, gloomy, melancholy, for- 
lorn, low-spirited ; from the 
Gaelic duibhe, blackness. 

It's no the loss o' warl's gear 

That could sae bitter draw the tear, 

Or mak' our bardie, dowie, wear 

The mourning weed. 
— Burns : Poor Mailie's Elegy. 
Come listen, cronies, ane and a'. 
While on my dowie reed I blaw. 
And mourn the sad untimely fa' 

O' our auld town. 

— James Ballantine. 

Down. The Scottish language 
contains many more compounds 
of down than the English, such 
as down-drag and down-draw, 
that which drags or draws a 

Downa-do — Draidgie. 


man down in his fortunes, an 
incumbrance ; down-throw, of 
which the English synonym is 
overthrow ; down-way, a decUvity 
or downward path ; down-put or 
doiim-putting, a rebuff ; doion- 
eoming, abandonment of the 
sick-room on convalescence ; 
doion-looJc, a dejected look or 
expression of countenance ; all 
of which are really English, 
although not admitted into the 

Downa-do, impotency, powerless- 
ness, inability. 

I've seen the day ye buttered my brose, 

And cuddled me late and early, O ! 
But downa-do s come o'er me now. 
And oh I feel it sairly, O ! 

— Burns : The Deuk's Dang o'er 
my Daddie. 

Dowp, the posterior, sometimes 
written dolp. This word applies 
not only to the human frame, 
but to the bottom or end of 
anything, and is used in such 
phrases as the " dowp of a 
candle," "the dowp of an ^%%," 
as well as in the threats of 
an angry mother to a young 
child, " I'll skelp your dowp'' 
*' Where's your grannie, my wee 
man 1 " was a question asked 
of a child. The child replied, 
** Oh, she's ben the house, burn- 
ing her dowp,'' i.e., her candle* 

Deil a wig has a provost o' Fairport 
worn sin auld Provost Jervie's time, and 
he had a quean o' a servant lass that 
dressed it hersel' wi' the dowp d a candle 
and a dredging-box.— Scott : The Anti- 

Dowp-skelper. A humorous word 
appUed to a schoolmaster ; from 
skelp, to smite with the palm of 
the hand. A similar idea enters 
into the composition of the Eng- 
lish phrase " a bum-brusher," 
with the difference that Irusher 
refers to the rod, and not to the 
palm of the hand. Burns applies 
the epithet to the Emperor 
Joseph of Austria, with what 
allusion it is now difficult to 
trace : — 

To ken what French mischief was brewin' 
Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin' — 
That vile dowp-skelper Emperor Joseph, 
If Venus yet had got his nose off. 
— Burns : To a Gentleman who had Pro- 
mised to send him a Newspaper. 

This word is not to be mis- 
taken for dw6-skelper — from duh, 
a pool, a pond, a puddle — and 
applied to one who rushes on his 
way recklessly, through thick 
and thin, heedless of dirt or 

Draibles or drabbles, drops of 
liquor or crumbs of food allowed 
to fall from the hand upon the 
clothes in the act of drinking or 
eating ; akin to the English 
drihlets, signifying small quanti- 
ties of anything. 

Draidgie. A funeral entertain- 
ment ; from the French dragic, a 
comfit, a sweetmeat. This word 
does not appear in Jamieson, 
but is to be found in a small 
and excellent handbook of the 
Scottish vernacular, published 
in Edinburgh, 1818. 


Dram — Dreigh. 

Dram. This ancient Scottish word 
for a small glass or "nip"of whisky 
or any other alcoholic liquor has 
long been adopted into English, 
but has no synonym of any allied 
sound in any other European 
language. The French call it a 
''petit verre," and the Germans 
a •* schnapps," while the Ameri- 
cans have recently taken to call- 
ing it a " smie, " or " a/i eye-opener. " 
Philologists have been contented 
to derive it from the Greek 
drachma, though, if this be the 
fact, it is curious that the word 
has not found its way into the 
vernacular of any other people 
than those of the British Isles. 
But though the classic etymo- 
logy be too firmly rooted in 
popular estimation to be readily 
abandoned, it may be interest- 
ing to note that in Lowland 
Scotch dram originally signified 
melancholy, heaviness of mind, 
from the Gaelic truime, heavi- 
ness, and that the dram was re- 
sorted to in order to raise the 
spirits and drive out melancholy 
— an idea which seems to have 
suggested the current American 
slang of a ''smiled 

*" A story is told in Scotland of an old 
farmer too much addicted to his "dram" 
and his toddy, who was strictly forbidden 
by his medical attendant to indulge in 
more than an ounce of whisky per diem, if 
he hoped to escape a serious illness. The 
old man was puzzled at the word "ounce," 
and asked his son,*who had studied at the 
University of St. Andrews and was quali- 
fying for the Scottish ministry, what the 
doctor meant by an ounce. " An ounce," 
said his son, "why, every one knows that 
an ounce is sixteen drams (drachms)." 
" Ah ! weel," said his sire, " if I may tak' 

saxteen drams i' the day, it's a' richt, 
an' I'll dae weel eneuch. The doctor, nae 
doot, kens his business. I've already had 
twa the day, and I've still fourteen to the 
fore ! " Tradition does not record the ulti- 
mate fate of the old farmer. 

Dreder, terror, apprehension, 
dread of impending evil ; some- 
times written dredour. 
What aileth you, my daughter Janet, 

You look so pale and wan ? 
There is a dreder in your heart, 
Or else you love a man. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads: Lord 
Thomas and the Kings Daughter. 

Dree, to endure, to suffer ; pro- 
bably from the Teutonic triiben, 
to trouble, to sadden, and 
thence to endure trouble or 
suffering ; or from tragen, to 
bear, to carry, to draw. 

Sae that no danger do thee deir 
What dule in dem thou dree 
(What soon thou mayst suffer in secret). 
—Robyn and Makyn ; The Evergreen. 
Oh wae, wae by his wanton sides, 

Sae brawlie he could flatter. 
Till for his sake I'm slighted sair, 

And dree the kintra clatter. 
— Burns ; Here's his Health in Water. 

In the dialects of the North 
of England, to dree is used in 
the sense of to draw or journey 
towards a place. 

In the summer-time, when leaves grow 
And birds sing on the tree, 
Robin Hood went to Nottingham 
As fast as he could dree. 
— Robin Hood and the Jolly Tinker. 

Dreigh, difficult, hard to travel, 

tedious, prolix, dry. 
Hech, sirs ! but the sermon was sair dreigh ! 
— Galt. 

Dreich at the thought and dour at the 
delivery. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Driddle — Drumlie. 


Driddle. This is a word of several 
meanings, all more or less signi- 
ficant of anything done by small 
quantities at a time, such as to 
urinate often, to move with slow 
steps, to spill a liquid by un- 
steady handling of the vessel 
which contains it. It appears 
to be traceable to the Gaelic 
drudh or druidh, to ooze, to 
drip, to penetrate, and drudhag, 
a small drop. 

Droddum, a jocular name for the 
breech, the posteriors, but more 
popularly known as the hurdies 
or dowp (which see). 

My sooth ! right bauld ye set your nose out, 
As plump and grey as ony grozet ; 
Oh, for some rank mercurial rozet, 

Or fell red smeddum, 
I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't, 

Wad dress your droddum. 
—Burns : To a Louse, on seeing one on 
a Lady's Bonnet at Church. 

The word seems to be of kin 
to drod, thick, squat, fleshy. 
The derivation is uncertain. 

Droich, a dwarf ; from the Gaelic 
troid or troich, with the same 

Only look at the pictures (of the aristo- 
cracy) in their auld castles. What beauti- 
ful and brave faces ! Though now and 
then, to be sure, a dowdy or a droich, — 
Noctes Atnbrosiance. 

Drook, to wet; drookit, wet 

through, thoroughly saturated 
with moisture ; from the Gaelic 
druchd, dew, moisture, a tear, a 
drop; drudhag {dru-ag), a drop 
of water; and drughadh, pene- 
trating, oozing through. The 

resemblance to the Greek SaKpv, 
a tear, is noteworthy. 

There were twa doos sat in a dookit, 
The rain cam' doun and they were drookit. 

— Nursery Song. 
The last Hallowe'en I was waukin' 

My drookit sark sleeve, as ye ken, 
His likeness cam ben the house stalkin'. 

And the vera grey breeks o' Tam Glen. 
—Burns: Tam Glen. ' 

My friends, you come to the kirk every 
Sabbath, and I lave you a' ower wi' the 
Gospel till ye're fairly drookit wi't. — Ex- 
tract from, a sermon by a minister in 
Arran : Rogers's Illustrations of Scot- 
tish Life. 

Drouth, thirst ; drouthie, thirsty ; 
from dry, dryeth. 

Tell him o' mine and Scotland's drouth. 
— Burns : Cry and Prayer. 
Folks talk o' my drink, but never talk o' 
my drouth. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 
When drouthie neebors neebors meet. 

— Burns : Tam o' Shanter. 

Drumlie, turbid or muddy (ap- 
plied to water), confused, not 
clear ; applied metaphorically to 
thoughts or expression. This 
word would be a great ac- 
quisition to the English lan- 
guage if it could be adopted, 
and lends a peculiar charm to 
many choice passages of Scottish 
poetry. All its English synon- 
yms are greatly inferior to it, 
both in logical and poetical ex- 
pression. It is derived from the 
Gaelic trom or truim, heavy 
(and applied to water), turbid. 
The word appears at one time 
to have been good English. 

Draw me some water out of this spring. 
Madam, it is all foul, drumly, black, 
muddy ! — French and English Grammar, 


Drummock — DunL 

Haste, boatman, haste I put off your boat, 
Put off your boat for golden monie ; 

I'll cross the drumlit stream to-night, 
Or never mair I'll see my Annie. 
—Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

When blue diseases fill the drumlie air. 
—Allan Ramsav. 

Drink drumly German water 
To make himself look fair and fatter. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

They had na sailed a league, a league, 

A league but barely three, 
When dismal grew his countenance, 

And drumlie grew his e'e. 

— Laidlaw : The Demon Lover. 

There's good fishing in drumlie waters. 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

I heard once a lady in Edinburgh ob- 
jecting to a preacher that she did not 
understand him. Another lady, his great 
admirer, insinuated that probably he was 
too deep for her to follow. But her ready 
answer was, " Na, na !— he's no just deep, 
ut he's drumly."— Dkkh Ramsay. 

Drummock, cold porridge.— iNToc^M 

Drunt, draunt, to drawl, to whine, 
to jrrumble; a fit of ill-humour, 
pcttishness. Both of these words 
are from the Gaelic dranndan, 
grumbling, growling, mourning, 
complaining ; dranndanach, pee- 
vish, morose, though errone- 
ously derived by Jamieson from 
the Flemish drinten, tumescere. 

May nae doot took the drunt, 
To be compared to Willie. 

— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

Nae weel-tocher'd aunts to wait on their 

And wish them in hell for it a*, man. 

—Burns : The Tarbolton Lasses. 

But lest he think I am uncivil, 
To plague you with this draunting drivel. 

Dub, a small pool of dirty water. 
The Qoosc-dubs is the name of a 
street in Glasgow. Deuk-dub, a 

O'er dub and dyke 
She'll run the fields all through. 
— Leader Haughs and Yarrow. 
There lay a deuk-dub afore the door. 
And there fell he, I trow. 

—Herd's Collection : The Brisk 
Young Lad. 

Dud, a rag ; duddies, little rags. 

Then he took out his little knife, 

Let a' his duddies fa*. 
An' he was the brawest gentleman 
That stood amang them a'. 
— We'll Gang no* Mair a Rovin. 
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans. 

— Burns. 
The duddie wee laddie may grow a braw 
man.— David Hutcheson. 

Dunnie-wassal, a Highland gen- 

There are wild dunnie ' wastats three 

thousand times three 
Will cry oich for the bonnets o' Bonnie 

Dundee.— Sir Walter Scott. 

This word, generally mis- 
printed in the Lowlands, and 
by Sir Walter Scott in his ex- 
cellent ballad of "Bonnie Dun- 
dee," is from the Gaelic duinc, a 
man, and uasal, gentle, noble, of 
good birth. 

Dunsh, to sit down hastily and 

His dowp dunshin do^tm.—Noctes Am- 

Dunt, a blow, a knock ; from dint, 
to deal a heavy blow that leaves 
a mark on a hard substance. 

Dush — Eerie. 


I am naebody's lord, 

I am slave to naebody ; 
I hae a gude broad sword, 

I'll talc' dunts frae naebody. 

—Burns : Naebody. 

Dush or dish, to push with tho 
head or horns like animals, to 
butt, to ram ; also to give a hard 
blow, to destroy or discomfit. 

Ye needna doubt I held my whisht, 
The infant aith, half-formed, was crusht ; 
I glower'd as eerie's I'd been dusht 

In some wild glen; 
Then sweet, like modest worth, she blusht, 

And steppit ben. 

•—Burns: The Vision. 

The English slang duh, to de- 
feat or conquer, seems to be of 
similar origin ; as when the late 
Lord Derby made use of the 
expression ''Dish the Whigs," 
he meant to discomfit, circum- 
vent them, or defeat them as a 
party. The root seems to be 
the Gaelic dith {di), to press, 
to squeeze, and disne, a die or 

Duxy, ugly, mischievous ; from 
the Gaelic duaich and duaich- 
nidhf ugly. 

You duxy lubber, brace your lyre ; 
Still higher yet 1 you fiend, play higher. 

Sic themes were never made to suit 
Your dozen o' lugs, ye duxy brute. 
— Georgb Bkattik : John o' Amha\ 

Dwam, a swoon, a fainting fit. 

Fast congealin' into a sort oi divam and 
stupefaction. — Nodes A mbrosiante. 

Dyke-louper, an immoral unmar- 
ried woman, or mother of an 
illegitimate child. Tho dyhc in 
this phrase means the marriage 
tie, obligation, or sacramental 
wall that prohibits the illicit 
intercourse of the sexes ; and 
louper, one who treats the wall 
and its impediment as non- 
existent, or who despises it 
by louping, jumping, or leaping 
over it. 

Dyvor, a bankrupt ; from the 
Gaelic dith (di), to destroy, to 
break ; and fear, a man — a 
broken man or bankrupt. Jamie- 
son derives the word from tho 
French devoir, duty, or to servo. 

.Smash them, crash them a' to spails. 
And rot the dyvors in the jails. 

—Burns : Address 0/ Beelzebub. 


Eastie - wastie, a person who 
docs not know his own mind, 
who veers round in his purpose 
from one side to the other, i.e., 
from eait to vaut. 

Eee-bree, an eyebrow. 

There's no a bird in a' this forest 
Will do as muckle for me 

As dip its wing in the warm water 
An' straik it on my ee-bree. 
— Johnnie o' Braidislee {when dying 
alone in the forest). 

Eerie, gloomy, wearisome, full of 

In mirkiest glen at midnight hour 
I'd rove and ne'er be eerie, O I 

If thro* that glen I gacd to tlicc, 
My ain kind dearie, O.— Burns. 


Eith — Erne. 

It was an eerie walk through the still 
chestnut woods at that still hour of the 
night. — The Dream Numbers, by T. A. 
Aft yont the dyke she's heard you bummin' 

Wi' eerie drone. 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Eerie is a most difficult word to explain. 
I don't know any English word that comes 
near it in meaning. The feeling induced 
by eerieness is that sort of superstitious 
fear that creeps over one in darkness, — 
that sort of awe we feel in the presence of 
the unseen and unknown. Anything un- 
usual or incongruous might produce the 
feeling. "The cry of howlets mak's me 
eerie," says Tannahill. The following 
anecdote illustrates the feeling when a 
thing unusual or incongruous is presented : 
— An Ayrshire farmer, who had visited 
Ireland, among other uncos he had seen, 
related that he went to the Episcopal 
church there, and this being the first time 
he had ever heard the English service, he 
was startled by seeing a falla' come in with 
a long white sark on, down to his heels. 
" Lord, sir, the sicht o' him made me feel 
quite eerie." — R. Drennan. 

Eith, easy ; etymology uncertain, 
but neither Gaelic, Flemish, nor 

It's eith defending a castle that's no 

It's eith learning the cat the way to 
the kirn. 

Eith learned, soon forgotten. 

It's eith working when the will's at hame. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Eke, to add to, an addition ; 
*'eiA;to a testament," a codicil 
to a will. This English word 
has acquired a convivial mean- 
ing in Scotland among toddy- 
drinkers. When a guest is about 
to depart, after having had a 
fair allowance of whisky, the 
host presses him to *' tak an 

eke"— i.e., another glass, to eke 
out the quantity. " I hate 
intemperance," said a northern 
magistrate, who was reproached 
by an ultra-temperance advocate 
for the iniquity of his trade as 
a distiller, "but I like to see a 
cannie, respectable, honest man 
tak' his sax tumblers and an eke 
in the bosom o' his family. But 
I canna thole intemperance I " 

Eldritch, fearful, terrible. Jamie- 
son has this word elrische, and 
thinks it is related to elves or 
evil spirits, and that it is derived 
from two Anglo-Saxon words 
signifying elf and rich, or 
rich in elves or fairies ! The 
true derivation is from the 
Gaelic oiUt, terror, dread, horror, 
which, combined with droch, bad, 
wicked, formed the word as 
Bums and other Scottish writers 
use it. 

On the eldritch hill there grows a thorn. 
—Percy's Reliques : Sir Carline. 

The witches follow 
Wi' mony an eldritch screech and hollow. 
—Burns : Tam o' Shunter. 

I've heard my reverend grannie say. 
In lonely glens ye like to stray, 
Or where auld ruined castles gray 

Nod to the moon. 
To fright the nightly wanderer's way 
Wi' eldritch croon. 
— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Erne, an uncle ; from the Teutonic 

The pummel o' a guid auld saddle, 
And Rob my erne bocht me a sack, 
Twa lovely lips to lick a ladle. 
Gin Jenny and I agree, quo' Jock. 
— The Wooin o' Jenny and Jock. 

Ettle — Eytyn, 


Ettle, to try, to attempt, to en- 

For Nannie, far before the rest, 
Hard upon noble Maggie prest, 
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle. 
But little wist she Maggie's metal. 

— Burns : Tam o' Skanter. 

I ettled wi' kindness to soften her pride. 
— James Bai.lantine : The Way to Woo. 

They that ettle to get to the top of the 
ladder will at least get up some rounds. — 
They that mint at a gown of gold will 
always get a sleeve of it. — Scott : The 

Ettle. — The correct synonyms are to 
intend, to expect, to aim at. Intention is 
the essential element in the meaning of this 
word. — R. Drennan. 

Everly, continually, always, for 

To be set doun to a wheelie (spinning 
An' at it for ever to ca', 
An' syne to hae't reel by a chielie (fellow) 
That everly cryed to draw. 

— Wood an' Married an a. 

Ewe-bucht, a sheepf old ; buchtin', 
or buchtin'-time, the evening 
time or gloaming, when the 
cattle are driven into the fold. 

When o'er the hill the eastern star 
Tells bughtin -tim.e is near, my jo. 

And owsen frae the furrow'd field. 
Return sae dowf and wearie, O. 
—Burns : My Ain Kind Dearie, O. 

Oh, the broom, the bonnie, bonnie broom. 
The broom o' the Cowden knowes ! 

And aye sae sweet as the lassie sang, 
In the ewe-bucht, milking her ewes. 
— The Broom d the Cowden Knowes. 

The word 'bught seems to be 
an abbreviation of the Gaelic 

huaigheal, a cow-stall, and huai- 
chaUle, a cowherd, a shepherd ; 
huaiie, a fold ; btmilte, folded, or 
driven into the fold. Jamieson 
goes to Germany for the root of 
the word and does not find it. 

Eydent, diligent, earnest, zealous ; 
from the Gaelic eud, zeal. 

My fair child. 

Persuade the kirkmen eydently to pray. 

— Henrvsone : The Lion and the 

Mouse : The Evergreen. 

Their master's and their mistress'scommand 

The youngsters a' were warned to obey. 

An' mind their labours wi' an eydent hand. 

— Burns '.Cotters Saturday Night. 

Eyrie, an eagle's nest ; from the 
Gaelic eirich, to rise, and eirigh, 
a rising. 

The eagle and the stork 
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build. 

'Tis the fire shower of ruin all dreadfully 

From his eyrie that beacons the darkness 
of heaven. 

—Campbell : LochieTs Warning. 

Ejrtyn, Etyn, Etaine, Aiten, Red- 
Aiten. This word, with its dif- 
ferent but not unsimilar spell- 
ings, appears to be a corruption 
of the Norse Jotun, a giant. 
It was formerly used in England 
as well as in Scotland. Eynde 
Etyn, or the gentle giant, is the 
title of a Scottish ballad in Kin- 
loch's Collection. 

They say the King of Portugal cannot 
sit at his meat, but the giants and etyns 
will come and snatch it from him. — Beau- 
mont and Fletcher : Burning Pestle . 


Fa! — FairifH . 

Fa', the Scottish abbrevation of 
fall. The word is used by Burns 
in the immortal song of "A 
man's a man for a' that," in a 
sense which has given rise to 
much doubt as to its meaning : — 

A king can mak' a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, and a' that ; 
, But an honest man's aboon his might, 
Gude faith, he mauna^a' that. 

The context would seem to im- 
ply that /a' means to try, to at- 
tempt. No author except Bums 
uses the word in this sense ; and 
none of the varieties of words 
in which fall or the act of faLl- 
ing, either physically or meta- 
phorically, is the primary mean- 
ing, meets the necessities of 
Burns's stanza. Halliwell has 
fay as an archaic English word, 
with five different meanings, of 
which the fourth is to succeed, 
to act, to work. The /a' of 
Burns may possibly be a variety 
of the English word, current in 
Ayrshire in his time. It finds 
no place in Jamieson. 

Burns did not originate the 
idea, so well expressed, and to 
which he has given such wide 
currency. It is to be found in 
an anecdote recorded of King 
James VI. and his faithful old 
nurse, who came uninvited from 
Edinburgh to pay him a visit. 
It is told that the King was de- 
lighted to see her, and asked 
her kindly what he could do 

for her. After some hesitation, 
she replied that she desired no- 
thing for herself, only that she 
wanted his Majesty to make her 
son a gentleman. * ' Ah, Jeanie, 
Jeanie ! " said the King, ** I can 
mak' him a duke, if ye like ; but 
I canna mak' him a gentleman 
unless he mak's himsel' ane I " 

Faird, a journey, a course. 
Jamieson thinks it signifies a 
hasty and noted effort, and 
quotes a Mid-Lothian phrase, 
" Let them alane ; it's but a 
faird, it'll no last lang ; they'll 
no win (arrive) far afore us." 
The word is evidently from the 
same source as fare, to travel, 
as in waj-farer ; the Teutonic 
fahren, to go, to travel; and 
fdhre, a ferry, a passage over 
the water, and gefdhrlich, dan- 
gerous ; as originally applied to 
travelling in primitive and un- 
settled times. 

Fairdy, clever, tight, handy ; fair 
to do. 

With ane ev'n keel before the wind, 
She is rightyairdy with a sail. 

TAe Fleming Bark— belonging to 
— Allan Ramsay : The Evergreen. 

Fair in' signifies either reward 
or punishment ; one's deserts. 
Fair fa' ! may good or fair 
things befall you! is equiva- 
lent to a benison or benediction. 

Fank — Feck. 


Jamieson derives the word from 
fair or market, and thinks it 
means a present bought at a 
fair. But this is guess-work, 
and does not meet the sense 
of the passage in "Tarn o' 
Shanter." Possibly it has some 
connection with the Teutonic 
gefakr, danger, also a doom or 
punishment ; supposed, in its 
favourable term, to be derived 
from a present purchased at a 
fair to be bestowed as a gift on 
one who was not at it. 

Fair fa your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the puddin' race. 

— Burns : To a Haggis. 

Ah, Tarn \ ah, Tam ! thou'lt get thy 

fairin ; 
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin'. 

— Burns : Tam o Shanter. 

Fank, a coil, a tangle, a noose ; 
possibly from fang, to take hold 
of. To fank a horse in a field, 
to catch him with a rope noose 
or lasso ; fanhit, entangled ; a 
fanh o' tows, a coil of ropes. 
It may also be the root of the 
English /wn/fc, i,e., to be in a coil 
of perplexity or dread. The com- 
mon derivation of funk, from 
the German funk, a sparkle of 
light, is not tenable. The Gae- 
lic fainnich signifies to curl, 
from fainne, a ring. 

Farle, a small oaten or wheaten 
cake, the fourth part of a ban- 
nock; from farthel, or fourth 
part ; the Flemish viertel and 
Qerman fiertel. 

An' there'll be gude lapper-milk kebbucks, 
An' sowens, z.x\ farles, an' baps. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Fash, to bother, to worry, to 
distress one's self; from the 
French sefdcher, to be angry. 

Fashions, troublesome. 

Speak out, and n&v&r /ash your thumb, i 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

The Rev. John Brown of Whitburn was 
riding out one day on an old pony, when 
he was accosted by a rude youth. " I 
say, Mr. Brown, what gars your horse's tail 
wag that way ? " " Oh ! " replied Brown, 
"just what gars your tongue wag; it's 
fashed -wx a weakness."— Dean Ramsay. 

Fazard, dastard, coward. 

They are mair fashions nor of feck ; 
Yon fazards durst not, for their neck, 

Climb up the crag with us. 

— Montgomery : The Cherry and 
the Slae. 

The root of this word would 
appear to be the Gaelic /as, 
vacant, hollow, good-for-no- 
thing, with the addition of ard, 
as in dastarc?, coward, wizard, 
a suffix which signifies eminent, 
or in a high degree. Thus, fa- 
zard or fasard means worthless 
in the extreme. 

Feck, power, activity, vigour. 
Feck seems to be derivable from 
the Gaelic fiach, worth, value. 
Feckfvl, full of power. Feckless, 
without power or vigour of body 
or mind. Worcester, in his dic- 
tionary, derives this word from 

Many &feckful chield this day was slain. 
— Blind Haury's Wallace. 


Fell — Feu. 

The lazy luxury which feckless loons 
indulge in. — Scott. 

Feckless folk are aye fain o' ane anither. 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs, j 
Poor devil ! see him o'er his trash, 
PiS, feckless as a withered rash. 

— Burns : To a Haggis. 
That feckless fouter ! — Nodes Am- 

Fell, to km. 

The sister of a lady, who had died of a 
surfeit from eating too bountifully of straw- 
berries and cream, was consoled with by 
a friend, who said to her, " I had hoped 
your sister would have lived many years." 
" Leeve ! " she replied, " how could she 
leeve, when she just felled hersel' at 
Craigo wi' strawberries an' cream?" — 
Dean Ramsay. 

Fend, to ward off — probably a 
contraction from defend. Fend 
also means to prosper or do weU, 
to provide, to live comfortably — 
possibly from the idea of ward- 
ing off want or poverty. 

Can she mak' nae better fend for them 
than that ?— Scott : The Monastery. 
But gie them guid coo-milk their fill. 
Till they be fit to fend themsel'. 
—Burns : Dying Words of Poor Mailie. 
Here stands a shed to fend the showers, 
And screen our countra gentry. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 
How is \iefendin\ John Tod, John Tod ? 
He is scouring the land wi' a song in his hand. 
— Chambers's Scots Songs : John Tod. 

Fendy, clever at contrivances in 
diflSculty, good at making a 
" Alice," he said, " was both canny and 

fendy." — Scott : Waverley. 

Ferlie, a wonder, to wonder, won- 

Who barkened ever slike 2i ferlie thing. 
— Chaucer : The Reeves Tale. 

On Malvern hills 
Me befel aferly. 

—Piers Ploughman. 
Never breathe out of kin and make your 
{riends ferly at you. 

The longer we live the moreferlies we see. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

And tell what new taxation's comin'. 
And ferlie at the folk in Lunnon. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Ferlie and wonner. In this 
phrase wonner is a corruption 
of the English wonder ; a con- 
temptuous and ludicrous term 
to designate a person or thing 
that is strangely, wondrously 
ugly, ill - favoured, or mean ; 
almost synonymous with the 
modern English slang a guy or 
a cure. Burns uses both words 
in the same poem : — 

Ha ! where ye gaun, ye crdiwWn' ferlie I 

Ye ugly, creepin', blastit wonner, 
Detested, shunned by saint and sinner ? 
— To a Certain Insect, on seeing one 
on a Lady's Bonnet at Church. 

Ferrikie. Jamieson cites this as 
an Upper Clydesdale word for 
" strong, robust." He derives it 
from the German ferig, which 
he translates expeditus, alacer ; 
but there is no such word as 
ferig in the German language. 
It is more probably from the 
Gaelic fear, a man, fearachas, 
manhood, and fearail, manly, 
virile, strong, lusty. The Welsh 
hasher, solid, strong. 

Feu, to let land for building ; a 
possession held on payment of 
a certain rent to the feudal 
proprietor, heritor, or owner of 
the soil. Where the English 

Fey — Fient. 


advertise " land to let for build- 
ing purposes," the Scotch more 
tersely say "land to/ew." 

There is, or was lately, a space of un- 
occupied ground on the " Corran" at Oban, 
contiguous to DunoUy Castle, in the midst 
of which on a pole was a board inscribed 
"This land to feu" An English bishop 
on his holiday tour having observed the 
announcement, and wondering what it 
meant, turned to his wife and asked her 
if she knew. She did not, and the bishop 
thereupon hazarded the conjecture that it 
meant to "fire," from the French ^». 
" Very likely," replied the lady, " to burn 
the grass." Before the bishop left Oban 
his ignorance on the subject was dispelled 
by a guest at the table-d' hdte of the hotel 
to whom he applied for information. 
" Curious language, the Scotch ! " was 
his lordship's rejoinder. — C. M. 

Fey, fated, bewitched, unlucky, 
doomed ; one whose fate is 
foreknown or prophesied ; from 
the Gaelic faidhf a prophet, the 
Latin vates. 

Let the fate fall upon ih&feyest. 
Take care of the man that God has 
marked, for he's no^^^. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

We'll turn again, said good Lord John, 

But no, said Rothiemay, 
My steed's trepanned, my bridle's broke, 

I fear this day I'm/ey. 
— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

They hacked and hashed, while broad- 
swords clashed. 

And through they dashed, and hewed, 
and smashed. 

Till fey men died awa, man. 

— The Battle of Sheriffmuir. 

Fidgin'-fain, extremely anxious; 
from jldge, the English fidget, to 
be restless or anxious, and /aw, 
willing or desirous. 

It pat m& fdgin fain to hear it. 
—Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

Fiel. The glossaries to Burns 
explain this word to mean 
" smooth and comfortable," 
apparently from the context : — 

Oh, leeze me on my spinnin'-wheel, 
And leeze me on my rock and reel, 
Frae tap to tae that deeds me bien, 
And haps m^.fiel and warm at e'en ! 
— Bess and her Spinning- Wheel. 

Jamieson, who has fe\i and 
fiel, defines the words to mean 
" soft and smooth like velvet, 
silky to the touch, and also 
clean, neat, comfortable." The 
word must not be confounded 
with/eiZ, fe\Jl, fele, which signify 
much, many, and very, and 
are clearly derivable from the 
Teutonic viel, which has the 
same meaning ; as viel gelt, much 
money. Jamieson derives the 
word used by Burns from the 
Icelandic /eZ^rfr, habitis idorem ; 
but this is exceedingly doubtful. 
The Gaelic has fial, generous, 
liberal, bountiful, good, hos- 
pitable ; and possibly it is in 
this sense that Bess applies the 
word to the spinnin'-wheel that 
provides her with raiment. 

Fient, none, not a particle of; 
equivalent to " the devil a bit," 
from fiend, the devil ; fient-hait, 
not an iota, the devil a bit. 

But though he was o' high degree, 
The^^«^ o' pride — nae pride had he. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

The queerest shape that e'er I saw, 
Yor fient a wame it had ava ! 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Fient-haet o't wad hae pierced the heart 
O' a kail runt. — Burns : Idem. 


Fiere — Flaw. 

Fiere, a friend, a comrade. This 
word is supposed by some to be 
a misprint for frere, a brother. 
And here's a hand, my trnsiy Jiere, 
And gie's a hand o' thine. 

— Burns: Auld Langsyne- 
This word may either be a 
synonym for the Latin vir and 
the Gaelic fear, a man, or may 
be derived from fior, true, or a 
true man. The Scottish poet 
Douglas has fior for sound and 
healthy. It is sometimes spelt 

First-foot, the first person who is 
met by lad or lass in the morning. 

Early morning she drest up 

And all her maides fair, 
The ploughman chiel was her _first-/oot 

As she went to take the air. 

— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Flaff, a momentary display. 

Ga' I ever for a flaff in the Park forget 
my ain cosie bield. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Flamfoo. According to Jamieson 
this word signifies a gaudily- 
dressed woman, or any gaudy 
ornament of female dress. He 
derives it from an alleged old 
English word meaning " moon- 
shine in the water ! " It seems, 
however, to come from the Gaelic 
fiann, corrupted into fiam, red, 
the showy colour so much ad- 
mired by people of uneducated 
taste ; conjoined with the Scot- 
tish fu' for full. The English 
word flaunting, and the phrase 
flaunts, fiery red ribbons, are 
from the same root. 

Flannen, the Scottish as well as the 
English vernacular Hannen for 

flannel, seems to be preferable 
to flannel as the correct pronun- 
ciation of the word. Both are 
correct if the etymology be cor- 
rect, which traces the word to 
the Gaelic flann, red, and olann, 
wool. In the early ages of 
civilisation, when wool was first 
woven for garments to clothe 
mankind, the favourite colours 
were red and yellow. In Hak- 
luyt's Voyages it is said — "By 
chance they met a canoe of Domi- 
nicans, to the people whereof he 
gave a waistcoat of yeUow flan- 
nel." Probably red was the first 
dye used, whence/ann-oZanw, red 
wool. At an after time, when 
gaudy colours were not so much 
in request, the wool was bleach- 
ed, whence blanket or blanquette, 

I wadna be surprised to spy 

You on an auld wife's flannen toy (cap), 

Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, 

On's wylie-coat ; 
But Miss's fine Lunardi, fy ! 

How daur ye do't ? 
— Burns : To a Louse, on seeing' one 

on a Ladys Bonnet at Church. 

Flaucht or flaught, a flash of 
lightning, a sudden blaze in the 
sky ; from the Flemish flakkeren 
2ind. flihherin, to flicker, to shine 
out quickly or instantaneously. 

The thundeir crack'd, andflauchts did rift 
Frae the black vizard o' the lift. 

— Allan Ramsay : The Vision. 
Fierce as ony flre-flaught fell. 

— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Flaw, a burst of bad weather, 
from the Gaelic fliuch, a rain- 

Like an auld scart (cormorant) before a 
flaw. — The A ntiquary. 

Fleech — Flit, 


Fleech or fleich, to pet, to 
wheedle, to cajole ; also, to en- 
treat or supplicate with fair 
words. A fieeching day is a day 
that promises to be fine, but 
that possibly may not turn out 
so. Possibly from the French 
jlechir, to give way, to ask 
humbly, instead of demanding 

Duncan _fieeched and Duncan prayed — 
Ha ! ha ! the wooin' o't. — Burns. 
Expect na, sir, in this narration, 
Kfleechin, flatterin' dedication. 
— Burns : Epistle to Gavin Hamilton. 
Hoot ! toot ! man — keep a calm sough. 
Better to Jleech a fool than fight wi' him. 
— Scott : The Monastery. 

Fleer, a gibe, a taunt — etymology 
doubtful. The Flemish has 
fieerSy a box on the ear. 

Oh, dinna ye mind o' this v&ryjieer, 
When we were a' riggit out to gang to 
Wi' stanes in our aprons ? 
— Chambers's Scottish Ballads : The 
Threatened Invasion. 

Fley, to scare, to frighten. Ety- 
mology unknown, but possibly 
from /ee, to run away for fear, 
whence jity, to cause to run 
away for fear, to frighten. 

A wee thing Jleys cowards. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

It spak' right howe, My name is Death, 
But be rvafleyd. 

— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Flichter, to flutter, to fly feebly ; 
a great number of small objects 
flying in the air, as *' a flichter 
of birds ; " a multitude of small 
objects flying, floating, or flut- 
tering in the air, as a flichter 

or flight of birds ; a flichter of 
motes in the sunbeams ; a 
flichter of heavy or large snow- 
flakes. To flichter is to flutter, 
to quiver with joyous excite- 
ment, and also to startle or 
alarm. The word is evidently 
akin to the English flight and 
the Teutonic /mcA^ 

The bird maun flichter that has but ae 

wing.— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The expectant wee things, toddlin', sprachle 


To meet their dad, wi' flichterin noise 

and glee. 

—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Flinders, fragments, splinters. 

He put his fingers to the lock, 

I wat he handled them sickerlie ; 

And doors of deal and bands of steel 

He gart them all m flinders flee. 

—Bvckkh's Ancient Ballads : The 

Three Brothers. 

Flinging-tree, a flail, the pole of 
a carriage, a bar of wood in any 
agricultural implement. 

The thresher's -w^zxy flingin -tree 
The lee-lang day had tired me, 
And when the day had closed his e'e 

Far i' the west, 
Ben i' the spence, right pensivelie, 

I gaed to rest. 

—Burns : The Vision. 

Flit, to remove from one residence 
to another ; aflittin', a removal. 

As doun the burnside she gaed slow in the 
Fare ye weel, Lucy, was ilka bird's sang ; 
She gaed by the stable where Jamie was 
Richt sair was his kind heart the flittin 
to see. 
— Lucy's Plittin', by William Laidlaw 
{the steward, amanuensis, and 
trusted friend of Sir Walter 


Elite — Fogte. 

Flite or fljrte, to reproach, to 
blame, to animadvert, to find 
fault with. 

Theyyfj'/^ me wi' Jamie because he is poor ; 
But summer is comin', cauld winter's awa, 
An' he'll come back an' see me in spite 
o' them a' 
— George Halket : Logie o' Bttchan. 
Hed ! gude-wife I ye 're 2.Jlytiti body ; 
Ye hae the will, but ye want the wit. 
— Sir Alexander Boswell : A Matri- 
monial Duel. 

Floan, to flirt. Jamieson says 
that ''■floan means to show 
attachment, or court regard in 
an indiscreet way," and derives 
the word from the Icelandic 
jion, stolidus. Is it not rather 
from the old English jione, 
arrows (Halliwell and Wright), 
whence metaphorically to dart 
glances from the eye, and con- 
sequently to flirt or cast amor- 
ous looks ? The Kymric Celtic 
has ffloyn, a splinter, a thin 
wand, an arrow. 

And for yon giglet hussies i' the glen. 
That night and day zx& Jloaning at the 
men.— Ross's Helenore. 

Flunkey, a servant in livery ; 
metaphorically applied to a per- 
son who abjectly flatters the 
great. The word was unknown 
to literature until the time of 
Burns. Thackeray and Carlyle 
in our own day have made it 
classical English, although the 
most recent lexicographers have 
not admitted it or its derivative, 
jiunkeyism, to the honours of the 
Our laird gets in his racked rents. 

He rises when he likes himsel', 
His flunkeys answer to his bell. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

The word is supposed to be 
derived from the Gaelic flann, 
red, and cas, a leg or foot — red- 
legs, applied to the red or crim- 
son plush breeches of footmen. 
The word red-shanks was ap- 
plied to the kilted Highlanders 
by the English, and hence the 
Highland retort of flunkey to 
the English. 

I think this derivation wrong ; vlonk in 
Danish signifies proud, haughty. — Lord 

Fodgel, sometimes written and 
pronounced /o(iyeW plump, short, 
corpulent, and good-tempered. 
A man in Scottish parlance 
may be stout and plump 
without being fodyd, as fodgel 
implies good nature, urbanity, 
and cheerfulness, as well as 

If in your bounds ye chance to light 
Upon a fine, izx fodgel wight, 
Of stature short, but genius bright, 
That's he, mark weel. 
— Burns : On the Peregrinations of 
Captain Grose Collecting A ntiquities 
throughout the Kingdom. 

Fog, moss; from the Gaelic hog 
or hhog, moist, soft. 

" And so, John," said the minister, " I 
understand ye have gone over to the In- 
dependents ? " " Deed, sir," said John, 
"that's true." "Oh, John," rejoined the 
minister, "I'm sure ye ken that a rowin' 
stone gathers nz&fog." "Aye," said John, 
" that's true, too ; but can ye tell me what 
gude the fog does to the stone ? " — Dean 

Fogie, a dull, slow man, unable 
or unwilling to reconcile him- 

Fog-moss — Fou, 


self to the ideas and manners 
of the new generation. The 
derivation of this word, which 
Thackeray did much to popu- 
larise in England, is uncertain, 
though it seems most probable 
that it comes from "foggy," for 
a foggy, misty, hazy intellect, 
unable to see the things that 
are obvious to clearer minds ; 
or it may be from the Gaelic 
fogaire, an exile, a banished man. 
In the United States the word 
is generally applied to an ultra- 
Conservative in politics. 

Ay, though we be 

0\A/ogies three, 
We're not so dulled as not to dine ; 

And old 

As to be cold 
To wit, to beauty, and to wine. 

— A II the Year Round. 

Fog-moss, f oggage, tall grass used 
for fodder. The etymology is 
uncertain. The English fodder 
is from the Gaelic fodar; but 
this scarcely affords a clue to 
fog or f oggage. Though possibly 
f oggage may be a corruption of 
the old and not yet obsolete 

Thy wee bit housie too in ruin ! 
Its silly wa's the winds are strewin', 
An' naething left to big a new ane, 

O' foggage gr&&n, 
An' bleak December's winds ensuin', 

Baith snell and keen. 

— Burns : To a Mouse. 

Forbears, ancestors. 

Forbye, besides, in addition to, 
over and above. 

Forbye sax mae I sell't awa. 

—Burns ; Auld Farmer. 

Forbye some new uncommon weapons. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Foreanent, directly opposite. 

Foremost. In English this word 
signifies first as regards place. 
In Scottish parlance it also 
signifies first as regards time. 

They made a paction 'twixt them twa, 

They made it firm and sure, 
That whoe'er should speak ih.& foremost 
Should get up an' bar the door. 

— The Barrin'jo' oor Door. 

Forfoughten, sometimes written 
and pronounced/or/ow^^eri,worn 
out with struggling or fatigue. 

And \}ao\x^forfoughten sair eneugh, 
Yet unco proud to leave. — Burns. 
I am but like 2ifor/oughen hound, 
Has been fighting in a syke (ditch). 
— Border Minstrelsy : Hobbie Noble. 

Forgather, to meet. 

Twa dogs 
Forgathered ance upon a time. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Forjeskit, wearied out, jaded, ex- 
hausted ; derivation uncertain, 
but probably from the Flemish 
or Dutch patois. 

The fi^nd, forjeskit, tried to escape 
Thro' frequent changing o' his shape. 

— Beattie : John o A mha\ 

Fou, drunk, is generally supposed 
to be a corruption otfvll {i.e., of 
liquor) ; but if such were the fact 
the word ought to be contracted 
into fu\ as wae/t^', sorrow/w', 
which cannot be written waefou 
or soTTOwfou. Fou, in French, 
signifies insane, a word that 
might be applied to an intoxi- 


Fouter — Fusionless. 

cated person ; but if the Scot- 
tish phrase be not derived from 
the French, it ought to be writ- 
ten fu\ and not fou. Possibly 
the root of the word is the 
Gaelic fuath (pronounced fud), 
which signifies hatred, abhor- 
rence, aversion, whence it may 
have been applied to a person 
in a hateful and abhorrent state 
of drunkenness. This, however, 
is a mere suggestion. Jamieson 
has fowsom, filthy, impure, ob- 

We are na'ybu, we're na' that/bu, 
We've just a wee drap in our e'e. 

— Burns : Willie Brewed a Peck 
o' Maut. 

Fouter, an expression of extreme 
contempt for a hateful person. 
The French foutre has the same, 
and even a worse meaning. Both 
the Lowland Scotch and the 
French are from the Gaelic and 
Qelticfuathy hatred. 

Fouth or rowth, abundance. 
Fouth is from full, on the same 
principle as the English words 
tilth from till, spilth from spiU, 
youth from youngeth, growth from 
grow, drouth from dryeth. Rowth 
has the same signification, and 
is from row or roll, to flow on 
like a stream. 

He has afowth o auld knick-nackets. 
Rusty aim and jinglin' jackets, 

—Burns : To Captain Grose. 

They that hae rowth o' butter may lay 
it thick on their scones. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

Fremit, frammit, strange, un- 
related, unfamiliar ; from the 
Teutonic fremd, foreign. 

Ye ha'e lien a' wrang, lassie, 

In an unco bed, 

Wi' a. fremit man. — Burns. 

And mony a friend that kissed his caup 

Is now a/rantmit wight, 
But it's ne'er sae wi' Whisky Jean. 

— Burns : The Five Carlins. 

Frist, to delay, to give credit; 
from the Teutonic fristen, to 
spare, to respite. 

The thing that's fristed is nae forgi'en. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Prozierbs. 

Fnish, brittle. 

Oh, woe betide \!a& frusk saugh wand 
(willow wand). 
And woe betide the bush o' briar, 
It brak into my true love's hand. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Annan Water. 

Fulzie, surfeited with gluttony 
and over-eating ; full of meat 
and food. 

Enough to sicken afulzie man. — Noctes 

Furth, out of doors, to go forth, 
to go out. The mucTde furth, is 
the full, free open air. Furthy, 
forward, frank, free, affable, open 
in behaviour. Furth-setter, one 
who sets forth or puts forth ; a 
publisher, an author. 

Sir Penny is of a noble spreit, 

Kfurthy man, and a far seeand ; 
There is no matter ends compleit 
Till he set to his seil and hand. 

— A Panegyrick on Sir Penny : 
The Evergreen. 

Fusionless, pithless, silly, sap- 
less, senseless ; corrupted from 
"foison," the old English word 
for plenty ; the opposite of 
"geason," scarce. 

Fy / — Fytte. 


For seven lang years I ha'e lain by his side, 
And he's but 3i/tisionless bodie, O 1 

— Burns : The Deuks Dang oer my 
The mouths of fasting multitudes are 
crammed -wi Jizzenless bran, instead of the 
sweet word in season. — Scott : Old Mor- 

Fusionless.—ln Bailey's Dictionary the 
■word /oison means "the natural juice or 
moisture of the grass or other herbs, the 
heart and strength of it : " used in Suf- 
folk. — R. D REN NAN. 

Fy I or fye ! This exclamation is 
not to be confounded with the 
English fye! or fye! or the 
Teutonic 'pfui! which are used 
as mild reproofs of any act of 
shame or impropriety. 

Fy ! let us a' to the bridal. 

For there will be lilting there ; 

For Jock's to be married to Jeanie, 
The lass wi' the gowden hair. 

—Old Song. 

In this old song, all the in- 
cidents and allusions are ex- 
pressive of joy and hilarity. 
Jamieson suggests that/y means 
" make haste ! " " Fye-gae-to" 
he says, "means much ado, a 
great hurry ; and fye haste, a 
very great bustle, a hurry." He 
gives no derivation. As the 
Teutonic cannot supply one, it 
is possible that the root is the 
Gaelic faich, look 1 behold ! lo ! 
in which sense ''Fye! let us a' 
to the bridal," might be trans- 
lated "Look ye! let us all go 
to the bridal." 

Fyke, to be ludicrously and fussily 
busy about trifles, to be rest- 
less without adequate reason, 
akin to fidget, which is possibly 
from the same root. The word 
is also used as a noun. Fiddle- 
fyTce and fiddle-ma-Jike are inten- 
sifications of the meaning, and 
imply contempt for the petty 
trifling of the person who 

Some drowsy bummle, 
Wha can do nought hutjyke and fumble. 
— Burns : On a Scotch Bard. 

Gin he 'bout Norrie lesser _;5''^^ had made. 
— Ross's Helenore. 

Weening that ane sae braw and gentle-like 
For nae guid ends was makin' sic 2. fyke. 
— Ross's Helenore. 

Fjrtte, the subdivision of a long 
poem, now called a canto. Percy, 
in a note in his "Ancient Ke- 
liques," considers the word to 
signify no more than a division, 
a part to "fit" on to another. 
As the bards of the Druids, who 
sung in their religious festivals, 
and who delivered their precepts 
to the people in short verses of 
couplets or triads — better for 
committal to memory than long 
prose homilies would have been 
— were called^ad^s or prophets, 
it is possible that that word, and 
not the English jf?«, as Dr. Percy 
says, was the origin of fytte as 
applied to the subdivision of a 
sacred song. 


Gabbock — Gale. 


Gabbock, a hunk, a large piece or 


And there'll be 
Fouth o' gude gabbocks o skate. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Gaberlunzie, a wallet or bag car- 
ried by beggars for collecting 
in kind the gifts of the chari- 
table ; whence gaherlunzie-man, 
a beggar. 

Oh, blithe be the auld gaberlunzie-man, 
Wi' his wallet o' wit he fills the Ian' ; 
He's a warm Scotch heart an' a braid 

Scotch tongue, 
An' kens a' the auld sangs that ever were 

sung ! — James Ballantine. 

To love her for aye he gied her his aith, 

Quo' she, To leave thee I will be laith, 

My winsome gaberlunzie-man. 

— The Gaberlunzie-Man (a ballad 
attributed to King James V. ) 

Much research and ingenuity 
have been exercised to find the 
etymological origin of this pecu- 
liarly Scottish word. Jamieson 
says that gaberlunzie or gaber- 
hinyie means a beggar's bag or 
wallet, and implies that the 
word has been transferred from 
the bag to the bearer of it. 

Gae-through-land, a wanderer, a 
vagrant, a pilgrim, an exile, a 

Oh, God forbid, said fair Annie, 

That e'er the like fa' in my hand ; 
Should I forsake my ain gude lord. 
And follow you, a. gae-through- land. 
— Buchan's Ancient Scottish 
Ballads, 1828. 

Gair, the English gore, an inser- 
tion in a skirt, robe, or other 
article of dress ; also a strip of 
a different colour inserted as a 
plait or ornament, sometimes 
signifying a coloured belt from 
which the sword or other weapon 
was suspended ; gaired or gairy, 
streaked with many colours ; pie- 
bald, as a gairy cow or horse. 

Young Johnston had a nut-brown sword 

Hung low down by his gair. 
And he ritted it through the young colonel, 

That word he never spak' mair. 

— Herd's Collection: Young Johnston. 

Gale, to sing, whence nightingale, 
the bird that sings by night. 
The word is usually derived 
from the Teutonic, in which 
language, however, it only exists 
in the single word nachtigaU. 
Jamieson refers it to the Swedish 
gdU (gale), a sharp, penetrating, 
or piercing sound. Probably, 
however, it is akin to the Gaelic 
guil, to lament, and guileag, that 
which sings or warbles ; and a 
gale of wind is referable to the 
Kymric or Welsh galar, mourn- 
ing, lamentation ; gaho, (galu), 
to call, to invoke ; and galaries, 
mournful, sad, so called because 
of the whistling, piping sound 
of a storm. 

In May the gowk (cuckoo) begins to gale, 

In May deer draw to down and dale. 
In May men mell with feminie. 

And ladies meet their lovers leal. 
When Phebus is in Gemini. 

—Allan Ramsay : The Evergreen 

Gallie-hooifi — Garraivery. 


Gallic - hooin', making a loud 
noise, blustering, talking vio- 
lently without sense or reason. 
GuUie-hooUe, a loud, blustering, 
talkative, and conceited fool. 
These two words seem to be 
derivable from the Gaelic gal 
or guil, to cry out, and uille, 
all ; whence gal-uille, all outcry 
or bluster, or nothing but out- 
cry and noise. Gilhooly, a well- 
known Irish patronymic, is pos- 
sibly of the same Gaelic origin, 
applied to a noisy orator. 

Gang, gae, gaed, gate. These 
words, that are scarcely retained 
even in colloquial English, do 
constant duty in the Lowland 
Scotch ; they are all derived 
from the Flemish. Gang and 
gae are the English go ; gaed is 
the English went, and gate is the 
road or way by which one goes. 
" Gang your ain gate" means go 
your own road, or have your 
own way. The English gate, 
signifying a doorway, a barred 
or defended entrance, is a relic 
of the older and more extended 
meaning of the Scotch. 

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen, 
\gate I fear I'll dearly rue. 

— Burns. 

Gangrel, vagrant, vagabond wan- 
dering ; from gang, to go. 

Ae night at e'en, a merry core 

Of randie gangrel bodies 
At Posie Nansie's held the splore. 
—Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

This word is sometimes em- 
ployed to designate a young child 
who is first beginning to walk. 

Gardies, defensive weapons ; from 
the Gaelic gairdein, an arm or 
armour, and the French garde; 
as in the phrase prenez-garde, 
take care, or defend yourself. 

He wields his gardies, 
Or at the worst his aiken r««^(oaken staff). 
—George Beattie : John o Amha. 

Garraivery. This curious word 
signifies, according to Jamieson, 
"folly and revelling of a frolic- 
some kind." He thinks it is 
evidently corrupted from gil- 
ravery and gilravage, which are 
words of a similar meaning. 
Gilravage he defines as "to hold 
a merry meeting with noise and 
riot." He attempts no etymo- 
logy. It seems, however, that 
garraivery is akin to the French 
charivari, or the loud, discordant 
uproar of what in England is 
called " marrow bones and 
cleavers," when a gang of rough 
people show their displeasure 
by serenading an unpopular per- 
son — such, for instance, as a 
very old man who has married 
a very young wife— by beating 
bones against butchers' axes 
and cleavers, or by rattling 
pokers and shovels against iron 
pots and pans under his windows, 
so as to create a painful and dis- 
cordant noise. The word and the 
custom are both of Celtic origin, 
and are derived from the Gaelic 
garbh, rough, and bairich or 
bhairich, any obstreperous and 
disagreeable noise ; also the 
lowing, roaring, or routing of 
cattle. The initial gr or c of the 
Gaelic is usually softened into 


Gash. — Gaunt. 

the English and French ch, as 
the Tc in Mrk becomes ch in the 
English church, and as the Latin 
cams and the Italian caro become 
cher in French. 

Gash, sagacious, talkative. Jamie- 
son defines the word, as a verb, 
"to talk much in a confident 
way, to talk freely and fluently ; " 
and as an adjective, "shrewd, 
sagacious." It seems derivable 
from the Gaelic gais (pronounced 
gash), a torrent, an overflow ; 
the English gush, i.e., an over- 
flow or torrent of words, and 
hence by extension of meaning 
applied to one who has much to 
say on every subject ; eloquent, 
or, in an inferior sense, loqua- 

He was a gash and faithful tyke. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 
Here farmers ^a^A in ridin' graith. 

—Burns: The Holy Fair. 
In comes a gaucie gash good-wife. 
And sits down by the tire. — Idem. 

Gaucie, jolly, brisk, lively. 

tils gaucie tail in upward curl. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 
In comes a gaucie gash good-wife, 
And sits down by the tire. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 
Gaucie, big, of large dimensions ; jolly, 
perhaps. It has almost the same meaning 
as gash, with the additional idea of size ; 
very like the English use of the word 
"jolly" — a jolly lot — a jolly pudding, &c. 
The Scotch use gaucie in precisely the 
same way. — R. D. 

Gaud, a bar, the shaft of a plough ; 
gaudsman, a plough-boy. The 
English groad signifies a bar or rod, 
and to goad is to incite or drive 

with a stick or prong. The word 
is derived from the Gaelic gat, a 
prong, a bar of wood or iron, and 
gath, a sting. 

Young Jockie was the blithest lad 

In a' our town or here awa' ; 
Fu' blithe he whistled at th^ gaud, 
Fu' lightly danced he in the ha'. 

— Burns: Young Jockie. 
I've three mischievous boys, 
Rum deils for rantin' and for noise — 
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t'other. 

— Burns : The Inventory. 
They'll turn me in your arms, Janet, 
A red-hot gaud o' aim. 

— Ballad of the Young Tatnlanc. 

Gauf or gawf, a loud, discordant 
laugh ; the English slang guffaw. 
According to Jamieson, it was 
used by John Knox. Gavrp, a 
kindred word, signifies a large 
mouth wide opened ; whence, 
possibly, the origin of the Flem- 
ish gapen, and the English gape, 
which, according to the late 
John Kemble, the tragedian, 
ought to be pronounced with 
the broad o, as in ah. Gauffin, 
a giggling, light-headed person, 
seems to be a word of the same 
parentage. Gawpie is a silly 
person who laughs without rea- 

Tehee, quo' she, and gied ZLgaiuf. 
— Allan Ramsay : A Brash of 
Wooing : The Evergreen. 

Gauner, to bark, to scold vocifer- 

Gaunt, to yawn. Gaunt-at-the-door, 
an indolent, useless person, who 
sits at the door and yawns ; an 
idler, one without mental re- 

Gaupie — Cell. 


This mony a day I've groaned onAgaunted 
To ken what French mischief was brewing. 
— Burns. 
Auld gude-man, ye're a drunken carle, 
And a' the day y&gape and gaunt. 

—Sir Alexander Boswell. 

Gaupie, a silly fellow, from gawp, 
to yawn or gape ; one who 
yawns, from weariness, indif- 
ference, or stupidity, when he 
is expected to pay intelligent 
attention to what is said of 
him. A word of similar import, 
founded upon the same idea of 
listless and foolish yawning, is 
found in the English phrase to 
go mooning about, a word that 
has no reference to the moon, 
but that is derived from the 
Gaelic meunan, a yawn ; meuna- 
nach, yawning ; and dean-meu- 
nan, to yawn or make a yawn. 

Gawk, to romp, applied to girls 
who are too fond of the society 
of men, and who either play 
roughly themselves or suffer 
men to play roughly in their 
company. The word is pro- 
bably a variety of gecJc, to sport 
or mock [see that word). 

Gawkie, a clumsy or inexpert 
person, from the French gauche, 
the left hand, and gaucherie, 
clumsiness. The word is collo- 
quial in England as well as in 

Gear, money, wealth, property, 
appurtenance ; from the Teu- 
tonic gehorig, belonging to, ap- 
pertaining to. 

He'll poind (seize) their gear. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

And gather gear by every wile 
That's justified by honour. 
— Burns : Epistle to a Young Friend. 

Geek, to bear one's self haughtily, 
to toss the head in glee or 
scorn, to mock ; possibly from 
the Flemish geh, a vain fool. 
Adieu, my liege ! may freedom geek 
Beneath your high protection. 
■ — Burns : The Dream. To George III. 

Gee. To take the gee, is an old 
colloquialism, signifying to take 
umbrage or offence, to give way 
to a sudden start of petulance 
and ill-humour. Jamieson de- 
rives it from the Icelandic geig, 
offence, in default of tracing 
it to another origin. But the 
derivation is doubtful. 

On Tuesday, to the bridal feast, 

Came fiddlers flocking free ; 
But hey I play up the rinaway bride, 

For she has ta'en the gee. 
Woman's love a wilfu' thing, 

An' fancy flies fu' free ; 
Then hey ! play up the rinaway bride 

For she has ta'en the gee. 

— Herd's Collection. 

" My wife has ta'en the gee" 
is the title of an old and once 
extremely popular song. 

Gell, brisk, keen, sharp, active; 
from the Gaelic geaU, ardour, 
desire, love; geallmhor, greatly 
desirous ; and geaUmhorachd, 
high desire and aspiration. 

Gell, intense, as applied to the weather ; 
a gell frost is a keen frost. "There's a 
gey gell in the market to-day," i.e., a 
pretty quick sale ; "in great gell," in 
great spirits and activity; "on the gell," 
a phrase applied to one who is bent on 
making merry.— Jamieson. 


Gerss — Gielanger. 

Gerss. " This term," says Jamie- 
son, " is well known in the 
councils of boroughs. When a 
member becomes refractory, the 
ruling party vote him out at the 
next election. This they call 
gerssing him, or turning him 
out to gerss. The phrase," he 
adds, " is evidently borrowed 
from the custom of turning out 
a horse to graze when there is 
no immediate use for his ser- 
vice." Perhaps, however, the 
etymology is not quite so evi- 
dent as Jamieson supposed. 
The Gaelic geur or gearr sig- 
nifies to cut, to cut off, to 
shear ; gearraich or geurraich, to 
shorten, and geariadh, a cutting ; 
gearran, a gelding ; gearrta, cut. 
To cut or shorten, rather than 
to graze or turn out to graze, 
appears, pace Jamieson, to be 
the real root of the word. 
Jamieson has the same word 
differently spelled as girse, to 
turn out of office ; girse-folk, 
cotters at will, liable to be 
ejected at short notice, to which 
the Gaelic etymology of geurr 
and its derivatives applies with 
more force than that which he 
suggests from grass. 

Gey, a humorous synonym for 
very. This word in Jamieson's 
Dictionary is rendered "toler- 
able, considerable, worthy of 
notice." "A gey wheen," he 
says, means "a great number." 
It is doubtful whether the de- 
rivation be from the English gay 
or the Gaelic gu. In vulgar Eng- 
lish, when " jolly" is sometimes 

used for "gay," "a jolly lot" 
would be equivalent to the Scot- 
tish " a, gey -wheen.'^ In Gaelic 
gu is an adverbial prefix, as in 
gu leoir, plentiful or plentifully, 
whence the phrase, "whisky 
galore,'' plenty of whisky; gu 
fior, with truth or truly. 

A miller laughing at him (the fool of the 
parish) for his witlessness, the fool i said, 
"There are some things I ken and some 
things I dinna ken." On being asked what 
he knew, he said, " I ken a miller has aye 
a gey fat sow ! " " And what do ye no 
ken?" said the miller. "I dinna ken at 
wha's expense she's fed." — Dean Ram- 
say's Reminiscences. 

The word is sometimes fol- 
lowed by an\ as in the phrase 
''gey an toom," very empty; 
''gey an fou," very drunk. The 
word gaylies, meaning tolerably 
well in health, is probably from 
the same source as gey, as in the 
common salutation in Glasgow 
and Edinburgh, "How's a' wi' 
ye the day?" "Oh, gailies, 
gailies I " The editor of Nodes 
Ambrosiance, Edinburgh, 1866, 
erroneously explains gey an to 
mean rather. 

Your factors, grieves, trustees, and bailies, 
I canna say but they do gailies. 

— Burns : Address of Beelzebub. 
Mr. Clark, of Dalreach, whose head was 
vastly disproportioned to his body, met 
Mr. Dunlop one day. " Weel, Mr. Clark, 
that's a great head of yours." " Indeed, 
it is, Mr. Dunlop ; it could contain yours 
inside of it." "Just sae," replied Mr. 
Dunlop, " I was e'en thinking it •ws&geyan 
toom (very empty)." — Dean Ramsay. 

Gielanger, one who is slow to pay 
his debts ; etymology unknown. 
It has been thought that this 

Gillravage — Glaik. 


word is an abbreviation of the 
request to give longer or gie langer 
time to pay a debt, but this is 
doubtful. The Flemish and 
Dutch gijzelen signifies to arrest 
for debt, gijzding, arrest for debt, 
and gizzel kammer, a debtor's 
prison; and this is most pro- 
bably the origin of gielanger. 

The greedy man and the gielanger are 
well met.— Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

Gillravage, to plunder, also to 
live riotously, uproariously, and 
violently ; from the Gaelic gille, 
a young man, and rabair, liti- 
gious, troublesome ; 7*a6acA, quar- 

Ye had better stick to your auld trade o' 
blackmail and gillravaging. Better steal 
nowte than nations. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

Gilpie or gilpey, a saucy young 

I was a gilpey then, I'm sure 
I wasna past fifteen. 

— Burns : Halloween. 
I mind when I was z. gilpie o a lassock, 
seeing the Duke — him that lost his head in 
London. — Scott : Old Mortality. 

Gin {g hard, as in give) signifies 


Oh, gin my love were yon red rose 
That grows upon the castle wa ; 
And I myself a drap o' dew, 
Into her bonnie breast to fa*. 

— Herd's Collection, 1776. 
Gin a body meet a body 

Comin' through the rye. 
—Old Song (^rearranged by Burns). 

Home Tooke, in his letter to 
Dunning, Lord Ashburton, on 
the English particles, conjunc- 
tions, and prepositions, derives 

if from given; ^'' if you are 
there," i.e., given the fact that 
you are there. The more poeti- 
cal Scottish word gin is strongly 
corroborative of Home Tooke's 

Girdle, a gridiron or brander, a 
circular iron plate used for 
roasting oat-cakes over the fire. 

Wi' quaffing and daffing, 
They ranted and they sang, 

Wi' jumping and thumping 
The very girdle rang. 

— Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

The carline brocht her kebbuck ben, 
Wi' girdle-cakes weel toasted broon. 

— Tea- Table Miscellany : A ndro 
and his Cutty Gun. 
On reading the passage in the Bible to 
a child where the words occur, " He took 
Paul's girdle" the child said with much 
confidence, " I ken what he took that 
for." On being asked to explain, she 
replied at once, "To bake his bannocks 
on ! " — Dean Ramsay. 

Girnagain, from gim or grin; a 
derisive epithet applied to a 
person who was always on the 
grin, with or without reason. 

An' there'll be gimagain Gibbie 
An' his glaikit wife, Jeannie Bell. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. \ 

Girnel, a meal-chest ; from cwn, 

kern, and kernel. 

Amaist as roomy as a minister's girnel. 
— Nodes A tnbrosiana. 

Glack, a ravine, a cleft in the 

Deep i' the glack and round the well, 
Their mystic rites I canna tell. 

—John o Amha. 

Glaik, glaikit, giddy-headed, 
thoughtless, dazed, silly, foolish, 
giddy, volatile. From the Gaelic 



gleog, a silly look ; gleogach, silly, 
stupid; gleogair, a stupid fel- 
low; gleosgach, a vain, silly 
That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door 
For glaikit Folly's portals. 

— Burns : Address to the Unco Guid. 
Wi' \i\s glaikit wife, Jeannie Bell. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Glamour, enchantment, witch- 
craft, fascination; once sup- 
posed to be from the Gaelic 
glac, to seize, to lay hold of, 
to fascinate; and mor, great; 
whence great fascination, or 
magic not to be resisted. Lord 
Neaves thought the word was 
a corruption of grammar, in 
which magic was once supposed 
to reside. This word, once pecu- 
liar to the Scotch, has with- 
in the present century been 
adopted by English writers both 
of prose and verse, and has be- 
come familiar in the conversa- 
tion of educated people. It 
signifies the kind of halo, 
fascination, and magical charm 
that a person or thing receives 
from the imagination ; the high 
and fanciful reputation which 
the French language expresses 
by 'prestige, a word which has 
also striven to naturalise itself 
in Enghsh. Its etymology has 
scarcely been attempted by Eng- 
lish philologists, some few of 
whom, however, have disco- 
vered, as they think, a kindred 
origin for it in clamor, from the 
Latin clamxire, to cry out, or 
make a great noise. It is pos- 
sible that this idea lies in reality 
at the root of the poetical word 

glamour, in its signification of 
a glorified repute ; repute itself 
being the outward manifesta- 
tion of the popular belief in 
the excellence of the person 
or thing spoken of, and which 
would not be known unless for 
the spoken opinion or voice of 
the multitude, which gives and 
extends fame and glory. In 
the Gaelic and British lan- 
guages, fuaim signifies noise, 
sound, recalling the classical 
embodying of Fame as an angel 
blowing a trumpet, making a 
loud sound ; and glair signifies 
praise loudly expressed, and 
therefore glory. In like manner, 
glamour may resolve itself into 
the two Gaelic words, glaodk, 
pronounced glao, a shout, and 
mor, great, whence glao-mor or 
glamour, a great or loud cry or 
shout, attesting the applause 
and approbation of those who 
raise it. Stormonth, the latest 
etymologist who has attempted 
to explain the word, adopts 
the etymology that found fa- 
vour with Jamieson, and de- 
rives it from glimmer or glitter, 
" a false lustre, a charm on the 
eyes, making them see things 
different from what they are." 
This etymology is plausible, and 
will possibly be accepted by all 
to whom the Gaelic derivation 
has not been offered for con- 
sideration ; but the Gaelic, sup- 
ported as it is by the primitive 
but highly philosophic ideas 
that gave rise to the simple 
but now grandiose words of 
"fame" and "glory," merits 

Glamp — Gleg, 


the attention and study of all 
students who love to trace 
words to their origin, and en- 
deavour by their means to sound 
the depths of human intelli- 
gence in the infancy of society 
and of language. 

And one short spell therein he read, 
It had much oi glamour might, 
Could make a lady seem a knight. 
The cobweb on a dungeon wall 
Seem tapestry in a lordly hall. 

— Scott : The Lay of the Last 
As soon as they saw her weel-faur'd face, 
They cast their glamour o'er her. 

— Johnnie Faa, the Gipsie Laddie. 
Ye gipsy gang that deal in glamour. 
And you, deep read in Hell's black gram- 

Warlocks and witches. 

— Burns : On Captain Grose. 

This Scottish word has been 
admitted into some recent Eng- 
lish dictionaries. Mr. Wedg- 
wood seems to think it is akin 
to gliTtimer. The fascination of 
the eye is exemplified in Cole- 
ridge's Ancient Mariner : — 

Lie holds him with his glittering eye. 
The wedding-guest stood still. 

And listens like a three-year child — 
The mariner hath his will. 

Gaelic glam, to devour greedily ; 
glavfiair, a glutton. 

Clans frae wuds in tartan duds, 

'Whz. glaumed at kingdoms three, man. 
—Burns : The Battle of Sherifftnuir. 

Gled or glaid, a kite, a hawk, a 
vulture ; etymology uncertain. 

And aye as ye gang furth and in, 
Keep well the gaislings frae the gled. 

He ca'd the gaislings forth to feed, 
There was but sevensone o' them a', 

And by them cam' the greedy gled, 
And lickit up five— left him but twa. 
— The Wife of Auchtemtuchty. 

The name of Gladstone is 
derived from gled-stane, the 
hawk or vulture stone, and 
synonymous with the German 
Geir-stein, the title of one of 
the novels of Sir Walter Scott. 

deed or gleid, a burning coal, 
a temporary blaze, a sparkle, a 
splinter that starts from the fire. 

And cheerily blinks the ingle gleed 
Of honest Lucky.— Burns. 

Mend up the fire to me, brother. 
Mend up the gleed to me ; 

For I see him coming hard and fast 
Will mend it up for thee. 

— Ballad of Lady Maisry. 

Glamp, to clutch at, to seize 
greedily or violently ; from the 
Gaelic ^rZam, to seize voraciously. 

Some glower'd wi' open jaws. 
Syne glampit on the vacant air. 
George Beattie ; John d Amhd . 
Glampin round, he kent nae whither. 

Glaum, to grasp at, to clutch, to 
endeavour to seize, without 
strength to hold; from the 

Gleg, sharp, acute, quick-witted ; 
gleg - tongued, voluble ; gleg- 
lugg'd, sharp of hearing; gleg- 
ee'd, sharp-sighted. 

Sae for my part I'm willing to submit 
To what your glegger wisdom shall think 
fit. — Ross's Helenore. 
Unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie. 

— Burns : Tarn. Samsons Livin. 
He'll shape you aff fu' gleg 
The cut of Adam's philibeg. 

—Burns : Captain Grose. 


Glent — Glunch, 

Jamieson derives gleg from 
the Icelandic and Swedish, un- 
aware of the Gaelic etymology 
from glac, to seize, to snatch, 
to lay hold of quickly. 

Glent, glint, a moment, a glance, 
a twinkling; also to glance, to 
shine forth, to peep out. From 
the same root as the English 
glance, the Teutonic gldnzen, and 
Flemish glinster. 

And in a. glent, my child, ye'll find it sae. 
— Ross's Helenore. 
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth 
Amid the storm. 
— Burns : To a Mountain Daisy. 
The risin' sun owre Galston muir 
Wi' glowing light was glintin. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

Gley, to squint ; aglee or agley, 
crooked, aslant, in the wrong 
direction ; probably from the 
Gaelic gli, the left hand, awk- 

There's a time to gley and a time to look 
even. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
Gleyed Sandy he came here yestreen, 
And speired when I saw Pate. 

— James Carnegie, 1765. 
The best -laid schemes of mice and men 
Gang aft aglee. 

— Burns : To a Mouse. 

Glib-g^abbet, having "the gift of 
the gab," speaking glibly with 
voluble ease ; apparently derived 
from the Gaelic glib or gliob, 
slippery, and gah, a mouth. 

And that glib-gabbet Highland baron, 
The Laird o' Graham. 

— Burns : Cry and Prayer. 

Gliff, a moment, a short slumber, 
a nap. 

I '11 win out a gliff the night for a' that, 
to dance in the moonlight. — Scott : The 
Heart of Midlothian. 

" Laid down on her bed for a gliff" 
said her grandmother. — Scott: The An- 

Gloaming, the twilight ; from the 
English gloom or darkness. This 
word has been adopted by the 
best English writers. 

When ance life's day draws near its 

— Burns : To James Smith. 
'Twixt the gloaming and the mirk, 
When the kye come hame. 

—Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. 

Glower, to look stupidly or in- 
tently, to glare, to stare. 

Ye glowered at the moon and fell in 
the midden. — Allan '^MAStci'% Scots Pro- 
I am a bard of no regard, 

Wi' gentle folks and a' that ; 
But Homer-like, ih^glowrin byke (swarm) 

Frae town to town I draw that. 

—Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

He on\y glowered at her, taking no notice 
whatever of her hints. — A. Trollope : 
Vicar of Bullhampton. 

Glunch, an angry frown, a sulky or 
forbidding expression of counte- 
nance. ' ' To glunch and gloom," 
to look angry, discontented, 
sulky, and gloomy. Glunschoch, 
one who has a frowning or 
morose countenance ; from the 
Gaelic glonn, a qualm, a feeling 
of nausea ; glonnach, one who 
has a disagreeable or stupid ex- 
pression on his face : — 

A glunch 
O' sour disdain. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 
Does ony great man glunch and gloom ? 
— Burns : Cry and Prayer. 

Gotneril — Gowpen. 


Gluftch and gloom.— Glunch, giving 
audible expression to discontent in a series 
of interjectional humphs; gloom, a frown- 
ing, silent expression of displeasure. — 
R. Drennan. 

Gomeril, a fool, a loud -talking 
fool; from the Gaelic geum, to 
bellow. The English and Cock- 
ney slang " Give us none of your 
gum" i.e., of your impudence 
or loud bellowing, is from the 
root of geum. 
He's naught but 3.gotneril, never tired of 

talking. — Nodes AmbrosiancB. 

Gowan, a daisy ; goioany, sprin- 
kled with go wans or daisies. 
Chaucer was partial to the word 
daisy, which he derived from 
** day's eye ; " though it is more 
probably to be traced to the 
Gaelic deise, pretty, a pretty 
flower. The word gowan, to a 
Scottish ear, is far more beauti- 

Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk 
lowly unseen. — Burns. 

The night was fair, the moon was up, 
The wind blew low among the go-wans. 
— Legends of the Isles. 
Her eyes shown bright amid her tears, 
Her lips were fresh asgowans growing. 

— Idem. 
In gowany glens the burnie strays. 

I'd not be buried in the Atlantic wave, 
But in brown earth with gowans on my 

Fresh gowans gathered on Lochaber's 
braes. — All the Year Round. 

Gowdspink, the goldfinch. 

Nancy's to the greenwood gane. 
To hear the gowdspink chattering ; 

And Willie he has followed her, 
To win her love by flattering. 

— Scornful Nancy. 

Gowff or goufif, to pull violently. 

She broke the bicker, spilt the drink. 
And tightly gouj^d his haffets (long hair). 
—Herd's Collection : The Three- 
Girred Cog. 

Gowk, the cuckoo ; also a fool, or 
a person who has but one idea 
and is always repeating it ; from 
the Gaelic cuach, with the same 

Ye breed o' the gowk, ye hae never a 
song but ane. — Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Conceited gowk, puffed up wi' windy pride. 
— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

Gowl, to weep loudly, to whine 
and blubber ; from the Gaelic 
gul, with the same meaning. 
The French has gueule, a mouth 
that is very wide open. Gowl 
also signifies large and empty, 
as **a gowl or gowlsome house," 
and " a gowl (a hollow) between 
the hills ; " possibly allied in 
idea to the French gueule. 

Ne'er may Misfortune's gowling bark 
Howl through the dwelling o' the clerk. 

— Burns : To Gavin Hamilton. 
Gowl means to bawl, to howl, but has 
the additional idea of threatening or terrify- 
ing. To gowl at a person is to speak in a 
loud threatening tone — "He gied me a 
gowl," " What mak's y&gowl that way at 
the weans ? " I have an idea that this is 
one of the words that have crept into the 
Scotch through the French.— R. Dren- 

Gowpen, two handfuls ; from the 
Flemish gaps, which has the 
same meaning. 

Those who carried meal seldom failed 
to add a gowpen to the alms-bag of the 
deformed cripple. — Scott : The Black 


Grade — Gree. 

Gowpen means placing the two palms 
together, and the hollow formed thereby is 
a gowpen. The miller would have had but 
a scanty " mouter " if his gowpen had been 
only a handful. An ord inary beggar would 
get a nievefu' o' meal, but a weel kent 
ane and a favourite would get 2l gowpen. 
Hence, you never heard the crucial test of 
an Englishman's knowledge of Scotch when 
he was asked ' ' What's a gowpen d glaur ? " 
and his acquaintance with the tongue fail- 
ing him, he was enlightened by the ex- 
planation that it was " twa neivefu' o' 
clairts." — R. Drennan. 

Grade, well-behaved, graceful, of 
pleasant manners and behaviour. 

"A wife's ae dochter is never grade." 

Signifying that an only daughter 
is likely to be spoiled by over- 
indulgence, and therefore not 
likely to be as agreeable in man- 
ners as if she had sisters to 
compete with her for favour. 

Gradden, the coarse meal that is 
ground in the quern by hand. 

Grind the gradden, grind it ; 
We'll a' get crowdie when it's done, 
An' bannocks steeve to bind it. 

Whisky gars the bark of life 
. Drive merrily and rarely, 
But gradden is the ballast gars 
It steady gang and fairly. 

— R. Jamieson : The Queen Lily. 

Graith, tools, requisites, imple- 
ments, appurtenances of a busi- 
ness or work, harness ; graiihinrj- 
dolhes, accoutrements. 

Then he in wrath put up his graith — 
" The deevil's in the hizzie." 

— Jacob and Rachel : attributed 
to Burns, 1825. 

And ploughmen gather wi' their graith. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Ye'll bid her shoe her steed before 
An' a gowd graithing was behind. 

— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Gramarye, magic ; French gri- 
moire, a magic-book. Attempts 
have been made to derive this 
word from grammar. It is more 
likely, considering the gloomy 
ideas attached to the French 
grimoire (the immediate root of 
the word), that it comes origi- 
nally from the Gaelic gruaim, 
gloom, melancholy, wrath, in- 
tense sadness or indignation ; 
and gruamach, sullen, surly, 
morose, gloomy, grim, frowning. 

Whate'er he did o{ gramarye. 
Was always done maliciously. 
—Scott : Lay of the Last Minstrel. 
The wild yell and visage strange, 
And the dark woods oi gramarye, 
— Idem. 

Grandgore, sometimes written 
glengore and glandgore, the 
venereal disease. Jamieson sug- 
gests its origin from the French 
grand, great, and gorre; but does 
not explain the meaning of gorre, 
which does not appear in French 

The word appears to be rightly 
grandgore, and not glen or gland 
gore, and to be derived from the 
Gaelic grain, horrid, disgusting, 
and gaorr, filth, 

Gree, to bear the gree, to excel, 
to be acknowledged to excel. 
The origin of this phrase is un- 
certain, though supposed to be 
connected with degree, i.e., a 
degree of excellence and supe- 

Greetie — Grien. 


Then let us pray that come it may, 

As come it will for a' that, 
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth. 

Shall bear the gree and a' that. 

— Burns. 

I wad hae nane o' them, though they wad 

fancy me, 
For my bonnie mason laddie he bears 
awa' the gree. 
—Chambers's Scottish Songs : The 
Mason Laddie. 

Greetie, the affectionate diminu- 
tive of greet, to weep or cry ; 
not to be rendered into English 
except by a weak paraphrase 
and dilution of the touching 
Scottish phrase, such as a small, 
faint, or little cry or lament. 
The same remark applies to the 
diminutive of jeet in the sub- 
joined verse. 

We'll hap an' row, we'll hap an' row. 

We'll hap an' row the^^^^zV o't ; 
It is a wee bit wearie thing, 

I downa bide the greetie o't. 
— William Creech, Lord Proriost of 
Edinburgh, and publisher of the 
Poems of Robert Bums. 

Gregorian, a popular name for a 
wig in the seventeenth century, 
introduced into England by the 
Scottish followers of James VI. 
when he succeeded to the Eng- 
lish throne. Blount, in his 
" Glossographia," says : " Wigs 
were so called from one Gre- 
gorie, a barber in the Strand, 
who was a famous perruque- 

He cannot be a cuckold that wears a 
gregorian, for a periwig will never fit 
such a head. — Nares. 

Yet, though one Gregorie, a 
wig-maker, may have lived and 

flourished in London in the 
early part of the seventeenth 
century, it does not follow that 
the word gregorian was derived 
from his name, any more than 
that of the designation of a 
tailor by trade had its origin in 
the patronymic of taylor. At 
all events, it is worthy of note 
that in Gaelic gruaig signifies a 
wig; gruagach, hairy; gruagag, 
a little wig, or a bunch of hair ; 
and gruagair, a wig-maker and 

Grien or grene, to covet, to long 
for, to desire ardently and un- 
reasonably ; grening, longing, 
akin to the English yearn, "a 
yearning desire," German gem, 
Flemish gearne, willingly, de- 
sirous of. From this comes pro- 
bably "grreen sickness," a malady 
that afflicts growing girls when 
they long for unwholesome and 
unnatural food, and would eat 
chalk, charcoal, unripe fruit, and 
any kind of trash. The medical 
name of this malady is chlorosis, 
a Greek translation of "green 
sickness," arising from the fact 
that English physicians under- 
stood the popular word green, 
the colour, but not grien or 
grene, to covet, which is the 
main symptom of the dis- 

Teuch Johnnie, staunch Geordie an' Walie, 
That griens for the fishes an' loaves. 

— Burns : The Election. 

They came there justice for to gett, 
They'll never grene to come again. 
—Border Minstrelsy : The Raid of the 


Grip — Grue. 

Grip, tenacity, moral or physical ; 
to hold fast. 

Will Shore couldna conceive how it was 
that when he was drunk his feet wadna 
baud the grip. — Laird of Logan. 

But where you feel your \\ono\xv grip, 

Let that be aye your border. 
— Burns : Epistle to a Young Friend. 

I like the Scotch ; they have more gHp 
than any people I know. — Sam Slick. 

Grog^, a mixture of spirits and 
water; usually applied to hot 
gin and water, as distinguished 
from rum-punch and whisky- 
toddy. The word is now com- 
mon in England, and is sup- 
posed by careless philologists, 
who follow blindly where their 
predecessors lead them, to have 
been first used by the sailors in 
a ship of war commanded by 
Captain, afterwards Admiral 
Vernon, commonly called *' Old 
Grog," from the grogram jacket 
or coat which he usually wore. 
But (jrog was known and named 
long before the days of Admiral 
Vernon, and was in common 
use in Scotland, as well as in 
England, as croc, afterwards 
corrupted into grog. The word 
croc in Gaelic signifies a horn, 
used in districts and in houses 
where glass was too expensive 
for purchase. A horn or croc of 
liquor was synonymous with a 
glass of liquor, and to offer a 
guest a croc or grog of spirit 
of any kind was the same as 
to invite him to take a social 
glass ; and in time croc came to 
signify the liquor in the horn, 
as well as the horn itself. To 

invite a man to take a friendly 
glass is not to invite him to 
take the glass itself, but the 
drink that is in it. Hence the 
word grog, which has no more 
connection with the grogram 
suit of Admiral Vernon than it 
has with ** the man in the 
moon." The French have the 
phrase "eric et croc''' in the 
slang vernacular. 

Groof, the belly, so called from its 
rumbling when deprived of food ; 
from the Gaelic gromhan {grovan), 
to growl. 

Rowin' yoursel' on the floor on your 
groof, wi' your hair on end and your e'en 
on fire. — Noctes Ambrosiance. 

Gnie or grew, a greyhound. 

I dreamed a weary dream yestre'en, 

I wish it may come to gude ; 
I dreamed that ye slew my best grew- 
And gied me his lapper'd blude. 

— Ballad of Sir Roland. 

What has come ower ye, Muirland Tam ? 
Your leg's now grown like a wheelbarrow 

tram ; 
Ye'd the strength o' a stot, the weight o' a 

Now, Tammy, my man, ye have grown 

like a gre^v. 
— Hew Ainslie : Tam d the Balloch. 

A grew is a female greyhound in 
the South of England, according 
to Mr. Halliwell Phillips, while 
in the eastern counties the word 
is a grewin, and in Shropshire 
groun. In old French grous 
signifies any kind of hunting- 
dog — a greyhound among the 

The modern French do not 

Gruesome — Gruntle. 


call the animal a ** chien gris" 
but a limier, which means a dog 
which leaps or springs, from the 
Celtic leum, to leap, or a levrier, 
because it courses the lUvre 
or hare. In "Anglo-Saxon," 
which is merely Teutonic with 
a large substratum of Gaelic, it 
appears that this word is grig- 
hound. The pure Teutonic calls 
it a windd spiel, a grotesque 
term, for which it is difficult 
to account. The Dutch and 
Flemish call it a speurhond, or 
tracking-hound. The Italians 
call the animal a veltro. It is 
evident from aU these examples 
that the dog was not named 
from grey, which is not its in- 
variable colour. Grey is not 
adopted as its designation by any 
other nation than the English. 
Philology is thus justified in seek- 
ing elsewhere for the root oigrue, 
which the Teutonic nations do 
not afford. The old grammarian 
Minshew thought he had found 
it in grcecus, and that the hound 
was so called because the Greeks 
hunted with it ; but this deriva- 
tion is manifestly inadmissible, 
as is that from grip, the hound 
which grips or snatches. Pos- 
sibly the Scottish hound came 
from the Highlands and not 
from the Lowlands, or may be 
derived from gaoth, wind or 
breath, and gaothar (pronounced 
gao-ar), long-winded, strong- 
winded, provided with wind for 
rapid motion. Gaothar is ren- 
dered in the Gaelic dictionaries 
as a lurcher, half foxhound and 
half greyhound, and anciently 

as greyhound only. As gaor is 
easy of corruption, first into 
grao, and afterwards into grew 
or grue, it is extremely probable 
that this is the true derivation 
of a word that has long been 
the despair of all lexicographers 
who were not so confident as 
Minshew and Dr. Johnson. 

Gruesome, highly ill-favoured, 
disagreeable, horrible, cruel. 
Grue, to shudder, to be horrified. 
From the Teutonic grau, horror ; 
grausam, horrible, cruel; and 
grausamkeit, cruelty. This word 
has been recently used by some 
of the best English writers, 
though not yet admitted to the 
honours of the dictionaries. 

Ae day as Death, that gruesome carle. 

Was driving to the ither warl (world). 
— Burns : Verses to J. Rankine. 

And now, let us change the discourse. 
These stories make one's very \)\ooA grew. 
— Scott : Fortunes of Nigel. 

" They're the Hieland hills," said the 
Bailie; "ye '11 see and hear eneuch about 
them before ye see Glasgow Green again. 
I downa look at them, I never see them, 
but they gar me grew. " — Scott : Rod Roy. 

Grugous or allagru^ous, grim, 
ghastly, disagreeable, morose, 
ill-natured; from the GaeUc 
grug, morose, ill-conditioned and 
surly, and uiJle, all. 

Whilk added horror to his mien, 
A grugous sight he was, I ween, 

— George Beattie : John o 
An allagrugous, gruesome spectre, 
A' gored and bored like Trojan Hector. 

Gruntle, a word of contempt for 
a snub nose or snout ; erro- 


Grunzie — Gumlie. 

neously rendered by "counten- 
ance " in some of the glos- 
saries to Burns ; gruntle-thrawn, 
crooked in the nose. 

May gouts torment him, inch by inch, 
Wha twists his gruntle wi' a glunch 

O' sour disdain, 
Out owre a glass o' whisky -punch 

Wi' honest men. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Akin to the Gaelic graineif, 
ugly, loathsome ; graineUachd, 

Grunzie, a ludicrous name for the 
nose or mouth ; possibly applied 
originally to the snout of a hog, 
in reference to the grunting of 
the animal. {See Geuntle.) 

But Willie's wife is nae sae trig, 
She dights her grunzie wi' a hushon 

{i.e., she wipes her nose with a cushion). 
— Burns : Sic a Wife as Willie had. 

Grushie, of rapid growth, thickly 

The dearest comfort o' their lives, 
Their grushie weans and faithful wives. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Gryce, a young pig. 

A yeld (barren) sow was ne'er good to 
gryces. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

My bairn has tocher o' her ain, 

Although her friends do nane her len', 
A stirk, a staig, an acre sawn, 
A goose, a gryce, a clocking-hen. 
—The Wooing o' Jenny and Jock. 

Gryme, to sprinkle; gryming, a 
sprinkling. The English word 
grimy signifies foul with dirt. 
The Scottish gryme has a wider 
meaning, and is applied both 
to pure and impure substances 
when out of place. 

The sun wasna up, but the moon was 

It was the griming of new fa'n snaw. 

— Border Minstrelsy : Jamie Telfer. 

Guller, an indistinct noise in the 
throat. {See Gowl.) 

Between a grunt, a groan, and a guller 
— Noctes A mbrosiame. 

Gullie or gully (sometimes written 
goolie), a large pocket-knife ; 
gullie-gaw, a broil in which 
knives are likely to be drawn 
and used. GuUie-wUlie, accord- 
ing to Jamieson, is a noisy, 
blustering fool — possibly from 
his threatening the knife, but 
not using it. 

I rede ye weel, tak' care o' skaith — 
See, there's a gullie. — Burns. 

The carles of Kilmarnock had spits and 

had spears, 
And lang-hafted gullies to kill Cavaliers. 
—Sir Walter Scott : Bonnie Dundee. 

Stickin' gangs nae by strength, but by 
right guidin' o' the gully.— K\.\.KH Ram- 
say's Scots Proverbs. 

" To guide the gullie," is a 
proverbial phrase, signifying to 
have the management of an 
affair. The derivation is un- 
certain, but is perhaps from the 
Gaelic guaillich, to go hand in 
hand, to accompany; applied 
to the weapon from its ready 
conveniency to the hand in case 
of need. 

Gumlie, muddy, turbid, synony- 
mous with drumZie {q.v.). Ety- 
mology obscure. 

O ye wha leave the springs o' Calvin, 
For gumlie dubs [pools] o' your ain delvin'. 
—Burns : To Gavin Hamilton. 

Gump — Gurr, 


Gump, a stupid old woman, of 
the kind so well portrayed in 
the Mrs. Gamp of Dickens, and 
which possibly may have sug- 
gested the name to the brilliant 
novelist, who married a Scots- 
woman, the grand-daughter of 
George Thompson,the celebrated 

. correspondent of Robert Burns. 
Gumphie, a fool ; gommeril, a 
foolish or stupid person ; gomf 
or gomph, an idiot. The root 
is possibly the Gaelic geum, to 
low or bellow like a cow or a 
bull, and which finds its equi- 
valent in the English slang, 
" Give us none of your gum.^' 

Gump not only signifies an 
old woman not over-wise, but a 
fat and chubby infant, so that 
the Gaelic etymology for geum, 
if correct, can only be accepted 
in the case of the child, on the 
supposition that the child is a 
noisy one, and bellows or lows 
in expression of its wants or 
its ill-temper. To take the 
gumps is to indulge in a fit 
of ill-temper. Jamieson defines 
gamer il or gomrell as a stupid 
fellow, so called, he intimates, 
from the French goimpre, " one 
who minds nothing but his 
belly." The word, however, is 
not to be found in the " Dic- 
tionnaire Etymologique " of Noel 
and Carpentier (1857), nor in 
the comprehensive dictionary 
of *' argot," or French slang, 
by the erudite and industrious 
Professor Barr^re, published in 
1887, nor in that of M. Brachet, 
published by the Clarendon 
Press in 1882, or in the volumi- 

nous work of M. Littrd, the 
last recognised exponent of the 
French language. Professor 
Barr^re, however, has goinfre — 
slang of thieves — from a pie- 
eater, * ' an allusion to his open- 
ing his mouth like a glutton," 
which may possibly be the 
word which Jamieson adopts 
as goimfre. But neither goinfre 
nor goimfre throws any light 
upon gump or the closely-related 
words that spring out of it, 
unless it be in support of the 
Gaelic derivation from geum, to 
low or bellow, and consequently 
to open the mouth widely. 

Gumption, wit, sense, knowledge. 
This word is akin to the Gaelic 
cuimse (cumshe), moderation, ad- 
aptation, and cuimsiehte, well- 
aimed, that hits the mark. 
Nor a' the quacks with all their gumption 
Will ever mend her. 
— Burns : Letter to John Goudie. 

Gurl, to growl ; gurly, boister- 
ous, stormy, savage, growly ; 
from the German and Flemish 
grollen, the English growl, to 
express displeasure or anger by 
murmurs, and low, inarticulate 

The lift grew dark and the wind blew sair, 
And gurly grew the sea. 

— Sir Patrick Spens. 
Waesome wailed the snow-white sprites, 
Upon the gurly sea. 

— Laidlaw : The Demon Lover. 
There's a strong gurly blast blawing 
snell frae the south. — James Ballan- 
TINE : The Spunk Splitters. 

Gurr, to snarl, to growl like 
an angry dog ; gurrie, a loud 
and angry disputation, and 


Gurthie — Gyte, 

also the growling, yelping, and 
barking of dogs in a fight. 
Allied in meaning and deriva- 
tion, though spelled with % in- 
stead of u, are girnie, peevish; 
girnigoe and gimigoe-gibhie, a 
snarling and ill-natured person ; 
and girnin' gyte, a fractious child. 

Gurthie, corpulent, obese, large 
round the waist or girth. 
Applied especially to what burdens the 
stomach. Roquefort renders it pesant, 
ponderous, burdensome. — Jamieson. 

Gutcher, a grandfather. This un- 
gainly word seems to be a cor- 
ruption of gude-sire, gnde-sir, 
gudsir, or good sir, a title of 
reverence for a grandfather. 

God bless auld lang syne, when our 
gutchers ate their trenchers. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

This was a reproach directed 

against over-dainty people who 

objected to their food. 

Gae 'wa wi' your plaidie, auld Donald, 
gae 'wa; 

I fear na the cauld blast, the drift, nor 
the sna', 

Gae 'wa wi' your plaidie — I'll no sit be- 
side ye ; 

Ye might be my gutcher 1 auld Donald, 
gae 'wa ! 

— Hector Macneil : Cotne under 
jny Plaidie. 

The derivation from good-sire 
is rendered the more probable 
by the common use of the word 
good in Scotland to express de- 
grees of relationship, as good- 
mother, a mother-in-law ; good- 
brother, a brother-in-law ; good- 
sister, a sister-in-law ; good-son, 
a son-in-law, &c., as also in the 
familiarly affectionate phrases 
of good-wite for wife, and good- 

man for husband. The French 
use beau or belle in a similar 
sense, as fteaw-pere, a father-in- 
law ; belle-Glle, a daughter-in- 
law ; belle-mhTe, a mother-in- 
law. Possibly the English words 
^rorf-father and ^'od-mother, ap- 
plied to the sponsors at the 
baptism of a child, were ori- 
ginally good, and not god. 

Gyre-carline. This is in some 
parts of Scotland the name given 
to a woman suspected of witch- 
craft, and is from gyre, the 
Teutonic geier, a vulture, and 
carline, an old woman. The 
harpies in Grecian mythology 
are represented as having the 
beaks and claws of vultures, and 
are fabled to devour the bodies 
of warriors left unburied on 
the battle-field. The name of 
" Harpy," given in the ancient 
mythology to these supposed 
malevolent creatures, has been 
conclusively shown to be de- 
rived from the Gaelic, and to 
be traceable to ar, a battle- 
field, and pighe (pronounced 
pee), a bird, whence ar pighe, a 
harpy, the bird of the battlefield, 
the great carrion hawk or vulture. 

I wad like ill to see a secret house 
haunted wi' ghaists and gyre-carlines. — 
Scott : The Monastery. 

Gyte, deranged, mad; from 
the Flemish guit, mischievous, 
roguish ; guitenstuJc, a piece of 

Surprised at once out of decorum, philo- 
sophy, and phlegm, he skimmed his cocked- 
hat in the air. " Lord sake," said Edie, 
" he's gaun ^/^."— ScoTT : The Anti- 

Hadden — Haggis. 


Hadden and dung:, a phrase 
that signifies *' held down and 
beaten," i.e., held in bondage 
and ill-used ; from hadden, pre- 
terite of hold, and dung, the 
preterite of ding, to beat or 
strike. (5'ceDiNG.) 

Haddin, furniture, plenishment, 
household stujff. 

Oh, Sandie has owsen an' siller an' kye, 
A house an' a haddin, an' a' things forbye ; 
But I'd rather ha'e Jamie wi 's bonnet in 

Than I wad ha'e Sandie wi' houses an' land. 
— Logie o' Buchan. 

Haet, a whit, an iota ; deH a haet, 
the devil a bit. 

But gentlemen, an' ladies warst, 
Wi' evendoun want o' wark are curst ; 
They loiter, lounging, lank and lazy, 
Hhou^ de'il haet ails them, yet uneasy. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

In Bartlett's "Dictionary of 
Americanisms" the word occurs 
as hate. 
I don't care a hate — I didn't eat a hate. 

HafTets or haffits, the long hair 
of men, also applied to the long 
hair of women when old, but 
never when they are young. 

Jamieson says that haffits 
means the cheeks, but as used 
by Burns in " The Cotter's 
Saturday Night " it clearly signi- 
fies the front hair on the vene- 
rable cotter—" His lyart haffits 
wearin' thin an' bare." His 
lyart (grey) haffits are evidently 

not meant for grey cheeks, and 
cheeks, though they may grow 
thin, do not necessarily grow 
hare. The etymology of haffits 
as long hair is unknown; but 
supposing it to be cheeks, Jamie- 
son derives it from the Anglo- 
Saxon healf heafod, half head, a 

His lyart haffits wearin' thin an' bare. 
—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Lyart signifies grey, from the 
Gaelic liath, grey, and liathach, 

Hafflins, almost or nearly one- 
half, formed from half and tins, 
pertaining to or approaching to- 
wards half, as in aiblins (which 

While Jeanie hajfflins is afraid to speak, 
Weel pleased the mother hears he's nae 
wild worthless rake. 
—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 
When it's cardit, row'd and spun, 
Then the work is hafflins done. 
—Tea-Table Miscellany : Tarry Woo. 

Haggis, the national dish -par 
excellence of Scotland, which 
shares with cock-a-leekie and 
hotch-potch the particular fa- 
vour of Scotsmen all over the 
world. Sir Walter Scott de- 
scribes it in the introduction to 
"Johnnie Armstrong," in the 
"Minstrelsy of the Scottish 
Border," as "an olio composed 
of the liver, head, &c., of a 
sheep, minced down with oat- 


Haimert — Hain. 

meal, onions, and spices, and 
boiled in the stomach of the 
animal by way of bag." In 
Tim Bobbin's Glossary hag and 
haggus are defined as meaning 
the helly. 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the puddin' race ; 
Aboon them a' you tak' your place, 

Painch, tripe, or thairm ; 
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace 

As lang's my arm. 

— Burns : To a Haggis. 

Even a haggis, God bless her ! could 
charge down the hill. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

An illustrious American, travelling in 
Scotland, was entertained at a public 
dinner, when towards the end of the repast 
a very large haggis was brought in on a 
gigantic dish, carried by four waiters, to 
the tune of "See the Conquering Hero 
Comes," played by the band. He was very 
much amused at the incident, and having 
heard much of the national dish, but 
never having tasted it, was easily induced 
to partake of it. He did not appear to 
ike its flavour very much, and being asked 
his opinion of it, replied that "the haggis 
must have been invented to give Scotsmen 
an excuse for a dram of whisky after it, to 
take the taste out of the mouth," adding, 
" But if I were a Scotsman, I should make 
it a patriotic duty to love it, with or with- 
out the dram — but especially with it ! " 
— C. M. 

The word, formerly spelled 
haggass, is usually derived from 
the French hachis, a hash of 
viands cut into small pieces, 
from hacher, to mince, the Eng- 
lish hack, to cut. The dish is 
quite unknown to the French, 
though the etymology is pos- 
sibly correct. The allusion of 
Burns to the "sonsie face" of 
the pudding which he praised 
so highly, renders it possible 

that he knew the Gaelic words 
aogas, a face, and aogasach, 
seemly, comely, sonsie. Any- 
how, the coincidence is curious. 

Haimert, homely, homerlike, or 
tending homewards, of which 
latter word it is a variety or 

Quoth John, They're late ; but, by jingo, 
Ye'se get the rest in haimert lingo. 
— George Beattie : John o' AmhcC. 

Haiti, to preserve, to economise, 
so as to prevent waste and ex- 
travagance ; to protect with a 
hedge or fence ; to spare for 
future use. Uain seems to be 
derived from the German ha- 
gen, to enclose with a hedge or 
fence; the Danish hegne, with 
the same meaning ; and the 
Dutch and Flemish heenen; 
omheenen, to fence around, and 
onheining, an enclosure. From 
the practical idea of enclosing 
anything to protect it came 
the metaphorical use of this 
word in Scotland, in the sense 
of preservation of a thing by 
means of care, economy, and 

The weel-hained kebbock (cheese). 
— Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 
Wha waste your v/ee\-hained gear on 
damned new brigs and harbours. 
— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 
Kail hains bread. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

We've won to crazy years thegither, 
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither ; 
Wi* tentie care 111 flit thy tether 
To some haind rig. 
— Burns; The Auld Farmer. 

Hain, to preserve, does not seem to me 


Haiver — Hams. 


to be a correct synonym ; the word rather 
means to use economically. " Her weel- 
hain'd kebbuck " does not mean that the 
cheese had been preserved from danger, 
from mites, or the cheese-fly and maggots, 
but that it had not been used wastefuUy ; 
haining clothes, means a second goodish 
suit to save your best one. The English 
expression "eke it out" comes very near 
the meaning of hain. In Fifeshire the 
word used instead of hain is tape — tape it, 
make it last a good while, don't gobble up 
a nice thing all at once ; in fact, hain it.— 
R. Drennan. 

Haiver, to talk in a desultory 
manner, foolishly, or idly, to 

Wi' clavers and haivers 
Wearin' the day awa'. 


flaiver or haver seems to be 
a corruption of the Gaelic dbair, 
to talk, to say. 

Hale-scart, without scratch or 
damage ; from scart, to scratch, 
and hale, well or intact. 

Hale-scart frae the wars without skaith- 

Gaed bannin' the French awa' hame. 
— Andrew Scott : Sytnon and Janet. 

Hallan-shaker, a sturdy, impor- 
tunate beggar. Jamieson de- 
rives the word from haUan, a 
partition in a cottage between 
the "but" and the "ben;" 
and shaker, one who shakes the 
hallan by the noise he makes. 
If he had sought in the Gaelic, 
he might have found a better 
derivation in alia, allan, allanta, 
wild, ferocious, savage ; and 
seachran (the Irish shaughraun), 
a vagrant, a wanderer, a beggar. 

Right scornfully she answered him, 
Begone, you hallan-shaker I 

Jog on your gate, you bladderskate. 
My name is Maggie Lauder. 

— Francis Semple. 

Hantle, a good deal, a quantity ; 
from the Flemish hand, a hand, 
and tel, to count or number ; a 
quantity that may be reckoned 
by the handful. 

A Scottish clergyman related as his ex- 
perience after killing his first pig, that 
" nae doot there was a hantle o' miscel- 
laneous eating about a swine." — Dean 

Some hae a hantle o" fauts ; ye are only 
a ne'er-do-weel.— Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Are we better now than before? In a 
few things better; in a hantle waur. — 
Nodes Ambrosiame. 

Hap, to cover, to wrap up. 

I digged a grave and laid him in. 
And happ'd him wi' the sod sae green. 
— Lament of the Border Widow. 
Hap and rowe, hap and rowe the feetie o't, 

It is a wee bit ourie thing, 
I downa bide the greetie o't. 

— Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

Happer, thin, lank, shrunken ; 
haip-per-Yv^^^^, having thin lips ; 
Aajjper-hipped, having small or 
shrunken hips. 

An' there'll be ^a://^r-hipped Nannie, 
An' fairy-faced Flora by name ; 

Muck Maudie, and fat-luggit Girzie, 
The lass wi' the gowden wame. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Harns, brains ; from the German 
him or gehirn, the brain ; hirn- 
schale, the brain-pan; Dutch 
and Flemish, her sens. 
A wheen midden-cocks pike ilk others' 
hams out (a lot of dunghill cocks pick each 
others' brains out).— Scott : Rob Roy. 


Hatter — Havins. 

Lastly, Bailie, because if I saw a sign o' 
your betraying me, I would plaster that 
wa' wi' your harns, ere the hand o' man 
could rescue ye. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

Hatter (sometimes written hotter) 
signifies, according to Jamieson, 
to bubble, to boil up and also a 
crowd in motion or in confusion. 
The English slang expression 
" Mad as a hatter " does not 
apply — though commonly sup- 
posed to do so — to a hat-maker, 
any more than it does to a tailor 
or a shoemaker. It seems to 
have been borrowed by the Low- 
land Scotch from the Gaelic 
at, to swell like boiling water, 
and ataircachd, the swelling 
and foaming of waters as in 
a cataract, and, by extension 
of the image, to the tumul- 
tuous action of a noisy crowd. 
In Tim Bobbin's Lancashire 
Glossary hotter signifies to vex, 
and hottering, mad, very mad, 
very vexed. 

Haugh, low ground or meadows 
by the river-side ; from the 
Gaelic ac, ach, and auch ; the 
Teutonic aue, a meadow. Holm 
and hagg have the same mean- 
ing. The word acre is from the 
same etymological root. 

By Leader haughs and Yarrow. 

Let husky wheat the haughs adorn, 
And aits set up their awnie horn. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Haur, an easterly wind ; and hoar, 
frost produced by an easterly 

The sleet and the ^«r— misty, easterly 
kaur. — Nodes Ambrosiana, . 

Hause-bane, the neck -bone ; from 
the Flemish and German hah, 
the neck. 

Ye shall sit on his white hatise-bane. 
And I'll pike out his bonny blue een ; 
Wi' ae lock o' his yellow hair 
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare. 
— The Tiva Corbies. 

To hauze or haU signifies to 
embrace, i.e., to put the arms 
round the neck. 

Haveril, a half-witted person, a 
silly talker ; from haiver, to talk 
nonsense ; the Gaelic abair, to 

Poor haveril Will fell afF the drift. 
And wandered through the bow-kail, 

And pu'd, for want o' better shift, 
A runt was like a sow-tail. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

Havers, oats; haver-meal, oat- 
meal ; from the French avoine. 

Oh, where did ye get that haver-meal 
bannock ? 
Oh, silly auld body, dinna ye see ? 
I got it frae a sodger laddie 
Betwixt St. Johnstoun and Bonnie 
— Herd's Collection : altered and 
amended by Burns. 

Havins, good manners and beha- 
viour, courteous and kindly de- 
meanour, personal accomplish- 
ments which one has; thence 
havings or acquirements. 

Awa, ye selfish warldly race, 

Wha think that havifis, sense, and grace. 

E'en love and friendship, should give place 

To catch-the-plack (the money) ; 
I dinna like to see your face 

Or hear you crack (talk). 

—Burns : Epistle to Lapraikt 

Hawkie — Heckle. 


Hawkie, a pet name for a 
favourite cow or one who is a 
good milker. 

Dawtit twal-pint Hawkie s gaen 
As yell's the bull. 
— Burns : Address to the De'il. 
I'd rather sell my petticoat, 

Though it were made o' silk, 
Than sell my bonnie broun Hawkie., 
That gies the sup o' milk. 

—Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

** Brown hawkie," says Jamie- 
son, "is a cant name for a 
barrel of ale" — i.e., the milk 
of drunkards' and topers. The 
word is traceable to the Gaelic 
adhach (pronounced awk or 
hawk), lucky, fortunate. 

Heartsome, cordial, hearty; full 
of heartiness. 

Farewell to Lochaber, fareweel to my Jean, 
Where heartsome wi' her I ha'e mony a 
day been. — Lochaber no More. 

Hech, an exclamation of surprise, 
of joy, or of pain; softened 
from the Gaelic oich. On the 
shore of Loch Ness, near the 
waterfall of Ahriadian, where 
the road is steep and difficult, 
the rock near the summit of the 
ascent has received from the 
shepherds and drovers the name 
of " Craig Oich," from their 
stopping to draw breath and 
exclaiming, ''Oich! oich!" (in 
the Lowland Scottish, hech). The 
English heigho is a kindred 
exclamation, and is possibly of 
the same etymology. Ilech-howe 
signifies heigh-ho 1 "In the auld 
hech-howe," i.e., as in the old 
heigho condition, a mode of com- 

plaining that one is in the cus- 
tomary state of ill-health. 

Hecht, to offer, to promise. This 
verb seems to have no present 
tense, no future, and no de- 
clensions or infiexions, and to 
be only used in the past, as : — 

Willie's rare, Willie's fair, 

And Willie's wondrous bonny, ] 
And Willie hecht to marry me, 
Gin e'er he married ony. 

— Tea-Table Miscellany. 
The miller he hecht her a heart leal and 

The laird did address her wi' matter mair 

moving. — Burns : Meg d the Mill. 
He hecht me baith rings and mony braw 

And were na my heart light I wad die. 

— Lady Grizzel Baillie. 1 

The word is of doubtful ety- 
mology : perhaps from the Teu- 
tonic echt, sincere, true, genuine 
— which a promise ought to be. 

Heckle, a sort of rough comb 
used by hemp and flax dressers. 
Metaphorically the word signi- 
fies to worry a person by cross - 
questioning or impertinence. 
To heckle a parliamentary can- 
didate at election time is a 
favourite amusement of voters, 
who think themselves much 
wiser than any candidate can 
possibly be ; and of insolent 
barristers in a court of law, 
who cross-examine a hostile 
witness with undue severity — 
an operation which is some- 
times called "badgering." There 
was a well - known butcher in 
Tiverton who always made it 
a point to hecMe the late Lord 


Heership — Her nain sel\ 

Palmerston when he stood as 
candidate for that borough. 
Lord Palmerston bore the in- 
fliction with great good-humour, 
and always vanquished the im- 
pudent butcher in the wordy 

Adown my beard the slavers trickle, 
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle, 
As round the fire the giglets keckle 

To see me loup ; 
While raving mad I wish a heckle 

Were in their doup ! 
— Burns : Address to the Toothache. 

He was a hedge unto his friends, 

A heckle to his foes, lads, 
And every one that did him wrang, 
He took him by the nose, lads. 
— Chambers's Scottish Ballads: 
Rob Roy. 

This was the son of the fam- 
ous Rob Roy, and was called 
Robin Og. Chambers translates 
Robin Og, " Robin the Little." 
Og, in Gaelic, signifies not little, 
but young. 

Heership, plunder ; from \eTry or 
harry, to rob, to pillage. 

But wi' some hope he travels on while he 
The way the heership had been driven 
could see. — Ross's Helenore. 

Heft, the haft or handle of a 
knife. The heft of a sword 
is called the hilt. To give a 
thing " heft and blade," is to 
give it wholly and without re- 
striction, " stock, lock, and 

A knife, a father's thrpat had mangled, 
■ Whom his ain son o' life bereft — 
The grey hairs yet stuck to the heft; 
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu'. 
Which e'en to name would be unlawfu'. 
— Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 

Hein-shinn'd, having large ankles. 
Ain or an, the augmentative 
prefix in Gaelic to nouns and 
adjectives, signifying size, or 
excess, is probably the root of 
hein in this word. 

She's bough-houghed and hein-shinn'd. 
— Burns. 

Her nain sel', " his own self," and 
"■ my own self." This phrase is 
supposed by the Lowland Scotch 
to be the usual mode of ex- 
pression employed by the High- 
landers, on account of the pau- 
city of pronouns in the Gaelic 

Oh, fie for shame, ye're three for ane, 
Her nain sefs won the day, man. 

— Battle of Killiecrankie. 

Mr. Robert Chambers, in a 
note on this passage, says: "T/te 
Highlanders have only one 'pro- 
noun, and as it happens to re- 
semble the English word her, it 
has caused the Lowlanders to 
have a general impression that 
they mistake the masculine for 
the feminine gender." Mr. 
Chambers, knowing nothing of 
Gaelic, was utterly wrong in 
this matter of the pronouns. 
The Gaelic has the same num- 
ber of personal pronouns as the 
English, namely — mi, I ; do, 
thou ; e, he ; i, she ; sinn^ we ; 
sihh, you or yours ; iad, they or 
theirs. They have also the pos- 
sessive pronouns— wo, mine; ar, 
ours ; hhur and ur, yours ; and 
all the rest of the series. It 
was doubtless the ur or the ar 
of the Gaelic which, by its re- 

Herryment — Hinnie. 


semblance to ^er, suggested to 
Mr. Chambers the error into 
which he fell. 

Herryment, plague, devastation, 
ruin ; from Jierry or harry, to 
plunder and lay waste. 

The herryment and ruin of the country. 
— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

Heuchs and haughs, bands, legs, 
or thigh. Heuchs is probably a 
corruption of hooks, as applied to 
the hands, or, as Shakespeare 
calls them, " pickers and 
stealers." Haughs is the Scottish 
form of the English hocks, the 
hind part of the knee. 

The kelpie grinned an eldrich laugh, 
And rubbed his hetichs upon his haughs. 
— George Beattie : John d Arnha. 

Hiddil, a hiding-place, the hole or 
refuge of a shy or wild animal 

The otter yap his prey let drap, 

And to his hiddil flew. 
— Water Kelpie : Border Minstrelsy. 

Hinnie or honey, a term of en- 
dearment among the Scottish 
Highlanders, and more particu- 
larly among the Irish. 

Oh, open the door, my hinnie, my heart, 
Oh, open the door, my ain true love. 

— Chambers's Scottish Songs : 
Legend 0/ the Padda. 

Honey, in the sense of hinnie, 
occurs in the nursery-rhymes of 
England : — 

There was a lady loved a swine ; 

" Honey I my dear," quoth she, 
" My darling pig, wilt thou be mine ? " 

*' Hoogh, hoogh 1 " grunted he. 

The word hinnie is supposed 
to be a corruption of honey, 

though honey in the English 
may be a corruption of hinnie. 
They both express the idea of 
fondness ; and those who be- 
lieve honey to be the correct 
term explain it by assuming that 
the beloved object is as " sweet 
as honey." But if this be really 
the fundamental idea, the Gaelic- 
speaking population of Ireland 
and the Highlands might be sup- 
posed to have used the native 
word mil, rather than the Teu- 
tonic honey or honig, which does 
not exist in their language. 
However this may be, it is at 
all events suggestive that the 
Gaelic ion signifies fitting ; and 
the compound ion-amhuil means 
like, equal, well-matched; and 
ion-mhuin, dear, beloved, kind, 
loving. The Irish Gaelic has 
ionadh (pronounced hinna), ad- 
miration, or an object of ad- 
miration ; whence ionadh-rhuigte^ 
adorable. The Scotch and old 
English marroiv is a term of 
endearment to a lover, and sig- 
nifies mate, one of a pair, as in 
the ballad : — 

Busk ye, busk ye ! my bonnie bride, 
Busk ye, busk ye ! my winsome marrow. 
— Hamilton of Bangour. 

In Scotland hinnie and joe 
(Jamieson) signify a lass and 
her lover who are very fond of 
each other. This phrase is equi- 
valent to the English "Darby 
and Joan," and describes a 
greatly-attached wedded pair. 
The opinions of philologists will 
doubtless differ between the 
Teutonic and the possible Gaelic 


Hirple — Hodden- Grey. 

derivation of honey or hinnie ; 
but the fact that the Teutonic 
nations do not draw the similar 
expression of fondness, as ap- 
plied to a woman, from honey, 
is worthy of consideration in 
attempting to decide the doubt- 
ful point. 

Hirple, to limp, to run with a 
limping motion. 

The hares were hi-rplin doun the furs. 

—Burns: The Holy Fair. 
And when wi' age we're worn doun, 
An' hirpliti at the door. 

— The Boatie Rmvs. 
I'm a pair silly auld man, 
An' hirplin at the door. 

— Gin Kirk wad Let vie he. 

Hirsel, a flock, a multitude ; de- 
rived by Jamieson from the 
Teutonic heer, an army ; but 
more probably from the Gaelic 
earras, wealth (in flocks and 
herds), and earrasail, wealthy. 
Hirsel, among shepherds, means 
to arrange or dispose the sheep 
in separate flocks, and hirseling, 
the separating into flocks or 
herds ; sometimes written and 
pronounced hissel. 

Ac scabbed sheep will smit the hale 
hirsel. — AhLAti Ramsay's Scois Pro- 

"Jock, man," said he, " ye're just tell- 
ing a hirsel d e'endown [downright] lies." 
— Hogg : Brownie of Bodsbeck. 

The herds and hissels were alarmed. 
— Burns : Epistle to W. Simpson. 

Hirsel or hersel. The primary 
idea of this word is to remove 
the body, when in a sitting 
position, to another or conti- 

guous seat without absolutely 
rising. Jamieson suggests the 
derivation from the coarse word 
applied to the posteriors in all 
the Teutonic languages, includ- 
ing English. He is probably 
correct ; though, as a verb, 
aerselen, which he cites, is not 
to be found in the Swedish, 
Danish, Dutch, Flemish, or 
German dictionaries. 

An English gentleman once boasted to 
the Duchess of Gordon of his familiarity 
with the Scottish language. " Hirsel 
yont, my braw birkie," said she. To her 
great amusement, as well as triumph, he 
could not understand one word except 
"my." — Dean Ramsay. 

Hizzie, a lass, a huzzy ; a term of 
jocular endearment. Supposed 
to be a corruption of housewife. 

Buirdly chiels and clever hizzies 
Are bred in sic a way as this is. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Hoast, a cough, or to cough. 

Jamie Fraser, a poor half-witted person, 
who was accustomed to make inconvenient 
or unseemly noises in the kirk, was one 
day cautioned not to make fidgety move- 
ments during divine service, under the 
penalty of being turned out. The poor 
creature sat quite still and silent, till in a 
very important part of the sermon he felt 
an irresistible inclination to cough. Un- 
able to restrain himself, he rose in his seat, 
and shouted out, " Minister, may not a 
pair body like me gie a hoast?" — Dean 

Hodden-grey. In the glossary 
to the first edition of Allan 
Kamsay's "Tea -Table Miscel- 
lany," 1724, ''hodden" is de- 
scribed as a coarse cloth. Hod- 
den appears to be a corruption 
of the Gaelic adhan, warm : so 

Hogmanay — Hoodock. 


that hodden-grej would signify 
warm grey. It was usually 
home - made by the Scottish 
peasantry of the Lowlands, and 
formed the material of their 
working-day clothes. 

What though on homely fare we dine. 

Wear hodden-grey, and a' that ; 
Gi'e fools their silks an' knaves their wine, 
A man's a man for a' that. — Burns. 
If a man did his best to murder me, I 
should not rest comfortably until I knew 
that he was safe in a well-ventilated cell, 
with the hodden-grey garment of the gaol 
upon him. — Trial of Prince Pierre Bona- 
parte, Daily Telegraph, March 26, 1870. 

Hogmanay or Hogmenay. This 
is a peculiarly Scottish name 
for a festival by no means pe- 
culiar to Scotland — that of New 
Year's Day, or the last hours 
of the old year and the first of 
the new. On these occasions, 
before the world grew as prosaic 
as it is with regard to old 
customs and observances, the 
young men, and sometimes the 
old, paid visits of congratulation 
to the girls and women of their 
acquaintance, with words of 
goodwill or affection, and very 
commonly bore with them gifts 
of more or less value according 
to their means. It was a time 
of good-fellowship, conviviality, 
and kindly offices. Many at- 
tempts have been made to trace 
the word. Some have held it to 
be from the Greek hagia (ayta), 
holy, and ix.'f\v€, a month. But 
as the festival lasted for a few 
hours only, the etymology is 
unsatisfactory. Others have 
thought to find its source in 

the French gui, the mistletoe, 
and TJiener, to lead — au gui mener, 
to lead to the mistletoe ; and 
others, again, to the Gaelic oige, 
youth ; and madhuin, the morn- 
ing, because the celebration 
took place in the earliest hours 
of the daylight. It cannot be 
admitted that any one of these 
derivations is wholly satisfac- 
tory. Nobody has ever thought 
of looking to the Flemish — 
which has supplied so many 
words to the vocabulary of the 
Lowland Scotch— for a solu- 
tion of the difiiculty. In 
that language we find hoog, 
high or great ; min, love, affec- 
tion, and dag, a day — hoog-min- 
dag, the high or great day of 
affection. The transition from 
hoog-min-dag to hog-man-ay, 
with the corruption of dag into 
ay, is easily accomplished. This 
etymology is offered with diffi- 
dence, not with dogmatic asser- 
tion, and solely with this plea 
on its behalf — that it meets the 
meaning better perhaps than 
any other, or, if not better, at 
least as well as the Greek, 
French, or Gaelic. 

Holme, holm, sometimes written 
houm, a meadow. 

Doun in a glen he spied nine armed men, 
On the dowie holms o' Yarrow. 
— Border Minstrelsy : The Dowie Dens 
d Yarrow. 

Hoodock, the hooded owl. 

The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race 
Wha count a' poortith as disgrace. 
They've tuneless hearts. 
—Burns : Epistle to Major Logan. 


Hool — Hoolie. 

The glossaries to Burns ex- 
plain this word as meaning 
"miserly," which is a mere con- 
jecture from the context, to fit 
it into " purse-proud; " whereas 
it is but a continuation of the 
ornithological idea of harpy, a 
vulture. The origin is the 
French due, an owl, of which 
in that language there are three 
varieties — grand diic, or great 
owl ; petit due, or little owl ; 
and haut due, large, great owl. 
Possibly, however, the first 
syllable in Aoorfock is the Eng- 
lish hood. The idea in Burns 
is that of a greedy bird or 
harpy. Jamieson has '' hoodit 
craw " for carrion crow ; and 
hoody, the hooded crow. 

HooI, the husk of grain, the in- 
tegument, the case or covering. 

Ilk kind o' corn has its ain hool; 
I think the world is a' gane wrang 
When ilka wife her man wad rule. 
— Tak' your A uld Cloak about ye. 

Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool, 
Near laverock height she loupit. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

In Dutch, tivlU, cover, in- 
tegument, veil ; Swedish, holja, 
cover, envelope, case, or hull; 
whence also the English liolster, 
the case of a pistol ; and uphol- 
ster, to make cases or coverings 
for furniture, and upholsterer, one 
who upholsters. The unneces- 
sary and corrupt prefix of up to 
this word has led philologists 
to derive it erroneously from 

The English hoils, applied to 

the beard and husks of barley, 
and hull, a husk or shell of peas 
and beans, seems to be from 
the same source as the Scottish 
hool, and in like manner the hull 
or outer case of a ship. 

Sad was the chase that they ha'e gi'en to 

My heart's near out o* hoolhy getting free. 
—Ross's Helenore. 

Hoolie or hooly. This word is 
commonly used in conjunction 
with " fairly," as in the phrase 
''hooly and fairly." Jamieson 
renders it " slowly and cau- 
tiously." It is derived from 
the Gaelic uigheil, ui-eil, heed- 
ful, cautious. The glossaries to 
Burns render it " stop 1 " There 
is an old Scottish song — " Oh, 
that my wife would drink hooly 
and fairly." In the glossary 
to Mr. Alexander Smith's edi- 
tion of Bums, where "stop" 
would not convey the meaning, 
the explanation that the word 
means " stop " is a mere guess 
from the context, which proves 
that the editor did not really 
understand th^ word. 

Still the mair I'm that way bent, 
Something cries " Hoolie I " 

I rede you, honest man, tak' tent. 
You'll show your folly. 
— Burns : Epistle to James Smith. 

Sin' every pastime is a pleasure, 

I counsel you to sport with measure ; 

And, namely now, May, June, and July, 
Delight not long in Lorea's leisure, 
But weit your lipps and labour hooly. 
—On May : Alex. Scott in the 

Oh, hooly, hooly, rose she up 
To the place where he was lyin', 

Hootie — Horn-mad. 


And when she drew the curtain bye — 

" Young man, I think ye're dyin'." 

— Ballad of Barbara Allan. 

Hooly and fair gangs far in a day. — 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

In the North of England hooly means 
tenderly, gently. — Halliwell. 

Hootie, a ludicrous but expres- 
sive word, applied to a man 
like Pococurante in Voltaire's 
romance, who impresses the 
ingenuous Candide with an 
idea of the immensity of his 
wisdom, because nothing could 
please him. The word is de- 
rivable from lioot ! or liooU ! an 
interjection expressive of con- 
tempt, or of more or less angry 
dissent. Hoot! toot I is an in- 
tensification of the same idea. 
The English have pshaw / pish / 
and tut ! The word in the form 
of ut ! ut ! is very common 
among Highlanders. 

Horn. Drinking vessels, before 
glass was much used for the 
purpose, were made of horn, 
and are still to be found both 
among the poor and the rich. 
" To take a horn " ultimately 
came to signify to take a drink 
— just as the modern phrase, 
** Take a glass," does not mean 
to take the glass itself, but the 
liquor contained in it. {See 
Grog, ante.) 

By the gods of the ancients ! Glenriddel 

Before I surrender so glorious a prize, 
I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie 

And bumper his horn with him twenty 

times o'er. — Burns : The Whistle. 

Horn-dry, according to Jamieson, 
means " dry as a horn ; eager 
for drink ; an expression fre- 
quently used by reapers when 
exhausted by the labours of the 
harvest." But the obvious ety- 
mology — viewed in the light of 
the other words that have been 
cited — is not dry as a horn, but 
dry for want of a hoi^ of liquor. 
(For further reference to horn 
as signifying a drink, see Grog, 
ante.) To take a croc, or grog 
(the same as to take a horn or a 
glass), meant simply to take a 
drink. The French have eric 
and croc for a glass of spirits, as 
in the chorus of the old song : — 
Cric, croc ! a ta sante ! 

Horn-mad is defined in the Dic- 
tionary of Lowland Scotch 
(1 81 8) as signifying quite mad; 
though the compiler did not 
seem to be aware that the mad- 
ness was that which came from 
• intoxication or the too frequent 
emptying of the horn. Horn- 
daft is of similar meaning and 
origin, though expressive of a 
minor degree of intoxication. 
Jamieson renders it *' outrage- 
ous," and imagines it may be 
an allusion to an animal that 
pushes with its horns. Horn- 
idle is defined by Jamieson to 
mean " having nothing to do, 
completely unemployed." He 
derives the first syllable from 
the Saxon, and the second from 
the Gaelic. Horn is certainly 
Teutonic or Flemish, but idle is as 
certainly not Gaelic. The allu- 
sion in this case is obviously to 


Hornie — Houghmagandie. 

the sloth or drowsiness that in 
lethargic persons often results 
from intoxication. 

Hornie is a word used in Ayr- 
shire, according to Jamieson, 
to signify amorous, lecherous, 
libidinous. Still, with the notion 
in his head that horn is to be taken 
literally, and not metaphorically, 
he suggests that a hornie person 
is one who is apt to reduce an- 
other to the state of cuckoldom, 
or a cornutus ; and to confer 
upon him the imaginary horns 
that are supposed to grace the 
forehead of those ill-used and 
unfortunate persons. It is evi- 
dent, however, that hornie meant 
nothing more than intoxicated 
to such an extent as to excite 
the intoxicated person to take 
improper liberties with women. 
Burns employs the word as one 
of the names popularly and 
jocularly bestowed upon the 

Host, to cough with effort or diffi- 
culty. The colloquial phrase, 
*' It didna cost him a hoast to 
do it," signifies that the thing 
was done easily and without 
effort. From the German husten, 
the Flemish hosten, to cough. 
{See Hoast, ante. ) 

Joyless Eild (old age), 

Wi' wrinkled face, 
Comes hosiin', hirplin' ow'r the field 

Wi' creepin' pace. 
— Burns ; Epistle to James Smith. 

Houghmagandie, child-bearing ; 
wrongly supposed to mean the 
illicit intercourse of the sexes. 
This word has not been found 

in any author before Burns, and 
is considered by some to have 
been coined by that poet. But 
this is not likely. It is usually 
translated by " fornication." No 
etymology of the word has 
hitherto been suggested. Never- 
theless, its component parts seem 
to exist in the Flemish. In that 
language hoog signifies high or 
great, and maag, the stomach or 
belly ; maagen, bellies ; and je, a 
diminutive particle commonly 
added to Flemish and Dutch 
words, and equivalent to the 
Scottish ie in bairnie, wijie, 
laddie, lassie, &c. These words 
would form hoog-maagan-je — a 
very near approach to the hough- 
magandie of Burns. If this be 
the derivation, it would make 
better sense of the passage in 
which it occurs than that 
usually attributed to it. The 
context shows that it is not 
fornication which is meant — 
for that has already been com- 
mitted — but the possible result 
of the sin which may appear 
*' some other day," in the en- 
larged circumference of the 
female sinner. 

There's some are fu' o' love divine, 

And some are fu' o' brandy ; 

And mony a job that day begun 

May end in houghmagandie 

Some other day. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire 
retained for a longer time than 
the eastern counties of Scot- 
land the words and phrases of 
the Gaelic language, though 
often greatly corrupted ; and in 



■ the poems and songs of Bums 
words from the Gaelic are of 
frequent occurrence. It is not 
likely that Bums ever took it 
upon himself to invent a word ; 
and if he did, it is even more 
than unlikely that it should 
find acceptance. Whatever it 
may mean, houghmagandie does 
not mean fornication, for the 
whole spirit and contents of 
the ''Holy Fair" show that 
fornication is what he stigma- 
tises as the practice of the 
gatherings which he satirises ; 
and that which he calls hough- 
magandie is, or is likely to be, 
the future result of the too 
promiscuous intercourse of the 
sexes, against which he jocosely 
declaims. The Gaelic og and 
macan, a little son, may possibly 
afford a clue to the word ; but 
this is a suggestion merely. 

I don't remember to have met with this 
word anywhere except in the "Holy 
Fair." It may have been a word in use in 
Burns's day, or it may have been a coinage 
of Bums, that would readily convey to the 
minds of his readers what he meant. It 
may have conveyed the idea of a " dyke- 
louper " appearing before the Session, the 
"snoovin* awa afore the Session" for a 
fault, the doing penance for "jobbing." 
Gangdays were the three days In Rogation 
week, on which priest and parishioners 
were accustomed to walk in procession 
about the parish ; a remnant of the custom 
is still to be seen in London in the peram- 
bulations of boys about the bounds of the 
parish. Gandie would not be a very violent 
alteration oi gandeye, the more especially 
that the spelling of Scotch words partook 
a good deal of the phonetic, and gangday 
was very probably pronounced gandie. 
Now, we know as a fact that, in the lapse 
of time, many of the ceremonies of the 
Church became corrupted from their origi- 

nal intention, and processions became in 
time a sort of penance for faults, and in 
this way it is just possible that gandie 
came itself to mean a penance, and hough- 
magandie conveyed the idea of doing 
penance for some wrong action that the 
hough or leg had something to do with. — 
R. Drennan. 

Howdie or howdie-wife, a mid- 
wife, an accoucheuse. This 
word is preferable to the Eng- 
lish and the foreign term 
borrowed from the French. 
Howdie-fee, the payment given 
to a midwife. 

When skirlin' weanies see the light. 
Thou makes the gossips clatter bright, 
How funkin' cuifs their dearies slight — 

Wae worth the name ! 
Nae howdie gets a social night 

Or plack frae them. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

No satisfactory clue to the 
etymology of this word has been 
made known. In Gaelic the 
midwife is called the "knee- 
woman," heart gloinne ; in French, 
the sage femme, or wise woman ; 
in Teutonic, the weh mutter ; in 
Spanish, partera, and in Italian, 
comare, the latter word signify- 
ing the French comm^re — the 
old English and Scotch cummer 
— or gossip. Possibly the true 
origin of the Scottish word is 
to be found in houd or haud, to 
hold, to sustain ; and the mid- 
wife was the holder, helper, sus- 
tainer, and comforter of the 
woman who suffered the pains 
of labour ; the sage femme of the 
French, who was wise and 
skilful enough to perform her 
delicate function. 


Howff — Hunkers, 

HowfF, a favourite public-house, 
where friends and acquaint- 
ances were accustomed to re- 
sort ; from the Gaelic wawi A (■wa/), 
a cave. " Caves of harmony," as 
they were called, were formerly 
known in Paris, and one long 
existed in London under the 
name of the Coalhole. They 
were small places of convivial 
resort, which, in London, have 
grown into music-halls. Jamie- 
son traces liovaff to the Teutonic 
hof, a court-yard, and gast-hof, an 
inn or yard. It is possible that 
he is right, though it is equally 
possible that the German hof 
is but a form of the Gaelic 

This will be delivered to you* by a Mrs. 
Hyslop, landlady of the Globe Tavern 
here, which for many years has been my 
h(nvff, and where our friend Clarke and I 
have had many a merry squeeze.— Burns : 
Letter to George Thompson. 

Burns's ^^TTt^at Dumfries. — Chambers. 

Where was't that Robertson and you 
were used to howff thegither ? — Scott : 
Heart of Midlothian. 

Howk, formerly spelled hoik, to 
dig, to grub up, to root up, to 
form a hole in the ground. 

Whiles mice and moudieworts (moles) 
they howkit. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 
And in kirkyards renew their leagues 
Owre howkit dead. 
— Burns : Address to the De'il. 
He has howkit a grave that was lang and 

was deep, 
And he has iDuried his sister wi' her baby 
at her feet. 

— Motherwell : The Broom 
Blooms Bonnie. 
Howk the tow out o' your lug an' hear 
till a sang. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

How-towdies, barndoor fowls ; 
origin of the word unknown, 
though it has been suggested 
that it may be a corruption of 
the Gaelic eun-doide, a fowl to 
the hand, or a fowl ready to 
the hand if wanted. 

Hunting the fox prevents him from 
growing ower fat on how-towdies. — Noctes 
A tnbrosiancB. 

Hungers, stockings or hose with- 
out feet. 

But a' her skill lies in her buskin. 
And oh, if her braws were awa. 

She soon would wear out o' the fashion, 
And knit up her huggers wi' straw. 
— Woo'd and Married and a. 

Hummel-corn, mean, shabby, of 
small account ; a term applied 
to the lighter grain which falls 
from the rest when it is win- 

A lady returning from church ex- 
pressed her low opinion of the sermon she 
had heard by calling it a hummel-corn 
discourse. — Dean Ramsay. 

The derivation is unknown, 
though humble-corn has been 

Hummel-doddie, dowdy, ill-fit- 
ting, in bad taste. 

Whatna hummel-doddie o' a mutch 
[cap] hae ye gotten? — Dean Ramsay's 

Humple, to walk lamely and 
painfully, to hobble. 

Then humpled he out in a hurry, 
While Janet his courage bewails. 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

Hunkers, the loins ; to hunker 
dovm, to squat on the ground. 

Hurdles — Hynde. 


The word seems to be allied to 
the English hunk^ a lump ; 
whence to squat down on the 
earth in a lumpish fashion. 

Wi' ghastly ee, poor Tweedle Dee 
Upon his hunkers bended, 

And prayed for grace wi' cuthless face 
To see the quarrel ended. 

—Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

Hurdies, the hips, the 'podcx of 
the Komans, the 'pyge of the 
Greeks. From the Gaelic aird, 
a rounded muscle or swelling ; 
plural airde, also airdhe, a wave, 
or of a wavy form. 

His tail 
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swirl. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Ye godly brethren o' the sacred gown, 
Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the 
smiters.— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair, 
That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair, 
I wad ha'e gi'en them aflf my hurdies^ 
\ For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies ! 

—Burns : Tarn O' Shunter. 

Pendable ? ye may say that ; his craig 
wad ken the weight of his hurdies if they 
could get baud o' Rob. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

The old French poet, Fran9ois 
Villon, when condemned to be 
hung, wrote a stanza in which 
the above idea of Sir Walter 
Scott occurs in language about 
as forcible and not a whit more 
elegant : — 

Je suis Frangais (dont ce me poise), 
N6 de Paris, empres Ponthoise, 
Or d'une corde d'une toise 
Sgaura mon col que mon cul poise. 

Burns also uses the word in 
the sense of *' rounded or swell- 

ing," without reference to any 
portion of the human frame, as 
in the following : — 

The groaning trencher there ye fill ; 
Your hurdies like a distant hill. 

— To a Haggis. 

Hurkle, to yield obedience or 

Grant, an' Mackenzie, an' Murray, 
An' Cameron will hurkle to nane. 
Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. 

Hurl, to wheel; hurl -harrow, 
wheel-barrow ; a corruption of 
whirl, to turn round ; hurlcy- 
hacJcet, a contemptuous name 
for an ill-hung carriage or other 

It's kittle for the cheeks when the hurl- 
barrow gangs o'er the brig o* the nose. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

" I never thought to have entered ane 
o' these hurley-hackets," she said, as she 
seated herself, " and sic a thing as it is — 
scarce room for twa folk." — Scott : St. 
Ronan's JVell. 

Hynde, gentle, courteous. An illi- 
terate member of Parliament in 
the unruly session of 1887 ob- 
jected to the use of this word 
as applied to an agricultural 
labourer, believing that it signi- 
fied a deer or other quadruped, 
and never having suspected that 
it was a term of courtesy. The 
member himself, called honour- 
able by the courtesy of Parlia- 
ment, was ignorant of the fact 
that courtesy was extended even 
to farm-labourers by all gentle- 
men and men of good heart and 
good manners. 


Hyte — Ingine. 

Then she is to yon hynde squire's yetts, 

And tirled at the pin, 
And wha sae busy as the hynde squire 

To let the lady in. 

— Bvchan's Ancigat Bal/ads : Hynd 

Hyte, joyous; excited unduly or 

Ochone for poor Castalian drinkers ! 
The witchin', cursed, delicious blinkers 
Ha'e put me hyte. 
— Burns : Epistle to Major Logan. 

This word is derived from the 
Gaelic aite, joy, gladness, fun, 
and appears to be related to 
the English hoity-toity. 

ler-oe, agreat grandchild; errone- 
ously spelled jeroy in the new 
editions of Jamieson, and cited 
as a " Shetland word." 

May health and peace with mutual rays 
I Shine on the evening o' his days, 
Till his wee curlie John's ieroe, 
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow, 
The last sad mournful rites bestow. 

— Burns : A Dedication to Gavin 

The word is from the Gaelic 
oghe, a grandchild, and iar, 
after; whence an after grand- 
child, or great grandchild. 

Igo and ago, iram, coram, dago. 

The chorus of ancient Gaelic 
boat-songs, or Ramh-rans, intro- 
duced by Burns in his song, 
•' Ken ye aught o' Captain 
Grose?" The words resolve 
themselves into the Gaelic 
aighe, aghach, iorram, corruig- 
heartih dachaidh, which signify 
" Joyous and brave is the song 
of the boat that is rowing 

Ilka, each, as " ilka ane," each 
one ; Uk, that same. Uk is used 

for the designation of a person 
whose patronymic is the same 
as the name of his estate — such 
as Mackintosh of Mackintosh — 
i.e., Mackintosh of that Ilk. 
This Scottish word has crept 
into English, though with a 
strange perversion of its mean- 
ing, as in the following : — 

We know, however, that many bar- 
barians of their ilk, and even of later 
times, knowingly destroyed many a gold 
and silver vessel that fell into their 
hands. — vS"^. James s Gazette. 

Matilda lived in St. John's Villas, 
Twickenham ; Mr. Passmore in King 
Street of the same ilk. — Daily Telegraph. 

Ingine, genius, "the fire of 
genius" or "poetic fire," are 
common expressions. Burns, in 
an "Epistle to John Lapraik," 
whose poetry he greatly ad- 
mired, and thought equal to 
that of Alexander Pope or 
James Beattie, made inquiries 
concerning him, and was told 
that he was " an odd kind o' 
chiel about Muirkirk." 



An' sae about him there I spier't, 
Then a' that ken'd him round declar't 

He had ingine. 
That nane excelled it — few cam near't, 

It was sae fine. 

It would seem on first con- 
sideration that this peculiarly 
Scottish word was of the same 
Latin derivation as genius, in- 
genious, ingenuity, and the 
archaic English word cited in 
Halliwell, "ingene," which is 
translated " genius or wit." It 
is open to inquiry, however, 
whether the idea of fire does 
not underlie the word, and 
whether it is not in the form 
in which Burns employs it, 
traceable to the Gaelic am, an 
intransitive prefix or particle 
signifying great, very, or in- 
tense ; and teine^ fire. 

The late Samuel Rogers, author of the 
*' Pleasures of Memory," in a controversy 
with me on the character of Lord Byron, 
spoke very unfavourably of his poetical 
genius, which I praised and defended to 
the best of my ability. Mr. Rogers, how- 
ever, always returned to the attack with re- 
newed vigour. Driven at last to extremity, 
I thought to clench all argument by saying 
— "At least you will admit, Mr. Rogers, 
that there was Jire in Byron's poetry?" 
" Yes," he answered, '^^ hell-fire I" — C M. 

Ingle, the fire; ingle- side, the 
fireside, the hearth ; ingle-neuk, 
the chimney corner ; ingle-hred, 
home-bred, or bred at the 
domestic hearth ; inglin, fuel. 

Better a wee zn^^le to warm you, than a 
muckle fire to burn you.— Allan Ram- 
say's Scots Proverbs. 

His wee bit ingle blinkin' bonnille. 
— Burns. 

It's an auld story now, and everybody 
tells it, as we were doing, in thtir ain 

way by the ingle-side.— Scott : Guy Man- 

The derivation of ingle, in the 
Scottish sense of the word, is 
either from the Gaelic aingeal, 
the Kymric engyl, heat, fire, or 
from ion, fit, becoming, com- 
fortable ; and cuil, a corner. 
That of the English ingle, mean- 
ing a favourite, a friend, or 
lover, is not easy to discover. 
The word occurs in a passage 
from an Elizabethan play, with 
a detestable title, quoted by 
Nares : — 

Call me your love, your ingle, your 
cousin, or so ; but sister at no hand. 

Also in Massinger's " City 
Madam" : — 
His quondam patrons, his dear ingils now. 

Ingle, from one signifying a 
lover in the legitimate use of 
that word, was corrupted into 
an epithet for the male lover 
of a male, in the most odious 
sense. In " Donne's Elegies," 
it is used as signifying amorous 
endearment of a child to its 
father : — 

Thy little brother, which like fairy spirits, 
Oft skipped into our chamber those sweet 

And kissed and ingled on thy father's knee. 

No satisfactory etymology for 
the English word has ever been 
suggested, and that from the 
Spanish yngle, the groin, which 
finds favour with Nares and 
other philologists, is manifestly 
inadmissible. It is possible, 
however, that the English ingle 
was originally the same as the 
Scottish, and that its first 


Inttll — / Wish Ye were in Heckie-burnie. 

meaning as "love" was derived 
from the idea still current, that 
calls a beloved object a flame. 
Hotten's Slang Dictionary has 
*'flame, a sweetheart." Ingle 
was sometimes written enghle, 
which latter word, according 
to Mr. Halliwell, signifies, as 
used by Ben Jonson, a gull — 
also, to coax or to wheedle. 

Intill, into ; till, to. What's in- 
tiWt .? What's in it ? 

An English traveller, staying at a great 
hotel in Edinburgh, was much pleased 
with the excellence of the hotch-potch at 
dinner, and asked the head-waiter how 
it was made, and of what it was made? 
The waiter replied that there were peas 
intiirt, and beans intilCt, and onions 
intill't. " But what's intiU't ? " asked the 
Englishman. " I'm just tellin' you that 
there's beans intilTt, and peas intiirt, and 
neeps intiirt, and carrots intilft " 

" Yes ! yes ! I know — beans, peas, 
onions, turnips, and carrots," said the 
Englishman ; " but what's intiirt ? Is 
it salt, pepper, or what? Please tell me 
what's intill't ? " 

"Eh, man!" replied the impatient 
waiter, "ye maun be unco' slow o' com- 
prehension. I was tellin' ye owre and 
owre again that there are beans intiirt, 
and peas intiltt " 

"And tult! What the devil is tult, or 
intiirt, or whatever the name is? Can 
you not give a plain answer to a plain 
question? Does tult mean barley, or 
mutton, or mustard, or some nameless in- 
gredient that is a trade secret, or that you 
are afraid to mention ? " 

" Oh, man ! " said the waiter, with a 
groan, " if I had your head in my keeping, 
I'd gie it sic a thumpin' as wad put some 
smeddum intiltt." 

Tradition records that the Englishman 
has never yet ascertained what intiltt 
means, but wanders through Scotland 
vainly seeking enlightenment. — Knife and 
Fork, edited by B^anchard Jerrold. 

I wish ye were in Heckie-burnie. 

"This," says Jamieson, "is a 
strange form of imprecation. 
The only account given of this 
place is that it is three miles 
beyond lieU. In Aberdeen, if 
one says, ' go to the devil ! ' 
the other often replies, ' go you 
to Heckie-hiimie ! ^' No etymo- 
logy is given. Possibly it 
originated in the pulpit, when 
some Gaelic preacher had taken 
the story of Dives and Lazarus 
for his text ; and the rich Dives, 
amid his torments in hell, asked 
in vain for a drop of water 
to cool his parched tongue. 
The intolerable thirst was his 
greatest punishment ; and in 
Gaelic Aicheadh is refusal, and 
buirne, water from the burn 
or stream, whence the phrase 
would signify the refusal or 
denial of water. This is oilered 
as a suggestion only, to account 
for an expression that has 
been hitherto given up as in- 

Jamph — Jimp. 

^ or THE X 




Jamph, to trudge, to plod, to 
make way laboriously, to grow 
weary with toil; also, to en- 
deavour to take liberties with 
an unwilling or angry woman ; 
to pursue her under difficulty 
and obstruction. 

" Oh bonnie lass ! " says he, " ye'U gie's a 

And I shall set you right on, hit or miss." 
"A hit or miss, I want na help of you, — 
Kiss ye sklate stanes, they winna wat your 

And off she goes ; — the fellow loot a rin, 
As gin he ween'd with speed to tak her in ; 
But as luck was, a knibbloch took his tae. 
And o'er fa's he, and tumbles down the 

brae ; 
His neebor leugh, and said it was well 

wair'd — 
" Let never j'am^kers yet be better sair'd." 
— Ross's Helenore. 

The etymology of jamph — 
whether it means to plod or 
flirt, or both — is obscure. It is 
possibly, but not certainly, from 
the Gaelic deanamh {de pro- 
nounced as je), doing, acting, 
performing. Jamieson thinks 
that, in the sense of flirting, it 
may come from the Teutonic 
schimpfen, to mock ; and in the 
sense of plod or trudge, from 
schampfen, to slip aside. 

Jauner, idle talk ; to wander list- 
lessly about without any par- 
ticular object. 

Oh, baud your tongue now, Luckie Laing, 
Oh, baud your tongue and jauner. 

— Burns : The Lass of Ecclefechan. 
We'se had a good jauner this forenoon. 
— Jamieson. 

In the sense of wandering 
idly, this word seems to be 
but a variety or corruption of 

Jawp, to bespatter with mud or 
water. To ''jatop the water" 
is a metaphor for spending time 
in any negotiation or transac- 
tion without coming to a definite 
conclusion, " I'U no jau-p water 
wi' ye" — "I'll not enter into 
further discussions or wrangles 
with you." "To jatop waters 
with one," to play fast and loose, 
to strive to be off a bargain once 

Then down ye'll hurl, deil nor ye never rise, 
And dash the gumly j'awps up to the skies. 
— Burns : TAe Brigs of Ayr. 

Jawthers, quasi synonymous 
with the English slang " to 
jaw," to dispute or argue abu- 
sively, as in the phrase " let me 
have none of your yaw." Jaw- 
thers, idle wranglings, and also 
any frivolous discourse. 

Jee, to move. This word survives 
in English as a command to a 
horse, in the phrase jee-up and 

I am sick an' very love sick, 
Ae foot I cannay^^. 

— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Jimp, slender in the waist. 

She is as jimp i the middle sae fou* 
As is a willow wand. 

— The Laird d Warriston. 


Jink — Jock. 

Jink, to play, to sport, to dodge 
in and out, from whence the 
phrase "high- jinks," sometimes 
. used in England to describe the 
. merriment and sport of servants 
in the kitchen when their mas- 
ters and mistresses are out ; a 
quick or sudden movement ; 
also to escape, to trick, " to gie 
the jink" to give the slip, to 

And now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin' 
A certain bardie, rantin', drinkin', 
Some luckless hour will send him linkin' 

To your black pit ; 
But faith hell turn a comex Jinkin , 
And cheat ye yet ! 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

\ Lang may your elbucky/«/t and diddle. 

— Burns : Second Epistle to Davie. 

Oh, thou, my muse ! guid auld Scotch 

Whether through wimplin' worms thou 

Or, richly brown, ream o'er the brink 
In glorious faem. 

—Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Jamieson derives the word 
from the Swedish dwink-a, and 
the German schwinken, to move 
quickly, but no such word ap- 
pears in the German diction- 
aries, and the etymology is 
otherwise unsatisfactory. The 
Gaelic dian (pronounced jian) 
and dianach signifies brisk, 
nimble, which is probably the 
root of jink as used by Burns. 

Jirble, jirgle. Both of these 
words signify to spill any liquid 
by making it move from side to 
side in the vessel that contains 
it ; to empty any liquid from 
one vessel to another ; also, the 

small quantity left in a glass or 
tea -cup. 

The waur for themselves and for the 
country baith, St. Ronan's ; it's the junket- 
ing and Xhejirbling in tea and sic trumpery 
that brings our nobles to ninepence, and 
mony a het ha' house to a hired lodging in 
the Abbey.— Scott : St. Ronan's Well. 

Jock in Scottish, and in English 
Jack, are used as familiar sub- 
stitutes for the Christian name 
John, and are supposed to be de- 
rived from the French Jacques. 
This word, however, means 
James, and not John. The use 
of the prefixes Jack and Jock 
in many English and Scottish 
compounds that have no obvious 
reference to the Christian names 
either of James or John, sug- 
gests that there may possibly 
be a different origin for the 
word. Among others that may 
be cited, are Jack-i&r, Jack- 
priest, /acA;-of-all-trades, and 
such implements in common 
use as hoot-jack, roasting-^'ac/t, 
yac^-knife, the jacks or hammers 
of a pianoforte, the jack or 
clapper of a bell, jcuik-hoois, 
jack-chaAn, the Union-^acA; or 
flag, jack-stdiS., jack-tovroi, jack- 
block, and many others which 
are duly set forth in the dic- 
tionaries, without suggestion of 
any other etymology than that 
from John. Shakspeare in his 
sonnets uses the word jack for 
the hammers of the virginal, 
and in Richard II. employs it to 
signify a working-man : — 

Since t.vt.ry jack became a gentleman. 
There's many a gentle person made z.jack. 



Besides the Scottish term of 
familiarity or affection for a 
man, the word Jock occurs in 
two singular words cited by 
Jamieson — Jock-te-leer, which he 
says is a cant term for a pocket 
almanack, "derived from Jock 
the liar," from the loose or false 
predictions with regard to the 
weather which are contained in 
such publications ; and Jock-te- 
leg, a folding or clasp-knife. 

It is diflacult to connect either 
the Scottish Jock or the English 
Jack in these words with the 
name of John, unless upon the 
supposition that John and Jack 
are synonymous with man, and 
that the terms are transferable 
to any and every implement 
that aids or serves the purpose 
of a man's work. Is it not pos- 
sible that Jock and Jack are 
mere varieties of the Gaelic 
dcagh (the de pronounced as j), 
which signifies good, excellent, 
useful, befitting ? or the Kymric 
iach, whole, useful ? and deach, 
a movement for a purpose ? 
This derivation would meet the 
sense of all the compound words 
and phrases in which jock and 
jack enter, other than those in 
which it indubitably signifies a 
Christian name. 

The word jocteleer — an alman- 
ack, in Jamieson— tried by this 
test, would signify, good to 
examine, to learn ; from deayh, 
good, and leir, perception. 

In like manner, the English 
words and phrases, /acA:-tar, 
/acA;-priest, /oc^-of -all-trades, 
might signify good, able-bodied 

sailor, good priest, and good 
at all trades. Even jockey, a 
good rider, may be derivable 
from the same source. Thus, 
too, in Shakspeare's phrase, 
Jack may signify, not a John, 
as a generic name, but deagk 
{jeack), as applied in the com- 
mon phrase " my good man," 
and in French bon homme — 
epithets which, although in 
one sense respectful, are only 
employed by superiors to infe- 
riors, and infer somewhat of 
social depreciation. 

In reference to Jocteleg or 
Jocktelag, it should be men- 
tioned that Burns spells the 
word in the first manner, and 
Allan Ramsay in the second. 
Jamieson says that there was 
once a famous cutler of Liege, 
in Belgium, named Jacques, and 
that his cutlery being in repute, 
any article of his make was 
called a Jacques de Liege. As 
no mention of this man or his 
business has been found any- 
where except in the pages of 
Jamieson, it has been suspected 
that the name was evolved from 
the imagination of that philo- 
logist. Whether that be so or 
not, it is curious that the Gaelic 
dioghail signifies to avenge, and 
dioghail taiche (pronounced jog- 
al taiche), an avenger. In early 
times it was customary to be- 
stow names of affection upon 
swords, such as Excalibur, the 
sword of King Arthur, Duran- 
darte, and many others, the 
swords of renowned knights of 
romance and chivalry ; and if 


Joe — -Jowler, 

upon swords, probably upon 
daggers and knives ; and no epi- 
thet in a barbarous age — when 
every man had to depend upon 
his own prowess for self-defence 
or revenge for injuries — could be 
more appropriate for a strong 
knife than the " avenger." 

Joe or Jo, a lover, a friend, a dear 
companion; derived not from 
Joseph, as has been asserted, 
nor from the French ^'oie or 
English joy, as Jamieson sup- 
poses, but more probably from 
the Gaelic deo (the d pronounced 
as 3), the soul, the vital spark, 
the life ; Greek ^CyT\. 

John Anderson my Jo, John. 

— Burns. 
Kind sir, for your courtesy, 

As ye gae by the Bass, then, 
For the love ye bear to me. 

Buy me a keeking-glass, then. 
Keek into the clear draw-well, 

Janet, Janet, 
There ye'll see your bonnie sel', 
My Jo, Janet. 
— Old Song: retnodelled by "BxiRiiS. 

J Oram, a boat song ; a rowing 
song, in which the singers keep 
time with their voices to the 
motion of the oars ; from the 
modern Gaelic iorram. This 
word is often erroneously used 
in the phrase "push about the 
jorum,'" as if jorum signified a 
bowl of liquor which had to be 
passed round the table. An in- 
stance of this mistake occurs in 
Burns : — 

And here's to them that, like oursel', 
Can push about the. Jorujn ; 

And here's to them that wish us weel — 
May a' that s guid watch o'er 'em. 
—Oh May, thy Mom. 

The ancient and correct Gaelic 
for a boat song is oran iomraidh 
or iomramh ; from oran, a song ; 
torn, many, and ramh, an oar, of 
which iorram, or the song of many 
oars, is a corruption. The con- 
nection between iorram, a boat 
song, siud jorum, a drinking ves- 
sel, is probably due to the cir- 
cumstance that the chorus of 
the boat song was often sung by 
the guests at a convivial party, 
when the bottle or bowl was put 
in circulation. 

Jouk, to stoop down ; in the Eng- 
lish vernacular to duck the 
head, or duck down; also to 
evade a question. Jouker, a 
dissembler, a deceiver. 

Neath the brae the hurnie Jouks. 

— Tannahill : Gloomy Winter. 

Jouk and let the jaw go by {ProzierU) — 
i.e., evade replying to intemperate or 
abusive language. 

Jow, the swing or boom of a large 

Now Clinkumbell 
Began to Jow. 
— Burns : The Holy Fair, 

And every JoTV the kirk bell gied. 

Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Jow means to swing, and not the " clang 
or boom of a large bell." 

Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattling tone 

Began to Jow and croon. 
The bell-rope began to shake, — the bell 
began to swing (Jow) and (croon) ring out. 
— R. Drennan. 

Jowler. This word is used by 
Burns in the " Address of Beel- 
zebub to the President of the 
Highland Society," in which, 
speaking of gipsies, he says : — 

Jundie — Kail-runt. 


An' if the wives an' dirty brats 
E'en thigger at your doors an' yetts, 
Get out a horsewhip or s.jowler. 

An' gar the tattered gipsies pack 
Wi' a' their bastards on their back. 

Jamieson does not include the 
word in his Dictionary, nor do 
the glossaries to Allan Kamsay 
or Burns contain it. By the con- 
text, it would seem to mean a 
cudgel. In this sense the word 
has support in the northern 
counties of England. JoUe, ac- 
cording to Mr. Halliwell Phillips, 
. signifies to beat ; and jowler 
means thick and clumsy — epi- 
thets which describe a bludgeon 
and a cudgel. 

" Did you give him a good drubbing?" 
"I gave him a good uAy jowling." — 
Wright's Archaic Dictionary. 

In the sense of thick and 
clumsy, ^olle and ^owl are ap- 
parently the roots of English 
joUer-head, a thick-headed fel- 
low. Jowler, as the name of 
an instrument of punishment, 
whether a cudgel or not, is pro- 
bably from the Gaelic diol {jole, 

d pronounced as j), to punish, 
to avenge, to requite, to pay ; 
diolair, an avenger. In collo- 
quial English the threat, '• I'll 
pay you out," has a similar 

Jundie, to jostle, to struggle, to 
contend and push in a crowd ; 
to hog-shouther, or push with 
the shoulders in order to force 
a way. 

If a man's gaun down the brae, ilk ane 
gi'es him a jundie. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

The warldly race may drudge and drive, 
Hog-shouther, y««^zV, stretch, and strive. 
— Burns : To William Simpson. 

Jute, a term of reproach applied 
to a weak, worthless, spiritless 
person, especially to a woman. 
It is also used in reference to 
sour or stale liquor, and to weak 
broth or tea. It seems to be 
derived from the Gaelic diiiid 
{diu pronounced as /w), sneak- 
ing, mean-spirited, silly, weak ; 
and diu, the worst, the refuse 
of things. 

Kail, cabbage, the German Icohl ; 
a word that survives in English 
in the first syllable of cauliflower. 
By an extension of meaning Tcail 
sometimes signifies dinner, as 
in the familiar invitation once 
common, "Come an' tak' your 
Tcail wi' me," i.e., come and dine 
with me. 

Kail -runt, a cabbage stalk ; kail- 
blade, a cabbage leaf. 
When I lookit to my dart, 

It was sae blunt, 
Fient haet it wad hae pierced the heart 
O' a kail-runt. 
—Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Just in a kail-blade and send it, — 

Baith the disease and what '11 mend it, 
At ance he'll i&W'i.— Idem. 


Kain — Keek. 

Kain, tribute, tax, tithe ; from 
the Gaelic cain, tribute ; cain- 
cach, tributary. 

Our laird gets in his racked rents, 
His coal, his kaz'n. 

— Burns : TAe Twa Dogs. 
Kain to the King. 

— Jacobite Song (17 15). 

Kain-bairns, says a note in Sir 
Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of 
the Scottish Border," were in- 
fants, according to Scottish 
superstition, that were seized 
in their cradles by warlocks 
and witches, and paid as a kain, 
or tax, to their master the devlL 
Jamieson is in error in deriving 
kain from the Gaelic cean, the 

Kaur-handit, left-handed. In 
this combination, haur does not 
signify the left as distinguished 
from the right, but is from the 
Gaelic car, signifying a twist or 
turn. The hand so designated 
implies that it is twisted or 
turned into a function that 
ought to be performed by the 

Kaury-maury is used in the 
"Vision of Piers Ploughman." 

Clothed in a kaury-maury 
I couthe it nought descryve. 

In the glossary to Mr. Thomas 
- Wright's edition of this ancient 
poem, he suggests that kaury- 
maury only means care and 
trouble ; a conjecture that is 
supported by the Gaelic car, 
and mearachd, an error, a mis- 
take, a wrong, an injustice. 

Kebar, a rafter, a beam in the 
roof of a house ; from the Gaelic 
cubar, a pole, the trunk of a 
tree. "Putting" or throwing 
the cabar is a gymnastic feat 
still popular at Highland games 
in Scotland. 

He ended, and the kebars shook 
Above the chorus roar. 

— Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

Kebbuck, a cheese ; kebbuck heel, 
a remnant or hunk of cheese. 
From the Gaelic cabag, a cheese. 

The weel-hained kebbuck. 
—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 
In comes a gaucie, gash, gude wife, 

An' sits down by the fire ; 
Syne draws her kebbuck and her knife — 
The lasses they are shyer. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Keck or keckle, to draw back 
from a bargain, to change one's 
mind, to flinch ; from the Gaelic 
caochail, to change. 

"I have keck'd"—! decline adhering to 
the offer.— Jamieson. 

Keckle is also a form of the 
English cackle, and has no 
affinity or synonymity with 

Keek, to peep, to pry, to look 
cautiously about ; possibly from 
the Gaelic cldh, pronounced 
kidh or kee, to see ; a cidhis, a 
mask to cover the face all but 
the eyes, a vizor. 

The robin came to the wren's nest 

And keekit in. — Nursery Rhyme. 
Stars dinna keek in. 
And see me wi' Mary.— Burns. 
When the tod [fox] is in the wood, he 
cares na how many folk keek at his tail.— 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Keeking-glass — Keltie. 


A clergyman in the West of Scotland 
once concluded a prayer as follows : — " O 
Lord ! Thou art like a mouse in a drystane 
dyke, aye keekiti out at us frae holes 
and crannies, but we canna see Thee." — 
Rogers' Illustrations of Scottish Life. 

Keeking-glass, a looking-glass, 
a mirror. 

She. Kind sir, for your courtesy. 

As ye gang by the Bass, then» 
For the love ye bear to me, 
Buy me a keeking-glass, then. 
He. Keek into the draw-well, 
Janet, Janet ! 
There ye'll see your bonnie sel', 
My jo, Janet. — Burns. 

Keel or keill, a small vessel or 
skiff, a lighter, and not merely 
the Tceel of any ship or boat as 
in English. It is synonymous 
with coracle, or the Gaelic cur- 
ach, and is probably derived 
from the Gaelic caol, narrow, 
from its length as distinguished 
from its breadth. 

Oh, merry may the keel row, 
The keel row, the keel row ; 

Oh, merry may the keel row. 
The ship that my love's in. 

— Northern Ballad. 

Keelivine, a crayon pencil. Ori- 
gin unknown. 

Kell, a woman's cap ; from the 
Gaelic ceil, a covering. 

Then up and gat her seven sisters, 

And served to her a kell, 
And every steek that they put in 
Sewed to a silver bell. 

— Border Minstrelsy : The Gay 

Kelpie, a water-sprite. Etymo- 
logy unknown; that suggested 
by Jamieson from caZ/ is not 

What is it ails my good bay mare ? 

What is it makes her start and shiver ? 
She sees a kelpie in the stream. 

Or fears the rushing of the river. 

— Legends of the Isles. 
The kelpie gallop'd o'er the green. 
He seemed a knight of noble mien ; 
And old and young stood up to see. 
And wondered who this knight could be. 

— Idem. 
The side was steep, the bottom deep, 

Frae bank to bank the water pouring ; 
And the bonnie lass did quake for fear. 

She heard the -woX&r-kelpie roaring. 
— Ballad of Annan Water. 

Keltie, a large glass or bumper, 
to drain which was imposed as 
a punishment upon those who 
were suspected of not drinking 
fairly. *' Cleared Iceltie aff," ac- 
cording to Jamieson, was a 
phrase that signified that the 
glass was quite empty. The 
word seems to be derived from 
kelter, to tilt up, to tip up, to 
turn upside down, and to have 
been applied to the glasses 
used in the hard-drinking days 
of our great-grandfathers, that 
were made without stems, and 
rounded at the bottom like the 
Dutch dolls that roll from side 
to side, from inability to stand 
upright. With a glass of this 
kind in his hand, the toper had 
to empty it before he could re- 
place it on the table. Jamieson 
was probably ignorant of this 
etymology, though he refers to 
the German kelter, which signi- 
fies a wine-press. Keltem, in the 
same language, is to tread the 
grapes. But these words do not 
apply to either the Scottish 
keltie or kelter. 


Kemmin — Kidney. 

Kemmin, a champion, a corrup- 
tion of ^emp (g-.v.)' 

He works like a kemmin. 
He fechts like a kemmin. 

— Jamieson. 

The Kymric has ceimmyn, a 
striver in games ; the Flemish 
kampen; and German Tcdmpfen, 
to fight, to struggle, to contend. 

Kemp, a warrior, a hero, a cham- 
pion ; also to fight, to strive, to 
contend for the superiority or 
the mastery. Kemper is one who 
kcmps or contends ; used in the 
harvest field to signify a reaper 
who excels his comrades in 
the quantity and quality of his 
work. Kempion, or Kemp Owain, 
is the name of the champion 
in two old Scottish ballads who 
"borrows," or ransoms, a fair 
lady from the spells cast upon 
her by demoniacal agency, by 
which she was turned into the 
shape of a wild beast. Kempion, 
or Kemp Owain, kisses her thrice, 
notwithstanding her hideousness 
and loathsomeness, and so re- 
stores her to her original beauty. 
Kempion is printed in Scott's 
" Border Minstrelsy," and Kemp 
Owain in Motherwell's "Min- 
strelsy, Ancient and Modern." 

Kennawhat, a nondescript, a "je 
ne sais quoi," or know-not -what. 

Kenspeckle, noticeable, conspi- 
cuous, noteworthy. 

Kep, to catch, to receive ; from 
the Gaelic ceap, to intercept, to 
stop, to receive. 

Ilka blade o' grass ke^s its ain drap o' dew. 
—James Ballantine. 

Ilk cowslip cup shall ke/ a tear. 

— Burns. 

Ker haund or ker-handed, left- 
handed, awkward; from the 
Gaelic, cer, a twist ; and cearr, 
wrong, awkward. See Kaur- 
HANDIT, ante. 

It maun be his left foot foremost, unless 
he was ker-haund. — Nodes Atnbrosiatice. 

Ket, a fleece ; tawted ket, a matted 
or ropy fleece. From the Gaelic 
ceath, a sheep or sheep-skin. 

She was nae get o' moorland tips, 
Wi' tawted ket an' hairy hips. 

— Burns. 

Kevil, a lot ; to cast kevils, to draw 

Let every man be content with his ain 
kevil. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
And they coost kevils them amang 
Wha should to the greenwood gang. 
— CosPATRiCK : Border Minstrelsy. 

Kidney. " Of the same kidney,'' 
of a like sort. The Slang Dic- 
tionary has, " Two of a kidney, 
or two of a sort — as like as two 
pears, or two kidneys in a bunch." 
Sir Kichard Ayscough says that 
Shakspeare's phrase, which he 
put into the mouth of Falstaff, 
means "a man whose kidneys 
are as fat as mine — i.e., a man 
as fat as I am." A little know- 
ledge of the original language 
of the British people would show 
the true root of the word to be 
the Gaelic ceudna — pronounced 
keudna, sort, or of the same sort ; 
ceudnachd, identity, similarity. 

Think of that ! a man of my kidney, that 
am as subject to heat as butter. — Merry 
Wives of Windsor. 

Kill-cow — Kinnen, 


Your poets, spendthrifts, and other fools 
of that /t/^«<y.— Burns : Letter to Mr. 
Robert A itislie. 

Kill-cow, an expressive collo- 
quialism which signifies a diffi- 
culty that maybe surmounted by 
resolution and energy. Jamie- 
son translates it "a matter of 
consequence, a serious affair ; 
as in the phrase, *Ye needna 
mind ; I'm sure it's nae sic great 
kill-cow ; ' " and adds, " in refer- 
ence, most probably, to a blow- 
that is sufficient to knock down 
or kill a cow ! " Jamieson forgot 
the reference in his own Dic- 
tionary to cow, in which the 
word signifies a ghost, spectre, 
or goblin. The phrase might 
be rendered, "a ghost that 
might be laid without much 

Killicoup, a somersault, head- 

That gang tried to keep violent lease- 
hold o' your ain fields, an' your ain ha', 
till ye gied them a killicoup. — Hogg's 
Brownie of Bodsbeck. 

Kilt, a garment worn by High- 
landers, descending from the 
waist to the middle of the knee ; 
to lift the petticoats up to the 
knee, or wear them no lower 
than the knee ; to raise the 
clothes in fording a stream. 
"High kilted" is a metaphor 
applied to conversation or 
writing that savours of immo- 
desty. From the Gaelic ceil, to 
cover ; cdlte, covered. 

Her tartan petticoat she'll kilt. 

—Burns : Cry and Prayer. 

She's kilted her coats o' green satin, 
She's kilted them up to the knee, 
And she's off wi' Lord Ronald M' Donald, 
His bride and his darling to be. 

— Old Song: Lizzie Lindsay. 

Kimmer, a female friend, gossip, 
or companion ; from the French 
commere ; synonymous with the 
English gammer. 

My kimmer and I gaed to the fair 
Wi' twal punds Scots on sarkin' to wear ; 
But we drank the gude braw hawkie dry, 
And sarkless cam hame, my kimmer and I. 
— Cromek's Remains. 

Kink, a knot, an entanglement, 
an involution ; the same in 
Flemish ; whence kink-host, or 
kink-cough, the hooping-cough, 
or generally a violent fit of 
coughing, in which the paroxysm 
seems to twist knots into each 
other. The word kink is some- 
times applied to a fit of irre- 
pressible laughter. Kink-cough 
has been corrupted in English 
into king-cough. Mr. Robert 
Chambers, on a note on kink, 
which occurs in the "Ballad of 
the Laird o' Logic," explains it 
as meaning to wring the fingers 
till the joints crack, which he 
says is a very striking though a 
simple delineation of grief. 

And sae she tore her yellow hair, 
Kinking her fingers ane by ane, 
And cursed the day that she was born. 

Kinnen, rabbits ; corruption of 
the English coney. 

Make kinnen and caper ready, then. 

And venison in greit plentie, 
We'll welcome here our royal King. 
— Ballad 0/ Johnnie Armstrong. 


Kinsh — Kipper. 

Kinsh. According to Jamieson, 
this word signifies kindred. 

The man may eithly tine a stot that 
canna count h.\s kinsh. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

" The man may easily lose a 
young ox that cannot count 
his kinsh." The meaning of 
Jcinsh in this passage is not 
clear. It has been suggested 
that it is a misprint for either 
Icine or kindred. Perhaps, how- 
ever, the true meaning is to 
be sought in the Gaelic cin- 
neas {kinneash), which means 
growth or natural increase. 
This interpretation renders the 
proverb intelligible — a man may 
afford to lose one stot who can- 
not count the increase of his 
flocks and herds. 

Kintra cooser, one who runs 
about the country ; a term 
sometimes applied to an entire 
horse, which is taken from place 
to place for the service of mares. 

If that daft buckie, Geordie Wales, 
Was threshin' still at hizzie's tails. 
Or if he was grown oughtlins douser. 
And no a perfect kintra cooser. 

— Burns : To one who had sent him 
a newspaper. 

The word cooser appears in 
Shakspeare as cosier or cozier, 
and has puzzled all the com- 
mentators to explain it. Cosier'' s 
catches were songs sung by work- 
ing men over their libations in 
roadside ale-houses. Johnson 
thought that cosier must mean 
a tailor, from coudre, to sew ; 
and cousue, that which is sewed ; 

while others equally erudite 
were of opinion that costers were 
cobblers or tinkers. The cosiers 
who sang catches might have 
belonged to all or any of these 
trades ; but the word, now ob- 
solete in English, and almost 
obsolete in Scotch, is the Gaelic 
cosaire, a pedestrian, a way- 
farer, a tramp. Up to the time 
of Dr. Johnson's visit to the 
Hebrides, Highland gentlemen 
of wealth or importance used 
to keep servants or gillies to 
run before them, who were 
known as cosiers — misprinted by 
Bos well as coshirs. Jamieson, 
unaware of the simple origin 
of the word, as applied to a 
horse made to perambulate the 
country, states that cooser is a 
stallion, and derives it from the 
French coursier, a courser. But 
courser itself is from the same 
root, from course, a journey. The 
coarse allusion of Burns to the 
Prince of Wales expressed a 
hope that he had ceased to run 
about the country after women. 

Kipper, to split, dry, and cure 
fish by salting them. Kippered 
herrings, haddocks, and salmon 
are largely prepared and con- 
sumed in Scotland, and to a 
much smaller extent in the large 
cities of England. The mode 
of kippering is scarcely known 
to the south of the Tweed, and 
where known, is not so success- 
fully practised, or with such 
delicate and satisfactory results, 
as in Scotland. The derivation 
of the word is uncertain. 

Kirk — Kittle. 


Kirk, is the original form of the 
word, which has been Anglicised 
into church. It is derived from 
the idea of, and is identical 
with, circle or kirkle, the form 
in which, in the primitive ages 
of the world, and still later, in 
the Druidical era, all places 
of worship — whether of the 
supreme God or of the Sun, 
supposed to be His visible re- 
presentative — were always con- 
structed. The great stone circle, 
or kirkle, of Stonehenge was 
one of the earliest kirks, or 
churches, erected in these is- 
lands. The traces of many- 
smaller stone circles are still to 
be found in Scotland. The word 
is derived feom the Gaelic coir, 
a circle ; whence also court, and 
the French cour. 

Kimie, a forward boy who gives 
himself prematurely and offen- 
sively the airs and habits of 
a man. Shakspeare speaks of 
"kerns and gallowglasses," 
kern being a contraction of the 
Gaelicc eathairneach [kearneach], 
an armed peasant serving in the 
army, also a boor or sturdy 
fellow. Jamieson derives kimie 
from the Kymric coryn or cor, 
a dwarf or pigmy ; but as the 
Lowland Scottish people were 
more conversant with their 
neighbours of the Highlands 
than with the distant Welsh, 
it is probable that the Gaelic 
and not the Kymric derivation 
of the word is the correct one. 

Kist, a chest, a trunk, a box ; 
from the French caisse. 

Steele the awmrie, shut the h'st, 

Or else some gear will soon be mist. 

— Sir Walter Scott : Donald Caird. 

A man who had had four wives, and who 
meditated a fifth time entering the mar- 
riage state, was conversing with a friend 
on the subject, who was rather disposed to 
barter upon his past matrimonial experi- 
ence, as having made a good deal of money 
by his wives. " Na ! na ! " said he, " they 
came to me wi' auld kzsis, an' I sent them 
hame (to the grave) wi' new anes." — Dean 

Kith, known to or acquainted 
with ; from kythe, to show, and 
the old English couth, to know 
or see ; a word that survives in 
concouth, with a somewhat diffe- 
rent meaning, as strange, odd, 
or unfamiliar. Kith is generally 
in modern English used in com- 
bination with kin, as kith and 
kin, whence the word is errone- 
ously supposed to mean relation- 
ship in blood and ancestry, and 
to be synonymous with kin and 

Whether thousands of our own h'ik shall 
be sacrificed to an obsolete shibboleth and 
the bloodthirsty operations of an artificial 
competition. — Letter on Large Weights, 
by Arnold White — Times, November 2,0, 

Kittle, difficult, ticklish, danger- 
ous. From the Dutch and 
Flemish kittelen, to tickle. 

It's kittle shooting at corbies and clergy. 
It's kittle for the cheeks when the hurl- 
barrow gangs o'er the brig o' the nose. 
Cats and maidens are kittle ware. 
It's kittle to waken sleeping dogs. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

As for your priesthood I shall say but 

Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle. 
—Burns : The Brigs of Ayr, 


Kivan — Kneef. 

Kivan, kivin. These words 
signify a covey, a bevy, a troop, 
a company, a flock, a crowd, or 
an assemblage. They are evi- 
dently from the Gaelic coimh 
{coiv), equivalent to the prefix 
CO or con, and feadhain {d silent), 
a troop or band of people, or of 
living animals of any description. 

Klem or clem. In Lancashire 
and other parts of England, 
clem signifies to become stupefied 
or worn out with hunger, to 
starve. In Scotland, klem some- 
times means perverse, obstinate, 
insensible to reason and to argu- 
ment ; and, according to Jamie- 
son, "means low, paltry, un- 
trustworthy, unprincipled ; and, 
as used by the boys of the High 
School of Edinburgh, curious, 
singular, odd, queer." He de- 
rives it from the Icelandic 
Jcleima, macula, a blot or stain — 
i.e., having a character that lies 
under a stain. But the Ice- 
landic does not convey either 
the Scottish or the English 
meaning of the word, which is 
in reality the Flemish Tdeum, 
lethargic, stupefied either from 
cold, hunger, or by defect of 
original vitality and force of 
mind or body. The Flemish 
verkleumte is translated in the 
French dictionaries as engourdi, 
benumbed, stupefied, stiffened. 
By a metaphorical extension of 
meaning, all these physical 
senses of the word apply to 
mental conditions, and thus 
account for all the varieties of 
the Scottish meaning. 

The English clem may be 
possibly traced to the German 
Memmen, to pinch, to squeeze; 
from klemme, a narrow place, 
a strait, a diflSculty, whence 
clemmed, pinched with hunger. 

Knack, to taunt, to make a sharp 
answer; the same apparently 
as the English " nag," as applied 
to the nagging of a disagreeable 
woman. Knacky, or knacksy, 
quick at repartee. 

Knappin-hammer. A ham- 
mer with a long handle used 
for breaking stones on the road, 
or in houses of detention for 
vagrants or criminals. From 
the English knap or nap, a 
smart blow on the head, as in 
the colloquial threat to an un- 
ruly boy, "you'll nap it." 

What's a' your jargon o' the schools— 
Your Latin names for books or stools ; 
If honest Nature made you fools, 

What sairs your grammars ? 
Ye'd better ta'en up spades or shools 

Or knappin hammers. 

—Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

Kneef, active, alert; " o-wei: kneef" 
or over active suggests, accord- 
ing to Jamieson, the charge of 
illicit intercourse. The deriva- 
tion is probably from the Gaelic 
gniomh (gniof), a doer, to do, or 
a deed. The word is sometimes 
pronounced griomh, whence 
grieve, a factor, bailiff, or agent. 

Jenny sat jouking like a mouse, 
But Jock was kneef ^is ony cock, 

Says he to her, Haud up your brows, 
And fa' to your meet. 
— The Wooing o Jenny and Jock. 

Knowe — Kute. 


Knowe, a hillock, a knoll. 

Ca' the yowes [ewes] to the knowes. 
— Allan Ramsay. 

Upon a knowe they sat them down, 
And there began a long digression, ' 
About the lords of the creation. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Knowe-head, the hill top. 

Yon sunny knowe-head clad wi' bonnie 
wild flowers. — James Ballantine. 

Knurl, a dwarf ; Tcnurlin, a dwarf- 
ling, or very little dwarf. 

The miller was strappin', the miller was 

ruddy — 
A heart like a lord, and a hue like a lady, 
The laird was a widdiefu' fleerit knurl — 
She's left the good fellow, and taken the 

churl. — Burns : Meg d the Mill. 

Wee Pope, the knurlin, rives Horatian 
fame. — Burns : On Pastoral Poetry. 

These words are apparently 
derived from the English gnarl, 
twisted, knotted, as in the 
phrase, "the gnarled oak," and 
the Teutonic hioiren, a knot, 
a wart, a protuberance. They 
were probably first applied in 
derision to hunch -backed people , 
not so much for their littleness 
as for their deformity. Burns, 
when speaking of Pope as a 
knurlin, seems to have had in 
memory the ill-natured com- 
parison of that poet to a note 
of interrogation, because "he 
was a little crooked thing that 
asked questions." 

Through an English miscon- 
ception of the meaning of "a 
knurl " (pronounced exactly like 
* ' an earl " ), arose the vulgar slang 
of the London streets used to 
insult a hunchback. 

"My Lord" is a nickname given with 
mock humility to a hunchback.— Hot- 
ten's Slang Dictionary . 

Koff or coflf, to buy; from the 
Teutonic kaufen, Flemish koopen, 
to buy ; whence by corruption 
horse-kooper, a dealer in horses. 

Kindness comes wi' will ; it canna be 
ko_^t. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Kute, coot, or queete, the ankle. 
Cutes or kutes, according to 
Wright and Halliwell, is a 
Northern word for the feet. 
" To let one cool his cutes at the 
door (or in the lobby)," is a 
proverbial expression for letting 
a man wait unduly long in ex- 
pectation of an interview. Cootie 
or kutie is a fowl whose legs are 
feathered. Cootikins, spatter- 
dashes or gaiters that go over 
the shoe and cover the ankle. 

Your stockings shall be 
Narrow, narrow at the kutes, 
And braid, braid at the braune 

[the brawn or calf]. 
— Chambers' Scottish Ballads. 

The firsten step that she steppit in [the 
She steppit to the kute. 

The neisten step that she wade in, , 

She waded to the knee ; 
Said she, " I wad wade further in, 

Gin my true love I could see." 

— Willie and May Margaret. 

It is difficult to trace the 
origin of this peculiarly Scottish 
word. The French call the 
ankle the '' cheville du pied." 
Bescherelle defines chevUle as 
" part of the two bones of the 
leg which rise in a boss or hump 
on each side of the foot." The 


Kyle — Kythe. 

Germans call the ankle the 
" knuckle of the foot." Jamie - 
son derives cute from the Teu- 
tonic kyte, "sura;" but the Latin 
sura means the calf of the leg 
and not the ankle ; and kyte is 
not to be found in any German 
or Teutonic dictionary. Kyte, 
in the Scottish vernacular, has 
nothing to do with kute, and 
signifies a part of the body far 
removed from the ankle, viz., 
the belly. Possibly the Swedish 
kut, a round boss or rising, as 
suggested in the extract from 
Bescherelle, may be the root 
of cute. The Gaelic affords 
no assistance to the discovery 
of the etymology. The word 
does not appear in the glossaries 
to Ramsay or Burns. 

Kyle, a narrow strait of water 
between islands, or between an 
island and the mainland, as the 
Kyles of Bute, and Kyle Akin, be- 
tween Skye and the continent 
of Scotland. The word is de- 
rived from the Gaelic caol, a 
narrow passage, a strait, whence 
Calais, the French town on the 
straits of Dover. 

Kyte, the belly. Kytie, corpulent, 
big-bellied. The Gaelic cuid, 
victuals, food, has been sug- 
gested as the origin of the word, 
on the principle that to *' have 

a long purse," signifies to have 
money, or much money, so that 
to have a kyte is to have food to 
put into it. But this etymology 
is not satisfactory, nor is that 
given by Jamieson from the 

Then horn for horn, they stretch and 

strive — 
Deil tak' the hindmost— on they drive, 
Till a' their well-filled kytes belyve 
Are stretched like drums. 

—Burns : To a Haggis. 

But while the wifie flate and gloom'd, 
The tither cake wi' butter thoomb'd. 

She forced us still to eat, 
Till our wee kites were straughtit fou, 
When wi' our hearties at our mou', 

We felt maist like to greet. 
—James Ballantine : TJte Pentland 

Kythe, to show or appear ; and 
kythesome, of pleasant and prepos- 
sessing appearance. Jamieson 
has the phrase ' ' blythsome and 
kythsome," used in Perthshire, 
and signifying, as he thinks, 
" happy in consequence of hav- 
ing abundance of property in 
cows." If he had remembered 
his own correct definition of 
kythe, "show, to be manifest," 
he would not in this instance 
have connected it with cows 
or kye, but would have tran- 
slated the phrase, "blytheand 
pleasant of appearance." 

ITyiAe is your ain colours, that folk may 
ken ye.— Allan Ramsay. 

Laigh — Landlord. 


Laigh, low, or low-down, short. 

The higher the hill, the laigher the grass. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Dance aye laigh and late at e'en. 

— Burns : My Jo, Janet. 

Laired, overthrown, cast to the 
ground. From the Gaelic lar, 
the ground; the English lair, 
as applied to the retreat of a 
wild animal ; or possibly from 
lure, to entice or inveigle. 

Laired by spunkies i' the mire. 

— George Beattie : John o Amha\ 

Lammas, the first day of August ; 
supposed to be derived from the 
Anglo-Saxon Klaf, a loaf, but 
more probably from lamh, the 
Lamb of God. All the ancient 
festivals appropriated to par- 
ticular days had an ecclesias- 
tical origin — such as Mary-mass 
(now called Lady Day), from the 
Virgin Mary ; Michaelmas, Hal- 
lowmas, Candlemas, Christmas, 

Landart, rural, in the country; 
from landward. 

There was a jolly beggar, 

And a begging he was boun', 
And he took up his quarters 
Into a landart town. 
— Song : Well Gang nae mair a Roving. 

Then come away, and dinna stay, 
What gars ye look sae landart ? 
I'd have ye run, and not delay, 
To join my father's standard. 
— CocKBURN : Chambers's Scottish 

Landlash, a great fall of rain, 
accompanied by a high wind. 
Jamieson is of opinion that this 
word is suggested by the idea 
that such a storm lashes the 
land. It is more probably from 
the Gaelic Ian, full ; and laiste, 
ixnj ; whence lanlaiste (pro- 
nounced lanLashte, and abbrevi- 
ated into lardash), the storm in 
full fury. A lash of water sig- 
nifies a great, heavy, or furious 
fall of rain- 
Landlord and landlady. These 
words, commonly pronounced 
lanlord and lanlady, do not 
solely imply the proprietor- 
ship of land, as their constant 
application to the owners of 
public - houses, and to house- 
owners generally, as well as to 
women who merely let lodgings, 
are sufficient to show. The 
Scottish laird, without the pre- 
fix land, conveys the idea of 
proprietorship. Landlord and 
landlady, in one of the senses in 
which the words are continually 
used, both in English and Scot- 
tish parlance, are traceable not 
to land in the Teutonic sense of 
the word, but to Ian, the Gaelic 
for full, or an enclosure, and 
all that it contains or is full 
of. Thus the keeper of a 
public, or the owner of a private 
house, is lord or master of the 
Ian or enclosure which he occu- 
pies or possesses. 



Land-louper — Law. 

Land-Iouper, a vagabond, a wan- 
derer from place to place with- 
out settled habitation ; some- 
times called a forloupin or 
forlopin, as in Allan Kamsay's 

Lane, alone, lone, or lonely ; this 
word, which in the English lone 
or lonely is an adjective, is a 
noun in the Scottish lane. "I 
was all alone," or *' we were all 
alone," are in Scottish, "I was 
a' my lane," and "we were a' 
our lane." " I canna lie my 
lane," is, " Icannot sleep alone." 

I waited lang beside the wood, 
Sae wae and weary a' my lane, 

Och hey ! Johnnie lad, 

Ye'reno so kind's ye should hae been. 
— Tannahill. 

" But oh, my master dear," he cried, 
" In a green wood, ye're gude your lane." 

—Ballad of Gil Morrice. 
I wander my lane like a night-troubled 
ghaist. — Burns. 

Lanrien (sometimes written land- 
rien). Jamieson defines this 
word as meaning " in a straight 
course ; a direct, as opposed to 
a circuitous course," and quotes 
a phrase used in Selkirkshire — 
"He cam rinnin' landrien,'" or 
straight forward. It seems to 
be a corruption of the Gaelic 
Ian, full, <;omplete ; and rian, 
order, method, arrangement, re- 

Laroch or lerroch, the site of a 
building which has been de- 
molished, but of which there 
are remains to prove what it 
once was. From the Gaelic lar, 

the ground or earth ; and larach, 
the ground on which an edifice 
once stood. 

Lave, the residue, the remainder, 
that which is left, or, as the 
Americans say in commercial 
fashion, the "balance." 

We'll get a blessing wi' the lave. 
And never miss't. 

— Burns : To a Mouse. 

First when Maggie was my care. 
Whistle o'er the lave o't. — Burns. 

Laverock, the lark. This word, 
so pleasant to the Scottish ear, 
and so entirely obsolete in Eng- 
lish speech and literature, was 
used by Gower and Chaucer : — 

She made many a wondrous soun', 
Sometimes like unto the cock, 
Sometimes like the laverock. 

— Gower : Quoted in Halliwell's 
Archaic Dictionary. 

Why should I sit and sigh, 

When the wild woods bloom sae briery, 
The laverocks sing, the flowerets spring, 
And a' but me are cheery. 
— Buchan's Songs of the North of 

Thou laverock that springs frae the dews 
o' the lawn. — Burns. 

Lark and the Teutonic lerche 
are doubtless abbreviations of 
the primitive word laverock, but 
whence laverock ? Possibly from 
the ancient Gaelic lahhra (lavra), 
and labhraich, eloquent, loud — 
two epithets that are highly ap- 
propriate to the skylark. 

Law. This word is often used 
in Scotland to signify a hill or 
rock, especially to one stand- 
ing alone, as Berwick Law, so 

Lawin — Lee-lang. 


familiar by sight to the Mid- 
Lothian people. It is derived 
from the Gaelic leach, a stone ; 
and Zmc7^acA, the bare summit 
of a hill. It sometimes signi- 
fies the stony or shingly ground 
by the side of a river, as in the 
Broomie-^w in Glasgow. Pos- 
sibly in this case also the word 
is of the same derivation as 
leach, and means not only a high 
stone, but a flat stone, a flag 
stone, whence leachaig, to pave 
or lay with flat stones. 

Lawin. This eminently Scottish 
word is from the Gaelic lachan, 
the expense of an entertain- 
ment ; the price of the drink 
consumed at a tavern ; lachag, 
a very small reckoning, " Ye're 
lawin-free," i.e., you are not to 
pay your share of the bill. The 
root of the word seems to be 
lagh, law, order, method — the 
law of the tavern, that the 
guests should pay before they 
go. It was formerly written 

Aye as the gudewife brought in, 
Ane scorit upon the wauch [wall], 

Ane bade pay, anither said " Nay, 
Bide while we reckon our lauch. " 
—Peblis to the Play. 

Then, gudewife, count the lawin. 

The lawin ! the lawin ! 
Then, gudewife, count the lawin, 

And bring a cogie mair. 

—Burns : Old Chorus. 

Lawin, the reckoning at an inn. Isn't 
reckoning a Scotticism? I doubt very 
much if you would be understood if you 
asked an English landlord for the reckon- 
ing, meaning an account of what you have 
had at his inn. I don't think reckoning 
is specially associated with ao inn bill iu 

this country. In Scotland reckoning has 
almost entirely superseded the word lawin. 
In Sweden the regular word for a hotel 
bill is the "reckoning." — R. Drennan. 

Leal, loyal, true, true-hearted. 
" The land o' the leal," i.e.. 

A leal heart never lied. — Scots Proverbs. 

I'm wearin' awa', Jean, 

Like snaw when it's thaw, Jean, 

I'm wearin' awa' 

To the Land o' the Leal. 

— Lady Nairne. . 

Robin of Rothesay, bend thy bow, 
Thy arrows shoot so leal. 

— Hardykn ute. 

Lear or leer, learning; from the 
German lehren. 

When Sandie, Jock, and Jeanitie, 

Are up and gotten lear, 
They'll help to gar the boatie row 

An' lighten a' our care. 

— The Boatie Rows. 

Lea-rig", a ridge in a corn or 
other field, left fallow between 
two ridges that are bearing 

Will ye gang o'er the lea-rig, 
My ain kind dearie O. 

— Fergusson. 

Corn rigs and barley rigs. 

And corn rigs are bonnie ; 
I'll ne'er forget that happy night, 

Among the rigs wi' Annie.— Burns. 

Leed, a song or incantation, 
from the German lied, a lay or 

Thrice backward round about she tottered. 
While to hersel the leed she muttered. 
—George Beattie : John o' Arfiha\ 

Lee-lang, as long as it is light, 
as in the phrase "the lee-lang 


Leeshin — Leister. 

day," which has hitherto been 
supposed to mean the "life- 
long day." It is more probably 
from the Gaelic U, a colour, 
and especially a bright colour, 
the colour of daylight, and 
from the allied word liath {lia), 
pale grey, as distinguished from 
dark or black. 

The thresher's weary flingin' tree 
The he-lang day had tired me. 

Burns: The Vision. 

Leeshin, lazily, in a dilatory 
manner. From the Gaelic lem, 

And cam' leeshin up behind her. 
—George Beattie : John d Arnha. 

Leesome, agreeable, pleasant, 
like the light. {See Lee-lang.) 

Oh, gear will buy me rigs o' land, 
And gear will buy me sheep and kye ; 

But the tender heart o' leesome luve 
The gowd and siller canna buy. 

— Burns : The Countrie Lassie. 

Fair and leesome blew the wind, 
Ships did sail and boats did row. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

A fairy ballad in Buchan's 
collection is entitled ' ' Leesome 
Brand." Jamieson derives lee- 
some from the German liehe, 
love ; perhaps, however, the root 
of the word is the Gaelic leus, 
light ; li, colour ; and leusach, 
bright, shining. 

Leeze or leeze me on (a reflective 
verb), to be satisfied with, to 
be pleased or delighted with. 
A Gaelic periphrase for " I 
love." The Highlanders do not 
say "I love you," but "love is 
on me for you." Hence the 

Scottish phrase — "loes (or lees) 
me " or "love is on me." 
Leeze me on my spinning-wheel. — Burns. 
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn, 
Thou king o' grain. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Leeze me on drink, it gies us mair, 
Than school or college. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Leglin or leglan, a milking-pail. 

At buchts, in the mornin', nae blithe lads 
are scomin'. 
The lasses are lanely, and dowie and 
Nae daiBn', nae gabbin', but sighin' and 
sabbin', — 
Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her 

— Elliot : The Flowers of the Forest. 
Donald Caird can lilt and sing, 
Blithely dance the Highland fling, 
Hoop a leglan, clout a pan, 
Or crack a pow wi' ony man. 
—Sir Walter Scott : Donald Caird. 

Jamieson traces leglin to the 
Teutonic leghel. This word 
however, has no place in Ger 
man, Dutch, or Flemish die 
tionaries. The Gaelic has leig, 
to milk a cow, which, with lion, 
a receptacle (also a net), or lion 
to fill, becomes Uglin in Lowland 

Leister, a three-pronged instru- 
ment, or trident, for killing fish 
in the water ; commonly applied 
to illegal salmon fishing in the 
rivers of Scotland. 

I there wi' something did forgather 

That pat me in an eerie swither, 

An awfu' scythe out owre ae shouther 

Clear dangling hang, 
A three-taed leister on the ither 

Lay large and lang. 
—Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Lemanry — Levin. 


Donald Caird can wire a maukin (a hare), 
Leisters kipper, makes a shift 
To shoot a moor-fowl i' the lift. 
Water-bailiffs, rangers, keepers, 
He can wake when they're sleepers ; 
Not for bountitt or reward. 
Dare they mell wi' Donald Caird. 

—Sir Walter Scott. 

Jamieson traces the word to 
the Swedish liustra, to strike fish 
with a trident. But the deriva- 
tion may be doubted. " To 
leister" says the Gaelic Etymo- 
logy of the Languages of Western 
Europe, " is a mode of taking 
salmon at night, by attracting 
them towards the surface by 
torches held near the water, 
and then driving a spear, trident, 
or large fork into them. The 
word is derived from the light 
that is employed to lure the fish, 
rather than from the spear that 
impales them, and is traceable 
to the Gaelic leasdair, a light, 
or a lustre." It seems probable 
that the word is of home origin, 
rather than of Swedish. Halli- 
well and Wright claim it as a 
common word in the North of 
England. Burns evidently uses 
it in the sense of a trident, 
without any reference to the 
illegal practice of fishing. 

Lemanry ; from leman, a concu- 
bine ; a poetical word for har- 

Oh, wed and marry, the knight did say, 

For your credit and fame. 
Lay not your love on lemanry. 

Nor bring a good woman to shame. 

—BvcHAu's Ana'ent Bal/ads : Hynd 

Let on, to let appear ; loot, ap- 
peared; lutten, the past-parti- 
ciple of let. 

"Weel, Margaret," said a minister to 
an auld wife, who expressed her dissatis- 
faction with him for leaving the parish, 
" ye ken I'm the Lord's servant. If He 
have work for me in Stirling, ye'll admit 
that it's my duty to perform it." "Hech !" 
replied Margaret, " I've heard that Stirling 
has a great muckle stipend, and I'm think- 
ing if the Lord had gi'en ye a ca' to Auchter- 
tool [a very poor parish], ye wad ne'er hae 
lutten on that ye heard Him. " — Rogers : 
Anecdotes of Scottish Wit aTid Humour. 

Leure, a ray of light, a gleam ; 
from the French Iv^eur, a shining 
light ; and the anterior Gaelic 
root lur, brightness, splendour, 
treasure. The Gipsy slang has 
lowre, money ; and gammy [or 
crooked] lowre, bad money. 
The ideas of brightness and 
beauty go together in most 
languages. Lurach, in Gaelic, 
is a term of endearment for a 
beautiful — that is, a bright — 
young woman. 

Levin, the lightning. This word, 
that has long been obsolete in 
English literature, is not yet 
obsolete in the Scottish verna- 
cular. It was employed with 
fine effect, centuries ago, by 
Dunbar, the Scottish, and by 
Chaucer, the English poet. 
Attempts have recently been 
made to revive it, by Sir Walter 
Scott and others, not altogether 
ineffectually. Chaucer makes 
splendid use of it when he 
denounces one who habitually 
speaks ill of women : 


Lewder — Liddisdale Drow. 

With wild thunder-bolt and fiery levin 
May his walked [wicked] neck be broke. 
—Wife of Bath's Prologue. 

To him as to the burning levin, 
Short, resistless course was given. 
— Scott : Martnion. 

The clouds grew dark and the wind grew 
And th^ levin filled her e'e. 
And waesome wailed the snow-white sprites 
Upon the gurly sea. 

— Laidlaw : The Demon Lover. 

The etymology is obscure, 
There is no trace of it in the 
Teutonic or Latin sources of 
the language. Spencer, in the 
"Faerie Queene," has — 

His burning levin-hraxid in hand he took. 

The etymology is probably to 
be found in the Gaelic liath 
(pronounced lia, lee-a) meaning 
white or grey, and sometimes 
vivid white, which may perhaps 
account for the first syllable. 
Buin, to shoot, to dart ; buinne, 
or hkuinne {vuin), signifies a 
rapid motion, which may ac- 
count for the second — a deriva- 
tion which is not insisted upon, 
but which may lead philologists 
to inquire further. 

Lewder, lewdering", to flounder 
through bog and mire, to plod 
wearily and heavily on. 

Thus lewdering on 
Through scrubs and crags wi' mony a 
heavy groan. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Jamieson derives the word 
from the Teutonic leuteren, 
morari, a word which is not to 
be found in the Teutonic Dic- 

tionaries. It is probable that 
the root is the Gaelic laidir, 
strong, heavy. The English 
slang, "To give one a good 
leathering," is to give him a 
strong or heavy beating. 

Lib, to castrate, geld, Lihhet, an 
animal on which that operation 
has been performed ; a eunuch. 
This word still remains current 
in the Northern Counties. In 
Flemish luhhing signifies cas- 
tration ; and lubber, he who 
performs the operation. Burns 
speaks contemptuously of Italian 
singers as libbet :— 

How cut-throat Prussian blades were 

How liddet Italy was singing. 

Lichtly or lightly, to treat with 
neglect or scorn, or speak lightly 
of anybody. 

I leaned my back unto an aik, 

And thought it was a trusty tree, 

But first it bowed, and syne it brak, 

Sae my true love did lichtly me. 

— Ballad of tJie Marchioness of Douglas. 

Oh is my helmet a widow's cuid [cap], 

Or my lance a wand of the willow tree, 
Or my arm a lady's lily hand 
That an English Lord should lichtly me. 
— Kininont Willie. 
Aye vow and protest that ye care na for me. 
And whiles ye may lichtly my beauty a 

But court na anither tho' daffin' ye be, 
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me. 
—Burns : Whistle and I'll come to 
you, my Lad. 

Liddisdale drow, Liddisdale dew ; 
the fine rain that is said not 
to wet a Scotsman, but that 
drenches an Englishman to the 
skin. Jamieson defines drow to 

Lift — Link. 


mean a cold mist heavy with 
rain, also a squall or severe gust ; 
and derives the word from 
the Gaelic drog, the motion of 
the sea, which, however, is not 
to be found in Gaelic diction- 
aries. Brow is from the Gaelic 
druchd, with the elision of the 
guttural, signifying dew, hence 
the Liddisdale joke. 

Lift, the sky ; from the Teutonic 

When lightnings fire the stormy li/i. 
— Burns : Epistle to Robert Graham. 

Is yon the moon, I ken her horn, 
She's glintin' i' the lift sae heigh. 

She smiles sae sweet to wile us hame. 
But by my troth she'll bide a wee. 
— Burns. 

Lil for lal, an ancient Scottish 
synonym for the English tit for 
tat, that appears in Wynton, who 
wrote in the sixteenth century. 
It is supposed by Jamieson to 
be from the Anglo-Saxon " lael 
with laele,'" or stripe for stripe, 
though it may be of Gaelic 
origin ; from li, light or colour ; 
and Id, day, and lathail {la-ail) 
daily ; or li-la, for day, or one 
light for another. 

Lilt, to sing cheerfully, or in a 
lively manner. Also, according 
to Jamieson, a large pull in 
drinking frequently repeated. 

Nae mair liltin' at the ewe-milkin', 
The flowers of the forest are a' wede awa*. 
— Lament for the Battle of Flodden. 

Mak' haste an' turn King David owre. 
An* //// wi' holy clangour. 

— Burns : The Ordination. 

The origin of this word seems 
to be the Gaelic luailte, speed, 
haste, rapid motion, and luail- 
tich, to accelerate, to move 
merrily and rapidly forward. 
This derivation would explain 
the most common acceptation 
of the word, as applied to sing- 
ing, as well as the secondary 
meaning attributed to it by 

Limmer, a depreciatory epithet 
for a woman ; from the Gaelic 
leum, to leap — one who leaps 
over the bounds of propriety or 
moderation, or breaks through 
the bounds of the seventh com- 

Linder, a short linen jacket or 
vest worn next to the skin by 
both sexes, though Jamieson 
says only by old women and 

He'll sell his jerkin for a groat. 
His linder for another o't, 

And ere he want to pay his shot 
His sark will pay the t'other o't. 

— Alexander Ross : The Bridal o't. 

Link, to trip, to leap, to skip, to 
jump; linkin', tripping; from 
the Gaelic leum, to leap, leuni- 
nach, skipping, jumping, whence 
leumanach, a frog, a creature 
that jumps. The glossaries to 
Burns render this word by 
" trip." Jamieson says it means 
to walk smartly, or to do any- 
thing with cleverness and expe- 

And coost her duddies to the wark, 
And linkit at it in her sark. 

—Burns : Tarn O'Shanter. 


Lin — Lippen. 

And now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin' 
A certain Bardie's rantin', drinkin', 
Some luckless hour will send him linkin' 

To your black pit, 
But faith ! he'll turn a corner jinkin' 
And cheat you yet. 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Lin or lins. This termination to 
many Scottish words supplies 
a shade of meaning not to be 
expressed in English but by a 
periphrasis, as westlins, inclining 
towards the west. Aiblins — 
perhaps, for able-lins — inclining 
towards being able, or about to 
become possible (see Aiblins, 
ante). BacUins, inclining to- 
wards a retrograde movement. 

The westlin winds blaw loud and shrill. 

— Burns : My Nannie, O. 
Now frae the east neuk o' Fife the dawn 
Speel'd westlins up the lift. 
— Allan Ramsay : Christ's Kirk on 
the Green. 
And if awakened tiercelins, aff night flee. 

— Ross's Helenore. 
This termination properly is lings, and 
is a very common termination in several 
Teutonic dialects, such as the Dutch, and 
still more, the German, though not com- 
mon in English. See Grimm's Grammar. 
— Lord Neaves. 

Lins corresponds nearly to the English 
affix ly, though not exactly. In Pitscottie's 
account of the apparition that appeared 
to James IV. in St. Catherine's Aisle of the 
Church at Linlithgow, the word Grofflins 
occurs. This has been interpreted to mean 
grufily. " He leaned down grofflins on 
the desk before him (the king) and said," 
&c. Grufe or groff is a common Scotch 
word, meaning the belly, or rather the 
front of the body, as distinguished from 
the back ; and Pitscottie's expression means 
nothing more than that the apparition 
leaned the fore part of his body, say his 
breast, upon the back of the desk at which 
the king was kneeling. — R. Drennan. 

Linn, a waterfall; Cora Linn, the 

falls of the Clyde ; properly, the 
pool at the bottom of a cataract, 
worn deep by the falling water ; 
from the Gaelic linne, a pool. 

Grat his e'en baith bleer't and blin', 
Spak o' lowpin' o'er a linn. 

— Burns : Duncan Gray. 

Ye bumies, wimplin' down your glens, 
Or foaming Strang frae linn to linn. 
— Burns : Elegy on Captain Matthew 

Whiles owre a linn the bumie plays. 
—Burns: Halloween. 

Lintie, a linnet. 

Nae Unties lilt on hedge or bush, 

Poor things, they suffer sairly. 
Up in the mornin's no for me, 

Up in the mornin' early ; 
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw, 

I'm sure it's winter fairly. 

— Old Song, tnodemisedby John 

Dr. Norman Macleod mentioned a con- 
versation he had with a Scottish emigrant 
in Canada, who in general terms spoke 
favourably of his position in his adopted 
country. " But oh ! sir," he said, "there 
are no Unties in the woods, and no braes 
like Yarrow." The word Untie conveys to 
my mind more of tenderness and endear- 
ment towards the little bird than linnet. — 
Dean Ramsay. 

Lippen, to incline towards, to be 
favourable to any one, to rely 
upon, to trust. Apparently 
from the Flemish liefde^ and the 
German lichen, love. 

Lippen to me, but look to yoursell. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

An ancient lady, when told by the 
minister that he had a call from his Lord 
and Master to go to another parish, re- 
plied, "Deed, sir, the Lord might ha' ca'd 
and ca'd to you lang eneuch, and ye'd 

Lippin* fu — Loe-some. 


ne'er hae lippened till Him if the steepen 
[stipend] had na been better." — Dean 

Lippin* fu', full up to the lip or 

brim of a glass or goblet, brim- 
ful ; owrelvpfin ylvXS. to overflow. 

A' the laughin' valleys round 
Are nursed and fed by me, 
And I'm aye lippin fu\ 
— James Ballantine : Song of the 
Four Elements— the Water. 
See ye, wha hae aught in your bicker to 

And gie your poor neighbours your owre- 
■lippin share. 

—James Ballantine : Winter 

Lire, sometimes written lyre, the 
complexion. Jamieson defines 
lire as "the part of the skin 
which is colourless," and " as 
the flesh or muscles as distin- 
guished from the bones " — " the 
lean part of butchers' meat." 
He derives the word from the 
Anglo-Saxon lire, the fleshy 
part of the body. The word 
is traceable to the Gaelic Hath 
(pronounced lia), pale grey, and 
liathaich {lia-aich), to become 

As ony rose her rude was red, 
Her fyre was like the lilies. 

— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Lirk, a crease, a plait, a fold, a 
hollow in a hill ; from the Gaelic 
laraich (see lar, ante, p. 114). 

The hills were high on ilka side, 
An' the bricht i' the lirk. 
— Border Minstrelsy — The Broom o' the 

Lith, a joint, a hinge; and me- 
taphorically, the point of an 

argument on which the whole 
question turns. To lith, to sepa- 
rate the joints ; from the Gaelic 
luth, a joint ; luthach, well- 
jointed, or having large joints. 

' * Fye, thief, for shame ! " cries little Sym, 
" Wilt thou not fecht wi' me ; 
Thou art mair large of lith and limb 

Nor I am " 

— Allan Ramsay's Evergreen : Question- 
ing and Debate betwixt Adamson 
and Sym. 

And to the road again wi' a' her pith. 

And souple was she ilka limb and lith. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Dr. Johnson and Lord Auchinleck were 
quarrelling over the character of the great 
Protector, and the sturdy old English Tory 
pressed the no less sturdy old Scottish 
Whig to say what good Cromwell had ever 
done to his country. His lordship replied, 
" He gart kings ken that they had a lith 
in their necks." — Boswell. 

Ye'll tak a lith o my little fingerbane. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads — The 
Bonnie Bows 0' London. 

Littit, coloured ; from the Gaelic 
liath, grey. 

Weel dyed and littit through and through. 
— George Beattie : John 0' Amhd. 

Loaning^, a meadow, a pasture ; a 
green lane. 

I've heard them lilting at the ewe-milking — 

Lasses a' lilting before dawn of day ; 
But now they are moaning in ilka green 
The flowers o' the forest are a' wede 

— The Flowers the Forest. 

Joy gaed down the loaning wi' her, 
Joy gaed down the loaning wi' her, 
She wadnahae me — but has ta'en another — 
And a' men's joy but mine ga'ed wi her ! 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

Loe-some, or love-some, pleasant 
and amiable, is sometimes 


Loof- — Loup- hunting. 

wrongly written leesome, as in 
Burns's song of "The Countrie 
Lassie " : — 

The tender heart o' leesome luve 
Gowd and siller canna buy. 

Loof, the palm of the hand ; from 
the Gaelic lamh {lav), the hand. 

Gie's yer loo/, I'll ne'er beguile you. 
— Scots Proverbs. 
Wi' arm reposed on her chair back, 

He sweetly does compose him. 
Which by degrees slips round her neck, 
An's ^^upon her bosom, 

Unkenned that day. 
—Burns : The Holy Fair. 
Lofa is used by Ulphilas for the open 
hand ; slaps lofa, a. slap of the hand. 
The Gaelic lam, when the m gets aspir- 
ate, becomes lamA — lav or la/". — Lord 


Losh, a ludicrous objurgation 
that does duty as a paltry oath ; 
generally supposed to be a cor- 
ruption of "Lordl" 

LosA me ! hae mercy wi' your natch. 
Your bodkin's bauld. 

— Burns : Epistle to a Tailor. 

Losh me ! that's beautiful. — Noctes A in- 

The English corruptions of 
" Lord ! " becomes O Lor' ! 
Lawks ! and La' ! The name 
of the Supreme Being, in like 
manner, is vulgarised into Go&h, 
as "By Gosh!" "Gosh guide 
us ! " is a common expression 
in Scotland, with the object 
apparently of avoiding the 
breach of the Third Command- 
ment in the letter, though not 
in the spirit. 

Loup, to leap; to *'loup the 
dyke," a proverbial expression, 

to leap over the dyke (of re- 
straint), applied to unchaste 
unmarried women ; land-louper, 
a vagrant. 

Spak o' loupiri o'er a linn. 

— Burns : Duncan Gray. 

He's loupen on the bonnie black. 

He steer'd him wi' the spur right sairly ; 
But ere he won to Gatehope slack 
I think the steed was wae and weary. 
— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border^ 
Annan Water. 

I bade him loup, I bade him come, 

I bade him loup to me, 
An' I'd catch him in my armis twa. 
— The Fire o Frendraught. 

Loup-huntingf. "The odd 
phrase, 'Hae ye been a lowp- 
hunting V is a query," says 
Jamieson, "addressed to one 
who has been very early abroad, 
and is an evident allusion to the 
hunting of the wolf (the French 
lowp in former days)." The 
allusion is not so evident as 
Jamieson imagined. A wolf was 
not called loup either in the 
Highlands or in the Lowlands. 
In the Highlands the animal 
was either called/aoZ, or {madadh 
alluidh), a wild dog ; and in 
the Lowlands by its English, 
Flemish, and German name, 
"wolf." It is far more likely 
that "loup" in the phrase is 
derived from the Gaelic lobhar, 
the Irish Gaelic luhhar, a day's 
work; a hunt more imperative 
than that after an animal which 
has not been known in Scotland 
since 1680, when the last of the 
race, according to tradition, 
was killed by Sir Ewen Cameron 
of Lochiel. Another tradition. 

Lout — Luckie. 


recorded in the third volume of 
Chambers's "Annals of Scot- 
land," fixes in 1743 the date of 
the last wolf slain, and records 
the name of the slayer as Mac- 
queen, a noted deer-stalker in 
the forest of Moray. Luh is an 
obsolete Gaelic word for a youth 
of either sex. It is therefore 
possible that loup-hunting may 
have had a still more familiar 

Lout or loute, to jump, or leap. 

He has louted him o'er the dizzy crag 
And gien the monster kisses ane. 

— Border Minstrelsy. 

Low, to stand still, to stop, to 
rest ; lowden, to calm ; applied 
to the cessation of a stormy 
wind ; also, to silence, or cause 
to be silent. 

Lowan drouth, burning thirst. 

With the cauld stream she quench'd her 
lowan drouth. — Ross's Helenore. 

Lowe, a flame ; lowin\ burning, 
to burn, to blaze. Ld is the 
ancient Gaelic word for day, or 
daylight ; superseded partially 
by the modern Id, or Idtka, with 
the same meaning. The syllable 
Id appears in the compound word 
lo-inn, joy, gladness, beauty — 
derived from the idea of light — 
that which shines, as in the 
Teutonic sehon or schoen, the old 
English sheen, beautiful. 

A vast unbottomed boundless pit, 
Filled fou o' loivz'n' brunstane. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

The sacred lowe o' weel -placed love 
Luxuriantly indulge it. 

— Burns : Epistle to a Young 

The bonnie, bonnie bairn sits poking in 

the ase, 
Glowerin' in the fire wi' his wee round 

Laughin' at the fuffin' lowe — what sees 

he there ? 
Ha ! the young dreamer's biggin' castles 

in the air. 

—James Ballantine. 

Lown, quiet, calm, sheltered from 
the wind. The lown o' the dyke, 
the sheltered side of the wall. 

"Unbuckle your belt, Sir Roland," she 
" And sit you safely down." 
" Oh, your bower is very dark, fair maid, 
An' the nicht is wondrous lown." 

— Ballad of Sir Roland. 

Lown is used in relation to concealment, 
as when any ill report is to be hushed up. 
"Keep it lown" i.e., say nothing about it. 
— Jamieson. 

Blaw the wind ne'er sae fast. 

It will loTim at the last. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Prozierhs. 

Come wi' the young bloom o' morn on thy 

Come wi' the lown star o' love in thine e'e. 
— James Ballantine : Wifie, Come 

Lounder, to strike heavily right 
and left. 

I brak a branch off an ash, and ran in 
among them lounderin awa' right and left. 
— Noctes A tnbrosiance. 

Luckie, a term of familiarity 
applied to elderly women in 
the lower and middle ranks of 
society : — 

Oh, hand your tongue, now, Luckie 
Oh, baud your tongue and jaumer ; 



I held the gate till you I met, 
Syne I began to wander. 
— Burns : The Lass of Ecclefechan. 

Hear me, ye hills, and every glen, 
And echo shrill, that a' may ken 

The waefu' thud 
O' reckless death wha came unseen 

To Luckie Wood. 

— Burns. 

Mrs. Helen Carnegie of Montrose died 
in 1818, at the advanced age of ninety-one. 
She was a Jacobite, and very aristocratic, 
but on social terms with many of the 
burghers of the city. She preserved a very 
nice distinction in her mode of addressing 
people according to their rank and station. 
She was fond of a game of quadrille (whist), 
and sent out her servant every morning to 
invite the ladies required to make up the 
game. " Nelly, ye'U gang to Lady Car- 
negie's, and mak' my compliments, and 
ask the honour of her ladyship's company, 
and that of the Miss Carnegies, to tea this 
evening. If they canna come, ye'll gang 
to the Miss Mudies, and ask the pleasure 
of their company. If they canna come, ye 
maun gang to Miss Hunter, and ask the 
favour of her company. If she canna 
come, ye maun gang to Luckie Spark, 
and bid her come I " — Dean Ramsay's 

It is probable that this word, 
as a term of respect as well as 
of familiarity, to a middle-aged 
or elderly matron, is a corrup- 
tion of the Gaelic laoch, brave. 
The French say, " une hrave 
femme," meaning a good wo- 
man ; and the Lowland Scotch 
use the adjective honest in the 
same sense, as in the anecdote 
recorded in Dean Ramsay's 
" Reminiscences " of Lord Her- 
mand, who, about to pass sen- 
tence on a woman, began re- 
. monstratively, " Honest woman, 
what garred ye steal your neigh- 
bour's tub ? " 

Lug, the ear, a handle ; also to 
pull, to drag or haul. Luggie, 
a small wooden dish with 
handles. Luggie, the horned 
owl, so called from the length 
of its ears. 

His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, 
Showed he was nane o' Scotland's dogs. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Up they got and shook their lugs. 
Rejoiced they were na men but dogs. 
— Idem. 
How would his Highland lug been nobler 

— His matchless hand with finer touch 

— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

Lug, to pull by the ear, or 
otherwise to haul a load, is still 
current in English ; but lug, the 
ear, is obsolete, except in the 
Northern Counties, though com- 
mon in English literature in the 
Elizabethan era. Two deriva- 
tions have been suggested for 
the word in its two divergences. 
The Gaelic lag, genitive luig, 
signifies a cavity, whence it is 
supposed that lug signifies the 
cavity of the ear. Coles, how- 
ever, renders lug by the Latin, 
" auris lobus, auricula infinia," 
not the interior cavity, but the 
exterior substance of the ear. 
The derivation of lug, to pull, 
to drag a load, seems to be from 
another source altogether ; from 
the Gaelic luchd — the English 
for a load, a burden, or a ship's 
cargo, and for lugger, a kind of 
barge used for the transference 
of the cargo from the hold of a 
larger vessel. In this case the 
meaning is transferred from the 

Lum — Machless, 


load itself to the action of mov- 
ing it. 

Lum, the chimney, the vent by 
which the smoke escapes from 
the fireplace. The word is used 
in the north of England as well 
as in Scotland. The etymology 
is uncertain. The Kymric has 
Uumon, a beacon, a chimney ; 
the Irish Gaelic has luaimh, 
swift; and the Scottish Gaelic 
luath {lua), swift ; and ceum, 
aspirated into cheum or heum, a 
way, a passage, whence lua-heum, 
the swift passage by which the 
smoke is carried off. 

The most probable derivation 
is from the Gaelic laom, a 
blaze ; whence, by extension of 
meaning, the place of the blaze 
or fire. 

Lunt, the smoke of tobacco, to 
emit smoke ; from the Flemish 
lord, a lighted wick. 

The luntin pipe. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Lurder, an awkward, lazy, or 
worthless person ; from the 
French lourd, heavy ; lourdaud, 
a heavy and stupid man. 

Let alane males many a lurder (neglect 
makes many a one worthless). — Dean 

Lyart, grey ; from the Gaelic liaih 
(Ha), which has the same mean- 

His fyari haffets [locks of thin grey hair]. 
— Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Twa had manteels o' doleful black, 
But ane in lyari hung. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Lume, a tool, a spinning-machine, 
a loom. 

Lunch, a piece, a slice, whence 
the modern English lunch, a 
slight meal in the middle of the 

Cheese and bread frae women's laps 
Was dealt about in lunches 
And dawds that day. 

—Burns: The Holy Fair. 

Lyke-wake, the ceremonial of 
the watching over a dead body. 
Lyke is from the German leichc, 
the Dutch and Flemish UjTc, a 

She has cut off her yellow locks 

A little aboon her e'e. 
And she's awa' to Willie's lyke. 
As fast as gang could she. 

— 'Q\:cHX^'s Ballads : Willies 
Lyke- Wake. 


Machless, lazy, sluggish, indolent. 
Jamieson derives this word from 
the Teutonic macht, power, 
strength, might ; whence macht- 
los, without might or strength ; 
but the Scottish word is with- 

out the t, which somewhat de- 
tracts from the probability of 
the etymology. The Gaelic has 
macleisg, a lazy, indolent person, 
literally a "son of laziness," 
which is a nearer, approach to 


Mad as a Hatter — Matgs. 

machless than machtlos. Machle 
is defined by Jamieson as signi- 
fying to busy one's self about 
nothing, which would seem to 
be an abbreviation of madeisg. 
He says that machless is gener- 
ally used in an unfavourable 
sense, as in the phrase, " get up, 
ye machless brute." This sup- 
ports the Gaelic etymology. 

Mad as a hatter. This is English 
as well as Scottish slang, to 
signify that a person is more or 
less deranged in his intellect. 
Why a hatter should be madder 
than a shoemaker, a tailor, or 
any other handicraftsman, has 
never been explained. The phrase 
most probably arises from a cor- 
ruption and misconception of the 
Gaelic word atadh, a swelling, 
aitearachd, swelling, blustering, 
foaming like a cataract in 
motion, or the assembling of 
a noisy crowd. Jamieson, un- 
aware of the Gaelic origin, de- 
fined the Scottish hatter as a 
numerous and irregular assem- 
blage of any kind, a hatter of 
stanes, or a confused heap of 
stones ; and hattering, as col- 
lecting in crowds. So that mad 
as a hatter merely signifies mad 
as a cataract or a crowd. In 
the old Langue Romane — the 
precursor of modern French — 
hativeau meant un fou, vn 
etourdi, a madman. 

Maggie-rab or Maggie-rob, an 
ancient popular term for a vio- 
lent, quarrelsome, and disagree- 
able woman. 

He's a very guid man, but I trow he's 
gotten a Maggie-rob d a wife. — ^Jamieson. 

This strange phrase, though 
now so apparently inexplicable, 
must originally have had a 
meaning, or it would never have 
acquired the currency of a pro- 
verb. If the word Maggie for 
Margaret be accepted as the 
generic name for a woman, like 
Jill in the nursery rhyme of 
"Jack and Jill went up the 
hill ; " or like Jenny in the old 
song of "Jock and Jenny;" 
and Roh or Rah be held to 
signify a man, the phrase may 
mean a virago, a woman with 
the behaviour and masculine 
manners of the other sex. 

The rah or roh in the phrase 
is susceptible of another inter- 
pretation. The Gaelic rah, or 
raba^h, means quarrelsome, liti- 
gious, violent, exasperating — 
while in the same language 
roh means dirty and slovenly. 
Either of these epithets would 
very aptly describe the kind of 
woman referred to in the ex- 
tract from Jamieson. 

But these are suggestions only 
for students of language, and 
are not offered as true deriva- 
tions for the guidance of the 
unlearned. Rahagas was the 
name recently given by a popu- 
lar French playwright to a very 
quarrelsome and litigious char- 

Maigs or mags, a ludicrous term 
for the hands, from the Gaelic 
mag or mog, a paw. 

Haud aff yer maigs, man ! — Jamieson. 

Mailin — Mare's Nest 


Mailin*, a farm-yard and farm- 
buildings ; a farm for which 
rent is paid — from tna^l, a tax. 
Gaelic mal, tax, tribute. 

A weel-stockit mailin , himself o't the laird, 
And marriage ofF-hand, were his proflFers. 
— Burns : Last May a Braw Wooer. 

Quoth she, my grandsire left me gowd, 
A mailin plenished fairly. 

—Burns : The Soldiers Return. 

M airly, rather more. 

Argyle has raised a hundred men, 
A hundred men and mairly, 

And he's awa by the back o' Dunkeld, 
To plunder the house o' Airly. 

The lady look't o'er her window sae hie. 
She lookit lang and sairly, 

Till she espied the great Argyle 
Cam' to plunder the house o' Airly. 
— The House of A irly. 

Maks na, or it maks na, it does 
not signify, it does not matter. 

Away his wretched spirit flew, 
It maks na where. 
— Allan Ramsay : The Last Speech of a 
Wretched Miser. 

Tho' daft or wise, I'll ne'er demand, 
Or black or fair, it maks na whether. 
— Allan Ramsay : Gie me a Lass ivi a 
Lump d Land. 

Malison, a curse. The twin word, 
benison, a blessing, has been 
admitted into English dic- 
tionaries, but malison is still 
excluded ; although it was a 
correct and recognised English 
word in the time of Langland, 
the author of Piers Ploughman, 
and Chaucer. 

Thus they serve Sathanas, 
Marchands of malisons. 
— Langland : Piers Ploughman. 

And all-Hallowes, have ye. Sir Chanone, 
Said this priest, and I her malison. 

—Chaucer : The Chanones 
Vemanne's Tale. 
I've won my mother's malison, 
Coming this night to thee. 

— Border Minstrelsy. 

That is a cuckold's malison, 
John Anderson, my joe. 

— John Anderson, old version. 

Mansweir, to commit perjury. 
This word is almost peculiar to 
Scotland, though Halliwell has 
mainsworn, perjured, long obso- 
lete, but once used in England. 
The first syllable can have no 
relation to man, homo. The 
Flemish meineed, and the Ger- 
man meineid, signify perjury, 
and one who perjures himself 
is a meineidiger. The Scottish 
word seems to be derived from 
the Gaelic mionn, an oath, and 
suarach, worthless, valueless, 
mean, of no account — whence 
mionn suarach, corrupted into 
man sweir, signifying a valueless 
or false oath. Jamieson thinks 
it comes from the Anglo-Saxon 
man, perverse, mischievous, and 
swerian, to swear ; a derivation 
which, as regards the syllable 
man, he would have scarcely 
hazarded if he had been aware 
of the Gaelic mionn, or of the 
German meineid. 

Mare's Nest. This originally 
Scottish phrase is no longer 
peculiar to Scotland, but has 
become part of the copious 
vocabulary of English slang. 
Hotten's Slang Dictionary de- 
fines it to mean "a supposed 


Mark and Burn — Marrow. 

discovery of marvels, which 
turn out to be no marvels at 
all." The compiler accounts 
for the expression by an anec- 
dote of " three cockneys, who, 
out ruralising, determined to 
find out something about nests. 
Ultimately, when they came 
upon a dung-heap, they judged 
by the signs that it must be a 
mare's nest, especially as they 
could see the mare close by." 
This ridiculous story has hitherto 
passed muster. The words are 
a corruption of the Gaelic mear- 
achd, an error, and nathaist (th 
silent), a fool, whence a fool's 
error, i.e., mare's nest. Some 
Gaelic scholars are of opinion 
that the word is compounded 
of mearachd, an error, and sna- 
saichte, or snasta, reduced into 
order or system, i.e., systematic 

Mark and burn. To say of a 

thing that it is lost, mark and 
hum signifies that it is totally 
lost, beyond trace and recogni- 
tion; not that it is marked or 
burned in the sense of the 
English words, but in the sense 
of the Gaelic marc, a horse — 
from whence march, a boundary 
traced by the perambulations 
at stated periods of men on 
horseback — and burn, a stream 
of running water, the natural, 
and often the common boundary, 
between contiguous estates and 
territories. March balk signifies 
the narrow ridge which some- 
times serves as the boundary 
between lands of different pro- 

prietors. Marche dyke, a wall 
separating one farm or estate 
from another. 

When one loses anything and finds it 
not again, he is said never to see mark nor 
burn of it. — Jamieson. 

Marmor, an ancient title of 
nobility equivalent to an earl ; 
from the Gaelic maor, an officer, 
chieftain, and mor, great. 

Lords of the Isles, and Thanes, and Jarls, 

Barons and Manners grim. 
With helm on head and glaive in hand, 

In rusty armour dim. 
Responsive to some powerful call. 

Gathered obedient one and all. 

— Legends of the Isles. 

Marrow, one of a pair, a mate, a 
companion, an equal, a sweet- 
heart — from the Gaelic mar, 
like, similar. This word is 
beautifully applied to a lover 
or wedded partner, as one whose 
mind is the exact counterpart 
of that of the object of his 
affection. It appears in early 
English literature, but now sur- 
vives only in the poetry and 
daily speech of the Scottish and 
northern English people. 

One glove or shoe is marrow to an- 
other. — Lansdowne MS., quoted in Hal- 
liwell's Archaic Dictionary. 

And when we came to Clovenford, 
Then said my winsome marrow, 
Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside. 

And see the braes o' Yarrow. 
—Wordsworth : Yarrow Unvisited. 
Thou took our sister to be thy wife, 
But ne'er thought her thy marrow. 
— The Dowie Dens d Yarrow. 
Mons Meg and her marrow three vol- 
leys let flee. 
For love of the bonnets of bonnie 
Dundee.— Sir Walter Scott. 

Marschal — Maun, 


Meddle with your marrow (i.e., with 
your equa\).—ScoUzsk Proverb. 

Your e'en are no marrows (i.e., you 
squint).— Allan Ramsay. 

Marschal, a steward, an upper 
servant ; from the Gaelic maor, 
an officer, a superintendent, and 
sgctlag, a farm-servant, a serf, a 
hired labourer. 

Mart or mairt, cow-beef salted 
for winter provision. So called, 
says Jamieson, **from Martin- 
mas, the term at which beeves 
are usually killed for winter 
store." Perhaps the future edi- 
tors of Jamieson will take note 
that mart in Gaelic signifies a 
cow ; mart bainne, a milch cow ; 
and m^rt fheoU, beef ; and that 
consequently the word has no 
relation to the Martinmas fes- 
tival. In a note to '* Noctes 
Ambrosianse," Professor Ferrier 
says m^irt is an ox killed at 
Martinmas. Mart originally sig- 
nified a market, where kine and 
horned cattle were sold, as dis- 
tinguished from market, a horse 
fair ; from mare, a horse. 

Mashlum, mixed corn, or rye and 
oats with the bran. 

Twa mashlum bannocks (cakes). 

— Burns : Cry and Prayer. 

Mask, to infuse ; usually employed 
in connection with the tea-table. 
To mask the tea is, in Scottish 
phrase, to make the tea, by 
pouring the boiling water upon 
it. The word is from the Gaelic 
masg, to mix, to infuse. Jamie- 

son erroneously derives it from 
the Swedish mask^ a mash. 

Maughts, power. 

They had nae maughts for sic a toilsome 

The barefaced robbers had put off the 

mask — 
Among the herds that played a maughty 

—Ross's Helenore. 
She starts to foot, but has nae maughts 
to stand. — Idem. 

Th/^ word is from the Teutonic 
macfitl power, might, ability. 
The root seems to be the Gaelic 
maiih, powerful, able, strong, 
and maithich or maithaich, to 
make strong. 

Maukin, a hare ; from the Gaelic 
maigheach, and maoidheach, with 
the same meaning. 

God help the day when royal heads 
Are hunted like a maukin. 
— Burns : Our Thistles flourished 
Fresh and Fair. 

Mauks, maggots. 

I saw the cook carefully wi' the knife 
scrapin' out the mauks.— Noctes Am- 

Maun, must. This Scottish verb, 
like its English synonym, has 
no inflections, no past or future 
tense, and no infinitive. The pe- 
culiarity of the Scottish word is 
that it sometimes signifies rmy, 
and sometimes must, as in the 
line of D'Urfey's clumsy imita- 
tion of a Scottish song, " Within 
a Mile of Edinburgh Town " — 

I canna, maunna, winna buckle to (I 
cannot, may not [or must not], will 
not, be married). 


Mavis — Mellder. 

Perhaps the use of may as 
rwust, and vice versa, "was intro- 
duced into the Lowland Scotch 
by the Gaelic-speaking High- 
landers. Feud in Gaelic signi- 
fies may or can, and fheudar 
domh, " obligation or necessity 
is to me, or upon me," i.e., I 

Mavis, the singing thrush. This 
word, once common in English 
poetry, is now seldom employed. 
Spenser, in the following pas- 
sage from his " Epithalamium," 
seems to have considered the 
mavis and the thrush to be diffe- 
rent birds : — 

The thrush replies ; the mavis descant 

In Scottish poetry the word 
is of constant occurrence. 

In vain to me in glen or shaw 
The mavis and the lintwhite sing. 

— Burns. 

Oh, tell sweet Willie to come doun, 
And hear the mavis singing ; 

And see the birds on ilka bush, 
And green leaves round them hinging. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads, 

An eccentric divine discours- 
ing on a class of persons who 
were obnoxious to him, con- 
cluded with this singular perora- 
tion, " Ma freens, it is as impos- 
sible for a moderate to enter into 
the kingdom of heaven as for a 
soo (sow) to sit on the tap o' a 
thistle, and sing like a. mavis." — 
Rogers's Illustrations of Scottish 

Mawmet, an idol. This word is 
usually derived from Mahomet, 

but as Mahomet was not an idol, 
but asserted himself to be the 
prophet of the true God, it is 
possible that the philologists 
of an earlier day accepted the 
plausible etymology, without 
caring to inquire further. It 
is, nevertheless, worthy of con- 
sideration whether the word 
does not come from the Gaelic 
maoim, horror, terror, fright ; 
and maoimeadh, a state of terror 
or awe, such as devotees feel 
before an idol. 

Mawsie, a large, dirty, slovenly, 
unshapely woman ; a corruption 
and abbreviation of the Gaelic 
maosganach, a lump, a lumpish 

May, a lass, a maid, a young 

There was a May an' a weel-fared May 
Lived high up in yon glen. 

— Border Minstrelsy : Katharine 

Meggy Monyfeet, the popular 
name for the centipede. 

Mell, to be intimate with, to 
mingle or associate ; from the 
French meter, to mix. MeU also 
signifies a company, and melting 
an intermeddling. 

Mellder, the quantity of grain 
sent at one time to the miller 
to be ground. 

Ae market -day thou wast na sober ; 
That ilka mellder, wi' the miller, 
Thou sat as lang as thou hadst siller ; 
That every naig was ca'd a shoe on 
The smith and thee gat roarin' fou' on. 
—Burns : Tarn dShanter. 

Melvie — Merle. 


Melvie, to soil with meal, as the 
miller's clothes and hair are 
soiled from the flying dust of 
the mill. Erroneously explained 
in the glossaries to Burns as "to 
soil with mud" It is probably 
a corruption of mealy. 

Mealie was his sark, 

Mealie was his siller, 
Mealie was the kiss 

That I gat frae the miller. 

— Old Song. 

To tnelvie his braw claithing. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Mense, mind, good manners, dig- 
nity, decorum ; menseful, digni- 
fied ; mensefully, in a proper and 
respectable manner. From the 
Latin mens, whence mental. 

Auld Vandal, ye but show your little 

Just much about it wi' your scanty sense. 
— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 
I wat she was a sheep of sense, 
And could behave herself wi' mense ; 
I'll say't, she never brak a fence 

Thro' thievish greed. 
Our Bardie lanely keeps the spence 
Since Mailie's dead. 
—Burns : Poor Mailie's Elegy. 

To mense a board, is to do the 
honoui's of the table. 

She has a' the mense o the family. — 

Mensk, manly dignity ; menskful, 
manly, becoming, dignified ; 
mensJcly, worthily. Jamieson 
traces the word to the Icelandic 
menska, humanitas. 

Merg or mergh, marrow pith; 
from the Flemish. 

There was merg in his fingers and fire in 
his &y&.—Jock o' Amha'. 

And the mergh o' his shin-bane, 
Has run down on his spur leather whang. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Fray 

Merle, the blackbird. The Scot- 
tish, which is also the French, 
name for this delightful songster 
is far more poetical and distinc- 
tive than the prosaic " black- 
bird" of modern English — a 
name which might with as much 
propriety be applied to the rook, 
the crow, the raven, and the 
jackdaw. The merle is as much 
noted for his clear, beautiful 
notes, as for the tribute he 
levies upon the fruits of the 
summer and autumn — a tribute 
which he well deserves to obtain, 
and amply pays for by his music. 
The name of merle, in Gaelic 
meirle, signifies theft ; and meir- 
leach, a thief. In the same 
language meirneil, the English 
merlin, signifies a hawk or other 
predatory bird. As regards the 
merle, it must be confessed that 
he is, in the matter of currants 
and strawberries, deserving of 
his name. The depredations of 
the merie have created several 
proverbial phrases in the French 
language, such as — C'est un fin 
merle, applied to a clever and 
unscrupulous man ; un beau 
merle, a specious false pretender. 
The French call the hen-black- 
bird a merlette. The word merle 
was good English in the days 
of Chaucer, and considerably 

Where the sweet tnerle and warbling mavis 
be.— Drayton. 


Merry Scotland — Midden. 

Merry Scotland. The epithet 
"merry" was applied to Eng- 
land as well as to Scotland, and 
was a common mode of address 
to a company or multitude of 
soldiers, hunters, or boon com- 

Old King Cole was a merry old soul, 

And a -merry old soul was he, 
And he called for his pipe, and he called 
for his bowl, 

And he called for his fiddlers three. 

Of all the girls in merry Scotland, 
There's none to compare to Marjorie. 
—Old King Cole. 

Few words have puzzled 
philologists more completely 
than mirth and merry. Johnson 
suggested no etymology ; Skin- 
ner derived merry from the 
German mehren, to magnify ; 
and Junius from the Greek 
fjLvpi^Tjiv, to anoint, because the 
Greeks anointed themselves 
with oil when they made merry 
in their public games ! The 
word has no root in any of the 
Teutonic languages, German, 
Dutch, Flemish, Danish, or 
Swedish; and cannot be traced to 
either French, Latin, Italian, or 
Spanish. The Gaelic yields mir, 
sport ; mireach, festive, sportive ; 
mear, cheerful, joyous. It thus 
appears on the evidence of 
etymology that the pleasant 
epithet for these islands was 
given by the Celtic inhabitants, 
and not by the Saxon and other 
Teutonic invaders, though it was 
afterwards adopted by them. 

Messan, or messin, a cur, a lap- 
dog, a pet dog. 

But tho' he was o' high degree. 
The fient o' pride, nae pride had he, 
But wad hae spent an hour caressin' 
E'en wi' a tinker gipsy's messan. 

— Burns : Tke Twa Dogs. 

The glossaries to Burns, judg- 
ing from the context, and the 
gipsy, imagine messin to mean 
a mongrel, a dog of mixed 
breeds. Jamieson says it is a 
small dog, a country cur, so 
called from Messina, in Sicily, 
whence this species was brought ; 
or from the French maison, a 
house, because such dogs were 
kept in the house ! The word, 
however, is the Gaelic measan, 
a pet dog, a lap-dog; from 
meas, fancy, kindness, regard. 

We hounds slew the hare, quoth the 
blind messan. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Mess John, the old epithet in 
Scottish ballad poetry for a 
priest, derived from the celebra- 
tion of the mass, so that Mess 
John signified in irreverent 
phrase, John, who celebrated 
the mass. The English has the 
kindred phrase, Jack Priest. 

The auld folk soon gied their consent. 
Syne for Mess John they quickly sent, 

Wha ty'd them to their heart's content, 
And now she's Lady Gowrie. 

— The Lass o' Gowrie. 

Midden or midden hole, the dung- 
hill or dungpit, a receptacle for 
the refuse, filth, and manure of 
a farm, situated in the centre 
of the farmyard, an arrange- 
ment not yet wholly super- 
seded : — 

Mint — Mint. 


Ye glowered at the moon, and fell in the 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The tither's something dour o' treadin', 

But better stuff ne'er claw'd a midden. 

—Burns : Elegy on the Year 1788. 

The word is still used in the 
Northern counties of England, 
and was derived by Ray from 
mud. The true derivation is 
from the Gaelic meadhon, the 
centre, the middle, or midst. 

Therein lay three and thirty sows, 
Trundlin' in a midden 
Of draff. 
—Peblis to the Play. 

Mlm, meek, modest, prudish, 
prim, reticent, affected and 
shy of speech; applied only to 
young women, or contemptu- 
ously to effeminate young men. 
This word is usually derived 
from the English mum, which 
means silent or speechless. The 
Scottish mim means mealy 
mouthed, only speaking when 
spoken to, over-discreet^in con- 
versation, assertion, or reply : — 

See ! up he's got the Word o' God, 
And meek and mim he's view'd it. 
—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Maidens should be mim. till they're 
married. — Allan Ramsay. 

Some w/w-mou'd pouther'd priestie, 
Fu' lifted up wi' Hebrew lore, 
And hands upon his breastie. 

—Burns : To Willie Chalmers. 

Mim, as distinguished from 
mum, is an evident rendering of 
the Gaelic min, soft, delicate, 
smooth, mild, meek ; min hheUl- 
ach is from min and bevX, a 
mouth, the same as the Scottish 

mim-mouthed, used by Burns ; 
min-hhriathar, a soft word or 
expression, from min and h-ia- 
thar, a word. Mim is provincial 
and colloquial in England. 

First go the ladies, mim, mim, mim. 
Next come the gentlemen, prim, prim, 
Then comes the country clown. 
Gallop a-trot, trot, trot. 
— Nursery Rhymes 0/ England. 

Minikin, very small, applied in 
derision to a little affected per- 
son of either sex ; derived pos- 
sibly from the Gaelic min, small ; 
or from the Flemish mannikin, a 
little man. 

Minnie, a term of endearment for 
a mother. 

My daddie looks glum, and my minnie 

looks sour, 
They flyte me wi' Jamie because he is 

poor. — Logie d Buchan. 

From the Flemish min, love, 
and the Gaelic min, sweet, soft, 
pleasant, kind, musical ; also 
little, used as a term of endear- 

Mint, to attempt, to try, to essay, 
to aim at. The resemblance in 
the idea of the Scottish mint, 
to attest, to try, to essay, and 
the Mint, where the precious 
metals are essayed, or tried as 
to their purity before they are 
coined into money, is curious, 
especially when it is remembered 
that the Mint was formerly and 
is still sometimes called the 
Assay Office. The English word 
Mint, for the Assay Office, is 


Mird — Missie, 

usually traced to the German 
miinze, the Dutch munte, the 
Latin moneta, money. The ety- 
mology of the Scottish mint, 
to essay, or try, is unknown ; 
though it is possibly to be 
found in the Allemanische or 
German patois meinta, to intend, 
to mean to do a thing. 

Mintin's nae makin'.— Allan Ramsay's 
Scois Proverbs. 

A man may mint and no' hit the mark. 
—Allan Ramsay. 

Mird, to ogle, to leer, to make 
amorous signs and advances to 
a woman. 

Donald was smerkit wi' mirds and 
jnockery. — James Hogg: Donald Mac- 

Mird wi' your makes (equals). — Jamie- 

Mirk, dark. Of uncertain ety- 
mology, but probably derivable 
from the Gaelic murcach, sad, 
sorrowful, gloomy. 

A man's mind is s^mirk mirror. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Oh mirk ! tnirk ! is the midnight hour. 
And loud the tempest's roar. 

— Burns : Lord Gregory. 

'Twixt the gloaming and the mirk, 
When the kye come hame. 

— James Hogg. 

Mirklins, the gloaming, inclining 
to be mirk or dark. 

Mischant, a worthless person; 
fromthe French mecAaw^, wicked. 

Mischanter, a euphonistic name 

for the devil, synonymous with 

• the English " old mischief," 

sometimes applied to the same 
personage. It is probable that 
miscTiantcr, as applied to the 
devil, means the mischief -maker, 
or doer of mischief or wicked- 

Mishanter, misfortune, which is 
not of the same etymology as 
mischanter, is probably a cor- 
rupt abbreviation of misadven- 

Gin Rab Roy hae heard o' this lady's 
mishanter, he wadna be lang o' clearin' 
the house — Lord Lovat an' a', and letting 
her gang hame.— Macleay's Memoirs of 
the Clan MacGregor. 

Misleard, unmannerly, rude, mis- 
chievous, ill-conditioned. 

Lord Lovat's sae misleard a chap that 
gin he ken't we were kind to her, he wad 
mak' whangs o' our hides to mend his 
Highland brogues wi'. — Macleay's Me- 
ntoirs of the Clan MacGregor. 

Missie, a fondling term for a very 
young girl. The English word 
miss, of which, at first sight, 
wiWe would seem to be an affec- 
tionate diminutive, is of very 
uncertain derivation. It is com- 
monly supposed to be the first 
syllable of mistress, the French 
maitresse (the feminine of maitre). 
Miss and Missie are peculiar to 
Scotch and English, and are un- 
known in any of the Teutonic 
and Komance languages. The 
Teutonic languages use the word 
jungfrau, and fraiilein ; the 
French use demoiselle, or made- 
moiselle ; the Italians signorina ; 
and the Spanish senorita. Per- 
haps the graceful miss and missie 

Mister — Moop and MelL 


in Scotch and English are from 
the Gaelic maise, beauty, grace, 
comeliness, or maiseach, pretty, 
beautiful, elegant. These are 
more appropriate as the desig- 
nation of a young unmarried 
lady than mistress would be, 
implying, as that word does, a 
sense of command and mastery. 

Mister, want, need, great poverty ; 
misterful, necessitous. 

Unken'd and misterful in the deserts of 
— Gawin Douglas : Translation 
of the /Rneid. 

Misterfu folk should nae be mensfu'. 
(Needy people should not be too parti- 
cular). — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The original phrase of misterfu' 
beggars, or needy beggars, was 
afterwards corrupted into mas- 
terful beggars, i.e., arrogant or 
sturdy beggars, as they are 
called in an edict of James VI., 
'* the whole class of maisterfull 
andydiUbeggaris, sornaris (sor- 
ners), fulis (fools), and bardis 
(wandering minstrels or ballad- 
singers)." It is diflScult to ac- 
count for mister and misterful, 
rmless they be derived from the 
Scottish Gaelic misde, the Irish 
Gaelic miste, the comparative of 
olc, bad or evil. Mistear and 
mistire signify a sly, cunning, 
and mean person, as well as a 
needy beggar. The corruption 
to masterful in the sense of arro- 
gant is easily accounted for. 

Mool, to have carnal intercourse ; 
sometimes corrupted into moio 
or mowe. 

An' there'll be Alaster Sibbie 
That in wi' black Bessie did mool, 
Wi' snivellin' Lillie an' Tibbie 
The lass that sits aft on the stool, 
(the cutty stool, q. v.) 
— The Blythesome Bridal. 

Jamieson's Dictionary con- 
tains neither m/)ol nor mowe, in 
the sense in which they are used 
in the too libidinous vernacular ; 
but has mool, to crumble, and 
mowe or m/}w, dust or mould. 

Moolins, refuse, grains of corn, 
husks, or chaff ; sometimes 
crumbs of bread ; from the 
Gaelic muiUean, a husk or par- 
ticle of chaff or grain ; the waste 
of the meal at the miller's. 

The pawky wee sparrow will peck aff your 

The bauld little Robin hops in at your 

But the heaven-soaring lark 'mang the 

cauld drift will dee, 
Afore he'll come cowerin' your moolins to 


—James Ballantine : Winter 

Mools, from mould — earth, the 

And Jeanie died. She had not lain i' the 

Three days ere Donald laid aside his tools, 
And closed his forge, and took his passage 


But long ere forty days had run their 

Donald was back upon Canadian ground — 
Donald the tender heart, the rough, the 

With earth and gowans for his true love's 

grave. — All the Year Round. 

Moop and mell, to feed together ; 
meil, to associate with; from 


Morn — Mowes. 

the French meler, to mingle. 
Halliwell's Archaic Dictionary- 
contains mouch — said to be a 
Lincolnshire word, signifying to 
eat greedily. 

The auld West Bow sae steep and crookit, 
Where bawbee pies wee callants vtoopit. 
— James Ballantine. 

But aye keep mind to inoop and mell 
Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel. 

— Burns : Poor Mailie. 

Guid ale bauds me bare and busy, 
Gars me inoop wi' the servant hizzie ; 
Stand i' the stool when I hae done ; 
Guid ale keeps my heart abune. 

— Burns : Good Ale Comes. 

Moop does not mean to keep company 
with (mell does, meddle with, have to do 
with), inoop really means to eat, or rather 
to nibble, and, if I mistake not, is an old 
English word, — the present form of the 
word is mump. — R. Drennan. 

Mom. The Scotch make a dis- 
tinction between the morn, which 
means to-morrow, and morn 
(without the article), which 
means morning — thus, *' the 
morn's morn" is to-morrow 

Mother-naked, stark-naked , 
utterly naked ; as naked as the 
new-born babe at the moment 
of birth. This word, though a 
compound of two English ones, 
has never been admitted into 
modern English dictionaries, 
and does not even appear in 
Nares, Halliwell, or Wright. If 
it were ever English, there re- 
main no traces of it either in 
literature or in the common 
speech of the people. It is still 
current in the Scottish vernacu- 
lar, and in poetical composition. 

They'll shape me in your arms, Janet, 

A dove, but and a swan, 
At last they'll shape me in your arms 

A mother-naked man. 
Cast your green mantle over me, 

I'll be myself again. 

— Ballad of the Young Tamlane, 

Readers of the "Arabian 
Nights' Entertainments " will 
remember the counterpart of 
the story of Young Tamlane, in 
that marvellous compilation of 
Eastern romance. 

Mouter, fee paid to the miller for 
grinding corn ; old English, tnul- 
ture ; French, movdre, to grind. 

It's good to be merry and wise, 
Said the miller when he moutered iy>'\ct. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Prot>erbs. 

The quaker's wife sat down to bake 
Wi' a' her bairns about her, 

Ilk ane gat a quarter cake 
And the miller gat his mouter. 

— Chambers's Old Song. 

Mowes, jesting, mockery, grim- 
aces ; to make mowes, to make 

Affront your friend in mowes and tine 
him in earnest. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

It has been supposed that 
mowes, which in this sense 
is only used in the plural, is 
derived from mmC, a Scottish 
abbreviation of mouth. It 
would seem so at first blush ; 
but as the French have *' faire 
la moue," "grimace faite par 
mecontentement, en allongeant 
les levres," and as moue in that 
language does not signify a 
mouth, it is probable that the 
source of mowes is to be sought 

Muckle — Muslin-kail. 


in the French and not in the 
Teutonic. Possibly both the 
Scottish mowe and the French 
moue have a common origin in 
the Celtic and Gaelic muig, a 
discontented look, an ill-natured 
frown. In English slang, mug 
signifies the face; and "ugly 
itiug'''^ is a common expression 
for an ugly face. 

Muckle, mickle, meikle, great, 
large, big ; muclde-mou' d, big- 
mouthed, wide-mouthed, clam- 
orous, vociferous ; Muchle-mou'd 
Meg, a name given to a cannon 
of large calibre. This word is 
akin to the English much, the 
Spanish mucho, the Greek mega 
and megala, and the Latin mag- 
nus — all implying the sense of 
greatness. The Gaelic has meud, 
[in which the final d is often 
pronounced ch], bulk, great size ; 
and meudaich, to magnify. 

Every little helps to mak a Tnuckle. 
— Scots Proverb. 

Far hae I travelled, 
And muckle hae I seen. 

But buttons upon blankets 
Saw I never nane. 
— Onr Gudetnan cam Haine at E'en. 

Mull, a snuff or tobacco-box, as 
used in the Highlands. The 
Lowland Scotch sometimes call 
a snuff-box "a sneeshin mill,'' 
mill being a corruption of mull ; 
from the Gaelic mala, a bag, 
the French malle, a trunk or 

The luntin' pipe and sneeshin mill 
Are handed round wi' right guidwill. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Jamieson says, with a non- 
comprehension of the origin of 
the word mill and its connection 
with mull, that the snuff-box 
was formerly used in the country 
as a mill for grinding the dried 
tobacco leaves 1 If so, the box 
must have contained some ma- 
chinery for the purpose. But 
neither Jamieson, nor anybody 
else, ever saw a contrivance of 
that kind in a snuff-box. 

MurguUie, to spoil, to mangle, to 
lacerate, to deform. Sometimes 
written margulye. 

He wadna murgullie the howlet on the 
moudiewort either. — Macleav's Metnoirs 
of the Clan MacGregor. 

Muslin-kail, an epithet applied 
by Burns to a purely vegetable 
soup, without animal ingredients 
of any kind, and compounded 
of barley, greens, onions, &c. 

I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, 
Be 't water-brose or muslin-kail, 

Wi' cheerfu' face. 
As lang's the Muses dinna fail 

To say the grace. 

— Epistle to James Smith. 

It has been supposed that the 
word muslin was applied to it 
on account of its thinness. The 
French call it soupe maigre ; but 
as muslin was only introduced 
-to Europe from Mosul in India 
in 1670, and vegetable broth 
was known for countless ages 
before that time in every part 
of the world, it is possible that 
muslin is an erroneous phonetic 
rendering of meslin, or mashlum. 
Both meslin and mashlum ap- 


Mutch — Mutchkin . 

pear in Jamieson, who translates 
the former as " mixed corn," 
and the latter as " a mixture of 
edibles," but gives no etymology 
for either. Me&s is a word that, 
with slight variations, appears 
in almost every language of 
Europe, and which, in its Eng- 
lish form, is derived by nearly all 
philologists from mensa, a table. 
But that this is an error will 
appear on a little examination, 
for mess originally signified, in 
nearly every instance in which 
it was used, a dish of vegetables. 
The old translation of the Bible 
speaks of a mess of pottage, a 
purely vegetable compound. 
Milton speaks of 

Herbs and other country messes, 
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses. 

The Dutch and Flemish moes 
signifies a dish of herbs, or 
herbs reduced to what the 
French call a pur6e ; the Ameri- 
cans call oatmeal porridge, or 
any compound of mashed grain, 
a mush. The Gaelic 7neas signi- 
fies fruit or vegetables, and this, 
combined with the word Ian, 
full, is doubtless the true root 
of meslin or masldum, rendered 
muslin by Burns's printers. It 
may be observed that mash, to 
render into a pulp or puree, is 
exclusively used for vegetables, 
as mashed potatoes, mashed tur- 
nips, &c. , and that hash or mince 
is the word employed by cooks 

for the reduction of beef, mut- 
ton, and other flesh of animals 
into smaller portions or particles. 
Muslin-kail seems to be peculiar 
to Burns. 

Mutch, a woman's cap or bonnet ; 
from the Flemish muts, the 
German miitzen, which have 
the same meaning. 

Their toys and mutches were sae clean, 
They glancit in our ladies' e'en. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

A' dressed out in aprons clean. 

And braw white Sunday mutches. 
— Sir Alexander Boswell : Jenny 
Dang the Weaver. 

Mutchkin, a pint ; from the 
Flemish mudde, a hectolitre, a 
large quart ; or muid, a quart. 
An English traveller, who prided 
himself on his knowledge of the 
Scotch language, called at an 
inn in Glasgow for a mutchkin 
of whisky, under the idea that 
mutchkin signified a gill, or a 
small glass. "Mutchkin?" in- 
quired the waiter, "and a' to 
yoursel' ? " '* Yes, a mutchkin / " 
said the Englishman. " I trow 
ye'll be gey an' fou," said the 
waiter, "an' ye drink it." "Never 
you mind," said the English- 
man, "bring it." And it was 
brought. Great thereanent was 
the Englishman's surprise. He 
drank no more than a gill of it ; 
but he added meanwhile a new 
Scottish word to his vocabu- 

Nae-thing — Neb. 



Nae-thing. The English language, 
or at least the rhymers who 
write English, have lost many- 
rhymes by not being able to 
make nothing do duty for no- 
thing ; whence they might have 
claimed it as a rhyme for slow- 
thing, low-thing, and many others 
too obvious to be specified. The 
Scottish language, in preserving 
nae-thing, has emphasised the 
etymology of the word. It is 
impossible to find a rhyme for 
the English nothing, but for the 
Scottish nae - thing Burns has 
found that there are many ; 
among others, ae-thing, claithing, 
graiihing, gaything, plaything, &c. 

Napery, table-linen ; from the 
French nappe, a tablecloth, or the 
English napkin, a little cloth. 

I thought a beetle or bittle had been the 
thing that the women have when they are 
washing towels and napery — things for 
dadding them with. — Dean Ramsay : The 
Diamond Beetle Case. 

Nappy. This word was used by 
a few English writers in the 
eighteenth century, but was 
never so common in England as 
it was in Scotland. It always 
signified strong drink, parti- 
cularly ale or beer, and not wine 
or spirits. 

Two bottles of as nappy liquor 
As ever reamed in horn or bicker. 
—Allan Ramsay. 

Care, mad to see a man sae happy, ' 
E'en drowned himsel' among the nappy. 
Burns : Tarn 0' Shanter. 
With nappy beer, I to the barn repaired. 
— Gay's Fables. 

The word is rendered in 
French by " capiteux, qui monte 
h, la tete " — that is to say, heady. 
It seems derivable from the 
English slang nob, the head, as 
in the pugilistic phrase, "One 
for his W06," "One (blow) for 
his head;" whence also the 
familiar nopper, the head. The 
original word was the German 
Jcnob, a round lump, or ball, in 
allusion to the shape ; whence 
knobby, rounded or lumpy. Nap- 
pie, in the sense of strong drink 
that mounts to the head, be- 
comes, by extension of meaning, 
strong and vigorous ; " a nappie 
callant" is a strong, vigorous 
youth, with a good head on his 

Nappy. — Bailey's definition of this word 
in his English Dictionary is " Nappy-ale, 
such as will cause persons to take or knap 
pleasant and strong ale."— R. Drennan. 

Neb, the nose. Flemish sneb 
(with the elision of the s), the 
nose, the beak ; a point, as the 
neb or nib of a pen. 

She holds up the neb to him, 
And arms her with the boldness of a wife. 
— Shakspeare : Winters Tale. 
Turn your neb northwards, and settle for 
awhile at St. Andrews. 

—Scott : Fortunes of Nigel, 


Neep — Nicky Auld Nicky Nickie-Ben. 

Neep, a turnip ; from the French 

A late Lord Justice-Clerk of the Court 
of Session, who was fond of sport, was 
shooting pheasants in a field of turnips, 
when the farmer, whose consent had not 
been asked, and who looked upon the 
sportsman as an illegal trespasser, rushed 
out of his house in a towering passion, 
and called out in a loud voice, "Come 
oot o' that you, sir! come oot o' that im- 
mediately." The Lord Justice-Clerk, un- 
accustomed to this style of address, con- 
fronted the angry man, and asked him if 
he knew to whom he was speaking? " I 
dinna ken, and I dinna care ; ye'se come 
oot o' that, or I'll mak it the waur for 
ye." " I'm the Lord Justice-Clerk," said 
the legal dignitary, thinking to over- 
awe the irate agriculturist. " I dinna 
care whose clerk ye are, but ye'se come 
oot o' my neej>s." How the altercation 
ended is not on record, though it is believed 
that his lordship left the field quietly, 
after enlightening the farmer as to his 
high status and position, and cooling his 
wrath by submission to an authority not to 
be successfully contested, without greater 
trouble than the contest was worth. — Scot- 
tish Wit and Humour. 

Neuk, a corner ; English a nook, 
a small corner. Both words are 
derived from the Gaelic uig, a 
corner, which, with the in- 
definite article an before it, was 
corrupted from an ook, or an 
uig, into a neuTc, or a nook. The 
Flemish uig and hoek, and the 
German eck, a corner, are trace- 
able to the same Celtic root. 

The deil sits girnin' in the neuk, 
Rivin' sticks to roast the Deuk. 
— Jacobite Ballad on the Victory of the 
Duke of Cumberland at Culloden. 

Nevermas, the time that never 
comes. This word, equivalent 
to the "Greek kalends," is 

formed after the model of Mar- 
tinmas, Michaelmas, and Christ- 
mas. It does not occur in 
Jamieson. It is found in Arm- 
strong's Gaelic Dictionary as 
the translation of lA buain na 
lin, the "day of the cutting of 
the flax," which has in the 
Highlands the meaning of 
"never," or "at no time," or 
"at a very uncertain time." 

Nicher, to neigh, to snort ; French, 
nennir, sometimes written hen- 
nir; Flemish, nenniker, or nin- 

Little may an auld nag do that maunna 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Nick, Auld Nick, Nickie-Ben. 

All these names are used in 
Scotland to signify the devil ; 
the third is peculiar to Scotland, 
and finds no place in English 

But fare-you-weel, auld Nickie-Ben! 
Oh, wad ye tak a thought an' men', 
Ye aiblins might, I dinna ken, 

Still hae a stake ! 
I'm wae to think upon yon den, 

Even for your sake ! 
— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Why Nick came to signify 
Satan in the British Isles has 
never been satisfactorily ex- 
plained. Butler in Hudihras 
supposes that he was so called 
after Nicholas Macchiavelli. 

Nick Macchiavel had no such trick. 
Though he gave name to our Old Nick. 

But the name was in use many 
ages before Macchiavelli was 
born ; and the passage must. 

Nidder^ Nither — Nieve. 


therefore, be considered as a 
joke, rather than as a philolo- 
gical assertion. It is remark- 
able, too, that Nick and Old 
NicJc, whatever be the deriva- 
tion, is a phrase unknown to 
any nation of Europe except 
our own. The derivation from 
Nicholas is clearly untenable; 
that from Nikkr, a water- sprite 
or goblin, in the Scandinavian 
mythology, is equally so ; for 
the Old Nick of British super- 
stition is reputed to have more 
to do with fire than water, and 
has no attributes in common 
with Satan, the prince of the 
powers of evil. To derive the 
word from niger, or nigger, black, 
because the devil is reputed to 
be black, is but perverted ingenu- 
ity. All the epithets showered 
upon the devil by Burns, 

Oh thou, whatever title suit thee, 
Auld Satan, Hornie, Nick, or Clootie, 

are, with the exception of Satan, 
titles of irreverence, familiarity, 
and jocosity ; Hornie, from the 
horns he is supposed to wear on 
his forehead, and Clootie, from 
his cloven hoofs, like those 
of a goat. It is probable that 
Nick and Old Nick are words 
of a similarly derisive char- 
acter, and that nick, which 
appears in the glossaries to 
Allan Ramsay and to Burns, as 
cheat or to cheat, is the true origin, 
and that Old Nick simply sig- 
nifies the Old Cheat. It may be 
mentioned, in connection with 
the idea of cheat or nick, that 
old gentleman is a name often 

given to Satan by people who 
object to the word devil, and 
that the same name is descrip- 
' tive, according to the Slang 
Dictionary, of a card almost 
imperceptibly longer than the 
other cards of the pack, used 
by card-sharpers for the purpose 
of cheating. To be out on the 
nick is, on the same authority, 
to be out thieving. The etymo- 
logy of nick in this sense is 
doubtful. Dr. Adolphus Wagner, 
the learned editor of the German 
edition of Burns, derives it from 
the Greek Ne/cw, and translates 
it " to bite or to cheat." In 
Wright's Dictionary of Obsolete 
and Provincial English, nick is 
** to deceive, to cheat, to deny'; 
also, to win at dice unfairly." 

Nidder, Nither, to lower, to de- 
press ; niddered, pinched with 
cold or hunger, with the vital 
energies depressed; also, stunted 
or lowered in growth. From 
the German nieder, low, or 
down ; the Flemish neder, Eng- 
lish nether, as in the Biblical 
phrase, "the upper and the 
nether millstone." Netherlands, 
the low countries; the French 
Pays Bas, 

Nithered by the norlan' breeze. 
The sweet wee flower aft dwines and 

— ^James Ballantine. 

Nieve, the fist, the closed hand ; 
nevel, to strike with the fist, a 
blow with the fist. From the 
Teutonic knuffen, to beat with 
the fist, to cuff, to fisticuff. 


Nieve — Noyt, 

Though here they scrape, and squeeze, 

and growl, 
Their worthless niex>e-fu o' a soul 
May in some future carcass howl 
The forest's fright. 
— Burns : Ejnstle to John Lapraik. 
Sir Alexander Ramsay of Fasque, show- 
ing a fine stot to a butcher, said, " I was 
offered twenty guineas for that beast." 
" Indeed, Fasque ! " said the butcher, " ye 
should hae steekit your nieve upon that." 
— Dean Ramsay. 

They partit manly with a nevel; 
God wat gif hair was ruggit 
Betwixt thame. 
— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 
He hasna as muckle sense as a cow could 
had in her nieve. — Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Mark the rustic, haggis-fed. 

The trembling earth resounds his tread, 

Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 

He'll mak' it whissle ; 
And legs and arms and heads will sned 

Like taps o' thrissle. 

—Burns : To a Haggis. 

Niflfer, to barter, to exchange. 
Probably, according to Jamie- 
son, from nieve, the fist or closed 
hand — to exchange an article 
that is in one hand for that 
which is in the other. This ety- 
mology is doubtful, although no 
better one has been suggested. 

Ye'll no be niffered but for a waur, and 
that's no possible. — Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Ye see your state wi' theirs compared, 

And shudder at the niffer; 
But, cast a moment's fair regard. 

What maks the mighty differ ? 

—Burns : To the Unco Guid. 

Nippit, miserly, mean, parsimoni- 
ous, near ; from ni'p, to pinch. 
The English 'pinch is often ap- 
plied in the same sense. 

Noo or the noo, at the present 
time, now. 

On one occasion a neighbour waited on 
a small laird in Lanarkshire, named Ham- 
ilton, and requested his signature to an 
accommodation bill for twenty pounds at 
three months' date, which led to the fol- 
lowing characteristic colloquy : — 

" Na ! na ! " said the laird, " I canna 
do that." 

" What for no, laird ? Ye hae done the 
same thing for others." 

" Aye, aye, Tammas ! but there's wheels 
within wheels that ye ken naething about. 
I canna do't." 

" It's a sma' thing to refuse me, laird." 

'' Weel, ye see, Tammas, if I was to pit 
my name till't, ye wad get the siller frae 
the bank, and when the time cam round,- 
ye wadna be ready, an' I wad hae to pay't. 
An' then me an' you wad quarrel. So we 
may just as weel quarrel the noo, an' I' 11 
keep the siller in my pouch."— Dean 

Nowte, homed cattle ; corrupted 
in English into neat. 

Mischief begins wi' needles and prins. 
And ends wi' horned nowte. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

Or by Madrid he takes the route, 
To thrum guitars and fecht wi' no^vte. 
—Burns: The Twa Dogs. 

Lord Seafield, who was ac- 
cused by his brother of accept- 
ing a bribe to vote for the union 
betwixt England and Scotland, 
endeavoured to retort upon him 
by calling him a cattle-dealer. 
" Ay, weel," replied his brother, 
•' better sell nmiote than nations." 

Noyt, noit, or nowt, to injure, to 
hurt, to beat, to strike ; from 
the French nuire, to injure. 

The miller was of manly mak, 
To meet him was na mowis, 

Nugget — Olyte. 


They durst not ten come him to tak, 
Sae noytit he their powis. 

—Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Nugget, a word scarcely known 
to the English until the dis- 
covery of gold in California and 
Australia, when it was intro- 
duced by the miners to sig- 
nify a large piece of the metal 
as distinguished from grains of 
gold dust. Many attempts have 
been made to trace its etymo- 
logy, only one of which has 
found a qualified acceptance — 
that which affirms it to be a 
corruption of ingot. This is 
plausible, but not entirely satis- 
factory. In some parts of Scot- 
land, the word for a luncheon, 
or a hasty repast taken at noon, 
is noggit — sometimes written 
Tcnockit — ^which means a piece. 
In other parts of Scotland the 
word used is piece, as, " Gie the 

bairn its piece," and the word 
lunch itself, from the Gaelic 
lonach, hungry, signifies the 
piece which is cut off a loaf or a 
cheese to satisfy the appetite 
during the interval that elapses 
. before the regular meal. 

When hungry thou stoodest, staring like 

an oaf, 
I sliced the luncheon from the barley loaf. 

All these examples tend to 
show that nugget simply means 
a lump or piece. In Kent, ac- 
cording to Wright's Archaic 
Dictionary, a lump of food is 
called a nuncheon. 

Nyse, to beat, to pommel, a word 
in use among the boys of the 
High School of Edinburgh ; 
from the Ga,elic naitheas{t silent), 
a mischief. *'I'll nyse you," 
" I'll do you a mischief." 


Ock, a diminutive particle ap- 
pended to Scottish words, and 
implying littleness combined 
with the idea of tenderness and 
affection, as in lass, lassoclc, 
wife, wifoch This termination 
is sometimes combined with ie, 
thus making a double diminu- 
tive, as lassockie, often spelled 
lassieJcie, and wifockie, toijiekie. 
Ock is probably derived from 
the Gaelic og, young. 

Olyte, diligent, industrious, active. 
According to Mr. Halliwell, this 

word appears in the Harleian 
MS., and is still used in some 
parts of England. Jamieson 
spells it olight and olite, and de- 
rives it from the Swedish offlaet^ 
"too light, fleet," but no such 
word is to be found in the 
Swedish dictionaries, nor in 
those of the other Teutonic lan- 
guages. Possibly the true origin 
of the word is the Gaelic oil, to 
rear, educate, instruct, and oilte, 
instructed, oilcan, instruction, 
good-breeding ; whence an olyte 
mother, in the proverb quoted 


Oo aye ! — Outlers. 

below, may signify a woman in- 
structed in the due performance 
of all her household duties, and 
performing them so zealously as 
to leave nothing for her daughter 
to do. Oileanta, more commonly 
written ealanta, signifies quick, 
nimble, active. 

An olyte mother makes a sweer daughter. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Oo aye ! An emphatic assertion 
of assent. The French out. 

Orra, all sorts of odds and ends, 
' occasional. 

Where Donald Caird fand orra things. 
— Scott. 

She's a weel-educate woman, and if she 
win to her English as I hae heard her do 
at orra times, she may come to fickle us a'. 
— Scott: The Antiquary. 

Orra, — now and then, unusual, not fre- 
quently met with, almost always associated 
with time. — R. Drennan. 

Orra man. A man employed to 
do odd jobs on a farm, that are 
not in the regular routine of 
the work of the other farm 

Oughtlins, pertaining to duty, 
or to that which ought to be 
done ; a word composed of 
ought, a debt owing to duty, 
honour and propriety, and lins 
(see AiBLiNS, Westlins, &c.), in- 
clining towards. 

If that daft buckie, Geordie Wales, 

Was grown oughtlins douser. 
— Burns : On Receiving a Newspaper, 

Ourie or oorie, cold, shivering. 
This word, peculiar to Scotland, 

is derived from the Gaelic fuar, 
cold, which, with the aspirate, 
becomes fhuar, and is pro- 
nounced uar. 

I thought me on the ourie cattle. 

—Burns : A Winter Night. 

The English hoar-frost, and 
the hoary (white, snowy) hair 
of old age, are traceable to the 
same etymological root. Jamie- 
son, however, derives oorie from 
the Icelandic wr, rain, and the 
Swedish ur, stormy weather, 
though the origin of both is to 
be found in the Gaelic uaire, 
bad weather or storm. 

Outthrough, entirely or com- 
pletely through. 

They dived in through the one burn bank, 
Sae did they outthrough the other. 

— Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Out-cast, a quarrel, to "cast-out," 
to quarrel. 

O dool to tell, 
They've had a bitter black cast-out 
Atween themsel. 
—Burns : The Tiva Herds. 

I didna ken they had casten-out. 

— Dean Ramsay. 

Outlers, cattle left out at night in 
the fields, -for want of byres or 
folds to shelter them. 

Amang the brackens on the brae, 

Between her an' the moon, 
The Deil or else an outler quey 

Gat up and gae a croon. 
Poor Lizzie's heart maist lap the hool — 

Near lav'rock height she jumpit, 
But miss'd a foot, and in the pool 

Out owre the lugs she plumpit. 

—Burns: Halloween. 

Outside of the Loof- — Ower-word. 


Outside of the Loof, the back 
of the hand. " The outside of 
my loof to ye," is a phrase that 
signifies a wish on the part of 
the person who uses it to reject 
the friendship or drop the ac- 
quaintance of the person to 
whom it is addressed. 

" If ye 'II no join the Free Kirk," said a 
■wealthy widow to her cousin, to whom 
she had often conveyed the hint that he 
might expect a handsome legacy at her 
death (a hint that never ripened into a 
fact), " ye'll hae the outside o my loof, and 
never see the inside o't again." — C. M. 

Outspeckle, a laughing - stock ; 
and IcenspecTde, to be easily re- 
cognised by some outer mark 
of singularity. These words 
have a common origin, and are 
derived either from speck, or 
speckle, a small mark or spot ; 
or from spectacle, corrupted into 
speckle ; but most probably from 
the former. 

" Wha drives thir kye," gan Willie to say, 
" To mak' an outspeckle o' me ! " 
— Border Ballads : Janiie Telfer. 

Outwittens, unknowingly, with- 
out the knowledge of. 

Outwittens of my daddie \i.e., my father 
not knowing it], — Jamieson. 

Overlay or owerlay, the burden 
or chorus of a song ; the refrain. 

And aye the owerlay o' his sang 
Was, wae's me for Prince Charlie. 
— Jacobite Ballad. 

The French refrain, recently 
adopted into English, is of 
Gaelic origin, from ramh or raf, 
an oar, and rann, a song ; a sea 
song or boat-song, formerly 

chanted to the motion of the 
oars by Celtic boatmen in Brit- 
tany and the Scottish High- 

Ower Bogie, a proverbial phrase 
used in regard to a marriage 
which has been celebrated by a 
magistrate, and not by a clergy- 
man. Synonymous in Aberdeen- 
shire with the English Gretna 
Green marriages, performed 
under similar conditions. The 
origin is unknown, though it is 
supposed that some accommo- 
dating magistrate, at some time 
or other, resided on the opposite 
side of the river Bogie from 
that of the town or village 
inhabited by the lovers who 
desired to be joined in the 
bonds of matrimony without 
subjecting themselves to the 
sometimes inconvenient inter- 
rogations of the kirk. Jamieson 
erroneously quotes the phrase 
as ovyre ioggie. 

I will awa wi' my love, 

I will awa' wi' her. 
Though a' my kin' had sorrow and said, 
I'll ower Bogie wi' her. 

— Allan R ams ay : Tea Table 

Owergang, to surpass, to exceed. 

You're straight and tall and handsome 
But your pride owergangs your wit. 
—Ballad of Proud Lady Margaret. 

Ower-word, a chorus or burden. 
A phrase often repeated in a 
song, the French bourdon, the 
English burthen of a song. 


Oxter — Pad. 

And aye the ower-word of his song 
Was, wae's me for Prince Charlie. 

— Glen : A Jacobite Song. 

The starling flew to the window stane, 

It whistled and it sang, 
And aye the ower-ivord o the tune 

Was "Johnnie tarries lang." 

— Johnnie of Breadislee. 

Oxter, the armpit and the space 
between the shoulder and the 
bosom ; sometimes it is used in- 
correctly for the lap ; and to em- 
brace, to encircle with the arms 
in fondness. From the Gaelic 
uchd, the breast or bosom; 
whence also the Latin uxor, a 
wife, i.e., the wife of one's 
bosom ; and uxorious, fondly at- 
tached to a wife"; uchd mhac, an 
adopted son, the son of one's 
bosom. Jamieson derives oxter 

from the Teutonic oxtel, but no 
such word is to be found in the 
German language. The Flemish 
and Dutch have oksel, a gusset, 
which Johnson defines as "an 
angular piece of cloth, inserted 
in a garment, particularly at 
the upper end of the sleeve of 
a shirt, or as a part of the neck." 
This word has a clear but re- 
mote connection with the Gaelic 

He did like ony mavis sing, 
And as I in his ojrter sat 
He ca'd me aye his bosome thing. 

—Allan Ramsay: Tea Table 

Here the phrase "sitting in 
his oxler " is equivalent to sitting 
folded in his arms, or clasped 
to his bosom. 

Pack, familiar, intimate, closely 

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, 
And xxnco pack and thick thegither, 
Wi' social nose whiles snufFd and howkit. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Pack is not only used as an 
adjective, but is common as a 
noun in colloquial English, as 
in the phrase, a jpach of rascals, 
and a pack of thieves. In this 
sense it is derivable from the 
Gaelicjpac orjpacca^troop,a mob. 

Pad, to travel, to ride. Often in 
Scotland when a lady is seen on 
horseback in the rural districts, 
the children of the villages fol- 

low her, crying out, *' Lady jjo^i / 
lady pad .! " Jamieson says that 
on pad is to travel on foot, that 
pad, the hoof, is a cant phrase, 
signifying to walk, and that the 
ground is paddit when it has 
been hardened by frequent pass- 
ing and repassing. He derives 
the word from the Latin pes, 
pedis, the foot. It seems, how- 
ever, to be more immediately 
derived from path; pad, to go 
on the path, whether on foot 
or on horseback; from the 
German pfad, the Flemish pad, 
and voet -pad, the foot - path. 
The English dictionaries erro- 
neously explain pad in the word 

Padda — Paik, 


f<jot-pad, a highway thief. But 
pad by itself is never used in the 
sense of steal. Grose's Classical 
Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 
ha,s pad-borrotoers, horse-stealers, 
as if pad signified a horse. The 
phrase really means path-hor- 
roicers, i.e., borrowers on the 
path or journey. 

Padda, Paddock, a frog or toad ; 
paddock stool, a toad-stool, a wild 
fungus or mushroom. Flemish 
pad and padde, a frog. 

Says the mother, " What noise is that at 
the door, daughter ? " "Hoot," says the 
lassie, "it's naething but a filthy padda." 
"Open the door," says the mother, "to 
the puir padda." Sae the lassie opened 
the door, and the padda cam loup, loup, 
loupin' in, and sat doun by the ingle side. 
— Scottish Songs collected, by Robert 
Chambers, 1829. 

Gowks and fools, 
Frae colleges and boarding schools, 
May sprout like summer paddock-stools. 
In glen or shaw. 
— Burns : Verses written at Selkirk. 

Old Lady Perth, offended with a French 
gentleman for some disparaging remark 
which he had made on Scottish cookery, 
answered him curtly, " Weel ! weel ! some 
folk like parritch, and some \C&& paddocks." 
— Dean Ramsay. 

Paidle. This eminently Scottish 
word has no synonym in the 
English language, nor in any 
country where everybody, even 
the poorest, wears shoes or 
boots, and where, to go bare- 
footed, would imply the lowest 
social degradation. But in Scot- 
land, a land of streams, rivulets, 
and burns, that wimple down 
the hills and cross the paths and 
roads, to go barefooted is a 

pleasure and luxury, and a con- 
venience, especially to the chil- 
dren of both sexes, and even to 
young men and women verging 
upon manhood and womanhood. 
An Englishman may paddle his 
boat and his canoe, but a Scots- 
man paidles in the mountain 
stream. How the young chil- 
dren of England love to paidle, 
may occasionally be seen at the 
sea-side resorts of the southern 
counties in the summer season, 
but the Scottish child in the 
rural districts paidles all the 
year, and needs no holiday for 
the purpose. 

We twa hae paidled in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine, 
But seas between us braid hae roared, 
Sin' the days of auld lang syne. 


The remembrance of paidlirC 
when stirred by the singing of 
this immortal song by Scotsmen 
in America, in India, in Africa, 
or at the Antipodes, melts every 
Scottish heart to tenderness, or 
inspires it to patriotism, as every 
Scotsman, who has travelled 
much, very surely knows. 

Paik, a beating, to beat, to thrash, 
to fight, to drub, to strike. 
Jamieson derives this word from 
the German pauken, to beat ; 
but there is no such word in that 
language. Pauke in German, 
pauk in Flemish, signifies a 
kettle-drum ; and pauken, to 
beat the kettle-drum, but not 
to beat in any other sense. The 
word is probably from the Gaelic 
paigh, to pay ; and also, by an 


Paihie — Pash. 

extension of meaning, to pay" 
one's deserts by a beating, as in 
the proverb in Allan Eamsay — 
" He's sairest dung that is -paid 
with his own wand," i.e., he is 
sorest hit who is beaten with 
his own cudgel. 

Paikie, a trull, a prostitute, B,Jille 
dejoie, a euphemism from the 
Gaelic peacadh (peaca), a sinner. 
Faik, a sin ; the French pecker ; 
and the Italian peccare. 

In adulterie he was ta'en — 
Made to be punisht for his paik. 

— Jamieson. 

Pang, to fill full, to cram ; pang- 
fu\ as full as one can hold. 
Etymology unknown; but pos- 
sibly related to the French 
pause, belly; pansu, large-bel- 
lied ; English paunchy. 

Leeze me on drink ; it gies us mair 
Than either school or college, 

It kindles wit, it waukens lair, 
It j>angs us fu' o' knowledge. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Parle, a discourse ; from the 
French parler, to speak ; the 
Italian ^av'Zare. The Gaelic 6cwrZa 
signifies language, and more par- 
ticularly the English language. 
A tocher's nae word in a true lover's 

But gie me my love, and a fig for the 
warl.— Burns : Meg o' tlie Mill. 

Parritch or porridge. A formerly 
favourite, if not essential, food of 
the Scottish people of all classes, 
composed of oatmeal boiled in 
water to a thick consistency, 
and seasoned with salt. This 
healthful food is generally taken 

with milk, but is equally palat- 
able with butter, sugar, beer, 
or wine. It is sometimes re- 
tained in middle and upper class 
families ; but among the very 
poor has unfortunately been dis- 
placed by the cheaper and less 
nutritious potato. 

The hailsome parritch, chief o' Scotia's 
— Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Partan, a crab, from the Gaelic ; 
partanach, abounding in crabs ; 
partan-handit, epithet applied 
to one who is hard-fisted and 
penurious, who grips his money 
like a crab grips with its claw. 

An' there'll be partans and buckies, 
An' singit sheeps' heads and a haggis. 
—The Blithesome Bridal. 

Pash, the head, the brow, the 
forehead. Allan Ramsay, bar- 
ber and wig-maker, sang of his 
trade : — 

I theek [thatch] the out, and line the 

Of mony a douce and witty /ojA, 
And baithways gather in the cash. 

A bare pash signifies a bald 
head, and mad-^as/t is equiva- 
lent to the English madcap. 
Latham's Todd's Johnson has 
pash, to push or butt like a ram 
or bull, with the head. Pash 
was current English in the time 
of Shakspeare, who uses it in 
the "Winter's Tale," in a pas- 
sage which no commentator has 
been able to explain. Leontes, 
suspicious of the fidelity of his 
wife Hermione, asks his child 
Mamilius — 

Paughty — Pawky, 


Art thou my calf? 
To which Mamilius replies — 
Yes ! if you will, my Lord. 

Leontes, still brooding on 
his imaginary wrong, rejoins 
moodily — 

Thou wants a rough /«jA and the shoots 
that I have to be full like me. 

It is amusing to note into 
what errors the English editors 
of Shakspeare have fallen, in 
their ignorance of this word. 
Nares thought that ^as^ was 
something belonging to a bull 
— he did not know what — or a 
calf, and Steevens thought that 
it was the Spanish paz, a kiss. 
Mr. Howard Staunton, the 
editor of Shakspeare, had a 
glimpse of the meaning, and 
thought that 'pash meant a 
^'tufted head." Jamieson ac- 
knowledged the word, but at- 
tempted no etymology. Pash is 
clearly derivable from the Gaelic 
6ai7iais (pronounced 6asA OYjpash), 
and signifies the forehead. The 
allusion of the unhappy Leontes 
to the shoots on his rough pash 
(wrinkled brow) is to the horns 
that vulgar phraseology places 
on the foreheads of deceived 
and betrayed husbands. Kead 
by this gloss, the much-mis- 
understood passage in the 
"Winter's Tale" becomes clear. 

Paughty, proud, haughty, repul- 
sive, but without having the 
qualities of mind or person to 
justify the assumption of supe- 
riority over others. Probably 
derived from the Flemish pochen, 

to vaunt, to brag, and pocher, a 
braggadocio, a fanfaron. 

An askin', an askin', my father dear. 

An askin' I beg of thee ; 
Ask not th&t paughty Scottish lord, 

For him ye ne'er shall see. 

— Ballad 0/ the Gay Goss-Hawk. 

Yon paughty dog 
That bears the keys of Peter. 

— Burns : A Dream. 

Paumie and taws. All Scottish 
school-boys, past and present, 
have painful knowledge of the 
meaning of these two words. 
Paumie is a stroke over the 
open hand, with a cane or the 
taws. The taws is a thong of 
leather cut into a fringe at the 
end, and hardened in the fire. 
It is, and was, the recognised 
mode of punishment for slight 
offences or breaches of dis- 
cipline at school, when the 
master was unwilling to resort 
to the severer and more de- 
grading punishment, inflicted a 
posteriori, after the fashion of 
Dr. Busby. Paumie is derived 
from the palm of the hand, the 
French peaume, and taws is the 
plural form of the Gaelic taod, 
a rope, a scourge. 

Pawky, of a sly humour, wise, 
witty, cautious, discreet, and 
insinuating, — all in one. There 
is no synonym for this word 
in English. The etymology is 

The pawky auld carle cam owre the lea, 
Wi' mony good e'ens and good days to 

Dear Smith, the slee'est, /aw^V thief. 
—Burns: To James Smith. 


Peat-Reek — Pedder- coffe. 

Peat-Reek and Mountain Dew. 

Peat-Reck is the smoke of peat 
when dried and burned for fuel, 
the flavour of which used to be 
highly appreciated in Scottish 
whiskey, when made by illicit 
■ distillers in lonely glens among 
the mountains, out of the usual 
reach of the exciseman. From 
the solitary places of its manu- 
facture, whiskey received the 
poetic name of Mountain Dew, 
or the "Dew ofiE Ben Nevis," 
which it still retains. 

Mountain Dew, clear as a Scot's under- 
Pure as his conscience wherever he goes, 
Warm as his heart to the friends he has 
Strong as his arm when he fights with 
his foes ! 
In liquor Uke this should old Scotland be 
So fill up again, and the pledge we'll 
renew ; 
Unsullied in honour, our blessings upon 
Scotland for ever ! and old Mountain 
Dew /— Mackay. 

Pech, to pant, to blow, for want 
of breath. Derived by Jamieson 
from the Danish 'pikken, to pal- 

My Pegasus I gat astride. 
And up Parnassus /^c,^/«'. 
— Burns : To Willie Chalmers. 

There comes young Monks of high com- 
Of mind devout, love and affection ; 
And in his court their hot flesh dart (tame), 
Fule father-like with ^ech and pant, 

They are sa humble of intercession, 
Their errand all kind women grant, 
Sic tidings heard I at the session. 
—Allan Ramsay : The Evergreen— 
Frae the Session. 

Pechan, the stomach. 

Ev'n the ha' folk fill Xh€\r pechan 
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and such like trashtrie. 
That's little short o' downright wastrie. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

This word seems to be a cor- 
ruption of the Gaelic ^oc, a bag, 
a poke ; and pocan, a little bag f 
and to be ludicrously applied 
to the belly or stomach. The 
English slang peckish, hungry, is 
probably derived from the same 
root, and not from the beak, or 
peck of a bird. 

Pedder-coffe, a pedlar. In Allan 
Ramsay's " Evergreen," a poem 
ascribed to Sir David Ljmdsay 
is entitled a " Description of 
Pedder-coffs, their having no 
regard to honesty in their voca- 
tion." Both pedder and coffe are 
of Teutonic derivation ; ped, 
sometimes written p>ad, from 
the German pfad ; Flemish pad, 
a path ; and coffe or koffe, from 
kail fen, to buy ; whence a pedlar 
signified a walking merchant 
who carried his wares along 
with him. But it should be 
observed with regard to the 
Teutonic derivation, that in the 
Kymric, or ancient language of 
Wales, more ancient than the 
German, padd signifies one that 
keeps a course. Attempts have 
been made to trace pedlar to 
ped, a local word in some parts 
of England for a basket : but 
this derivation would not ac- 
count for pedder, a mounted 
highwayman ; for ioot-pad, a 
Mghway robber on foot, from 

Peel — P eerie. 


the slang expression among 
thieves and beggars to go on 
the 'pad, i.e., on the tramp. 

Jamieson derives the Scottish 
pedder from the barbarous low 
Latin pedariuSj i.e., nudis ambu- 
lans pedibus. Sir David Lynd- 
say in his poem was exceed- 
ingly indignant, both with the 
Pedders and the Coffes, who 
seem to have been in their mode 
of transacting business with 
the country people, whom they 
favoured with their visits on 
their peregrinations through 
districts afar from towns, the 
exact counterparts of the tally- 
men at the present day. He 
recommends, in the interest of 
the people, that wherever the 
" pedder knaves appear in a 
burgh or town where there is 
a magistrate, that their lugs 
should be cuttit off," as a warn- 
ing to all cheats and regrators. 
A similar outcry is sometimes 
raised against the "tallymen," 
or travelling linen-drapers and 
haberdashers, who tempt the 
wives of working men, and poor 
people generally, to buy their 
goods at high prices, and accept 
small weekly payments on ac- 
count, until their extortionate 
bills are liquidated. 

Peel, a border tower, a small for- 
tress, of which few specimens 
are now left standing. A very 
interesting one, however, still 
remains in the town of Melrose. 
Possibly a corruption of bield, 
a shelter. 

And black Joan, frae Creighton-/^^/, 
O' gipsy kith an' kin'. 

—Burns : T^e Five Carlins. 

An' when they came to the fair Dodhead 
Right hastily they clam (climbed) the 
They loosened the kye out, ane and a', 
An' ranshackled the house right weel. 
—Border Minstrelsy : Jamie Telfer. 

Peep, to utter a faint cry or sound, 
like an infant or a young bird. 
Peepie-weepie, a querulous and 
tearful child ; peep-snia\ a feeble 
voice, a weak person who has to 
submit to the domination of one 
stronger ; synonymous with the 
English "sing small." "He 
daurna play peep," he must not 
utter a word in defence of him- 
self. In Dutch and Flemish, 
pirpen signifies to cry like an 
infant ; and piep-yong is a word 
for a very young or new-born 
child. The etymology is that 
of pipe, or the sound emitted 
by a flute or pipe, when gently 
blown upon. 

Peesweep, a lapwing, or plover ; 
peesweep -like, a contemiptihle epi- 
thet applied to a feeble, sharp- 
featured man or woman, with a 
shrill but not loud voice, like 
the cry of a plover. 

Peerie, pearie or perie, a hum- 
ming top; sometimes a peg- 
top ; from the Gaelic beur (6 
pronounced as p), to hum, to 
buzz. Brand, in his well-known 
work on Popular Antiquities, 
quotes Jamieson as his autho- 
rity. He defines it to mean a 
peg-top, and adds that the 


Peik- thank — Pensy. 

name was apparently derived 
from its close similarity to a 
pear, and that the Scotch origin- 
ally called it a French pear or 
jiearie, because it was first im- 
ported from France. 

Peik-thank, is, according to 
Jamieson, an ungrateful person, 
one who returns little or no 
thanks for benefits conferred. 
PeiJc in this phrase seems to be 
a corruption and misspelling of 
the Gaelic beag {b pronounced 
as p), little. Jamieson derives 
it from the Italian poco. 

The EnglishpichthanJc appears 
to have had a different origin 
and meaning, and signifies, 
according to the examples of 
its use in Nares, a sycophant, 
a favourite, a flatterer, who 
strove to pick up, acquire, or 
gather thanks from the great 
and powerful Shakspeare has 
"smiling picJc-thanlcs, and base 
newsmongers ; " Fairfax, "a flat- 
terer, a pick-thank, and a liar." 

Possibly, however, the Scot- 
tish and English interpretations 
of the word may be more akin 
than might appear at first 
glance. Sycophants, flatterers, 
and parasites are proverbially 
ungrateful, unless it be, as La 
Rochefoucauld so wittily asserts, 
** for favours to come." 

Pendles, ear-rings ; from pen- 

She's got pendles in her lugs, 
Cockle-shells wad set her better ; 

High-heel'd shoon and siller tags, 
And a' the lads are wooin' at her. 

Be a lassie e'er sae black, 

Gin she ware the penny -siller. 

Set her up on Tintock tap, 
The wind will blaw a man till her ! 
— Herd's Collection : Tibbie Fowler. 

Pennarts. Jamieson says this 
word means "revenge," and 
quotes the proverbial saying, 
" I'se hae pennarts o' him yet ; " 
suggesting that the derivation 
may be from pennyioorths. It 
is more likely to be from the 
Gaelic 2?ein, punishment; peanas, 
revenge ; and pein-aixi, high or 
great revenge. 

Penny-fee, wages. Penny is com- 
monly used in Scottish par- 
lance for money generally, as in 
penny-siller, a great quantity of 
money ; penny-maister, the town- 
treasurer ; penny - wedding, a 
wedding at which every guest 
contributed towards the ex- 
pense of the marriage festival ; 
penny-frierid, a friend whose 
only friendship is for his friend's 
money. The French use denier, 
and the Itahans danari, in the 
same sense. 

Peny is ane hardy knyght, 
Peny is mekyl of myght, 
Peny of wrong he raaketh ryght 
In every country where he go. 
— Ritson's Ancient Songs and 
Ballads : A Song in Praise 
of Sir Peny. 

My riches a's ray penny-fee, 
And I maun guide it canny, O. 

—Burns : My Nannie, O. 

Pensy, proud, conceited ; above 
one's station. Probably a cor- 
ruption of pensive or thought- 

Perlins — Pickle. 


Helen Walker was held among her 
equals to be pensy, but the facts brought 
to prove this accusation seem only to 
evince a strength of character superior to 
those around her.— Scott : Heart of Mid- 

Perlins or pearlins, fine linen 
ornamented with lace work or 
knitted work. 

Oh where, oh where, is her auld son, 

Spak out the Lammikin ; 
He's gane to \)\xy pearlins 

Gin our lady lye in. 
These pearlins she shall never wear, 

Spak out the Lammikin. 

— Herd's Collection : Lammikin, 

Pemickitie (sometimes written 
prig-7iickitie), precise about 
trifles; finicking, over -dainty, 
trim, neat, nicely dressed, 
adorned with trifling articles 
of finery, or knick - knackets. 
Etymology doubtful. 

The English are sae pemickity about 
what they eat, but no ?^^ pemickity about 
what they drink. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Peuter or peuther, to canvass, to 
solicit votes, to thrust one's 
self forward in election times to 
ask for support ; from the Gaelic 
'put, to thrust, and putair, one 
who thrusts ; and the Flemish 
peuteren, to poke one's fingers 
into other people's business, — 
rendered in the French and 
Flemish Dictionary (1868), 
" pousser les doigts, dans quel- 
que chose." 

He has peuthered Queensferry and In- 
verkeithing, and they say he will begin to 
peuther Stirling next week. — Jamieson. 

Philabeg or fillabeg, the kilt as 
worn by the Highlanders ; lite- 

rally a little cloth; from the 
Q2lq\\q, fileadk, a cloth, a woven 
garment, and heag, little. 

Oh to see his tartan trews. 
Bonnet blue, and laigh-heeled shoes, 
Philabeg aboon his knee — 
That's the laddie I'll gang wi'. 

— Geddes : Lewie Gordon. 

r faith, quo' John, I got sic flegs (frights) 
Wi' their claymore and philabegs. 
If I face them again, deil break my legs, 
So I wish you a good mornin'. 

—Jacobite Ballad: Hey Johnnie Cope. 

They put on him z. philabeg. 
An' up his dowp they rammed a peg, 
How he did skip, and he did roar, 
The deils ne'er saw sic fun before. 

They took him niest to Satan's ha', 
There to lilt wi' his grandpapa ; 
Says Cumberland, I'll no gang ben 
For fear I meet wi' Charlie's men. 

— Jacobite Ballad : Bonnie Laddie 
Highland Laddie. 

Pickle, a small quantity; from 
the Italian piccolo, small, akin 
to the Gaelic heag {or peag), little. 
PicJcle in familiar English, as 
applied to a small, unruly, and 
troublesome boy, is of the same 
origin ; "a wee pickle saut," 
a very small quantity of salt ; 
** a. pickle o' tow," a small quan- 
tity of flax or hemp for spinning 
into yarn. Pickle is sometimes 
used for pilfer, to steal small 
things. *' To pickle in one's ain 
pock, or peuk," i.e., to take 
grain out of one's own bag, is a 
proverbial expression signifying 
to depend on one's own resources 
or exertions. A hen is said to 
''pickle up" when she searches 
for and feeds on grain. The 
word, in these senses, is not from 


Pig — Pinkie-small. 

the same source as pickle, to pre- 
serve in salt or ^dnegar. 

She gies the herd 2i pickle nits 
And twa red-cheekit apples. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

Pig, an earthen pitcher or other 
vessel, a flower-pot. Piggerie, 
a place for the manufacture of 
crockery and earthenware . Pig- 
man and pigwife, hawkers of 
crockery, or keepers of shops 
where earthenware is sold ; from 
the Gaelic pigeadh, an earthen 
pot or jar ; pigean, a little pot ; 
pigeadair, a potter or manufac- 
turer of crockery. The English 
pig iron, iron in a lump, before 
its final manufacturing by fire 
into a superior quality, seems 
to be derived from its coarse 
nature, as resembling the masses 
of clay from which crockery and 
earthenware are formed by the 
similar agency of fire. 

My Paisley pig-gy 
Contains my drink, but then, oh. 
No wines did e'er my brains engage 
To tempt my mind to sin, oh. 

— Chambers's Scots Songs : The 
Country I.ass. 
She that gangs to the well wi' ill-will 
Either thepig breaks or the water will spill. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
Where the pig's broken, let the shards lie. 
— Idem. 
An English lady, who had never before 
been in Scotland, arranged to spend the 
night at a respectable inn, in a small pro- 
vincial town in the south. Desiring to 
make her as comfortable as possible, Grizzy, 
the chambermaid, on showing her to the 
bedroom, said — 

" Would you like to hae a pig in your 
bed this cauld nicht, mem ? " 
" A what ? " said the lady. 
" A pig, mem ; I will put a pig in your 
bed to keep you warm ! " 

" Leave the room, young woman ; your 
mistress shall hear of your insolence." 

" Nae offence, I hope, mem. It was my 
mistress bade me ask it, an' I'm sure she 
meant it oot o' kindness." 

The lady was puzzled, but feeling satis- 
fied that no insult was intended, she looked 
at the girl and then said pleasantly — 

" Is it common in this country for ladies 
to have/z^5 in their beds?" 

" Gentlemen hae them tae, mem, when 
the weather's cauld. I'll steek the mouth 
o't an* tie it up in a clout." 

A right understanding was come to at 
last, and the lady found the pig with hot 
water in her bed not so disagreeable as she 
imagined. — Douglas's Scottish Wit and 

A rich Glasgow manufacturer, an illi- 
terate man who had risen from the ranks, 
having ordered a steam yacht, sent for a 
London artist to decorate the panels in 
the principal cabin. The artist asked what 
kind of decoration he required ? The reply 
was, Ony thing simple, just a pig ivi a 
flower. Great was the surprise of the 
Glasgow body when the work was com- 
pleted, to see that the decoration con- 
sisted of swine, each with a flower in its 
jaws, which had been painted on every 
panel. He made no complaint — paid the 
bill, and declared the effect to be satisfac- 
tory, though " it was no exactly what he 
had meant in ordering it." — Traits q/ 
Scottish Life. 

Pike, to pick and steal ; pUde, one 
addicted to pilfering and petty 

By these pickers and stealers. 

— Shakspeare : Hamlet. 

Pinch and drouth, hunger and 

Nae mair -wx pinch and drouth we'll pine 
As we hae done — a dog's propine — 
But quaflf our draughts o' rosy wine, 
Carle ! an' the king come. 

— Jacobite Song. 

Pinkie-small, the smallest candle 
that is made, the weakest kind 

Pirrie-dog — Pit-dark. 


of table beer, anything small. 
The word is also applied to the 
eye when contracted. 

There's a wee pinkie hole in the stock- 
ing. — Jamieson. 

Possibly this word is from the 
Latin punctus, a point, or from 
the Dutch and Flemish 'pink, 
the little finger, and pink-oogen, 
to look with half -closed eyes. 
The Kymric pine signifies a 
small branch or twig. 

Pirrie-dog, a dog that follows at 
his master's heels ; pirrie, to 
follow and fawn upon one, like 
a dependant, for what can be 
gained from or wheedled out 
of him. Jamieson derives this 
word from the Teutonic paeren, 
or paaren, to pair or couple ; 
and refers to parry, an Aber- 

' deenshire word, with a quota- 
tion, " When ane says parry, 
a' say parry,'' signifying that 
when anything is said by a 
person of consequence, it is 
echoed by every one else. The 
true origin both of pirrie and 
the Aberdonian parry seems to 
be the Gaelic peire, a polite word 
for the breech. A dog that fol- 
lows at the heels is a euphemism 
for a less mentionable part of the 
person. Jamieson suggests that 
the Aberdeenshire parry is de- 
rived from the French il parait ; 
but the Gaelic peire better suits 
the humour of the aphorism. 

Piss-a-bed, a vulgar name for 
the dandelion or taraxacum — a 
beautiful, though despised, wild 

flower of the fields. The word 
appears to have originated in 
Scotland, and thence to have 
extended to England. It is a 
corruption of the Gaelic pios, 
a cup, and buidhe, " yellow — a 
yellow cup, not, however, to 
be confounded with buttercup, 
another wild flower — the com- 
panion in popular affection of 
the daisy. 

The daisy has its poets, — all have striven 
Its world-wide reputation to prolong ; 

But here's its yellow neighbour ! — who 
has given 
The dandelion a song ? 

Come, little sunflower, patient in neglect, 
Will ne'er a one of them assert thy 

But, passing by, contemptuouslj'^ connect 
Thee and thy Scottish name ? 

— Robert Leighton : To a Dandelion. 

Several years before Robert 
Leighton strove to vindicate 
the fair fame of the dandelion, 
a couplet in its praise appeared 
in the Illustrated London News, 
in a poem entitled " Under the 
Hedge " :— 

Dandelions with milky ring, 

Coins of the mintage of the spring. ' 

Pit-dark, dark as in the bottom 
of a pit. 

'Tis y^t pit-dark, the yard a' black about, 
And the night fowl begin again to shout. 
— Ross's Helenore. 

It is very probable that pit- 
dark was the original form of 
the English pitch-dark, as dark 
as pitch, i.e., as dark as tar, or 
coal tar. The etymology from 
pit, a hole, is preferable. 


Pixie — Plea. 

Pixie, a fairy. This Scottish 
word is used in some parts of 
England, particularly in the 
south and west. It has been 
supposed to be a corruption of 
fuck, or jouckie, little puck, 
sometimes called Kobin Good- 
fellow. It is more probably 
from the Gaelic beag (peg), little, 
sith (shee), a fairy, anglicised 
into pixie, a little fairy, a fairy 
sprite. Puch is the name of one 
particular goblin and sprite in 
Shakspeare, and in popular 
tradition ; but the pixies are 
multitudinous, and the words 
puck and pixie are from different 
sources. The English puck is 
the word that, in one variety 
or another, runs through many 
European languages. The Welsh 
or Kymric has pivca (pooca), a 
goblin, a sprite, the Gaelic bocan, 
and Lowland Scottish bogie, the 
Russian bug, the Dutch and 
Flemish spook, the German spuk, 

Pixie-rings are fairy-rings, sup- 
posed to be made in the grass 
by the footsteps, not of one 
puck, but of many little sprites 
that gamble by moonlight on 
the green pixie-stool, a popular 
name for the fungus, sometimes 
called toad-stool; pixie-led, be- 
wildered and led astray by the 
ignis fatuus, Jack o' Lantern, or 
WiU o' the Wisp. 

Plack, an ancient Scottish coin 
of the value of one-twelfth of 
an English penny. 

There's yam plack an' my plack. 
An' Jenny's bawbee. 

—Old Song. 

Nae howdie gets a social night. 
Or plack frae them. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 
Stretch a joint to catch 2i plack. 
Abuse a brother to his back. 

— Burns : To Gavin Hamilton. 

The word is probably derived 
from the ancient Flemish coin, 
a flaquette, current before the 
introduction into the Nether- 
lands of the French money, 
reckoned by francs and cen- 

Plea, a lawsuit ; the substitution 
of the aggregate of law for the 
segregate. The English verb, to 
plead, has received in Scottish 
parlance a past tense which does 
not correctly belong to it, in 
the phrase, " he jpZerf guilty," in- 
stead of ''he pleaded guilty," as 
if plead were a word of Teutonic 
origin and subject to the Teu- 
tonic inflexion which governs 
most of the ancient English 
verbs, which are derived from 
the Dutch, German, or Dan- 
ish, such as "bleed, bled;" 
"blow, blew;" "run, ran;" 
" freeze, froze," &c. &c. Verbs 
derived from the Latin and 
French cannot be correctly con- 
jugated in the past tense, ex- 
cept by the addition of d or ed 
to the infinitive, as in " coerce, 
coerced ; " "plead, pleaded." 

l>ia.eplea is best. (It is best not to go to 
law at a\\.)—Old Proverb. 

When neighbours anger at 3. plea, 

The barley bree 
Cements the quarrel. — Burns. 

Pliskie — Fluff. 


Pliskie, a trick, a prank. From 
the Gaelic plaosgach, a sudden 
noise, a flash, a blaze. 

Her lost militia fired her blood, 
Deil na they never mae do guid. 
Played her ihdX pliskie. 
— Burns : Author's Earnest Cry 
and Prayer. 

Ghaist ! ma certie, I sail ghaist them 1 
If they had their heads as muckle on their 
wark as on her daffins, they wadna play 
svzpliskies /—Scott : St. Ronans Well. 

Plooky, swollen, blotchy, pimpled. 
From the Gaelic 'ploc, a tumour, 
a bunch, a knob, a swelling. 
The English slang Udke, a swell, 
is probably from the same root. 

Plooky, plooky are your cheeks, 
And plooky is your chin, 

And plooky are your armis twa 
My bonnie queen's layne in, 
— Scott's Minstrels of the Scottish 
Border: Sir Hugh Le Blonde. 

Plotcock, the devil ; the dweller 
in the pit of hell, the fiend, the 
archenemy. This singular word, 
or combination of words, appears 
in Jamieson as "from the Ice- 
landic Blotgod, a name of the 
Scandinavian Pluto ; or hlothoh 
— from blot, to sacrifice ; and 
hoka, to swallow — i.e., the swal- 
lower of sacrifices." May not 
a derivation be found nearer 
home than in Iceland: in the 
Gaelic hlot (pronounced xilot), a 
pit, a cavern ; and cog, to con- 
spire, to tempt, to cheat 1 

Since you can cog, I'll play no more with 
— Shakspeare : Love's Labour's Lost. 

Lies, coggeries, and impostures. 

— Nares. 

The Kymric has coegiaw, or 
cogio, to cheat, to trick. To cog 
dice was to load the dice for the 
the purpose of cheating; and 
cogger, in old English, signified 
a swindler, a cheat. This deri- 
vation would signify the cheat, 
the tempter who dwells in the 
cavern or bottomless pit of hell ; 
and might have been included 
by Burns in his "Address to 
the Deil," among the other 
names which he bestows upon 
that personage. 

Plout, plouter, to wade with dif- 
ficulty through mire or water ; 
akin to the English plod, as in 
the line in Gray's Elegy : — 

The ploughman homewards //(7^5 his 
weary way. 

From the Gaelic plodan, a clod 
of mud or mire, a small pool of 
water ; plodanachd, the act of 
paddling in the water or the 

Flouting through thick and thin. 

— Grose. 
Many a -wtsxy plouter she cost him 
Through gutters and glaur. 

— Jamieson : Popular Ballads. 
Had it no been, Mr. North, for your 
plowterin' in a* the rivers and lochs o' 
Scotland, like a Newfoundland dog. 

— Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Ploy, a plot, scheme, contri- 

I wish he mayna hae been at the bottom 
o' t\\t.ploy himsel'. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

Pluff, a slight emission or short 
puff of smoke, either from a 
tobacco-pipe or of gas from a 
burning coal; possibly of the 


Pockpud — Point. 

same derivation as the English 
•puff, a slight, short or sudden 
movement of the wind or the 

Pockpud, an abbreviation of the 
contemptuous epithet of -pock- 
pudding applied by the Scottish 
multitude to the English, in the 
bygone days when the English 
were as unpopular in Scotland 
as the Scotch still are among 
the more ignorant of the lower 
classes in England. 
They gloom, they glower, they look sae 

At ilka stroke they fell a Whig ; 
They'll fright the fuds o' the Pock^uds, 
For mony a buttock 's bare coming. 

— Jacobite Song, 1743. 

The English pockpuddings ken nae 
better. — Sir Walter Scott : Waverley. 

Pock-shaking's, a humorous and 
vulgar term applied to the last 
born child of a large family, 
expressive of the belief that no 
more are to be expected. 

Poind, to lay a distraint on a 
debtor's goods, to make a seiz- 
ure for non-payment or arrears 
of rent. The word was once 
current in English, and survives 
in a corrupt form, as impound, 
and pound, an enclosure for 
stray cattle. The oflQcer whose 
duty it was to impound was 
formerly called a pindar, a 
word that survives in tradition 
or legend in the '^Pindar of 
Wakefield," celebrated in con- 
nection with the deeds, real or 
fabulous, of Eobin Hood and his 
merry band of poachers and out- 

laws. The etymology is from 
the French poigne, the closed 
fist, and empoigner, to seizre. 
Multiple-^omc^in^r is a Scottish 
law-phrase, expressive of a series 
of poindings. 

An' was na I a weary wight, 

They poind my gear and slew my knight : 

My servants a' for life did flee, 

An' left me in extremitie. 

— Lament of the Border Widow. 

"A puir poind" signifies a 
weak, silly person, metaphori- 
cally applied to one who is not 
substantial enough to take hold 
of, intellectually or morally ; one 
of no account or importance. 

Point, an old Scottish word for 
state of body ; almost equivalent 
to the modem "form," which 
implies good condition generally 
of body, mind, and manners. 

Murray said that he never saw the Queen 
in better health or in better point. — 
Robertson : History of Mary Queen of 

This is a French idiom, nearly allied to 
that which is now familiar to English ears, 
en bon point. " In better point " signifies 
more plump, or in fuller habit of body. — 

The word point has so many 
meanings, all derivable from and 
traceable to the Latin punctus, 
such as the point of a weapon ; 
puncture, the pinch of a sharp 
weapon ; punctual, true to the 
point of time, or the time ap- 
pointed, &c., as to suggest that 
the etymology of point, in the 
sense of the French en bon point, 
and of the old Scotch, as used 
by Robertson in his reference to 

Post — Pow. 


Queen Mary, must be other than 
punctus. En bon point is euphem- 
istic for stout, fat, fleshy, in- 
clining to corpulency — all of 
which words imply the reverse 
of pointed. It is possible that 
the true root is the Gaelic bun 
{b pronounced as p), foundation, 
root ; applied to one who is in 
solid and substantial health or 
condition of body ; well formed 
and established, physically and 
morally. The word is indica- 
tive of stability rather than of 
sharpness or pointedness. The 
now current slang of " form," 
derived from the language of 
grooms, jockeys, and racing 
men, springs from the same idea 
of healthiness and good condi- 
tion. The Gaelic bunanta signi- 
fies firm, well-set, and estab- 
lished. The colloquial and 
vulgar word bum is from the 
same root of bun, and produces 
fundament; the French fonde- 
ment, the bottom, the founda- 

Post, to tramp, to tread. To post 
the linen was to tread upon it 
with the bare feet in the wash- 
ing-tub, a common practice 
among the women of the work- 
ing-classes in Scotland. Seen 
for the first time by English 
travellers in the far North, the 
fashion excited not only their 
surprise, but sometimes their 
admiration, by the display of 
the shapely limbs of the bonnie 
Highland and Lowland lassies 
engaged in the work, with their 
petticoats kilted up to the knee, 

without the faintest suspicion 
of immodesty. Post is derived 
from the Gaelic, "to tread;" 
postadh, treading; postanach, a 
little child that is just begin- 
ning to walk or tread. The 
word is thus of a different origin 
and meaning from jpos^, an oflSce, 
a station, a place, which is de- 
rived from the Latin positum. 
The post-office and the postal 
service, words which are com- 
mon to nearly all the European 
languages, are more probably 
traceable to the Gaelic and 
Celtic source, in the sense of 
tread and tramp, than to the 
Latin positum. The postman 
treads his accustomed rounds 
to the great convenience of 
the public in all civilised coun- 

In scouring woollen clothes or coarse 
linen when the strength of arm and manual 
friction are found insufficient, the High- 
land women put them in a tub with a 
proper quantity of water, and then with 
petticoats tucked up commence the opera- 
tion of posting. When three women are 
engaged, one commonly tramps in the 
middle, and the others tramp around her. 
This process is called postadh. — Arm- 
strong's Gaelic Dictionary, 1820. 

Pot, a deep pool, or eddy in a 

The neist step that she waded in, , 

She waded to the chin ; 
The deepest pot in Clyde water 

They gat sweet Willie in. 
—Ballad of Willie and May Margaret. 

Pow or powe, the head ; from the 
old English poll. The impost 
called the "Poll-tax," that 
created such great dissatisfac- 


Powsoudie — Prick-me-dainty. 

tion in the days of Wat Tyler, 
was a personal tax on the head 
or i^oll. 

There is little wit in \v\?,j>ow 
That lights the candle at the low [or fire]. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The miller was of manly make, 

To meet him was nae mows [joke] ; 

There durst not ten cum him to take, 
Sae noytit [thumped] he their pows. 
— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Fat pouches bode lean pows. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Blessings on your frosty /<?«/, 
John Anderson, my jo. 

— Burns. 

Powsoudie. Sheep's head broth. 
This word occurs in the humo- 
rous ballad by Francis Semple, 
"Fy let us a' to the bridal," 
which contains an ample list of 
all the dainty eatables served up 
at a marriage-feast among the 
rural population of Scotland in 
the seventeenth century. 

And there'll be fadges and bracken. 
And fouth o' gude gebbocks o' skate, 

Powsoudie and drammock and crowdie. 
And caller nowte-feet on a plate. 

— Watson's Collection, 1706. 

The word is compounded of 
^ow, the head, and soudie, broth. 

Powt, a young fowl or chicken ; 
from the French, poule and 
poulte ; in English, poultry and 

Ye peep (chirp or pipe) like a powt, 
O Tammy, my man, are ye turned a saunt ? 
— Hew Ainslee : Tarn d the Balloch. 

Free, to taste, to sip, " \,opree the 
mou," to kiss the mouth. A 
story his long been current that 

a young English nobleman, 
visiting at Gordon Castle, had 
boasted that during his six 
weeks' shooting in the north he 
had acquired so much Scotch 
that it was impossible to puzzle 
him. The beautiful and cele- 
brated Duchess of Gordon took 
up his challenge, and defied him 
to interpret the sentence, " Come 
pree my bonnie mou, my canty 
callant." It was with intense dis- 
gust that he afterwards learned 
what a chance he had lost by 
his ignorance. 

Ye tell me that my lips are sweet, 
Sic tales I doubt are a' deceit. 
At any rate it's hardly meet, 

To pree their sweets before folk. 
— Chambers's Scotch Songs : Behave 
Yoursel before Folk. 

Preen, a pin; from the Gaelic 
prine, a pin ; prineachan, a little 
pin ; prinich, to secure with pins. 

Prick-me-dainty, prick-ma-leerie. 

These two apparently ridiculous 
phrases have the same meaning, 
that of a finical, conceited, super- 
fine person, in his manners or 
dress, one who affects airs of 
superiority — without the neces- 
sary qualifications for the part 
he assumes. Jamieson suggests 
that prick-me-dainty is from the 
English prick-me-daintily ! Of 
prick-ma-leerie, he conjectures 
nothing. Both phrases seem to 
be traceable to the Gaelic hreagh, 
fine, beautiful, braw ; and deanta, 
complete, finished, perfected ; 
and leor or leoir, enough, suffi- 
cient, entirely ; so that prick- 
me-dainty resolves itself into a 

Prig — Puirtith, 


corruption of breagh-me-deanta, 
I am beautifully perfect ; and 
prick - ma - leerie into breagh - ma- 
leor, I am beautiful entirely. A 
comic and scornful depreciation 
miderlies both phrases. 

Prig", to cheapen, to beat down 
the price; whence the English 
word prig, a conceited person, 
who thinks he knows better 
than other people. The English, 
''to prig" in the sense of com- 
mitting a petty theft, appears 
to have no connection with the 
Scottish word. 

Men who grew wise PriggifC ower hops 
and raisins. 

—Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 
Ane o' the street-musician crew 
Is hvL^y priggin wi' him now ; 
An' twa auld sangs he swears are new, 

He pawns on Jock ; 
For an auld hod o' coals half fou, 
A weel-matched troke. 
—James Ballantine ; Coal Jock. 

Jamieson defines to prig as 
to haggle, and derives it from 
the Flemish prachgen, to beg ; 
French briguer, barter,, from 
bngue, ** rechercher avec ar- 

Prig. — I don't know how this word in 
Scotch means to cheapen, and in English 
to steal ; perhaps there is some connection 
which a knowledge of the root from which 
it comes would help us to understand. 
Prig, as a conceited person, is purely a 
conventional use of the word. Prig in 
Scotch has also the meaning of earnestly 
to entreat. " I prigged wi' him for mair 
nor an' hour that he shouldna leave me." 
— R. Dkennan. 

Prink and preen. Prinlc signifies 
to adorn, to dress out in finery ; 

preen or prein, a pin — or to pin ; 
and preen-head, a pin's head. 

She has prinked hersell and preen' d hersell 

By the ae light o' the mune, 
And she's awa to Castelhaugh 
To speak wi' young Tamlane. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border ; 
Ballad of the Young Tamlane. 

Prinkling, a slight pricking; a; 
tingling sensation, either of 
pain or pleasure. 

Her wily glance I'll ne'er forget, 

The dear, the lovely blinkin' o't. 
Has pierced me through and through 
the heart, 
And plagues me in the prinkling o't. 
The parson kissed the tinker's wife, 
An' coudna preach for thinking o't. 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs: Love's 
Like a Dizziness. 

Prog, to goad, to stab, to thrust, 
to prick, to probe ; metaphori- 
cally, to taunt, to gibe, to pro- 
voke by a sarcastic remark; a 
sting, a lance, an arrow. From 
the Kymric proc, a thrust ; and 
pi'ociaw, to thrust or stab. 

Prapine, a gift, or the power of 
giving. Also drink-money — 
equivalent to the German word 
trink-geld, the French pour boire, 
and the English tip. To propine 
also means to pledge another in 
drinking, or to touch glasses in 
German fashion. 

If I were there and in thy propine, 
Oh, what wad ye do to me. 

—Border Minstrelsy : Lady Anne. 

Puirtith, poverty. 

Oh puirtith cauld, and restless love, 
Ye wreck my peace atween ye ; 

Yet puirtith a' I could forgi'e. 
An' 'twerna for my Jeanie. 


1 62 

Punchy — Quarters. 

Punchy, thick, short, squat, and 
broad; applied to the human 
frame. From the Gaelic hun, 
foundation ; and bunaich, to 
establish firmly on a broad 

Purlicue, the unnecessary flourish 
which people sometimes afiix at 
the end of their signatures ; also, 
a whim, a caprice ; and, in de- 
rision, the summing up of a 
judgment, and the peroration 
of a sermon or a speech. The 
French par la queue, by the tail 
or finish, has been suggested as 
the derivation. 

Puslic (more properly huslicJc), 
a cow-sherd, gathered in the 
fields when dried by the weather, 
and stored for winter fuel by 
the poor. According to Jamie- 
son, this is a Dumfriesshire and 

Galloway word, and used in 
such phrases as ** dry as a pus- 
lick," and "as light as a pus- 
lich" It is compounded of the 
two Gaelic words buac, cow- 
dung; and leag, a dropping, or 
to drop or let fall: used in a 
similar sense to the English 
" horse-droppings," applied to 
the horse-dung gathered in the 

Pyle, a small quantity ; small as 
a hair, or as a grain. From the 
Latin pUus, French poil. 

The cleanest corn that e'er was dight 
May hae some p^les o' caff in. 

— Burns : T/ie Unco Guid. 

Pyot, a magpie ; from the Gaelic 
pighe, a bird. 

I tent it z.pyot 
Sat chatterin' on the house heid. 
— Andrew Sutar : Sytnon and 


Quarters, a place of residence or 
abode, a domicile, an apartment 
or lodging. 

An' it's oh for siccan quarters 
As I gat yesternight. 
— King James V.. : W£^ II Gang 
Nae Mair a-Rovin. 

Quarters, in this sense, is not 
derived from quatuor, or from 
the fourth part, as is generally 
asserted in the dictionaries, and 
exemplified by the common 
phrase, "From which quarter 
does the wind blow ? " i.e., from 

whicTi of tbe fmir points of the 
compass ? The true derivation 
of quarter, the French quartier, 
and of the military functionary, 
the Quarter-master General, is 
the Gaelic cuairt, a circle. 
" Paris," says Bescherelle in his 
French Dictionary, " was for- 
merly divided into four quar- 
ters ; it is now divided into 
forty-eight, which, if quarters 
were translated into circZe, would 
not be an incongruous expres- 
sion, as it is when quarter repre- 

Quean — Quey. 


sents a fourth part only." The 
French use the word arrondisse- 
ment in the same sense, which 
supports the Gaelic etymology. 
The quarter or habitation of a 
bird is its nest, which is a circle. 
"The circle of one's acquaint- 
ance," and " the social circle," 
are common expressions ; and 
the points of the compass are 
aU points in a circle, which, as 
all navigators know, are con- 
siderably more than four. 

Quean, wench, winklot. These 
are all familiar or disrespectful 
terms for a woman. 

I wat she was a cantie guean. 
And weel could dance the Highland 

—Roy's Wife. 

By that the dancin' was all done. 
Their leave took less or mair, 

"When the ivtnklots and the woers turn'd 
To see it was heart -sair. 

—Peblis to the Play. 

Quean, like queen, seems to ori- 
nate in the Greek yvf, a woman ; 
Danish quinde, a woman ; quin- 
delig, feminine ; Gaelic gin, to 
beget, to generate ; gineal, off- 
spring. Wench, by the common 
change of gu into w^ as in war 
for guerre, is from the same 
root. Wink-lot, or wench-let, as 
a little wench or quean, is of the 
same parentage. 

Queer cuffin. English and Scot- 
tish gipsy slang — a justice of 
the peace. This phrase is of 
venerable antiquity, and is a 
relic of the Druidical times 

when the arch-druid, or chief 
priest, was called coibhi {coivi), 
since corrupted into cuffin. The 
arch-druid was the chief ad- 
ministrator of justice, and sat 
in his coi^, or court (whence 
qu^er), accessible to all sup- 
pliants ; like Joshua, Jephtha, 
Eli, and Samuel, judges of 
Israel. A Druidical proverb, 
referring to this august per- 
sonage of the olden time, is 
still current among the Gaelic- 
speaking population of the 
Highlands, that " the stone is 
not nearer to the ground on 
which it rests, than is the ear 
of Coibhi to those who apply to 
him for justice." 

Queet, an ankle ; sometimes writ- 
ten cute (which see). 

The firstan step that she stept in, 
She steppit to the gueet ; 

" Ochone ! alas ! " said that lady, 
" The water's wondrous deep." 
— Buchan's Aficient Ballads: The 
Drowned Lovers. 

I let him cool his cutes at the door. 
— Jamieson : Aberdeenshire Proverb. 

Quey, a young cow ; from the 
Danish quay, cattle, the Ger- 
man vieh, the Dutch and Flem- 
ish vee. 

Amang the brachans on the brae, 
Between her and the moon, 

The Deil, or else some outler quey. 
Gat up and gae a croon. 

— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

The cow was eager to browse the pas- 
turage on which she had been fed when 
she was a young and happy guey.—Noctes 

1 64 

Rad — Rattan, 


Rad, to fear, to be afraid, or to 


I am right rad of treasonry. 

— Song of the Outlaw Murray. 

O ance ye danced upo' the knowes. 

And ance ye lightly sang, 
But in herrying o' a bee byke 
I'm rad ye gat a stang. 
— Burns : Ye hae been a' wrang, 

Jamieson derives rad from the 
Danish raed, afraid, which 
meets the sense of the passage 
in which it is used by Burns. 
The sense, however, would be 
• equally well rendered by a 
derivation from the Danish, 
Flemish, and Dutch raad, Ger- 
man ratherif to guess or conjec- 

Ram and ran. The Scottish lan- 
guage contains many expressive 
and humorous words commenc- 
ing with the syllables ram and 
ran, which are synonymous, 
and imply force, roughness, 
disorder ; and which appear to 
be primarily derived from the 
Gaelic ran, to roar, to bluster. 
Among others are — randy, viol- 
ent or quarrelsome ; rampage, a 
noisy frolic, or an outburst of ill- 

■ humour, a word which Charles 
Dickens revived and rendered 
popular in the English verna- 
cular ; ramgunshocJc, rough, rug- 
ged, coarse ; ramshackle, old. 
Worn out with rough usage. 

Our ramgunshock glum gudeman, 
Is out and owre the water. 

—Burns : Had I the Wyte. 

Rangunshock. This seems to be 
a corruption of the Gaelic ran, 
to roar; gun, without ; and seach 
(pronounced shach), alternation, 
i.e., to roar incessantly, without 
alternation of quiet. 

Rant, to be noisily joyous ; rants, 
merry-makings, riotous but joy- 
ous gatherings ; ranter, a merry- 
maker. From the Gaelic. 

My name is Rob the ranter. 

— Maggie Lauder. 

From out the life o' publick haunts. 
But thee, what were our fairs and rants, 
Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts 

By thee inspired. 
When gapin' they besiege, the tents 

Are doubly fired. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Rattan, rottan, a rat. In Flemish 
the word is written rat or rot. 
Baudrons, in the following quo- 
tation, is a famihar name for 
a cat. 

Then that curst carmagnole, old Satan, 
Watches like baudrons by a rattan, 
Our sinful souls to get a claut on. 

— Burns : Colonel De Peysten. 

"Wonderful man, Dr. Candlish," said 
one clergyman to another. "What ver- 
satility of talent. He's fit for onything ! " 
"Aye, aye I that's true; put him doon 
a hole, he'd make a capital rottan I " — 
Anecdotes of Scottish Wit and Humour. 

Rax — Rhah 



Rax, to reach; raught, reached; 
a corruption, or perhaps the 
original of the modern English 

Never rax aboon your reach. 

The auld guidman raught down the pock. 
— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

And ye may rax Corruption's neck, 
And gi'e her for dissection. 

— Burns : A Dream. 

" Rax me a spaul o' that bubbly Jock." 
Reach me a wing of that turkey. — Dean 

Ream, to froth like beer, or 
sparkle like wine, to effervesce, 
to cream ; from the German 
rahmen, to froth; rahm, yeast; 
Flemish room. 

Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely, 

Wi' reaming swats that drank divinely. 

The swats sae reamed in Tammy's noddle, 
Fair play ! he cared na deils a boddle. 
— Burns : Tarn 0' Shanter. 

The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream.. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

That merry night we got the corn in, 
Oh sweetly then thou reafns the horn in. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Reaming dish, a shallow dish for 
containing the milk until it is 
ready for being creamed. 

Red-wud, stark, raging mad. 

And now she's like to run red-wud 

About her whisker. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

Redy used as an intensitive 
prefix to a word, is not uncom- 
mon in English and Scottish 
literature. Red vengeance is a 
vengeance that demands blood ; 
and possibly red-wud may mean 
a madness that prompts blood. 

In Gaelic the great deluge is 
called the DUe Ruadk, or red- 

Rede, advice, counsel. 

Rede me noght, quod Reason, 

No ruth to have 

Till lords and ladies 

Loves alle truth 

And hates alle harlotrie. 

— Vision of Piers Ploughman. 

Short rede is good rede. 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

I rede ye weel— tak care o' skaith— 

See there's a guUie ! 
—Burns : Death and Dr. Homiook. 

Ye gallants wight, I rede ye right. 
Beware o' bonnie Anne. 


This word was once good Eng- 
lish, as appears from the ex- 
tract from " Piers Ploughman," 
and was used by Chaucer, Gower, 
and Shakspeare. It is either 
from the Flemish and Dutch 
raed, counsel; the German reden, 
to speak; or the Gaelic radh, 
raidh, or raite, a saying, an 

Renchel, a tall, lean, lanky per- 
son; from the Gaelic reang, or 
reing, thin, lean; and gUlie, a 
youth, a young man, a feUow. 

He's naething but a lang renchel. 

— Jamieson. 

Rhaim, Rhame. According to 
Jamieson, these words signify 
either a commonplace speech, 
a rhapsody; or **to run over 
anything in a rapid and un- 
meaning way," " to repeat by 
rote, to reiterate." He thinks 

1 66 

Rickle — Rind. 

it a corruption of rhyme, "be- 
. cause proverbs were anciently 
expressed in a sort of rhyme." 

Is not the true derivation of 
the word the Teutonic rahm, 
the Flemish room, froth ; to 
ream, to cream, to froth, to 
eifervesce like soda-water or 
champagne? " A /ro^/i^ speaker" 
is a common expression of dis- 

Rickle or ruckle, a loose heap; 
rickler, a term of contempt ap- 
plied to a bad architect or 

■ builder. 

I'm grown so thin ; I'm naething but a 
rickle o' banes. — Jamieson. 

The proud Percy caused hang five of 
the Laird's henchmen at Alnwick for burn- 
ing a rickle of houses. 

Scott : The Monastery. 

A wild goose out o' season is but a ruckle 
o' banes. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Rigfging. In English this word 
is seldom used except in refer- 
ence to ships, and the arrange- 
ments of their masts, spars, 
ropes, &c. In the Scottish lan- 
guage it is employed to signify 
the roof, cross-beams, &c., of a 

This is no my ain house^ 

I ken by the rigging o't ; 
Since with my love I've changed vows, 
I dinna like the bigging [building] o't. 
— Allan Ramsay. 
There by the ingle-cheek 

I sat, 
And heard the restless rations squeak 
About the riggin. 

— Burns : The Vision. 

The word is derived from the 
Teutonic ruQlc^ the Flemish rug, 

a ridge, top, or back ; whence 
the ridge at the top of the house, 
the roof. The rigging tree is the 
roof tree. The rigging of a ves- 
sel is in like manner the roof, or 
ridge of a ship, as distinguished 
from the hull. So the colloquial 
expression to "rig out," to dress, 
to accoutre, to adorn, to put the 
finishing touch to one's attire, 
comes from the same idea of 
completion, which is involved 
in the rigging of a ship or of a 

Rigwoodie, old, lean, withered. 

Withered beldams, auld and droll, 
Rigwoodie hags. . 

—Burns : Tarn o' Shunter. 

Rigwoodie. — " Old, lean, withered." 
Mr. Robert Chambers says it means 
" worthy of the gallows." Neither of 
these meanings is correct. Rigivoodie is 
the name of the chain or rope which passes 
across the saddle to support the shafts of 
a cart or other conveyance — what an Eng- 
lishman would call the back band. This 
very likely was anciently made of twisted 
woodies or saugh or willow wands, now it 
is generally made of twisted chain and of 
iron. By a very evident metonomy Burns 
applied the twisted wrinkled appearance 
of a rigwoodie to these old wrinkled hags. 
— R. Drennan. 

Rind or rhynd, hoar frost ; a cor- 
ruption of the English rime, or 
possibly of the Kymric rhym, 
great cold ; rhyme, to shiver. 
Jamieson derives the Scottish 
rhynd and the English rime from 
the Anglo-Saxon hrim, and the 
Dutch and Flemish rym; but 
in these languages rym — more 
correctly rijm — signifies rhyme, 
in versification, not rime or 

Ringle-eyed — Rippet. 


frost. Jihind is all but obsolete 
in Lowland Scotch, and has 
been superseded by cranreuch, 
sometimes written crandruch, a 
particularly cold and penetrat- 
ing mist or fog. The etymology 
is uncertain, but the word is 
most probably a corruption 
and mispronunciation by the 
Lowland Scotch of the Gaelic 
grainn, horrible ; whence cran- 
reuch, from grainn and driugh, 
penetrate, ooze, drip ; whence 
also the word drook, to saturate 
with moisture, and droohit, wet 
through. Jamieson derives cran- 
reuch from the Gaelic cranntar- 
ach, but no such word is to be 
found in the Gaelic dictionaries 
of Armstrong, Macleod, and 
Dewar, MacAlpine, or the High- 
land Society of Edinburgh. 

When hailstones drive wi' bitter skyte, 
And infant frosts begin to bite 
In hoary cranreuch drest. 

—Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

Trumpets and shalms with a shout 

Played ere the rink began, 
And equal judges sat about 
To see wha tint or wan 

The field that day. 
—Allan Ramsay ; The Evergreen. 
Then Stevan cam steppand in, 
Nae rink might him arrest. 

— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Jamieson derives rink from the 
English ring, a circle ; but it is 
more probably from the Gaelic 
rianaich, to arrange, to set in 
order,, to prepare. 

Ripp, a handful of unthrashed 
ears of corn pulled out of the 
sheaf or stack to give to an ani- 
mal; from the Gaelic reub, to 
rend, to pull out. 

A guid New Year I wish thee, Maggie ; 

Hae ! there's a ripp to thy auld baggie. 

—Burns : Auld Farmer to his 

Auld Mare Maggie. 

An' tent their duty, e'en and mom, 

Wi' teats o' hay and ripps o' com. 

— Burns : Mailie, the Authors 
Pet Vowe. 

The French word for hoar-frost 
or cranreuch is verglas, which is 
also of Gaelic origin, from fuar, 
cold, and glas, grey. 

Ringled-eyed, squinting. 

He's out-shinned, in-kneed, and ringled- 

eyed too, 
Auld Rob Morris is the man I'll ne'er 

—Allan Ramsay : Auld Rob 

Rink, a space cleared out and set 
aside for sport or jousting, and 
in winter for curling or skating 
on the ice. 

Rippet, a slight matrimonial quar- 
rel. The word seems to be de- 
rived either from the Gaelic r\a- 
paladh, mismanagement, bung- 
ling, misunderstanding, or from 
reubte, a rent, from reub, to tear, 
to rend, to pull asunder; the 
English rip, or rip up. 

Mr. Mair, a Scotch minister, was rather 
short tempered, and had a wife named 
Rebecca, whom, for brevity sake, he 
called Beckie. He kept a diary, and 
among other entries this one was very fre- 
quent. " Beckie and I had a rippet, for 
which I desire to be humble." A gentle- 
man who had been on a visit to the mini- 
ster went to Edinburgh and told the story 
to a minister and his wife there, when the 

1 68 

Rispie — Roose. 

lady replied, " Weel, weel ! he must have 
been an excellent man that Mr. Mair. My 
husband and I sometimes have rippets, but 
deil tak' me if he's ever humble." — Dean 
Ramsay's Reminiscences. 

Rippet means a noise or disturbance of 
any kind, not specifically and only a do- 
mestic quarrel between husband and wife. 
I have often been told by my mother, 
when a boy, to be "quate and no breed 
sic a rippet." — R. Drennan. 

Rispie, a bulrush ; the badge of 
the clan Mackay, worn in the 

Among the greene rispies and the reeds. 
— Allan Ramsay: The Evergreen — The 
Golden Terge. 

Jamieson erroneously defines 
ru-pie to mean coarse grass, and 
derives the word from the Eng- 
lish ras-p^ to scrape, with which, 
however, it has not the slight- 
est connection. It seems to be 
derived from the Gaelic Was, or 
riasg, a moor, a fen, a marsh, 
where bulrushes grow ; and thus 
to signify a marsh flower or bul- 

Ritt, to thrust with a weapon, to 
stab. The etymology cannot be 
traced to the Gaelic, the Ger- 
man, the Flemish, or any other 
of the known sources of the 
Scottish language. Jamieson 
seems to think it signifies to 
scratch with a sharp instru- 
ment. It is possibly a corrup- 
tion oi right ; "rittcd it through " 
may mean, drove it right 

Young Johnston had a rust-brown sword 

Hung low down by his gair [belt], 
And he ritted'iX. through the young Colonel, 
That word he never spak mair. 
—Motherwell's Collection : Ballad 
of Young Johnson. 

Roddins, the red berries of the 
hawthorn, the wild rose, the 
sweet briar, and the mountain 
ash, more commonly called 
rowan, or rodden, in Scotland ; 
from the Gaelic ruadh, red. 
Jamieson confines the use of 
the word to the berries of the 
mountain ash, but in this he is 
mistaken, as appears from the 
following : — 

I've mair need o' the roddins, Willie, 
That grow on yonder thorn. 

He's got a bush o' roddins till her 

That grew on yonder thorn, 
Likewise a drink o' Maywell water 

Out o' his grass-green horn. 
— Buchan's Ancient Ballads, vol. ii. : 
The Earl of Douglas and Dame 

Roop, roup, to call out, especially 
if the voice be harsh and rough ; 
roopet or roupit, rendered hoarse 
by cold or by violent vocifera- 
tion. This word seems to be 
from the Flemish roop, to cry 
out ; the German rufen, to call. 

Alas ! my roupit Muse is hearse. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

Here the poet is guilty of a 
pleonasm, unusual with one so 
terse in expression, of using in 
one line the two synonymous 
words of roupit and hearse 
(hoarse). But he was sorely in 
need of a rhyme for the coarse 
but familiar word in the third 
line of the poem. Boiip also 
signifies a sale by auction, from 
the " crying out " of the person 
who offers the goods for sale. 

Roose, rouse, to praise or extol ; 
and thence, it has been sup- 



posed, by extension of meaning, 
to drink a health to the person 
praised ; also, any drinking-bout 
or carousal. The etymology of 
roosCf in the sense of to praise, 
as used in Scotland, is unknown. 
Rouse, in the sense of a drinking- 
bout, has been held by some to 
be a corruption of carouse, and 
by others, of the German ex- 
clamation, heraus ! signifying 
" empty the cup or glass," 
drink it I 

Roose the ford as ye find it. 

Roose the fair day at e'en. 

— ^Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

To roose ye up and ca' ye guid, 
An' sprang o' great an' noble bluid. 
— Burns : To Gavin Hatnilton. 

He roos'd my e'en sae bonnie blue, 
He roos'd my waist sae genty sma'. 

— Burns : Young Jockey. 

Some o' them hae roosed their hawks, 
And other some their houndes, 
And other some their ladies fair. 
— Motherwell's Ancient Minstrelsy. 

In all the above quotations 
the meaning of roost is clearly 
to praise or extol. But the 
English rouse has not that 

No jocund health that Denmark drinks 

But the great cannon to the clouds shall 

And the kings rouse, the heavens shall' 

bruit again. 
Bespeaking earthly thunder. 

— Shakspeare : Hamlet. 

I have took since supper a rouse or two 
too much. 

— Beaumont and Fletcher. 

It is thus clear that the Scot- 
tish roose and the English rouse 

are of different origin. The 
German rausch, and the Dutch 
and Flemish roes, signify semi- 
intoxication ; roesig, in these 
languages, means nearly drunk, 
or, as the French phrase it, 
*' entre deux vins," or, as the 
English slang expresses it, "half 
seas over." In Swedish, rus 
signifies drunkenness ; taga rvs, 
to get drunk; and rusig, ineb- 
riated. In Danish, runs signifies 
drunkenness, and ruse, intoxica- 
ting liquor. Nares rightly sus- 
pected that the English rouse 
was of Danish origin. The 
passage in Hamlet, act i. scene 

The king doth wake to-night and takes 
his rouse, 

signifies the king takes his 
drink, and all the other instances 
quoted by Nares are susceptible 
of the same interpretation. Nares 
quotes from Harman's " Caveat 
for Common Cursitors," 1567 : — 

I thought it my bounden duty to ac- 
quaint your goodness with the abominable, 
wicked, and detestable behaviour of all 
these rcnvsey, ragged rabblement of rake- 

He defines rowsey in this pas- 
sage to mean dirty, but, in view 
of the Danish, Dutch, and 
Flemish derivations, it ought to 
be translated drunken. 

Row, to enwrap, to entwine, to 
enfold, also to roll or flow on- 
wards like the wavelets on the 
river ; from the Gaelic ruith {rui), 
to flow, to ripple. 


Rowan — Rowth. 

Hap and row, hap and row, 
Hap and row the feetie o't, 

It is a wee bit eerie thing, 
I downa bide the greetie o't. 

— Creech. 

Then round she rozvd her silken plaid. 
— Ballad of Fremmet Hall. 

Where Cart runs rowan to the sea. 

— Burns. 

Rowan, the mountain ash ; a tree 
that grows in great perfection 
in the Highlands of Scotland, 
and named from its beautiful 
red berries, ruadh, the Gaelic 
for red. This tree, or a twig of 
it, is supposed, in the supersti- 
tion of Scotland, to be a charm 
against witchcraft. Hence, it 
has been supposed, but with- 
out sufficient authority, that 
the phrase, ' ' Aroint thee, witch , ' ' 
in Shakspeare, is a misprint for 
"a rowan-tree, witch!" The 
word occurs in no author pre- 
vious to Shakspeare. 

The night was fair, the moon was up, 
The wind blew low among the gowans. 

Or fitful rose o'er Athole woods. 
An' shook the berries frae the rowans. 
— The IVraith oj" Garry Water. 

Rowan tree and red thread 
Mak' the witches tyne [lose] their speed. 
— Old Scottish Proverb. 

Rowt, to bellow or low like cattle ; 
from the Gaelic roiteach, bellow- 
ing. Nares erroneously renders 
it " snore." " The rabble rowt," 
i.e., the roaring rabble, the 
clamorous multitude. 

The kye stood routin in the loan. 

— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Nae mair thou'lt rowie out o'er the dale, 
Because thy pasture's scanty. 

— Burns : The Ordination. 

And the king, when he had righted 
himself on the saddle, gathered his breath, 
and cried to do me nae harm ; " for," said 
he, " he is ane o' our Norland stots, I ken 
by the rowte o him ; " and they a' laughed 
and rowted loud eneuch. — Scott: For- 
tunes of Nigel. 

Rowth, plenty, abundance ; a 
word formed from roll and rdl- 
elh, Scottish row. It is expres- 
sive of the same idea as in the 
English phrase, applied to a 
rich man, " He rolls in wealth." 
A peculiarly Scottish word 
which never seems to have been 
English. It has been suggested 
that it is derived from the Gaelic 
ruathar, a sudden rush, onset, 
or inpouring ; whence meta- 
phorically, a sudden or violent 
influx of wealth or abundance. 

A rowth o auld knick-knackets, 
Rusty aim caps, and jingling jackets. 
— Burns : Captain Grose. 

The ingle-neuk, with routh o' bannocks 
and bairns ! — Dean Ramsay : A Scottish 
Toast or Sentiment. 

A rowth aumrie and a close nieve. — 

It's ye have wooers mony a ane, 
An' lassie ye 're but young, ye ken, 

Then wait a wee, and cannie wale, 
A routhie butt, a routhie ben. 

— Burns : Country Lassie. 

God grant your lordship joy and health. 
Long days and routh of real wealth. 

— Allan Ramsay : Epistle to 
Lord Dalhousie. 

A boundless hunter and a gunless 
gunner see aye rowth o' game. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Fortune, if thou wilt give me still 
Hale breeks, a scon, a whisky gill. 
And rowth o' rhyme to rave at will. 
Take a' the rest. 
—Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Roxle — Rule the Roast. 


Roxle, to grunt, to speak with 
a hoarse voice; Gaelic roc^ a 
hoarse voice ; French rauque, 
hoarse; English rook, a bird 
that has a hoarse voice in caw- 
ing ; Gaelic, rocair, a naan with 
a hoarse voice; rocail, croak- 
ing. Mr. Herbert Coleridge, in 
his dictionary of " The Oldest 
Words in the English Language, ' ' 
from the semi- Saxon period of 
A.D. 1250 to A.D. 1800, derives it 
from the Dutch rotelen, but the 
word does not appear in any- 
Dutch or Flemish dictionary. 

Royet, wild, dissipated, riotous, 
unruly. Roit, according to 
Jamieson, is a term of contempt 
for a woman, often conjoined 
with an adjective, denoting bad 
temper; as, *'an ill-natured 
roit." The resemblance to the 
English riot suggests its deriva- 
tion from that word, but both 
royet and riot are traceable to 
the Gaelic raoit, noisy, obstre- 
perous, or indecent mirth and 
revelry ; and ruidhtear, a loud 
reveller; riatach, indecent, im- 
modest. Jamieson, however, 
derives it from the French 
roide, stiff, which he wrongly 
translates fierce, ungovernable. 

Royet lads may make sober men. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Ruddy, to roar like thunder, or to 
rumble like wind in the stomach. 
Derivation uncertain, but pos- 
sibly akin to rowte or rowtin, the 
bellowing of cattle. 

I in its wame heard Vulcan ruddy. 
— Beattie : John d Amha. 

Rude, the complexion ; the ruddy 
face of a healthy person. From 
the Flemish rood, red, which 
has the same meaning ; Gaelic 
ruatli, red, corrupted by the 
Lowland Scotch into Roy, as in 
Rob Roy, Gilderoy, and applied 
to the hair as well as to the 

Of all their maidens myld as meid 

Was nane sae gymp as Gillie, 
As ony rose her rude was reid, 
Her lyre was like the lillie. 

— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 
She has put it to her roudes lip, 

And to her roudes chin, 
She has put it to her fause, fause mouth, 
But never a drap gaed in. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Prince Robert. 

Sir Walter Scott, in a note to 
this ballad, glosses roudes by 
" haggard." Surely this is 
wrong ? 

Rug, to pull. Derivation un- 

Trying to rug them off, tae an' heel. — 
Noctes A jnbrosiance. 

Rugg", a great bargain, a thing 
ridiculously cheap ; to spoil, to 
plunder, to seize. From the 
Gaelic rug, the past tense of 
heir, to take hold of. 

When borrowers brak, the pawns were 

Rings, beads of pearl, or siller jug, 
I sold them off — ne'er fashed my lug 

Wi' girns or curses ; 
The mair they whinged, it gart me hug 
My swelling purses. 
— Allan Ramsay : Last Speech of a 
Wretched Miser. 

Rule the roast. This originally 
Scottish phrase has obtained 
currency in England, and ex- 


Rummel — Ryg-hane. 

cited much controversy as to 
its origin. It has been derived 
from the function of a chief 
cook, to be master or mistress 
in the kitchen, and as such, to 
" rule the roasting." It has also 
been derived from the mastery 
of the cock among the hens, as 
ruling the place where the fowls 
roost or sleep. In the Scottish 
language roost signifies the inner 
roof of a cottage, composed of 
spars or beams reaching from 
one wall to the other; the 
highest interior part of the 
building. Hence, to rule the 
roast, or roost, or to rule the 
house, to be the master. 

Rummel, to make a confused 
sound ; from rumble. 

Your crackjaw words of half an ell, 
That rummel like a witch's spell. 

— George Beattie : John 
& Amha\ 

Rump, to break ; rumpit, broken ; 
or in English slang "to be 
cleaned out," or exhausted of 
money by losses at gambling. 
"Perhaps," says Jamieson, "in 
allusion to an animal whose tail 
has been cut off near the rump ! " 
The etymology did not need the 
"perhaps" of the non-erudite 
author, and is to be found in the 
French rompre, to break, and 
rompu, broken. 

Rumple-bane, the lowest bone of 
the spine. 

At length he got a carline grey, 

And she's come hirplin ' hame, man, 

And she fell o'er the buffet stool, 
And brak her rumplc-bane, man. 
—Johnson's Mttsical Museum. 

Rung", a cudgel, a staff, a bludgeon, 
the step of a ladder ; any thick 
strong piece of wood that may 
be wielded in the hand as a 
weapon. From the Gaelic rong^ 
which has the same meaning. 
The modern Irish call a bludgeon 
a shillelah; also a Gaelic word 
for seileach, a willow, and slaith 
{sla), a wand, 

Auld Scotland has a raucle tongue. 
She's just a deevil wi' a rung: 

— Burns. 

Runk, to whisper secret slan- 
ders, also a term of opprobrium 
applied to an old woman, a 
gossip, or a scandal-monger. 
From the Gaelic runach, dark, 
mysterious, also a confidant ; 
run, Sb secret, a mystery; and 
by extension of the original 
meaning, a scandal repeated 
under the pretence of a secret 
and confidential disclosure. 

Runt; a deprecatory or contemp- 
tuous name for an old woman ; 
from the German rind, and the 
Flemish rund, an ox, or a' cow 
that calves no longer ; also, the 
hard stalk of kail or cabbage 
left in the ground, that has 
ceased to sprout. 

Ruther. This word, according to 
Jamieson, means to storm, to 
bluster, to roar, also an uproar 
or commotion. It is probably 
from the Gaelic rutharach, quar- 
relsome, contentious, and rutha- 
rachd, quarrelsomeness. 

Ryg-bane, or rig-bane, the spine 
or backbone ; from the Flemish 

Saikless — Sak. 


rug, the German rucken, the 
back, and 6em, a bone. The 
origmal meaning of rug and 
rucken is that of extension in 
length ; from the Gaelic ruig, 
to extend, to reach, and ruigh, 

or righe, an arm ; ruighe (the 
English ridge) is the extension 
of a mountain, or of a series 
of hills forming, as it were, 
the spine or backbone of the 


Saikless, innocent, guiltless ; from 
the Teutonic sack, the cause ; 
whence sacMess, or saiHess, with- 
out cause. 

, " Oh, is this water deep," he said, 
" As it is wondrous dim ; 
Or is it sic as a saikless rnaid, 
And a leal true knicht may swim ? " 
— Ballad of Sir Roland. 
Leave off your douking on the day, 

And douk upon the night, 
And where that saikless knight lies slain, 
The candles will burn bright. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Earl Richard. 

Sain, to bless, to preserve in 
happiness ; from the German 
segnen, to bless, and segen, a 
benediction ; Flemish zegenen — 
all probably from the Latin 

Sain yoursel frae the deil and the laird's 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Sairing", enough, that which satis- 
fies one ; used both in a favour- 
able and unfavourable sense. 
"He got his sairin,^' applied to 
a drubbing or beating; in the 
ironical sense, he got enough of 
it, or, as Jamieson phrases it in 
English, "he got his bellyfull 
of it." A corruption of serve, 

or serve the purpose — therefore, 
a sufficiency. 

You couldna look your sairin at her face, 
So meek it was, so sweet, so fu' o' grace. 
—Ross's Helenore. 

Sairy or sair, very, or very great ; 
from the German sehr, as in 
zehr schon, sehr gut, very fair, 
very good; sometimes used in 
English in the form of sore ; as, 
•' sore distressed," very much 

And when they meet wi' sair disasters. 
Like loss o' health or want o' masters. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

It's a sair dung bairn that mauna greet. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

It's a sair field where a' are slain. 
— Idem. 

The state of man does change and vary : 
Now sound, now sick, now blythe, now 

Now dansand merry, now like to dee. 
—Allan Ramsay : The Evergreen. 

Sak, saik, sake, blame, guilt; 
whence sacJdess, sackless, saikless, 
guiltless, innocent ; and also, by 
extension of meaning, foolish, 
worthless, as in the correspond- 
ing English word, "an inno- 
cent," to signify an imbecile. 


Sandie — Sanshagh. 

The root of all these words 
appears to be either the German 
jach (see S airless, ante), or the 
Gaelic sag, weight ; whence also 
sag, to weigh or press down, and 
sack, a bag to carry heavy articles. 
The idea of weight, as appHed 
to guUt and blameworthiness, 
is obvious, as in the line quoted 
by Jamieson, "Mary was sack- 
less o' breaking her vow," i.e., 
she was not burthened with the 
guilt of breaking her vow. A 
saikless person, or an imbecile, 
in like manner, is one who is 
not weighted with intellect. 
Sag, in EngHsh, is said of a 
rope not drawn tightly enough, 
and weighed down in the 
middle. It also signifies to bend 
or give way under pressure of 

The heart I bear 
Shall never sag- with doubt or shake with 
fear. — Shakspeare. 

"It is observable," says Dr. 
Johnson, "that sack (in the 
sense of a bag for carrying 
weight) is to be found in all 
languages, and is therefore 
conceived to be antediluvian." 
The phrase "sair sav^ht," quoted 
by Jamieson, and defined as 
signifying " much exhausted, 
and especially descriptive of 
bodily debility," is traceable to 
the same root, and might be 
rendered, sorely weighed down 
by weakness or infirmity. There 
is, however, in spite of these 
examples, much to be said in 
favour of the derivation from 
the German sack. 

Sandie, Sanders, Sawney, San- 
nock, abbreviations of the fa- 
vourite Scottish Christian name 
of Alexander ; from the last two 
syllables. The English com- 
monly abbreviate the first two 
syllables into Aleck. In the days 
immediately after the accession 
of James VI. to the English 
throne, under the title of James 
L, to the time of George III. 
and the Bute Administration, 
when Scotsmen were exceed- 
ingly unpopular, and when Dr. 
Samuel Johnson — the great 
Scoto-phobist, the son of a 
Scotch bookseller at Lichfield — 
thought it prudent to disguise 
his origin, and overdid his pru- 
dence by maligning his father's 
countrymen, it was customary 
to designate a Scotsman as a 
Sawney. The vulgar epithet, 
however, is fast dying out, and 
is nearly obsolete. 

An', Lord ! renjember singing Sannock, 
Wi' hale bracks, saxpence, and a ban- 

Burns: To James Tait. 

Sanshagh or sanshach. Jamieson 
defines this word as meaning 
wily, crafty, sarcastically clever, 
saucy, disdainful, and cites — 
'* * He's a sanshach callant, or 
chiel,' is a phrase used in Aber- 
deenshire and the Mearns." He 
thinks it is derivable from the 
Gaelic saobh-nosach, angry, pee- 
vish, irascible ; but it is more 
probable that it comes from 
sean, old, and seach {shach), dry 
or caustic, an old man of a 
cynical temper. 

Sant — Sap. 

O ■ THE 




Sant or saunter. Jamieson defines 
this word as meaning "to dis- 
appear, to vanish suddenly out 
of sight," and quotes it as in 
use in Ettrick Forest. ** It's 
santed, but it will, may be, cast 
up again." In Wright's *' Dic- 
tionary of Obsolete and Provin- 
cial English," saunt, a northern 
word, is said to signify to van- 
ish ; and saum, to wander lazily 
about. The word is nearly, if 
not quite obsolete, and does not 
appear either in Burns or Allan 
Kamsay. Sant was formerly 
current in the same sense as 
saunter, to roam idly or listlessly 
about ; to saum, to disappear 
from, or neglect one's work or 
duty. Johnson derived saunter 
from an expression said to 
have been used in the time 
of the crusades, in application 
to the idle vagabonds and im- 
postors who roamed through 
the country and begged for 
money to help them on their 
way to the Holy Land, or 
La Sainte Terre. Saunter, as 
now used in English, is almost 
synonymous with the Scottish 
dauner, q.v. But no authori- 
tative derivation has yet been 
discovered, either for sant or 
saunter, unless that given by Mr. 
Wedgwood, from the German 
schlendern, can be deemed satis- 
factory. In Sheffield, Duke of 
Buckingham's Essay on "Satire," 
saunter is used in a curiously 
unusual sense, an investigation 
of which may possibly throw 
light on the original meaning 
of the word. 

While sauntering Charles betwixt so mean 

a brace [of mistresses], 
Meets with dissembling still in either place, 
Affected humour or a painted face ; 
In loyal libels we have often told him 
How one has jilted him, the other sold him. 

Was ever Prince by two at once misled, 
Foolish and false, ill-natured and ill-bred ? 

Sir Walter Scott cites from the 
same author, in reference to the 
sauntering of Charles II. : — 

In his later hours, there was as much 
laziness as love in all those hours he passed 
with his mistresses, who, after all, only 
served to fill up his seraglio, while a be- 
witching kind of pleasure called sauntering- 
and talking without restraint, was the true 
sultana he delighted in. 

In Gaelic sannt, andsanntaich, 
signifies to covet, to desire, to 
lust after; and if this be the 
true derivation of the word, the 
passage from the Duke of Buck- 
ingham would be exceedingly 
appropriate. To saunter was 
applied to idle men who fol- 
lowed women about the streets, 
with libidinous intent of admi- 
ration or conversation ; sann- 
taire, a lustful man. The French 
have a little comedy entitled 
" Un monsieur qui suit les 
femmes," which expresses the 
idea of saunterer, as applied to 
Charles 11. 

Sap, a fool, a simpleton, a ninny. 
The English has milk-sop, an 
effeminate fool. Sap and sop 
are both derived from the Gae- 
lic saobh, silly, foolish, as well 
as the English slang, soft, apt 
to be imposed upon. 


Sark — Scaff-raff. 

Sark, the linen, woollen, silken, 
or cotton garment worn next 
to the skin by men and women ; 
a shirt or shift ; the French 
chemise, the German hemde. 
Weel'SarJcif, well provided with 

The last Hallowe'en I was wauken, 
My droukit sark-s\ee\Q as ye ken. 
— Burns : Tarn Glen. 

They reel'd, they sat, they crossed, they 

Till ilka carlin swat and reekit, 
And coost her duddies to the wark. 
And linkit at it in her sark ! 

Tarn tint his reason a' thegither, 

And roar'd out, "Weel done ! Cutty sark ! " 

And in an instant a' was dark. 

— Burns : Ta»t d Shanter. 

Being asked what was the diflference be- 
tween Presbyterian ministers, who wear no 
surplices, and Episcopalians, who do, an 
old lady replied, " Well, ye see, the Pres- 
byterian minister wears his sark under his 
coat, the Episcopalian wears his sark 
aboon his coat."— Dean Ramsay. 

The phrase, " sarh-alane," is 
used to signify nude, with the 
exception of the shirt ; and " a 
sarJcfu' o' sair banes," to express 
the condition of a person suffer- 
ing from great fatigue, or from 
a sound beating. The etymo- 
logy of the word, which is pecu- 
liar to Scotland and the North 
of England, is uncertain. At- 
tempts have been made to trace 
it from the Swedish, the Ice- 
landic, the Anglo-Saxon, and 
the Greek, but without success. 

In the "Dictionaire de la 
Langue Komane, ou du Vieux 
Langage Frangaise " (Paris, 
1768), the Scottish word sarJc is 

rendered serecote, and serecot, 
" une camisole, une chemisette." 

Saugh, a willow ; the French 
saule, Gaelic seUeag. 

The glancin' waves o' Clyde 
Through sauglts and hanging hazels glide. 
— PiNKERTON : Bothwell Bank. 

Saulie, a hired mourner, a 
mute, or undertaker's man. The 
word seems to have been em- 
ployed to express the mock or 
feigned sorrow assumed in the 
lugubrious faces of these men, 
and to be derived from the Gae- 
lic mil, mockery, satire, deri- 
sion ; samhladhj an apparition, a 
ghost, has also been suggested 
as the origin of the word. The 
derivation of Jamieson from 
salve reginam is scarcely worthy 
of consideration. 

Saur, to flavour ; saurless, insipid, 
tasteless ; supposed to be a cor- 
ruption of savour. The French 
for a red herring is sawe ; and 
saurir, or saurer, is to flavour 
with salt. 

Scaff-raff, rubbish, refuse. 

If you and I were at the Witherspoon's 
Latch, wi' ilka ane a gude oak hippie in 
his hand, we wadna turn back — no, not for 
half-a-dozen o' your scaff-raff. — Scott : 
Guy Mannering. 

Jamieson, unaware of the in- 
digenous roots of these words, 
derives them from the Swedish 
scaef, a rag, anything shaved 
off; and raja, to snatch away. 
The true etymology, however, 
is from the Gaelic sgamh (pro- 

Scag — Scarnoch. 


nounced scav), dross, dirt, rub- 
bish; and rdbh {raff), coarse, 
idle, useless. 

Scag, to shrivel in the heat, or by- 
exposure to the weather, to split, 
to crack in the heat; a term 
applied in the fishing villages of 
Scotland to fish, dried or fresh, 
that have been kept too long. 
** A scaggit haddie " is a haddock 
spoiled by long expos ure . Jamie - 
son hesitates between the Ice- 
landic skacka, inquare ; and the 
Gaehc sgag, as the derivation of 
this word. Sgag, in Gaelic, signi- 
fies to shrivel up, to crack, to 
split, or to spoil and become 
putrid by long keeping ; sgagta, 
lean, emaciated. 

Seance, skance. To reflect upon 
a person's character or conduct 
by charge or insinuation ; to 
censure, to taunt indirectly ; to 
glance at a subject cursorily in 
conversation ; also, a transient 
look at anjrthing. These words 
are not used in English, though 
askance, a recognised English 
word, appears to be from the 
same root. The ordinary de- 
rivation of askance is either from 
the Italian schianco, athwart, or 
from the Flemish and Dutch 
schuin, oblique, to squint. The 
latter etymology, though it 
meets the English sense of the 
word, does not correspond with 
the variety of meanings in which 
it is employed in Scotland. 
Neither does it explain the 
English scan, to examine, to 
scrutinise,— stiU less the scan- 

ning, or scansion of the syllables 
or feet in a verse. 

Perhaps the Gaelic sgath, a 
shadow, a reflection in the water 
or in a glass, sgathan {sga-an), a 
mirror, and sgathanaich, to look 
in a glass, may supply the root 
of the Scottish, if not the Eng- 
lish words. Tried by these tests, 
seance might signify to cast a 
shadow or a reflection upon one, 
to take a rapid glance as of 
one's self in a glass ; and to scan, 
to examine, to scrutinise, " to 
hold the mirror up to nature," 
as Shakspeare has it. In these 
senses, the word might more 
easily be derivable from the 
Gaelic, which does not imply 
obliquity, than from the Flemish 
and Dutch, of which obliquity 
is the leading, if not the sole 
idea, as in the English squint. 

Then gently scan your brother man, 

Still gentler sister woman ; 
Though they may gang a kennin' wrang, 

To step aside is human. 
— Burns : Address to the Unco Guid. 

To scan a verse, to examine or 
scrutinise whether it contains 
the proper number of feet or 
syllables, or is otherwise correct, 
may possibly be an offshoot of 
the same idea; though aU the 
etymologists insist that it comes 
from the Italian scandio, to 

Scarnoch. A scarnoch o' words 
signifies a multitude of words, 
such as are unnecessarily used 
by wordy lawyers and by over 
garrulous Members of Parlia- 
ment, who use them, as Solomon 


Scaii — Schore. 

said in old times, ** to darken 
counsel," and as a wise and 
cynical man of more modern 
days— the late Prince Talleyrand 
— said with equal appropriate- 
ness, " pour deguiser la pensee" 
(to disguise their thoughts). 
Scarnoch also signifies a tumul- 
tuous din, the murmur or shout- 
ing of a crowd, and scarochin, 
a great noise. Jamieson derives 
these words* from the Swedish 
skara, a crowd, a cohort, but 
the true root is the Gaelic sgaim, 
to howl as dogs, wolves, or other 
animals, and sgarneach, howling, 
shrieking, roaring, &c. 

Scart, a scratch ; scart-free, with- 
out a scratch or injury. Scart 
is also a name given, in most 
parts of Scotland, to the rapa- 
cious sea-bird, the cormorant. 
Scart, to scratch, is a softer 
rendering of the harsher English 
word ; and scart, a cormorant, is 
a corruption of the Gaelic sgarbh, 
which has the same meaning. 

They that bourd wi' cats may count upon 
scaris.— Allan Ramsay. 

"To scart the buttons," or draw one's 
hand down the breast of another, so as 
to touch the buttons with one's nail, is a 
mode of challenging to battle among Scot- 
tish boys. — Jamieson. 

Like scarts upon the wing by the hope of 
plunder led. 

—Legends of the Isles. 
D'ye think ye'll help them wi' skirlin' 
that gate, like an auld skart before a flaw 
o' weather ?— Scott : The Antiquary. 

Scaur, a steep rock, a cliflf on the 
shore ; sTcerrie, a rock in the sea. 
Scarborough, a watering-place 

in England, signifies the town 
on the cliff or rock ; STcerrievore^ 
or the great rock or skerrie, from 
sgeir and mhor, is the name of 
the famous lighthouse on the 
West Coast of Scotland. The 
skerries are rocks in the sea 
among the Scilly islands. Both 
scaur and skerrie are traceable to 
the Gaelic sgeir, a rock in the 
sea, and sgor, a steep mountain 
side ; whence also the English 
scar in Scarborough. 

Ye that sail the stormy seas 
Of the distant Hebrides. 

By lordly Mull and Ulva's shore 
Beware the witch of Skerrievore. 

—Legends of the Isles. 

Where'er ye come by creek or scaur. 
Ye bring bright beauty. 

—James Ballantine. 

Schacklock. Jamieson imagines 
this word to mean a pickpocket 
or burglar, or one who shakes 
or loosens locks. It is, however, 
a term of contempt for a lazy 
ne'er-do-weel, like the similar 
English word, sTvackahack, and 
is derivable from the Gaelic seac 
(shack), useless, withered, dried 
up, and leug, dull, sluggish, or 
incorrigibly lazy. 

Schore, a man of high rank; 
schore-chiefiain, a supreme chief. 
Jamieson derives schore from the 
German schor or schoren, " altus 
eminens "—a word which is not 
to be found in any German 
dictionary, nor in Dutch or 
Flemish, or any other Teutonic 
speech. The etymology is un- 

Schrew — Sclaurie, 


known or difficult to discover, 
unless it be presumed that the 
word was used metaphorically 
for high, in the sense of an 
eminence ; from the Gaelic sgor, 
a steep rock, a cliff. 

Schrew (sometimes written 
sckrow), to curse; allied to the 
English shrew, a scolding and 
ill-tempered woman, and usually- 
derived from the German besch- 
reien, to curse. A screw, in 
English slang, signifies a mean, 
niggardly person, who, in Ameri- 
can parlance, would be called 
*'a mean cuss," or curse. A 
miserable old horse is called a 
screw, not as the Slang Dic- 
tionary says, "from the serew- 
liJce manner in which his ribs 
generally show through the 
skin," but from the original 
sense of shrew, to curse — i.e., 
a horse only fit to swear at 
— or possibly from the Gaelic 
sgruitt old, wrinkled, thin, 
meagre. Schrewit signifies ac- 
cursed, also poisonous, which 
is doubtless the origin of the 
slang English screwed, intoxi- 
cated. The kindred English 
word scrub, a mean person, and 
scrubbed, vile, worthless, shabby, 
as used by Shakspeare in the 
phrase, "a little scrubbed boy," 
is evidently derived from the 
Gaelic sgrub, to act in a mean 
manner, and sgrubair, a churl, 
a niggard, or a despicable per- 
son. The true derivation of the 
Scottish schrew remains obscure. 
In its form of shrew or schrow 
the word was formerly used in 

reference to the male sex, in 
the sense of a disagreeable and 
quarrelsome person ; as in shrewd, 
an epithet applied to a man of 
penetration and sharp common 
sense. These words, whether 
schrew or schrow be the correct 
form, have given rise to many 
discussions among etymologists, 
which are not yet ended. Shrew 
or schrow has been derived not 
only from the Teutonic schreien, 
to shriek, to call out lustily, 
but from the little harmless 
animal called the shrew mouse, 
which was fabled to run over 
the backs of cattle and do 
them injury by the supposed 
venom of its bite. Some of 
these apparently incongruous 
or contradictory derivations are 
resolvable by the Gaelic sgi'uth 
{sru), to run, to flow. A shrew is 
a scold, a woman whose tongue 
runs too rapidly, or a man, if 
he have the same disagreeable 
characteristic ; shrewd is an 
epithet applied to one whose 
ideas run clearly and precisely. 
The shrew mouse is the running 

Sclaurie, to bespatter with mud ; 
also metaphorically, to abuse, 
revile, to asperse, make accusa- 
tion against, on the principle 
of the English saying, " Throw 
mud enough; some of it will 
stick." The lowland Scotch 
claur, or glaur, signifies mud, 
q.v. This word is derived from 
the Gaelic clabar (aspirated clab- 
har or claur), filth, mire, mud ; 
" A gowpen o' glaur," or claur, 


Scogie — Scoot 

the two hands conjoined, filled 
with mud. When the initial 
s was either omitted from or 
joined to the root-word, is not 

Scogie or scogie-lass, a kitchen 
drudge, a maid-of-all-work, a 
"slavey;" one unskilled in all 
but the commonest and coarsest 
work. From the Gaelic sgog, a 
fool, a dolt, one who knows 

Scoil, shriek ; akin to the English 

A n' smellin' John he gaed a scoil, 
Then plunged and gart the water boil. 
— yohn d AmhcC. 
Till echo for ten miles around 
Did to the horrid scoil resound. 

Scold or skald. Fingal and the 
other warriors whose deeds are 
commemorated by Ossian, drank 
out of shells (scallop shells), 
doubtless the first natural ob- 
jects that in the earliest ages 
were employed for the purpose. 
Scold is an obsolete word, signi- 
fying to drink a health, evi- 
dently derived from shell, or 
scallop; the Teutonic scTiale, a 
shell or a cup ; the Danish 
sTciall, the French escaiUe or 
ecaille, the Flemish and Dutch 
schelp and schaal, the Norse sJcul, 
the Greek chalys, the Latin calix, 
a shell or cup. Possibly the 
tradition that the Scandinavian 
warriors drank their wine or 
mead out of the skuUs of their 
enemies whom they had slain in 
battle, arose fi'om a modern mis- 

conception of the meaning oiskul 
— originally synonymous with 
the skull or cranium, or shell of 
the brain. Skid is used by the 
old Scottish poet, Douglas, for 
a goblet or large bowl. 

To scold or scoil, to drink healths, to 
drink as a toast ; scolder, a drinker of 
healths ; skul, a salutation of one who is 
present, or of the respect paid to an absent 
person, by expressing a wish for his health 
when one is about to drink it. 

— Jamieson. 

Skeolach (sgeolach), the name of one of 
Fingal's drinking cups, — Macleod and 
Dewar : Gaelic Dictionary. 

The custom of drinking out of shells is 
of great antiquity, and was very common 
among the ancient Gael. Hence the ex- 
pression so often met with in the Fingal ian 
poets, "the hall of shells," "the chief of 
shells," "the shell and the song." The 
scallop shell is still used in drinking strong 
liquors at the tables of those gentlemen 
who are desirous to preserve the usages of 
their ancestors. — Armstrong's Gaelic Dic- 
tionary, 1828. 

Scon or scone, a barley cake ; 
from the Gaelic sgonn, a lump 
or mass. 

Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn, 

Thou King o' grain, 
On thee auld Scotland chaws her cood, 
In souple scones, the wale o' food. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Sconfice, discomfit, beaten, led 
astray, subdued ; from the Gaelic 
sgon, bad, andj^os, knowledge. 

I'm unco wae for the puir lady ; I'm feart 
she'll grow wud gin she be lang in yon 
hole, for it would sconfice a horse, forbye 
a bodj\— Macleav's Memoirs of the Clan 

Scoot, a tramp, a gad-about, a 
vagrant, a term of opprobrium 
given to a low woman; from 

Scottis bed — Screed, 


the Gaelic sguit, to wander. 
The English scout, a person em- 
ployed by an army to recon- 
noitre, by travelling or wander- 
ing to and fro, so as to observe 
the motions of the enemy, is 
obviously from the same root. 

Scottis bed. *• This phrase," says 
Jamieson, "occurs in an Aber- 
deen Register, but it is not easy 
to aflSx any determinate mean- 
ing to it." May it not mean a 
ship's bed, or a hammock ; from 
scothach, a small skiff ? 

Scouk, to sneak, to loiter idly or 
furtively ; either a corruption 
of the English sJctdk, or a deri- 
vation with an allied meaning ; 
from the Gaelic sguga, a coarse, 
ill-mannered, ungainly person. 

They grin, they glower, they scouk, 
they gape. 

—/acoitie Relics. 

Scouth or skouth, elbow-room, 
space, scope, room for the arm' 
in wielding a weapon so as to 
cut off an enemy or an obstruc- 
tion at a blow ; from the Gaelic 
sgud, to lop, to cut off ; sgudadh, 
act of cutting down by a sudden 

An' he get scouth to wield his tree, 
I fear you'll both be paid. 

— Ballad of Robin Hood. 

By break of day he seeks the dowie 

That he may scouth to a' his morning 

len' (lend). 

— Allan Ramsay : Pastoral on the 
Death of Matthew Prior. 

They tak religion in their mouth. 
They talk o' mercy, grace, and truth— 

For what ? to gie their malice scouth 

On some poor wight, 
An' hunt him down, o'er right and ruth. 

To ruin straight. 
—Burns : To the Rev. John M*Math. 

" Scouth and routh " is a pro- 
verbial phrase for elbow-room 
and abundance. 

That's a good gang for your horse, he'll 
have scouth and routh. — Jamieson. 

Scowf, a blustering, low scoun- 
drel. Dutch and Flemish schoft. 
Explained in Dutch and French 
dictionaries as ^^ maroufle, coquin, 
maraud," i.e., a low scoundrel, a 
rogue, an impudent blackguard. 

He's naething but a scouf; Danish 
scuffer, to gull, to cheat, to shuffle ; a cheat, 
a false pretender. — Jamieson. 

Scran or skran, odds and ends 
or scraps of eatables, broken 
victuals ; also applied derisively 
to food or daily bread. 

Scranning is a phrase used by school- 
boys when they spend their pocket-money 
at the pastry-cook's. — Jamieson. 

Scran-pock, a beggar's wallet to 
hold scraps of food. The word 
scran is derived from the Gaelic 
sgrath (pronounced sgra), to peel, 
to pare, to take off the rind or 
skin, and sgrathan {sgra-an), a 
little peeling or paring. In the 
sense of food, the word occurs 
in the Irish objurgation, "Bad 
scran to ye 1 " 

Screed, a lengthy discourse or 
written article. This word is 
defined in a note to a passage 
in the " Noctes Ambrosianae" 
as a '* liberal allowance of any- 

1 82 Screik d Day — Scroggam and Ruffam, 

A man, condemned to death for rape 
and murder at Inverness, requested that 
the editor of the Courier might be per- 
mitted to see him the night before his 
execution. After some talk, the criminal 
said, "Oh, Mr. Carruthers, what a screed 
you'll be printin' in your next paper about 
me ! "— M. 

Screik (or scrai^h) o' day, the 

early dawn, the first flush of the 
morning light. Jamieson says 
the radical word is creek ; from 
the Teutonic krieche, "aurora 
rutilans." It has been suggested 
that screich, or shriek, of day, 
means the shrill cry of the cock 
at early morn, but it is more 
probable that the phrase is from 
the Flemish krieken van den 
dag, which the French translate 
Vauhe dujour, Vaurore, the dawn 
of day. 

Scrieve, to roll or move or glide 
easily ; from the Gaelic sgrioh, 
to scrape, to draw a line or a 
furrow, to go on an excursion or 

The wheels o' life gae down -hill scrievin. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Scrimp, bare, scarce ; scrimply, 
barely, scarcely. 

Down flowed her robe, a tartan sheen. 
Till half a leg was scrimply seen. 
And such a leg ! my bonnie Jean 
Alone could peer it. 

— Burns : The Vision. 

Scrog", a stunted bush, furze ; 
scroggy, abounding in under- 
wood, covered with stunted 
bushes or furze like the Scottish 
mountains ; from the Gaelic 
sgrogag, stunted timber or under- 

The way toward the cite was stony, 

thorny, and scraggy. — Gesta Romanorum. 

As I came down by Merriemass, 

And down among the scroggs. 

The bonniest chield that e'er I saw 

Lay sleeping 'mang his dogs. 

— Johnnie of Bredislee.. 

Sir Walter Scott, when in his 
last illness in Italy, was taken 
to a wild scene on the mountains 
that border the Lago di Garda. 
He had long been apathetic, 
and almost insensible, to sur- 
rounding objects ; but his fad- 
ing eyes flashed with unwonted 
fire at the sight of the furze 
bushes and scrogs that reminded 
him of home and Scotland, and 
he suddenly exclaimed, in the 
words of the Jacobite ballad — 

Up the scroggy mountain. 
And down the scroggy glen. 

We dare na gang a hunting, 
For Charlie and his men. 

Scroggam and ni£fam. These 
two words occur as a kind of 
chorus in a song attributed, but 
on doubtful authority, to Kobert 
Bums. It is wholly unworthy 
of his genius, and appears — if 
he had anything at all to do 
with it — to have been slightly 
mended, to make it more pre- 
sentable in decent company. 
Burns was almost wholly unac- 
quainted with Gaelic, though he 
occasionally borrowed a phrase 
or a word from that language 
without quite comprehending its 

There was a wife wonn'd in Cockpen, 

Scroggam ! 
She brewed guid ale for gentlemen. 
Sing, Auld Coul lay ye down by me, 
Scroggam, my dearie, ruffam. 

Scrub — Scunner. 


Scroggam is the Gaelic for 
sgroggam, let me put on my 
bonnet ; and ruffam is ruhham, or 
(ruffam) let me rub or scratch. 
An obscene meaning is con- 
cealed in the words. 

Scrub, a terrn of contempt for a 
mean, niggardly person ; a Scot- 
tish word that has made good 
its place in the English verna- 
cular. Scroppit, sordid, parsi- 
monious ; from the Gaelic scrub, 
to hesitate, to delay, especially 
in giving or paying ; sgrubail, 
niggardly ; scrubair, a churl, a 

S c r u n t, a worn - out broom ; 
scrunty, a Northern word, sig- 
nifying, according to Halliwell, 
short, stunted. Jamieson gives 
a second interpretation — **a 
person of slender make, a 
walking skeleton. ' ' Possibly the 
word is a corruption of the 
English shrink, shrank. There 
is no trace of it either in the 
Teutonic or the Gaelic. 

S cuddy, stark naked ; from the 
Gaelic sguad, to strip or lay 

Strip a country lass o' laigh degree per- 
fectly scuddy, and set her beside a town 
belle o' a noble blood, equally naked, 
and wha can tell the ewe-milker frae the 
duchess? — Nodes Ambrosiana. 

Scug or skug, to hide, to take 
shelter, to run to sanctuary, to 

That's the penance he maun dree 

To scug his deadly sin. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Young Benjie. 

In this quotation, skug seems 
to mean expiate, rather than 
hide or take refuge from the 
consequence of the deadly sin. 
Jamieson derives this word from 
the Gothic-Swedish skugga, a 
shade. It does not, however, 
appear in modern Swedish dic- 
tionaries. Skug and scuggery 
are noted both by Halliwell and 
Wright as northern English 
words for secret, hidden, and 
secrecy. In a note to the ballad 
of " Young Benjie," in the 
" Minstrelsy of the Scottish 
Border," Sir Walter Scott states 
that scug means to shelter or 
expiate. Possibly, if the inter- 
pretation of "shelter" can be 
accepted as connected, the ety- 
mology of the word is the Gae- 
lic sgathach, pronounced sgctch, 
or skug, a screen. 

Scunner or sconner, a very ex- 
pressive word, significant of a 
loathing or aversion to a thing 
or person, for which it is some- 
times diflScult or impossible to 

And yill and whisky gie to cairds 
Until they scunner. 

— Burns: To James Smith. 

From the Gaelic sgonn, bad, 
also rude, boorish, ill-mannered. 
It enters also into the compo- 
site of the English word scoun- 
drel, and the Italian scondruds, 
evidently of Celtic and Tuscan 
origin. Or it may perhaps be 
derived with equal propriety 
from sgeun, a fright, and sgeun- 
aich, to frighten. 

1 84 

Scutch — Sell. 

Scutch, to bruise or beat, to beat 
or dress flax. The error of 
Shakspeare's printers in spell- 
ing scutch as scotch, has led to 
the all but incorrigible mispro- 
nunciation of the word — "We 
have scotched the snake, not 
killed it "—and to the idea that 
the word has something to do 
with Scotland, and with the 
habits of the Scottish people. 
Squids, pronounced scuitch or 
scutch, is the Gaelic for to bruise, 
to beat ; sguidseadh, the act of 
dressing flax. The word scutch 
is still used in the northern 
counties of England. 

Sea-maw, the sea-gull, or sea- 
mew ; the beautiful white bird 
of the ocean. 

Keep your ain fish-guts to feed your ain 
sea-maws. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

The white sea-mew, and not 
the white dove, was considered 
by the Druids the bird that 
Noah let fly from the ark on 
the subsiding of the Deluge. 
The name of 'pigeon, sometimes 
given to the dove, signifies in 
Gaelic the bird of security ; 
from jpighe, bird, and dion {di 
pronounced ji), security, pro- 
tection. The coincidence is 

Seile, happiness ; from the Ger- 
man selig, happy. 

Sei^e o' your face I is a phrase in Aber- 
deenshire, expressive of a blessing on the 
person to whom It is addressed. — Dean 

Sokand seil is best — the happiness that 
is earned is best — i.e., earned by the 
plough ; from sock, the ploughshare, and 
here used metaphorically for labour of any 
kind. — Ferguson's Scots Proverbs. 

Selkouth or selcouth, seldom seen 
or known ; rendered * ' wondrous ' ' 
by Sir Walter Scott, in the notes 
to "Thomas the Khymer." The 
word is of the same origin as the 
English uncouth, strange, or un- 
known ; from Icythe, to show, or 

By Leader's side 
A selkouth sight they see, 
A hart and hind pace side by side 
As white as snow. 

' — Thomas the Rhymer. 

Sell or selle, a seat, a chair, a 
stool. Latin sed\le, French sdle, 
a saddle, the seat of a rider. This 
was once an English as well as 
a Scottish word, though obso- 
lescent in the Elizabethan era. 
Shakspeare uses it in Macbeth — 

Vaulting ambition that o'erleaps itself. 
And falls on the other— 

which, to render the image per- 
fect, as Shakspeare meant — 
and no doubt wrote — ought to 
be read — 

Vaulting ambition that o'erleaps its sell, 
And falls on the other side. 

The London compositors of 
Shakspeare's time, ignorant of 
the word sell, insisted upon mak- 
ing self of it, and in omitting 
"side." Ambition, in the guise 
of a horseman, vaulting to the 
horse's back, could not fall on the 
other side of itself ; though it 
might well fall on the other side 

Shacklebane — Shangie-mou' d. 


of the sM or saddle, and light 
upon the ground, which is the 
true Shakspearian metaphor. 

Shacklebane, the wrist; a word 
apparently first applied to a 
prisoner who was handcuffed, 
or manacled. 

Shadow-half, the northern ex- 
posure of land. Sir Walter 
Scott built Abbotsford on the 
wrong side of the Tweed — in 
the shadow-half. Land with a 
southern exposure is called the 
sunny-half, or the sunnyside. 

S h a g; h 1 e, sometimes written 
shaucle, to walk clumsily, to 
shuffle along, to drag or shackle 
the feet as if they were pain- 
fully constrained by the shoes ; 
to distort from the original 
shape, to wear out. 

Had ye sic a shoe on ilka foot, it wad 
gar ye shaghle. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

And how her new shoon fit her auld shachtt 
— Burns : Last May a Braiv Wooer. 

Schachled is metaphorically applied to a 
young woman who has been deserted by 
her lover. She is, on this account, com- 
pared to a pair of shoes that have been 
thrown aside, as being so put out of shape 
as to be unfit to be worn any longer. 

— Jamieson. 

Jamieson derives this word from 
the Icelandic skaga, deflectere ; 
skaggrer, obliquus. If he had 
looked at the Gaelic, he would 
have found seac {shale), dried up, 
worn out, without substance, 

Shairnie-faced, a contemptuous 
epithet applied to a person with 
a very dirty face; from sham, 
or shairn, dung, more especially 
cow-dung, sometimes called in 
English covf-sherd, a word, in 
all probability, from the same 

Flae luggit, shairnie-faced. 

— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Shalk, a servant, a workman, a 
farm-servant ; from the Gaelic 
sgalag, corrupted in America 
into scalaivag, and used as a 
term of opprobrium. The word 
enters into the components of 
the French marechal, and the 
English marshal ; from the Gaelic 
maor, a bailiff, overseer, steward, 
or superintendent ; and sgalag, 
a servant or workman, whence 
marechal, one in charge of work- 
men or servants. 

Shang, a vulgar term for a hasty 
luncheon or "snack," and for 
what Scottish children call a 
" piece ; " shangie, thin, meagre, 

A shang o' bread and cheese, a bite be- 
tween meals. In Icelandic skan, a crust, 
a rind. — Jamieson. 

The root is probalbly the Gaelic 
seang {sheang), lean, hungry ; 
thence, by extension of meaning, 
a piece taken to satisfy hunger. 

Shangie-mou'd, hare-lipped, or 
with a cleft mouth ; from shan- 
gan, a cleft stick, or anything 
cleft or divided. 

Shangie-mou'd, haluket Meg. 

—The Blithesome Bridal. 


Shank — Shath mont. 

The word haZuJcet in this de- 
risory line appears to be a form 
of haZse, a giddy, thoughtless 

Shank, the leg. This noun is 
sometimes used as a verb in 
Scotland, and signifies to depart, 
to send away, to dismiss. To 
shank a person is to send him 
away ; equivalent in English, to 
give him the sack ; to shanJc one's 
self away is to leave without 
ceremony. The English phrase, 
to go on shank's or shanks' s mare, 
i.e., to walk, is rendered in 
Scottish — to go on shank's naigie, 
or little nag. Jamieson absurdly 
suggests that the English, to 
travel by the marrow-hone stage, 
i.e., to walk, or go on shank's 
mare, may be derived from the 
parish of Marylebone, in Lon- 
don. The etymology of shank 
is the Gaelic seang {shank), lean, 
slender, like the tibia, or bone 
of the leg. 

Shannach, or shannagh, a word 
explained by Jamieson in the 
phrase, " ' It's ill shannagh in 
you to do this or that,' i.e., it 
is ill on your part, or it is 
ungracious in you to do so." 
In Gaelic seanacach signifies 
wily, cunning, sagacious, which 
is clearly the root of shannagh, 
so that the phrase cited by 
Jamieson signifies it is not wise, 
or it is ill wisdom on your part 
to do so. 

Shard (more properly sharg), a 
contemptuous epithet applied 

to a little, weazened, under- 
grown, and, at the same time, 
petulant and mischievous child. 
From the GaeUc searg {s pro- 
nounced as sh), a withered, 
insignificant person or animal, 
one shrivelled or dried up 
with age, sickness, or infirm- 
ity ; seargta, withered, dried up, 

Shargar, sharg, a lean, scraggy, 
cadaverous person. Shargie, thin, 
shrivelled, dried up ; from the 
Gaelic searg, a puny man or 
beast, one shrivelled with sick- 
ness or old age ; also, to wither, 
to fade away, to dwindle or dry 
up, from want of vitality. 

Sharrow, sharp, sour or bitter 
to the taste. Flemish schcrp, 
French acerbe, Gaelic searbh, 
bitter ; searbhad, bitterness ; 
searbhag, a bitter draught. 

Shathmont, a measure, of which 
the exact length is uncertain, 
but which is evidently smalL 

As I was walking all alane 
Atween the water and the wa', 

There I spied a wee, wee man, 
The wee'est man that e'er I saw. 

His leg was scarce a shathmont lang. 
—Ballad of the Wee, Wee Man. 

This obsolete English, as well 
as Scottish word, is sometimes 
written shaftmond, and shaft- 
man. It appears in "Morte 
Arthur," and other early Eng- 
lish poems. The etymology has 
never been satisfactorily traced. 
Shacht, which is also written 
schaft, is Flemish for the handle 

Shaver — Shaw. 


of a pike, or hilt of a sword ; 
and mand is a basket or other 
piece of wickerwork; whence 
schacht-mand, a basket-hilt, or 
the length of a basket hilt of 
a sword, which may possibly 
be the origin of the word. 
The length of a shathmont is 
stated to be the distance be- 
tween the outstretched thumb 
and little finger — a distance 
which corresponds with the 
position of the hand, when 
grasping the sword-hilt. Maund, 
for basket, is not yet entirely 

Shaver, a droll fellow, a wag, a 
funster, or one who indulges in 
attempts at fun ; shavie, a trick. 

Than him at Agincourt wha shone. 
Few better were or braver, 

And yet wi' funny, queer Sir John, 
He was an unco shaver. 

— Burns : A Dream. 

But Cupid shot a shaft 
That played the dame a shavie. 
— Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

It has been suggested that 
shaver, in the sense of a wag or 
funster, is derived from Figaro 
the barber, as the type of a 
class who were professionally 
funny in amusing their cus- 
tomers, when under their hands 
for hair-cutting or hair-dressing. 
The words are possibly corrup- 
tions of the old English shaver ^ 
described by Nares as a low, 
cunning fellow, and used by the 
writers of the early decades of 
the seventeenth century. Shaver, 
in the United States, signifies 
a bill discounter who takes ex- 

orbitant interest, and a shave 
means a swindle or an imposi- 
tion. Some have derived the 
word from shave, to cut the 
beard, itself a word of very 
uncertain etymology, and not 
necessarily connected with any 
idea of dishonesty. The more 
likely derivation is from the 
Gaelic saohh (or shaov), dis- 
semble, prevaricate, take unfair 
advantage of, also, foolish. 

Shaw, a small wood, a thicket, 
a plantation of trees ; from the 
Teutonic. This word was once 
common in English literature. 
It still exists in the patrony- 
mics of many families, as Shawe, 
Alder shaw, Einshaw, Hackshaw, 
Hawkshaw (or Oakshaiv), and 
others, and is used by the pea- 
santry in most parts of England 
and every part of Scotland. 

Whither ridest thou under this green 

shawe ? 
Said this yeman. 

— Chaucer : The Freres Tale. 

Gaillard he was as goldfinch in the shaw, 

Brown as a berry, a proper short fellow. 

— Idem. : The Coke's Tale. 

Close hid beneath the greenwood shaw. 

— Fairfax. 

In summer when the shaivs be shene. 

And leaves be fair and long, 
It is full merry in fair forest, 
To hear the fowles' song. 

—Ballad 0/ Robin Hood. 

To all our haunts I will repair. 

By greenwood, shaw, and fountain. 
— Allan Ramsay. 

The braes ascend like lofty wa's, 
The foaming stream deep roaring fa's, 
O'erhung wi' fragrant spreading shaws. 
The birks of Aberfeldy. 



Shear — Shtll. 

Gloomy winter's now awa, 
Saft the westlin breezes blaw ; 
'Mang the birks o' Stanley shaw. 
The mavis sings fu* cheery, oh. 

— Tannahill. 

There's nae a bonnie flower that springs 
By fountain, shaw, or green, 

There's nae a bonnie bird that sings. 
But minds me o' my Jean. 

— Burns : O/a the Airts. 

Shear. The primary meaning of 
shear is to cut or clip. In this 
sense it is used by English 
agriculturists, for the operation 
of cutting or clipping the fleece 
of sheep. In Scotland it is used 
in the sense of reaping or cut- 
ting the corn in harvest. On 
the occasion of the first visit of 
Queen Victoria and the Prince 
Consort to the Highlands of 
Scotland, it was duly stated in 
the Court Circular that Her 
Majesty visited the shearers, and 
took much interest in their 
labours. In the following week, 
a newly-started pictorial journal, 
in opposition to the Illustrated 
London News, published a wood 
engraving, in which Her Majesty, 
the Prince, and several members 
of the Court in attendance, were 
represented as looking on at the 
shee'p - shearing. The Cockney 
artist, ignorant alike of the 
seasons of agricultural opera- 
tions and of the difference be- 
tween the Scottish and English 
idioms, and who had no doubt, 
wished the public to believe 
that he was present on the 
occasion on which he employed 
his pencil, must have been pain- 
fully convinced, when his fraud 

was discovered, of the truth 
of the poetic adage, that •* a 
little knowledge is a dangerous 
thing ; " and that shearing and 
reaping had different meanings 
in England and Scotland. 

In hairst, at the shearitig, 
Nae youths now are jeering. 
At fairs or at preaching, 
Nae wooing and fleeching. 

— The Flowers o' the Forest, 

Sheuch, a drain, a furrow or 

I saw the battle sair and teuch. 
And reekin' red ran mony a sheuch. 
—Burns : The Battle of Sheriffmuir. 

Shiel or shielin, a hut, a shed, or 
small cottage on the moor or 
mountain for the shelter of 
cattle or sportsmen ; derived by 
Jamieson from the Icelandic 
skalay a cottage ; probably a 
corruption of shield, or shield- 
ing, a place where one may be 
shielded or sheltered from the 
weather. Wintershielins, winter 

No ; I shall ne'er repent, Duncan, 

And shanna e'er be sorry ; 
To be wi' thee in Hieland shzel 

Is worth the lands o' Castlecary. 

— Ballad of Lizzie Baillie. 

The craik among the clover hay, 

The paitrick whirrin' o'er the lea, 

The swallow jinkin' round my shiel. 

Amuse me at my spinnin' wheel. 

—Burns : Bess and her Spinnin IVheeL 

Shfll. Appears to be a contraction 
for the sake of euphony of the 
harsher English'word shrill. The 
etymology of shrill is doubtful, 
though some derive it from the 

Shilpit — Shot. 


Scottish skirl, which they call 
an onomatopeia, or imitation of 
the sound. This also is doubt- 
ful, more especially if the Teu- 
tonic schreien, and the Dutch 
and Flemish schreuicen, to cry 
out discordantly, are taken into 

The westlin' wind blaws loud and skzli, 

The night's baith mirk and rainy, O. 

— Burns : My Nannie, O. 

Shilpit, insipid, tasteless, dull, 
stale, flat ; applied to liquor and 
sometimes to persons, meta- 
phorically to signify that they 
are spiritless, timid, cowardly, 
and of no account. 

A shilpett {shilpit) wretch, a heart 
stripped of manliness. — Jamieson. 

The Laird of Balmawhapple pronounced 
the claret shilpit, and demanded brandy 
with great vociferation. — Scott : Waver- 

According to Jamieson, shilpit 
is used to designate ears of corn 
that are not well filled. He 
derives it from the German 
schelp, signifying a reed, a 
bulrush, which is possibly the 
word that he referred to. But 
neither schelp, which Jamieson 
renders by the Latin putamen, a 
paring, a husk, a shell, or schilp, 
a bulrush, can be considered the 
root of shilpit, as applied to the 
insipidity or flatness of a liquor. 
The origin of shilpit remains un- 
known, though it may possibly 
have some remote connection 
with the Gaelic sile {shile), saliva, 
or drivel. 

Shool, a shovel. 

If honest nature made you fools, 
What sairs your grammars ? 

Ye'd better ta'en up spades and shools 
An' knappin' hammers. 

—Burns : To Lapraik. 

Shoon, the old plural of shoe, 
still used in Scotland, though 
almost obsolete in England. 

If ever thou gave hosen or shoon, 

Every night an awle, 
Sit thee down and pass them on, 
And Christ receive thy saule. 
— Funeral Dirge, in use in England 
before the Reformation, quoted 
in Aubrey's Miscellanies. 

Short, to divert, to amuse, to 
shorten the time by agreeable 
conversation; shortsome, divert- 
ing, as opposed to langsome, or 
longsome, tedious, wearisome. 
In English, short is often applied 
to a hasty or quick temper. 
In Scottish parlance, shortly 
or shortlie, signifies tartly, 
peevishly, ill-naturedly. 

Shot, shote, a puny or imperfect 
young animal, especially a pig 
or lamb. The Americans, who 
have acquired many words from 
the Scottish and Irish immi- 
grants, have shote, a weakly 
little pig, and apply the word 
metaphorically to man or woman 
as an epithet of contempt or 
derision. It is derived from the 
Gaelic seot (pronounced sheot, or 
shote), a stunted animal, a short 
tail, a tail that has been docked ; 
and, generally, an incumbrance, 
impediment, or imperfection ; 
scotair signifies an idle, lazy, 


Shouther — Simmer Couts. 

useless person, a drone ; a 
vaurien, a good-for-nothing. 

Seth Slope was what we call down East 
a poor shote, his principal business being 
to pick up chips and feed the pigs. — 
B artlett's Dictionary of A mericanisms. 

Shouther, the shoulder; "High- 
landers ! shouther to shouther ! " 
the motto of some of the High- 
land regiments in the British 

When the cloud lays its cheek to the flood, 
And the sea lays its shouther to the shore. 
— Chambers's Scottish Songs: Hew 

Shue, to play at see-saw ; shuggie- 
shue, a swing. 

Sib, related, of kin by blood or 
marriage. Hence the English 
gossip, from god-sib, related by 
baptismal union. From the 
German sippe, which has the 
same meaning ; and sippschaft, 

He was sidie to Arthur of Bretagne. 

— Chaucer. 
He was no fairy born or std to elves. 
— Spenser. 

A boaster and a liar are right si5. 
A' Stewarts are no szd to the king. 

It's good to be sii to siller. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
We're no more sib than sieve and riddle. 
Though both grew in the woods together. 
— Cheshire Proveri. 

Siccan, such ; sic like, such like, 
or such a, as an adjective ; sic 
like a time, such a time ; sic like 
a fashion, in such a way or 
fashion ; generally used in the 
sense of inopportune, improper, 

What the deil brings the laird here 
At sic like a time ? 

— The Laird o Cockpen. 
Wi' siccan beauties spread around. 
We feel we tread on holy ground. 
— James Ballantine : Damick Tower. 

Sicker, siccar, firm, safe, secure ; 
sickerly, safely ; sickemess, safety, 
security ; to sicker, to make cer- 
tain; lock sickar, lock securely, 
or safely — the motto of the 
ancient Scottish family, the 
Earls of Morton. Mak sickar is 
another motto of historic origin 
in Scotland. 

Toddlin' down on Willie's mill, 
Setting my staff wi' a' my skill 
To keep me sicker. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Sick-saired, nauseated by reple- 
tion, served with food to excess, 
and to consequent sickness and 

Simmer (or summer) couts, the 

gnats or midges which live for 
one summer day, bom ere noon 
and dying ere sunset, and which 
seem to pass their brief life in 
whirhng and dancing in the sun- 
shine. The word, a summercout, 
is often applied affectionately 
to a very troublesome and merry 
young child. Jamieson suggests 
that couts may be a corruption 
of colts, in which supposition he 
is possibly correct, though the 
comparison of the tiny midge 
with so large an animal as a 
young horse is not easy to ex- 
plain. According to Wright's 
Dictionary of Provincial English, 
cote signifies a swarm of bees, 

Sindle — Skeely. 


which seems to approach nearer 
to the idea of the midges. In 
Gaelic, cuiha signifies frenzy, 
delirium ; and cuihaich, frantic 
dancing of the midges or other 
ephemeral flies, allied in idea to 
the phrase of Shakspeare — "a 
midsummer madness." This may 
be the real origin of the phrase. 

Sindle, seldom ; from the Teutonic 

Kame sindle, kame sair. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Skalragf , of a shabby appearance ; 
from the Gaelic sgail, to cover, 
and rag, which is both Gaelic 
and English. Skalrag is synony- 

. mous, as Jamieson states, with 
tatterdemalion, one covered with 
rags, though he is incorrect in 
the etymology from skail, to 
scatter, and the explanation that 
it signifies one who "gives his 
rags to the wind." 

Skedaddle, to disperse suddenly. 
A long obsolete Scottish word, 
revived unexpectedly in the army 
of the Potomac during the great 
American Civil War at the battle 
of Bull's Run, in 1862, when 
the Federal troops were seized 
with unreasonable panic, or 
alarm, and fled, when there 
was no pursuit. The word is 
said to be still occasionally used 
in Dumfriesshire, and to be ap- 
plied to the wasteful overflow, 
of the milk in the pails, when 
the milkmaids do not balance 
them properly, when carrying 
them from the byre to the 

farm. It has been generally 
considered to be an Ameri- 
can coinage, on account of the 
incident of the retreat at Bull's 
Run, which brought it into noto- 
riety, but was in reality em- 
ployed either by the Gaelic- 
speaking Irish or Scottish sol- 
diers under General MacCleUan's 
command, and derived from the 
two Gaelic words sguit, to wan- 
der, to disperse, and allta, wild, 
irregular, ungovernable ; or else 
from sgath {ska), to lop or cut 
off, and adhl, a hook; though 
some hold that it is derivable 
from the Greek aKeda^ca, to dis- 
perse. It is still doubtful 
which of these derivations, or 
either of them, is correct. 

Skeigh, proud, scornful, disdain- 
ful, mettlesome, insolent in the 
pride of youth. 

When thou and I were young and skeigh. 
— Burns : Auld Farmer to his Auld 
Mare, Maggie. 

Maggie coost her head fu' heigh. 
Looked asklent and unco skeigh. 

— Burns : Duncan Gray. 

From the Gaelic sgeig, to taunt, 
deride, scorn ; sgeigeach, disdain- 
ful. Jamieson has sheg, which 
he says is not clear, though he 
quotes "a skeg, a scorner, and 
a scolder " — words which might 
have helped him to the mean- 

Skeely, for skilful, but implying 
much more than the English 
word ; sagacious, far-seeing. 


Skeerte — Skelpie-Hmmer. 

Out and spak Lord John's mother, 
And a skeely woman was she, 
" Where met ye, my son, wi' that bonnie 
That looks sae sad on thee ? " 

-'Ballad of Burd Helen. 

Where will I get a skeely skipper 
To sail this ship o' mine ? 
— Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens. 

Skeerie, easily scared or fright- 
ened, timid, shy ; from scare. 

Skellum and blellum. These 
words are directed against Tarn 
o' Shanter by his wife, in Burns' 
immortal poem : 

She tauld thee weel thou wast a skellum, 
A bletherin', blusterin', drunken blellum. 

They are explained in the glos- 
saries as signifying the first, " a 
worthless fellow ; " the second, 
** an idle, talkative fellow." 
STcellum was used by English 
writers in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, among others by Taylor, 
the water-poet, and by Pepys in 
his diary. It is traceable to the 
German, Dutch, and Flemish 
schclm, a rogue, a rascal, a bad 
fellow; and also to the Gaelic 
sgiolam, a coarse blackguard ; 
and sgiolomach, addicted to 
slander and mischief - making. 
Blellum is also from the Gaelic, 
in which hlialum signifies inco- 
herent, confused in speech ; 
especially applied to the utter- 
ances of a drunken man. 

Skelp, to smack, to administer a 
blow with the palm of the hand ; 
to sTcelp the doup (breech), as 
used to be the common fashion 
of Scottish mothers. 

I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie. 

E'en to a deil, 
To skelp and scaud puir dogs like me, 

And hear us squeal ! 
— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

This word, of which the Eng- 
lish synonym is spank, to strike 
with the palm of the hand in a 
quick succession of blows, ap- 
pears to be derived primarily 
from the Gaelic sgealhh, to dash 
into small pieces, fragments, or 
splinters ; and to have been ap- 
plied afterwards, by extension 
of meaning, to the blows that 
might be sufficient to break any 
brittle substance. The English 
spank is to strike with the open 
hand, and the Scottish spunk, a 
match, signifies a splinter of 
wood, in which the same exten- 
sion of meaning, from the blow 
to the possible results of the 
blow, is apparent. Skelp also 
means to walk or run at a smart 
pace, and the slang English 
phrase, "A pair of spanking 
tits " (a pair of fast-trotting or 
galloping horses), shows the 
same connection between the 
idea of blows and that of rapid 

And, barefit, skelp 
Awa' wi' Willie Chalmers. 

— Burns. 
Three hizzies, early at the road, 
Cam skelpin' up the way. 

—Burns: The Holy Fair. 
Tarn skelpit on thro' dub and mire, 
Despising wind and rain and fire. 

— Burns : Taiti d Shanter. 

Skelpie-limmer, a violent woman, 
ready both with her hands and 
, tongue. 

Skene-occle — Skink. 


Ye little skelpie-limmers face, 
I daur ye try sic sportin'. 

— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

Skene-occle, a dagger, dirk ; from 
the Gaelic scjian, a knife, con- 
cealed in the achlais, under the 
arm, or in the sleeve ; achlasan, 
anything carried under the arm ; 
from whence the verb achlaisich, 
to cherish, to fold to the bosom, 
or encircle with the arm. 

"Her ain sell," said Callum, "could 
wait for her a wee bit frae the toun, and 
kittle her quarters wi' his skene-occle" — 
" Skene-occle I what's that ? " Callum un- 
buttoned his coat, raised his left arm, and, 
with an emphatic nod, pointed to the hilt 
of a small dirk, snugly deposited under the 
wing of his jacket. 

— Scott: Wccverley, 

Skin, a vituperative term applied 
to a person whom it is wished 
to disparage or revile. " Ye're 
naething but a nasty skin.'' 
Jamieson suggests that this 
word is a figurative use of the 
English shin, as denoting a husk. 
It is more likely to be a corrup- 
tion of the Gaelic sgonn, a block- 
head, a dolt, a rude clown, an 
uncultivated and boorish person, 
a dunce ; from whence sgonn 
bhalaoch, a stupid fellow; sgon 
signifies vile, worthless, bad ; 
whence the English scoundrel — 
from sgon, and droll, or droil, 
an idle vagabond. 

Skincheon o* drink, a drop of 
drink, a dram ; a pouring out 
of liquor. Skincheon is a mis- 
print for skinkin\ 

Skink, to pour out; skinker, a 
waiter at a tavern who pours 

out the liquor for the guests, a 
bar tender. From the Flemish 
and German schenken, to pour 
out. This word is old English 
as well as Scotch, and was used 
by Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, and 
their contemporaries. Skink is 
sometimes contemptuously ap- 
plied to soup or broth when not 
of the accustomed flavour or 
consistency, imparted by vege- 
table ingredients, such as bar- 
ley, peas, &c. 

Sweet Ned, I give thee this pennyworth 
of sugar, clapt even now into my hand by 
an under-ski'nker. 

— Shakspeare: Henry IV. 
Such wine as Gannymede doth skink to 
Jove.— Shirley. 
Ye powers wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o' fare ; 
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 

That jaups i' luggies, 
But if ye wish her grateful prayer, 
Gie her a haggis. 

—Burns : To a Haggis. 
The wine ! there was hardly half a 
mutchkin, — and poor fushionless skink it 
was. — Sir Walter Scott. 

In many of the editions of 
Burns which have been printed 
in England, the compositors, or 
printers' readers, ignorant of the 
word skink, have perverted it in 
the ** Lines to a Haggis," into 

Auld Scotland wants nae stinking wares. 
— Complete Works <?/" Robert Burns, 
edited by A lexander Smith. Lon- 
don : Macmillan &' Co., 1868. 

" These editions," says Mr 
James M'Kie of Kilmarnock 
in his Bibliography of Robert 
Burns, "are known to collectors 
as the stinking editions." 


Skipper — Sklent. 

Skipper, the captain of a ship, but 
properly any sailor; s^/p-man, 
a ship man. This word is fast 
becoming English, and promises 
to supersede captain as the de- 
signation of officers in the mer- 
cantile marine. STcipper is from 
the Danish skiffer, the German, 
Dutch, and Flemish schiffer. 

The king sat in Dunfermline tower, 
Drinking the blood-red wine ; 

Oh whaur '11 I get a skeely skipper, 
To sail this ship o' mine. 

— Sir Patrick Spens. 

It is related of the late eminent 
sculptor, Patric Park, that, on 
an excursion through the beau- 
tiful lakes that form the chain 
of the Caledonian Canal, he was 
annoyed by the rudeness of the 
captain of the steamer, and ex- 
pressed his sense of it in lan- 
guage more forcible than polite. 
The captain, annoyed in his 
turn, inquired sharply — "Do 
you know, sir, that I'm the 
captain of the boat?" "Cap- 
tain be hanged ! " said the irate 
man of genius, "you're only the 
skipper, that is to say, you're 
nothing but the driver of an 
aquatic omnibus ! " The skip- 
per retired to hide his wrath, 
muttering as he went that the 
sculptor was only a stone mason ! 

Skirl, to shriek, to cry out, or to 
make a loud noise on a wind in- 

Ye have given the sound thump, and he 
the loud skirl {i.e., you have punished the 
man, and he shows it by his roaring). 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

When skirlin weanies see the light. 
Thou mak's the gossips clatter bright, 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 
A family belonging to the Scottish Bor- 
der, after spending some time at Florence, 
had returned home, and, proud of the pro- 
gress they had made in music, the young 
ladies were anxious to show oflf their ac- 
complishments before an old confidential 
servant of the family, and accordingly sang 
to her some of the finest songs which they 
had learned abroad. Instead, however, of 
paying them a compliment on their per- 
formance, she showed what she thought of 
it, by asking with much naivete— ^^ Eh, 
mem ! Do they ca' skirling like yon, 
singing in foreign parts?" — Dean Ram- 
say's Reminiscetices. 

Skirl-naked, stark naked ; naked 
as a child that skirls or squalls 
at the moment of its birth. Skirl 
is allied to screech, shriek, and 
shrill, and comes immediately 
from the Gaelic sgreuch, a shrill 
cry, and sgreucJiail, shrieking. 

Sklent, oblique, slanting ; to de- 
viate, to slant off the right line 
of truth, to cast obliquely ; 
to push away, to look away, to 

Now, if yer ane o' warld's folk. 
Who rate the wearer by the cloak, 
And sklent on poverty their joke, 
Wi' bitter sneer. 
— Burns : To Mr. John Kennedy. 
One dreary, windy, winter night, 
The stars shot doun wi' sklentin light. 
— Burns : Address to the Deil. 
The city gent 
Behind a kist to lie and sklent. 
Or purse-proud, big with cent, per cent. 
An' muckle wame. 
— Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 
Ye did present your smootie phiz 

'Mang better folk, 
And sklented on the man of Uz 
Your spiteful joke. 
— Burns : Address to the DeiU 

Skrae — Skulduddery. 


Skrae, or scrae, a thin, skinny, 
meagre person, a skeleton ; skrae- 
skankit, having skinny legs ; Eng- 
lish scraff, and scraggy; Gaelic 
sgraidh - teach {dk silent), shri- 
velled, dried up ; sgraidht, a lean, 
shrivelled, ugly old woman. 

But gin she say, He still ye skrae. 
That's Water Kelpie ! 
— Jamieson's Border Minstrelsy: 
Water Kelpie. 

In the glossary appended by 
Sir Walter Scott to Jamieson's 
ballad written in imitation of 
the antique, skrae is glossed 
as a skeleton. 

Skreigh, or screigh, a shrill cry, 
a shriek, a screech. 

The skreigh o' duty, which no man 
should hear and be inobedient.— Scott : 
Rob Roy. 

It's time enough to skreigh when ye're 
strucken. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

When thou and I were young and skeigh, 
An' stable meals at fairs were dreigh. 
How thou would prance and snort, and 
An' tak the road. 

— Burns: Auld Farmer to his 
Auld Mare, Maggie. 

Skulduddery. This grotesque 
word has been held to signify 
indulgence in lust, or illicit 
passion ; but it also signifies 
obscene language or conversa- 
tion, or, as it is sometimes called 
in English, smut. Jamieson 
suggests the Teutonic shuld, 
fault or crime, as the origin of 
the first syllable, and the Gaelic 

sgaldruth, a fornicator, as the ori- 
gin of the whole word. Scaldruth, 
however, has long been obsolete, 
and seems to have been a com- 
pound of sgald, to burn or scald ; 
and druis, lust ; whence the mo- 
dern Gaelic di'uisear, a fornica- 
tor. If the Gaelic etymology be 
accepted, the word would resolve 
itself into a corruption of sgald- 
druis, burning lust, or burned 
by lust. From the Gaelic druis 
came the old Enghsh druery, 
for courtship, intercourse of the 
sexes, gallantry ; and drossel, an 
unchaste woman. The French, 
who have inherited many Celtic 
words from their ancestors, the 
Gauls, formerly used the word 
dru for a lover {un ami), and 
drue for a sweetheart [une amie). 
BrxL, as an adjective, signified, 
according to the "Dictionaire 
de la Langue Romane" (Paris 
1768), "un amant vigoureux et 
propre au plaisir." Druerie, in 
the sense of courtship and gal- 
lantry, occurs in the "Roman 
de la Rose." Another French 
word, sgaldrine, still more akin 
to the Scottish skulduddery, is 
cited in the " Dictionaire Comi- 
que de Le-Roux," as a "terme 
d'injure pour une femme de 
mauvaise vie ; femme publique 
affligde d'une maladie bru- 

And there will be Logan Macdonald — 
Skulduddery and he will be there ! 
— Burns : The Election. 

That can find out naething but a wee bit 
skulduddery for the benefit of the Kirk 
Treasury.— Scott : Rob Roy^ 


Skyhald — Slanky. 

Skybald, apparently the same as 
the English skeivbald and pie- 
bald, terms to designate a horse 
of two colours, marked as cows 
and oxen more usually are. 
Both skybald and piebald, as 
well as the English skewbald, 
have their origin in the Gaelic. 
Sky and skew are corruptions of 
sgiath, a shade, a dark shade ; 
pie comes from pigke, a pie, or 
magpie, a bird whose black 
plumage is marked with a white 
streak ; bald is derived from the 
Gaelic ball, a mark or spot ; 
whence skybald is shade-marked, 
and piebald is marked like a 
bird. Jamieson says that, in 
Scotland, skybald signifies a 
base, mean fellow, a worthless 
person, and that it is also ap- 
plied to a man in rags and 
tatters. Possibly this metaphori- 
cal use of the word arises from 
the fact that the rags of such 
a person [ are often of various 
colours. Locke, the celebrated 
English metaphysician, uses pie- 
bald in a similar sense, "a pie- 
bald livery of coarse patches." 
In Yorkshire, according to 
Wright's Provincial Dictionary, 
skeyVd signifies parti-coloured, 
which is apparently from the 
same Gaelic root as sky and 

Skjrre. Jamieson renders this 
word, pure, mere, utter. The 
Flemish and German schier sig- 
nifies nearly, almost ; while the 
Danish skier means clear, pure, 
limpid. Thus the Danish, and 
not the German or Flemish, 

seems to be the root of this 
Scottish word. 

Skjrte or skite, to eject liquid for- 
cibly, a flux, or diarrhoea. This 
vulgar word is often, both in a 
physical and moral sense, ap- 
plied in contempt to any mean 
person. A skyte of rain is a sud- 
den and violent shower ; skyter 
is a squirt, a syringe; so called 
from the violent ejection of the 
liquid. Bletherum skyte — more 
properly, blether and skyte (see 
Blether, ante) — is a colloquial 
phrase very often employed by 
people who are unaware of the 
grossness of its original mean- 
ing, and who are impressed by 
its aptness as descriptive of the 
windy trash of conversation and 
assertion which it but too power- 
fully designates. The word is 
derivable either from the Eng- 
lish scu<i,fast motion, or the Gae- 
lic sgud, to cut, a cutting wind. 

When hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte. 
—Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

Slack, slug, a pass, opening, or 
gap between two hills ; from the 
Gaelic sloe, and slochd, a hollow, 
a cavity, a ravine. Slochd muigh, 
or the gap of the wild swine, is 
a wild pass in the Grampians 
between Perth and Inverness. 

But ere he won the Gate-hope slack, 
I think the steed was wae and weary. 
— Minstrelsy of the Border: 
Annan Water. 

Slanky, slimy. 

Twa slanky stanes seemed his spule banes. 
—Border Minstrelsy : The Water 

Slap — Sliver, 


Slap, a breach, or casual opening 
in a hedge or fence. 

At sla^s the billies [fellows] halt a blink [a 
little while], 
Till lassies strip their shoon. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Slawpie, slaipie, indolent, slo- 
venly ; derived by Jamieson 
from the Icelandic dapr, ho- 
muncio sordidus. It is rather 
from the Gaelic sZa^Jac/i, slovenly, 
slapair and slaopair, a slovenly 
man, a drawler, an idler; and 
slapaff, a slut, a lazy, dirty, 
slovenly woman or girl; and 
slapaireachd, slovenliness. 

Sleuth-hound, a blood-hound, a 
hound trained to follow by the 
scent the track of man or beast. 
From the Gaelic slaod, a trace, 
a trail ; and slot, sliogach, subtle, 
keen scented. 

Wi' his sleuth-dog in his watch right 

Should his dog gie a bark, 
He'll be out in his sark, 
And die or win. 

—Ballad of The Fray 0/ Suport. 

Slid, smooth ; sUddery, slippery. 

Ye had sae saft a voice, and a slid 

— Allan Ramsay : The Gentle 

Sliddery, slippery ; from slide. 
Slidder, unstable, changeable in 
thought or purpose, not to be 
depended upon. 

There's a sliddery stane afore the ha' 

[It is sometimes dangerous to visit 
great houses.] 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Though I to foreign lands must hie, 
Pursuin' fortune's sliddery ba'. 
—Burns: Farewell to his Native 

Slink, a tall, idle person ; a term 
of depreciation. The word is 
usually associated with lang, as, 
a lang slink. It is sometimes 
written and pronounced slunk. 
It is derived apparently from the 
Teutonic schlang, the JDutch and 
Flemish slang, a snake. Slinkcn 
means to grow long, thin, and 
attenuated ; and Jamieson has 
the adjective slunk, lank and 
slender ; and the substantive 
slink, a starveling. 

Slint or slinter, a slovenly, untidy, 
awkward man, corresponding 
with the English slut as applied 
to a woman ; from the Gaelic 
slaod, to draggle or trail lazily 
along the ground ; slaodag, a slut ; 
slaodair, a sluggard. Jamieson 
derives it from the Teutonic 
slodde, a dirty female ; but the 
word is not to be found in Ger- 
man dictionaries, though it pos- 
sibly exists in the vulgar patois. 

Sliver, a slice, a small piece. The 
word was eiliployed in this sense 
by Chaucer, and is akin to the 
English slice, and to the Gaelic 
slios, a side. Stormonth derives 
it from the Anglo-Saxon slifan, 
to cleave or split. Shakspeare 
uses the word three times. 

Slivered in the moon's eclipse. 

— Macbeth, act iv. scene 1. 

An envious sliver broke. 

—Hamlet, act iv. scene 7. 
Sliver and disbranch. 

— Lear, act iv. scene a. 

1 98 

Slacken — Slounge. 

Slocken, to slake, to allay thirst, 
to extinguish. 

Foul water may slocken fire. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots 

It slackened not my drouth, but aggra- 
vated a thousandfold the torrent o' my 
greed. — Nodes AmbrosiancF. 

The Rev. John Heugh of Stirling was 
one day admonishing one of his people on 
the sin of intemperance : " Man 1 John I 
you should never drink except when 
you're dry." " Weel, sir," said John, 
" that's what I'm aye doin', but I'm never 
slocken'd." — Dean Ramsay. 

Slogan, the war-cry of a High- 
land clan. 

Our slogan is their lyke-wake dirge. 

— Sir Walter Scott. 

When the streets of high Dunedin, 
Saw lances gleam and falchions redden, 
And heard the slogan s deadly yell. 

Scott : Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

Jamieson has this word as 
slughorn, and derives it from the 
Irish Gaelic sluagh, an army, 
and arm, a horn. Jamieson 
might have found the true ety- 
mology in the Scottish Gaelic 
sluagh, the people, the multi- 
tude, the clan ; and gairm, a cry, 
a shout, a loud call. The slogan 
was not made on a horn ; and 
arm does not signify a horn in 
Gaelic. Slogan, the war-cry, has 
been used by English writers 
as synonymous with pibroch, 
especially in a play that en- 
joyed considerable popularity a 
quarter of a century ago, on the 
siege and relief of Lucknow dur- 
ing the Indian Mutiny. When 
General Havelock approaches 
with his gallant Highlanders, 

Jeanie, the heroine of the piece, 
who hears the music of the 
pibroch from afar, exclaims, 
" Oh ! hear ye not the slogan?" 
But the " pock puddings," as 
one of Sir Walter Scott's char- 
acters called the English, knew 
no better, and always applauded 
the slogan. 

S logger, to swallow broth, por- 
ridge, or spoon meat awkwardly 
and voraciously; from the Gaelic 
sluig, to swallow ; slugair, or 
slogair, a glutton. Synonymous 
with the local English slorp, 

Sloom, a deep sleep, whence the 
English word slumber, a light 
sleep ; from the Flemish slui- 
meren, to sleep ; sluimerig, sleepy. 

Sloomy, lethargic. 

Slorp, slotter, to eat or drink 
greedily, and with a guttural 
and vulgar noise ; from the 
Flemish and Dutch slorpen, 
which has the same meaning. 

There's gentle John, and Jock the slorp, 
And curly Jock, and burly Jock, 
And lying Jock himsel'. 

— Hogg's Jacobite Relics. 

Slort, a sloven ; slotter, to work in 
an idle, slovenly, and bungling 
manner; akin to the English 
slut, applied in the same manner 
to a woman. From the Gaelic 
slaodair, a sluggard ; a lazy, 
careless person. 

Slounge, to go idling about, to go 
sorning (q.v.), or seeking for a 

Slunk — Smervy. 


dinner, lounging about and 
coming into the house of a 
friend or acquaintance at or 
near dinner time, as if acciden- 
tally. Apparently a corruption 
of the Gaelic slugair, a glutton ; 
sluganach, a voracious person, 
and slugan, the gullet. 

Slunk, sometimes written slung, 
an Aberdonian word, which ac- 
cording to Jamieson signifies a 
tall, cadaverous-looking person 
of inferior intellect, ** a lang, 
toom, haiverilly kind o' chiel." 
He derives it from the Icelandic 
slani, an imbecile. The word, 
however, seems akin to the 
English slink, as its past par- 
ticiple slunk, and to be derivable 
from the German schlang, a 
snake that slinks away, and is 
hence, by association of ideas, 
applied metaphorically, in the 
same way as the English sneak, 
which has a similar origin. 

Sma' drink, a weak liquor ; the 
English say small beer, for weak 
beer or ale, and the French 
petit vin, for inferior wine. To 
"think nae sma' drink o' him- 
sel'," is a phrase applied to any 
one who thinks too much of his 
own dignity or importance. 

Smaik, a mean, low fellow, a 
poltroon, a puny fellow, a per- 
son of small moral or physical 

" Oh, I have heard of that smaik," said 
the Scotch merchant ; " it's he whom your 
principal, like an ohstinate auld fule, wad 
male a merchant o' — wad he, or wad he 
no ! " — Scott : Jiofi Roy, 

This false, traitorous smaik. I doubt 
he is a hawk of the same nest. — Scott : 
Fortunes of Nigel. 

From the Teutonic schmach, 
insult, ignominy ; schmdchtig, 
slender, lank. 

Smeddum, spirit, pith, energy. 
Also dust, powder ; from the 
Gaelic smodan, small dust. 

Now and then ye may overhaul an article 
that's ower lang and ovver stupid, and put 
some smeddum into it. — Nodes Ambro- 

Oh, for some rank mercurial rozet, 

Or pale red smeddum, 
I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't 
Wad dress your droddum.* 

— Burns : To a Louse. 

Smeerless, pithless, marrowless; 
from the Gaelic smior, marrow. 

I mark him for a sjneerless dolt. 
Who'd jink to eschew a thunderbolt. 
— George Beattie : John d Arnha. 

Smergh, marrow, vigour, pith ; 
strength either of body or of 
mind; smergJders, weak, mar- 
rowless, pithless, vapid, insipid; 
from the Gaelic smior, marrow, 
and smiorach, marrowy, or full 
of marrow and pith. The Teu- 
tonic mark, marrow, seems to 
be of this origin, with the omis- 
sion of the initial s, though 
Jamieson traces it to the Teu- 
tonic mergh, which does not 
mean marrow, but marl. 

Smervy, fat and marrowy. 

They scum'd the cauldron, fed the fuel, 
They steer'd and preed, the smervy gruel. 
—George Beattie : John d Arnha'. 

* Droddum, a ludicrous word for the 
posterior of a child. 


Sm iddle — Smook. 

Smiddle, to work by stealth; 
derivation uncertain, but pos- 
sibly related to smith, smithy, 
and smiddy. 

Smird, to gibe, to jeer. Jamieson 
derives this word from the Ice- 
landic sma' (the Scottish sma' 
and the English small), and ord, 
a word, and supposes it to mean 
small and contemptuous lan- 
guage. It is more probably 
from the Gaelic smioradh or 
smiuradh, smearing, or besmear- 
ing; used metaphorically for 
larding with abuse or ill-natured 

Smit, the noise, clash, or clank of 
smitten metal ; from the English 

As she was walking maid alane 
Down by yon shady wood, 

She heard a smt'i o bridle reins 
She wished might be for good. 

— Border Minstrelsy: Lord William. 

Smitch or smytch, a term of 
contempt or anger applied to 
an impudent boy ; from smtit, 
dirt, a stain, an impurity. Ger- 
man schmiitzig, dirty ; Flemish 
and Dutch smotsen, to soil, to 
dirty, to defile ; the English 

Smirl, a roguish or mischievous 
trick. Jamieson derives this 
word from the German schmieren, 
illudere ; but in the German 
• dictionaries it is defined as "to 
. smear." It is more probably 
from the Gaelic smiorail, strong, 
active, lively ; and "I'll play him 
a smirl for that yet," as quoted 
by Jamieson, simply means, 
"I'll play him a lively trick for 
that yet." 

And in some distant place, 
Plays the same sviirle. 

— T. Scott. 

Smirtle, a slight, or half -sup- 
pressed laugh or smile. 

And Norie takes a glack of bread and 

And wi' a smirtle unto Lindie goes. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

This word is akin to the Eng- 
lish smirk, but without any de- 
preciatory meaning. 

Smolt, an epithet applied to the 
weather when fair and calm, 
with a blue sky. 

Merry maidens, think na lang, 
The weather is fair and smolt. 
— Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

This word is used, according 
to Messrs. Halliwell and Wright, 
in Sussex and other parts of 
England. It is probable that 
the root is the Teutonic schmalte^ 
deep blue, applied to the un- 
clouded sky. 

O'er Branxholme Tower, ere the morning 
Where the lift is like lead so blue, 
The smoke shall roll white on the weary 
And the flame shine dimly through. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Lord Inglis. 

Smook, to prowl stealthily about 
a place, with a view to pilfer 
small articles ; from the Flemish 
smuig, furtive, secret. 

Smookie — Sneck. 

20 r 

Smookie, addicted to petty lar- 

The smookie gipsy i' the loan. 

—Ross's Helenore. 

Smoor, abbreviation and corrup- 
tion of smother. 

What's the matter, quo' WilHe, 
Though we be scant o' claes, 

We'll creep the closer thegither, 
An' we'll smoor a' the fleas. 

— Wood an' Married an A '. 

Smjrte, a small particle ; possibly 
derived from the spark of an 
anvil when smitten; smytrie, a 
large collection of little things, 
or little children' 

A smytrie o' wee duddie weans. 

— Burns. 

Snack, a slight repast, a cut from 
the loaf, refreshment taken 
hastily between meals ; to go 
snacks, to share with another. 
From the Gaelic snaigh, to cut. 
SnacTc, and to go snacks, are still 
used in colloquial English, and 
are derived by Worcester and 

t others from snatch, i.e., as much 
of a thing as can be snatched 
hastily. An etymology which 
may apply to snack, a lunch, 
but scarcely applies so well as 
the Gaelic snaigh, to the phrase 
of go snacks, or shares in any 

Snag, to chide, to taunt, to re- 
prove, to snarl ; snaggy, sar- 
castical, apt to take offence. 
This word, with the elision of 
the initial s, remains in Eng- 
lish as nag, the form of scolding 

. or grumbling, which is pecu- 

liarly attributed to quarrelsome 
women. It is one of the numer- 
ous family of words commenc- 
ing with m, which, in the 
Scottish and English languages, 
generally imply a movement of 
the lips and nose, expressive of 
anger, reproof, scorn, and in 
inferior animals, of an inclina- 
tion to bite ; such as snarl, snub, 
sneer, snort, snap, snack, or 
snatch (as an animal with its 
jaws), and many others, all of 
which, inclusive of snore, sniff, 
snuff, sneeze, snigger, snivel, 
snout, have a reference to the 
nose. They appear to be de- 
rivable primarily from the Gae- 
lic sron, pronounced strone, the 
nose. The Teutonic languages 
have many words commencing 
with schn, which also relate to 
the action of the nose, and are 
possibly of the same Celtic 

Snag'gerel, a contemptuous term 
for a puny, deformed child; from 
snag, a broken bough. 

Snash, impertinence, rebuff, re- 

Poor bodies . . . 
. . . thole (endure) a factor's snash. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Sneck or snick, the latch, bolt, or 
fastening of a door. The ety- 
mology is uncertain, and can- 
not be traced to any branches 
of the Teutonic, either High 
Dutch, Low Dutch, or Danish 
and Swedish. The English has 

. snacket and snccket, a fastening. 


Sneeshin^ — Snool. 

a hasp; as well as sneck and 
snick, with the same meaning 
as the Scotch, but the words 
are local, not general. 

And you, ye auld sneck-dravf'ing dog, 
Ye came to Paradise incog. 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Sneeshin', snuif; from sneeze; 
sneeshin^ -mull, a snuff-box. 

Snaped haddocks, wilks, dulse an' 
An' a mull o' gude sneeshin to prie ; 
When weary wi' eatin' and drinkin' 
We'll up an' we'll dance till we die. 
— The Blithesome Bridal. 

Snell, keen, bitter, sharp, quick ; 
from the Flemish sneZZ, and the 
German schneU, swift. 

And bleak December's winds ensuing 
Baith snell and keen. 

— Burns : 7'<? a Mouse. 
Sir Madoc was a handy man, and snell 
In tournament, and eke in fight. 

—M arte Arthur. 
Shivering from cold, the season was so 

—Douglas : Eneid. 

The winds blew snell. 

— Allan Ramsay. 
Snelly the hail smote the skeleton trees. 
— James Ballantine. 

Snirtle, to laugh slily, or in a half 
suppressed manner. 

He feigned to snirtle in his sleeve,. 
When thus the laird addressed her. 

— Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

Snood or snude, a ribbon, a 
band worn by young unmarried 
women in or around the hair. 

To tyne one's snude is a phrase applied 
in Scotland to a young woman who has 
lost her virginity. It is singular that the 
ancient Romans had the same figure. — 

The word and the fashion 
appears to be peculiar to the 
Celtic nations. In Gaelic, snuadh 
signifies beauty and adornment, 
and thence an ornament, such 
as the snood of the Scottish 
maidens. The word appears in 
Snowdon, the ancient name of 
Stirling, which signifies the fair 
or beautiful hill. The Kymric 
and Welsh has ysnoden, a fillet, a 
lace, a band, evidently from the 
same root. The much despised 
English patronymic Snooks, 
sometimes alleged to be a cor- 
ruption of sevenoaks, is probably 
of Celtic origin, from snuadhach 
{snu-ach), beautiful. 

Snool, to flatter abjectly, to cringe, 
to crawl. This word also means 
to snub, to chide ill-naturedly 
and unduly. 

They snool me sair and haud me down, 
And gar me look like bluntie, Tam ; 
But three short years will soon wheel roun', 
And then comes ane and twenty, Tam. 
— Burns. 
Is there a whim-inspired fool, 
Ow're blate (shy) to seek, ow're proud to 

—Burns : A Bard's Epitaph. 
Your snools in love and cowards in war, 
Frae maidens' love are banished far. 

— John o' Amha. 

The etymology of this word 
is uncertain. It seems to have 
some relation to the nose and 
mouth, and expression of the 
features in an unfavourable 
sense ; like many words in the 
English language commencing 
withsn. (See Snag, an<6.) The 
most probable derivation is that 
given by Jamieson from the 

Snoove — Sodger, 


Danish snojle, to reprimand un- 
necessarily, continually, and un- 
justly — the French rabrouer. 

Snoove, to glide away easily, 
like a worm or snake ; to sneak. 
Probably from the Gaelic sniomh 
(pronounced sni-ov), to twist, to 
twine, to wriggle, 

But just thy step a wee thing hastit, 
Then snoovt away. 

— Burns : Auld Farmer to his 
Auld Mare, Maggie. 

Snowk, to snuff, to smell, to 

Wi' social nose they snuffed and snowket. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Snuit, to go about in a careless, 
half-stupefied manner; snuitit, 
having the appearance of sleepy 

He was gaun snuitin down the street ; 
he came snuitin in. — Jamieson. 

Jamieson traces the word to 
the Dutch and Flemish &nuxt, 
the snout. The Gaelic has snot, 
to smell, to snuff up the wind, 
to turn up the nose suspiciously ; 
and snotach, suspecting, inclined 
to suspicion. 

Snurl, to ruffle the surface of the 
waters with a wind; meta- 
phorically applied to the temper 
of man or woman. 

Northern blasts the ocean snurl. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

Sockdologer, a heavy, knock- 
down blow. This word is 
usually considered to be an 
Americanism. But it clearly 

comes from the "old country," 
from the Gaelic sogh, easy ; and 
dolach, destructive ; dolaidk, 
harm, detriment, injury, de- 
struction ; thus a sockdolager 
means a blow that destroys 

Sodger or sojer, a soldier ; sioad- 
die or swad, a familiar and vulgar 
name for a soldier. 

My humble knapsack a' my wealth, 
A poor but honest sodger. 


The Scottish word sodger is 
possibly not a mere corruption 
or mispronunciation of the Eng- 
lish soldier, or the French soldat, 
as it is generally considered to 
be. The old Teutonic for soldier 
was Jcriegsman, warman, or man 
of war ; a word which was not 
adopted by the early English 
of German, Danish, and Flemish 
descent. The English soldiers 
were called bowmen, spearmen, 
archers, &c. The commonly 
accepted derivation of soldier is 
from solde, pay, — i.e., one who 
is paid. But in early times, 
before the establishment of 
standing armies, people who 
took up arms in defence of their 
country were not mercenaries, 
but patriots and volunteers, or 
retainers of great territorial 
chieftains. Sodger, as distin- 
guished from soldier, dates from 
a period anterior to the inven- 
tion of gunpowder and the use 
of fire-arms, when bows and 
arrows were the principal wea- 
pons of warfare over all Eu- 
rope ; may be derived from the 


Sokand Set'l — Sook. 

Gaelic saighead, an arrow ; and 
saighdear, an arrower, an archer, 
a bowman ; the same as the 
Latin saggitarius. Thus the 
Scottish sodjer appears to be a 
word of legitimate origin and of 
respectable antiquity. Soldier, 
from the French soldat, is com- 
paratively modern, and does not 
appear in the * ' Dictionary of the 
First or Oldest Words in the 
English Language, from the 
Semi-Saxon Period from a.d. 
1250 to 1300," by Herbert Cole- 
ridge, published in 1862. It is 
worthy of mention that Jamie- 
son's Scottish Dictionary does 
not contain sodger or sojer, but 
has sodgerize, to act as a soldier, 
or go a soldiering ; and the 
strange term sodgertheed, which 
he explains to be a low word 
meaning one that has little or 
no money, or having " the thigh 
of a soldier ! " Had Jamieson, 
before hazarding this sugges- 
tion, looked to another page of 
his own dictionary, he would 
have found the word thig, to 
beg, and might have explained 
the phrase in the sense of a dis- 
banded soldier, begging from 
door to door, without any parti- 
cular reference to his thigh. 

Sokand sell. An old Scottish pro- 
verb says, " Sokand sell is best." 
Dean Ramsay, who quotes it, 
defines it to mean, " The plough 
and happiness is the best lot." 
The translation is too loose to 
be accepted. Soc is, indisput- 
ably, a ploughshare, in Gaelic, 
in French, in Flemish (in Latin 

soccus), and other languages. 
No trace, however, has hitherto 
been discovered of its employ- 
ment as a verb, signifying to 
plough. It would seem, neverthe- 
less, from the terminal syllable 
in sockand, that it was in old 
time so used in Scotland. Sell 
is from the Gaelic sealbh, signify- 
ing good fortune, good luck, 
happiness, — whence the Teu- 
tonic selig, happy. Ploughing, 
in the proverb, may be taken to 
mean labouring generally ; and 
then the proverb might be ren- 
dered, " Labouring happiness, 
or the happiness that results 
from labour, is the best." 

Sonk, a stuffed seat, or a couch 
of straw ; sonkie, a gross, coarse, 
unwieldy man, of no more 
shapely appearance than a sack 
of straw. The root of these 
two words seems to be the 
Gaelic sonnach, anything thick, 
bulky, or strong ; sonn is a stout 
man, also a hero ; and sonnach, 
a fat, ill-shaped person. 

The Earl of Argyle is bound to ride, 
And all his habergeons him beside, 
Each man upon a sonk of strae. 
— Introduction to Border Minstrelsy. 

Sonse, happiness, good luck; 
sonsie, strong, happy, pleasant ; 
from the Gaelic sona, happy, 
and sonas, happiness. Sonas agus 
donas, happiness and unhappi- 

His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face 
Aye gat him friends in ilka place. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Sook, a suck, a drop, a sup or sip, 
a taste of liquor. 8ooch or sook 

Sool — Soss. 


is defined by Jamieson as "a 
copious, draught. " 

There sat a bottle in a hole, 

Ayont the ingle low ; 
And aye she took the ither sook, 

To drook the stoury tow. 

— The Weary Fund 0' Tow. 

Sool (sometimes written soul), a 
sufficiency of food, also, a relish 
taken with insipid food to ren- 
der it more palatable. ' ' Sod to 
a potatoe," often applied to a 
finnan haddie, or a red herring ; 
sometimes ludicrously used by 
the Irish as, "potatoes and 
point," a potato pointed at a 
red herring hanging from the 
roof, to whet the imagination 
with the unattainable flavour of 
the sool. 

I have, sweet wench, a piece of cheese as 
good as tooth may chaw. 
And bread and wildings souling well. 
— Warner : Albion s England. 

Sool, anything eaten with bread, such as 
butter, cheese, &c. — Wright's Dictionary 
of Obsolete English. 

Soul, French saouler, to satisfy with 
food. Soul, silver, the wages of a re- 
tainer, originally paid in food. — Idem. 

The French have soul, full; 
and sc souler, to get drunk, i.e., 
full either of meat or of liquor. 
The Gaelic suit seems to be of 
kindred derivation, and signifies 
fat, full, replenished with good 

Sooth. Old English for truth, still 
preserved in such phrases as, 
" in sooth," *^ for-sooth," &c. In 
Scottish, sooth is used as an ad- 
jective, and signifies " true." 

A sooth boord is nae boord (i.e., a jest 
with too much truth in it may be no jest at 
all). — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Sorn, to go to a person's house, 
without invitation, and fasten 
yourself upon him to feast or 
lodge. The English synonym is 
"to sponge upon;" a very in- 
ferior form of expression, par- 
taking of the character of 
slang, and not to be compared 
for force and compactness to 
the Scottish word. Mr. John 
Thompson, private secretary to 
the Marquis of Hastings in 
India, in his "Etymons of Eng- 
lish Words," defines sorn to be 
a corruption of sojourn. The 
true etymon appears to be the 
Gaelic saor, free, and saoranach, 
one who makes free or esta- 
blishes himself in free quarters. 
It is related of a noble Scottish 
lady of the olden time, who 
lived in a remote part of the 
Highlands, and was noted for 
her profuse and cordial hospi- 
tality, that she was sometimes 
overburdened with habitual sor- 
ners. When any one of them 
out-stayed his welcome, she 
would take occasion to say to 
him at the morning meal, with 
an arch look at the rest of the 
company — " Mak' a guid break- 
fast, Mr. Blank, while ye're 
about it ; I dinna ken whar' 
ye'll get your dinner." The 
hint was usually taken, and the 
sorner departed. 

Soss, an incongruous, miscel- 
laneous mixture of eatables. 


Soudie — Spae. 

Soss-poke, a ludicrous term for 
the stomach ; usually derived 
from sal and salsum, because the 
ingredients are salted ; but the 
word is more likely to have 
originated in soss, tjie old French 
sause, the Flemish sass, the 
modern sauce, compounded of 
several ingredients, all blend- 
ing to produce a particularly 
piquant flavour. Soss is used 
in colloquial and vulgar English 
in the >Scottish sense of a mixed 
mess; and sorde, evidently a 
corruption of soss, is, according 
to Mr. Wright's Archaic Dic- 
tionary, a v(rord used in the 
East of England to signify " any 
strange mixture." 

Soudie, broth ; from the old 
English seethe, to boil. (See 
PowsouDiE, ante.) 

Sowens, flummery ; a mixture of 
oatmeal and sour milk. 

Sowie, diminutive of sow. An 
implement of war for demolish- 
ing walls, which the English 
call a ram, and the French un 
helier, or a battering ram; the 
Scotch call it a sow, from its 
weight and rotundity. 

They laid their sowies to the wall 

Wi' mony a heavy peal ; 
But he threw ower to them again 
Baith pitch and tar -barrel. 

— Scott's Border Minstrelsy : 
Auld Maitland. 

Sowth, to try over a tune with 
a low whistle, to hum a tune to 
one's self involuntarily. 

On braes when we please, then, 
We'll sit and sowth a tune, 

Syne rhyme till't ; we'll time till't, 
And sing't when we hae done. 

—Burns : To Davie, a Brother Poet. 

Sourocks, wild sorrel ; any sour 

S outer, a shoemaker, a cobbler. 
This word occurs in early Eng- 
lish literature, though it is now 

Ploughmen and pastourers, 

And other common labourers, 

Souters and shepherds. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

The devil males a reeve to preach, 
Or a souter, a shipman, or a bear. 

— Chaucer : Canterbury Tales. 

"Mair whistle than woo," 
As the souter said when he sheared the 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Souters wives are aye ill shod. 

— Idem. 

Sowther, or soother, to solder, 
to make amends for, to cement, 
to heal. 

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my 

Ae night o' good fellowship sowthers it a'. 
—Burns : Contented wi Little. 

Spae, to tell fortunes, to predict. 
Etymology uncertain; derived 
by Jamieson from the Icelandic, 
but probably connected with 
spell, a magic charm or enchant- 
ment, or with s'pes, hope ; spae- 
ivife, a fortune-teller ; spae-hooh, 
magic book, a fortune-teller's 

The black spae-book from his breast he 
Impressed with mony a warlock spell ; 

Spairge — Spartle. 


And the book it was wrote by Michael 
He held in awe the fiends o' hell. 

— Lord Soulis ; Border Minstrelsy. 

S;pae, which in Scottish means 
to prophesy, has no connection 
with the English spae, written 
by Johnson spay, to castrate a 
female animal for the purpose 
of producing barrenness. 

Be dumb, you beggars of the rhyming 

Geld your loose wits, and let the muse be 


A singular misconception of 
the true meaning of a spay'd, or 
one who is spay'd, has led to a 
current English proverb, that 
will doubtless drop out of use as 
soon as its true origin is under- 
stood. In Taylor's works (1630), 
quoted by Halliwell, occurs the 
couplet : — 

I think it good plaine English without 

To call a spade a spade, a bawd a bawd. 

The juxtaposition of hawd and 
spade in this passage suggests 
that the true reading should be 
spayd. In Dr. Donne's satires, 
anterior to the works of Taylor, 
there appears the line : — 
I call a bawd a bawd, a spaed a spaed. 

Nares in his Glossary asks 
very naturally, "why the spade 
(rather than the poker, or hoe, 
or plough, or pitchfork, or any 
other implement) was especially 
chosen to enter into this figura- 
tive expression is not clear." 
If he had known the true mean- 
ing of the word spay'd or spae'd, 

the obscurity would have been 
cleared up. 

Spairge, to sprinkle, to scatter 
about as liquids. From the 
French asperger, to sprinkle 
with water. 

When in yon cavern grim and sootie. 

Closed under hatches, 
Spairges about the brimstane cootie.* 

— Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Spank, to move rapidly ; spanker, 
one who walks with a quick 
and lively step ; spariky, frisky, 
lively, sprightly. The phrase 
"a spanking tit" is still em- 
ployed by the sporting brother- 
hood of the lower classes to 
signify a fast horse. The Eng- 
lish spank, to beat, to slap, 
seems to be derivable from the 
same idea of rapidity of motion 
which pertains to the Scottish 
word, and to be suggestive of 
the quick and oft-repeated mo- 
tion of the hands in spanking or 
slapping the posterior. Spanker- 
ing, nimble, active, alert. The 
word is derived by Jamieson 
from the Teutonic spannen, to 
extend. The German word, 
however, does not exactly mean 
extend, but to put the horses to 
a carriage, as the French dtteler. 

Spargeon, plaister ; spargeoner, 
a plaisterer ; from the French 
asperger, to sprinkle. 

Spartle, from the Flemish sparteln, 
to move the limbs quickly or 

* Cootie signifies a large dish, and also 
the broth or other liquor contained in it. 


Spatch'Cock — Spaul. 

convulsively, to kick about help- 
lessly or involuntarily. Sprattle, 
to struggle or sprawl. 

Listening the doors and windows rattle, 
I thought me on the ourie cattle, 
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle 

O' winter war, 
And through the drift deep-lairing sprattle, 
Beneath a scaur. 

— Burns : A Winter Night. 
No more was made for that lady, 

For she was lying dead ; 
But a' was for her bonnie bairn, 
Lay spartling at her side. 
. — Buchan's Ancient Ballads. 

Spatch-cock, a fowl split open, 
to be broiled in haste, on a 
sudden demand for dinner from 
an unexpected guest ; a corrup- 
tion of o^ispaicA-cock, a cock 
quickly cooked. The word is 

\ common in the United States. 

Spate, a flood or freshet, from the 
overflow of a river or lake ; also 
metaphorically an overflow of 
idle talk. 

The water was great and mickle o' spate. 
— Kinmont Willie. 
Even like a mighty river that runs down in 

spate to the sea. 
— W. E. Aytoun : Blackwood's Magazine. 

He trail'd the foul sheets down the gait, 
Thought to have washed them on a 
The burn was risen out of spate. 

— 'Rxrsoii's Caledonian Muse : The 
Wife of A uchtermtichty. 

While crashing ice, borne on the roaring 

Sweeps dams an' mills an' brigs a' to the 


— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

And doun the water wi' speed she ran, 
While tears in spates fa' fast frae her e'e. 
—Border Mmstrelsy : Jock d the Side. 

The Laird of Balnamoon was a truly 
eccentric character. He joined with his 
drinking propensities a great zeal for the 
Episcopal Church. One Sunday, having 
visitors, he read the services and prayers 
with great solemnity and earnestness. 
After dinner, he, with the true Scottish 
hospitality of the time, set to, to make 
his guests as drunk as possible. Next 
day, when they took their departure, one 
of the visitors asked another what he 
thought of the laird. "Why, really," he 
replied, "sic a spate o' praying, and sic a 
spate o' drinking, I never knew in all the 
course of my life." — Dean Ramsay's Re- 

Spate, or spaite, is from the 
Gaelic speid, a mountain torrent 
suddenly swollen by rain. In 
the North of England, accord- 
ing to Messrs. Halliwell and 
Wright, a spait signifies a more 
than usually heavy downpour of 
rain ; and in the county of Dur- 
ham it signifies a pool formed 
by the rain. 

Spaul, sometimes written spald, a 
shoulder; from the French es- 
paule, or ipaule, often used to 
signify a leg or limb. " To 
spaul," according to Jamieson, 
"is to push out the limbs like 
a dying animal." 

The late Duchess of Gordon sat at 
dinner next to an Englishman, who was 
carving, and who made it a boast that he 
was thoroughly master of the Scottish 
language. Her Grace turned to him and 
said, " Rax me a spaul o' that bubbly- 
jock ! " The unfortunate man was com- 
pletely nonplussed. — Dean Ramsay. 

The gander being longer in the spauld. 
— Noctes AtnbrosiancE. 

Wi' spur on heel, or splent (armour) on 

— Border Minstrelsy : Kinmont Willie. 

Spean — Spier. 


The Scotch employ the French 
word gigot for a leg of mutton ; 
but they do not say a spaul of 
mutton for a shoulder. 

Spean (sometimes spelled spane or 
spayn), to wean. The English 
wean is derived from the Ger- 
man wohnen, or entuohnen ; and 
the Scottish spean from the 
Flemish and Low Dutch speen, 
which has the same meaning. 
Speaning-brash, an eruption in 
children, which often occurs at 

Withered beldams auld and droll, 
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, 
Louping and flinging on a crummock, 
I wonder did na turn thy stomach. 

— Burns : Tarn o' Shunter. 

The meaning of spean, as used 
by Burns, implies that the hags 
were so very hideous, that, had 
they been brood mares, a foal 
would in disgust have refused 
to imbibe nourishment from 

Speer-windit or spier-windit, out 
of breath or wind from asking too 
many questions, tired of asking ; 
a word most applicable to im- 
pudent barristers cross-examin- 
ing a witness; from speer, or 
spier, to inquire. 

Spell, an interval. The Scotch 
and the Americans say : ** a 
spell of work," " a speU of idle- 
ness," "a spell of bad weather," 
^^ Si spell of good weather," "a 
s'pell of amusement," &c. The 
derivation of the word is sup- 
posed to be from the Dutch and 

Flemish spel, the German spide, 
to play. Possibly, though not 
certainly, the root is the Gaelic 
speal, to mow, cut down ; and 
thence a stroke, i.e., a stroke of 
good or bad weather, &c. The 
word has recently become cur- 
rent in English. 

Spence, a store-room next to a 
kitchen, where the provisions 
are kept ; an inner apartment in 
a small house. The word is 
supposed to be derived from 
dispense, to distribute ; whence 
dispensary, the place where me- 
dicines are distributed. 

Wi' tottering step he reached the spence. 
Where soon the ingle blazed fu' hie ; 

The auld man thought himself at hame, 
And the tear stood twinkling in his e'e. 
—Pickering : Domocht Sea^ or the 
Auld Minstrel. 

Our Bardie lanely keeps the spence 
Sin' Mailie's dead. 
— Burns : Poor Mailie's Elegy. 

"Edward," said the sub-Prior, "you 
will supply the English knight here, in 
this spence, with suitable food and accom- 
modation for the night." — Scott : The 

The word is still used in the 
north of England for a buttery, 
also for a cupboard, a pantry, 
and a private room in a farm 

Yet I had leven she and I 
Were both togydir secretly 
In some corner in the spence. 

— Halliwell. 

Spier, to inquire, to ask after; 

of unknown etymology. The 

derivation from the Gaelic speur, 

clear, whence by extension of 


Sperthe — Sphite. 

meaning, an inquiry, to make 
clear, is scarcely satisfactory. 

Mony a ane spiers the gate he knows full 
well. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

I am Spes, quoth he, 
And spier after a knight, 
That took me a mandement 
Upon the mount of Sinai. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

I spiered for my cousin fu couthie and 

— Burns : Last May a Braw Wooer. 

When lost, folks never ask the way they 

They spier the gait. 
' — Robert Leighton : Scotch Words. 

A very expressive derivation of spier is 
back-spier, meaning to cross-examine. — 
R. Drennan. 

Her niece was asking a great many 
questions, and coming over and over the 
same ground, demanding an explanation 
how this and that had happened, till at 
last the old lady lost patience, and burst 
forth — " I winna be back-spiered, noo, 
Polly Fullerton." — Dean Ramsay. 

Sperthe, a spear, a javelin, or, 
more properly, a battle-axe; a 
word that might well be rescued 
from oblivion for the use of 
rhymers, often hardly pushed for 
a rhyme to earth, birth, girth, 
and mirth — all well, or too well 

His helmet was laced. 
At his saddle girth was a good steel 

Full ten pound weight and more. 
— Border Minstrelsy : The Eve of 
St. John. 

Spin-drift, sometimes corruptly 
written and pronounced s'peen- 
drift^xA spune-drift, snow driven 
by the wind in whirls or spin- 
nings in the air, and finally 

accumulates on the ground 
when the force of the wind is 

Spirlie, a person with slender legs ; 
spindle-shanked, slim, thin, often 
combined with lang ; as, "A 
lang spirlie," a tall slender per- 
son. From the Gaelic speir, a 
shank, a claw ; speireach, having 
slender limbs. 

Spleuchan, a Highland purse ; 
from the Gaelic spliuchan, an 
outside pouch or receptacle of 
small matters, and spliuch, any- 
thing that hangs down. 

Deil mak' his king's-hood [scrotum] 

in a spleuchan. 
—Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Splore, a riotously merry meeting ; 
to make a splort, to create a 
sensation. The Americans have 
splurge, a word with the same 
meaning. The derivation is un- 

In Poosie Nancy's held the splore. 

Wi' quaffing and laughing, 
They ranted and they sang. 
—Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

The squads o' chiels that lo'ed a splore, 

On winter evenings never ca' ; 
Their blythesome moments now are o'er. 
Since Rabbie gaed an' left them a'. 
—Richard Gall : On the Death 
of Bums. 

Splute, to exaggerate in narrative, 
to indulge in fiction. Jamieson 
derives this word from the 
French exploit, but it is more 
probably a corruption of the 
Gaelic spleadh, a romance, a 

Spoacher — Sproage. 


boast, a gasconade, a vain- 
glorious assertion; spleadhaich, 

Spoacher, a poacher, one who 
steals game. The Scottish word 
seems to have been the origi- 
nal form, and to have become 
poacher by the elision of the 
initial s, a not uncommon result 
in words from the Celtic, as the 
Welsh hen, old, is the same as 
the Gaelic scan; the English 
nag is the same as snag, to snarl 
or say provoking things, as is 
the custom with spiteful women 
if they wish to quarrel with 
their husbands. The English 
^poacher is usually derived from 
poke, the French jpoc/ie, a pocket, 
pouch, or bag, because the 
poacher, like the sportsman, 
lags his game. But if the Scot- 
tish spoacher be the elder word, 
it will be necessary to account 
for the lost s. This is supplied 
in the Gaelic spog, to seize vio- 
lently, as birds of prey do with 
their claws and talons, and 
spogadh, seizure. Jamieson was 
of opinion that the s was added 
in the Scottish word ; but this 
would be a singular instance, 
contradicted by all previous ex- 
perience of similar cases. 

Spoutie, a word of contempt for 
a too fluent orator, or a garru- 
lous boaster ; one who, accord- 
ing to a wealthy Scottish phil- 
anthropist, is too plentifully 
endowed with "the pernicious 
gift of the gab — the curse of 
all free countries, especially of 

Great Britain and the United 
States." To spout is a common 
English vulgarism that signifies 
to talk at an inordinate length 
to a public meeting. The Ame- 
ricans derisively call it to orate. 

Sprack, lively, alert, animated; 
common in Scotland and pro- 
vinces in the south of England. 

Spraikle, sprackle, sprauchle, to 

clamber up a hill with great 
exertion and difficulty. From 
the Gaelic spracail, strong, ac- 
tive. The English words sprawl 
and sprag seem to be of the same 

I, rhymer Robin, alias Bums, 

October twenty-third ; 
A ne'er-to-be-forgotten day, 
Sae far I sprachled up the iDrae, 
I dinnered wi' a lord. 
—Burns : The Dinner with Lord Doer. 
Wad ye hae naebody spraickle up the 
brae but yoursel, Geordie.— Scott : For- 
tunes of Nigel. 

Spring, a lively tune. 

Sae rantingly, sae wantonly, 
He played of spring 
Beneath the gallows tree. 
— Old Song : Macphersons Farewell. 

Let him play a spring on his ain fiddle 
{i.e., let him have his own way; let him 
ride his own hobby.) — Dean Ramsay. 

Ye are as lang in tuning your pipes as 
anither man wad be in playing a spring. — 
Scottish Proverb. 

Sproage. This eccentric-looking 
word signifies, according to 
Jamieson, to go out courting at 
night, to wander by the light 
of the moon or stars. Alexander 
Ross, in *' Helenore, or the 


Spulzie — Spurtle. 

Fortunate Shepherdess, 
the lines : — 


We maun marry now ere lang ; 
Folk will speak o's, and fash us wi' the kirk. 
Gin we be seen thegither in the mirk. 

Neither Burns, Allan Ramsay, 
nor Scott employs this word, 
and its origin is wholly un- 
known, unless the Gaelic sporach, 
to incite, excite, or instigate, 
may supply a clue. 

Spulzie, to despoil, to ravage, to 
devastate, to lay waste ; from 
depouUZer, to spoil, or despoil. 

Spulzie him, spulzie him ! said Craigievar, 

Spulzie him presentlie, 
For I wad lay my lugs in pawn, 
He'd nae gude will at me. 

—'Buchat^'s Ancient Ballads: The 
Death of John Seton. 

Spune-hale, in such restored 
health as to be able to take 
one's ordinary food, one's kail or 
parritch, with a good appetite. 
Parr itch-hale and meat-hale are 

Spung, a purse that fastens with 
a clasp ; sporan, the large purse 
worn by the Highlanders on full- 
dress occasions. 

Rut wastefu' was the want of a', 
Without a yeuk they gar ane claw. 
When wickedly they bid us draw 

Our siller spunk's. 
For this and that to mak them braw 
And lay their tongues. 
— Allan Ramsay : Last Speech of 
a Wretched Miser. 

Spunk, a match, a spark ; spunkie, 
fiery, high spirited ; also an 
"ignis fatuus" or will o' the 

wisp. The word is derived by 
Jamieson from the Gaelic spong, 
rotten wood, or tinder, easily 
inflammable ; but it is question- 
able whether the root is not 
the Teutonic /wn^, a sparkle of 
light] funkeln, to sparkle; and 
ausfunkeln, to sparkle out, to 
shine forth. Ausfunk is easily 
corrupted into sfunk and spunk. 

Erskine, a spunkie Norland billie, 

And mony ithers ; 
Whom auld Demosthenes and Tully, 

Might own as brithers. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

If mair they deave us wi' their din 

O' patronage intrusion ; 
We'll light a sfunk, and every skin 
We'll rin them aff in fusion. 
Like oil some day. 

—Burns : The Ordination. 

And oft from moss-traversing spunkies. 
Decoy the wight that late and drunk is. 
—Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Spurtle or parritch spurtle, a 

rounded stick or bar of hard 
wood, used in preference to a 
spoon or ladle for stirring oat- 
meal porridge in the process of 
cooking. Jamieson — who sel- 
dom dives deeper than the Teu- 
tonic — derives the word from 
spryten, the Latin assula. The 
Gaelic has sparr or sparran, a 
little wooden bar or bolt ; and 
the Flemish has sport, with the 
same meaning; and also that 
of the rung of a ladder (a bar of 
wood which a Scottish house- 
wife, in default of any better 
spurtle, might conveniently use 
for the purpose). Good bairns 
in the olden times when oatmeal 
porridge was the customary food 

Staffa — Stank. 


of the peasantry, were often re- 
warded by having the spurtle to 
lick in addition to their share of 
the breakfast. 

Our gudeman cam' hame at e'en, 

And hame cam' he ; 
And there he saw a braw broad sword, 

Where nae sword should be. 

How's this ? gude wife, 

How's this, quo he, 
How came this sword here 

Without the leave o' me 7 

A sword ! quo she. 

Aye, a sword, quo he ; 
Ye auld blind doited bodie, 

And blinder may ye be, 
'Tis but a parritch spurtle, 

My minnie gied to me. 

Far hae I travelled. 

And muckle hae I seen, 
But scabbards upon sj>urtles. 

Saw I never nane ! 

— Our Gudeman. 

Staffa, the name of the well- 
known island of the West that 
contains the ** cave of Fingal." 
Colonel Robertson, in " The 
Gaelic Topography of Scot- 
land," has omitted to give the 
etymology of the word. Many 
people suppose it to be Eng- 
lish, and akin to Stafford. It 
is, however, pure Gaelic, and 
accurately descriptive of the 
natural formation of the cave, 
being compounded of stuadk {dh 
silent), a pillar or pillars, column 
or columns; and uamh {uav or 
uaf), a cave, whence stua-uaf 
or staffa, the cave of pillars or 

Staig, a young, unbroken stallion. 
In the North of England, this 
word stag, or staig, is applied to 

any young male quadruped, and, 
in contempt, to a strong, vulgar, 
romping girl, whose manners are 
masculine. The word is also 
applied to the Turkey cock and 
the gander. From the German 
steigen, to mount, to raise, to 
stick up, to stand erect. In the 
old Norse, steggr signifies male. 

It's neither your stot nor your staig I 

shall crave. 
But gie me your wife, man, for her I 

must have. 

— Burns : The Carle o> Kellyburn 

Stance, situation, standing-place, 
or foundation. This word has 
not yet been admitted into the 
English dictionaries. 

No ! sooner may the Saxon lance. 
Unfix Benledi from his stance. 

— Scott : Lady of the Lake. 
We would recommend any Yankee be- 
liever in England's decay to take his 
stance in Fleet Street or any of our great 
thoroughfares, and ask himself whether it 
would be wise to meddle with any member 
of that busy and strenuous crowd. — Black- 
woods Magazine, June 1869. 

Stank, a pool, a ditch, an en- 
trenchment filled with water 
for the defence of a fortress. 
This word, with the elision of 
the initial letter, becomes the 
English tank, a receptacle for 
water. StanJdt, entrenched. 
From the French etaing, or 
estaing; the Gaelic staing, a 
ditch, a pool ; staingichte, en- 

I never drank the Muses stank, 

Castilia's burn and a' that ; 
But there it streams, and richtly reams, 

My Helicon, I ca' that. 

—Burns: The /oily Beggars, 


Stanners — Steenies. 

Clavers and his Highland men 

Cam down among the raw, man ; 
Ower bush, owerbank, ower ditch, ower 
She flang amang them a', man. 

— Battle of Killiecrankie. 

Stanners, gravel, small stones on 
the banks of a stream, shingle 
on the sea shore. 

Yestreen the water was in spate, 

The stanners a' were curled. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Water Kelpie. 

Stark, strong ; from the German. 
The word, however, is English, 
with a different meaning, as in 
the phrase, %tark naked, utterly 

Fill fu' and hand fu' males a stark man. 
^Old Proverb. 

Staumrel, a stupid person; 
saumer, to stutter, to be inco- 
herent in speech, to stammer; 
from the German stumme, dumb ; 
and stumpf, stupid, the Flemish 
and Dutch stumper, a fool, a silly 
and idle person. 

Nae langer, thrifty citizens, an' douce, 
Meet owre a pint or in the council house, 
But staumrel, corky-headed gentry, 
The herriment and ruin of the country. 
— Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 
The lad was aye a perfect stump. 

— Jamieson. 

Staves. "To go to staves " is a 
proverbial expression used in 
Scotland to signify to go to 
ruin, to fall to pieces like a 
barrel, when the hoops that 
bind the staves together are 

Staw, to surfeit, to disgust. Ety- 
mology uncertain ; not Flemish, 

as Jamieson supposes, but pro- 
bably from the Gaelic stad or 
stadh (pronounced sta), to desist, 
or cause to desist. 

Is there that o'er his French ragout, 
Or olio that wad staw a sow. 

— Burns : To a Haggis. 

Curryin's a grand thing, when the edge 
o' the appetite's a wee turned, and ye're 
rather beginnin' to be stawed. — Nodes 
A mbrosiance. 

Steek, to close, to shut, to fasten 
with a pin. 

Sages their solemn e'en may steek. 
— Burns : Cry and Prayer. 

Steek the awmrie. 
— Sir Walter Scott : Donald Caird. 

Ye're owre bonnie ! ye're owre bonnie I 

Sae steek that witchin' e'e, 
It's light flees gleamin' through my brain. 
— James Ballantine. 

Your purse was steekit when that was 
paid for. 

When the steed's stown steik the stable- 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Steeks, the interstices of any wo- 
ven or knitted fabric, stitches ; 
steek, probably from stitch, as kirk 
from church. 

He draws a bonnie silken purse, 
As lang's my tail, where, through the steeks, 
The yellow-lettered Geordie [guinea] keeks. 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Steenies, guineas, foreign or other 
gold coins ; derivation unknown, 
unless the term be a mock de- 
preciation of the precious metal, 
from stone, or stein, applied upon 
the same principle that money 
is called dross or filthy lucre. 

Steeve — Steward. 


What though we canna boast of our 

guineas, O, 
We've plenty of Jockies and Jeanies, O, 
An' these, I'm certain, are 
More daintier by far 
Than a pock full of yellow steenies, O. 

—Rev. John Skinner : The Old 
Mans Song. 

Steeve, or steive, firm, erect, 
stout; from the English ztiff, 
and the Flemish zti^f. 

Sit ye steeve in your saddle seat, 
For he rides sicker who never fa's. 
—James Ballantine. 

Sten, to spring to one side, a sud- 
den motion in the wrong direc- 
tion ; to turn away, to twist, to 
bend; stennis, a sprain. From 
the Gaelic staon, awry, askew ; 
and staonaich, to bend, to twist, 
to turn. Jamieson erroneously 
derives sten from extend. 

Yestreen at the valentines' dealing, 
My heart to my mou' gied a sten, 

For thrice I drew ane without failing, 
And thrice it was written Tam Glen. 
— Burns : Tam Glen. 

Stevin or steven. Before the in- 
troduction from the Latin vox, 
and the French voix, of the 
word voice into the English and 
Scottish languages, the word 
stevin was employed. It was 
used by Chaucer in England, 
and by Gawin Douglas in Scot- 
land. From its resemblance 
to the Teutonic stimme, a voice, 
and stimmen, voices, the Flemish 
stem, it is probable that it was a 
corruption or variation of that 

With dreary heart and sorrowful steven. 
— Morte Arthur. 

Betwixt the twelfth hour and eleven, 
I dreamed an angel cam frae heaven. 
With pleasant stevin sayand on hie, 
Tailyiors and soutars, blest be ye ! 

— Dunbar : Allan Ramsay's 
Evergreen. • 

Lang may thy steven fill with glee 
The glens and mountains of Lochlee. 
— Beattie : To Mr. Alexander Ross. 

Quoth Jane, " My steven, sir, is blunted 

And singing frae me frighted off wi' care ; 
But gin ye'll tak' it as I now can gie't, 
Ye're welcome til't— and my sweet blessing 


—Ross's Helenore. 

The rhymes to "heaven" in 
Scottish and English poetry are 
few, and stevin would be an 
agreeable addition to the num- 
ber if it were possible to re- 
vive it. 

Steward, a director, a manager, 
an administrator. As a patro- 
nymic, the word is sometimes 
spelled Stewart and stuart, and 
has been derived from the Teu- 
tonic stede-ward, one who occu- 
pies the place delegated to him 
by another ; or from the Ice- 
landic stia, work, and weard, a 
guard or guardian. It seems, 
however, to have an indigenous 
origin in the Gaelic stiuir, to 
lead, direct, guide, steer, super- 
intend, manage, &c. ; and ard, 
high or chief. The ''Steward 
of Scotland " was in early times 
the chief officer of the crown, 
and next in power and dignity 
to the king. There was a simi- 
lar functionary in England : — 

The Duke of Norfolk is the first, 
And claims to be high Steward. . 


Stey — Stirk, 

The attributes of the ^^ Steward 
of Scotland" are set forth by 
Erskine as quoted in Jamieson ; 
and the last holder of the office 
— who became king of Scotland 
— gave the name of his function 
to his royal descendants. In its 
humbler sense, of the steward of 
a great household, or of a ship, 
the name is still true to its 
Gaelic derivation, and signifies 
the chief director of his parti- 
cular department. 

It has been suggested in the 
" Gaelic Etymology of the Lan- 
guages of Western Europe," 
that the true etymon of stew or 
stu (the first syllable of steward 
and Stuart) is the Gaelic stuth, 
pronounced stu, which signifies 
any strong liquor, as well as 
food, sustenance, or nourish- 
ment for the body; and that 
consequently s^ewarchneans chief 
butler, or provider of the royal 
household. There is much to 
be said in favour of this hypo- 
thesis, but the derivation from 
stiur seems preferable. 

The Irish Gaelic spells steward 
in the English sense stiohhard. 
The Scottish Gaelic has it stiuh- 
liard ; but the words thus writ- 
ten have no native etymology, 
and are merely phonetic render- 
ings of an obsolete Gaelic term, 
re-borrowed from the modern 
English. The suggested Teu- 
tonic etymology of steward from 
stede-ward, has no foundation in 
the Teutonic languages. Ste- 
ward in Germany is Verwalter, 
administrator or director; and 
Jfaushofmeister, master of the 

household. In Flemish, hestieren 
signifies to administer, to direct ; 
and hestierder, an administrator, 
a director, a steward. 

Stey, steep, perpendicular. In 
Cumberland and Westmoreland, 
a mountain of peculiar steepness 
is called a sty ; and in Berkshire, 
sty signifies a ladder. Stey and 
sty are both from the German 
stiegen, and the Flemish stijgen, 
to mount, to climb. 

Set a stout heart to a stejf brae. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scois Proverbs. 

The stey est brae thou wouldst hae face't at. 
— Burns : The Auld Farmer to His 
A uld Mare, Maggie^ 

Stickit minister, a term of oblo- 
quy in Scotland for a candidate 
for holy orders who has failed 
to pass the necessary examina- 
tion, or to give satisfaction to 
the congregation before whom 
he preached the probationary 
sermon. The phrase is akin to 
the vulgar English — "old siick 
in the mud." 

Puir lad ! the first time he tried to 
preach, he stickit his sermon. — Jamieson. 

A speech is stickit when the si>eaker 
hesitates and is unable to proceed. — Idem. 

Still. This word is sometimes em - 
ployed in the Scottish vernacular 
in a sense which it possesses no 
longer in English, that of taci- 
turn, or reticent of speech. " A 
stiil dour man," signifies a taci- 
turn, reserved, and hard man. 

Stirk, a bullock; stirJcie, a bull 

Stob — Stoup, 


There's aye water where the stirkie 
drowns (r.*., there's a reason or cause for 
everything ; or there's never a smoke with- 
out fire). 

Stob, to push the foot accidentally 
against a stone or other impedi- 
ment in the ground. " I have 
stobhed my toe," said the late 
President Lincoln, in explana- 
tion of his temporary lameness ; 
from the Gaelic stob, a stake, a 
thrust, or anything thrust in 
the ground ;. a stick, a stump, 
any stalk broken or cut and still 
projecting from the ground ; 
whence the English word stubble. 

Stoit, to stagger. 

And aye as on the road he sioiiii, 
His knees on ane anither knockit 
[knocked together]. 
-^George Beattie : John d Amhd. 

Stound, a moment, a very short 
space of time ; also, a quick 
sudden momentary pain. From 
the German stund, an hour. 

Gang in and seat you on the sunks a' 

And ye'se be sair'd wi' plenty in a 


— Ross's Helenore. 

And aye the stound, the deadly wound, 
Came frae her e'en sae bonnie blue. 
— Burns : / Gaed a Waefu Gate. 

Stoup or stoop, a flagon, a pitcher, 
a jug. Pint-stoup, a bottle or 
jug containing a pint. This 
word was used by Shakspeare, 
Ben Jonson, and other drama- 
tists of the Elizabethan era ; it 
has long been obsolete in Eng- 
land, but survives with undi- 
minished vitality in Scotland. 

Come, [Lieutenant ! I have a stoop of 
wine, and here without are a brace of 
Cyprian gallants, that would fain have a 
measure to the health of black Othello.— 

Set me the stoup of wine upon that table. 
And surely ye'll be yo\xx pint-stoup, 
As sure as I'll be mine. 

— Burns : A uld Lang Syne. 
Waitr-stoups ? quo' he ; 
Aye, water-stoups, quo' she — 
Far hae I ridden, 
And muckle I hae seen ; 
But silver spurs on ■waX&r-stoups 
Saw I never nane ! 

— Herd's Collection : Our 

The etymology of stmji'p or 
stoo'p has long been contested. 
Johnson derives it from the 
Dutch and Flemish sto-p, a cork 
or stopper of a bottle ; the Ger- 
man stopsel ; but this can 
scarcely be the origin of the 
Scottish word, for a mUk-stoup, 
a water-s^oM^, a can, a pitcher, 
a bucket, a pail,. are not corked 
or stopped. In some Scottish 
glossaries a stoup is said to be a 
tin pot, and in others it is de- 
fined as a jug with a handle ; 
while in Northumberland, ac- 
cording to Wright's Provincial 
Dictionary, a stoop signifies a 
barrel. In Gaelic, stop means a 
wooden vessel for carrying water, 
a measure for liquids, or a flagon ; 
and stopan signifies a small 
flagon. Between the Flemish 
and Gaelic derivations it is diffi- 
cult to decide ; but the Gaelic, 
which applies the word to wide 
and open utensils, seems to be 
preferable, at least in compre- 


Stour — Strappan. 

Stour, dust in motion, and meta- 
phorically trouble, vexation, or 
disturbance ; stourie, dusty. The 
word is akin to the English stivy 
and in its metaphorical sense is 
synonymous with the Scottish 
steer, as in the song " What's a 
the steer, kimmer ? " what's the 
disturbance, or in the broad 
vernacular, what's the row ? 
" To kick up a dust" is a slang 
expression that has a similar 

Yestreen I met you on the moor. 
Ye spak na, but gaed by like stour; 
Ye geek at me because I'm poor. 

—Burns : Tibbie, I hae Seen 
the Day. 

After service, the betheral of the strange 
clergyman said to his friend the other 
betheral, "I think our minister did weel. 
He aye gars the stour flee out o' the 
cushion." To which the other replied, 
with a calm feeling of superiority, " Stour 
out o' the cushion ! Hoot ! our minister, 
sin' he cam' wi' us, has dung [knocked or 
beaten] the guts out o' twa Bibles." — Dean 

How blithely wad I bide the stoure, 
A weary slave frae sun to sun, 

Could I the rich reward secure 
Of lovely Mary Morrison. 

— Burns. 

Burns uses the word in the 
sense of mould, earth, or soil, as 
in his "Address to the Daisy : " — 

Wee, modest, crimson-tippet flower, 
Thou'st met me in an evil hour. 
For I man crush amang the stour, 
Thy slender stem. 

Stour, in the sense of strife, 
was a common English word in 
the time of Chaucer and his 

Stowlins, stownlins, by stealth, 
stealthily, or stolen moments 
unobserved, or expecting to be 

Rob stowlins pried her bonnie mou, 
Fu' cosie in the neuk for't 
Unseen that night. 

— Burns : Hallowe'en, 

Stoyte, stoiter, to stagger, 
stumble, or walk unsteadily ; 
from the Flemish stooten, to 
push against, to stumble or 
cause to stumble. 

When staggirand and swaggirand, 
They stoyter hame to sleep. 
— Allan Ramsay : The Vision. 

Blind chance let her snapper and stoyte 
on the way. 
—Burns : Contented w£ Little. 

At length wi' drink and courtin' dizzy, 
He sioitered up and made a face. 
— Burns : The Jolly Beggars. 

To stoitle over, in consequence of in- 
firmity, without being much hurt. To 
tyne or lose the stoyte, is a metaphor for 
being off the proper line of conduct — 

Strae death, straw death, death 
in bed, natural death. This 
strong but appropriate expres- 
sion comes from the Middle 
Ages, when lawlessness and 
violence were chronic. 

Strappan or strappin', strong, tall, 
burly, well-grown ; the English 
strapping, a strapping youth. 

The miller was strappin, the miller was 

—Burns : Meg o' the Mill. 

Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him 

A strappin' youth— he taks the mother's 

—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Streik — Study, 


This word comes from the 
Gaelic streap, to climb up, i.e., 
in stature, to grow tall. 

Stroop, a spout. Stroopie, the 
spout of a kettle ; also a gutter 
or watercourse. 

Streik, to stretch ; from the Dutch 
and Flemish strekken, German 
strechen, to extend. This word 
is used in a variety of ways, un- 
known to or unf requent in Eng- 
lish ; as, " Tak' your ain streik" 
take your own course ; streikin, 
tall and active ; streik, to go 
quickly, i.e., to stretch out in 
walking; tight or tightly drawn, 
i.e., excessively drawn, stretched 
out, or extended. 

Strone or stroan, a ludicrous word 
for the habitual urination of 
dogs when out on their rambles. 
It is introduced by Burns in his 
description of the rich man's 
dog, Caesar, the fine Newfound- 
land, who was the friend and 
companion of Luath, the poor 
man's dog : — 

Though he was of high degree, 
The fient o' pride, nae pride had he. 

Nae tauted tyke, though e'er sae duddie. 
But he wad stan't as glad to see him, 
And stroan t on stanes and hillocks wi' 

The word seems to have been 
originally applied to the action 
of the dog in first smelling the 
place where another dog has 
been before for a similar pur- 
pose, and to be derived from 
the Gaelic srone (pronounced 
strone), a nose ; and sronagaich, 
to trace by the scent as dogs 

Struishle, to struggle pertinaci- 
ously, and in vain, against con- 
tinually recurring difficulties ; 
from the Femish struikelen, to 
stumble, to fall down. 

A tradesman employed to execute a very 
difficult piece of carved work, being asked 
how he was getting on, answered — " I'm 
struishling awa' like a writer [lawyer] 
tryin' to be honest ! "—Laird of Logan. 

Strunt, alcoholic liquor of any 
kind ; a fit of ill-humour ; also, 
an affront, or a sturdy, arrogant 

Strunt and sturt are birds of ae feather. 

And aft are seen on the wing thegither. 

— Scots Proverb. 

Burns makes the disagreeable 
insect that he saw on a lady's 
bonnet at church " strwni rarely 
over her gauze and lace." The 
word, in this sense, seems to be 
a corruption of the English strut. 
Stront is a low Teutonic word for 
stereus humanum; but this can 
scarcely be the root of strunt in 
any of the senses in which it is 
used in the Scottish language ; 
though strunty, an epithet ap- 
plied to any one in a fit of such 
ill-humour as to be excessively 
disagreeable to all around him, 
may not be without some remote 
connection with the Teutonic 

Study or brown study. This ex- 
pression seems to have first 
appeared in literature in the 



" Case Altered " of Ben Jonson, 
who was of Scottish parentage, 
though born in London :— 

Faiks ! this brown study suits not with 
your black ; your habit and your thought 
are of two colours. 

(See Bkown Study, ante, p. 19.) 

Stug-. This Scottish word is used 
in a variety of senses— all allied 
to the idea of stiffness, erect- 
ness, rigidity, hardness, prickli- 
ness, &c., as the English stiff, 
stick, stock, stuck up, and the 
corresponding verb derived from 
the noun ; as stug, to stab or stick 
with a sharp weapon ; stug, the 
trunk or fragment of a decayed 
tree projecting above the ground; 
stug, a hard, masculine woman ; 
stug, obstinate; stugger, an ob- 
stinate person; stug, a thorn; 
stugs, stubble. From the Dutch 
and Flemish stug, inflexible, stiff, 
obstinate ; the German stick, to 
stab, to pierce ; stichdn, to prick, 
to sting. 

Sturt, strife, contention, disturb- 
ance ; also, to strive, to con- 
tend ; a word apparently akin 
to stour in its poetical sense of 
confusion. It is akin to, and 
possibly derived from, the Ger- 
man sturzen, to disturb, to over- 

And aye the less they hae to siurt them, 
In like proportion less will hurt them. 

—Burns : Tke Twa Dogs. 

I've lived a life oi sturt and strife, 
I die by treachery, 

—Macpherson s Farewell. 

Styme, a particle, an iota, an 
atom; the least possible quantity; 
a blink, a gleam, a glimpse. 

He held, she drew, fu' steeve that day. 
Might no man see a styme. 

—Christ's Kirk on tke Green. 
I've seen me daz't upon a time, 
I scarce could wink or see a styme. 

—Burns: Naething like 

The faintest form of an object ; a glimpse 
or transitory glance, as, "There's no a 
styme o' licht here."— Jamieson. 

From styme is formed stymie, 
one who sees indistinctly ; and 
stymel, which, according to 
Jamieson, is a name of reproach 
given to one who does not per- 
ceive quickly what another 
wishes him to see. Jamieson 
hints, rather than asserts, that 
stym^ is from the Welsh ystum, 
form, or figure; but as styme 
is the absence of form and 
figure, something faint, indis- 
tinct, and small, rather than a 
substantial entity, the etymo- 
logy is unsatisfactory. The word 
seems to have some relationship 
to the Gaelic stim, or st'iom, a 
slight puff, or wreath of smoke ; 
and thence to mean anything 
slight, transitory, and indis- 

Sugh, or sough, a sigh, a breath. 
Greek psyche, the breath of life, 
the soul. To keep a calm sugh, 
is to be discreetly silent about 
anything, not to give it breath ; 
sugh-siller, erroneously printed 
sow-siller by Jamieson, means 

Sunkets — Swacken. 


Sunkets, scraps of food, scrans 
(q. v.). 

In Scotland there lived a humble beggar, 
He had neither house nor hauld nor 
But he was weel likit by ilka body, 
And they gied him sunkets to rax his 
wame ; 
A nievefu' o' meal, a handfu' o' groats, 

A daud o' a bannock, or pudding bree, 
Cauld parritch, or the licking o' plates, 
Wad mak him as blithe as a body 
could be. 

— Tea Table Miscellany. 

Sunket-time is meal-time. The ety- 
mology of sunket is uncertain. Herd de- 
rived it from something. — Jamieson. 

Whenever an uncertain ety- 
• mology in English or Lcwland 
Scotch is avowed, it would be 
well if the dubious philologists 
would look into the Gaelic, 
which they seldom do. In the 
case of sunket they would have 
found something better in that 
language than the English some- 
thing. ^SanntocA signifies adainty, 
or something that is desired, 
coveted, or longed after ; and 
sanntaichte, that which is desired. 
This word would be easily con- 
vertible by the Lowland Scotch 
into sunket. Halliwell, in his 
Archaic Dictionary, has sun-cote, 
a dainty, which he says is a 
Suffolk word. 

Sumph, a stupid or soft-headed 
person. Jamieson derives the 
word from the German sumpf, 
and Flemish somp, a bog, a marsh, 
a morass ; a possible but not a 
convincing etymology. Halli- 
well has sump, a heavy weight, 

whence he adds, a heavy stupid 
fellow is so called. 

The soul of life, the heaven below, 
Is rapture-giving woman ; 

Ye surly sumphs who hate the name, 
Be mindfu' o' your mither. 

— Burns. 

Sumph, an admirable word. — Noctes 
■A mbrosiante. 

Swack, to deal a heavy blow ; 
akin to the vulgar English whaclc, 
to beat severely ; a swashing 
blow, a heavy blow ; etymology 
uncertain. The Teutonic schwach^ 
weak, has an opposite meaning, 
though there may be some con- 
nection of idea between a heavy 
blow and a blow that weakens 
him on whom it falls. 

When Percy wi' the Douglas met, 

I wat he was fu' fain. 
They swakkit their swords till sair they 
And the blood ran doun like rain. 

— Battle of Otterboume. 

In another stanza of this vi- 
gorous old ballad, occur the 
lines : — 

Then Percy and Montgomery met. 
That either of other were fain ; 

They s%vappit swords, and they twa 
And the blood run doun between. 

Here swappit seems employed 
in the same sense as swakkit, and 
is possibly a variation of swoop, 
to come down with a heavy 

Swacken, to grow weak ; from 
the German schwach, weak. 

Wi' that her joints began to s^vacken. 
And she scour'd like ony vtaukin (hare). 
—George Beattie : John o' Amha\ 


Swagers — Swarf. 

Swagers, men married to sisters. 
Jamieson goes to the Swedish 
and Icelandic for the derivation 
of this word, but it is to be 
found nearer home in the Flem- 
ish zwager, and the German 
sekwager, a brother-in-law. 

Swank, active, agile, supple ; 
swanhie, an active, clever young 
fellow, fit for his work, and not 
above it ; from the Flemish and 
German. Halliwell says that 
swanky is a northern English 
word for a strong, strapping 
fellow; and swanking for big, 

Thou ance was in the foremost rank, 
A filly, buirdly, steeve, and swank. 
— Burns : The A uld Farmer to his 
Auld Mare, Maggie. 

At e'en at the gloaming, 
Nae swankies are roaming, 
Bout stackin' the lassies at bogle to play. 
— The Flowers of the Forest. 

The etymological root of 
swankie is apparently the Teu- 
tonic schwank, droll ; used in a 
sense equivalent to the French 
drdle, which means a funny 
fellow, a droll fellow, or a fel- 
low in a contemptuous and de- 
preciatory sense. Mr. Thomas 
Wright, in his Archaic Diction- 
ary of Local and Provincial 
English, says that swankie is a 
northern word for a strapping 
fellow ; and that swamp signifies 
lean, unthriving, which suggests 
that possibly swain-pie is a cor- 
ruption of swankie, with a slight 
shade of difference in the phrase ; 
the meaning for "a strapping 
fellow," though suggestive of 

strength, may be also suggestive 
of tallness and leanness. The 
Danish has svang, withered, 
lean ; but it also has svanger, 
which means large-bellied, and 
is apphed to a pregnant woman ; 
the Flemish and Dutch have 
swanger with the same meaning. 

Swankies young in braw braid claith, ^ 
Are springin' owre the gutters. 

— Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Swarf, to faint, to swoon, to 
stupefy, or be stupefied ; also, a 
fainting fit, a swoon. 

And monie a huntit poor red coat. 
For fear amaist did swarf, man ! 
—Burns : The Battle of Sherriff-Muir. 

He held up an arrow as he passed, me ; 
and I swarf d awa wi' fright. — Scott: 
The Monastery, 

Ye hae gar'd the puir wretch speak till 
she swarfs, and now ye stand as if ye 
never saw a woman in a dwam before. — 
Scott : St. Ronan's Well. 

The etymology of swarf is 
uncertain; the author of "Piers 
Ploughman " has swowe, to swoon, 
akin apparently to the Gaelic 
suain, to fall asleep. By some 
swarf has been derived from the 
Teutonic auswerfen, to throw 
out, or throw off ; and as to fall 
in a fainting fit is to throw off 
temporarily the semblance of 
life, it is probable that the de- 
rivation is correct. Dwam, in 
the same sense as used by 
Sir Walter Scott, was formerly 
written dualm, and dwalm. These 
latter words are evidently allied 
to the old English dwale, one 
of the popular names of the 
plant bella donna, or deadly 

Swatch — Swtff. 


night-shade ; a word employed 
by the early poets Gower and 
Chaucer, and still in use in the 
Lowlands of Scotland, and the 
Northern counties of England. 

Swatch, a specimen, a sample. 
Etymology uncertain. 

On this side sits a chosen swatch, 
Wi' screwed-up, grace-proud faces. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 
ITiat's just a swatch o' Hornbook's way ; 
Thus goes he on from day to day, 
Thus does he poison, kill, and slay, 

An's weel paid for't. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Swats, new ale or beer. 

Tarn had got planted unco right 
Fast by an ingle bleezing finely, 
Wi' reaming swats that drank divinely. 

— Burns : Tarn o Shanter. 
I gie them a skelp as they're creeping 

Wi' a cog o' guid swats and an auld 
Scottish sang. 
— Burns : Contented wi Little. 

This word seems to be a ludi- 
crous derivation from the Gaelic 
iuath, to mix liquids, to rub or 
press barley; and suaihadh, a 
mode of threshing barley ; and 
thence, by extension of mean- 
ing, the juice of the barley. 
According to Jamieson, swats, or 
swaits, signifies new ale only. 
He derives it from the Anglo- 
Saxon swate, ale or beer; but 
the anterior root seems to be 
the Gaelic siiath. 

Sweer, diflScult, heavy, slow, 
wearied ; from the German 
schwer, heavy, hard, difficult. 

Sweer to bed, and sweer up in the morn- 
ing.— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Sweere - arse and sweer - tree 

are, according to Jamieson, the 
names of a sport among Scottish 
children, in which two of them 
are seated on the ground, and, 
holding a stick between them, 
endeavour each of them to draw 
the other up from the sitting 
posture. The heaviest in the 
posterior wins the game. 

Sweine, a swoon, a trance ; from 
the Gaelic suain, sleep. 

Sometimes she rade, sometimes she gaed 

As she had done before, O, 
And aye between she fell in a sweine 

Lang ere she cam to Yarrow. 

— The Dowie Dens 0' Yarrow. 

Swick orswyke, to deceive; also, 
a trick, a fraud, a deception ; 
swicky and swickful, deceitful. 
Apparently from the Danish 
svige, to deceive, to cheat, to 
defraud; and svig, fraud, im- 

"He played them a swick; I had nae 
swick o't," I had no blameableness in it. — 

Swiff, the English whiff, a puff of 
smoke, a breath, a short inter- 
val, as a smff of sleep amid 
pain, a passing odour ; swiff, the 
sound of an object passing 
rapidly by, as of an arrow or 
bullet in its flight. Whether 
the English whiff, or the Scot- 
tish swiff, were the original form , 
it is hopeless to inquire. The 
Scottish word seems to be a 
variety of the old English smppe, 
which Halli well's Archaic Dic- 
tionary defines, to move rapidly; 
and swipper, nimble, quick. 


Swine — Syne. 

Swine. * * The swine's gone through 
it," is a proverbial expression 
which signifies that a marriage 
has been postponed or unduly 
delayed. Why the swine should 
have anything to do with a mar- 
riage is so incomprehensible as 
to suggest that the word does 
duty for some other, of which 
it is a corruption. Such a word 
exists in the Gaelic suain, a 
sleep, a deep sleep, a lethargy, 
whence the English swoon. Suain 
also signifies to entwine, to wrap 
round, to envelop, to tie up, to 
twist a cord or rope round any- 
thing ; and hence may, in the 
proverbial saying above cited, 
signify an impediment. Either 
of the two meanings of suain 
would meet the sense of the 
phrase better than swine. 

Swipes, a contemptuous term for 
small and weak beer ; probably 
first given to it on account of 
its thinness, and the difficulty, 
or impossibility, of getting drunk 
upon it. From the Flemish 
zuipen, to drink to excess ; the 
German saufen, to drink as ani- 
mals do, who, however, wiser 
in this respect than men, never 
drink to excess. Sowf, to drink, 
to quaff, and souffe, a drunkard, 
are Scottish words from the 
same root. 

Die Juden sind narren die fressen kein 

Die Turken sind narren die saufen kein 

[The Jews are fools, they eat no swine ; 
The Turks are fools, they s%vite no wine.] 
— Old German Song; attributed to 
Martin Luther. 

Swirl, to turn rapidly, to eddy, to 

His tail 
Hung o'er his hurdles wi' a swirl. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 
The mill wheel spun and swirl d. 
And the mill stream danced in the morning 
And all its eddies curl'd. 

— The Lump of Gold. 

Swither, fear, doubt, perplexity, 
hesitation, dread. The etymo- 
logy is doubtful, but is possibly 
from the German zwischen, be- 
tween, i.e., between two con- 
flicting opinions. 

I there wi' something did foregather, 
That put me in an eerie swither. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Syde, long or low, largely ap- 
plied to a gown or dress, 

Jeanie she gaed up the gate, 
Wi' a green gown as syde as her smock, 
Now, sirs, Jeanie has gotten her Jock. 
—Chambers's Scottish Songs. 

Syke, a ditch, a northern English 
word, according to Halliwell, 
for a gutter; probably a cor- 
ruption of soak or suck. A sike, 
according to Jamieson, is g, rill, 
or a marshy bottom with a small 
stream in it. 

Through thick and thin they scoured 
Plashing through dubs and sykes. 

— Allan Ramsay : Continuation of 
Christ's Kirk on the Green. 

Syne, since, time past, a time 
ago. (See Auld Lang Syne, 

Here's a health to them that were here 
short syne, 
And canna be here the day. 

Johnson's Musical Museum. 

Tabean Birben — Tait. 


Tabean birben, a comb ; probably 
a side-comb for the adornment 
of a woman's hair. It occurs 
in the ancient version of the 
song entitled " Lord Gregory." 
Jamieson is of opinion that the 
phrase, a ^^ tabean birben kame" 
means a comb made at Tabia, in 
Italy. " Shall we suppose," he 
adds, "that birben is a corrup- 
tion of ivour, or ivory-bane (or 
bone) ? " Shall we not rather 
suppose, as Tabia was not known 
as a place of manufacture for 
combs, that the word is of 
native Scotch origin, and that, 
uncouth as it looks, it is re- 
solvable into the Gaelic taobh, 
a side ; taobhan, sides ; bior, a 
pin, a point, a prickle, the 
tooth of a comb ; and bean, a 
woman, whence taobhan bior bean 
(corrupted into tabean birben), 
the side-comb of a woman ? 

Tack, a lease, a holding; tacks- 
man, a leaseholder ; from tack, 
to hold, to fasten. 

Nae man has a tack o' his life, 
— Allan Ramsay's Scois Proverbs. 

Taigle, to tease, to perplex, to 
banter; from the Gaelic tea- 
gamh, doubt, perplexity. 

Two irreverent young fellows determined 
to taigle the minister. Coming up to him 
in the High Street of Dumfries, they ac- 
costed him with much solemnity, " Maister 
Dunlop, hae ye heard the ne ws ? " "What 

news?" "Oh, the deil's dead!" "Is 
he ? " replied Mr. Dunlop. " Then I maun 
pray for twa faitherless bairns." — Dean 
Ramsay's Reminiscences. 

Taigle, "to tease, perplex, banter." I 
never heard these meanings ; — teigle is to 
delay, to hinder— dinna taigle me— I was 
sair taigled the day. In the quotation 
from Dean Ramsay, I suspect that taigle 
is improperly put for tackle, or, as pro- 
nounced in Scotland, tackle, meaning to 
seize upon, lay hold on. In a description 
of a meeting of the U.P, Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, that had what is called the 
Dalkeith heresy case before it, it was stated 
that Dr. Peddie proceeded to tackle Mr. 
Ferguson upon his heretical views. — R. 

Tairge, or targe, to cross-ques- 
tion severely and rigidly; of 
uncertain etymology, though 
possibly connected with the 
Gaelic tagair, to plead, to argue, 
to dispute. 

And aye on Sundays daily, nightly, 
I on the questions tairge them tightly ; 
Till, fack, wee Davock's grown so gleg. 
Though scarcely larger than my leg, 
He'll screed you aff Effectual Calling 
As fast as ony in the dwalling. 

— Burns : The Inventory. 

I'll gie him a ^a/^«'.— Jamieson. 

Tait, joyous, gay; a word used 
by the old Scottish poet, 
Douglas, in his translation of 
the " Eneid." Jamieson derives 
it "from the Icelandic teilr^ 
hilares, exultans ; " but its more 
obvious source is the Gaelic 
taite, which has the same mean- 


Taity — Tangle. 

ing. The English exclamation 
of hoity-toity, or hoite cum toite, 
the name of a favourite dance 
in the reign of Charles II., is 
from the same Gaelic root — 
aite chum taite — in which aite 
and taite are almost synonymous, 
and signify joy, merriment, 
pleasure. Hoyt, in the sense of 
revelry, was used by the Eliza- 
bethan writers, Donne, Beau- 
mont and Fletcher, and others. 

Hoity-toity, whisking, frisking, 

— BiCKERSTAFFE : Lffve in a Village. 

He sings and hoyts and revels among his 
drunken companions. — Beaumont and 

The modern English slang 
tight, applied to a person who 
is joyously intoxicated, or semi- 
intoxicated, seems to be of the 
same Gaelic derivation. 

Taity, taitey, matted like hair, 
entangled. Tait (sometimes 
written tate and iett), a lock 
of matted hair. 

At ilka tait o his horse's mane 

There hung a siller bell, 
The wind was loud, the steed was proud, 

And they gied a sindry knell. 

— Ballad of Young Waters. 

Her skirt was o' the grass-green silk. 
Her mantle o' the ermine fine, 

At ilka tett d the horse^s mane 
Hung fifty siller bells and nine. 

— Ballad of True Thomas. 

The etymology of this word 
is uncertain, unless it is to be 
found in the Gaelic taod, a 
rope, a string ; from the ropy, 
stringy appearance of hair in 
this condition. There is an old 

Scottish song entitled " Taits o' 

Tak' tellin', take telling ; a phrase 
that implies that a person either 
requires or is amenable to advice 
or admonition, or the reverse. 

He wad na tak tellin, he would not be 
advised. . . . She's a clever servant in a 
house, but she taks tellin, i.e., she needs 
to be reminded of what ought to be done. 
— Jamieson. 

Tandle {sometimes written tawnle), 
a bonfire ; from the Gaelic tein, 
fire, and deal, friendly. From 
the root of teine comes teind, 
or tynd, to kindle ; and tin-erjin 
(sometimes rendered by the Teu- 
tonic neid-fire), a fire of emer- 
gency, produced by friction of 
two pieces of dried wood. Neid- 
fire also means a beacon ; pos- 
sibly a misprint for *' need-fire." 
Jamieson translates tin-egin, a 
force fire, but gives no etymo- 
logy. Egin is from the Gaelic 
ei'jin or eiginn, force, violence, 
compulsion. See Beltane, ante. 

Tangle, long, tall, and feeble, not 
well jointed ; from the Gaelic 
tean, long, thin, drawn out, ex- 
tended ; and giUe, a lad ; also the 
popular name of the long sea- 
weed, tangle, often used in con- 
junction with dulse, for sea- 
weed generally. Dean Kamsay 
quotes the saying of an old 
Scottish lady, who was lifted 
from the ground after a fall, 
happily not severe, by a very 
tall, young lieutenant, who ad- 
dressed him when she after- 

Tangleness — Tapetlcss. 


wards met him— "Eh, but ye're 
a lang lad 1 " 

The English tangle and en- 
tangle are words of a different 
meaning, and probably a cor- 
ruption of the Gaelic seangal, to 
tie up, to fasten, to enchain, to 
fetter. The American phrase 
applied to whisky or other 
spirit, when indulged in too 
freely, of tangle-foot and tangle- 
footed, unable to walk steadily 
from intoxication, is both hum- 
orous and appropriate. 

Tangleness, contradiction, confu- 
sion, dishonesty, entanglement 
of truth and falsehood. 

Donald's the callant, that brooks nae 

Whiggin' and priggin' and a' new Tangle- 

They maun be gane, he winna be baukit, 

He maun hae justice, or faith he will tak 
it, man. 
— James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, 

Tanterlick, a severe beating. Pro- 
bably this word is derivable from 
the Gaelic deann {teann, see Tan- 
trum), or dian, fierce, hot. This, 
combined with lick, the English 
slang to beat (a good lick- 
ing, a good beating), and the 
Gaelic leach, a stone, would sig- 
nify, in the first instance, a ston- 
ing, one of the earliest methods 
adopted in the quarrels of boys 
for the conquest or punishment 
of an opponent. 

Tantin', hard pressing, squeez- 
ing ; rantin'-tantin\ ranting and 
raving ; or ranting and pressing 

hard upon or against, from the 
Gaelic teantann, a pressing, a 
squeezing. A minister in his 
Sabbath service, asked by his 
congregation to pray for fine 
weather during a long continu- 
ance of rain that threatened to 
be injurious to the harvest, put 
up the following prayer : — 

" O Lord, we pray thee to send us wind, 
no a rantin -tantin, tearin' wind, but a 
soughin' (sighing), winnin' wind." More 
expressive words than these could not be 
found in any language.— Dean Ramsay. 

Tantrum. This word, borrowed 
by the English from the Scotch,, 
is generally used in the plural ; 
and the phrase, **to be in the 
tantrums," most commonly ap- 
plied to a woman, signifies that 
she is in a violent fit of ill- 
temper. Jamieson explains it 
as "high airs," and derives it 
from the French tantrans, nick- 
nacks. This etymology cannot 
be accepted — firstly, because 
there is no such word in the 
French language ; and secondly, 
because if there were, the mean- 
ings are not in the slightest 
degree related. The "English 
Slang Dictionary" derives it 
from a dance called, in Italy, 
the tarantula, because persons 
in the tantrums dance and caper 
about 1 The word is composed 
of the Gaelic deann, haste, vio- 
lence, hurry; and trom, heavy, 
whence violent and heavy, ap- 
plied to a fit of sudden passion. 

Tapetless, heedless, foolish ; pro- 
bably from the Gaelic tapadh, 


Tap-oure-tail — Tapthrawn. 

activity, cleverness ; and ta- 
paidh, quick, active, manly, 
bold, with the addition of the 
English less, want of cleverness 
or activity. 

The tapetless, ramfeezled hizzie, 
She's saft at best, and something lazy. 
— Burns: To John Lapraik. 

Tap-oure-tail, top-over-tail, or 
topsy-turvy (erroneously printed 
in Jamieson tap-owr-tail), has 
the same meaning as tapml- 
teerie, and the English head-over- 

Tappiloorie, top-heavy ; or tappie- 
tourie, round at the top. From 
the Flemish, Dutch, and Eng- 
lish top; and the Flemish and 
Dutch loer, French lourd, heavy ; 
tourie, from the Flemish, toere, 
round about ; the French tour 
and autour. 

Tappit-hen, a crested hen, or a 
hen with a top tuft of feathers ; 
a phrase applied to a large bottle 
or jar of wine or spirits. 

Blythe, blythe, and merry was she, 
Blythe was she but and ben, 

Weel she loo'ed a Hawick gill, 
And leuch to see a tappit-hen. 

— Tea Table Miscellany : Andrew 
and his Cuttie Gun. 

Come, bumpers high, express your joy, 
The bowl we maun renew it, 

The tappit-hen gae bring her ben. 
To welcome Willie Stewart. 

— Burns. 

Their hostess appeared with a huge 
pewter measuring pot, containing at least 
three English quarts, familiarly termed a 
tappit-hen. — Scott : Waverley. 

Blithe, blithe, and merry are we. 

Pick and wale o' merry men, 
What care we though the cock may crow. 

We're masters o' the tappit hen. 

— Charles Gray : Whistle Binkie. 

"This term," says Jamieson, 
" denoted in Aberdeen a large 
bottle of claret, holding tlyee 
magnums or Scots pints ; " but 
as regards the quantity opinion 
differs. All agree, however, 
that a tap-pit-hen held consider- 
ably more than an ordinary 

Tapsalteerie, in confusion, up- 
side down, topsy-turvy. Pos- 
sibly from the Gaelic toabh, the 
side ; and saltair, to tread, to 
trample. Topsy - turvy is ap- 
parently from the same source, 
and not from "top-side the 
t'other way," as some etymolo- 
gists have suggested. 

Gie me a cannie hour at e'en. 
My arms about my dearie, O, 

And warldly cares and warldly men 
May a' gang tapsalteerie, O I 

— Burns. 

In an excellent translation into 
German of B urns' s " Green grow 
the rashes, O 1 " appended as a 
note in Chambers's "Scottish 
Songs," the two lines in which 
tapsalteerie occurs are well ren- 
dered : — 

Mag Erdenvolk and Erdenplag, 
Kopfuber dann, Kopfunter gehen. 

Tapthrawn, perverse, obstinate, 
unreasonably argumentative ; 
from tap, the head or brain, 
metaphorically the intellect ; 
and thrawn, twisted wrongly. 

Tartar — Tavern Sign of the Dog and Duck. 229 

Tartar. To catch a Tartar, to be 
overpowered in argument or in 
fight, by one whose prowess had 
been denied or unsuspected; 
to get the worst of it. Tartar, 
says the Slang Dictionary, is 
"a savage fellow, an ugly cus- 
tomer." To " catch a T'artor," 
is to discover, somewhat un- 
pleasantly, that a person is by 
no means so mild or good tem- 
pered as was supposed. 

This saying originated from the story 
of an Irish soldier in the imperial service, 
who, in a battle against the Turks, called 
out to his comrade that he had caught a 
Tartar. "Bring him along then," said 
he. " He won't come," said Paddy. 
"Then come along yourself," replied his 
comrade. "Bedad!" said he, "but he 
won't let me ! " A Tartar is also an adept 
at any feast or game. " He is quite a 
tartar at cricket or billiards." — Grose's 
Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar 

Grose's story was evidently in- 
vented. Philology had no need 
to travel into Tartary to explain 
the source of a peculiarly British 
phrase, which has no equivalent 
in any language but English and 
Scotch : inasmuch as it is of 
native origin, from the Gaelic 
tartar, a great noise, clamour, 
bustle, confusion ; tartarach, 
bustling, noisy, uproaring, un- 

Tartarian is a word used by the 
dramatists of the Elizabethan 
era to signify a strong thief, or 
a noisy blustering villain. 

Tass, a small heap of earth or 
cluster of flowers ; from the 
French tas, a parcel or pack. 

There lived a lass in Inverness, 
She was the pride of a' the toun, 

Blythe as the lark on gowan tass 
When frae the nest it's newly flown. 
— Allan Cunningham. 

Tatshie, according to Jamieson, 
signifies dressed in a slovenly 
manner ; and tattrel, a rag. 

Tatterdemalion, a ragged, miser- 
able object. A colloquial word 
introduced into England by the 
Scotch ; and supposed by Eng- 
lish philologists to be from the 
Icelandic tctur, a torn garment. 
The roots, however, are de- 
rivable from the Gaelic ; that of 
tatter is from dud, a rag ; from 
whence the provincial English 
dud, meaning a scarecrow. 
Motion comes from meall and 
meallan, a lump, a heap of con- 
fused objects ; from whence the 
primary meaning of tatterde- 
malion would seem to be a 
*' heap of rags," applied con- 
temptuously to the wearer of 
them. Mr. James M'Kie, of 
Kilmarnock, quotes in his Bib- 
liography of Burns, " The Jolly 
Beggars, or Tatterdemalions, a 
cantata by Robert Burns. Edin- 
burgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1808." 

Tavern sign of the Dog and 
Duck. This is usually ex- 
plained in the English sense of 
a "Dog" and a " Duck," with 
a representation on the sign- 
board of a sportsman shooting 
wild ducks, followed by a dog 
ready to spring into the water. 
It is probable, however, that the 
sign is of greater antiquity than 


Tavey's Locker 

the conquest of England by the 
Danes and Saxons ; and that it 
dates from the Celtic period, 
and was originally Deoch an 
Diugh, or "Drink to-day," an 
Invitation to all travellers and 
passers by to step in and drink ; 
and that it was not by any 
means confined to the shooters 
of ducks, or to the watery dis- 
tricts in which such sports were 
possible. The perversions of 
the word deoch (drink), by the 
English and Lowland Scotch, are 
very numerous. One of them 
in particular deserves to be cited, 
dog's nose, which is, or used to 
be, a favourite drink of the 
populace in London, composed 
of beerandgin. Charles Dickens, 
in Pickwick, describes dogs 
nose as a warm drink ; but the 
compiler of Hotten's Slang Dic- 
tionary affirms it to be a cold 
drink — so called, because it was 
" as cold as a dog's nose." The 
true derivation is most probably 
from the Gaelic deoch and nos, 
custom ; and nosag, customary, 
or usual ; and thus signifies the 
"usual drink." Another com- 
mon and equally ludicrous per- 
version of the Gaelic is " Old 
Tom," which is used by the 
publicans of London, illustrated 
by a large tom-cat sitting on a 
barrel of gin. The origin of the 
phrase is ol, drink, and taom, to 
pour out ; whence, to pour out 
the favourite liquor. 

Tavey's locker, Davy's locker, 
Davy Jones's locker. These 
singular phrases, used princi- 

pally among sailors, all signify 
death simply, or death by drown- 
ing in the sea. Their origin has 
never been very satisfactorily ex- 
plained or accounted for; and 
no one has yet told the world 
whether Tavey or Davy was a 
real or a fabulous person, or 
who Jones was, and what was 
signified by his locker. The Teu- 
tonic roots of the English and 
Scotch languages fail to give 
the slightest hint or clue to the 
etymology of the expression, 
and thus compel inquirers to 
look to the Celtic for a possible 
solution of the mystery. In 
Gaelic is found taimh {taiv or 
taif), death ; and tamh {tav), the 
ocean ; ionadh, a place ; and 
lochd, sleep, or a closing of 
the eyes. Taimh or tamh may 
account for the corruption into 
Tavey or Davy, ionadh for Jones, 
and lochd for locker. This ex- 
planation supplies an intelli- 
gible and appropriate meaning 
to Davy Jones's locker, the gro- 
tesque combination of words in 
Scotch and English which has 
become proverbial among sea- 
faring people. 

According to Wright's "Pro- 
vincial English Dictionary," 
David Jones is a name given by 
sailors to a "sea-devil." But 
whether the "sea-devil" had 
or had not a locker we are not 
informed. Nares, in his Glos- 
sary, says that one " Davy " was 
a proficient in sword and buck- 
ler exercise, celebrated at the 
close of the sixteenth century. 
It does not appear, however 

Tawdy — Teind. 


that any of these allusions can 
shed any light on the origin of 
Davy^s locker. 

Tawdy, a term of contempt for 
a child ; tawdy-fee, a fine for 
illegitimacy; also, a deprecia- 
tory epithet for the podex. The 
etymology is unknown, but may 
be connected with the Gaelic 
todhar, excrement, and, by ex- 
tension of meaning, to the senses 
in which it is applied to the 
podex, or to a child. Todhar 
also signifies a field manured by 
folding cattle upon it. Taudis, 
in French, signifies a miserable 
and dirty hole or hovel. In Irish 
Gaelic, tod or todan signifies a 
lump, a clod, a round mass, 
which may also have some re- 
mote connection with the idea 
of the podex. 

Ta-wie, tame, peaceable, friendly, 
easily led. Gaelic taobhach {tao- 
vach), friendly, partial, inclined 
to kindness ; erroneously derived 
from tow, a rope, or to be led by 
a rope. 

Hamely, tawie, quiet, cannie. 

An' unco sonsie. 
— Burns : Auld Farmers Address. 

Tawpie, a foolish person, especi- 
ally a foolish girl, 

Gawkies, tawpies, gowks and fools. 
— Burns : Verses Written at Selkirk. 

This word is usually derived 
from the French taupe, a mole 
— erroneously supposed to be 
blind; but the Gaelic origin is 
more probable, from iaip, a 

lump, a lumpish or clumsy per- 

Dans le royaume des taupes, les borgnes 
sont xois.— French Proverb. 

Teen, tene, teyne, provocation, 
anger, wrath, From the Gaelic 
teine, fire ; teintidh, fiery, angry. 

Last day I grat wi' spite and teen, 

As poet Burns cam' by : 
That to a bard I should be seen, 

Wi' half my channel dry. 
—Burns : Humble Petition of Bruar 

Teethie, crabbed, ill-natured, 
snarling ; applied metaphori- 
cally from the action of a dog 
which shows its teeth when 
threatening to bite. The Eng- 
lish word toothsome, which has 
no relation in meaning to teethie^ 
is often used instead of dainty^ 
from the erroneous idea that 
dainty is derived from dens, a 
tooth. The real derivation of 
dainty is from the Gaelic deanta, 
complete, perfect, well formed, 
and finished. When Shakspeare 
speaks of his ''dainty Ariel," 
or a man praises the dainty hand 
or lips of his beloved, he does 
not mean that the teeth should 
be employed upon them, but 
that they are well-formed, com- 
plete, or beautifully perfect. 

Teind, a tax, a tribute, a tithe, 
a tenth ; teind-free, exempt from 
tithes or taxation. 

But we that live in Fairy Land 
No sickness know, nor pain, 

I quit my body when I will, 
And take to it again ; 

And I would never tire, Janet, 
In Elfin land to dwell : 


Tendal knife — Terihus Ye Teri Odin. 

But aye at every seven years' end, 

They pay the teind to hell ; 
And I'm sae fat and fair of flesh, 
I fear 'twill be mysel. 
— Border Minstrelsy : The Young 

Tendal knife. Jamieson cites 
from an inventory, ** two belts, 
a tendal knife, a horse comb, 
and a burning' iron ; " and at a 
loss to account for the word, 
asks : ** Shall we suppose that 
knives celebrated for their tem- 
per had been formerly made 
somewhere in the dale, or val- 
ley of Tyne, in England ? It 
might, however, be the name 
of the maker ? " These are, no 
doubt, ingenious suppositions, 
but both appear to be wrong if 
tested by the Gaelic, in which 
tean signifies long and thin ; and 
tail, or tailc, strong ; whence 
tendal knife, a knife with a long, 
thin, strong blade. 

Tent, to take heed, to act 
cautiously and warily, to be 
attentive. From the French 
tenter, to try, to attempt. Ten- 
tie, cautious, wary ; to tak tent, 
to take care, to beware ; tentless, 

When the tod preaches tak ient o' the 

— Allan Ramsay : Scois Proverbs, 

But warily tent when ye come to court me, 
And come na unless the back yett be ajee. 
Syne up the back stair and let naebody see, 
And come as ye were na comin' to me. 
— Burns : Oh Whistle and I'll come to 
you, my Lad. 

I rede you, honest man, tak tent. 

Ye '11 show your folly. 
—Burns : Epistle tojatnes Smith. 

The time flew by wi' tentless heed. 
Till -twixt the late and early, 

Wi' sma' persuasion she agreed 
To see me through the barley. 
— Burns : Corn Rigs and Barley Rigs. 

See ye take tent to this ! 
— Ben Jonson : Sad Shepherdess. 

Teribus ye teri odin, the war cry 
of the men of Hawick at the 
battle of Flodden, and still pre- 
served in the traditions of the 
town. The full chorus is often 
sung at festive gatherings, not 
only in the gallant old border 
town itself, but in the remotest 
districts of Canada, the United 
States, and Australia, wherever 
Hawick men and natives of the 
Scottish Border congregate to 
keep up the remembrance of 
their native land, and the haunts 
of their boyhood. 

Teribus ye teri odin, 

Sons of heroes slain at Flodden, 

Imitating Border bowmen, 

Aye defend your rights and common. 

Attempts have been frequently 
made to connect this Border 
ballad with the names of the 
Scandinavian and Norse demi- 
gods, Thor and Odin ; but these 
heroes were wholly unknown to 
the original possessors of the 
Scottish soil, and but very par- 
tially known to the Danish and 
Saxon invaders, who came after 
them. The ballad, of which these 
mysterious words form the bur- 
den, is one of patriotic *' defence 
and defiance" against the in- 
vaders of the soil. Terihus ye 
teri odin is an attempt at a 
phonetic rendering of the Gaelic 

Teth — Thack and Raip. 


Tir a buaidh's, tir a dion, which, 
translated, means ** Land of 
victory, and Land of defence." 

Teth, spirit, mettle, humour, tem- 
per, disposition; usually em- 
ployed in the sense of high- 
spirited. The word was Eng- 
lish in the Elizabethan era, and 
was pronounced and written 
tith, from the Gaelic teth, hot. 

She's good mettle, of a good stirring 
strain, and goes tt'ik. — Beaumont and 

Take a widow— a good staunch wench 
that's ii'tk. — Idem. 

Ill-tetk'd, ill-humoured. — Jamieson. 

Teuch, a drink, a draught of 
liquor. This word has been de- 
rived by Jamieson and others 
from the Teutonic tog, and 
ieur/he, to draw or pull. As no 
such words are to be found in 
the Teutonic languages, it is 
possible that Jamieson meant 
the German zug, the English 
tug, to pull or draw ; whence, 
in vulgar language, a long pull 
at the bottle or tankard, a deep 
draught. It seems more prob- 
able, however, that the Lowland 
Scotch word is a corruption of 
the Gaelic deoch, a drink, as in 
the phrase, " deoch an' doruis," 
a drink at the door, a stirrup 
cup. (See Deuk, aw<e, p. 42.) 

Tevoo. This nearly obsolete word 
was formerly used by women 
in contemptuous depreciation 
of a male flirt, fond of their 
society, but who was never seri- 
ous in his attentions to them. 

It has been supposed to be 
somehow or other derived from 
the French, but no word similar 
to it appears in that language. 
It is probably from the Gaelic 
ti, a person, a creature ; and fu, 
an abbreviation of fuachaidh, a 
flirt, a jilt, a deceiver. 

Tew is a word of many meanings 
in Scotland, but most commonly 
signifies to work hard. It also 
signifies to struggle, to strive, 
to fatigue, to overpower, to make 
tough. ' ' Sair tews " signifies old 
or sore difficulties or troubles ; 
teioing on, toiling on; sair tewd, 
greatly fatigued, are common 
expressions. Jamieson derives 
the word from the French ttier, 
to kill ; Nares cites instances in 
which it is used in the sense of 
tow, to pull along by a rope. 
Possibly, however, it is but a 
misspelling of the Scottish teuch 
(with the omission of the 
guttral j, the English tough, in 
which the omitted guttral is re- 
placed by the sound of /, as 
tuff). The Gaelic tlugh, thick, 
stiff, strong, is doubtless an 
allied word. 

Thack and raip, from the thatch 
of a house ; and rope, the bind- 
ing or fastening which keeps 
the thatch in its place. Hence, 
metaphorically, the phrase ap- 
plied to the conduct of an un- 
reasonable and disorderly per- 
son, that he acts "out of a' 
tJiacJc and raip,'' as if the roof 
of his house were uncovered, 
and let in the wind and weather ; 


Thairms — Them^ They, Those, 

or, in vulgar slang, as if he had 
"a slate or a tile loose." 

Thairms, the strings of a violin, 
harp, or other instrument for 
which wire is not used, called 
in England cat-gut. The word 
is derived from the German, 
Dutch, and Flemish darm, gut, 
intestines ; the German plural 

Oh, had M'Lachlan, tIia{rm-\T\?.^\nr\g 

Been there to hear this heavenly band en- 

—Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 
Come, screw the pegs wi' tunefu' cheep. 
And ower the thairms be trying. 

— Burns : The Ordination. 

The word, though immediately 
derived from the Teutonic, may, 
in the sense of gut or entrails, 
have some connection with the 
practice of divination by the 
ancient Augurs, who studied 
the intestines of sacrificed birds 
to foretell future events. But 
this is a -mere conjecture foun- 
ded upon the fact, that the 
Gaelic tairm^ or thairm, signifies 

Fiomthairm, string made from 
gut, may probably come the 
Scottish words thrum, to play on 
a stringed instrument, and, in a 
contemptuous sense, thrummer, 
an inferior fiddler. Possibly the 
English strum is a corruption and 
euphemism of thrum. 

Thane, a very ancient title of no- 
bility in Scotland, equivalent in 
rank to an English earl. Mac- 
beth, according to Shakspeare, 

was Thane of Cawdor. Jamie- 
son suggests its derivation from 
the Anglo-Saxon thegn, a servant ; 
but as the title was peculiar to 
the Gael, whoUy unknown to 
the Saxon, and implied rather 
mastery and dominion than ser- 
vitude, a Celtic etymology is 
most probable ; that etymology 
is found in tanaistear, a gover- 
nor, a lord, a prince ; one second 
in rank to the king or sovereign ; 
and tanaisteach, governing, act- 
ing as a thane, or master. 

The noo, or the no'w, a common 
Scotticism for just now, imme- 
diately, presently, by and by. 

Theak, theek, to thatch a house. 
Greek 6r)K7} [theke), a small house, 
a repository ; German dach, a 
roof ; old English theccan, to 
cover; Gaelic tigh and teach, a 

Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, 
They were twa bonnie lasses. 

They biggit a bower on yon burn brae, 
And theekit it o'er wi' rashes. 
—Ballad: Bessie Bell and Mary Gray. 

Ye'll sit on his white hause bane, 
And I'll pike out his bonnie blue een ; 
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair 
We 11 theek our nest when it grows bare. 
— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border: 
The Twa Corbies. 
The cozy roof theekit wi' moss-covered 

— James Ballantine. 

Them, they, those. These plural 
pronouns are often used in Scot- 
land instead of the singular it, 
especially when applied to oat- 
meal porridge, brose, hotch- 
potch, and broth, or soup. The 

Then-a- days — Thig, 


idea of plurality seems to be 
attached to porridge, from the 
multiplicity of the grains of 
meal, of which the dish is com- 
pounded, and to hotch-potch, 
barley broth, and other soups, 
for the same reason of their 
numerous ingredients. 

Why dinna ye sup ye're parritch, Johnnie ? 
Johnnie — I dinna like them. 

— Galt. 

Once at the annual dinner to his tenants, 
given by the Duke of Buccleuch, the 
Duchess pressed a burly old farmer, to 
whom she wished to show attention, to 
partake of some pea-soup. " Muckle 
obleeged to your Grace," said the farmer, 
" but I downa tak' them. They're owre 
wundy ! " — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

Each true-hearted Scotsman, by nature 

Can cheerfully dine on a dishfu' o' brose, 
And the grace be a wish to get plenty of 

those ; 
And it's O for the kail brose o' Scotland, 
And O for the Scottish kail brose. 

— Alexander Watson : Old Song. 

Then-a-days, in former time, as 
opposed to the English and 
Scottish phrase, now-a-days, in 
the present time. 

Thepes, gooseberries, or more 
properly gorse or thorn berries ; 
in Dutch and Flemish doom, or 
thorn-berries. Mr. Halliwell, in 
his Archaic Dictionary, cites 
thepes as an Eastern Counties 
word, used in Sir Thomas 
Brown's works. It is also cur- 
rent in the Lowlands of Scot- 
land. The derivation is un- 

Thetes, traces or harness of a 
horse drawing a vehicle. To 

be " out of the traces," is to 
be out of rule, governance, or 

To be quite out of the thetes, i.e., to be 
disorderly in one's conduct. ... To be 
out of thete is a phrase applied to one who 
is rusted as to any art or science from want 
of practice. — Jamieson. 

The word is derived by Jamie- 
son from the Icelandic thatCr, a 
cord, a small rope ; but is more 
probably from the Gaelic taod ; 
aspirated thoad, a rope. 

Thief - like, ugly, disagreeable. 
This Scottish phrase does not 
signify dishonest-looking, but 
simply repulsive, or disagree- 
able ; possibly because the Low- 
land Scotch who made use of 
it suffered but too often from 
the incursions of the Highland 
cattle-stealers into the pastures 
and sheep-folds, associated in 
their minds with all that was 
most offensive, morally and phy- 

That's a thief-like mutch ye have on, 
i.e., that's an ugly cap you have on. — 

Thief-like occurs in two common pro- 
verbial phrases — the thiefer-like the better 
soldier ; the aulder the thiefer-like. Ye're 
like the horse's bains, the aulder ye grow 
the thiefer-like.— ] AMiESOii. 

Thig, to beg or borrow; some- 
times written thigger. 

The father buys, the son biggs (builds), 
The oye (grandson) sells, and his son 


—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

And if the wives and dirty brats, 
E'en thigger at your doors an' yetts. 
—Burns : Address of Beelzebub. 

or T 




Thtnk-lang — Thrang. 

Think-lang, to grow weary, to be 
impatient of another's absence ; 
to think the time long. 

But think na' lang, lassie, tho' I gang awa', 
The summer is comin', cauld winter's 

And I'll come back and see thee in spite 

o' them a'. 

— Song : Logic o' Buchan. 

Thistlecock or thrustlecock, the 
thrush, more poetically called 
the mavis, both in Old English 
and Scottish poetry. 

The primrose is the fairest flower 

That springs on muir or dale ; 
An' the thistlecock is the bonniest bird 
That sings on the evening gale. 

— Ballad of Proud Lady 

Thivel, a cudgel, a large shil- 
lelagh. Etymology unknown. 

An' for a thivel they did use 
A sturdy stump o' knotty spruce, 
— John o' A mho!. 

Tholeable, tholesome, tolerable, 
that may be endured ; tlwlance, 
sufferance, endurance. Thole is 
doubtless from the same root 
as the Latin tolerare, and the 
Gaelic dolas, sufferance, dolour, 

Thowless. Perhaps a corruption 
of thewless, weak ; without thews 
and sinews. Gaelic tiugh, thick, 
strong ; whence thotcless, with- 
out strength or thickness. 

For fortune aye favours the active and 

But ruins the wooer that's thozvless and 


—Allan Ramsay. 

Her dowflF excuses pat me mad, 
Conscience — saj's I, ye thowless jad, 
I'll write, and that a hearty blaud 
This very night. 
—Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

Thraine. According to Jamieson, 
this word signifies to be con- 
stantly harping on one subject, 
and is derived from the Teu- 
tonic or Swedish traegen, assi- 
duous. He is of opinion also that 
rane, to cry the same thing over 
and over again, is synonymous, 
and of the same origin. But 
more probably, in the sense of 
harping continually on one sub- 
ject, of complaint, thraine is 
from the Greek threnos, a lamen- 
tation. Jiane is probably from 
the Gaelic ran, to roar. 

Thram, to thrive, to prosper. 
Etymology uncertain. Jamieson 
supposes it to be from the Ice- 

Well wat your honour, thram for that, 
quo' she. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Can you expect to thram. 
That hae been guilty o' so great a wrang ? 

Thrang-, busy, crowded with work 
or occupation ; from the Eng- 
lish throng, to crowd, and the 
German drang, pressure, drdn- 
gen, to press, and the Flemish 
dringen, to press, to squeeze. 

Upon a bonnie day in June, 
When wearin' through the afternoon, 
Twa dogs that were nae thrang at hame, 
Foregathered ance upon a time. 

—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Thrapple — Through. 


The deil sat grim amang the reek, 
Thrang bundling brimstone matches ! 
—Jacobite Song : Aiva\ye IVhigs, 

Thrapple, the throat ; akin to the 
English throttle. 

As murder at his thrapple shored ; 
And hell mixed in the brulzie [broil]. 
— Burns : Epistle to Robert Graham. 

When we had a Scots Parliament, — deil 
rax their thrapples that reft us o't. 

Scott : Rob Roy. 

Thraw, a twist, a fit of ill- 
humour ; thrawn, twisted, con- 
torted. Thrawn-gabbit, with a 
twisted or contorted gab, or 
mouth; and, metaphorically, a 
cantankerous, morose person 
who is always grumbling. Gab- 
bit is from the Gaelic gab, a 
mouth ; . whence the English 
slang, "the gift of the gab,'' 
the gift of eloquence, or power 
of much speaking. Thrawarty 
perverse, obstinate ; thraw, to 
contradict ; thraws, throes, twists 
or contortions of pain ; also, a 
little while, or a turn of time, a 

She turns the key wi' cannie thraw. 
— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

When I a little thraw had made ray moan. 
Bewailing mine misfortune and mischance. 
— The King's Quair. 

There are twa hens into the crib, 
Have fed this month and mair; 
Make haste and thraw their necks about, 
That Colin weel may fare. 
— MiCKLE : There's nae Luck About the 

He's easy wi' a' body that's easy wi' 
him ; but if ye thraw him, ye had better 
thraw the deevil. — Scott : Rob Roy. 

Thraw seems akin to the Eng- 
lish throe, a throb, a twist of 
pain, and is probably from the 

Threpe, or threap, to argue, to 
contend pertinaciously in argu- 
ment, to assert obstinately in 
spite of reason ; from the Gaelic 
drip, or trip, to contend, to 

It's not for a man with a woman to threep. 

Unless he first give owre the plea : 
As we began we'll now leave off— 
I'll tak my auld cloak about me. 
— Old Ballad, quoted by Shakspeare. 

Some herds, weel learned upon the beuk. 
Wad threap auld folk the thing mistook. 
—Burns: Epistle to Simpson. 
Threapins no' provin'. 

— Allan Ramsay. 
This is na threapin ware \i.e., this is 
genuine ware, not to be argued about].— 
Allan Ramsav. 

Thrimle, thrimmel, to press, to 
squeeze ; thrimp, thrump, to press 
as in a crowd, to push. Ety- 
mology uncertain, but possibly 
from the Flemish drempel, an 
entrance — whence to force an 
entrance, to press through, to 
push through. 

Through. This word, the Gaelic 
troiinh, the Kymric t7'io, and 
the Teutonic durch, enters more 
largely into its structure of 
Scottish compound terms and 
phrases, than was ever the case 
in England. Thus the Scotch 
have through-gang, perseverance ; 
through-gaun, and through-gang- 
ing, persevering, also waste- 
ful, prodigal, going through 


Throwther — Tift. 

one's means ; through-pit, acti- 
vity, energy, that puts a thing 
through; through-fare, or through- 
gang, a thoroughfare; through- 
ither, confused ; through- stone, 
a stone as thick as the wall ; 
through-pittin, or through-hearin', 
a bare subsistence, enough to 
get through the world with ; 
and the verb to through, or thruch, 
to penetrate, to go through. 
Sir Walter Scott uses through- 
gaun in Rob Roy, in the sense 
of a severe exposure of one's 
life and conduct, during a rigid 

Throwther, higgledy - piggledy, 
helter - skelter, in confusion ; 
possibly a corruption of through- 
ither, or through-each-other. 

Till— skelp— a shot ! they're aff a' 
To save their skin. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

Thrum, a musical sound, also 
a thread. Gray thrums, the 
popular phrase in Scotland for 
the purring of a cat, the sound 
of a spinning-wheel, the thread 
remaining at the end of a web ; 
apparently derived from the 
Gaelic troimh, through. 
Come out wi' your moolins, come out wi' 

your crumbs, 
And keep in slee baudrons [the cat] to 

sing ye gray thrums. 
— James Ballantine: A Voice from the 

Thud, a dull, heavy blow: ety- 
mology unknown. Lord Neaves 
considered it a comic word, 
though it is difficult to see 

why, especially when such 
serious use of it was made 
by Gawin Douglas and Allan 
Ramsay : — 

The fearful thuds of the tempestuous tide. 
— Gawin Douglas : Translation of 
the Enid. 

The air grew rough with boisterous thuds. 
Allan Ramsay : The Vision. 

Swith on a hardened clay he fell, 
Right far was heard the thud. 

— Hardyknute. 

Tid, tid-bit, tydy. All these 
words, like the Enghsh tide, are 
derivable from the idea of time, 
the German zeit, the Dutch 
and Flemish tijd. Tid, in the 
Scottish language, signifies sea- 
son ; the English tid-bit is a 
seasonable bit. Bit is from 
the Gaelic biadh, food, and not 
from the Enghsh bite, or that 
which is bitten. The French 
morceau, the English morsel, is 
unquestionably derived from 
mordre, to bite. Tydy, season- 
able ; " a tydy bride " is a phrase 
applied to an unmarried girl who 
is about to become a mother, 
and in that state is married and 
taken home to her bridegroom's 
house, in order that the coming 
child may be born after wed- 
lock, and thus become legiti- 

Tift, English tiff, a slight quar- 
rel, a fit of ill-humour ; tip, a 
slang word for money given to 
a servant as a small gratuity 
to procure drink or otherwise ; 
called by the French a pour 
boire, and by the Germans trink- 

Tig — Timmer. 


geld. No English or Scottish 
etymologist has succeeded in 
tracing these words to their 
sources. Jamieson derives tift 
from the Icelandic tyfla, to 
chastise ; Johnson declares tiff, a 
quarrel, to be " a low word, with- 
out etymology;" Richardson has 
tiff, a drink, which he thinks a 
corruption of ti'p^le, an allied 
word ; Ash defines tiff to be a 
corruption of the Teutonic te^d, 
a dug or teat, while the ancient 
author of "Gazophylacium Angli- 
canum " surpasses all his prede- 
cessors and successors in in- 
genuity by deriving tijisy and 
ti'p^ple from the Latin tipula, a 
water-spider, because that in- 
sect is always drinking ! Mr. 
Halliwell, without entering on 
the etymological question, says 
that in English provincial dia- 
lects tiff has three meanings — 
small beer, a draught of any 
liquor, and to fall headlong from 
the effects of drink. 

There are several derivatives 
in the Scottish language from 
tift, a quarrel, viz., tij'ty, quarrel- 
some, apt to take offence ; tift- 
ing, an angry scolding ; and "to 
be in a tifter," i.e., in a difficult 
and disagreeable position where 
one is likely to be severely repri- 
manded. Possibly the Scottish 
tift (a quarrel), the English tiff 
(a fit of ill -humour), are as 
closely allied in meaning as they 
are in sound. 

Tig, a twitch, a touch, a sharp 
stroke; also a slight fit of ill- 
temper ; possibly, in both senses, 

derived from the Gaelic taoig, 
anger, and taoigeach, angry, and 
as such disposed to strike a 

A game among children. He who in 
this game gives the stroke, says to the 
person to whom he has given it, " Ye bear 
my //]?-."— Jamieson. 

Tillie-soul. According to Jamie- 
son, this word signifies " a place 
to which a gentleman sends the 
horses and servants of his guests, 
when he does not choose to en- 
tertain them at his own ex- 
pense." He derives it from the 
French tillet, a ticket ; and solde, 
pay. There is, however, no 
such word as tillet, a ticket, in 
the French language. There is 
tiller, which means, "detacher 
avec la main les filaments du 
chanvre," i.e., to remove with 
the hand the filaments of hemp. 
But this operation has certainly 
nothing to do with the ex- 
planation given to tillie-soul. 
The true derivation appears to 
be from the Gaelic till, to turn 
away ; and suit, feeding, fatness, 
good bodily entertainment ; 
whence tillie-soul or till suit, to 
turn away for entertainment 

Timmer, timber; from the 
Flemish timmer. This word is 
used not alone as signifying 
wood, but in the sense of build- 
ing or constructing out of wood ; 
and, by extension of meaning, 
into constructing or fashioning 
generally; and, by still wider 
extension, into doing or per- 


Tine — Tinsel. 

forming. "To give one a tim- 
merin' " signifies to beat one 
with a stick (or piece of timber). 
Timmer-'bveQks, and iimmer-sark 
were ludicrous terms for a coffin. 
Timmerman, in the Flemish, and 
Zimmerman, in the German, 
signified a carpenter, an artificer 
in wood, and also a woodmonger, 
or woodman. 

Tinuner up the flail, i.e., to wield the 
flail ; timmerM^ the floor with a dishclout, 
i.e., to clean it. . . . To timmer up the 
lesson, i.e., to be busily employed in learn- 
it. . . . Oh, as he timmers up the Latin ! 
i.e., what a deal of Latin he employs. — 

And who in singing could excel 
Famed Douglas, Bishop of Dunkel' ; 
He timmer d up, though it be lang, 
In gude braid Scots a Virgil's sang. 
— Ingram's Poems. 

Tine, to lose; tint, lost. This 
ancient English word has long 
been confined to Scottish litera- 
ture and parlance. 

What was tint through tree. 
Tree shall it win. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

He never tint a cow that grat for a 

Where there is nothing the king tines his 

All's not tint that's in danger. 

Better spoil your joke than tine your 

Tine heart — all's gone. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Next my heart I'll wear her, 
For fear my jewel tine. — Burns. 

Tinkle - sweetie. According to 
Jamieson, tinkle-sweetie was a 

name formerly given in Edin- 
burgh to a bell that was rung 
at eight o'clock in the even- 
ing. A previous bell, which 
was rung at two in the after- 
noon, was called the " kail bell," 
i.e., the dinner bell. Tinkle- 
sweetie was superseded as a 
phrase by the " aucht hour bell." 
Jamieson, at a loss for the ety- 
mology, says "it was thus de- 
nominated because the sound 
of it was siveet to the ears of 
apprentices and shopmen, be- 
cause they were then at liberty 
to shut up for the night." The 
conjecture is no doubt ingeni- 
ous ; but it maybe asked whether 
the kail or dinner bell might 
not have been as justly entitled 
to be called sweet as the bell 
that announced the cessation of 
labour ? The word is apparently 
a relic of the very old time when 
the kings and nobles of Scot- 
land and the merchants of Edin- 
burgh all spoke or understood 
Gaelic. In that language diun 
(d pronounced as t) signified to 
shut up, to close ; glaodh (pro- 
nounced glao) signified a cry, a 
call ; and suaiteachd, labour, 
work, toil ; whence duinglao 
{tuinglao, quasi tinkle) and suai- 
teachd corrupted into sweetie. 
Thus the phrase would mean a 
call or summons, to cease from 
labour, or, in modern parlance, 
" to shut up shop." 

Tinsel, loss ; from tine, to lose. 

My profit is not your tinsel. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots 

Tippenny — Tittie'billie. 


Tippenny, from twopence ; whence 
tippenny, at the price of two 
pence ; twopenny ale. 

Wt' tippenny we'll fear nae evil, 
Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil. 
— Burns : Tarn o Shunter. 

Mr. Lo^ve Weimaurs, a once 
noted French author, who tran- 
slated or paraphrased Burns 
into French, rendered the first 
of these lines by "Avec deux 
sous, nous ne craindrons rien," 
with twopence we'll fear no- 
thing, thus leaving the ale out 
of the question. 

Tirl, to turn the knob, the pin, or 
other fastening of a door. The 
word is of constant occurrence 
in the ballad poetry of Scot- 

Oh he's gone round and round about 
And tirled at the pin. 

— Willie and May Margaret. 

Tirl, to spin round as in a 
whirlwind, to unroof with a 
high wind. 

Whyles, on the strong-winged tempest 

Tirling the kirks. 

— Burns : Address to the Dei I. 

This word has been supposed 
to be a corruption of the English 
twirl, to turn round ; and, by 
extension of meaning, ''tirling 
the roof of the kirk," i.e., send- 
ing the materials whirling or 
twirling in the storm. To tiii 
the pin or knob of a door, is 
doubtless from twirl, in the 
English sense; but to tirl the 
roof of a kirk, as in the line of 

Burns, is more probably from 
the Gaelic tuirl, and tuirlin, to 
rush rapidly with a great noise. 

Tirlie-wirlie, intricate or trifling 

Queer, tirlie-wirlie holes that gang out 
to the open air, and keep the air as caller 
as a kail-blade. — Scott : The Antiquary. 

It was in and through the window broads 

And a' the tirlie-wirlies o't. 

The sweetest kiss that e'er I got 

Was frae my Dainty Davie. 

— Herd's Collection : Dainty 

From the English twirl and 
whirl, though Jamieson goes to 
the Swedish in search of the 

Tirr, a fractious child ; tirran, 
one of a perverse and complain- 
ing humour ; tirrie, querulous, 
peevish. These words seem all to 
be derived from the Gaelic tuir, 
to moan, to lament, to weep ; 
and tuireadh, moaning, com- 
plaining, lamentation. Jamie- 
son, however, derives tirr from 
the Greek tyrannos, a tyrant, or 
the Teutonic terghen, to irritate ; 
though the latter word is not to 
be found in German or in any 
of its dialects. Tire lire is often 
used in French poetry for the 
song or lament of the nightin- 

Tittie, a sister. 

He had a wee tittie that loved na me 
Because I was true and trim as she 

— LadyGrizzel Baillie. 

Tittie-billie, according to Jamie- 
son, who denounces it as vulgar. 



Tocher — Tod. 

This phrase signifies an equal, a 
match, as in the proverbial say- 
ing which he quotes, *' Tarn's a 
great thief, but Willie's tittie- 
billie wi' him ; " and derives it 
from tittie, a sister ; and billie, a 
brother. The true meaning of 
billie is a fellow ; from the 
Gaelic balaoch, a mate, or close 
companion ; and tittie, in all pro- 
bability, is a corruption of taite, 
joyousness, jolliness. Tittie-bilUe 
would thus be synonymous with 
the English phrase, " a jolly 
good fellow." (See Billies, ante, 
page 8.) 

Tocher, a dowry, but principally 
used as applicable to the for- 
tunes of persons in the middle 
and lower ranks of life, who are 
too poor to give their daughters 
dowries. A tocher may be either 
a large or a small one. There 
is no other Scotch word for a 
daughter's portion. TocheiiesSj 

A cow and a calf, 
An ox and a half, 
Forty good shillings and three ; 
Is not that enough tocher 
For a shoemaker's daughter ? 
— J. O. Halliwell : Nursery 
Rhymes of England. 

The bonnie lass tocherless has mair 
wooers than chances of a husband. 

The greatest tochers make not ever the 
greatest testaments. 

Marry a beggar and get a louse for your 

Maidens' tochers and ministers' stipends 
are aye less than they are ca'd. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Oh meikle thinks my love o' my beauty, 
And meikle thinks my love o' my kin, 

But little thinks my love I ken brawly, 
My tochers the jewel has charms for him. 
— Burns. 

Philologists are at variance 
as to the origin of tocher, which 
is purely Scottish, and has no 
relation to any similar word 
in the Teutonic or in the Ro- 
mance languages of Europe. 
The French has dot, the German 
braut-schdtz (bridal treasure), 
and the Dutch and Flemish 
bruid schat. Dr. Adolphus Wag- 
ner, editor of a German edition 
of Burns (Leipzig, 1825), sug- 
gests " the Icelandic tochar," 
which he thinks is either cor- 
rupted from the Latin douarium, 
or from daughter, the German 
tochter, or the Greek dvyar-qp. 
The real root of the word is the 
Gaelic tacar or tocar, provision 
or store, a marriage portion ; 
tocharachd, well or plentifully 
dowered ; toic, wealth, fortune ; 
toic ard, high fortune ; and toic- 
each, rich. 

Tod, usually considered to signify 
a bush ; ivy tod, a bush or bunch 
of ivy. The derivation seems 
to be from the Dutch and Fle- 
mish tod, a rag, a fringe ; and 
the Gaelic dud, a rag ; or taod, a 
string ; from the string-like and 
ragged appearance of ivy when 
it has grown as high as possible 
on the supporting tree or wall, 
and has then fallen downwards. 
Tod also signifies a fox; tod- 
Laurie is a jocose word for the 
same animal 

Ye're like the tod; ye grow grey before 
you grow guid. 

Toddy — Toman. 


The tod ne'er sped better than when he 
gaed on his ain errand. 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The King rose up, wiped his eyes, and 
calling, " Todlaurie, come out o' your 
den [Fox, come out of your hole]," he pro- 
duced from behind the arras the length of 
Richie Moniplies, still laughing in unre- 
strained mirth. — Scott : Fortunes of 

Toddy, a mixture of whisky with 
hot water and sugar. It has 
been generally supposed that 
the name was introduced into 
Scotland by some retired East 
Indian, from toddy, a juice ex- 
tracted from various species of 
palm trees, especially from the 
cocos nocifera, which, when fer- 
mented and distilled, was known 
as arrack. But this is doubtful. 
In Allan Kamsay's poem of 
" The Morning Interview," pub- 
lished in 1 72 1, occurs a de- 
scription of a sumptuous en- 
tertainment or tea-party, in 
which it is said "that all the 
rich requisites are brought from 
far ; the table from Japan, the 
tea from China, the sugar from 
Amazonia, or the West Indies j 
but that 

Scotia does no such costly tribute bring. 
Only some kettles full of Todian spring." 

To this passage Allan Ramsay 
himself appended the note — 
"The Todian spring, i.e.. Tod's 
well, which supplies Edinburgh 
with water." Tod's well and 
St. Anthony's well, on the side 
of Arthur's seat, were two of the 
weUs which very scantily sup- 
plied the wants of Edinburgh ; 

and when it is borne in mind 
that whiskey (see that word) 
derives its name from water, it 
is highly probable that Toddy 
in like manner was a facetious 
term for the pure element. The 
late Robert Chambers, when 
this etymology was first pro- 
pounded to him by the present 
writer, rejected the idea, but 
afterwards adopted it on the 
strength of Allan Ramsay's 

Tol-lol, a slang expression, com- 
mon to Scotland and England, 
as a reply to an inquiry after 
one's health. " How are you ? " 
"Oh, tol-lol!" i.e., pretty well. 
The word is usually supposed to 
be a corruption of tolerable, or 
tolerably well. Perhaps it comes 
more probably from the Gaelic 
toUeil, substantial, solid, sound, 
in good condition. 

Toman or tommack, a small 
hill, a hillock, a mound of earth ; 
from the Gaelic torn, a hiU. This 
primitive monosyllable is widely 
spread over all the languages of 
Western Europe, and enters into 
the composition of numberless 
words that imply the sense of 
swelling above the surface; as 
in the Latin tumulus, a mound 
of earth that marks a grave ; 
the English tomb, the French 
tombeau, the Keltic and Kymric 
tom^ a mound, a heap; the Latin 
tumor, tumefaction, a pimple, a 
swelling of the flesh ; tumescere, 
to swell up; the English and 
French dome, the Italian duomo, 


Tongue-ferdy — Toot 

the German, Dutch, 'andFlemish 
dom, the Latin and Greek doma, 
the rounded roof or cupola, 
swelling over a church or ca- 
thedral, and also the cathedral 
itself; as "il dwowo" at Milan, 
and the ' ' Doni kirke " at Cologne. 
Tom, in the secondary sense, 
signifies large, from the primary 
idea of that which is swollen ; a 
torn cat is a large cat ; torn noddy 
is a great noddy or simpleton ; 
torn fool is a great fool ; and Cow- 
boy, when applied as a reproach 
to a romping or noisy girl, sig- 
nifies that she acts more like a 
great boy than like a girl. 

Singing a song to the Queen o' the 
Fairies, among the tomans d the ancient 
woods. — Nodes Arnbrosiance. 

Tongue-ferdy, glib of tongue, 
loquacious, over ready of speech. 
From the German zung, Flemish 
and Dutch long, the tongue ; and 
fertig, ready. 

Tongue-tack it, tongue-tied, 
either from natural impediment, 
or from nervous timidity and 
inability to speak when there is 
occasion to declare one's self ; 
also, undue reticence, when 
there is a necessity for speaking 

Toora or tume, empty, poured 
out ; from the Gaelic taom, to 
pour out, the English teem, to 
produce, to pour out progeny. 
Toom - handit, empty - handed ; 
<oowi-headit, brainless, empty- 
headed ; a too7n pock, an empty 
purse. The word is used in 

Lancashire, according to Tim 
Bobbin's Glossary. 

Better a toom house than an ill tenant. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Scotland greetin' owre her thrissle. 
Her mutchkin stoup as toom's a whistle. 
— Burns : Earnest Cry and Prayer. 

Mr. Clark of Dalreoch, whose head was 
vastly disproportioned to his body, met 
Mr. Dunlop one day. " Weel, Mr. Clark, 
that's a great head o' yours." "Indeed, 
it is, Mr. Dunlop ; I could contain yours 
inside o' my own." "Just so," echoed 
Mr. Dunlop, "I was e'en thinking it was 
gey an toom." — Dean Ramsay. 

On being called upon to give his vote 
in the choice of a chaplain to the prison 
of Dunfermline, David Dewar signified 
his assent to the election of the candidate 
recommended by the Board, by saying, 
" Weel, I've no objection to the man, for 
I understand that he has preached a kirk 
toom already ; and if he be as successful 
in the jail, he'll maybe preach it vacant as 
weel." — Dean Ramsay. 

A toom pouch maks a sair heart. But 
why should it? Surely a heart's worth 
mair than a pouch, whether it's toom or 
brimming ower ?— Donald Cargill. 
" Set on them, lads ! " quo' Willie, then, 

" Fie, lads ! set on them cruellie, 
For ere they win to the Ritterford 

Mony a toojn saddle there sail be." 

— James Telfer : Border Minstrelsy. 

Toot, or tout, to noise a thing 
abroad, to spread a rumour or 
a scandal ; also, to blow a horn. 

It was tootit through a' the country. 
. . . The kintra claiks were tootit far and 
wide. — Jamieson. 

But now the Lord's ain trumpet touts. 
Till a' the hills are rairin'. 

— Burns : Jhe Holy Fair. 

An auld tout in a new horn. 
Every man can tout best on his ain horn. 
It's ill making a touting horn of a tod's 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Tooth ills — Totum. 


In English slang, a tout is one 
stationed outside of a shop or 
place of amusement, to entice 
people to enter ; metaphorical 
for blowing the trumpet, i.e., 
praising the goods, or entertain- 
ment, to be had within. From 
the Gaelic dud, a trumpet ; 
dudair, a trumpeter. The Ger- 
mans call the bagpipe a ditdd- 
sacJc, i.e., a trumpet sack. 

Toothills — or hills where in early- 
times a horn was blown to give 
warning of danger — are fre- 
quently mentioned in old re- 
cords, and the name still sub- 
sists. TothiU or Toothia Fields 
in London was so called from 
an eminence of the kind in the 
borough of Southwark. 

Tory, a word of contemptuous 
anger for a child, equivalent 
to hrat. Jamieson cites it as 
an Ayrshire expression — '* Get 
out of my sight, ye vile little 
tory." It is obvious that the 
word has no political origin, 
and is possibly from the Gaelic 
torrach, pregnant, and toradh {dh 
silent), the fruit or produce of 
pregnancy, i.e., a child. 

Tosh, neat, trim, cozy, comfort- 
able ; toshach, a neat, tidy-look- 
ing girl ; tossie, warm and snug, 
— almost synonymous with cozie. 
Of uncertain etymology. Jamie- 
son derives it from the Flemish 
dossen, to dress, to adorn ; but 
the Gaelic offers dos, a bush, a 
thicket, a bield, a shelter, which 
has become slang among Eng- 

lish tramps and vagrants, to 
signify a lodging. It is possible 
that the idea of comfortable 
shelter, in the sense of the pro- 
verb, "Better a wee bush than 
nae bield," lies at the root of tosh 
and tozie. 

She works her ain stockings, and spins her 

ain cleedin', 
And keeps herself iosh frae the tap to the 

—James Ballantine : Auld Janet. 

Tot, a fondling name for a child 
that is learning to walk ; from 
whence tottle, and toddle, to walk 
with slow, feeble, and uncertain 
step. From the Gaelic tuxJt, to 
falL (SeeToTDM.) 

Tottie, warm, snug, comfortable. 
From the Gaelic teih, warmth ; 
teodh, to warm ; and teodhaichte, 
warmed ; whence also totUe, to 
boil, or the bubbling noise made 
by boiling liquids. 

Totum, a term of affection for a 
child just beginning to walk, 
and sometimes falling in the 
process ; from the Gaelic tuit, 
to fall. From the same root 
comes the name of the spinning 
and falling toy, the teetotum; 
and English tot, a child. 

Twa-three toddlin' weans they hae, 

The pride o' a' Strabogie ; 
Whene'er the totums cry for meat, 
She curses aye his cogie. 
—Song : There's Cauld Kail in A berdeen. 

The Scotch have carried the 
word totum with them to the 
United States. It occurs in a 


ToufUs Bairn — Towdy. 

ridiculous rhyme concerning the 
negroes — 

De Lord He lub de nigger well, 
He know de nigger by um smell ; 
And when de nigger totums cry, 
De Lord He gib 'em possum pie. 

The English word teetotum, is 
a child's toy, or kind of top to 
be twisted round by the fingers 
and spun on a table. Stor- 
month's Dictionary defines it, 
in addition to its ordinary use 
as a toy, to mean " any small 
thing in contempt," and sug- 
gests that the word is probably 
imitative of its unsteady move- 
ments when nearly spent. Tee- 
totum is an amplification of the 
Gaelic, from its tendency to 
fall ; tuiteam, let me fall. 

Toun's Bairn, a name affection- 
ately applied to the native of a 
town or city, after he has risen 
to distinction and established a 
claim to the respect of the in- 

Toustie, quarrelsome, irascible, 
contentious, twisty. From the 
Gaelic tuas, and tuasaid, a quar- 
rel ; tuasaideach, quarrelsome. 

Mr, Treddles was a wee toustie, when 
you rubbed him against the hair, but a 
kind, weel-meaning man, — Scott : Chro- 
nicles of the Canongate. 

Touttie, totey, irritable, irascible, 
of capricious and uncertain tem- 
per. Derived by Jamieson from 
the Flemish tog tig, windy, a word 
which is not to be found in the 
Dutch or Flemish dictionaries. 

Tove, to associate kindly as 
friends or lovers ; to " tove and 
crack," to hold amorous or 
friendly discourse. Tovie, com- 
fortable ; a tovie fire, a snug, 
cozy, or comfortable fire. From 
the Gaelic taobh (pronounced 
taov), a side, a liking, partial- 
ity, friendship ; taobhach, kindly, 
friendly. Tovie is an epithet 
sometimes used to signify that 
a man is garrulously drunk. 

Tow, a rope, also the hemp of 
which ropes are made ; to pull 
by a rope. Towing-path by a 
canal, the path by which men 
or horses tow or pull the vessels 
through the water. To wallop 
in a toiv, to dangle from the gal- 

And ere I wed another jade, 
I'll wallop in a tow. 
—Burns : The Weary Fund 
o Tow. 

I hae another toiv on my rock [I have 
other business to attend to], — Scots Pro- 

Jamieson derives tow from 
the Swedish tog, the substance 
of which ropes are made. It 
is more likely from the Gaelic 
taod, a rope, a string, a halter. 

Towdy, a jocular term for the 
breech, fundament, podex, or 
doup, especially when abnor- 
mally large. From this word 
comes the EngUsh dowdy, ap- 
plied to an ill-dressed and un- 
shapely woman, large in the 
hips. The derivation is possibly 
from the Gaelic doideach, fleshy, 

Towhead — Trattle. 


Towhead, a head with flaxen or 
very light - coloured hair. A 
term used in America, accord- 
ing to Bartlett's Dictionary of 
Americanisms, for "a flaxen- 
headed urchin." 

Towmond, a twelvemonth. 

How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was 
i' the bell. 

— Burns : Cotters Saturday 


Surrounded wi' peat an' wi' heather, 

Where muircocks and plovers were rife, 
For mony a long towmond together 
There lived an auld man an' his wife. 
— Andrew Scott : Symon and 

Towzie, rough, hairy, shaggy; 
whence towzer, the name some- 
times applied in England to a 

His touzie back 
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

A touzie tyke, black, grim, and large. 
To gie them music was his charge. 

— Burns : Tajn d Shanter. 

Toy, a woman's cap. This word 
is probably from the Gaelic toil, 
pleasure, applied to the finery 
with which it is the ^pleasure, 
and often the toil, of women to 
adorn or attire themselves, and 
was originally given to the ordi- 
nary match or indoor head-dress 
when bedizened with ribbons. 

Toyte, to dawdle, to take things 
easily ; from the Gaelic taite, 
ease, pleasure. 

We've won to crazy years thegither, 
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither, 
Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether 

To some hain'd rig. 
Where ye may doucely rax your leather 
Wi' sma' fatigue. 
—Burns : Auld Farmer to his Auld 
Mare, Maggie. 

Traik, to lounge, to gad about, to 
follow idly after women ; from 
the Flemish trekken, to walk, to 
draw or pull along. 

There is not a huzzy on this side of thirty 
that ye can bring within your doors, but 
there will be chiels, writer lads, 'prentice 
lads, and what not, come traiking after 
them for their destruction. — Scott : Heart 
of Midlothian. 

Trattle. The resemblance of this 
word to prattle, from prate, has 
led Jamieson and others to sup- 
pose that its meaning is identi- 
cal. But it is by no means clear 
that the supposition is well 
founded, or that trattle, prattle, 
and rattle are related in mean- 
ing, notwithstanding the simil- 
arity of sound. The word seems 
to be akin to, or to be derived 
from, the German trotzen, the 
Flemish trots, to dare, to defy, 
to be arrogant or presumptuous ; 
trotzig, violent. 

Oh better I'll keep my green cleiding 

Frae gude Earl Richard's bluid, 
Than thou canst keep thy clattering tongue 
That trattles in thy head. 

—Earl Richard : Border 

Against the proud Scots clattering 
That never will leave their trattling. 
— Skelton : Against the Scottis, 
quoted by Sir Walter Scott 
in Border Minstrelsy. 

The German and Flemish trot- 
zen would more fully meet the 
meaning and spirit of the 


Treacherous as Garrick — Trolollay. 

epithet than any derivation from 
•prattle could pretend to. 

Treacherous as Garrick, false 
as Garrick, deep as Garrick. 

These phrases are current in 
England as well as in Scotland, 
and can have no possible con- 
nection with the name of Gar- 
rick, or to the renowned actor 
who bore it in the last century. 
The true origin is unknown. 
It is possible, however, that 
treacherous as Garrick may 
mean treacherous as a caolreayh 
(or caoireach), Gaelic for a 
blazing fire. This suggestion is 
ofleied f ante de mieux. A High- 
lander, however, is of opinion 
that Garrick is a corruption of 
coruisg, a deep, gloomy, and 
treacherous loch in the island 
of Skye. "Who shall decide 
when doctors disagree ? " 

T r i £•, neat, clean, attractive ; 
usually derived from the Eng- 
lish trick or tricky, which has 
not the same meaning. Also, 
a fop, or a person giving too 
much attention to his personal 

It is my humour : you are a pimp and a 

An Amadis de Gaul, or a Don Quixote. 

— Ben Jonson : The Alchemist. 

And you among them a', John, 
Sae trig from top to toe. 

— Burns : John Anderson. 

The word seems to be derived 
from the Dutch and Flemish 
trek, to attract. Though Jamie- 
son derives it from the English 
trick, or trick out, to dress 

gaudily or finely, it is possibly 
either from the Welsh or Kym- 
ric trig, firm-set, or the Gaelic 
triathach {th silent, triac), splen- 

Trimmer, trimmie, disrespectful 
terms applied to a scolding or 
irascible woman. From the 
Gaelic dream, or tream, to snarl, 
to grin angrily ; dreamach, mo- 
rose, peevish, ill-natured ; drea- 
mag, or dreimeag, a vixen, a 

Trog'gin, wares exchanged with 
servant girls for the odds and 
ends of a household by travel- 
ling pedlars ; trog, old clothes ; 
trogger, or trocker, a pedlar, one 
who deals in old clothes. It is 
doubtful whether these words 
are from the French troquer, to 
barter, the English truck, or 
from the Dutch and Flemish 
troggden, to beg under pretence 
of selling trifles that nobody 
requires. The word appears as 
troke in HalliweU's Archaic Dic- 

Buy braw troggin, 

Frae the banks o' Dee ; 
Wha' wants troggin. 

Let him come to me. 
—Burns : An Election Song. 

Trolollay, a term which, accord- 
ing to Jamieson, occurs in a 
rhyme sung by young people in 
Scotland at Hogmanay, the last 
day of the old year, and the 
morning of the new. " It has," 
he says, •' been viewed as a cor- 
ruption of the French trois rois 

Tron — Tryste. 


aUais, three kings are come 1 " 
In this sentence the word aUais 
is ungrammatical and incorrect, 
for trois rois sont venus. But in- 
dependently of the bad French, 
the etymology is entirely wrong. 
The word, or words, are part of 
a very ancient Druidical chorus, 
sung two thousand years ago 
at the dawning of the day, in 
honour of the sunrise : trd, let Id ! 
From the Gaelic trdth {tra), 
early ; and Icl, day, signifying 
not "the three kings are come," 
but " Day ! early day ! " equi- 
valent to the " Hail, early 
morn ! " of a well-known modern 

Tron. There is a Tron Church 
in Edinburgh and another in 
Glasgow ; but the Scottish Glos- 
saries and Jamieson's " Scottish 
Dictionary " make no mention of 
the word. It would appear from 
a passage in Hone's " E very-day 
Book " that Tron signified a pub- 
lic weighing-machine, or scale 
in a market-place, where pur- 
chasers of commodities might, 
without fee, satisfy themselves 
that the weight of their pur- 
chase was correct. Hence a 
" Tron Church" was a church 
in the market-place near which 
the public weighing-machine 
was established. The word is 
derived from the Gaelic trom, 
heavy, or a weight. 

Tronic, a tedious story that has 
been often repeated, and that 
causes a sense of weariness in 

the person condemned to listen 
to it. From the Gaelic trom 
or tron, heavy, tedious. The 
same epithet is applied to a 
boy who is unable to learn his 

Trow or drow, the evil one. 
From the Gaelic droch, evil, 
bad, wicked. Sea trowes, evil 
spirits of the sea; to trow, or 
drow, to wish evil, to impre- 

Trullion, a low, base, dirty fellow. 
The English has trull, the femi- 
nine of this word, applied to an 
immoral woman of the lowest 
class. The origin is the Gaelic 
truaill, to pollute, to debase ; 
and truilleach, a base, dirty per- 

Tryste, an appointed place of 
meeting, a rendezvous ; of the 
same origin as trust, or confi- 
dence, from the idea that he 
who appoints a tryste with an- 
other trusts that the other 
will keep or be faithful to it. 
The word occurs in Chaucer, 
and in several old English MSS. 
of his period; but is not used 
by Spenser, Shakspeare, or later 
writers. " To bide tryste,'' to be 
true to time and place of meet- 

"You walk late, sir," said I. "I bide 
tryste," was the reply, "and so I think do 
you, Mr. Osbaldistone ? "— Sir Walter 
Scott : Rob Roy. 

The tenderest-hearted maid 
That ever bided tryste at village stile. 


Tuath de Danaan — Tulcan. 

By the wine-god he swore it, and named 
the trysting-ddiy. 

— Lord Macaulav. 
No maidens with blue eyes 
Dream of the trysting hour 
Or bridal's happier time. 

— Under Green Leaves. 
When I came to Ardgour I wrote to 
Lochiel to tryste me where to meet him.— 
Hogg's Jacobite Relics : Letter frotn Rob 
Roy to General Gordon. 

Tuath de Danaan. This name 
has been given to a colony of 
northmen who early settled in 
Ireland, and afterwards passed 
into Argyllshire. From tuath, 
north ; tuathach, northern ; and 
dan, bold, warlike ; and danfher, 
(dan-er), a warrior, a bold man ; 
and also a Dane. Tuath de Da- 
naan is a corruption, in which 
the second word de ought to 
have no place of tuathaich and 
dan or dana. The Very Kev. 
Canon Bourke, in his work on 
the Aryan origin of the Gaelic 
language, says ' ' The Tuath de 
Danaans were a large, fair- 
complexioned, and very remark- 
able race, warlike, energetic, 
progressive, musical, poetical, 
skilled in Druidism," &c. Mr. 
Pym Yeatman, in "The Origin 
of the Nations of Europe," who 
quotes these and other passages, 
is of opinion that the Tuath de 
Danaans were Scandinavians, a 
supposition which their Gaelic 
designation fully corroborates. 
Of course they brought with 
them their own language, many 
of the words of which were in 
course of time incorporated 
with the speech of the people 
with whom they amalgamated. 

This accounts for the many 
Danish words both in modern 
Gaelic and in Lowland Scotch. 

Tuilyie or toolzie, a broil, a 
struggle, a quarrel ; tuUiesome, 
quarrelsome ; tuilzeour, a quar- 
relsome person, a wrangler. 
Though Jamieson derives tuilzie 
from the French fowiVZer— a word 
which is not to be found in the 
French dictionaries — to stir or 
agitate water, it is probably de- 
rived from the same source as 
the quasi-synonymous English 
tussle, and akin to the Gaelic 
tuisleach, a tumult, a quarrel 
among several persons ; and 
tuileas, riot ; whence, also, towzle, 
to pull about roughly, to dis- 
hevel or disorder. 

A toolying {toolzieing) tyke comes limp- 
ing hame, — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

The toolzie s teugh 'tween Pitt and Fox, 
And our gude wife's wee birdie cocks. 
Burns : Elegy on the Year 1788. 

But though dull prose folk Latin splatter 
In logic tulzie, 
I hope we bardies ken some better 
Than mind sic brulzie. 
— Burns : To William Simpson. 

What verse can sing, what prose recite, 
The butcher deeds of bloody fate 
Amid this mighty tulzie. 
—Burns : Epistle to Robert Graham. 

Tulcan. Mr. Gladstone, during 
his electioneering raid into Mid- 
lothian, in November 1879, ex- 
plained at Dalkeith the meaning 
of tulcan. 

My noble friend, Lord Rosebery, speak- 
ing to me of the law of hypothec, said that 
the bill of Mr. Vans Agnew on hj-pothec 
is a Tulcan Bill. A tulcan, l, believe, is 

Tumbler — Tunag. 


a figure of a calf stuffed with straw, and 
it is, you know, an old Scottish custom 
among farmers to place the tulcan calf 
under a cow to induce her to give milk. 

Jamieson writes the word 
tulchanCy and cites the phrase 
a tulchane bishop, as the desig- 
nation of one who received the 
episcopate on condition of as- 
signing the temporalities to a 
secular person. In some parts 
of Scotland the people say a 
tourkin calf, instead of a tul- 
can calf, and it is difficult to 
say which of the two words 
is the more correct, or in 
what direction we must look for 
the etymology. Tulcan, in the 
Gaelic, signifies a hollow or 
empty head, that of the mocked 
calf stuffed with straw, from 
toll, hoUow, and cean, a head ; 
while tourkin would seem to be 
derived from tU7', to invent, 
and cean, a head; therefore 
signifying a head invented for 
the occasion, to deceive the 

A tourkin calf, or lamb, is one that 
wears a skin not its own. A tourkin lamb 
is one taken from its dam, and given to 
another ewe that has lost her own. In this 
case, the shepherd takes the skin of the 
dead lamb, and puts it on the back of the 
living one, and thus so deceives the ewe 
that she allows the stranger to suck. — 

Tumbler, a drinking-glass of a 
larger size than is ordinarily 
used for wine. The derivation 
may be from tumble, to fall over ; 
as in the deep drinking days, 
happily passed away, glasses 
were round at the base, without 

stems, and a drinker who held 
one full in his hand had to 
drink off the contents, before 
he could set it down, without 
spilhng the liquor. "Tak' a 
tumbler," i.e., take a glass of 
toddy, is a common invita- 
tion to convivial intercourse, 
"Three tumblers and an eke" 
were once considered a fair 
allowance for a man after din- 
ner, or before retiring to rest. 
A Highland writer once sug- 
gested that the derivation was 
from taom, pour out or empty, 
and leor, enough. This was 
apt, and may perhaps be the 
true etymology. Jamieson has 
tumbler, the French tombHl, a 
cart ; but this can have no re- 
lation to the convivial glass. 

Tum-deif. Jamieson suggests 
that perhaps this word means 
swooning, and refers it to the 
Icelandic tumba, the English 
tumble, to fall to the ground. 
It seems, however, to be no 
other than a mis-spelling of 
dumb-deaf, or deaf and dumb. 

Tumph, a blockhead. From the 
German dumm, stupid, the Dutch 
and Flemish dom. Tumfie, or 
tumphie, is diminutive of tumph. 

Lang Jamie was employed in trifling 
jobs on market days, especially in holding 
horses for the farmers. He was asked his 
charge by a stranger to the town. *' Hoot ! 
I hae nae charge ; sometimes a tumph 
offers me twa bawbees, but a gentleman 
like you always gies me a saxpence ! " — 
Laird of Logan. 

Tunagf, a kind of jacket worn 
by women in the Highlands 


Turnimspike — Tuttiy tatie. 

of Scotland and in Ireland, 
and covering the shoulders, 
back, and hips ; a tunic. " If 
not derived from the Latin 
tunica," says Jamieson, " it may 
he from, the same root." It is 
from the same root in a lan- 
guage much older than the Latin 
— the Celtic and Gaelic ton, the 
posterior, the hips. The Greeks 
called that part of the body 
TTvyT}, whence, in the learned 
slang of the English universities, 
the coat-tails were called "py- 
gastoles," and by some irreve- 
rent undergraduates, " bum 
curtains." The word in Scottish 
Gaelic is tonag, and in Irish 
Gaelic tonach. 

Turnimspike, a name given by the 
Highlanders to a high road or 
turnpike road when first made 
to the north of Inverness. Great 
consternation is said to have 
been excited in Koss-shire when 
a sheriff's officer and a toll- 
collector first appeared in Tain. 
"Lord preserve us 1 " said one 
townsman to his neighbour, 
" what'U come next ? The law 
has reached Tain I " 

Another law came after this, 
She never saw the like, man, 

They mak a lang road on the crund 

(the ground) 
An' ca' him tumhnsptke, man. 

But she'll awa to Highland hills 
Where deil a ane can turn her, 

And no come near to tumhnspike. 
Unless it be to burn her. 

— Jacobite Songs and Ballads. 

Tutti, tatie, according to Jamie- 
son, is an interjection equiva- 

lent to the English psJiaw ! But 
Hey ! tuttie tatie is the name of 
an old Scottish martial air, to 
which Burns adapted his noble 
song of " Scots wha hae wi' 
Wallace bled." To this spirited 
melody, according to tradition, 
the troops of King Robert Bruce 
marched to the great victory of 
Bannockburn. The words are 
derived from the Gaelic, familiar 
to the soldiers of Bruce, aite 
dudach taite ! from dudach, to 
sound the trumpet, and taite, 
joy, and may be freely trans- 
lated, " Let the joyous trumpets 
sound ! " The battle of Ban- 
nockburn was fought in an age 
when the bagpipe had not be- 
come common in Scotland, and 
when the harp was pre-emi- 
nently the national instrument 
in peace as the trumpet was in 
war. Jamieson, not quite sure 
of Pshaw as an interpretation, 
adds that " the words may have 
been meant as imitative of the 
sound of the trumpet in giving 
the charge." 

It may be remarked that pos- 
sibly there may be a remote 
connection between Jamieson's 
idea of Pshaw and that of the 
blast of trumpets. Fanfare in 
French signifies a blast on a 
trumpet, and a fanfaron is a 
braggadocio, a vain boaster, a 
braggart, or one who blows the 
trumpet of his own praises. 
For such a one in the full flow 
of his self-laudation, the im- 
patient interjection. Pshaw ! 
would be equally appropriate 
and well-merited. 

Tut^mute — Tyke. 


When you hear the trumpet sound 

Tutti tatti to the drum, 
Up your sword, and down your gun, 
And to the loons again 1 

—Jacobite Relics : Wheatley's 
Reduplicated Words in the 
English Language. 

Tut-mute and tuilzie mulzie, de- 
scribed in Wheatley's Dictionary 
of Reduplicated Words " as a 
muttering or grumbling between 
parties that has not yet assumed 
the form of a broil." This odd 
phrase, signifying a fierce quarrel 
that had but slight beginning, 
is presented in the proverb— 

It began in a laigh tute-mute, 
An' it rose to a wild tuilzie mulzie. 
— Jamieson. 

Tut is the Gaelic dud, the sound 
or toot upon a wind instrument, 
a horn, a flute, a whistle or a 
trumpet — and mute is a corrup- 
tion of maoth, soft, gentle. Tuil- 
zie is a brawl, a scuffle, a fight, 
from the Gaelic tuaileas, riot, 
disorder, conflict, tumult ; tuail- 
easag, a quarrelsome, foul- 
mouthed woman ; a scold, and 
mileadh, battle. The proverb 
expresses a meaning similar to 
that in Allan Ramsay — " It be- 
gan wi' needles and pins, and 
ended wi' horned nowte." 

Twasome, threesome, foursome. 

The numerals two, three, and 
four, with the addition of the 
syllable some, are used in a sense 
of which they are not suscep- 
tible in English. A twasome 
walk, or a twasome interview, 
is often rendered in English by 
the French phrase tite-d-tSte. 

Threesome and foursome reels, 
dances in which three or four 
persons participate. 

There's threesome reels z.nd/oursome reels, 
There's hornpipes and strathpeys, man, 
But the best dance in a' the toun 
, Is the Deil's awa' wi' the Exciseman. 

Tway, a pair, a couple, the 
English twain; two, sometimes 
written twa. 

Every knight had a lady bright, 

And every squire a May ; 
Her own self chose Lord Livingstone — 

They were a lovely tway. 

—Bvchan's Ancient Ballads : Lord 

Twime and thrime, a couplet and 
a triplet. These are words that 
have not yet been admitted into 
the dictionaries. 

Twine, to rob, to deprive ; to 
part with, to relinquish. Ety- 
mology uncertain ; supposed to 
be from the English twain, two, 
thence to separate into two. 

The fish shall swim the flood nae mair. 
Nor the corn grow through the day, 

Ere the fiercest fire that ever was kindled 
Twine me and Rothiemay. 
—Ballad of the Fire of Frendraught. 

My duddie is a cankert carle 
Will no twine wi' his gear. 

— James Carnegie. 

Brandy . . . 
Twines many a poor, doylt, drucken hash 
Of half his days. 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Tyke, a mongrel, a rough dog ; 
originally a house dog ; from 
the Gaelic tigh, or taigh, a 
house. The word is common 


Tyke-iyrit — Unco. 

in Yorkshire, and in all the 
Northern Counties of Eng- 

Tyke-tjrrit or tired. Tired or 
wearied, as a dog or tyke after 
a long chase. 

Base tyke, call'st thou me host ? 

— Shakspeare : Henry V, 

Nae tawted (uncombed) tyke. 

—Burns : Tfu Twa Dogs. 

He was a gash and faithful tyke. 

— Idem. 

I'm as tired of it as a tyke of lang kail. 

You have lost your own stomach and 
found a tyke's, 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 


Ug, ugg, to feel extreme loath- 
ing or disgust. Ugsome, fright- 
ful ; ugsomeness, frightfulness, 

They would ug a body at them. 

— Jamieson. 

Ugsome to hear was her wild eldrich shriek. 

The ugsomeness and silence of the night. 
—Douglas : Translation of the Enid. 

Who dang us and flang us into this ugsome 

—Allan Ramsay : The Vision. 

This word seems to be akin 
to the English ugly, which all 
the philologists who ignore the 
Gaehc as one of the sources 
of the English language, derive 
either from the Danish huggern, 
to shiver, or from other equally- 
improbable Teutonic roots. In 
Gaelic aog (quasi ug), signifies 
death, a ghost, a skeleton, and 
aogaii, ghastly, deathlike, ugly. 

Ultimus eekibus, the very last 
glass of whisky toddy, or eke, 
one drop more at a convivial 
gathering before parting for the 
night J the last of the ekes. 

Umbersorrow, hardy, rough, 
rude, uncultivated. This cor- 
rupt word, of which Jamieson 
cites a still corrupter, " a num- 
ber sorrow" is clearly derived 
from the Flemish and Teutonic 
unbesorgt, uncared for, wild, 
neglected, growing in the 
strength of nature without hu- 
man assistance. Jamieson cites 
its use in the Lothians in the 
sense of " rugged, of a surly 
disposition," applied to one 
whose education has been ne- 
glected, and who is without 
good manners. 

Umquhile or umwhile, at one 
time, formerly ; used also in the 
sense of departed or late, in 
such phrases as, " my late hus- 
band," " my departed wife," 
my umquhile husband, my um- 
quhile wife ; from the Flemish 
om, past, and wijl, a short time, 
the same as the English while, 
a short time past, a short while 

Unco, strange, unknown, a won- 
der, a strange thing ; an abbre- 

Unfurthersome — Uisg. 


viation of uncouth. Unco guid, 
extremely good, very good. 

The unco guid, and the rigidly righteous. 
— Burns. 
An unco cockernony. — Galt. 
Nae safe wading in unco waters. 
Like a cow in an unco loan. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears. 
— Burns : Cotter's Saturday Night. 

Unfurthersome, unpropitious; ap- 
plied to the weather, if too cold, 
or too rainy, and preventing the 
due ripening of the crops. 

Ungainly, awkward, uncouth, in- 
sufficient, clumsy ; gaivly, plea- 
sant, fit, proper, pleased ; gane, 
to serve, to suffice, to fit, to be 
appropriate ; unganed, inappro- 
priate. Oainly and ungainly 
are not exactly synonymous in 
Scottish parlance with the Eng- 
lish word. Oainly is nearly 
obsolete in England ; and un- 
gainly merely signifies awkward, 
clumsy. The root of the words 
in the Scottish sense is the Gae- 
lic gean, good-humour, fitness, 
comeliness ; geanail, comely, fit, 
proper, pleasant, serviceable. 
In the following quotation gane 
means to serve or suffice : — 

But there is neither bread nor kale 

To gane my men and me. 
—Battle o/Otterboume, Old Version. 

Unkensome, not to be known or 
recognised, not to be traced. 

A smith ! a smith ! Dickie, he cries, 

A smith, a smith right speedilie ! 
To turn back the caukers o' our horses' 
For its unkensome we wad be. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Archie 0' Ca'Jield. 

Unmackly, mis-shapen, deformed. 

Up then sterts the stranger knight, 
Said Ladye be not thou afraid, 

I fight for thee with this grim Soldan 
Though he's sair unmackly made. 
—Ballad oj Sir Cauline. 

Untholeable, intolerable, unen- 
durable, insufferable ; from thole, 
to endure. 

He got untholeably divertin', and folk 
complained o' pains in their sides wi 
laughin'. — Nodes Ambrosiance. 

Updorrock, worn out, bankrupt. 
According to Jamieson, a Shet- 
land word, which he derives 
from " Icelandic opp and throka, 
also thruTca, urgere, primere." 
It seems to be rather from the 
Flemish op di'ogen, dried up, 

Uppil, to clear up ; applied to the 

When the weather at any time has been 
wet, and ceases to be so, we say it is uppled. 
— Jamieson. 

From the Teutonic aufhellen — 
auf, up ; hellen, to become clear, 
to clear up. 

Upon luck's head, by chance. 
" I got it on luck's head," I got 
it by chance. 

Urisk, according to Jamieson, 
was a name given in the High- 
lands of Scotland to a satyr. It 
was in reality the name given 
to a Brownie or Puck, the Robin 
Goodfellow of Englith fairy my- 
thology ; from the Gaelic uirisy, 
a goblin. (See Wirey-cow. 


Vanquish — Wabster. 

Vanquish, a disease among sheep 
and lambs, caused by their eating 
a certain unwholesome grass. 
Jamieson says the disease is so 
called because it vanquishes the 
sheep I He might as well account 
for the name of Kilmarnock, by 
stating that one Marnock was 
killed there. Vanquish is a cor- 
ruption of the Gaelic uain, pale 
green, and cuiseach or cuiscag, a 
species of rank grass with a 
long stalk that grows on wet 
soil and is deleterious to cattle, 
and especially to sheep. Cuiseach 
is possibly the same as coixch 
grass, described in Halliwell's 
Archaic and Provincial Dic- 
tionary as a kind of coarse 
grass that grows very quickly, 
and is sometimes called twitch 

Vaudy or vaudie, gay, showy ; 
a corruption of the English 

Our land shall be glad, but the Whigs 

shall be sorry 
When the King gets his ain, and heaven 

gets the glory ; 

The rogues shall be sad, but the honest man 

When the throne is possessed by our ain 
bonnie laddie. 

—Jacobite Relics of Scotland. 

Vauntie, proud, vain, also a brag- 
gart ; from the French vantcr^ to 


Her cutty sark 
In longitude though sorely scanty, 
It was her best, and she was vauntie. 
— Burns : Tarn d Shanter. 

Vir, force, vigour. Sometimes 
written hir, a vein; from the 
Latin vis, vires. Possibly the 
English hurly^ strong, is of kin- 
dred origin. 

Swith with vir he whirled her round. 
— George Beattie : John d Amha. 

Wi'vengefulz'/r,and Norland twang Ibid. 

Vlonk, or Wlonk, splendidly 
dressed, richly attired ; from 
the "Anglo Saxon" or old Eng- 
lish vlonke, which has the same 
meaning. Possibly this may be 
the origin of the modern word 
■flunlcey, in contemptuous allu- 
sion to the grayish colours of 
the liveries of male servants in 
great ostentatious families. (See 
Flunkey, ante, p. 60). 


Wa', abbreviation of wall. " His 
back is at the toa'," i.e., he is 
driven into a corner ; his back 
is at the wall, fighting against 
opposing enemies or creditors. 

Wabster, a weaver ; from weave 
and web. 

Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed, 

The spot they ca'd it Linkum-doddie, 
Willie was a wabster gude. 


An honest wabster to his trade. 
Whose wife's twa nieves were scarce weel 

■-Burns : Death and Dr. 

Wad— Waff, 


Wad, to wager, to bet ; from the 
Flemish wedden, which has the 
same meaning. Wads also sig- 
nify forfeits ; a game at wads, a 
game at forfeits ; wad-set, a 
mortgage ; wad, a pledge. 

The gray was a mare and a right good 
But when she saw the Annan water, 
She could not hae ridden a furlong mair, 
Had a thousand merks been wadded at 
— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border: 
Annan Water, 

Wads are nae arguments. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

My Sunday's coat she has laid it in ivad. 
And the best blue bonnet e'er was on my 

At kirk or at market I'm covered but 

Oh that my wife would drink hooly and 


— Herd's Collection : The Drucken 
Wife o' Galloway. 

Waddie, vigorous, willing, alert, 
ready to do. 

What fee will you give me for now and 

for aye — 
Was e'er a young laddie sae waddie as I. 

— Buchan's Ancient Ballads : The 
Rigwoodie Carlin'. 

Wae's I woe is ; unlucky, unhappy, 
in ill plight. 

Woes the wife that wants the tongue, 
but wee's the man that gets her. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

And aye the o'erword o' his sang 
Was — wae's me for Prince Charlie. 
—Jacobite Song. 

Waesuck I wae's-heart I wae's- 
me! Interjections or expres- 
sions of surprise or sorrow, like 
alas I 

Waesuck I for him that gets nae lass, 
Or lasses that hae naething. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

The derivation of wae's-heart 
and wae's-me, from wae, sorrow, 
is obvious ; that of waesuck is 
not so clear. It is probably 
from the Flemish wee, sorrow or 
love, and sugt or zucht, a sigh. 
Jamieson derives it from the 
Danish usig, woe to us ; vae no- 
bis, woe to us. The word, how- 
ever, is not to be found in Dan- 
ish dictionaries. 

Waff, wauf, waft. A freak, a 
whiff, a wave of sound or of 
wind, a sudden and slight im- 
pression upon the senses, a tran- 
sient glance, a glimpse, a passing 
odour. ''A waff o' cauld" is a 
slight attack of cold. "I had 
a waff o' him i' the street ; " I 
had a glimpse of him. *' There 
was a 2vaff 0' roses ; " there was 
a sudden odour of roses. The 
primitive idea at the root of the 
word is sudden and of short 
duration, rising and subsiding 
like a wave. 

Waff, worthless, or shabby in 
appearance and conduct ; idle, 
dissipated ; waffe, a loafer, an 
idler, a vagrant, a vagabond ; 
waff-like, resembling a vaga- 
bond in manners and appear- 
ance ; waffinger, a confirmed va- 
grant and idler. These words 
are of uncertain etymologj-, 
though it is probable that they 
are all from the same root as 
the English waif, a stray, a 
vagrant, one who, like the 


Wa^gang — Waith. 

Italian traviato and traviata, has 
gone astray from the right and 
respectable path, and formed 
on the same principle from way 
off, or off the way. Another 
possible root is the Flemish 
zwtrfen (with the elision of the 
initial z), to go astray, to vaga- 

Wa'gang or awa'-gang, depar- 
ture ; ganging awa\ going away ; 
an escape. 

Winter's ivdgang. 

— James Ballantine. 

A wa'gang crop is the last crop gathered 
before a tenant quits his farm ; also the 
name given to the canal, through which 
the water escapes from the mill wheel. — 

Its dowie in the end o' hairst, 

At the wa'gang o' the swallow, 
When the wind grows cauld and the burn 
grows bauld, 
And the weeds are hanging yellow ; 
But oh, it's dowier far to see 
The wa'gang o' her that the heart gangs 

— Hew Ainslie. 

Waghorn. In the North of Scot- 
land it is a proverbial phrase 
to say of a great liar that " he 
lies like Waghorn," or is " waur 
than Waghorn, ^^ that "he is as 
false as Waghorn, and Waghorn 
was nineteen times falser than 
the devil." Jamieson records 
that ** Waghorn is a fabulous 
personage, who being a greater 
liar than the devil, was crowned 
King of Liars." Why the name 
of Waghorn, any more than that 
of Wagstaffe, both respectable 
patronymics, should be selected 
to adorn or to disfigure the 

proverb is not easy to explain, 
except on the supposition that 
the traditionary " waghorn " is a 
corruption of a word that has 
a more rational as well as a 
more definite meaning. And 
such it is found to be. In 
Gaelic uaigh (quasi wag) signifies 
the grave, the pit, and iutharn 
{iuarn, quasi horn) signifies hell, 
whence he lies like Waghorn, 
would signify he " lies like 
heU " or like the " pit of hell," 
consequently worse than the 
devil, who is supposed to be but 
one, while the other devils in 
the pit are supposed to be 

Waif, a derelict, a wanderling ; 
one found by accident after 
having been lost or gone astray. 
The word in this sense has 
lately been adopted into Eng- 
lish literature as a noun ; but 
in Scotland it is employed both 
as a noun and an adjective. 

Wi' her I will get gowd and gear, 
Wi' thee, I sail get nane ; 

Ye cam to me as a wa^ woman, 
I'll leave thee as the same. 
— Herd's Collection: Fair Annie. 

This word, sometimes written 
and pronounced waff, waffle, and 
waffinger, signifies a wanderer, 
a strolling vagabond, lost to 
civilised life and society; waff- 
like, of vagabond and disreput- 
able appearance. 

Waith, to wander, a wandering 
and straying. The English waif, 
waifs and strays, things or per- 
sons that have wandered or gone 

Wale— Wallop. 


astray. The etymology is doubt- 
ful; perhaps from waft, to be 
blown about by the wind, or 
carried by the waters. 

Wale, to choose, to select, a 
choice ; waly, choice. From the 
German wahlen, to choose. 

Scones, the Tvale o* food. 

—Burns : Scotch Drink. 

There's auld Rob Morris that wons in yon 

He's the king o' guid fellows and ivale 

o' auld men. 


The Laird of Balnamon, after dinner at 
a friend's house, had cherry brandy put 
before him in mistake for port. He liked 
the liquor, and drank freely of it. His 
servant Harry or "Hairy" was to drive 
him home in a gig. On crossing the moor, 
whether from greater exposure to the blast, 
or from the Laird's tmsteadiness of head, 
his hat and wig fell to the ground. Harry 
got off to pick them up and restore them 
to his master. The Laird was satisfied 
with the hat, but demurred to the wig. 
"It's no my wig, Harry lad ; it's no my 
wig." "Ye'd better tak it, sir," said 
Harry; "for there's nae wale o wigs on 
the moor." — Dean Ramsay's Reminis- 

He wales a portion wi' judicious care, 
And let us worship God, he says, wi' 
solemn air. 
—Burns : Cotters Saturday Night. 

Wallageous. This obsolete word 
is used by the ancient Scottish 
poet, Barbour, in the sense of 
sportive, wanton, lustful. It is 
evidently a corruption of the 
Gaelic uudlach, which has the 
same meaning ; uallacMs, cheer- 
fulness, gaiety, frolicksomeness, 
conceitedness, wantonness ; ual- 
lachag, a coquette. 

Wallle, a toy ; a bonnie wallie, a 
pretty toy ; from rvale, choice ; 
from the Teutonic wahlen. 

Walloch, a name applied in the 
Lowlands to the Highland fling, 
or other dance, and not to the 
reel, which is less active and 
boisterous. The word also means 
a frisk or kich The word seems 
to be derived from the Gaelic 
uallach, joyous, frisky. 

I wat she was a cantie quean, 
And weel could dance the Highland 
—Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch. 
Auld Roy look'd as he gaed by, 

And oh ! he gaed an unco walloch; 
And after them he soon did hie, 
And followed through the braes of 

— Buchan's Collection of Old Scottish 

The word is sometimes written 
waUop, as in the favourite song 
of " Maggie Lauder " : — 

Meg up and wallop' d o'er the green. 
For brawly she could frisk it. 

Walloch-goul, an abusive epithet 
applied to a wanton or arrogant 
blusterer ; from the Gaelic ual- 
lach, and guil, to cry out. (See 

Wallop, to dangle, to hang, to 
sway about with quick motion, 
to swing. 

Now let us lay our heads thegither. 

In love fraternal ; 
May Envy wallop in a tether, 

Black fiend, infernal ! 

—Burns: To Lapraik, 


Wallow — Wame. 

Wallo-w, to fade away ; wallowed, 
faded, withered by cold, blight, 
or natural decay ; the etymon 
doubtless of the word wilt, in 
common use in America, and in 
some parts of England, of which 
a ludicrous example is given by 
the humorist, Artemus Ward : 
*' I said to her, wilt thou? and 
she wilted" The derivation is 
uncertain, though probably from 
the Teutonic wdken. 

The last time that I saw her face 

She ruddy was and red, 
But now, alas ! and woe is me, 
She's wallowed like a weed. 
—Scott's Border Minstrelsy : Ballad 
of the Gay Goss-Hawk. 

Waly! waly! an interjection of 
sorrow ; alas ! or, woe is me ! 
Derived from wail, to lament, 
or wail ye ! lament ye ; the 
Teutonic weh, woe, and wehlich, 

Oh waly ! waly ! but love is bonnie, 

A little time while it is new ; 
But when it's auld it waxes cauld, 
And fades'awa' like morning dew. 
— Ballad of the Marchioness of 

Oh waly! waly I up the bank. 
And %valy ! waly ! down the brae, 

And waly ! waly ! yon burn side, 
Where I and my love wont to gae. 
• — Lady Anne BothwelFs Lament. 

Wame, the belly ; also the Eng- 
lish word womb, which is from 
the same etymological root. The 
Scottish derivatives of wame are 
numerous ; among others, wamie, 
having much wame, i.e., cor- 
pulent ; wamieness, corpulency ; 
wamyt, pregnant ; wame-tow, a 
belly-band or girth, from wame, 

the belly, and tow (the Gaelic 
taod), a rope, a band ; wamefu\ 
a bellyfull. 

I never liked water in my shoon ; and 
my wavies made o' better leather. 

Wae to the wame that has a wilfu 

— ^Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Food fills the wavie, and keeps us livin'. 
Though life's a gift no worth receivin', 
When heavy dragged wi' pine and 

— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

A wamefu is a wamefu', whether it 
be of barley-meal or bran. — ScOTT : St. 
Ronan's Well. 

Wame has disappeared from 
English literature, but still sur- 
vives in the current speech of 
the northern counties. Womb, in 
English, was formerly applied 
to the male sex, in the sense 
of the Scottish wame, or belly, 
as appears from Piers Plough- 
man : — 

Paul, after his preaching, 
Paniers he made, 
And wan with his handes 
What his wombe needed. 

(Gained with his hands what 
his belly needed.) In recent 
times the word is restricted in 
its meaning to the female sex, 
though used metaphorically and 
poetically in such phrases as 
the ''wcmh of Time." 

The earth was formed, but in the womb 

as yet 
Of waters, embryon immature. 

— Paradise Lost. 

Caves and womby vaultages of France 
Shall chide your trespass. 

— Shakspeare : Henry V. 

Among the three interpreta- 
tions of the word, as given by 

Wan — Wanchancie. 


Johnson, the last is " a cavity." 
The only traces of anything like 
wame, or womh, that appears in 
any of the Teutonic languages, 
or in high or low Dutch, is the 
Swedish warn, signifying tripe. 
Though Johnson derives womb 
from the Anglo-Saxon and from 
Icelandic, it may be suggested 
that the more ancient Celtic and 
Gaelic provides the true root of 
both wame and womb in uaimh 
and uamh, a cavity, a cave, a 
hollow place. The Shakspearean 
adjective womby finds its syno- 
nym in the Gaelic uamhach^ 
abounding in cavities or hollows. 

Wan, pale green, as applied to 
the colour of a river in certain 
states of the water and the 
atmosphere. Many philologists 
have been of opinion that 
wcm, both in English and 
Scotch, always signifies pale. 
Jamieson, however, thought dif- 
ferently, and translated wan as 
' ' black, gloomy, dark-coloured, 
or rather filthy," not reflecting, 
however, that these epithets, 
especially the last, were hardly 
consistent with the spirit or 
dignity of the tender or tra- 
gical ballads in which wan oc- 
curred. The etymology of the 
English wan has been traced 
to wane, to decrease in health 
and strength, as well as in 
size, whence wan, the pallor of 
countenance that attends failing 
health. That of the Scottish 
wan, as applied to the colour of 
the streams, was for the first 
time suggested in "The Gaelic 

Etymology of the Languages of 
Western Europe." It is from 
the Gaelic uaine, a pale blue, 
inclining to green. This is the 
usual colour of the beautiful 
streams of the Highlands, when 
not rendered ** drumlie " or 
muddy by the storms that wash 
down sand and earth from the 

On they rade, and on they rade, 
And a' by the light o' the moon, 

Until they came to the wan water, 
And then they lighted down. 

— TAe Douglas 'Iragedy. 

Deep into the "wan water 
There stands a muckle stane. 

— Earl Richard. 
The ane has ta'en him by the head. 

The ither by the feet, 
And thrown him in the wan water 
That ran baith wide and deep. 

— Lord William. 
There's no a bird in a' this forest 

Will do as muckle for me 
As dip its wing in the wan water, 
And straik it ower my e'e bree. 

— Johfinie o' Bradislee. 

In English, warn, is never used 
as an epithet except when ap- 
plied to the countenance, as in 
such phrases—*' His face was 
pale and wan'' and occasionally 
by poetic license, to the face of 
the moon, as in the beautiful 
sonnet of Sir Philip Sidney. 

With how sad steps, oh moon ! thou 

climb 'st the sky, 
How silently, and with how wan a 


Wanchancie, unlucky, mischance- 

Wae worth the man wha first did shape 
That vile wanchancie thing— a rape. 

—Burns : Poor Mailies Elegy, 


Wandought — Ware. 

Wandought, weak, deficient in 
power ; from dow, to be able ; 
doughty, brave ; and wan, or un, 
the privative particle. Wan- 
docht, a weak, silly creature. 

By this time Lindy is right well shot out 
'Twixt nine and ten, I think, or thereabout, 
Nae bursen-bailch, nae wandought or mis- 
But plump and swack, and like an apple 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Wanhope, despair. Jamieson in- 
correctly renders it " delusive 
hope." This is an old English 
word which is nearly obsolete, 
but still survives in Scotland. 

I sterve in wanhope and distress,— 
Farewell, my life, my lust and my 


— Chaucer : The Knight's Tale. 

Good Hope that helpe shulde 
. To wanhope turneth. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

Some philologists, misled by 
the prefix wan, have imagined 
that the word was synonymous 
with wane, and have interpreted 
wanhope as the " waning of 
hope." But wan is the Dutch 
and Flemish negative prefix, 
equivalent to the English and 
German un. Among other beau- 
tiful Scottish words which follow 
the Flemish in the use of the 
negative prefix, are wanearthlie, 
preternatural or unearthly ; 
wanfortune, ill-luck ; wangrace, 
wickedness, ungraciousness ; 
wanrest, inquietude ; wanworth, 
useless, valueless ; wanthrift, 
prodigality, extravagance ; wan- 
use, abuse; wanwit or wanwith, 

An' may they never learn the gaets (ways) 
Of ither vile wanrestful pets. 

— Burns: Poor Mailie. 

Wanwierd, misfortune, ill-luck, 

Nor wit, nor power, put off the hour 
For his wanwierd decreed. 

— Border Minstrelsy : The Water 

Wap, in England written wad, a 
bundle of straw, a wisp, used in 
the Scottish sense in the North 
of England; from the Flemish 
^0023, a bundle, a pile of hay or 
straw. To be in the wap or wad, 
to lie in the straw. 

Moll i' the wap and I fell out, 
I'll tell ye what 'twas a' about,— 
She had siller and I had nane. 
That was the gait the steer began. 
— Gipsy Song. 

The English version among 
the gipsies is — 

Moll i' the wad and I fell out, 
She had money and I had none, 
That was the way the row began. 

Ware, to spend, to guide, to con- 
trol or guide one's expense dis- 

My heart's blood for her I would freely 

Sae be I could relieve her of her care. 
— Ross's Helenore. 

But aiblins, honest Master Heron 
Had at the time some dainty fair one, 
To ware his theologic care on. 

—Burns : To Dr. Blacklock. 

This word is most probably a 
corruption of the Teutonic /iiA- 
ren, the Flemish voerm, to lead 
or guide. 

Warkltke — Warlock. 


Ill-won gear is aye ill wared. 
—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
[Ill-acquired money is always ill guided 
or spent.] 

The best o' chiels are whyles in want, 
While cuifs on countless thousands rant, 
And ken na how to ware't. 

Burns : Epistle to Davie. 

Warklike, Warkrife, industrious, 
fond of work. 

Warklume, a tool, a working tool. 
The second syllable of this word 
remains in the English loom, 
part of the working apparatus 
of the weaver. In Scotland 
lume signifies any kind of tool 
or implement with which work 
can be done. Burns uses it in 
a very ludicrous sense in the 
"Address to the Deil." 

Thence mystic knots mak great abuse 
On young gudemen fond, keen, and crouse, 
When the best ivarklutne i' the house 

By cantrip wit. 
Is instant made na worth a louse 

Just at the bit. 

This peculiar superstition 
prevails among all the Celtic 
peoples of Europe, and is thought 
to be the favourite and most 
malignant diversion of the devil 
and his instruments, the wizards 
and witches, to prevent the con- 
summation of marriage on the 
bridal night. A full account of 
the alleged practices of several 
sorcerers who were burnt at the 
stake in France in the Middle 
Ages, for their supposed com- 
plicity in this crime, appears 
in the "History of Magic in 
France," by Jules Garinet, Paris, 

1 8 1 8. The name given in France 
to the *' cantrip " mentioned by 
Burns was nouer Vaiguillette, or, 
tie the little knot. One unhappy 
Vidal de la Porte, accused of 
being a noueur d'aiguillette by 
repute and wont, was in the 
year 1597 sentenced to be hung 
and burned to ashes for having 
bewitched in this fashion seve- 
ral young bridegrooms. The 
sentence was duly executed, 
amid the applause of the whole 

Warld's gear, worldly wealth ; a 
word used for any valuable 
article of whatever kind, as in 
the phrases " I have nae warld's 
gear," I have no property what- 
ever; "there's nae warld's gear 
in the glass but cauld water," 
nothing more costly than cold 

But luarlds gear ne'er fashes me, — 
My thocht is a' my Nannie, O. 

— Burns. 

Warlock, a wizard. The Scottish 
word, though admitted into the 
English dictionaries, is not com- 
mon either in English conversa- 
tion or literature. 

She prophesied that late or soon 

Thou would be found deep drowned in 

Or catch'd by warlocks in the mirk, 
By AUoway's auld haunted kirk. 

— Burns : Tarn o' Hhanter. 

In the ancient time of Druid- 
ism, a wizard, an augur, a pro- 
phet, or fortune-teller, was called 
a Druid, a name that is still re- 
tained in modern Gaelic. The 
Lowland Scotch warlock is de- 


Warple — Wath . 

rived, according to Jamieson, 
from the Icelandic vardlokr, a 
magic song or incantation for 
calling up evil spirits. Mr. Stor- 
month, in his Etymological Dic- 
tionary, refers the word to the 
Anglo-Saxon waer, wary, andZo^ti, 
a liar. It is more probable, how- 
ever, that the word had not this 
uncomplimentary meaning ; and 
that as %oizard is derived from the 
German iceise or wise, warlock has 
its root in a similar idea, and may 
come from the Gaelic geui\ sharp, 
acute, cunning ; and luchd, folk. 
It was not customary in the days 
when witches and fairies were 
commonly believed in, to speak 
disrespectfully of them. The 
fairies were "the good folk," 
the wizard was " the wise man," 
and the witch, in Irish parlance, 
was the Banshee (Bean-sith), or 
woman of peace ; and warlock, 
in like manner, was an epithet 
implying the sagacity rather 
than the wickedness of the folk 
so designated. The change of 
the syllable geur into war is 
easily accounted for. The French 
guerre becomes war in English 
by the change — not uncommon 
— of g into w, as in wasp, from 
the French guespe or guSpe. 
Another possible derivation is 
suggested in the "Gaelic Ety- 
mology of the Languages of 
Western Europe," from barr, 
head, top, chief; and loguid, 
a rascal ; but the first is pre- 

2varp, to twist or turn aside, as 
in the phrase, " His judgment 
is warped.^' The root of both 
the Scottish and English is the 
Flemish weo'wele, to turn, or turn 

That yam's sae warplit that I canna get 
it redd. 

— Jamieson. 

Warsle, to wrestle, to contend, 
also to tumble violently after a 
struggle to keep the feet. 

Upon her cloot (hooQ she coost (cast) a 

And ower she warsled in the ditch. 

— Burns : Poor Mailie. 

Wast, west ; often used in the 
north-east of Scotland for be- 
yond, further off. 

Sir Robert Liston, British Ambassador at 
Constantinople, found two of his country- 
men who had been especially recommended 
to him in a barber's shop, waiting to be 
shaved in turn. One of them came in 
rather late, and seeing he had scarcely 
room at the end of the seat, addressed the 
other — " Neebour, wad ye sit a wee bit 
■wast ? " What associations must have been 
called up in his mind by hearing, in a dis- 
tant land, such an expression in Scottish 
tones ! "—Dean Ra.msav. 

Wat, to know, to wit. Obsolete 
English wot ; Dutch and Flem- 
ish weten. Watna, wits not, 
knows not. 

Little 7uais the ill-willy wife what a 
dinner may baud in't. 

Dame ! deem warily ; ye watna wha 
wytes yoursel. 

Mickle water runs by that the miller 
wats na of. 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Warple, to entangle, to intertwine Wath, 
wrongly. From the English the 

a ford ; a shallow part of 
river that may be waded 

Waiter — Wa ught. 


across. Either from the Flem- 
ish waad, or the Gaelic aihy a 
ford, ^cotis-wath is the name 
given to the upper part of 
the Solway Firth, where, in cer- 
tain states of the tide, people 
from the English side can wade 
across to Scotland. 

Watter, water. The word is used 
in Scotland in the sense of a 
stream, a brook, a river ; as in 
the phrase, "the water of Leith," 
and the Glasgow phrase, " Down 
the water," signifying down the 
Clyde. It is recorded of the 
noted Edinburgh advocate, John 
Clerk, afterwards Lord Eldin, 
that, in arguing a case of water 
privilege in Scotland before Lord 
Chancellor Eldon, he annoyed 
his lordship by constantly re- 
peating the word ivatter with a 
strong Scottish accent. "Mr. 
Clerk," inquired his lordship, 
'* is it the custom in your coun- 
try to spell water with two t^s ? " 
"No, my lord," replied Clerk; 
** but it's the fashion in my 
country to spell manners wi' 
twa w's." 

Wattie - wagtail. From Walter 
Wagtail, a name given to the 
beautiful little bird, the hoche- 
queue of the French ; the mota- 
cilla yarreUie of the naturalists. 
The English have corrupted the 
word, not knowing its Scottish 
origin, into ^^ water-waytaiL." Wat- 
ter, or Wattie, is a fond allitera- 
tion formed on the same prin- 
ciple as that of Robin Redbreast. 
Water-waytail is an appellation 

given by the English to the 
pretty little creature, founded 
on the erroneous notion that it 
is an aquatic bird, or that it fre- 
quents the water more than it 
does the land. It comes with 
the flies and departs with the 
flies, which are its only food, 
and, unlike many other attrac- 
tive birds, does no harm to 
fruit, blossoms, seeds, or any 
kind of vegetation. In some 
parts of Scotland it is called 
" WuUiet" or " WiMe-wagtaiV 

Wauchle, to weary; also, to puzzle, 
to sway from side to side ; Eng- 
lish, to waggle; Flemish wag- 
gtlen, to vacillate, to stagger. 

The road •wauchlit him sair (made him 
stagger with fatigue). 

That question wauchlit him (staggered 

— Jamieson. 

Waught, a large deep draught of 
liquor. The etymology is un- 
certain. In most of the glos- 
saries to Bums' Poems the 
word is erroneously joined with 
"willy," and converted into 
" willy-waw^/i«," and described 
as meaning " a hearty draught." 
The line in " Auld Lang Syne," 
usually printed — 

We'll drink a right gude wC^y-waught , 

should be 
We'll drink a right gude-willie waught : 

i.e., we'll drink with right good 
will a deep or hearty xoaught or 

Dean Ramsay, whose un- 
doubted knowledge and appre 


Wauk — WaulUes. 

elation of the Scottish lan- 
guage should have taught him 
better, has fallen into the mis- 
take of quoting wiUie - waught 
as one word in the following 
lines: — 

Gude e'en to you a', and tak your nappy, 
A ^^ willywaught" a gude night cappy. 

The word is introduced with 
fine effect in a translation from 
the Gaelic, by the Ettrick Shep- 
herd, of the Jacobite Ballad, 
" The Frasers in the Correi : " — 

Spier na at me I 
Gae spier at the maiden that sits by the 

The red coats were here, and it was na for 

And the ravens are hoarse in ' * the waught- 

ing" o' blood. 

And meantime gies a waught o' caller 

The day's been hot, and we are wondrous 


—Ross's Helenore. 

I'm sure 'twill do us meikle guid, a ivaucht 

o' caller air, 
A caller douk, a caller breeze, and caller 

fish and fare. 
— Whistle Binkie : Doun the Water, 

Wauk, to render the palm of the 
hand hard, callous, or homy, 
by severe toil. 

I held on high my waukit loof, 
To swear by a' yon starry roof, 
That henceforth I wad be rhyme proof. 
Till my last breath. 

— Burns : The Vision. 

Waukrife, watchful, wakeful, un- 
able to sleep ; the suffix Hfe, 
as in cauldr^/e, very cold, is used 
as an intensitive, so that wauk- 
rife signifies not only unable 

to sleep, but unable in an intense 

What time the moon, wi' silent glower, 

Sets up her horn, 
Wail through the dreary midnight hour. 

Till waukrife morn. 
— Burns : Elegy on Captain Matthew 


'Tis hopeless love an' dark despair. 
Cast by the glamour o' thine e'e, 

That clouds my waukrife dreams wi' care, 
An' maks the daylight dark to me. 

—James Ballantinb. 

Waullies or waulies. Jamieson 
defines waUies as meaning the 
intestines. The word is not to 
be confounded with waly or 
wcdie, choice, large, ample, as 
Burns uses it. 

But mark the rustic haggis-fed, 
The trembling earth resounds his tread ; 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 
He'll mak it whistle. 

— To a Haggis. 

In " Jacob and Rachel," a song 
attributed to Burns, published 
in an anonymous London edition 
of his songs, dated 1825, the 
word occurs in the following 
stanza : — 

Then Rachel, calm as ony lamb. 
She claps him on the waulies^ 
Quo' she, '* ne'er fash a woman's clash." 

In this song, omitted on ac- 
count of its grossness from 
nearly all editions of his works, 
the word is not susceptible of 
the meaning attributed to it by 
Jamieson, nor of that in the 
poem in praise of "The Haggis." 
Jamieson has the obsolete word 
wally, a billow, a wave, which 
affords a clue to its derivation. 

Waur — Wean. 


The name of waulie was given 
to the hips or posteriors on ac- 
count of their round and wavy- 
form, as appears from the 
synonymous words in Gaelic — 
tonrif a wave, and ton, the 
breech. The idea is involved 
in the words, now seldom used, 
which are cited by Jamieson, 
wallie-drag, and wallie-dragglie, 
signifying a woman who is cor- 
pulent and heavy behind, and 
makes but slow progress in 
walking. The connection with 
wallies, intestines, as rendered 
by Jamieson, is exceedingly 

Waur, worse. To waur, or warr, 
to conquer, to give an enemy 
the worst of the conflict ; from 
worst, to put a person in the 
wrong, or in a worse position. 

Up and waur them a', Willie. 

—Jacobite Ballad. 

An advocate was complaining to his 
friend, an eminent legal functionary of the 
last century, that his claims to a judgeship 
had been overlooked, adding acrimoniously, 
" And I can tell you, they might have got 
a waur" to which the only answer was a 
grave ^^whaur?"—DKA.ii Ramsay. 

Sax thousand years are near hand fled. 

Sin I was to the butcherin' bred, 

And mony a scheme in vain's been laid 

To stop or scaur me. 
Till ane Hornbook's ta'en up the trade, 

An faith he'll waur me. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

Want o' wit is wa»r than want o' wealth. 

In his case, the water will never waur 
the widdie. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

(i.c., in his case the water will 
never get the better of the gal- 

lows ; equivalent to the English 
saying, "He that's born to be 
hanged will never be drowned"). 

Wax, to grow, or increase ; the 
reverse of wane, to decrease. 
Wax is almost obsolete ; but 
wane survives, both in Scotland 
and England, as in the phrases : 
* * the waning moon," ' * the waning 
year," " his waning fortunes." 
Wax remains as a Biblical word, 
in the noble translations of the 
Old Testament by Wickliffe and 
the learned divines of the reign 
of James I., which has preserved 
to this age so many emphatic 
words of ancient English, which 
might otherwise have perished. 
It is derived from the German 
wachsen ; the Flemish wassen, to 

The man woo: well nigh wud for ire. 
— Chaucer. 

And changing empires wane and wax. 
Are founded, flourish and decay. 
— Sir Walter Scott : Translation 
of Dies I roe. 

Wazie, jolly, brisk ; probably a 
variation for gaucie (q.v.), with 
the common change of g into w, 
as in wai' for guerre, &c. 

Right wazie wax'd an' fou' o' fun, 
They whistled down the setting sun. 
— Beattie : /ohn o' AmAa'. 

Wean, a little child ; a weanie, a 
very little child— from "wee 
ane," little one. This word has 
not yet been admitted to the 
dictionaries, though becoming 
common in English parlance. 


WearirC awd! — Weeder-dips. 

A smytrie o' wee duddie weans 
(a lot of little ragged children). 
—Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

When skirlin' weanies see the light. 
—Burns : Scotch Drink. 

Wearin' awa', decaying gra- 

I'm Tvearin' awa*, Jean, 
Like snaw when it's thaw, Jean, 
I'm wearin' awa' 
To the Land o' the Leal. 

— Lady Nairne. 

Hope's star will rise when 

Life's welkin grows grey, 
We feel that within us which ne'er can 
P nd Death brings us Life as the 
Night brings the Daw' [dawn], 
Though we're wearin' awa', an' 
we're wearin awa'. 

— James Ballantine. 

Weatherie, stormy or showery 
weather ; a word formed on the 
same principle as the Teutonic 
ungeioitter, very bad weather. 
Weather gleam, a streak of light 
on the horizon in cloudy weather. 

Wee, little, diminutive, very little ; 
generally supposed to be derived 
from the first syllable of the 
German wenig. This word 
occurs in Shakspeare, and is 
common in colloquial and fami- 
liar English, though not in lite- 
rary composition. It is often 
used as an intensification of lit- 
tleness, as "a little wee child," 
*' a little wee bit." 

A wee house well filled, 

A 2uee farm well tilled, 

A wee wife well willed, 

Mak' a happy man. 

A wee mouse can creep under a great 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Weed or weeds, dress, attire, 
clothing. The only remnant of 
this word remaining in modem 
English is the phrase, a 
" widow's weeds," the funeral 
attire of a recently bereaved 

They saw their bodies bare. 
Anon they pass'd with all their speed. 
Of beaver to mak themselves a weed. 

To cleith (clothe) them was their care. 
— On the Creation and Parody ce Lost, 
by Sir Richard Maitland, in 
Allan Ramsay's Evergreen. 

Weed is in many Etymological 
Dictionaries said to be derived 
from weave, the Teutonic weben. 
Possibly it comes from the 
Gaelic or eudadh, a dress or 
garment, also the armour of a 
knight. The author of the 
Scottish poem of " Paradyce 
Lost," which appears in the 
" Evergreen," was born in 1496, 
and died in 1586, at the ad- 
vanced age of 90, and was 
consequently long anterior to 
Milton, who afterwards adopted 
the same title, and rendered it 
as enduring as the English lan- 

Weeder-clips, shears for clipping 

The rough burr thistle spreading wide 

Among the bearded bear, 
I turned the weeder-clips aside 

And spared the symbol dear. 


The patriotic poet turned the 
clips aside in order that he might 

Weeks — Weird, 


not cut down a thistle, the floral 
badge of his country. 

Weeks or weiks of the eye or 
mouth signify, according to 
Jamieson, the corners of the 
mouth or eyes. To hang by the 
weeks of his mouth, is to keep 
hold of a thing or purpose to 
the utmost, to the last gasp ; 
an exaggerated phrase similar 
to that in Holy Writ to " escape 
by the skin of the teeth." Week 
or weih is a corruption of the 
Gaelic uig, a corner. The word 
occurs in Tim Bobbin's York- 
shire Glossary. 

Weigh-bauk, the cross beam of 
a balance. 

Come like a weigh- bauk, Donald 

Come like a weigh -bauk, Donald 

Balance them fairly, balance them 

Off wi' the counterfeit, Donald Mac- 
—James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. 

Weil or wele, an eddy in the 
water ; a whirlpool. 

Weil-head, the centre of an eddy. 
These words appear to be a 
corruption of whed or whirl, 
having a circular motion, and 
to have no connection with weU, 
a spring of water. 

They doukit in at a weil-head. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Earl Richard. 

Weill, good fortune, the English 
weal, as in the phrase, '* Come 
weal, come woe." 

He is na worth the weill that canna 
thole the WM.—Old Proverb. 

Weir, war ; witrtnan, a soldier, a 
man of war, a combatant ; wier- 
like, warlike ; weirif/Uls, quarrels ; 
wedded weirigills, disputes be- 
tween husband and wife ; from 
the French guerre, the Italian 
guerra, with the change of the 
gu into w. The primary root 
seems to be the Flemish weeren, 
to defend ; the English be ware ! 
i.e., be ready to defend your- 
self ; — a noble origin for resist- 
ance to oppressive and defensive 
war, that does not apply to of- 
fensive war — the "bella, horrida 
bella," of the Latin, and the 
krieg of the Teutonic, which 
signify war generally, whether 
offensive or defensive ; — the first 
a crime, the second a virtue. 

Weir or wear, to guard, to watch 
over, to protect, to gather in 
with caution, as a shepherd 
conducts his flock to the fold. 

Erlinton had a fair daughter ; 

I wat he wiered her in a great sin. 
And he has built a high bower, 

And a' to put that lady in. 

— Ballad of Erlinton. 

Motherwell translates ^'wiered 
her in a great sin," placed her 
in danger of committing a great 
sin, which is clearly not the 
meaning. But the whole ballad 
is hopelessly corrupt in his ver- 

Weird or wierd. Most English 
dictionaries misdefine this word, 
which has two different signifi- 
cations : one as a noun, the other 
as an adjective. In English 
literature, from Shakspeare's 



time downwards, it exists as 
an adjective only, and is held 
to mean unearthly, ghastly, or 
witch-like. Before Shakspeare's 
time, and in Scottish poetry and 
parlance to the present day, the 
word is a noun, and signifies 
"fate" or "destiny" — derived 
from the Teutonic werden, to be- 
come, or that which shall be. 
Chaucer, in " Troilus and Cres- 
sida," has the line— 

O Fortune ! executrice of wierdes ! 

and Gower, in a manuscript in 
the possession of the Society of 
Antiquaries, says — 

It were a wondrous ivierde 
To see a king become a herde. 

In this sense the word continues 
to be used in Scotland : 

A man may woo where he will, but he 
maun wed where his wierd is. 

She is a wise wife that kens her ain 
wierd. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 
Betide me weel, betide me woe, 
That ivierd shall never danton me. 
—Ballad of True Thomas. 
The wierd her dearest bairn befel 
By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie. 
— Scott's Minstrelsy of the Border. 

Shakspeare seems to have been 
the first to employ the word as 
an adjective, and to have given 
it the meaning of unearthly, 
though pertaining to the idea 
of the Fates : — 

The ivierd sisters, hand in hand, 
Posters of the sea and land. 

— Macbeth. 
Thane of Cawdor ! by which title these 
•wierd sisters saluted me. — Idem. 

When we sat by her flickering fire at 
night she was most ivierd. — Charles 
Dickens : Great Expectations. 

No spot more fit than ivierd, lawless 
Winchelsea, for a plot such as he had 
conceived. — All the Year Round, April 
2, 1870. 

It opened its great aisles to him, full of 
whispering stillness, full of ivierd efiects 
of light. — Blackwoods Magazine, April 

Jasper surveyed his companion as though 
he were getting imbued with a romantic 
interest in his ivierd life. — Charles 
Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. 

She turned to make her way from the 
wierd spot as fast as her feeble limbs would 
let [permit] her.— T. A. Trollope : The 
Dream Nu7nbers. 

Wierd is sometimes (but rarely) 
used as a verb, signifying to 

I wierd ye to a fiery beast. 
And relieved sail ye never be. 
Border Minstrelsy : Kempion. 

Weise, to direct, to guide, to 
draw or lead on in the way 
desired. This word is akin to 
the English wise, a way or 
manner, as in the phrase, " Do 
in that wise,'^ and in the word 
likewise, in a like manner, and is 
derived from the French viser 
and the Dutch and Flemish 
wijzen or wyzen, to indicate, to 
show or point the way. 

Every miller wad weise the water to his 
ain mill. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

Weise also signifies to use policy for 
attaining any object, to turn to art rather 
than by strength, to draw or let out any- 
thing cautiously so as to prevent it from 
breaking, as in making a rope of tow or 
straw one is said to weise out the tow or 
straw. — Jamieson. 

The wean saw something like a white 
leddy that weised by the gate. — Scott : 
The Monastery. 

Went — Whang, 


Wem, a scar ; wemmit, scarred, 
wemless, unscarred ; and, meta- 
phorically, blameless or imma- 
culate. Probably from the 
Flemish and English wen, a 
tumour or swelling on the skin. 

Wersh, insipid, tasteless; from 
the Gaelic uiris, poor, worthless, 

A kiss and a drink o' water are but a 
wersh disjune. — Allan Ramsay. 

Why do ye no sup your parritch ? I 
dinna like them ; they're unco wersh. 
Gie me a wee pickle saut 1 — Jamieson; 

That auld Duke James lost his heart 
before he lost his head, and the Worcester 
man was but wersh parritch, neither gude 
to fry, boil, nor keep cauld. — Scott : Old 

The word was English in the 
seventeenth century, but is now 
obsolete, except in some of the 
Northern Counties, where it 
survives, according to Brocket's 
Glossary, in the corrupted form 
of wdsh. 

Her pleasures wersh, and her amours 
tasteless. — Translation of Montaigne, 

Helicon's wersh well. — Allan Ramsay. 

Wet one's whistle. Wkistle is a 
ludicrous name for the throat, 
whence to '''wet on^s whistle" 
signifies to moisten the throat 
or take a drink. 

But till we meet and weet our whistle, 
Tak' this excuse for nae epistle. 

—Burns: To Hugh Parker. 

Whalp, to bring forth young 
dogs or whelps. Burns says of 
Caesar, the Newfoundland dog 

in his well-known poem of the 
" Twa Dogs " that he was — 

Whalpit some place far abroad, 
Where sailors gang to fish for cod. 

The Jacobite ballad-singers 
and popular poets of the '45 , when 
Prince Charles Edward made 
his forlorn but gallant attempt 
to regain the throne of his 
ancestors, made frequent de- 
rogatory and contemptuous al- 
lusions to the family name of 
the House of Hanover, which 
they persisted in calling Whdp 
instead of Gudph. 

Now our good king abroad is gone, 
A German whelp now fills the throne, 
Whelps that are desired by none, 
They're brutes compared wi' Charlie. 

Oh, Charlie, come an' lead the way, 
No German whelp shall bear the sway ; 
Though ilka dog maun hae his day, 
The right belongs to Charlie. 
—Peter Buchan's Prince Charlie 
and Flora Macdonald. 

Whalpit is the past tense of 
the verb to whelp, or bring forth 
whelps or young dogs. In Dutch 
and Flemish, welp signifies the 
cub of the lion or the bear, but 
in Scotch and English the word, 
though formerly applied to the 
progeny of the wolf and the 
fox, is now almost exclusively 
confined to that of the dog. 
Dr. Wagner, in his Glossary to 
the German edition of Burns, 
conjectures that the word is 
derivable from the Latin vulpes. 

Whang, a large slice, also a 
thong of leather, and by ex- 
tension of meaning, to beat with 

OF THf "^ X 


.. r 

At irc 

F / 


What Ails Ye at ?—Wheen. 

a strap or thong, or to beat 

Wi' sweet-milk cheese i' mony a whang. 
And farlies baked wi' butter. 

— Burns : Holy Fair. 

Ye cut large whangs out of other folk's 
leather. —Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

Whang, in the sense of to beat 
with a strap, is local in Eng- 
land, but in the sense of a large 
slice, or anything large, it is 
peculiar to Scotland; and in 
one odd phrase, that of zlang- 
whanger, to the United States 
of America. According to Bart- 
lett's " Dictionary of American- 
isms " it signifies political vitu- 
peration largely intermingled 
with slang words. It appears, 
however, in Hood's "Ode to 
Rae Wilson : "— 

No part I take in party fray 
With tropes from Billingsgate's slang- 
whanging Tartars. 

To which Mr. Bartlett appends 
the note, " If the word, as is 
supposed, be of American ori- 
gin, it has been adopted in 
the mother country." 

This day the Kirk kicks up a stour, 

Nae mair the knaves shall wrang her ; 
For Heresy is in her power, 
And gloriously she'll whang her, 
Wi' pith this day. 
— Burns : The Ordination. 

The Glossaries translate 
whang, by beat, belabour ; but 
it is probably derived from the 
Teutonic wanJce, the Flemish 
ivankelen, to shake, to totter, to 
stagger, or cause to shake and 

What ails ye at ? This question 
signifies, what is the matter with 
a thing named ? What dislike 
have you to it ? as to a child 
that does not eat its breakfast, 
** What ails ye at your parritch ? " 

Lord Rutherford having, when on a 
ramble on the Pentlands, complained to a 
shepherd of the mist, which prevented him 
from enjoying the scenery, the shepherd, 
a tall grim figure, turned sharply round 
upon him. " What ails yc at the mist, sir ? 
It weets the sod, slockens the yowes, and " 
— adding with more solemnity — " it is 
God's wull." — Dean Ramsay. 

An old servant who took charge of every- 
thing in the family, having observed that 
his master thought that he had drank wine 
with every lady at the table, but had over- 
looked one, jogged his memory with the 
question, " WJiat ails ye at her wi' the 
green gown?"— Dean Ramsay. 

Whaup, a curlew. 

The wild land-fowls are plovers, pigeons, 
curlews, commonly called whaups. — ^S'^^- 
tistical Account of Scotland, article 

Whaup-nebbit, having a nose like 
the neb or bill of a curlew. 

Wheen, a lot, a small quantity. 

What better could be expected o' a 
wheen pock-pudding English folk?— 
Scott : Rob Roy. 

A young girl (say at St. Andrews) sat 
upon the cutty stool for breach of the 
seventh commandment, which applies to 
adultery as well as to the minor, but still 
heinous, offence of illicit love, was asked 
who was the father of her child? " How 
can I tell," she replied artlessly, "among 
a wheen o' divinity students?" — Dean 

But in my bower there is a wake, 

And at the wake there is a wane ; 
But I'll come to the green wood ere mom. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Erlinion. 



Wane means a number of people, a luheen 
folk. — Sir Walter Scott. 

The derivation, which has 
been much disputed, seems fairly 
traceable to the Teutonic weniy, 
little or few. 

Wheep, a sharp, shrill cry or 
whistle. Penny-ioheep, a con- 
temptuous designation for sour, 
weak, small beer, sold at a penny 
per quart or pint, and dear at the 
money ; so called, it is supposed, 
from its acidity, causing the per- 
son who swallows it, thinking it 
better than it is, to make a kind 
of whistling sound, expressive of 
his surprise and disgust. Formed 
on the same principle as the 
modern word " penny dreadful," 
applied to a certain description 
of cheap and offensive literature. 
Wheep seems to be akin to whoops 
a shrill cry, and whaup, the cry 
of the curlew or plover. 

Be't whisky gill or penny-zvhee/, 

Or ony stronger potion. 
It never fails, on drinking deep, 

To kittle up our notion. 

—Burns : The Holy Fair. 

Wheeple, the cheep or low cry 
of a bird ; also, metaphorically, 
the ineffectual attempt of a man 
to whistle loudly. 

A Scottish gentleman, who visited Eng- 
land for the first time, and ardently de- 
sired to return home to his native hills 
and moors, was asked by his English host 
to come out into the garden at night to 
hear the song of the nightingale, a bird 
unknown in Scotland. His mind was full 
of home, and he exclaimed, " Na, na ! I 
wadna gie the wheedle o a whaup (cur- 
lew) for a' the nightingales that ever 
sang."-~Staiisiicai Account 0/ Scotland. 

Wheericken or queerikens, a 
ludicrous term applied to chil- 
dren who are threatened with 
punishment, signifying the two 
sides of the breech or podex, 
the soft place appropriate for 
** skelping." Apparently de- 
rived from the Gaelic ciurr^ to 
hurt, to cause pain. 

Whid or whud, an untruth, a 
falsehood, a lie ; usually applied 
to a departure from veracity 
which is the result of sudden 
invention or caprice, rather than 
of malicious premeditation. 

Even ministers they hae been kenn'd, 

In holy rapture, 
A rousin' whid at times to vend, 

An' nail't wi' Scripture. 
— Burns : Death and Dr. Hornbook. 

In the first edition of Burns 
the word whid did not appear, 
but instead of it — 

Even ministers they hae been kenn'd, 

In holy rapture. 
Great lies and nonsense baith to vend, 

And nail't wi' Scripture. 

This was ungrammatical, as 
Burns himself recognised it to 
be, and amended the line by the 
more emphatic form in which it 
now appears. 

The word whid seems, in its 
primary meaning, to be applied 
to any sudden and rapid move- 
ment, or to a deviation from 
the straight line. It is akin to 
the English scud. According to 
Jamieson, to yed is to fib, to 
magnify in narration. This word 
is probably a variety or hetero- 


Wh igmaleeries. 

graphy of uhid, and has the 
same meaning. 

An arrow rvhidderan ! 

— The Song oftke Outlaw 

Paitricks scraichin' loud at e'en, 
An' mornin' poussie whiddin seen. 
[Partridges screeching, and the early hare 
scudding along.] 

— Burns : To Lapraik. 

Connected with the idea of 
rapidity of motion are the words 
whidder, a gust of wind ; whiddie, 
a hare ; whiddy, unsteady, shift- 
ing, unstable ; to whiddie, to 
move rapidly and lightly; to 
twidder the thumbs, in English 
twiddle the thumbs. The deri- 
vation is uncertain, but is pro- 
bably from the Teutonic weit, 
the English wide, in which sense 
whid, a falsehood, would signify 
something wide of the truth, and 
would also apply in the sense of 
rapid motion through the wide- 
ness of space. 

Whid, a lie. Bailey has " whids, many 
words " — a cant word, he says. Does not 
Burns speak of amorous whids, meaning, 
or rather I should say referring to, the 
quick rapid jumpings about of rabbits ? 
Whid certainly has in Scotch the meaning 
of frisking about; and applied to state- 
ments, it is obvious how whid could come 
to mean a lie. — R. Drennan. 

WhigmaJeeries, whims, caprices, 
crotchets, idle fancies ; also fan- 
ciful articles of jewellery and 
personal adornment, toys and 
trifles of any kind. 

There'll be, if that day come, 

I'll wad a boddle, 
Some fewer whiginaleeries in your noddle. 
—Burns : The Brigs of Ayr. 

I met ane very fain, honest, fair-spoken, 
weel-put-on gentleman, or rather burgher, 
as I think, that was in the whigmaleerie 
man's back-shop. — Scott: Fortunes of 

The etymology of this word, 
which is peculiar to Scotland, 
is not to be found in any of the 
current languages of Europe. 
It is probably from the Gaelic 
uige, a jewel, a precious stone ; 
from whence uigheam, adorn- 
ment, decoration ; uigheach, 
abounding in precious stones; 
and uigheamaich, to adorn. 
These words are the roots of 
the obsolete English word owche, 
a jewel, used by Shakspeare, 
Beaumont and Fletcher ; and 
which also occurs in the autho- 
rised version of the Bible : — 

Your brooches, pearls, and owches. 
Henry IV., Part II. 

Pearls, bracelets, rings, or owches. 
Or what she can desire. 

—Beaumont and Fletcher. 

The last two syllables of whig- 
maleerie are traceable to leor 
or leoir, sufllcient, plenty. The 
quotation from the " Fortunes 
of Nigel" refers to the jewels 
in George Heriot's shop. The 
connection of ideas between the 
fanciful articles in a jeweller's 
shop and the fancies or con- 
ceits of a capricious mind is 
sufficiently obvious. 

Jamieson notices a game called 
tvhigmaleeries, * * formerly played 
at drinking-clubs in Angus, at 
which the losing player was 
obliged to drink off a glass. 
Perhaps," he adds, ** the game 

Whilte — WhiUie-whallie. 


was so denominated out of con- 
tempt for the severe austerity 
attributed to the Whigs ! " 

"This etymology," says Dr. 
Adolphus Wagner, *' is very 
doubtful and difficult." Con- 
fused by the word Whig, and 
unaware of the Gaelic uige, and 
believing in the drinking bouts 
alluded to by Jamieson, he en- 
deavours to account for the final 
syllable, eerie, by citing from 
Ben Jonson, " a leer horse," 
a led horse, as applicable to a 
drunkard being led in the train 
of another I The Gaelic deriva- 
tion makes an end of the ab- 
surdities both of Jamieson and 
the erudite foreign critic. 

Whilie, a little while ; pronounced 
fylie in Aberdeenshire. A wee 
whilie, a very little while ; whiles, 
at times. 

On the Bishop (Skinner) making his ap- 
pearance, the honest man (a crofter) in the 
gladness of his heart stepped briskly for- 
ward to welcome his pastor, but in his 
haste stepped upon the rim of the iron 
riddle, which rebounded with great force 
against one of his shins. The accident 
made him suddenly pull up, and instead 
of completing the reception, he stood 
vigorously rubbing the injured limb, and, 
not daring in such a venerable presence to 
give vent to the customary strong ejacula- 
tions, kept twisting his face into all sorts 
of grimaces. As was natural, the Bishop 
went forward, uttering the usual formulas 
of condolence and sympathy, the patient 
meanwhile continuing his rubbings and his 
silent but expressive contortions. At last 
his wife, Janet, came to the rescue, and 
clapping the Bishop coaxingly on the back, 
said, " Noo, Bishop, just gang ben to the 
house, and we'll follow when he's had time 
to curse 2^ fylie; and then, I'se warrant, 
he'll be weel eneuch."— Dean Ramsay. 

Whyles she sank, and ivhyles she swam, 

Binnorie, O Binnorie ! 
Until she cam to the miller's dam, 
By the bonnie mill-dam o' Binnorie. 
—Border Minstrelsy : The Cruel 

Whillie-lu, a threnody, a lament, 
a prolonged strain of melan- 
choly music ; but, according to 
Jamieson, "a dull or flat air." 
He derives the word from the 
Icelandic hvdla, to sound ; and 
111, lassitude. It seems, how- 
ever, to be a corruption of wcdy! 
an exclamation of sorrow ; as in 
the beautiful ballad — 

O waly ! waly ! up the bank. 
And waly ! waly ! down the brae ; 

which, conjoined with the Gae- 
lic luaidh {dh silent), a beloved 
object, makes whillie-lu, or waly 
lu. The final syllable lu enters 
into the composition of the 
English lullaby, a cradle-song, 
from lu-lu ! beloved one, and 
haigh, sleep, which thus signi- 
fies " Sleep, beloved one ! " or 
" Sleep, darling ! " 

Whillie - wa', to procrastinate ; 
apparently from while away 
the time. 

Whillie-Tvhallie, sometimes ab- 
breviated into whillie-wha\ This 
word in all its variations signi- 
fies any thing or person con- 
nected with cheaters, cajolers, 
or false pretenders. Jamieson 
has whilly or whuUy, to cheat, 
to gull ; whillie-whallie, to coax, 
to wheedle ; whillie-wha, one not 
to be depended upon; whillie- 


Whilper — Whinger. 

wa, or whillie-whal, one who 
deals in ambiguous promises. 
In a South Sea song which ap- 
pears in Allan Ramsay's " Tea- 
Table Miscellany" occur the 
lines — 
If ye gang near the South Sea House, 
The whilly-whas will grip your gear ! 

The etymology of all these 
words is uncertain. The Eng- 
lish wheedle has been suggested, 
but does not meet the neces- 
sities, while wheedle itself re- 
quires explanation. Whillie- 
whallie, which appears to be the 
original form of the word, is 
probably the Gaelic uUleadh, 
oily, and, metaphorically, spe- 
cious, as in the English phrase, 
an oily hypocrite, applied to a 
man with a smooth or specious 
tongue, which he uses to cajole 
and deceive, and halaoch, in the 
aspirated form, bhalaoch, a fel- 
low. From thence whillie-whallie, 
a specious, cajoling, hypocritical 

Burns, in "The Whistle,y 
speaks of one of the personages 
of the ballad as — 

Craigdarroch began with a tongue 

smooth as oil, 
Desiring Glenriddel to yield up the 


Whilper or whulper, any indivi- 
dual or thing of unusual size ; 
akin to the English whopper and 
whopping, of which it may pos- 
sibly be a corruption. 

The late Rev. Rowland Hill, preaching 
a charity sermon in Wapping, appealed to 
the congregation to contribute liberally. 
His text was, "Charity covereth a multi- 
tude of sins." "I preach," he said, "to 

great sinners, to mighty sinners, — ay, and 
to whapping sinners!" — Joe Miller's 
Jest Book. 

What a whilper of a trout I hae gotten ! 
— Jamieson. 

Whinge, to whine ; from the 
Teutonic winseln, to whimper. 

If ony Whiggish luhingin sot 
To blame poor Matthew dare, man, 

May dool and sorrow be his lot, 
For Matthew was a rare man. 

—Burns : Elegy on Captain Matthew 

Whinger, a knife worn on the 
person, and serviceable as a 
sword or dagger in a sudden 
broil or emergency. Jamieson 
derives it from the Icelandic 
hwin, fununculus, and gird^ 
actio ; and queries whether it 
may not mean an escape for 
secret deeds. The Gaelic uinich 
signifies haste, and geur, sharp, 
whence uin geur or uinich geur, 
a sharp weapon for haste. The 
word is sometimes written whin- 
yard, and is so used in the Eng- 
lish poem of "Hudibras," and 
explained by the commentators 
as a hanger or hanging sword. 
It is, of course, open to doubt 
whether whinger is not the same 
as hanger, but the Gaelic deriva- 
tion seems preferable, as expres- 
sive of a definite idea, while 
hanger admits of a multiplicity 
of meanings. 

And whingers now in friendship bare, 
The social meal to part and share, 
Had found a bloody sheath. 
—Scott : Lay of the Last Minstrel. 
Mony tyne the half-mark whinger for 
the halfpennie whang. [Many lose the 
sixpenny knife for sake of the halfpenny 
slice.]— Ferguson's Scots Proverbs. 

Whinner — Whisky. 


Joctdeg was another name 
for a whinger, which, though 
susceptible of a Gaelic inter- 
pretation (see ante), perhaps 
only signified a hunting-knife 
or dagger, from the Flemish 
jacht, the chase or hunt, and 
dolk, a dagger, pronounced in 
two syllables, dol-ok, a hunting- 
knife or dagger, a jacht-dolok or 
jocteleg. But whether the Gaelic 
or the Flemish origin of the 
word be correct, it is clear that 
Jamieson's derivation from the 
imaginary cutler, Jacques de 
Liege, is untenable. 

Whinner, to dry up, like vegeta- 
tion in a long-protracted drought. 
The derivation is uncertain ; 
probably a corruption of the 
English winnow. 

A whinnerin drouth. The word is 
applied to anything so much dried up, in 
consequence of extreme drought, as to 
rustle to the touch. The corn's a whin- 
nerin. — Jamieson. 

Whinner, to snort like a horse, 
to whinney ; French hennir, to 

An' goblins whinnered through the air 
Wi' whorled chaps (distorted faces or 

—George Beattie : John 6" Arnha. 

Whipper-snapper, a contemp- 
tuous term for a little, presump- 
tuous person, who gives himself 
airs of importance and talks 
too much. Jamieson says it 
"might be deduced from the 
Icelandic hwipp, saltus, celer 
cursus, and snapa, captare 
escam, as originally denoting 

one who manifested the greatest 
alacrity in snatching at a mor- 
sel ! " The true derivation seems 
to be from the Flemish wippen, 
to move about rapidly and rest- 
lessly, and snapper, to prate, to 
gabble, to be unnecessarily lo- 

Whippert, hasty, irascible, im- 
patient ; whippert-like, inclining 
to be ill-tempered without ade- 
quate provocation. Jamieson 
thinks the root of whippert is 
either the Icelandic whopa, light- 
ness, inconstancy, or the English 
whip. He does not cite the 
Flemish wip, to shake in the 
balance, and loippen, to move 
lightly and rapidly as the scales 
do on the slightest excess of 
weight over the even balance. 
Thus wippert-like would signify 
one easily provoked to lose the 
balance of his temper. 

He also cites whipper tooties, 
as siUy scruples about doing 
anything, and derives it from 
the French aprcs tout, after all. 
This derivation is worse than 
puerile. The first word is evi- 
dently from the Flemish root ; 
the second, tooties, is not so 
easily to be accounted for. 

Whish, "whist, silence, or to keep 
silence ; whence the name of 
the well-known game at cards, 
formerly called quadrille. 

Hand your whish {i.e., keep silence, or 
hold your tongue). — Scott : Rob Roy. 

Whisky, whusky, a well-known 
alcoholic drink, of which the 


Wh isky Tackets — Wh ttter. 

name is derived from the Gaelic 
uisge, water. The liquor is 
sometimes called in the High- 
lands uisge beatha, the water of 
life ; in Irish Gaelic written 
uisque baugh. The French pay 
the same complement to brandy, 
when they call it eau de vie. 

Whisky tackets, pimples pro- 
duced on the face by the ex- 
cessive use of whisky or other 
spirituous liquors ; from tacJcet, 
a smaU nail. 

Whistle binkie, a musician, har- 
per, fiddler, or piper who played 
at penny weddings or other 
social gatherings, and trusted 
for his remuneration to the 
generosity of the company. A 
whistle is a somewhat irreve- 
lant name for a pipe, or for 
music generally, and binkie is a 
bench, a bunker, or seat. It has 
been supposed that these two 
words were the etymological 
roots of the phrase, but this 
derivation is open to doubt. 
Uasal, the Gaelic for gentle or 
noble, and binkie, a bunker, a 
seat, was the seat reserved at 
the weddings of the peasantry 
for the chief or landlord, who 
graced the ceremony by his pre- 
sence when any of his tenants 
were married, and the place 
of honour thus appropriated to 
him was called the uasal (cor- 
rupted into whistle) binkie, and 
the epithet was thence trans- 
ferred to the hired musician 
who stepped into it after the 

laird's departure. The late 
David Robertson of Glasgow 
published, in 1847 and 1853, a 
collection of Scottish songs by 
then living Scottish poets under 
this title, of which the contents 
proved what was previously 
known, that the genius of Scots- 
men, even among the humblest 
classes, is pre-eminently lyrical, 
and produces many effusions of 
great poetical beauty. 

Whistle kirk, a term of con- 
tempt applied by bigoted Cal- 
vinists and Puritans, who object 
to all music in churches except 
the human voice, to Episco- 
palian and other Protestant 
churches who make use of or- 
gans. That noble instrument 
is a far greater incentive to de- 
votional feeling than the un- 
trained singing, which is often 
little better than howling or 
braying of a miscellaneous con- 
gregation of old and young 
people who know nothing of 
music and have never been 
taught to sing in unison. A 
whistle -kirk minister is a con- 
temptuous epithet for an Epis- 
copalian clergyman. 

Whitter, to move quickly, to talk 
quickly, to drink quickly a 
hearty draught. The etymology 
is uncertain, but is possibly 
allied to the English whet, the 
Dutch and Flemish wetten, the 
German wetzen, to sharpen. 

Whitterin down the stair. 

— Jamieson. 

Whittle — Whyles. 


Syne we'll sit down and tak' our whitter 

To cheer our heart, 
And faith we'll be acquainted better 

Before we part. 

—Burns : Epistle to Lapraik. 

Whittle, a clasp-knife ; to whittle, 
to chip or carve a stick. 

A Sheffield tkunttle bare he in his hose. 
—Chaucer : The Reeves Tale. 

Gudeman, quoth he, put up your whittle, 

I'm no designed to try its mettle. 

, — Burns : Death and Doctor Hornbook. 

The word is common in 
the United States, and was 
scarcely understood in Eng- 
land until its introduction into 
humorous literature by Judge 
Haliburton of Nova Scotia, in 
the inimitable "Sam Slick, the 
Clockmaker." According to a 
ballad quoted by Mr. Bartlett, 
in his Dictionary of American- 
isms, the " Yankie or New Eng- 
lander will whittle or cut his 
way through the world by some 
'cute device or other, in spite of 
diflSculties. " 

Dexterity with the pocket-knife is part 
of a Nantucket education. I am inclined 
to think the propensity is national. Ameri- 
cans must and will whittle." — N. P. 

Whommle, to turn over clumsily 
and suddenly, and with a loud 
noise ; transposition of whelm. 

Coming to the lire with the said pan 
and water therein, and casting the water 
therefrom, and whommeling the pan upon 
the fire, with the pronouncing of these 
fearful words, " Bones to the fire and soul 
to the devil ! " which accomplished the 
curt. — Trial 0/ Alison Nisbet for Witch- 
craft, 1632. 

Whommle means something different 
from whelm. Whelm means to cover over, 
to immerse ; neither does whommle mean 
to turn over clumsily and suddenly with 
a loud noise. Not one of these ideas is 
conveyed by the word itself; it means 
literally and really nothing more than to 
turn upside down. — R. Drennan. 

Whully, to wheedle, to endeavour, 
to circumvent by fair words and 
flattery; in modern English 
slang to carny. Wully-wha-ing, 
insincere flattery. 

My life precious ! exclaimed Meg Dods, 
nane o' your wully-wha-ing, Mr. Bind- 
loose. Diel ane wad miss the auld giming 
ale wife, Mr. Bindloose, unless it were 
here and there a poor body, and may be 
the auld house tyke that wadna be sae 
weel guided, puir fallow. — Scott : St. 
Ronans Well. 

Whulte, a blow or hurt from a 
fall ; Gaelic huailte (aspirated 
hhuailte or vuailte), preterite of 
buaU, to strike a blow. 

Whuppie, a term of angry con- 
tumely applied to a girl or 
woman, signifying that she 
deserves whipping. 

Whurlie-burlie. This Scottish 
word seems to be the original of 
the English hurly-burly, and 
signifies rapid circular motion ; 
from whorl, a small wheel; whirl, 
to spin round ; world, the earth 
that rotates or whirls in space 
around the sun. 

Whyles, sometimes, occasionally, 
now and then. 

How best o' chiels are whyles in want. 
While coofs in countless thousands rai!t. 
— Burns : Epistle to Davie, a Brother 


Why lock — Wtddy. 

Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scotch 

— Tarn o Shanter. 

I took his body on my back, 
And -whiles I gaed, and ivhiles I sat. 
— Lament of the Border Widow. 

A lady, visiting the poor, in the West 
Port, Edinburgh, not far from the church 
established by Dr. Chalmers, asked a poor 
woman if she ever attended divine service 
tliere. She replied, " Ou ay I there's a 
man ca'd Chalmers preaches there, and I 
ivhiles gang in to hear him, just to encour- 
age him — puir body ! " — Dean Ramsay. 

Whylock, or a wee while, a little 

Wi' a blush, as she keepit lookin' roun' 
an' roun' for a whyleock. — Noctes Antbro- 

Widdie, angry contention ; wid- 
diefu\ cross-grained, ill-tem- 
pered, half-crazy, cantankerous, 
angry without cause. 

The miller was strappin', the miller was 

A heart like a lord, and a hue like a lady ; 
The laird v/assLwiddie/u , bleerit knurl, — 
She's left the gude fellow and taken the 


—Burns : Mego' the Mill. 

Misled by the meaning of wid- 
die, the rope, or gallows, Jamie- 
son says that, properly widdie- 
fu', or widdie-foio, signifies one 
who deserves to fill a halter. 
But as a man may be peevish, 
morose, irascible, contentious, 
and unreasonable without de- 
serving the gallows, the etymo- 
logy is not satisfactory. The 
true root seems to be the 
Flemish woede, the German 
wuth, the old English wode, 
the Scottish vmd — all signifying 
mad, crazy, unreasonable. 

Widdie, to turn, to wheel, to 
wriggle ; and metaphorically, to 
struggle ; akin to the English 
twiddle, to turn the thumbs 
round each other in idle move- 
ment. Widdie is from the Gae- 
lic cuidhil, a wheel. 

Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle, 
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle 
To cheer you through the weary widdie 
O' worldly cares. 
— Burns : Epistle to Davie. 

Widdy (sometimes written woodie 
and wuddie), the gaUows. 

The water will nae wrang the widdy, 

[The English have another ver- 
sion of this proverb — 

He who's born to be hanged will never 
be drowned.] 

It's nae laughing to gim in a widdy. 

It's ill speaking o' the widdy in the 
house o' a man who was hangit. 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

The French have a similar pro- 
verb — "II ne faut pas parler 
de corde dans la maison d'un 

He'll wintle in a widdie yet [he'll wrig- 
gle in a rope yet, i.e., he'll be hanged]. — 
Jamieson : Scots Proverb. 

Her Joe had been a Highland laddie. 
But weary fa' the waefu' woodie. 

— Burns: The Jolly Beggars. 

On Donald Caird the doom was stern, 
Craig to tether, leg to airn, 
But Donald Caird wi' muckle study 
Caught the gift to cheat the wuddie. 
Rings o' airn an' bolts o' steel 
Fell like ice frae hand and heel, 
Watch the sheep in fauld and glen, 
Donald Caird's come again. 

—Sir Walter Scott. 

Wight— Wilt 


In very primitive times in 
Scotland the ropes used for 
hanging those who had offended 
the chief, or who had rendered 
themselves amenable to the 
death penalty, were formed of 
twisted willow withes — whence 
vMhy, or widdy, afterwards came 
to signify a rope, or, by exten- 
sion of meaning, the gallows. 

Wight, wicht, wichtly, wichty, 
wichtness. Wight remains an 
English word in mock heroic 
composition, and means a man, 
a fellow; originally, a strong 
or brave man, a sturdy fellow. 
The Dutch and Flemish wicht 
means a child or a little fellow. 
Wight, in the epithet "Wallace 
wight" given in Scottish poetry 
and tradition to the great 
national hero, means "brave 
Wallace," and was a kind of 
title of nobility bestowed on him 
for his prowess, and the patriotic 
use he made of it. 

A wight man never wanted a weapon. 
—Allan Ramsay. 

Wilie-wa*, to cajole, to flatter, 
possibly from wile away; from 
wikf to trick, to beguile. 

Willie. This suffix answers in 
meaning to the Latin vdens, or 
volent in the English words be- 
nevolent and malevolent. The 
Scotch renders the former word 
by guid - willie, or well - willie ; 
from the Flemish goed wiUvj ; 
and the latter by ill-wiUie, in 
which ill is substituted for the 
Flemish quad^ or bad. On the 

same principle of formation, HI- 
deedie signifies nefarious, and 
ill-tricky mischievous, both of 
which might well become Eng- 
lish if they found favour with 
authors of acknowledged autho- 

Willie-winkie, a term of some- 
what contemptuous endearment 
to a diminutive and not over 
intelligent child. The Jaco- 
bites of 1688 to 17 1 5 long 
applied it to William III., when 
they did not call him the 
"Dutchman," "the HoganMu- 
gan," "Willie the Wag," or 
' ' Willie Wanbeard." ' ' The Last 
Will and Testament of WHZie 
winkle,''^ is the title of a once 
popular Jacobite song. 

Wilshoch, wulshoch, changeable 
of opinion or purpose, a bashful 
wooer. Jamieson derives the 
first syllable from the English 
wiU, and the second from the 
Anglo - Saxon seoc aeger, sick 
from the indulgence of one's 
own will. It seems rather to 
be from the Gaelic uile, all, 
totally ; and seog (shog), to swing 
from side to side — whence, 
metaphorically, one who is con- 
tinually at variance with his 
former opinion, and sways from 
side to side. 

Wilt, to shrivel, or begin to 
decay, as a leaf or flower in 
the extreme heat or cold — not 
exactly withered in the English 
sense of the word, inasmuch as 
a wilted leaf may revive, but a 


Wimple — Winsome. 

withered one cannot. This old 
Scottish word has been revived 
in America, where it is in com- 
mon use. The late Artemus 
Ward punned upon it, when he 
said to his lady love, ''Wilt 
thou ? and she wilted.'" 

Miss Amy pinned a flower to her breast, 
and when she died, she held the wilted 
fragments in her hand. — Judd's Mar- 

Wilt, though not admitted 
into the English dictionaries, is 
in local use in many northern 
and eastern counties, and is 
often pronounced wilk, or wilken, 
which seems to have been the 
original form ; from the Ger- 
man, Dutch, and Flemish wel- 
ken, to decay, to droop. Spenser 
used welk, in speaking of the 
sunset, to describe the fading 
light of the day. 

When ruddy Phoebus 'gins to welk in 
west. — Faerie Queene. 

Wimple, to flow gently like a 
brook, to meander, to purl. 

Among the bonnie winding banks, 
Where Doon rins wimplin clear. 

— Burns : Halloween. 

Win, this word in English signi- 
fies to gain, to make a profit, 
to acquire ; but in the Scottish 
language it has many other and 
more extended meanings, such 
as to reach, to attain, to arrive, 
to get at. It enters into the 
composition of a great number 
of compound words and phrases, 
such as — to win above, to sur- 
mount ; to win about, to circum- 
vent ; to win awa, to escape, and, 

poetically, to die, or escape from 
life ; to win forret, to advance, 
to get on ; to win owre, to get 
over, to cajole ; to win past, to 
overtake, or get by ; to loin free, 
to get loose ; to win hame, to get 
home ; to win aff, to get off, or 
away, to be acquitted on a trial ; 
to win ben, to be admitted to the 
house ; to win up, to arise, or 
get up. 

Win and tine, a man able to win 
and tine, is a man of substance 
and energy, able to win and able 
to lose without hurting himself, 
and to whom winnings and 
losings are alike of little con- 

W i n n o c k, a window comer ; 
abridged from window -nook. 
Winnock-bunker, a seat, ledge, 
or bench at the window. 

A winnock-bunker in the east, 
Where sat Auld Nick in shape o' beast ; 
A towsie tyke, black, grim, and large, 
To gie them music was his charge. 

—Burns : Tarn oShanter. 

Winsome. This pleasant Scottish 
word is gradually making good 
its claim to a place in recognised 
English. The etymology is un- 
decided whether it be from win, 
to gain, or the Teutonic wonne, 
joy, pleasure, or delight. 

I gat your letter, winsome Willie. 
— Burns. 

She is a winsome wee thing, 
She is a bonnie wee thing, 
This sweet wee wife o' mine. 


Wintle — Withershtns. 


Wintle, a corruption of windle, to 
gyrate, to turn round in the 
wind ; also, to reel, to stagger, 
to walk unsteadily ; also, to 
wriggle, to writhe, to struggle. 

Thieves of every rank and station, 
From him that wears the star and garter, 
To him that winiles in a halter. 

— Burns : To J. Rankine. 

He'll wintle in a widdie yet. 

— Jamieson. 

Winze, an oath, a curse, an im- 
precation, an evil wish; from 
the Flemish wensch^ a wish, 
which, conjoined with the prefix 
rer, became verwenschen, to curse, 
to wish evil. 

He talcs a swirlie auld moss-oak 

For some black gruesome carline. 
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke. 
— Burns : Hallowe'en. 

Wirry-cow, a bugbear, a goblin, 
or frightful object, a ghost ; 
the devil ; also a scarecrow. 

Draggled sae 'mang muck and stanes, 
They looked like wirry-cows. 

— Allan Ramsav. 

The word was used by Scott, 
in •* Guy Mannering," and is 
derived by Jamieson from the 
English " worry," and ** to cow." 
Wirry, however, seems to be a 
corruption of the Gaelic uruisg, 
which, according to Armstrong's 
Gaelic Dictionary, signified a 
'• brownie," or goblin, who was 
supposed to haunt lonely dells, 
lakes, and waterfalls, and who 
could only be seen by those 
who had the "second sight." 
Kuddiman thought that the 

uruisg was called a "brownie " in 
the Lowlands, on account of the 
brown colour of the long hair 
which covered his body when 
he appeared to human eyes ; 
but it is more probable that 
"brownie" was derived from 
the Gaelic hrdn, sorrow or cala- 
mity. The attributes ascribed 
to the uruisg are similar to those 
of the " lubber fiend " of Milton. 
The final syllable of wirry-cow 
was sometimes written and pro- 
nounced carl, a fellow. Accord- 
ing to Jamieson, cow, or kow, 
signified a hobgoblin, and to 
"play the Jcov^" was to act the 
part of a goblin, to frighten 
fools and children. 

Wisp, to currycomb a horse, or 
rub it with a ivisp of straw. 

A short horse is sune wispit {i.e., a little 
job is soon done). — Old Proverb. 

Wissel, to exchange. Wissler, a 
money-changer ; from the Fle- 
mish wissel, and geld wisselaar, 
a money-changer ; the German 
wechsel. To wissel words, is to 
exchange words ; usually em- 
ployed in an angry sense, as in 
the English phrase, to "bandy 
words with one," the irritation 
preceding a quarrel, 

Withershins, backwards, against 
the course of the sun. To pass 
the bottle withershins, or the 
wrong way, at table, is con- 
sidered a breach of social eti- 
quette. The word seems to be 
derived from the Teutonic wider, 
contrary, and s&nnct the sun ; 


Witter — Won. 

or perhaps from wider, and sinn, 
sense ; whence it would signify, 
in a " contrary sense." The 
word wider, corrupted in the 
Scotch into wither, enters into 
the composition of many Ger- 
man words, such as wider-spruch, 
contradiction ; wider-sinn, non- 
sense ; wider-stand, resistance. 

The ancient Druids called 
a movement contrary to the 
course of the sun, car-tual. On 
this subject, apropos of the 
word withershins, a curious note 
appears in Armstrong's Gaelic 
Dictionary. "The Druids," he 
says, " on certain occasions 
moved three times round the 
stone circles, which formed 
their temples. In performing 
this ceremony, car-deise, they 
kept the circle on the right, 
and consequently moved from 
east to west. This was called 
the prosperous course ; but the 
car-tual, or moving with the 
circle on the left, was deemed 
fatal or unprosperous, as being 
"contrary to the course of the 

The said Alison past thrice withershins 
about the bed, muttering out certain charms 
in unknown words. — Trial of Alison 
Nisbetfor IVitchcra/t, 1632. 

To be whipped round a'circle withershins, 
or car-tual, would thus be considered pecu- 
liarly degrading, and probably, as the 
meaning of Gaelic words was perverted 
by the Saxon -speaking people, was the 
origin of the phrase, "to be whipped at 
the cart's tail." — Gaelic Etymology of the 
Languages of Western Europe. 

Witter, to struggle, to fight, to 
strive in enmity ; from the Teu- 

tonic wider, against, contrary 
to ; wider-sacher, an antagonist ; 
wider-sprechen, to contradict ; 
Flemish weder-partij , an adver- 
sary, an opposing party. 

To struggle in whatever way, — often for 
a subsistence; as, "I'm witterin awa'." 
A witterin body is one who is struggling 
with poverty or difficulty. — Jamieson. 

Wittering, a proof. 

And that was to be a wittering true. 
That maiden she had gane. 
— Border Minstrelsy : The Broom- 
field Hill. 

Witterly, knowingly, wittingly ; 
to do a thing wUterly, to act on 
good information, or with full 
knowledge ; to witter, to inform, 
and also to prognosticate. 

Wod or \imd, stark mad, raging 
mad ; old English wode, wuth, 
and toouth ; Dutch and Flemish 
woode ; German vmth. 

Ye haud a stick in the wod man's e'e, 
i.e., you hold a stick in the mad man's 
eyes, or you continue to provoke one 
already enraged. — Jamieson. 

When neebors anger at a plea, 
And just as wttd as wtul can be, 
How easy can the barley bree 
Cement the quarrel. 
—Burns : Scotch Drink. 

The wife was wud, and out o' her wit, 
She couldna gang, nor could she sit ; 
But aye she cursed and banned. 

— The Gaberlunzie Man. 

Won, to dwell, to reside, to in- 
habit. Waning, a dwelling-place. 
From the German wohnen, and 
wohnung ; Dutch and Flemish 
wonen, to dwell ; wonen-huis, a 
dwelling-house, a lodging. 

Wo finer — Wooster. 


There's auld Rab Morris that wons in 

the glen, 
The king o* guid fellows, and wale o' 

auld men. 

— Burns. 

Wonner, wonder ; applied in con- 
tempt to any odd, decrepit, or 
despicable creature. 

Our whipper-in, wee, blastit wonner. 
— Burns : The Twa Dogs. 

Wont to be, a phrase applied to 
any ancient or obsolete custom 
or observance, a thing that used 
to be or was wont to he in olden 

Mony wont to he's, nae doubt, 
An' customs we ken nought about, 
— Jamieson : The Piper o' Peebles. 

Wooer-bab. It was formerly the 
custom among the young men 
and lads of the rural population 
in the Highlands and Lowlands 
of Scotland to wear bows of rib- 
bons of flaunting colours in their 
garters on high days and holi- 
days, when they expected to 
meet the lasses, and to dance or 
flirt with them. 

The lasses' feet are cleanly neat, 

Mair braw than when they're fine, 
Their faces blythe fu' sweetly kythe, 

Hearts leal an' warm an' kind ; 
The lads sae trig wi' wooer-bobs 

Weel knotted on their garten. 
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs 

Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'. 

— Burns: Hallowe'en. 

*^Bab" says Dr. Adolphus 
Wagner, the German editor of 
Bums, '* seems akin to the Eng- 
lish 606, something that hangs 
so as to play loose, and is a 
tassel or knot of ribbons, or the 
loose ends of such a knot." The 

English word boh, in this sense, 
is a corruption of the Gaelic 
hah, a fringe ; and hahag, a. little 
fringe. Perhaps the English 
phrase, "tag, rag, and hohtail," 
is from the same source, and 
hobtail may signify the ragged 
fringe of a frayed outer gar- 
ment, hohbing or dangling loose 
in the wind. 

Wool or 00'. English ; from the 
German and Flemish woll ; in 
Scottish parlance, oo\ A* oo\ 
all wool ; a' ae oo\ all one wool ; 
ay, a' ae oo\ yes, all one wool. 
There is a popular proverb which 
formerly ran — 

Much cry and little 00', 

to which some humorist added — 

As the Deil said when he shear'd the sow. 

The addendum was at once 
adopted by the people, though 
some strict philologists re- 
main of the opinion that the 
first line is complete in itself, 
and that *' cry " does not signify 
the noise or uproar of the ani- 
mal, but is a corruption either 
of the Gaelic graidh, or graigh 
igry), a flock, a herd, or cruidk, 
which has the same meaning, 
and signifies a large flock that 
yields but little wool. How- 
ever this may be, the idea in 
the lengthened proverb has a 
grotesque humour about it, 
which insures its popularity. 

Wooster, a wooer, a lover, a 


Wooster-tryste — Wowf, 

Wooster-tryste, a lonely meeting. 

At kirk she was the auld folks' love, 
At dance she was the laddies* e'en, 
She was the blythest o' the blythe, 
At ivooster-trystes on Hallowe'en. 
— Allan Cunningham : Cromek's 
Remains of Nithsdale and Gal- 
loway Song. 

Word. "To get the word of," 
i.e., to get the character, or the 
repute, of being so and so. 
' ' She gets the word o' being a 
licht-headed quean," i.e., the 
character of being a light- 
headed or frivolous woman. 

Worl, wurl, wroul, win*. All 

these words of a common origin 
express the idea of smallness, 
or dwarfishness, combined with 
perversity, disagreeableness, and 
ill-nature. Jamieson has wurlie, 
contemptibly small in size ; a 
vmrlie body, an ill-grown per- 
son ; wurlin, a child or beast 
that is unthriven ; wurr, to snarl 
like a dog ; wirr, a peevish and 
crabbed dwarf; wurr, to be 
habitually complaining or snarl- 
ing ; and a wurlie rung, a knot- 
ted stick. He suggests that 
loirr and wurr are corruptions of 
were-ivolf, the man-wolf of popu- 
lar superstition — one afflicted 
with the disease called lycan- 
thropy, in which the unhappy 
victim imagines himself to be a 
wolf, and imitates the bowlings 
of that animal. The true ety- 
mology is uncertain. Perhaps 
all these words are derivable 
from the Teutonic quer, oblique, 
athwart, perverse — the origin of 
the English queer, quirk, and 

quirky. Jamieson has also wurp, 
a fretful, peevish person ; and 
wurpit, afflicted with f retf ulness. 
These latter seem akin to the 
Gaelic uipear, a clown, a churl, 
a bungler; and uipearach, ill- 
tempered, churlish. 

Worry, to vex, to torment. In 
some parts of Scotland it sig- 
nifies to strangle, to choke, or 
to be suffocated. Worry carl, a 
troublesome fellow, or ill- 
natured churl, who vexes both 
himself and others. Possibly 
from the Gaelic uaire, stormy. 
(See WiRRY-cow, ante.) 

Wow I an exclamation of surprise 
or wonder, without etymology, 
as exclamations usually are. 

A fine fat fodgel wight, 
Of stature short, but genius bright, 

That's he ! mark weel ! 
And woTv .' he has an unco slight 

O' cauk and keel ! 
—Burns : On Captain Gro^t. 

And ivow ! but my heart dances bound in 
and licht, 
And my bosom beats blythesome and 

—James Ballantine : The Gloamin 

Wowf, partially deranged. The 
Scottish language is particularly 
rich in words expressive of the 
various shades of madness and 
insanity ; such as wud, raging, 
or stark staring mad; daft, 
slightly deranged ; gyte, cranky, 
subject to abberrations of intel- 
lect on particular points ; doited, 
stupidly deranged — all which 
words are in addition to, and 

Wrack — WrouL 


not in supercession of the Eng- 
lish words, mad, idiotic, lunatic, 
crazy, &c. 

It is very odd how Allan, who, between 
ourselves, is a little wow/, seems at times 
to have more sense than all of us put to- 
gether. — Scott: Tales of My Landlord. 

Wrack, to break in pieces, to 
VJTech. In English the phrase 
''m-ack and ruin" is more often 
used than '■'■ wreck and ruin;" 
from the same source as wreak, 
to act, do, or perform a deed of 
anger ; to wreck spite or ven- 
geance. It is possibly of the 
same origin as the Teutonic 
werken, the English work, em- 
ployed in the sense of destroy- 
ing rather than of creating or 

Oh, roaring Clyde, ye roar o'er loud, 
Your stream is wondrous strong ; 

Make me your wrack as I come back. 
But spare me as I gang. 

— Johnson's Musical Museum : Willie 
and May Margaret. 

Wraith, an apparition in his own 
likeness that becomes visible to 
a person about to die ; a water- 

He held him for some fleeting wraith. 
And not a man of blood or breath. 

—Sir Walter Scott. 

By this the storm grew loud apace. 
The water-wraith was shrieking, 

And in the scowl of heaven each face 
Grew dark as they were speaking. 
—Thomas Campbell. 

The etymology of this word 
is uncertain. Some suppose it 
to be derived from wrath, or a 
wrathful spirit, summoning to 
doom. Jamieson is of opinion 

that it is from the same root as 
weird, fate or destiny, or the 
Anglo-Saxon weard or ward, a 
guardian, a keeper, and thence 
a fairy, a guardian angel. This 
derivation is scarcely tenable ; 
that from breith, doom or judg- 
ment, aspirated as bhreith, is 
more probable, as the apparition 
of the wraith is always supposed 
to forebode the doom of the 
person who sees it. 

Wrang, English wrong. The ety- 
mology of this word has been 
much disputed ; but it seems to 
be from wring, to twist, and 
wrung, twisted or distorted from 
the right line. Wrang in Scot- 
tish parlance sometimes signifies 
deranged — out of the right line 
of reason. ** He's a' wrang," i.e., 
he is demented. Wrang-wise is 
a wrong manner; the opposite 
of the English right-wise or 

Writer, an attorney. Writer to 
the Signet, a solicitor licensed 
to conduct cases in the superior 

Wroul, an ill-formed or diminu- 
tive child ; a name originally 
applied to one who was sup- 
posed to have been changed in 
its cradle by malicious fairies ; 
a changeling. Jamieson refers to 
wer-wolf, a man supposed to be 
transformed into a wolf, called 
by the French a loup-garou, but 
this is evidently not the true 
derivation, which is more pro* 


Wud-scud — Wyteworthy. 

bably from the Dutch and Fle- 
mish ruil, to exchange. 

Wud-scud, a wild scamper, a 
panic, called by the Americans 
a stampede ; from vmd, mad, and 
scud, to run precipitately and in 
confusion. The word is some- 
times applied to an over-restive 
or over-frolicsome boy or girl, 
whom it is difficult to keep 

Wudspur, a Scottish synonym for 
the English Hotspur, wild, reck- 
less, one who rides in hot haste ; 
from the Flemish woete, German 
wuth, old English wode and spur. 
It is difficult to decide which of 
the two words was the original 
epithet, and whether wood-spur 
in Scottish parlance was, or was 
not, anterior in usage to the 
Hotspur of the great poet. 

There was a wild gallant among us a', 
His name was Watty wi' the ntrudspur. 
— Border Minstrelsy : Ballad of 
Jamie Telfer. 

Wyg to wa'. "A thing," says 
Jamieson, ** is said to gang frae 
wyg to wa', when it is moved 
backwards and forwards from 
the one wall of a house to the 
other." He suggests that wyg 
is but another name for wall, 
and that the phrase signifies 

really "from wall to wall." It 
is more probable that wyg is but 
a misspelling of the Gaelic uig, 

Wyte, to blame, to reproach 
The etymology is derived by 
Jamieson from the Anglo-Saxon 
witan, to know, and the Gothic 
wita, to impute. But the root 
of the word is the Flemish 
wyten, to blame, to reproach. 

Ane does the skaith, and 
Another gets the luyte. 
— Allan Ramsay's Scois Prarverbs. 

Many ivyte their wives 
For their ain thriftless lives. 


Alas ! that every man has reason 
To luyte his countrymen wi' treason. 
— Burns : Scotch Drink. 

" Dame ! deem warily ! Ye watna wha 
ivytes yoursel." — Old Proverb. (A warning 
to a censorious or tattling woman to beware 
of scandal, lest she herself should be scan- 

This was an English word in 
the time of Chaucer, but has 
long been obsolete except in 

Wyter, one who blames ; an 

Wyteworthy, blameable, blame- 

Yald — Yankee. 


Yald, sprightly, active, nimble, 
alert ; yald-cuted (erroneously- 
spelled yaul-cuted in Jamieson), 
nimble-footed ; from yald, nim- 
ble, and cute, an ankle. 

Being yald and stout, he wheel'd about, 
And clove his head in twain. 

— Hogg's Mountain Bard. 

Yammer, yaumer, to lament, to 
complain ; from the Flemish 
jammer, lamentation ; jamTnern, 
to complain or lament ; jammer- 
voll, lamentable. 

Fareweel to the bodies that yammer and 
— Herd's Collection 0/ Scottish Songs, 

Bide ye Vet. 
We winna, shauna, yaumerin' yirn 
Though Fortune's freaks we dree. 
— Whistle Binkie. 

In Lancashire and the North 
of England yammer is used in 
another sense, that of yearning 
or desiring ardently. 

I yammer d to hear now how things 

turned out. 
— Tim Bobbin : Lancashire Dialect. 
And the worm yammers for us in the 

— Waugh's Lancashire Songs. 

Yankee, an inhabitant of Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode Island,Vermont, 
Connecticut, New Hampshire, 
and Maine, the six New England 
States of the American Union. 
The etymology of the Scottish 

word has not been ascertained. 
Jank (pronounced yank) in Dutch 
and Flemish, signifies to cry out 
lustily, and junger, in German, 
is a young man, the Enghsh 
youriker ; but neither of these 
words can account for yankie, 
either in the Scottish or Ameri- 
can sense. Danish and Swedish 
afford no clue. In provincial 
English, yanks are a species of 
leather gaiters worn by agricul- 
tural labourers, which, accord- 
ing to Halliwell, were once called 
' ' Bow Yankies." But this can- 
not be accepted as the origin, 
unless on the supposition that 
at the time of the emigration of 
the first colonists to America, the 
term signified not only leather 
gaiterSjbut those who wore them. 
This epithet is often erroneously 
applied in England to all Ame- 
ricans, though it is repudiated 
by the people of the Middle, 
Southern, and Western States. 
It is supposed to be a mispro- 
nunciation of English by the 
aboriginal Indian tribes, on the 
first colonisation of the Conti- 
nent. Much controversy has 
arisen on the subject, which 
still remains undecided. No 
one, however, has hitherto re- 
marked that the Scottish verna- 
cular supplies the words yank, 
yanking, which signify a smart 


Yap — Yark, 

stroke ; yanher, an incessant 
speaker, and also a great false- 
hood ; yanking, active, pushing, 
speculative, enterprising. It is 
not insisted that this is the cor- 
rect etymology, but if it be only a 
coincidence it merits considera- 
tion. No true New Englander 
would dissent from it for any 
other than philological reasons, 
in which it is certainly vulner- 
able, though on moral grounds 
it is all but unassailable. 

Yap, yappish, sometimes written 
yaup, hungry, eager, brisk co- 

Right yap she yoked to the ready feast. 
And lay and ate a full half-hour at least. 
—Ross's Helenore. 

This word is probably derived 
from the Gaelic gah or gob, the 
mouth — whence by extension of 
meaning, an open mouth, crav- 
ing to be fiUed. The English 
word gape, to yawn, or open 
the mouth wide, is from the 
same root. The eminent trage- 
dian, Philip Kemble, always 
pronouncd ga'pe as ga^ip, not 
gaipe, and the late W. C. Mac- 
ready followed his example. 
Jamieson travels very far north 
to find the derivation in the Ice- 
landic gypa, vorax. 

Although her wame was toom and she 
grown j/ap. 

—Ross's Helenore. 

Though bairns may pu' when yap or 

A neep or bean to taste their mouthy. 

But a' the neeps and a' the beans. 

The hips, the haws, the slaes, the geens, 

That e'er were pu'd by hungry weans 

Could ne'er be missed, 
By lairds like you, wi' ample means 
In bank and kist. 
— James Ballantine : To the Laird 
of Blackford Hill. 
Now hell's black table-cloth was spread, 
The infernal grace was duly said ; 
Yap stood the hungry fiends a' owre it. 
Their grim jaws aching to devour it. 
— Jacobite Songs and Ballads : Cumber- 
lands Descent into Hell. 
At that moment yap as ever. — Nodes 

Yare, a word still used by sailors, 
but obsolete in literature, signi- 
fying ready, alert, heedful, or 
in a state of readiness ; used 
by Shakspeare and the writers 
of his time. 

Our ship is tight and yare. 

— Tempest, act v. scene i. 
If you have occasion to use me for your 
own turn, you shall find me yare. — Mea- 
sure for Measure, act iv. scene 2. 

Be yare in thy preparations, for thy 
assailant is quick, .skilful, and deadly. — 
Shakspeare : Twelfth Night. 

Nares derives it from the Saxon 
gearwe, paratus ; but the real 
root seems to be the Celtic aire, 
heed, attention, alertness, readi- 
ness for action or duty ; as in 
the modem Gaelic phrase, 
'•Thoir an aire," pay attention, 
be on the alert ; be yare ! allied 
to the French gare ! and the 
English heware ! 

Yark, to smite suddenly, forcibly, 
and aimlessly; possibly a cor- 
ruption of jerk. 

He .swat a.n' yarkit wi' his hammer, 
The sparks flew frae the steel like 
— Beattie : /ohn o Amha'. 

Yatter — Yestreen . 


Yatter (a corruption of the Eng- 
lish chatter), to talk idly and 
incessantly ; also, to complain 
querulously, and without reason. 
*' She's a weary 2/aWer," i.e., she's 
a tedious and wearisome gossip. 
Yatter also signifies a confused 
mass or heap, and is synonymous 
with hatter. (See ante, p. 841.) 

Yaud or "far yaudi" an inter- 
jection or call by a shepherd to 
his dog, to direct his attention 
to sheep that have strayed, and 
that are far in the distance. 
Yaud, in this sense, as cited by 
Jamieson, seems to be a mis- 
pronunciation or misprint of 
yont ! or yonder. 

Yeld, or yell, barren, unfruit- 
ful. In Galloway, according to 
Jamieson, yald signifies nig- 
gardly. The etymology is un- 
certain, though supposed to be 
a corruption of geld, to castrate, 
to render unproductive. 

A yeld soil, flinty or barren soil. A cow, 
although with calf, is said to gang yeld 
when the milk dries up. A yeld nurse 
is a dry nurse. Applied metaphorically 
to broth without flesh meat in it (soupe- 
maigre). — Jamieson. 

A yeld sow was never good to grices 
[i.e., a barren sow was never good to little 
pigs, or, a barren stepmother to the chil- 
dren of her husband by a previous wife.] — 
Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Thence country wives, in toil and pain, 
May plunge and plunge the kirn in vain. 
For oh, your yellow treasure's ta'en . 

By witching skill. 
And dawtit, twal-pint Hawkie's gaen 

As yelfs the bull. 
—Burns : Address to the Deil. 

Yerk, a smart blow ; yerker, a very 
smart and knock down blow ; 
supposed to be a corruption of 
jei'k, with which, however, it is 
not synonymous. 

There's news, news, gallant news. 
There's gallant news o' tartan trews, 

An' red Clanranald's men, Joe ; 
There has been blinking on the bent, 

An' flashing on the fell, Joe, 
The redcoat sparks hae got ih& Jerks, 

But carle dauma tell, Joe. 
—Jacobite Relics : Clanranalds Men. 

Yestreen, last night, or yesterday 
evening. Yester, both in Eng- 
lish and Scotch, was used as 
a prefix to signify time past ; 
as yester- jeai, yester -m.onth, 
yester-week ; but in English its 
use has in modern times been 
restricted to day and night ; 
and, by a strange surplusage 
of words, to yesterday night 
instead of yester night, and 
yesterday morning instead of 
yester morn. In Scotland, its 
use is more extended, and 
yestereen or yestreen, yesternoon, 
yesternight, are employed alike 
in poetic style and in every- 
day conversation. The word is 
from the German gestern {g pro- 
nounced as y) and the Flemish 

I saw the new moon late yestreen, 

Wi' the auld moon in her arm, 
And if we gang to sea, master, 
I fear we'll come to harm. 

—Sir Patrick Spens : Border 

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen, 
A gate I fear I'll sairly rue, 

I gat my death frae twa sweet e'en, 

Twa sparklin' e'en o' bonnie blue. 



Yethar — Yorne. 

The derivation of the Teutonic 
gestern and gistern is probably 
from the Gaelic aosda, aged or 
old ; so that yesterday, in con- 
tradiction to this day, or the 
new day, would signify the old 
day, the day that is past. Latin 

Yethar, a willow-wythe ; also, a 
blow with a switch ; probably a 
corruption of wytker, a stroke 
with a wythe. 

Yevey, greedy, voracious, clamor- 
ous for food. Of doubtful ety- 
mology, though possibly from 
the Gaelic eibh (ev), to clamour. 

Yill, ale or beer. 

A cogie o' jfzll 
And a pickle oatmeal, 
An' a dainty wee drappie o' whisky — 
An' hey for the cogie, 
An' hey for the ^ill, 
Gin ye steer a' thegither, they'll do unco 

—A Cogie o Yill, 1787. 

Yird-fast or earth-fast, a stone 
well sunken in the earth, or a 
tree fast rooted in the ground. 

The axe he bears it hacks and tears, 
'Tis formed of an earth-fast flint ; 
No armour of knight, though ever so wight, 
Can bear its deadly dint. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border : 

Leyden —The Count of Keeldar. 

A yirdfast or insulated stone, enclosed 

in a bed of earth, is supposed to possess 

peculiar properties. Its blow is reckoned 

uncommonly severe.— Sir Walter Scott. 

Yirr, the growl of a dog, English 
gxirr. Gurl, growl ; gem, to 
grin or snarl with ill-nature or 

Yoak, to look, to look at ; pos- 
sibly from the German aug, the 
Flemish oog^ the Latin ocidus, 
the eye ; the English ogle, to 
look at. 

Voak your orlitch [horloge]. Look at 
your watch [or clock]. — Jamieson. 

Yon. The use of yon and tlion, in 
the sense of that, is much more 
common in Scotland than in 
England ; as in the phrase, 
"Do ye ken yon man?" do 
you know that man. It is also 
used for yonder ; as, yon hill, 
for yonder hill. It is sometimes 
pronounced and written thon ; 
as in the following anecdote of 
a wilful child, narrated by Dean 

When he found every one getting soup 
and himself omitted, he demanded soup, 
and said, " If I dinna get it, I'll tell thon." 
Soup was given him. At last, when it 
came to wine, his mother stood firm and 
positively refused. He then became more 
vociferous than ever about telling thon; 
and as he was again refused, he again de- 
clared, " Now, I'll tell tJion," and roared 
out, "Ma new breeks were made out o' 
the auld curtains ! " 

Yorlin, a small bird, more com- 
monly known in England as the 
"yeUow hammer." Scottishand 
English boys have a traditional 
prejudice against this bird, for 
some imaginary reason, or no 
reason at all. It sometimes 
reads in the old rhyme : — 

Yellow, y&Wow yorling. 
You are the devil's darling. 

Yorne, prepared, made ready ; 
part participle of yare ready, 
or to make ready. 

Youk — Yowff. 


To Norroway, to Norroway, 

To Norroway o'er the faern, 
The king's daughter o' Norroway, 

'Tis we maun bring her hame ; 
Ye'U eat and drink, my merry men a'. 

An' see ye be weel yome, 
For blaw it weet, or blaw it sleet, 

Our gude ship sails the morn. 

Mr. Robert Chambers, in his 
Collection of Scots Ballads, 
1829, prints thorne instead of 
yorne, without note or comment, 
or apparent knowledge of the 
unmeaning word. 

Youk or yeuk, to itch ; yowJcy, 
itchy. From the Teutonic 
jucken, pronounced yucken. 

Your neck's youkin for a St. Johnstone 
ribbon. — Allan Ramsay's Scots Pro- 

(A taunt, implying that a man's 
career and character is such as 
to merit hanging, and that he 
is nearly ready for it. St. 
Johnstone, now Perth, was the 
assize city. A ribbon signified 
the rope.) 

How daddie Burke the plea was cookin', 
If Warren Hastings' neck y/zs yeukin. 
— Burns : To a Gentleman -who Pro- 
mised him a Newspaper. 

Thy auld darned 6[hovf yeuks with joy. 
— Burns : To Colonel de Peyster. 

A parishioner in an Ayrshire village, 
meeting the minister, who had just returned 
after long absence on account of ill health, 
congratulated him on his convalescence, 
and added, anticipatory of the pleasure he 
would have in hearing him preach again — 
" Eh, sir I I'm unco yuckie to hear a blaud 
o' your gab."— Dean Ramsay. 

YouUie, a name formerly given to 
the police in Edinburgh by idle 
boys or bad characters. " A 

low term," says Jamieson, "pro- 
bably formed from the yowling 
or calling out." Was it not 
rather formed from the Gaelic 
uallach, proud, haughty, arro- 
gant, and given to the poUce 
derisively by the blackguards 
of the streets when, as they 
thought, they were interfered 
with unnecessarily, or ordered 
to move on ? Or it may be from 
yoly, the French joli, pretty or 
handsome, used contemptuous- 
ly, as in the phrase, "my fine 

Yowe, a ewe, a female sheep, a 
lamb ; yowie, a eye lamb. 

Ca' the yowes to the knowes [hills], 

Ca' them where the heather grows, 

Ca' them where the burnie rowes. 

My bonnie dearie. 


An' neist my yowie, silly thing, 
Gude keep her frae a tether string. 
— Burns: Poor Mailie. 

Yowf, to strike hard and sud- 
denly, as the ball is struck at 
the favourite Scottish game of 
golf. The common pronuncia- 
tion of golf is gowf, and yowf is 
probably, as Jamieson alleges, a 
corruption of that word. 

But had we met wi' Cumberland 
On Athol's braes or yonder strand. 
The blood o' a' his savage band 

Had dyed the German Sea, man. 
An' cousin Geordie up the gate 
We wad \i2i.e yowf d ixzie Charlie's seat, 
And sent him hame to bide in state, 

In's native Germanie, man. 
^Jacobite Minstrelsy : Bauldie Trovers' 
Lament for Culloden. 

Yowff, to bark in a suppressed or 
feeble manner; said of a dog 


Yowl — Yum. 

who is not very earnest in his 

Ye puir creature you ! what needs ye 
yow^when the big dog barks ? — Laird of 

Yowl, to howl, or whine as a dog ; 
sometimes written gowl ; from 
the Gaelic guil, or gul^ to la- 

And darkness covered a' the ha'. 
Where they sat at their meat, 

The gray ^o%% yowling \&{x. their food, 
And crept to Henrie's feet. 
— Border Minstrelsy : King Henry. 

Yule. Yvle was a Druidical fes- 
tival in honour of the sun, cele- 
brated at the winter solstice, in 
ages long anterior to the Chris- 
tian era. 

Yide, about the etymology of 
which there has been much con- 
troversy, was probably named in 
honour of the sun — the source 
of all heat and life upon this 
globe ; from uile, all, the whole, 
whence, by extension of mean- 
ing, the whole year, ending at 
what we now call Christmas, 
and which in early times signi- 
fied completion, the full turn 
of the wheel of the year. The 
Gaelic cuidhil, a wheel, has also 

been suggested as the true root 
of the word ; while iid, guidance, 
knowledge, has found favour 
with other etymologists, because 
on that day the assembled 
Druids, in their groves or in 
their stone circles, laid down 
rules for the guidance of the 
people during the coming year. 
lul oidche, or the guide of night, 
was a name applied by Ossian 
to the Polar star. The French 
noel, and old English nowdl, 
names for Christmas or Tide, 
are from the Gaelic Tiaomh, 
holy, and Id, a day. Jamieson, 
in citing the northern appella- 
tion for Odin as iul-fader, is in 
error in translating it as the 
father of Yule, or Christmas, in- 
stead of "All-Father," or father 
of all, which was an epithet 
applied to the sun as the Father 
of Light and Life. 

Langer lasts year than yule. — Allan 
Ramsay's Scots Prwerbs. 

Duncan Gray cam' here to woo 
On blythe j/k/i? night when we were fu'. 
— Burns : Duncan Gray. 

Yurn, coagulate, churn, curdle. 

And sjme he set the milk ower het, 
And sorrow a spark of it wad yume. 
— The Wife of Auchtermuchty. 


A LIVING language is like a living man. It has its tender 
infancy ; its passionate youth ; its careful maturity ; its gra- 
dual, though it may be imperceptible, decay ; and, finally, its 
death. After death comes apotheosis, if it has been worthy 
of such honour — or burial in the books, which, like the re- 
mains or memorials of ancient heroes, become the sacred 
treasures of newer ages. All languages pass through these 
epochs in their career. Sanscrit, Greek, and Latin are fami- 
liar examples of the death and sanctity of great and mighty 
tongues, that were once living powers to sway the passions 
and guide the reason of men. In their ashes even yet live 
the wonted fires that scholars love to rekindle. The languages 
of modem Europe that have sprung directly from the Latin 
may all be said to have passed their infancy and youth, and 
to have reached maturity, if not old age. The Celtic or Keltic 
languages — all sprung from an ancient Oriental root, and 
which include Gaelic, often called Erse or Irish, Manx, Welsh, 
and Breton — appear to be in the last stage of vitality, destined 
to disappear, at no very remote period, into the books, which 
will preserve their memory. Were it not for Victor Hugo, 
and some recent borrowings from the English, and the coin- 
age of Ergot or Slang, it might be said that French had 
ceased to expand, and had become stereotyped into a form no 

296 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

longer to be modified. Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian hold 
their own ; and that is all that can be said of them. German, 
and the languages sprung from the same root and stem, con- 
tain within themselves such immense resources, and are so 
continually evolving out of their rich internal resources such 
new compounds, if not such new words, as to free them from 
that reproach of stagnation which may not unjustly be applied 
to the other great tongues which we have enumerated. But 
English — which, taken all in all, may be considered by far 
the richest, though not the most beautiful or the most son- 
orous, of all the languages spoken in our day — is yet in its 
vigorous prime, and, though it may be accused of vulgar cor- 
ruptions and perversions, cannot be accused of exhibiting any 
symptoms of decay. It is doubtful whether it has yet reached 
the full maturity of its growth, or whether the mighty nations 
now existent in America, or the as mighty nations which are 
destined yet to arise in Australia and New Zealand, will not, 
as time rolls on, and new wants are created, new circumstances 
encountered, and new ideas evolved out of the progress of 
science and civilisation, add many thousands of new words to 
our already copious vocabulary. Other languages are dainty 
in the materials of their increment ; but the English is, like 
man himself, omnivorous. Nothing comes much amiss to its 
hungry palate. All the languages of the earth administer to 
its wants. It borrows, it steals, it assimilates what words it 
pleases from all the points of the compass, and asks no ques- 
tions of them, but that they shall express thoughts and describe 
circumstances more tersely and more accurately than any of 
the old words besides which they are invited to take their 
places. The beautiful dialect of its Scottish brother has given 
it strong and wholesome food, in the shape of many poetical 
words, which it is not likely to part with. But if the English 
is thus perpetually growing and gaining, it is at the same time 
perpetually losing. Were it not for the noble translation of 

Lost Preterites. 297 

the Bible, and for Chaucer, Gower, and the poets of the Eliza- 
bethan age, it would have lost still more than it has of its 
early treasures, and would have been Latinised to an extent 
that would have impaired and emasculated it, by depriving it 
of that sturdy vernacular which is the richest element in its 
blood, and best serves to build up its bone and muscle. If 
few languages now spoken in the world have gained so much 
as the English from the progress of civilisation, it must be 
admitted, at the same time, that few have lost so much, and 
lost it without necessity. It has been said that a good car- 
penter is known as much by the shape as by the quantity of 
his chips ; and the chips that the English tongue has thrown 
off since the days of "Piers Ploughman" to our own, betoken, 
both by quality and by quantity, what a plethora of wealth it 
possesses, and what a very cunning carpenter Time has proved 
in working with such abundant materials. 

It is one of the current assertions which, once started on 
high authority, are very rarely questioned, that the writings 
of Chaucer are a "well of pure English undefiled." Chaucer, 
though so ancient in our eyes, was a neologist in his own day, 
and strove rather to increase the wealth of the written English, 
of which he was so great a master, by the introduction of 
words from the Norman-French, lit;tle understood by the bulk 
of the people, though familiar enough to the aristocracy, for 
whom he mainly wrote, than to fix in his pages for ever the 
strong simple words of his native Saxon. The stream of Eng- 
lish in his writings runs pure and cool ; the stream of Norman - 
French runs pure and bright also ; but the two currents that 
he introduced into his song never thoroughly intermingled in 
the language, and at least nine-tenths of the elegant Gallicisms 
which he employed found no favour with successive writers ; 
and few of them have remained, except in the earlier poems 
of Milton. If we really wish to discover the true well of 
English undefiled, where the stream runs clear and unmixed, we 

298 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

must look to the Scottish author of ** The King's Quair " and 
to the author of "Piers Ploughman," claimed by Buchanan, 
the tutor of King James the Sixth of Scotland and the first 
of England, to have been a Scotsman, rather than to Chaucer. 
"We shall there find a large vocabulary of strong words, such 
as are plain to all men's comprehension at the present day, 
in the Bible as well as in the common speech of the peasantry ; 
and, above all, in that ancient form of the English language 
which is known as the Scottish dialect, and which, in reality, 
is the oldest English now spoken. 

Since the days of " Piers Ploughman," a work invaluable 
to every English and Scottish philologist, the spoken language 
of the peasantry has undergone but few changes as regards 
words, but very many changes as regards terminations and 
inflections. On the other hand, the language of literature 
and polite society has undergone changes so vast that unedu- 
cated people are scarcely able to understand the phraseology 
that occurs in the masterpieces of our great authors, or the 
Sunday sermons of their pastors, delivered, as the saying is, 
" above their heads," in words that are rarely or never em- 
ployed in their everyday hearing. Among this class survive 
large numbers of verbs as well as of inflections that ought 
never to have been allowed to drop out of literature, and 
which it only needs the efforts of a few great writers and 
orators to restore to their original favour. 

Among the losses which the modern English and Scottish 
languages have undergone are, first, the loss of the plurals in n 
and in en, and the substitution of the plural in s; secondly, the 
present particle in and, for which we have substituted the nasal 
and disagreeable ing ; thirdly, the loss of the French negative 
ne, as in nill, for * I will not ;' nould, for * I would not ;' n^am, 
for * I am not ; ' and of which the sole trace now remaining is 
* willy-nilly ; ' and, fourthly, the substituting of the preterite 
in d, as in loved and admire<i, for the older and much stronger 

Lost Preterites. 299 

preterite formed by a change in the vowel sound of the 
infinitive and the present, as in run, ran ; bite, bit ; speak, 
spoke ; take, took ; and many others that still survive. And 
not only has the language lost the strong preterite in a great 
variety of instances where it would have been infinitely better 
to have retained it, but it has lost many hundred preterites 
altogether, as well as many whole verbs, which the illiterate 
sometimes use, but which literature for a hundred and fifty 
years has either ignored or despised. Of all the nouns that 
formerly formed their plural in n, as the German or Saxon 
nouns still for the most part do, very few survive — some in 
the Bible, some in poetical composition, some in the common 
conversation of the peasantry, and some, but very few, in 
polite literature. Among them may be mentioned * oxen,' for 
oxes; *kine,' for cows; ' shoon,' for shoes ; ' hosen,' for stock- 
ings j ' een,' for eyes ; * housen,' for houses ; and the words, as 
common to the vernacular as to literature, 'men,' 'women,' 
' brethren,' and ' children.' In America, the word ' sistern ' 
as a companion to brethren, survives in the conventicle and 
the meeting 'house. 'Lamben' and 'thumben,' for 'lambs' 
and 'thumbs,' were comparatively euphemistic words; but 
thumbs and lambs, and every noun which ends with a con- 
sonant in the singular, are syllables which set music, and 
sometimes pronunciation, at defiance. What renders the 
matter worse is, that the s in the French plural, from which 
this perversion of the English language was adopted, is not 
sounded, and that the plural is really marked by the change 
of the definite article, as le champ, les champs. Thus in bor- 
rowing an unpronounced consonant from the French, in order 
to pronounce it the English have adulterated their language 
with a multitude of sibilations alien to its spirit and original 
structure. The substitution of s for eth as the terminal of 
the present person singular of every verb in the language is 
an aggravation of the evil. If this change had been repudiated 

300 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

by our forefathers, a grace much needed would have been 
retained in the language. 

Gradually, too, the English language has lost the large num- 
ber of diminutives which it formerly possessed, and which are 
still common in the Scottish language and its dialects. The 
English diminutives in ordinary use in the nursery are many, 
but are chiefly employed in the pet names of children, as 

* Willie,' for little William ; * Annie,' for little Ann ; and so 
forth. The diminutives belonging to literature are few, and if 
we write * darling,' for little dear ; ' lordling,' for a small lord ; 
' mannikin,' for a very small man ; and such words as ' gos- 
ling,' * duckling,' * kitten,' we have pretty nearly exhausted 
the list. But formerly almost every monosyllabic noun had 
its lawful diminutive, as it has to this day in the Scottish 
dialect, where such words as ' housie,' * wifie,' ' birdie,' ' doggie,' 
' bairnie,' * mannie,' * bookie,' * lassie,' * lammie,' and hundreds 
of others, are constantly employed. Every Scotsman under- 
stands the phrase *'a bonnie ivee lassiekie,^^ in which there are 
no less than three diminutives piled one upon the other, to 
increase the tenderness of an expression which ceased to be 
English four hundred years ago. 

Among other losses of the English from which the Scottish 
language has not suffered to the same extent are the plural in 
eM of the present tenses of all the verbs. We love?^ and we 
smile/i would serve many rhymical needs, and administer to 
many poetic elegancies that the modem forms in English do 
not supply. 

"The persons plural," observes Ben Jonson, a Scotsman, in 
his " English Grammar " — a work by no means so well known 
as his poetry — " keep the termination of the first person sin- 
gular. In former times, till about the reign of King Henry 
VIII., they were wont to be formed by adding en; thus, 

* loven,' 'sayen,' 'complainen.' But now (whatsoever is the 
cause) it hath grown quite out of use. Albeit (to tell you my 

Lost Preterites. 301 

opinion) I am persuaded that the lack thereof, well considered, 
will be found a great blemish to our tongue." 

But of all the losses which the language has sustained, not 
alone for poetry, but for oratory, that of many useful verbs, 
some of which are still existing in Scottish parlance, and 
of the ancient preterites and past participles of many old verbs 
of which the infinitives and present tenses still hold their 
places, is the most to be deplored. This loss began early ; 
and that the process is still in operation in the present day, 
is manifest from the fact that many preterites written in 
the best books and spoken in the best society forty years ago, 
are dropping out of use before our eyes. We constantly find 
hid for hade — * he hids me now ; ' ' he hid me yesterday ; ' dare 
for durst — ' I told him I dare not do it ; ' need for needed — * it 
was clear to me a year ago that he need not perform his pro- 
mise ; eat for ate or ett — *' he eat his dinner; ' het for hetted — 
' he het me a thousand to one.' The verbs to let, to cast, and 
to puty seem to have enjoyed no preterite during the last two 
hundred years in England, though in Scottish literature, both 
of the past and the present, their preterites are as common 
as their infinitives and present tenses. Must, in^ English, is 
equally devoid of the infinitive, the preterite, and the future ; 
while can has a preterite, but neither infinitive nor future. 
For what reasons these and similar losses have occurred in 
English, it might be interesting to inquire, though it might 
possibly lead us into metaphysical mazes were we to ask why 
an Englishman who may say * I can ' and * I could,' must not 
say * I will can,^ but must resort to the periphrase of * I will 
be able,' to express power in futurity ; or why the sense of 
present duty and obligation implied in the words * I must, ' 
cannot be expressed by the same verb if the duty be bygone or 
future, as * I musted^ or * I will must^ but have to be translated, 
as it were, into * I was obliged,' or * I will be obliged,' to do 
such and such a thing hereafter. These, however, are losses, 

302 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

whatever may be their occult causes, which can never again be 
supplied, and which at our time of day it is useless to lament. 
The loss which most immediately aifects the poetical power 
of modern English is that of the many preterites and past 
participles of ancient verbs that are still in use, and of many 
good verbs in all their tenses which without reason have been 
left for vernacular use to Scotland, and have not been admitted 
to the honours of literature, except in the poems of Robert 
Burns and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. These preterites 
ought not to be lost — they are not dead but sleeping — and 
only need the fostering care of two or three writers and 
speakers of genius and influence to be revived. They formed 
the bone and pith of the language of our forefathers, and the 
beauty and strength of the Bible in many of its noblest 
passages, and particularly commend themselves to us in 
Shakspeare, and other Scottish writers. 

Axe, to inquire. This was the original and is the legitimate 
form of the verb now written and pronounced ask, and it is 
not only to be heard in colloquial use all over the British Isles, 
but to be found in our earliest writers, with the inflexions 

axed and axen. 

Envy with heavy harte 
Axed after Thrifte. 

— Vision of Piers Ploughman. 
If he axe a fish. 

— Wickliffe's Translation of the Bible. 
Axe not why. 

— Chaucer : The Miller's Tale. 

For the purposes of lyrical poetry and musical composition, 
the past participle of this verb, if reintroduced into literature, 
would be a vast improvement upon the harsh sound asked, 
which no vocalist can pronounce without a painful gasp. 

Bake, boke, bulk, beuk, boken, to bake. Both the pre- 
terite and the past participle of this verb are lost to litera- 

Lost Preterites. 303 

ture, though they survive in the rural dialects of Scotland 
and the north of England. The language possesses but few 
trochaic rhymes, and in this respect boken might do good 
service to many a poet at his wits' end for a rhyme to 
* broken ' and * token.' 

They never beuk a good cake, but 

May bake a bad one. 

—Allan Ramsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Beat, beaten. *' The preterite of this verb," says Walker, 
in his *' Pronouncing Dictionary," " is uniformly pronounced 
by the English like the present tense." " I think," says Dr. 
Johnson to Home Tooke, in one of the imaginary conversations 
of Savage Landor, " that I have somewhere seen the preterite 
bate.'' "I am afraid," replied Tooke, "of reminding you 
where you probably met with the word. The Irishman in 
Fielding's * Tom Jones' says * he bate me.' " Johnson replied, 
**that he would not hesitate to employ the word in grave 
composition ; " and Tooke acquiesced in the decision, justify- 
ing it by a statement of the fact, which, however, he did not 
prove, "that authors much richer both in thought and ex- 
pression than any now living or recently deceased have done 
so." Children, who often make preterites of their own, in 
this respect acting unconsciously upon the analogies of the 
language, often say bett for did beat. And the children, it would 
appear, are correct, if the following from " Piers Ploughman " 
be considered good English : — 

He laid on me with rage 

And hitte me under the ear ; 

He buffeted me so about the mouthe 

That out my teeth he bette. 

In Ross's " Helenore " — a perfect storehouse of Scottish words 
current in Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, the Mearns, and 
the north-east of Scotland — we find, — 

Baith their hearts bett wi' the common stound, 
And had nae pain, but pleasure in the wound. 

304 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

This preterite might well be revived ; it is sadly wanted, as 
witness the following passage from Mr. Disraeli's ''Vivian 
Grey " : " Never was she so animated ; never had she boasted 
that her pulse heat more melodious music, or her lively blood 
danced a more healthful measure." If * danced ' (a preterite), 
why not hett, as " Piers Ploughman " has it ? The following 
recent example of the present for the past participle beaten, 
is wholly unjustifiable : — 

They were stoned, and the horse in their vehicle heat severely. — 
Temple Bar Magazine, March 1869. 

Betide, betid, from tide, to happen. The preterite is lost. 
It occurs both in " Piers Ploughman " and in Chaucer : 

Thee should never have tidde so fair a grace. 

— Canterbury Tales. 

Bid, and its derivative forbid. The ancient preterite and 
past participle of this verb were hade and hidden, forbade 
and forbidden. Both of these inflections are threatened with 
extinction ; — for what offence it is impossible to surmise. 
Shakspeare says — 

The very moment that he hade me do it. 

That our modern writers do not follow the example of Shak- 
speare, and conform to the rules of good English, may appear 
from the following examples : — 

The competition is so sharp and general that the leader of to-day can 
never be sure that he will not be outbid to-morrow. — Quarterly Review, 
April 1868. 

Mr. Charles Dickens has finally hid farewell to Philadelphia. — Times, 
March 4, 1868. 

Uncertain even at that epoch (1864) of Austria's fidelity, Prussia bid 
high for German leadership. — Times, April 9, 1868. 

He called his servants and bid them procure firearms. — Times, letter 
from Dublin, March 2, 1868. 

James the First, besides writing a book against tobacco, forbid its use 
by severe penalties. — Tobacco, by D. King, M.D. 

Lost Preterites. 305 

Blend, blent, to mingle. The preterite of this verb pro- 
perly preserved by the poets, but seems to have entirely given 
way in prose and in ordinary speech to 'blended.' Any 
reason for the change it is impossible to discover ; for if it be 
correct to say * blended,' it would be equally correct to say 

* spended,' * lended,' or ' rended. ' This form of the preterite in 
the verb * to mend ' has properly been superseded by * mended,' 
in order to avoid the confusion that would be caused in the 
use of the verb * to mean,' which has its proper preterite in 

* meant. ' Byron uses blent with fine effect in his noble lines 
on *' The Battle of Waterloo : "— 

Rider and horse, friend, foe, in one red burial hUnt. 

Blin, to cease, to stop ; hlan, ceased, stopped. 

And so he did or that they went at win. 
Till he had turned him he could not hlin. 

— Chaucee : The Chanones' YemarCs Tale. 

Her tears did never hlin. 

— Nares : Romeus and Jvlietta. 

One while then the page he went, 

Another while he ranne. 
Till he'd o'ertaken King Estmere, 

I wis he never hlanne. 

— Percy's Reliques : King Estmere. 

Bren or brend, brent or brand, to bum. This verb is lost, 
though it might well have been retained in the language. 
" A brand plucked from the burning," and bran new, or brant 
new, new as a coin newly issued from the fires of the mint, are 
almost its sole remnants : — 

Bring in better wood, 
And blow it till it hrend. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

Brest, brast, to burst. 

Have thou my truth, till that mine herte hrest. 

— Chaucer : The Franklein's Tale. 

3o6 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

The mayor smote Cloudeslee with his bill, 
His buckler he hrast in two. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border : Adam Bell, Clym 
of the (Rough, and William of Cloudeslee. 

Busk, busked, to adorn, to dress, to make ready ; from the 
Gaelic husg, to dress ; husgadh, a head-dress, an ornament. 

Bush ye, my merry men all. 
And John shall go with me. 

— Percy's Reliques : Rohin Hood and 'Guy 
of Gisborne. 

The king's bowmen busked them blythe. 

— Adavi Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of 

The noble baron whet his courage hot, 
And husked him boldly to the dreadful fight, 

— Fairfax : Translation of Tasso. 

Bush ye, bush ye, my bonnie, bonnie bride. 

Hamilton : Braes o' Yarrow. 

A bonnie bride is soon busJcit. — Allan Kamsay's Scots Proverbs. 

Cast, to throw. This verb in English has lost its preterite 
coast, and its past participle, casten. Both survive in Scotland 
and the North of England. 

They coost kevils them amang 
Wha should to the greenwood gang. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

Burns employs the preterite in " The Death and Dying Words 
of Poor MaiUe " :— 

As Mailie and her lamb thegither. 
Were ae day nibbling on the tether. 
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch. 

And again in his immortal song of " Duncan Gray " : — 

Maggie coost her head fu' high. 
Looked asklent and unco skeigh, 
Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh. 

Lost Preterites. 307 

In the Scottish dialect * to cast out ' means * to fall out/ 
* to disagree ; ' and the phrase *' they have casten out " is of 
constant occurrence. 

Chirm, charm, churm, to sound like the murmur or sound 
of a multiplicity of birds. Mr. Halliwell, in his "Archaic 
Dictionary," defines the word to mean the melancholy under- 
tone of a bird previous to a storm. Nares, in his Glossary, 
has charref to make a confused noise, a word current in some 
parts of England. The word is common in Scotland, though 
almost obsolete in the South. 

Small birds with chirming and with cheeping changed their song. 

— Gawin Douglas's Translation of the jEneid. 

At last the kindly sky began to clear, 
The birds to chirm, and daylight to appear, 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Milton makes Eve speak of the ^^ charm of earliest birds," a 
phrase which has been misinterpreted to mean the charming 
(in the modern sense) song of the birds, while it really means 
chirm (in the old English and modern Scottish sense), the con- 
fused and intermingled song of all the morning birds. 

Clead or clede, clad, to clothe. The preterite and past 
participle remain in poetical use as well as in dignified prose, 
while the infinitive and the present and future tenses have 
been superseded by the much harsher word * clothe.' 

Clem, clam, clammed, to perish of hunger, to starve. ' To 
starve' originally meant *to die,' as we still say of a person 
that he is " starving with cold." The word has lately come 
to signify " to die for want of food," and has produced a very 
ugly and incorrect hybrid in the word * starvation,' said to 
have been first used by Mr. Dundas, the first Lord Melville, 
who, as Horace Walpole informs us, received afterwards the 
nickname of '' Starvation Dundas." The word at the time was 

308 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

supposed to be an Americanism. It has unfortunately fixed 
itself into our literature ; but the original and much better 
word clem and its derivatives still hold their ground in Lanca- 
shire and the North of England. The word clem does not occur 
in Shakspeare, but both Ben Jonson and Massinger use it. 

{ Hard is the choice when the valiant must eat their arms or clem. 
— Ben Jonson : Evei'y Man out of his Humour. 

I canna eat stones and turfs. What I will he dem me and my fol- 
lowers ? Ask him, will he clem me 1 — Be.^ Jonson : The Poetaster. 

My entrails were dammed with a perpetual fast. — Massinger : The 
Roman Actor. 

"Let us all clem" said a speaker at a public meeting at 
Manchester, during the American civil war, " rather than help 
the cause of slavery." "I would rather clem than go to the 
workhouse," is still a common and honourable expression in 

Clepe, clept, yclept, to call, to name. The past participle 
of this verb remains for the use of bad writers, and sometimes 
of good writers who compose mock heroics. 

The compaignie of comfort, 
Men deped it some tyme. 

— Pien Ploughman. 
Peradventure in thilk large book 
Which that men depe the heaven ywritten was 
With stars. 

—Chaucer : The Man of Lawes' Tale. 

They depe us drunkards. 

— Shakspeare: Hamlet. 

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, 
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are deped 
All by the name of dogs. 

—Shakspeare: Macbeth. 

Mr. Halliwell, in his " Archaic Dictionary," says that the 
word is still used by boys at play in the eastern counties, who 

Lost Preterites. 309 

clepe or call the sides at a game. Many newspaper writers at 
the present day, at a loss for a word for * calling' or * naming' an 
inanimate object, talk of the * christening ' of a church, a street, 
a battle, or any inanimate object. An example occurs in an 
editorial article of the Times, on the removing of the grating 
from the ladies' gallery in the House of Commons — " * the 
grate question,' as Mr. Lowe christened it." In this and other 
instances the old word clepe, in default of * call ' or * name,' 
would be an improvement, if it were possible to revive it. 

Clip, clap, clippe, to embrace, to fondle. Before the Eng- 
lish language borrowed from the French the word ' embrace,' 
from emhrassevy to clasp in the arms, this verb was in constant 
use. It occurs in " Piers Ploughman," and in Chaucer, and 
had not fallen out of fashion or favour in the days of Shak- 
speare : — 

Clippe we in covenant, and each of us clippe other. 

— Piers Ploughman. 
He kisseth her and clippeth her full oft. 

— Chaucer : The Merchant's Tale. 
Worse than Tantalus is her annoy. 
To clip Elysium and yet lack her joy. 

— Shakspeare : Venus and Adonis. 

Then embraces his son, and then again he worries his daughter with 
clipping her. — Shakspeare : Winter's Tale. 

Oh let me dip ye in arms as round as when I woo'd ! 

— Shakspeare: Coriolanus. 
The lusty vine, not jealous of the ivy, 
Because she clips the elm. 

—Beaumont and Fletcher. 

The preterite, once common, survives to this day in the 
form of an infinitive and of a noun, but in both too offensive 
to modesty to be further mentioned. 

Clout, clouted, to mend, to put a patch upon, from the 
Gaelic clud. The verb survives in Scotland, but has perished 

310 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

out of modern English literature, although Shakspeare used 

I thought he slept, and put 

My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness 

Answered my steps too loud. 

— Cymheline. 

Many sentences of one meaning clouted up together. — Roger Ascham. 

Clout the auld, the new are dear, My joe Janet. 

— Burns. 

Conne or can, to be able. Neither the infinitive nor the 
past participle of this verb seems to have been used since the 
days of Chaucer, who says, " I shall not conne answer," *.e., I 
shall not be able to answer ; and in the " Romance of the 
Rose " has " Thou shalt never conne knowen." 

Crine, crone, crunken, to shrivel from heat, frost, or sickness. 
This verb, with all its declensions, has perished, and only 
survives in its diminutive, to crinkle. In this last form it is 
rather of the middle ages than of our own. See the ballad 
of the " Boy and the Mantle " in Percy's '* Reliques." 

Cut. This verb never appears to have had a preterite, 
though a past participle ykitt or ykutt is cited in Herbert 
Coleridge's vocabulary of the " Oldest Words in the English 
Language." Whence or when the word was introduced into 
English no lexicographer has ever yet been able to determine. 
It is neither derived from the Teutonic, the French, the 
Greek, nor the Latin, and is therefore, by the exhaustive pro- 
cess, supposed by the most recent compilers of dictionaries to 
have been borrowed from the Gaelic cut, to make short, and 
such phrases as cuttie-^i^e, cuttie-ssLrk, and cuttie-stooly all 
implying shortness and curtailment. A near approach to 
it occurs in the French couteau, a knife or instrument to cut 
with ; in the Italian coltello ; and in the English and Scottish 
coulter J the ploughshare, or knife of the plough. It may be 

Lost Preterites. 3 1 1 

that the original word was kit, whence ykitt, cited by Mr. 
Coleridge, and that it formed its preterite by cat and cut. 
Some little support for this idea may be found in the word cat 
as applied in * ca^-o'-nine-tails,' a weapon that cuts pretty 
severely ; and in kit-cat, as applied to portraits that are not 
exactly full-length, but cut to three-quarters length, as those 
painted for the celebrated *' Kit-Kat Club." 

DafF, daft, to make a fool of, to play the fool. Daffe in 
Chaucer signifies a fool; and in the Scottish and North 
English dialect a daft man signifies either a lunatic, or one 
who has been befooled. Daffing signifies foolish fun or merri- 
ment. In the scene between Leonato and Claudio in *' Much 
Ado about Nothing," when Claudio declines to fight the old 
man, and says, — 

Away ! away ! I will not have to do with you. 

Leonato replies, — 

Canst thou so daff me ? Thou hast killed my child. 

Both Mr. Charles Knight and Mr. Howard Staunton, follow- 
ing in the track of other Shakspearean editors, explain daff 
in this passage to mean * doff,' or ' put off.' The true meaning 
is to ' befool,' as the word is used in Chaucer. When, else- 
where, Shakspeare says of Prince Henry, — 

Thou madcap Prince of Wales, that daffed the world aside, 

the meaning of the word is the same. The * madcap ' did 
not *doff' the world aside, for in this sense the expression 
would be pleonastic, but daffed or ' fooled ' or jested it aside, 
as a madcap would. 

Dare or durst, dared. The tendency of our modem and 
colloquial English, as well as of our current literature, is to 
ignore the two preterites and the past participle of this word, 
and to write and say dare where durst or dared would be more 

3 1 2 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

correct. There is also a tendency to omit the s in the third 
person singular of the present tense. The following are 
examples of each inaccuracy : — 

Neither her maidens nor the priest dare speak to her for half an hour 
\durst speak to her, &c.]. — Hereward the Wake, by the Rev. Charles 


The Government dare [durst] not consent to the meeting being held. 
. . . No one can feel anything but contempt for a Government which 
meanly attempts to gain a cheap reputation for firmness by f ulminations 
which it dare [dares] not carry out ; and by prohibiting meetings which it 
dare [dares] not prevent. — London morning paper on the Hyde Park riots. 

There is no reason why this verb should be deprived of its 
declensions, and no careful writer ought to fall into the errors 
just cited. 

Deem, to judge. This word, which now signifies * to think * 
rather than *to judge,' and which has lost its old preterite 
doomy formerly implied the delivery of a doom, sentence, or 
judgment. Chaucer calls a judge a doomsman ; and in the 
Isle of IMan the judge is still called the dempster or deemster. 
The day of Doom is the day of Judgment. Chaucer does not 
use the old preterite doom, which seems to have perished 
before his time; but in the "Franklein's Prologue" uses the 
substantive doom in the sense of an opinion or a private 
judgment : — 

As to my doom, there is more that is here 

Of eloquence that shall be thy peer, 

If that thou live. 

Out of the lost preterite the English writers of three centuries 
ago formed a new verb, to doom, with a regular preterite, 
doomed — a word which does not merely signify to pass judg- 
ment upon, but to pass a severe sentence. 

Delve, delve, dolven, to dig, to make a trench or ditch, to 
bury in the earth. This verb is still retained in poetical 
composition, and in the everyday speech of the people in 

Lost Preterites. 3 1 3 

Scotland and some of the northern counties; but the old 
preterite and past pai-ticiple are lost. They have found a 
substitute in the regular declension delved. The old preterite 
seems to have become obsolete at an early period, as appears 
from the distich of John Ball the priest, the friend and 
coadjutor of Wat Tyler in the rebellion of 138 1 : — 

When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman ? 

Chaucer used the participle, " I would be dolven [buried] 
deep ; " and in the *' Romance of Merlin," a man who was to 
be buried alive is described as to "be dolven quick." " Piers 
Ploughman" has, "They dolven with spades and shovels to 
drive away hunger." Keats, in more modern times, employs 
delved : — 

Oh for a draught of vintage that hath been 
Cooled a long age in the deep delved earth I 

If he had said deep dolven instead of deep delved, he would 
have had high authority, and would have greatly improved 
the stately march and music of his verse. 

Dight, dighted, to prepare, to put in order, to deck, to attire, 
to wipe away. This useful word of many meanings is all but 
obsolete in English literature, but survives in Scottish. The 
preterite has long been lost. An offshoot of this word in the 
form of misdiglit (misprepared) occurs in Jack Miller's song, 
quoted by Stowe in his account of Wat Tyler's rebellion ; — 

If might 
Go before right, 
And will 
Before skill, 
Then is our mill misdight. 

Spencer and Milton both attempted to revive dighty but with 
only partial success : — 

314 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Soon after them, all dancing in a row, 

The comely virgins came with garlands dight. 

— The Faerie Queene. 

The clouds in thousand liveries dight. 

— L' Allegro. 

Storied windows richly dight. 

— II Penseroso. 

In Scottish parlance dight does constant service. The lassie 
dights her mou' before accepting a kiss, and dights her een after 
she has been weeping. She dights herself in her best attire 
before going to kirk ; and the wife dights the dinner for her 

Dight your cheeks and banish care. 

— Allan Ramsay. 

Let me rax up to dight that tear, 
And go with me and be my dear. 

— Burns : Hie Jdly Beggars. 

Ding, dang, dong or dung, to strike hard, to beat down. 
The infinitive and present tense of this verb are still collo- 
quially current, but the preterite and past participle are 
obsolete, or only survive in the nursery phrase, *' Ding^ 
dong J bell." In Scotland the verb and all its inflections 
survive. Burns, in his often-quoted line, says, " Facts are 
chiels that winna ding." Sir Alexander Bos well has a song 
entitled " Jenny dang the Weaver," which expression was 
translated by an English critic into the very prosaic form 
of "Jenny vanquished the cotton manufacturer." The past- 
participle occurs in the familiar proverbs quoted by Allan 
Ramsay, " It's a sair dung bairn that munna greet," and 
" He's sairest paid that's dung wi' his ain wand." The modern 
English preterite dinged is still occasionally heard in conver- 
sation, though lost to literature, as in such phrases: "Horace? 
Yes ; he was dinged into me at school ; " and colloquially, 
" Why do you keep dinging that old story into my ears ? " 

Lost Preterites. 3 1 5 

The word constantly occurs in serious poetry up to the time of 
Shakspeare and Ben Jonson, and survives, and is likely long 
to survive, in the nursery rhyme — 

Ding, dong, bell, 
Pussy's in the well. 

The hellish prince, grim Pluto, with his mace, ding down my soul to 
hell ! — The Battle of Alcazar. 

Do-well shall dyngen him down, 
And destroyen his mighte. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

She dings you in her hamely goun o' gray. 
As far's a summer dings a winter day. 

— Ross's Hdenore. 

My chains then, and pains then, 

Infernal be their hire, 
Who dang us and^awgr us. 

Into this ugsome mire. 

— Allan Ramsay : The Vision — The Evergreen. 

The beautiful poem of "The Vision," written in older 
Scotch than that of the time of Allan Ramsay, is signed A. R. 
Scotus, meaning, "Allan Ramsay, a Scot." It expresses in 
covert allusion, the indignation of the Scots of Allan Ramsay's 
day, at the Union of Scotland with England, and the means 
by which it was accomplished. Allan Ramsay's Jacobite 
friends were all well aware that the poem was from his pen, 
but the government of the day, though suspecting the fact, 
and willing to prosecute him, wisely refrained from doing so. 

Dow, to be able, to thrive ; doughty was able. This verb is 
utterly lost from English literature, but, like many others of 
its sturdy class, exists in the speech of the English peasantry, 
and in the speech as well as the literature of Scotland. By a 
strange neglect, or a stranger ignorance, the makers of dic- 
tionaries — from Blount and Philips up to Johnson, Richardson, 
Worcester, Webster, and Stormonth — have either omitted all 
mention of it, or erroneously considered it to be sjmonymous 

3 1 6 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

with, or an orthographical error for, the similar word * do,' with 
which it has no connection. "I do as well as I daw?" — i.e., 
*' I do as well as I can " — is a common phrase in the North : 
and the super-eminently English but pleonastic inquiry, " How 
do you do ? " — which means " How do you dow ? " — i.e., thrive, 
prosper, or get on — has come to be accepted as accurate Eng- 
lish, though wholly a mistake of the learned. Even Nares, in 
his Glossary, has no suspicion of this word, though Halliwell, 
more acute, gives one of its meanings, * to thrive,' * to mend 
in health ; ' and Mr. Thomas Wright, in his *' Provincial 
Dictionary," follows in the same track as regards its use in 
English literature, though he does not seem to be aware of its 
commonness in the literature of Scotland. William Hamilton, 
the Scottish poet, writes to his friend Allan Ramsay, — 
Lang may'st thou live and thrive and dow / 

And Burns says to Gavin Hamilton, — 

When I dovma yoke a naig, 
The Lord be thankit, I can beg ! 

In his " Epistle to King George III.," in his eulogy of facts, 
Burns speaks of them as " chiels that winna ding," and adds, 
"they downa be disputed." Boss, in his *' Helenore," has 
*' When he dow do nae mair," — a phrase that shows the 
essential difference between the two words. 

From this obsolete verb springs the adjective douglity, 
strong, able — a derivation which up to the present time seems 
to have escaped the notice of all the English lexicographers. 

Dread, drad, dradden, to fear greatly. The modem pre- 
terite and past participle dreaded have entirely superseded the 
ancient forms. 

But what I drad, did me, poor wretch, betide. 

— Robert Greene, 1593. 

Dwine, dwined, to pine away, to fall of. This verb has 
been superseded by its diminutive, to dwindle, which has the 
same meaning. 

Lost Preterites. 3 1 7 

Thus dmneth he till he be dead. 


It dwined for eld. 

— Chaucer. 
Bacchus hates repining ; 
Venus loves no dwining. 

—Allan Ramsay. 

Fang, fong, fung, to seize, to lay hold of. Most people 
remember the old law phrase, ^^mfang thief and outfang 
thief," the one signifying a thief taken within the jurisdiction 
of a feudal lord, and the other a thief taken without his juris- 
diction. This is the only remnant of this verb that has come 
down to our time except the substantive fang, the large tooth 
of a beast of prey or of a serpent ; the diminutive /angle, to 
take hold of a new fancy or fashion ; and the common phrase 
new-fangled. In Scotland it is sometimes said when the well 
does not readily yield the water after repeated strokes of the 
pump, that the pump has lost its fang o' the water. 

I nold fang a farthing (I would not take a farthing). 

— Vision of Piers Ploughman. 

He fong his f oeman by the flank, 
And flang him on the floor. 

— Buchan's Northern BaUads. 

Fare, foor, fore, fure, fared, to travel. This verb is not 
wholly obsolete, though its preterite is lost. It has come to 
signify to eat and drink as well as to travel, and also that 
which is eaten or drunk. It is doubtful whether our beautiful 
word * farewell' means "may you travel well through life," 
or " may you be well treated by the world." A waj- faring 
man is still a common expression. * AvUd-farrand,' travelling 
on the old ways, old-fashioned, is intelligible to the people on 
the north of the Tweed. The preterite occurs several times 
in the " Vision of Piers Ploughman." 

Alexander fell into a fever therewith, so that he fure wondrous ille. 
—MS. Lincoln, quoted in Halliwell's Archaic Dictionary. 

3 1 8 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Her errand led her through the glen to fare. 

— Ross's Hdenore. 
As o'er the moor they lightly foor, 
A burn was clear, a glen was green — 
Up the banks they eased their shanks. 

— Burns. 

Forewent, preterite of to forego, to renounce. 

Writers and speakers still say, " I forego the pleasure," but use a 
roundabout form of expression rather than say, " I forewent the 
pleasure." And why ? Forewent is as legitimate a word as forego, 
and should not be allowed to become obsolete. — Lost Beauties of the 
English Language. 

Forswink, forswunk, to be worn out with overmuch toil. 

She is my goddess plain. 
And I her shepherd swain, 
Albeit forswunk and f orswat I am. 

— Specker : Shepherd's Calendar. 

Fret, freet, freten, to devour or eat up ; from the French 
and Dutch, freteriy the Germsin fressen, to eat. 

Like as it were a moth fretting a garment. — Psalm xxxix.. Common 

Adam freet of that fruit. 

And forsook the love of our Lord. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

He (the dragon) has fretten of folk more than five hundred. — Morte 
d' Arthur. 

Frush, frusht, frushed, to bruise, disturb, rumple, dis- 
arrange. From the Gaelic frois, a driving gust of rain, and 
froiseachf to scatter, to shake off, and French froisser, to rub 
against. This good Shakspearean word is fairly admissible 
into modem dictionaries, in few of which, however, does it 
find a place. 

Stand ! stand, thou Greek I thou art a goodly mark 1 

No ! wilt thou not ? I like thy armour well, 

VYi. frush it and unlock the rivets all ! 

— Sbakspeare : Troilus and Cressida. 

Lost Preterites. 319 

Hector assailed Achilles and gave him so many strokes that he all to 
frusht and brake his helm. — Caxton's Destruction of Troy. 

High cedars SLiefrushed with tempests. — Hinde, 1606. 

Southey uses the substantive : — 

Horrible uproar and frusk of rocks that meet in battle. 

The word well deserves favour and restoration. 

Gar, gart, gard, to compel, to force, to make, to cause a 
thing to be done. This verb in all its declensions has become 
obsolete in English literature, where its place has been but 
feebly supplied by 'make' and 'made.' "I'll make him do 
it " is neither so strong nor so elegant as the ancient English 
and modern Scotch, " I'll gar him do it." 

Gar us have meat and drink, and make us chere, 

— Chaucer : The Eeeve's Tale. 

Gar saddle me my bonnie black, 
Gar saddle soon, and make her ready. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

And like the mavis on the bush. 
He gart the vallies ring. 

— Percy's Reliques. 

Auld Girzie Graham, having twice refused a glass of toddy, when 
pressed a third time, replied, "Weel! weel ! since ye winna hear o' 
a refusal, just mak it hot, an' strong, an' sweet, an' gar me tak it ! " — 
Laird of Logan. 

Get, got, gotten, to attain, to procure, to come into posses- 
sion of. The past participle of this verb has lately become 
obsolete, except in the talk of the uneducated and in Scottish 
literature. It was common in the last century. 

We knew we were gotten far enough out of their reach. — Defoe : 
Robinson Crusoe. 

320 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Ken ye what Meg o' the mill has gotten ? 
She's gotten a lout wi' a lump o' siller, 
And broken the heart o' the barley miller. 

— RoBEKT Burns. 

There is also a marked tendency to the disuse of this inflection 
in the verb *to forget,' and people too commonly say and 
write *'I hdiWQ'forgotj^ instead oi forgotten. 

Glide, glode, glidden, to move away easily and smoothly. 
The ancient preterite and past participle have become obsolete, 
and have been superseded by glided, much to the loss of versi- 
fiers in search of good rhymes. 

His good stede he all bestrode, 
And forth upon his way he glode. 


He glode forth as an adder doth. 

— Idem. 

Through Guy's shield it glode. 

— Ouy of Warwick. 

The reason of the substitution of the regular for the irregu- 
lar preterite may be found in the desire to prevent confusion 
with the regular preterite of the verb * to glow.' 

Glint, glent, glinted, to shine, to flash, to appear suddenly. 
In Sternberg's " Northamptonshire Glossary " the infinitive of 
this verb as used amongst the peasantry of that part of Eng- 
land is cited as gline. Glint would be the legitimate preterite 
if this were correct. In Scottish poetry glint is the infinitive, 
and glinted the preterite and past participle. In Old English 
poetry glent is the preterite. 

The sunbeams are glinting far over the sea. 

— Newcastle Garland. 

Lost Preterites. 321 

Cauld blew the bitter biting north 
Upon thy early humble birth, 
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth 
Amid the storm. 

— Burns : To a Mountain Daisy. 

There came a hand withouten rest 

Out of the water, 

And brandished it. 
Anon as a gleam away it glent. 

— Morte d' Arthur. 

Gnaw, gnew, gnawed, to bite at a hard substance. The 
old preterite is lost, doubtless on account of its identity in 
pronunciation with the more familiar word *knew,' the 
preterite of * know,' a word of different meaning. 

Till with the grips he was baith black and blue, 
At last in twa the dowie ropes he gnew. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Ko sustenance got. 
But only at the cauld hill's berries gnew. 

— Idem. 

Go, gaed, gone, to depart. The ancient and legitimate 
preterite of this verb has been superseded by the preterite 
(*went') of the verb to *wend,' to turn away. It maintains 
its ground, however, in Scotland and the northern English 
counties. Chaucer has * gadling,' for a vagabond, a wanderer 
who goes much about ; and the language still retains the word 
to *gad,' to wander or stray about, making short visits. 

I ga^d a waef u' gate yestreen. 

— Burns. 

Grab, grub, grabbed, to dig up, to seize. This verb, in all 
its inflections, has been wholly relegated to the speech of the 
vulgar, but, like many other vulgar words, has a highly 
respectable origin. Grab, in its first sense, means to dig 
a grave or hole ; and gruh means that which is dug up, such 

322 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

as roots for human subsistence, whence its modern and slang 
signification, 'food.' 

Graith, graithed, to prepare, make ready. A critic in the 
Literary Gazette of March 30, i860, called a poet to account 
for using such an unpermissible word as graith, of which he 
declared his utter ignorance. He might, however, have found 
it in Chaucer, in Worcester's Dictionary, and in Robert 
Bums : — 

Her son Galathin 

She graithed in attire fine. 

— Arihour and Merlin. 

Unto the Jewes such a hate had he, 
That he bade graith his chair full hastUie. 

— Chaucee : The Reeve's Tale. 

Go warn me Perthshire and Angus baith, 
And graith my horse. 

— Song of the Outlaw Murray. 

Greet, grat, grutten, to weep. This verb, with all its 
declensions, has lost its place in English literature, though 
the word greet remains with a different meaning, * to salute. ' 
Like other strong indigenous words which modem English has 
unnecessarily discarded, it is retained in Scotland. It seems 
to have been lost even in Chaucer's time, who uses greet 
entirely in the modem sense of Ho salute.' "Piers Plough- 
man " has it in the sense of * to lament ' or * weep.' 

And then 'gan Gloton to greet, 
And great dool to make. 

** It's a sad time," says an old Scottish proverb, " when hens 
crow and bearded men greet.'' Another proverb says, "Better 
bairns should gi'eet than bearded men." 

Then ilk ain to the other made his wain, 

And sighed and grat, and grat and sighed again. 

— Ross's ITelenore. 

Lost Preterites. 323 

Duncan sighed baith out and in, 
Oral his een baith bleer't and blin*. 

— Burns : Duncan Gray, 

The Edinbro' wells are grutten dry. 

— Burns ; Elegy on the Year 1788. 

Heat, to make or grow hot ; het, made hot. 

Let him cool in the skin he het in. — Allan Ramsay : Scots Proverbs. 

Help, help, holpen, to aid. The preterite and past participle 
are fast becoming obsolete. They are still retained in the 
Flemish language. 

For thou hast holpen me now. 

— Halliwell: MS. Cantab, 

And blind men holpen. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

Building upon the foundation that went before us, and being 
holpen by their labours. — ITie translators of the Bible to the reader : temp. 
James I. 

Hend, hent, to take, to hold, to seize, to apprehend. 

Jog on, jog on, the footpath way, 

And merrily hent the style-a : 
A merry heart goes all the day, 

Your sad tires in a mile-a. 

It is probable that in this well-known passage from the song 
of Autolycus in the " Winter's Tale," the preterite Iient is a 
misprint for the infinitive hendy though it must be admitted 
that Chaucer uses hent both in the present and the past tenses. 
This is a very unusual defect in an English verb of that early 

All be it that it was not our intente, 

He should be sauf , but that we sholde him hent. 

—Chaucer : The Friar's Tale. 

324 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Shakspeare uses hent as a substantive, to signify a purpose, an 
intention to hold by, in Hamlet's exclamation, when he deter- 
mines not to kill the king at his prayers : — 

Up, sword ! and know thou a more horrid hent ! 
When lie is drunk, asleep, or in his rage. 

Hit, het, hitten, to strike, to touch violently with a blow. 
Both preterite and past participle are obsolete. Hitten sur- 
vives in the colloquial language of the peasantry. 

Your honour's hitten the nail upon the head. 

— Ross's Hdenore. 

The Americans, in default of the old preterite het^ occasion- 
ally say hot — as, " He hot me a heavy blow ; he hot out right 
and left." 

Hold, held, holden, to have, grasp, or retain in possession. 
The past participle is obsolete, but might be advantageously 
revived for the sake of the rhyme which it affords to * golden,' 
* embolden,' &c. 

Keek, keeked, to peep, to look in slily. 

The robin came to the wren's nest, 
And Iceelced in and Iceeked in. 

—Nursery Rhymes of England. 

This Nicholas sat even gape upright. 
As he had keeked on the new moone. 

—Chaucer : The Miller's Tale. 

Stars, dinna keek in 
And see me wi' Mary. 

— Burns. 

Kythe, kouth or couth, to show, appear, know, make 
known. This word has become wholly obsolete in England, 

Lost Preterites, 325 

but survives in Scotland. The sole remnant of it in English 

is uncouthf originally meaning something unknown, unheard 

of, strange, and now meaning rough or ungainly. Milton 

has — 

Bound on a voyage uncouth, 

meaning unknown. The Scotch have the word couthiej 
familiar, or well known. , 

And to the people's eres all and some 

Was couth that a new markissesse 

He with him brought in such pompe and richenes 

That never was there seen with manne's eye. 

— Chauceb : The Clerk's Tale. 

Take your sport, and kythe your knights. 

— Sir Ferumhras. 

• Kythe in your ain colours, that folk may ken you. — Allan Ramsay's 
Scots Proverbs. 

Their faces blythe, they sweetly kythe. 


Laugh, lough, leuch. The ancient preterite and past parti- 
ciple of this verb have been superseded by the modern preterite 
in ed. 

Then lough there a lord, 
And " By this lighte " saide, 
** I hold it right and reson." 

— Piers Ploughman. 

He cleped it Valerie and Theophrast, 
And lough always full fast. 

— Chauceb : The Wife of Bath's Prologue. 

When she had read Wise William's letter, 
She smiled and she leuch. 

— Mothebwell's Collection. 

" I think not so," she hnlflina said, and leuch. 

—Ross's Hdenore. 

326 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

How graceless Ham leuch at his dad, 
Which made Canaan a nigger. 

— Burns : The Ordination. 

An' ilka ane leuch him to scorn. 

—Percy's Religues : The Avid Guidman. 

Leap, lope, lopen, to leap. At what time this verb followed 
the analogy of weep, creep, and sleep, and formed its preterite 
in leap or leptj does not very clearly appear. 

And they laughing lope to her. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

Have lopen the better. 

— Idem. 

Up he lope and the window broke, 

And he had thirty foot to fall. 

— Percy's Reliques : The Murder of the King of Scots. 

Tom Kindle lope fra the chimley nook. 

— ^Waugh's Lancashire Songs. 

Let, loot, letten, looten, to let, to permit. This verb has 
lost all its inflections in literary and colloquial English, but 
preserves them in the Scottish dialect. 

But letten him lede forth whom hym liked. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

And aye she loot the tears down fa' 
For Jock o' Hazeldean. 

— Sib Walter Scott. 

Ye've loot the ponie o'er the dyke. 

— Burns. 

But dool had not yet letten her feel her want. 

— Ross's Hdenore. 

He boore upon him and ne'er loot her ken. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

Lost Preterites. 327 

Ligge, ligged, to lie down. This ancient word is still in 
common use in Cumberland and Northumberland, and also 
in the Border counties of Scotland. 

So that the Holy Ghost 
Gloweth but as a glade, 
Till that lele love 
Ligge on him. 

— Pun Ploughman. 

What hawkes sitten on the perche above I 
What houndes liggen on the floor adown I 

—Chaucer : The Knight's Tale. 

I have ligged for a fortnight in London, weak almost to death, and 
neglected by every one. — G. P. R. James : Gowrie, or the King's Plot. 

List or lest, lust, to please. This word has gradually been 
dropping out of use, but having been preserved in the Bible, is 
still occasionally heard. The preterite is lost, though the word 
itself survives as a substantive, and as the infinitive of another 
verb, to lust^ signifying to desire pleasure vehemently. 

The wind bloweth where it listeth. 

The colloquial expression, " to list for a soldier," seems to come 
from this root, and means, to please to become, or voluntarily 
to become, a soldier. Chaucer uses Itist in the sense of joy : — 

Farewell, my Ufe, my lust, and my gladnesse. 

—The Knight's Tale. 

Lout, louted, to make an obeisance or a curtsey. 

And then louted adown. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

** Sir," quoth the dwarf, and louted low. 

— Pkeoy's Reliques : Sir Cavline. 

They louted to that ladye. 

— Percy's Reliques : On Alliterative Metre. 

328 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

To which image both young and old 
Commanded he to lout. 

— Chaucee : The Monke's Tale. 

And I am louted by a traitor villain. 

— Shakspeare : Henry VI., Part i. 

Melt, molt, molten, to liquefy by means of heat. The 
preterite is lost, but the past participle is still preserved in 
poetry and the Bible. 

Mint, minted, to essay, to try, to aim, to attempt, to prove 
the genuineness of metals before coinage. 

Minting's not making (attempting's not doing). 

— Allan Ramsay's Scots Provei'bs. 

A minted [attempted] excuse. 

— The Two Lancashire Lovers : 1660. 

Nake, naked, to denude of covering. The preterite survives 
as an adjective j the infinitive is lost. 

Come, be ready 1 nake your swords. 
Think of your wrongs 1 

— Nares : Jieveitge's Tragedy. 

Pight, a word that occurs in Chaucer, is defined by Tyrwhitt 
as meaning, * pitched,* rather than the preterite of *put ': — 

He pight him on the pomel of his head, 
That in the place he lay as he were dead. 

— Chaucer : The Knight's Tale. 

Stowe, however, at a later period, uses jnght for * did put ' : — 

He was brought to the Standard in Cheape, where they strake off 
his head and pight it on a pole, and bare it before them. — Stowe's 
Annals: Henry VI. 

Lost Preterites. 329 

Prank, prankt or pranked, to adorn, to embellish, to dress 

Some prank their rirffs, and others trimly dight 
Their gay attire. 

— Spenser : The Faerie Queene. 

False tales prankt in reason's garb. 

— MttTON : Comus. 

Most goddess-like pranked up. 

— Shakspeare : Winter's Tale. 

Put, pat or pight, putten or pitten, to place. The modem 
verb has lost the preterite and past participle. 

I there wi' something did f orgether, 
That pat me in an eerie swither. 

— Burns : Death and Doctor Hornbook. 

Ye see how Kob and Jenny's gone sin' they 
Ha'e pitten o'er their heads the metry day. 

— Ross's Helenore. 

He's putten it to a good purpose, has Brighouse. — The Master of 
Marston: London, 1664. 

Quake, quoke, to tremble with fear. 

An ugly pit, as deep as any hell, 
That to behold therein I quoke for fear. 

— The King's Quair. 

The whole land of Italy trembled and quoke. 

— Douglas : Translation of the JSneicL 

Quethe or queath, quoth, to say. The infinitive of this verb 
is lost, but the preterite quoth remains in colloquial use, and 
in writings that do not aspire to eloquence or dignity, as 
* quoth he,' ^ quoth I.' Bequeath^ to say in your will what 
part of your property your heirs or legatees shall possess, is 
a remnant of this ancient verb. 

330 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Eax, raught, to reach, to stretch. 

He raught to the steere (he reached to the hehn). 

— Piers Ploughman. 

He start up and would have him raught. 

— Merlin : Early English Metrical Romances. 

The villain is o'er-raught of all my money. 

— Shakspeare : Comedy of Errors. 

Their three-mile prayers and half-mile graces, 
Their raxing conscience. 

— Burns : Episde to M'Math. 

Is this a time to talk o' wark, 

When Colin's at the door ? 
Rax down my cloak, I'll to the quay, 

And see him come ashore. 

— MiCKLE : There's nae Luck ahout the House. 

Beap, rept, rope, ropen, to cut, or help to cut the harvest. 

Ropen and laide away the come. 
' — Chaucer : Legende of Good Women. 

After the com is rept. 

— Nares. 

Reave, reft, take off, take away, whence the old English 
and Scottish word reaver or reiver, a thief. This word survives 
in bereave and bereft, but is fast becoming obsolete. 

If he reaveth me by night. 
He robbeth me by maistrye. 

— Piers PloughTnan. 

Therefore, though no part of his work to reave him, 
We now for matters more allied must leave him. 

— Hetwood's Troia Britannia, 1609. 

To go robbe that ragman. 
And reave the fruit from him. 

— Piers PloughTnan. 

Means to live by reafoi other men's goods. — Holinshed's Chronicles, 

Lost Preterites. 331 

Reek, roke, to emit smoke or vapour. Tlie present tense of 
this verb survives in solemn and poetical composition in Eng- 
land, but both the present and preterite are in common and 
colloquial use in Scotland. " Auld Reekie " is a popular name 
for Edinburgh. 

Rown, rowned, to whisper, to talk privately, to whisper in 
the ear. This word is wholly lost, but might have been pre- 
served, if Shakspeare, like modern authors, had been in the 
habit of correcting his proof-sheets. The word, misprinted 
rounds occurs several times in Shakspeare, and has puzzled all 
the commentators. Mr. Staunton, in a note on the passage 
where Polonius says to the king in " Hamlet " — 

Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him 
To show his grief — let her be round with him, 

says, " Let her be blunt and plain-spoken with him." 

In another note to the word in *'King John," act ii. scene 2 — 

Whom zeal and charity brought to the field 
As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear 
With that same purpose — charge — 

he explains the true meaning of rounded (which should be 
roioned, just as vulgar people sometimes say ' drownded ' for 
drowned) as * insinuated,' * whispered in the ear.' He 
quotes from the Spanish tragedy the line where the same 
orthographical error occurs — 

Forthwith, revenge, she rounds them in the ear. 

The word appears correctly in all authors previous to Shak- 
speare : — 

They rose up in rape. 
And rowned together. 

— Piers Ploughman, 

332 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

The steward on his knees sat down 
With the emperor for to rovm. 

— Romance of Cceur de Lion. 

But if it like you that I might rovme in your ear. 

— Skelton. 

Sag, sog, to bend or give way under pressure, to faiL 

The mind I sway by, and the heart, I fear, 
Shall never sag with doubt or shake with fear. 

— Shakspeare: Macbeth. 

That it may not sag from the intention of the founders. 

—Fuller's Worthies. 

From the lost preterite sog comes the adjective soggy, often 
used by the Americans to signify wet boggy soil that yields to 
the foot. 

Scathe or skaith, to do an injury or damage. Shakspeare 
and Milton use the verb : — 

This trick may chance to scathe you. 

— Romeo and Jvliet. 

Scathed the forest oaks. 

— Milton. 

The substantive scathe or sTcaith, signifiying hurt, damage, and 
injury, survives in Scottish speech and literature, and is not 
wholly obsolete in English poetry, though rarely used by 
modern writers. 

Oh 1 if on my bosom lying, 

I could work him deadly scathe, 
In one burst of burning passion, 

I would kiss him unto death 1 

— Love in Hate. 

Seethe, sod, sodden, to boil. The translators of the Bible 
have preserved this old English word, which was in common 

Lost Preterites. 333 

use before its modern synonym was borrowed with other culi- 
nary phrases from the Norman French : — 

And he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage 
for the sons of the prophets. — 2 Kings iv. 38. 

Go suck the subtle blood o' th' grape 

Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth. 

— Shakspeare : Timon of A them. 

Seethe stanes in butter, the brew will be good. — Allan Ramsay's Scots 

It is unsavorye 
Y-sodden or y-baken 

— Piers Ploughman. 

Shape, shope, shopen, to make, to create, to put into form. 
This verb has wholly lost its original meaning in the infini- 
tive and present, in which form it subsists as a regular verb, 
with its preterite in d. Its preterite and past participle have 
long been obsolete, and do not seem to have been used in Eng- 
lish literature after the time of Chaucer. 

God shope the world.— Wicklipfe's Bible. . 

The king and the commune 
Shopen laws. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

To which this sempnour shope him for to wende. 

— Chauoee : The Frere's Tale. 

Shear, sheer, shore or shure, shorn, to cut closely off. The 
ancient preterite is obsolete, and has been superseded in the 
regular form in ed. The sea-shore — i.e., the strip of land 
sheared, shore, or shorn by the action of the waves — is the sole 
relic of this word in modern parlance. 

Robin shure in hairst [harvest], 
I shure wi' him. 

— Burns. 

334 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Boston was the Delilah that allured him [Daniel Webster]. Oft he 
broke withes of gold, till at last she shore off his locks, and his strength 
went from him. — Theodoee Pabker : Discourse on the Death of Daniel 

Shend, shent, shent, to rebuke, to blame, to shame, or bring 
to shame. 

What say yon, sir? 

I am shent for speaking to you. 

— Shakspeare : Twelfth Night. 

He that shames let him be shent. 

— Allan Ramsat, 

All woe-begone was John o' the Scales, 
Soe shent he could say never a word. 

— Percy's Reliques : The Heir of Lynne, 

Spenser in the " Faerie Queene," and Thomson in the " Castle 
of Indolence," use this word. According to Dr. Johnson, the 
last author of note who employed it was Dry den. It sur- 
vives in Scotland. 

Shread, shred, to cut off the ends, to lop. The old preterite 
has long been obsolete, but survives as a noun ; shred, a thing 
lopped off or cut off, a remnant. 

The superfluous and waste sprigs of vines being shreaded off. — 
Withall's Dictionarie : 1608. 

A shredded of trees. — Nares. 

Shrew, shrew, shrown. This obsolete word, of which the 
only current representative is shrewd, a perversion of the 
original meaning, signifies *to curse,' and finds a singular 
synonym in America. In England a scolding wife is a shrew ; 
in America the same disagreeable person is a * cuss.' Shak- 
speare applies the word shrew to both sexes, just as the 

Lost Preterites. 335 

Americans do the word * cuss.' " Beshrew me ! " the old ejacu- 
lation, meant " curse me ! " At the present day inferior 
writers and careless speakers will say, "I have a shrewd 
suspicion," meaning " a sharp, cunning suspicion." The time 
at which the word assumed this new meaning in speech or 
literature is uncertain. 

Shrive, shrove, shriven, to confess to the priest ; shrift, a 
confession. This verb, in all its inflections, went out when 
the Reformation came in, and only survives in poetry and 
romance, and in the word " Shrove Tuesday." 

Slake, sloke, sicken, to assuage thirst, to quench a fire. 
The preterite and past participle are obsolete. 

Sneap, sneb, snub, to check, chide, rebuke angrily, to be 
sharp to a person, like a cutting wind. 

An envious sneaping frost 

That bites the first-born infants of the spring. 

— Shakspeare : Love's Labour Lost. 

Do you sneap me too, my lord ? 

— Browne's Antipodes. 

This word only survives in its past participle snub, which has 
become the infinitive of a verb with the original meaning. 

Snow, snew, snown, to drop partially congealed rain. The 
preterite and past participle survive in America, but are con- 
sidered vulgarisms. 

Withouten bake meat never was his house, 
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous. 
It snewe in his house of meat and drink. 

— Chaucer : Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. 

First it blew, and then it snew, and then it friz horrid. 

—Major Downing 's Letters. 

33^ Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Ben Jonson, in his "English Grammar," cites the following 
verbs that make their preterite in ew — viz., blow, grow, throw, 
crow, know, draw, slay, and snow. The last is the only one 
of the number that now forms its preterite in ed, though un- 
educated people both in Great Britain and America some- 
times form the preterites of grow, blow, and know in ed 
— as when Topsy, in " Uncle Tom's Cabin," says " she 
growed." " I knowed it," instead of '' I knew it," is also a 
common vulgarism. 

Stand, stood, studden. 

Weel, I thought there was naething but what your honour could hae 
studden in the way o' agreeable conversation. — Scott : The Antiquary. 

Stent, stint, stunt, to desist, to cease, to limit, to confine 
within a certain bound. This verb is a curious instance of the 
liberties which Time takes with the old words of a language. 
The three inflections have each been made to do duty for an 
infinitive, so that one verb has been virtually converted into 
three. Chaucer has stent,. the correct and original form : — 

And of this cry we would they never sterU. 

—The Knight's Tale. 

The noun stent, an allotted portion of work, though obsolete in 
England, is common in America. 

Little boys in the country, working against time, with stents to do. — 
Theodore Parker : Discourse on the Death of Daniel Webster. 

Stint, the ancient preterite, is the modem infinitive, and 
forms its preterite and past participle regularly in ed. Stint, 
to stint, or stop, or cease in growth, goes through the same 
inflections. The late Daniel O'Connell called the Duke of 
Wellington a *' stunted corporal." 

Sweat, swat, to perspire. This ancient word survives in 
colloquial, but has been of late years banished from literary 

Lost Preterites. 337 

English, and from polite society. The curse pronounced upon 
Adam, " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat [or earn] thy 
bread," would have lost much of its native energy if the 
ancient translators had been as mealy-mouthed as the men of 
the present day, and rendered sweat by pers^iiration. 

His fair steed 
So swat that men might him ring. 

— Chaucer : The Rhyme of Sir Topaz. 

His hackenye which that was al pomelee gris, 
So swatte that it wonder was to see. 

— The Chanones Yemanne's Tale. 

Some, lucky, find a flowery spot, 
For which they never toiled nor swat. 

— BuENS: Epistle to James Smith. 

An anecdote is related by Dean Ramsay, of a sturdy old lady 
who so greatly loved hearty vehemence in preaching, that she 
delighted in one particular minister, because when he preached 
he was in such grim earnest with his discourse that " he grat 
and spat and sivat " over it ! 

Swell, swale, swoll, swollen. The preterite in swale is 
almost obsolete; that in swoll has been newly revived, but 
scarcely holds its own against swelled. 

An' thought it swale so sore about hir harte. 

— Chaucee : The Wife of Bathe's Tale. 

Swink, swank, swonken, to labour over hard. This word 
appears to have been almost obsolete in Shakspeare's time. 
Some of his contemporaries use it, and Milton tried to re- 
vive it. 

In setting and sowing 
Swinken full hard. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

338 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Great boobies and long 
That loth were to swink. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

For which men swink and sweat incessantly. 

— Spenser : Faerie Queme. 

We'll labour and swinke, 
We'll kiss and we'll drinke. 
— Beaumont and Fletcher : The Spanish Cureto. 

For he had swonken all the nighte long. 

— Chaucer : The Reeve's Tale. 

Thole, tholed, to suffer, to endure, to tolerate. This word is 
in common use throughout Scotland and on the English border, 
but has long been lost to literature. 

Which died and death tholed 
About mid-day. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

What mischief and malease Christ for man tholed. 

— Chaucer: Visions. 

What mickle wo as I with you have tholed. 

— Chaucer. 

She shall the death thole. 

— GowER : Confessio Amantis. 

He who tholes conquers. 

—Allan Eamsat's Scots Proverbs. 

Tenant bodies, scant o' cash, 
How they maun thole the factor's snash ! 

— Burns. 

Threap, to argue, to complain, to lament. 

'Tis not for man with a woman to threap. 

— Percy's Reliques : Tak' thy avid dodk 
about thee. 

Some cry upon God, others threap that He hath forgotten them. 

—Bishop Fisher. 

Lost Preterites. 339 

Some heads well learned upon the book, 
Would threap auld folks the thing mistook. 

— Burns. 

In Grose's " Provincial Glossary " a shopkeeper's phrase is 
quoted, ''This is not threaping ware" — i.e.y these goods are so 
superior that they are not to be argued about or cheapened. 

Thring, throng, thrung, to press, to jostle, to crowd, whence 
the modern word to throng. 

A thousand of men, 
Thrungen together, 
Cried upwards to Christ. 

•Piers Ploughman. 

The Scottish word thrang — i.e., busy with a crowd of cus- 
tomers — is a remnant of this word, in which, as in many 
others, the original preterite has been made to do duty for 
the infinitive and the present tense. 

Trat, the preterite of treat. — Tim Bobbin. 

Wax, wox, waxed, woxen, woxed, to grow, to increase. 
This word, chiefly preserved by its frequent use in the Old 
and New Testament, lost its original preterite and participle, 
wox and woxen, before the translation of the Bible in the reign 
of James I., at which time the word wax, with the regular 
inflections, was in common use. 

And when he woxen was more 
In his mother's absence. 

— Piers Ploughman. 

This man wox wellnigh wood [mad] for ire. 

— Chaucer : The Sompnoure's Tale. 

Before my breath, like blazen flax, 
Man and his marvels pass away ; 

340 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

And changing empires wane and wax, 
Are founded, flourish, and decay. 

— Sir Walter Scott : Translation of the 
Dies Irce. 

Wink, wank, to close and open the eyes, to make signals 
with the eye. 

Our king on the shepherd wank 
PrivUy with his eye. 

— Halliwell : MS. Cantab. 

Wreak, wreaked, wroke, wroken, to avenge. The infinitive 
of this verb is still current in connection with the nouns 
wrath, vengeance, displeasure, spite, and others. 

So iweake us, God, of all our foes. 

— Sir Bevis of Hampton. 

'Tis not my fault, the boar provoked my tongue. 
Be wreaked on him. 

— Shakspeare : Venus and Adonis. 

And soon in the Gordon's foul heart's blood, 
He's wroken his faire ladye. 

— Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

To have wroken himself of such wrongs as were due him by the 
French king. — Holinshed's Chronicles. 

The verbs here quoted are mei-ely samples of the literary 
treasures that lie concealed in the speech of the common 
people of the northern counties, in the old English authors 
anterior to Shakspeare, and in the Scottish literature of the 
present day. What should we say if an English nobleman of 
ancient and illustrious lineage and great wealth had in the 
cellars and vaults of his castle hundreds of coffers and oaken 
chests filled to the lid with coins of the purest gold stamped 
with the image and superscription of bygone kings, if he would 
never use nor look at any portion of his wealth ? What, also, 
should we say of him if, in want of gold for his daily needs, he 

Lost Preterites. 341 

persisted in borrowing it from strangers at usurious interest, 
rather than touch his antique treasures ? We should say he 
was unwise, or at the least eccentric, and that it was questionable 
whether he deserved to possess the great wealth which he had 
inherited. Every master of the English tongue, whether he 
be poet, orator, or great prose writer, is in the position of this 
supposed nobleman, if he will not study the ancient words of 
the language, and revive to the extent of his ability such 
among them as he finds to be better adapted to express strong 
as well as delicate shades of meaning, than the modem words 
which have usurped their places. To the poets more especially, 
and, if there be none such left in our day (which we should 
be very sorry to assert, when certain great names flash upon 
our memory), to the versifiers who are not likely ever to fail 
us as long as there are hopes and fancies in the hearts of 
young men and women, this is a matter of especial concern. 
The permissible rhymes of the modern English tongue are not 
copious in number ; and such as exist, if not as well worn as 
love and dove, breeze and trees, heart and dart, are far too 
familiar to come upon the ear with any great charm of novelty. 
The dactylic rhymes are still fewer, as every one who has 
tried his hand at versification is painfully aware. It is the 
poet, more than the prose writer, who strengthens as well as 
beautifies the language which he employs. It is true that 
language first makes literature; and that literature, when 
once established among a people, reacts upon language, and 
fixes its form — decides what words shall and what words shall 
not be used in the higher forms of prose and poetical com- 
position. Old English — such as it is found in " Piers Plough- 
man," Chaucer, Spenser, and the poets and dramatists of the 
Elizabethan era, and as late as Milton and Dryden — is a 
passionate rather than an argumentative language ; and poets, 
who ought to be passionate above all else, otherwise they are 
but mere versifiers, should go back to those ancient sources, 

342 Dictionaty of Lowland Scotch. 

if they would be strong without ceasing to be correct and 
elegant. The words that were good enough for Shakspeare 
and his contemporaries ought to be good enough for the 
greatest writers of our day. But Shakspeare himself is be- 
coming obsolete, and needs the aid of a glossary to explain to 
educated people many excellent words that are quite intel- 
ligible to a Scottish or English ploughman. Is it the fault 
of Shakspeare or of modern writers that this should be 
the case? Doubtless the fault is not in Shakspeare, but in 

— Reprinted and Extended from 
" Blackwood's Magazine" 


A BEGUN turn is half ended. 

A blate cat makes a proud mouse. 

A black hen lays a white egg. 

A blythe heart makes a blooming look. 

A bit is oftener better gi'en than eaten. 

A bonny bride is soon busked, 

And a short horse is soon whisked. 
A borrowed len shou'd gae laughing hanie. 
A bread house never skail'd. 
A black shoe makes a blythe heart. 
A cock's aye crouse on his ain middin'. 
A cramb'd kite makes a crazy carcass. 
A daft nurse makes a wise wean. 
A denk maiden, a dirty wife. 
A dog wiriua yowl if ye strike him wi' a bane. 
A dog's life ; — muckle ease muckle hunger. 
A dry summer ne'er made a dear peck. 
A deuk winna dabble aye in ae hole. 
A dumb man wins nae law. 
Ae beggar's wae that anither by the gate gae. 
Ae bird in hand is worth ten fleeand. 
Ae good turn deserves anither. 

Ae good turn may meet anither, if it were at the brigg o' London. 
Ae half of the warld kenna how the ither half live. 
Ae hour's cauld will suck out seven years' heat. 
Ae hour in the morning is worth twa after noon. 
Ae man may lead a horse to the water, but four and twenty winna 

gar him drink. 
Ae man's meat is anither man's poison. 
Ae scabbed sheep will smit the hale hirdsel. 
Ae year a nurse, and seven year a daw. 

344 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

A fair maiden tocherless will get mae wooers than husbands. 

A fool and his money are soon parted. 

A fool's bolt is soon shot. 

A fool may speer mair questions than a doctor can answer. 

A fool may give a wise man counsel. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed. 

Affront your friend in mows, and tine him in earnest. 

A friend's dinner's soon dight. 

Aft ettle, whiles hit. 

Aft counting keeps friends lang thesfither. 

Aft times the cautioner pays tiie debt. 

After meat mustard. 

After a storm comes the calm. 

A fu' man and a hungry horse make haste hame. 

A fu' purse never lacks friends. 

A gawn foot's aye getting. 

A gentle horse shou'd be sindle spurr'd. 

A gi'en horse shou'd na be look'd i' the mouth, 

A gi'en game was never won. 

A good beginning makes a good ending. 

A good goose may ha'e an ill gansel. 

A good face needs nae band, and an ill ane deserves nane. 

A good tongue's a safe weapon. 

A good word is as soon said as an ill. 

A good tale is no the waur to be twice tauld. 

A good name is sooner tint than won. 

A " good fellow" is a costly name. 

A graining wife and a grunting horse ne'er fail'd their master. 

A green wound is half hale. 

A green yule makes a fat kirk-yard. 

A great rooser was never a good rider. 

A greedy eye never got a good pennyworth. 

" A great cry and little woo," quoth the deil when he clippet the sow. 

A handfu' of trade is worth a gowpen o' gowd. 

A hasty man's never lasty. 

A horse hired never tired. 

A horse with four feet may snapper. 

A horn spoon hands nae poison. 

A boundless hunter and a gunless gunner aye see rowth of game. 

A hungry man smells meat afar. 

A hungry louse bites sair. 

Aj(hungry man's aye angry. 

A kiss and a drink of water is but a wersh disjune. 

A lass that has mony wooers oft wales the warst. 

A lang gather'd dam soon rins out. 

A leaky ship lacks muckle pumping. 

Ale-sellers shou'd na be tale-tellers. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 345 

A' liars shou'd ha'e good memories. 
Alike ilka day makes a clout on Sunday. 
A li(^ht purse makes a heavy heart. 
•A' o'ers are ill, except o'er the water and o'er the hill. 
A' fails that fools think. 
A' the truth shou'd na be tauld. 
A' the corn's no shorn by kempers. 

A' the men of the Mearns can do nae mair than they may. 
A' the winning's in the first buying. 
A' cracks are not to be trow'd. 

A' that's said in the kitchen shou'd na be tauld in the ha'. 
A' cats are gray in the dark. 
A' the keys hang not at your belt. 
A's no tint that's in hazard. 
A's fish that comes in the net. 
A's not at hand that helps. 
A' things wytes that no well fares. 
A's well that ends well. 
A' things are good untried. 
A man's mind is a mirk mirror. 
A man's aye crouse in his ain cause. 
A man canna bear a' his kin on his back. 
A man of mony trades may beg his bread on Sunday. 
A man at five may be a fool at fifteen. 

A man may see his friend in need, that winna see his pow bleed. 
A man may woo where he will, but wed where his wierd is. 
A man may be kind and gi'e little o' his gear. 
A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden fu' of weeds. 
A man is well or wae, as he thinks himself sae. 
A man has nae mair goods than he gets good of. 
A misty morning may be a clear day. 
A mouthfu' of meat may be a townfu' of shame. 
A muzzled cat was ne'er a good hunter. 
An auld mason makes a good barrow-man. 
An auld tout in a new horn. 
An auld sack craves muckle clouting. 
An ill shearer never gat a good hook. 
An illwilly cow shou'd ha'e short horns. 
An ill cow may ha'e a good calf. 
An ill plea shou'd be well pleaded. 
An ill cook shou'd ha'e a good cleaver. 
An ill lesson is soon lear'd. 
An ill wife .and a new kindled candle shou'd ha'e their heads 

hadden down. 
An ill turn is soon done. 
An ill servant ne'er proved a good master. 
An ill life makes an ill end. . ., . , 

34^ Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

An ill won penny will pu' down a pound. 

An inch of a nag is worth a span of an aver. 

An inch off a miss is as good as a span. 

An inch of good fortune is worth a fathom of forecast. 

An olite mother makes a sweer daughter. 

An ounce of mother- wit is worth a pound of clergy. 

An unlucky man's cart is eith tumbled. 

Ane of the court but nane of the council. 

Ane does the skaith, and anither gets the wyte. 

Ane never tines by doing good. 

Ane beats the bush and anither grips the game. 

Anes paid never craved. 

Ane may bind a sack before it be fu'. 

Ane may lo'e the kirk well enough, yet no be aye riding on the 

rigging o't. 
Ane may lo'e a haggis that wadna ha'e the bag bladed in his teeth. 
Ane is not so soon heal'd as hurt. 
Ane gets sma' thanks for tining his ain, 
Ane canna wive and thrive baith in ae year. 
Ane will gar a hundred lie. 
A new besom sweeps clean. 
A nod of an honest man is eneuch. 
April showers bring May flowers. 
A party pot never play'd even. 
A poor man gets a poor marriage. 
A poor man is fain o' little. 
A pound o' care winna pay an ounce o' debt. 
A proud heart in a poor breast has meikle dolor to dree. 
A ragged colt may prove a good gelding. 
A reeky house and a girning wife, 
Will make a man a fashous life. 
A reproof is nae poison. 
A rowing stane gathers nae fog. 
As a carle riches he wretches. 
As broken a ship has come to land. 
As day brak butter brak. 
As fain as a fool of a fair day. 
As fu' o' mischief as an egg's fu' o' meat. 
As good may baud the stirrup as he that lowps on. 
As good a fellow as ever toom'd a bicker. 
As good merchants tine as win. 
As lang runs the fox as he feet has. 
As lang lives the merry man as the sad. 
As lang as the bird sings before Candlemas it greets after it. 
As lang as. ye serve the tod ye maun bear up his tail. 
As mony heads as mony wits. 
As mickle upwith as mickle downwith. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs, 547 

As ready as the king has an egg in his pouch. 

As sail light wrens as cranes. 

As soon gangs the lamb's skin to the market as the auld sheep's. 

As sair greets the bairn that's paid at e'en as he that gets his whawks 

in the morning. 
As tired as a tyke is of langkale. 
As the sow fills the draff sours. 
As the auld cock craws the young cock lears. 
As the wind blaws seek your bield. 
As the fool thinks the bell clinks. 
As the market gangs wares maun sell. 
As well be hang'd ibr a wedder as for a lamb. 
As ye lo'e me look in my dish. 
As ye lead your ain life ye judge your neighbours. 
As ye make your bed sae ye maun lie down. 
A saft aver was never a good horse. 
A safe conscience makes a sound sleep. 
A scawd head is eith to bleed. 
A sheaf off a stouk is enough. 
A short tree stands lang. 

A sillerless man gangs fast through the market. 
A silly man will be sleely dealt with. 
A sinking master makes aft a rising man. 
A slotlifu' hand makes a slim fortune. 
A sorrowfu' heart's aye drouthy. 
A sooth bourd is nae bourd. 
A spur in the head is worth twa on the heel. 
At open doors dogs gae ben. 
A tale-teller is waur than a thief. 
A tarrowing bairn was never fat. 
A taking hand will never want. 
A tale never tines in the telling. 
A thrawin question should have a thrawart answer. 
A thread will tye an honest man better than a rape will a knave. 
A tocherless dame sits lang at hame. 
A toolying tike comes limping hame. 
A toom purse makes a tartling merchant. 
A toom pantry makes a thriftless good wife, 
A toom hand is nae lure for a hawk. 
A turn well done is soon done. 
A twapenny cat may look at a king. 
A vanter and a liar are right sib. 
A wad is a fool's argument. 
A wee bush is better than nae bield. 
A wee mouse can creep under a great corn stack. 
A wee house well fill'd, a wee piece land well till'd, a wee wife well 

wiU'd, will make a happy man. 

34^ Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

A wee house has a wide mouth. 

A wee spark niaks meikle wark. 

A wee thing puts your beard in a bleeze. 

A wee thing fleys cowards. 

A wight man never wanted a weapon. 

A wife is wise enough that kens her guidman's breeks frae her 

ain kirtle. 
A wilfu' man never wanted wae. 
A wilfu' man shou'd be unco wise. 
A woman's mind is like wind in a winter night. 
Auld men are twice bairns. • 
Auld sparrows are ill to tame.. 
Auld springs gi'e nae prize. 
Auld sins breed new shame. 
Auld wives and bairns make fools of physicians. 
A yeld sow was never good to grices. 
A yule feast may be quit at pasch. 

Bairns are certain care, but nae sure joy. 

Bare backs mak burnt shins. 

Bare gentry, braggand beggars. 

Bastard brood are aye proud. 

Be a friend to yoursell and others will. 

Be lang sick that ye may be soon hale. 

Be it better, be it worse, be ruled by him that has the purse. 

Be thou well, be thou wae, thou wilt not be aye sae. 

Be the thing ye wad be ca'd. 

Bear wealth well, poortith will bear itsell. 

Before ye chuse a friend eat a peck o' saut wi' him. 

Begin wi' needles and prins and end wi' horu'd nowt. 

Beg frae beggars, you'll never be rich. 

Beggars breed, and gentry feed. 

Beggars dow bear nae wealth. 

Beggars shou'd na be choosers, 

Better a bit in the morning than fast a' day. 

Better a clout in, than a hole out. 

Better a dog fawn on you than bark at you. 

Better a finger aff than aye wapging. 

Better a fair foe than a fause friend. 

Belter a good fame than a fine face. 

Better a laying hen than a lying crown. 

Better a mouse in the pot than nae flesh. 

Better a shameless eating than a shamefu' living. 

Better a tocher in her than wi' her. 

Better a toom house than an ill tenant. 

Better a thigging mother than a riding father. 

Better a wee ingle to warm ye than a mickle fire to burn ye. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 349 

Better auld debts than auld sairs. 

Better bairns greet than bearded men. 

Better be blytlie wi' little than sad \vi' mickle. 

Better be envied than pitied. 

Better be alane than in ill company. 

Better be idle than ill employed. 

Better be out of the world than out of the fashion. 

Better be sonsy than soon up. 

Better be the lucky man than the lucky man's son. 

Better be unkind than cumbersome. 

Better beg than borrow. 

Better day the better deed. 

Better eat gray bread in youth than in eild. 

Better flatter a fool than fight wi' him. 

Better find iron than tine siller. 

Better gi'e Ijie slight than tak' it. 

Better guide well than work sair. 

Better baud by a hair than draw with a tether. 

Better baud with the hound than rin with the hare. 

Better hain at the braird than at the bottom. 

Better baud loose than in an ill tethering. 

Better hap at court than good service. 

Better kiss a knave than cast out wi' him. 

Better keep the de'il without the door than ha'e to drive him out of 

the house. 
Better keep well than make well. 
Better lang something than soon naething. 
Better late thrive than never do weel. 
Better lear frae your neighbour's skaith than your ain. 
Better leave to my faes than beg frae my friends. 
Better live in hope than die in despair. 
Better marry o'er the middin' than o'er the moor. 
Better my bairns seek frae me than I beg frae them. 
Better my friend think me fremit than fashous. 
Better ne'er begun than ne'er ended. 
Better rough and sonsy than bare and donsy. 
Better saught with little aught, than care with mony a cow. 
Better say here it is than there it was. 
Better short and sweet than lang and lax. 
Better sit still than rise up and fa'. 
Better sit idle than work for nought. 
Better skaith saved than mends made. 
Better sma' fish than nae fish. 
Better spared than ill spent. , 

Better tlie ill ken'd than the good unken'd. 
Better the end of a feast than the beginning of a frav. 
Better thole a grumph than a sumph. 

350 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch, 

Better to hand than draw. 

Better twa skaiths than ae sorrow. 

Better nnborn than untaught. 

Better wade back mid-water than gae forward and drown. 

Better wait on the cook than the doctor. 

Better wear shoon than sheets. 

Between three and thirteen 

Thraw the wand when it is green. 
Bid a man to the roast and stick Him with the spit. 
Birds of a feather flock together. 
Birth's good, but breeding's better. 
Black will take no other hue. 
Blaw the wind ne'er sae fast, 

It will lown at the last. 
Blind men should na judge of colours. 
Blood's thicker than water. 
Boden gear stinks. 

Break my head and syne draw on my bow. 
Broken bread makes hale bairns. 
Burnt bairns dread the fire. 

Buy a thief frae the gallows, and he'll help to hang you. 
By chance a cripple may grip a hare. 
By guess, as the blind man fell'd the dog. 

Can do is eithly born about. 

Caimy chiels carry cloaks when 'tis clear, 

The fool when 'tis foul has nane to wear. 
Careless fowk are aye cumbersome. 
Cast na out the dow'd water till ye get the fresh. 
Cats and carlins sit in the sun. 
Cauld cools the love that kindles ower het. 
Changes are lightsome. 

Come a' to Jock Fool's house, and ye'se get bread and cheese. 
Come unca'd sits unserv'd. 
Come not to council unbidden. 
Comes to my hand like the bowl o' a pint stowp. 
Come it air, come it late, in May comes the cow-quake. 
Come with the wind, and gae with the water. 
Confess'd faut is half amends. 
Confess debt and crave days. 
Count again is no forbidden. 
Count siller after a' your kin. 
Count like Jews and gree like brethren. 
Courtesy is cumbersome to them that ken it no. 
Counsel is nae command. 

Crab without a cause and mease without amends. 
Credit is better than ill won gear. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 351 

Curses make the fox fat. 

Cut your cloak according to your claith. 

Baffin and want of wit maks auld wives donnard. 

Dawted bairns dow bear little. 

Daylight will peep through a sma' hole. 

Deal sma' and serve a'. 

Dear bought and far sought is meet for ladies. 

Death and marriage make term-day. 

Death at ae door, and hardship at the other. 

Death defies the doctor. 

Deed shaws proof. 

Ding down the nest, and the rooks will flee awa\ 

Dirt bodes luck. 

Do on the hill as ye wad do in the ha'. 

Do your turn well, and nane will spier what time ye took. 

Do weel and dread nae shame. 

Do weel and doubt nae man, do ill and doubt a' men. 

Do as the lasses do, say no and tak' it. 

Do not meddle with the de'il and the laird's bairns. 

Do not talk of a rape to a chiel whase father was hangit. 

Dogs will redd swine. 

Dolor pays nae debt. 

Double drinks are good for drouth. 

Double charges rive cannons. 

Drive a cow to the ha', she'll run to the byre. 

Drink and drouth come not aye together. 

Drink little that ye may drink lang. 

Drunken at e'en, and dry in the morning. 

Eat in measure, and defy the mediciner. 
Eat your fill, but pouch nane. 
Eats meat and never fed, 

Wears claiths and never clad. 
Eating and drinking want but a beginning. 
Eith learning the cat to the kirn. 
Eith learn'd soon forgotten. 
Eith working when will's at hame. 
Either prove a man or a mouse. 
Either win the horse or tine the saddle. 
E'ening red and a morning gray, 

Is a token of a good day. 
E'en as ye win't sae ye may wear't. 
Enough's as good as a feast. 
Ever busy ever bare. 

Every ane kens best where his ain shoe nips him. 
Every ane lowps the dyke where it is laighest. 

352 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Every craw thinks its ain chick whitest. 

Every dog has his day. 

Every man wears his belt his ain gate. 

Every man can guide an ill wife but he that has her. 

Every man bows to the bush he gets bield I'rae. 

]<]very man's blind in his ain cause. 

Every man to his mind, as the man said when he kiss'd the sow. 

Every man's tale is good till another's be tauld. 

Every man's no born with a siller spoon in his mouth. 

Every man has his ain draff pock. 

Every miller wad wyse the water to his ain mill. 

Every shoe fits not every foot. 

Every thing has an end, and a pudding has twa. 

Experience teaches fools. 

Faint heart never won fair lady. 

Fair heights make fools fain. 

Fair fa' the wife, and weel may she spin, 

That counts aye the lawing with a quart to come in. 
Fair fa' good ale, it gars fowk speak as they think. 
Fair exchange is nae robbery. 
Fair maidens wear nae purses. 
Fair hair may have foul roots. 
Fair words hurt ne'er a bane, 

But foul words break mony a ane. 
Fair and foolish, black and proud, 

Lang and lazy, little and loud. 
Fann'd fires and forced love ne'er did weel. 
Fancy flees before the wind. 
Far away fowls have fair feathers. 
Farewell frost, fair weather niest. 
Far frae court far frae care. 
Farmers faugh gar lairds laugh. 
Fast bind fast find. 
Fat flesh freezes soon. 
Fat paunches bode lean pows. 
Fause fowk shou'd hae mony witnesses. 
Fiddler's dogs and flesh-flies come to feasts unca'd. 
Fight dog, fight bear, wha wins de'il care. 
Fine feathers mak' fine birds. 
Fire and water are good servants, but ill masters. 
First come first served. 

Fleas and a girning wife are wakerife bedfellows. 
Fleshers lo'e nae coUops. 
Fl eying a bird is no the gate to grip it. 
Flee never sae fast, your fortune will be at your tail. 
Flitting of farms makes mailins dear* 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 353 

Fools' haste is nae speed. 

Fools are aye fain of fUttinj^. 

Fools shou'd na see wark that's haff done. 

Fools make feasts, and wise fowk eat them ; 

The wise make jests, and fools repeat them. 
Fools are fain of naething. 
For want of steek a shoe may be tint. 
For fashion's sake, as dogs gang to the market. 
Fortune favours fools. 
Fortune helps a,ye the hardy. 
Force without forecast aften fails. 
Fore-warn'd, haff arm'd. 
For faut of wise fowk fools sit on binks. 
Foul water slockens fire. 
Friendship canna stand aye on ae side. 
Friends gree best sindry. 
Frost and fawshood have baith a dirty way gang. 

Gae to bed with the lamb, and rise with the lav'rock. 

Gane is the goose that laid the great egg. 

Gaunting bodes wanting. 

Gayly wad be better. 

Gear is easier j^ain'd than guided. 

Gentle paddocks have lang taes. 

Get your rock and spindle, and God will send tow. 

Get the word 0' soon rising, and you may lie in your bed a' day. 

Giff gaff makes good friends. 

Girn when ye bind and laugh when you loose. 

Gi'e a bairn its will, and a whelp its fill, 

Nane of them will e'er do well. 
Gi'e a dog an ill name, and he'll soon be hang'd. 
Gi'e a carle your finger, and he'll take your hale hand. 
Gi'e a gawn man a drink, and a quarrelsome chiel a cuff. 
Gi'e a thing and take a thing, 

That's the ill man's gowd. ring. 
Gi'e o'er when the play's good. 
Gi'e them tow eneuch and they'll hang themsells. 
Gi'e the de'il his due. 

God be wi' auld lang syne, when our gutchers ate their trenchers. 
God help great fowk, the poor can beg. 
God's help is nearer than the fair e'en. 
God Ae'er sent the mouth but He sent the meat wi't. 
God send water to that well that people think will never run dry. 
God sends us claiths according to our cauld. 
God sends meat, but the de'il sends cooks. 
God send you mair wit and me mair siller. 
God shapes the back for the burthen. 


354 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Good ale needs nae wisp. 

Good cheer and good cheap ca's mony customers. 

Good fowk are scarce, take care of ane. 

Good forecast furthers the wark. 

Good fishing in drumly waters. 

Good will shou'd be tane in part payment. 

Good words cost nathing. 

Great barkers are nae biters. 

Great words fley cowards. 

Great winning makes wark easy. 

Greedy fowk have lang arms. 

Gut nae fish till ye get them. 

Ha' binks are sliddery. 

Had ye sic a shoe on ilka foot it would gar you shaghle. 

Haud a hank in your ain hand. 

Haff acres bear good corn. 

Hang a thief when he's young, and he'll no steal when he's auld. 

Hankering and hinging on is a poor trade. 

Handle the pudding while it is het. 

Hang hunger and drown drouth. 

Hap and a halfpenny is gear enough. 

Happy the wife that's married to a motherless son. 

Happy for the son when the dad goes to the de'il. 

Hardships sindle come single. 

Haste makes waste. 

Have ye gear, have ye nane, 

Tine lieart, and a's gane. 
He begs frae them that borrowed frae him. 
He brings a staff to break his ain head. 
He can haud meal in his mouth and blaw. 
He comes aftner with the rake than the shool. 
He complains early that complains of his kail. 
He can iiide his meat and seek mair. 
He does na aye ride when he saddles his horse. 
He does na like his wark that says now when it is done. 
He gangs away in an ill time that never comes again. 
He gangs lang barefoot that wears dead men's shoon. 
He gat his kail in a riven dish. 
He has brought his pock to a braw market. 
He has mickle prayer but little devotion. 
He has come to good by misguiding. 
He has an eye in his neck. 
He has a bee in his bonnet lug. 
He has gotten a bite o' his ain bridle. 
He has the best end o' the string. 
He has faut of a wife that marries mam's pet 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 355 

He has niair wit in his little finger than ye have in a' your 

He has coosten his cloak on the ither shoulder. 
He has feather'd his nest, he may flee when he likes. 
He has need o' a lang spoon that sups with the de'il. 
He has cowped the nieikle dish into the little. 
He has a hole aneath his nose that will ne'er let him be rough. 
He has wit at will that with an angry heart can sit still. 
He has licket the butter aff my bread. 
He has a slid grip that has an eel by the tail. 
He has a good judgment that does not lippen to his ain. 
He has a iiearty hand for giving a hungry mealtith. 
He has a crap for a' corn. 
He has need to ha'e a clean pow, 

That ca's his neighbour "nitty know." 
He hears with his heels, as geese do in harvest. 
He kens na a B by a bull's foot. 
He kens his ain groats among other fowk's kail. 
He kens whilk side his cake is butter'd on. 
He'll mend when he grows better, like sour ale in summer. 
He'll no let grass grow at his heels. 
He'll tell't to nae mair than he meets. 
He loo's me for little that hates me for nought. 
He'll wag as the bush wags. 
He looks like the far end o' a French fiddle. 
He'll soon be a beggar that canna say nay. 
He loo'd mutton weel that lick'd where the ewe lay. 
He'll have enough some day when his mouth's fou o' mods. 
He may well swim that has his head hadden up. 
He maun be soon up that cheats the tod. 
He maun hae leave to speak that canna baud his tongue. 
He may find faut that canna mend. 
He may laugh that wins. 

He never did a good darg that gade grumbling about it. 
He never lies but when the hollin's green. 
He needs maun run that the de'il drives. 
He never tint a cow that grat for a needle. 
He rides sicker that ne'er fell. 
He's a fool that forgets himsell. 
He's better fed than nurtur'd. 
He's a man of a wise mind, 

That of a foe can make a friend. 
He's gane as the dog drave. 

He's wise that kens whan he's weel, and can baud himself sae. 
He's lifeless that's faultless. 
He's a gentle horse that never coost his rider. 
He's silly that spares for ilka speech. 

356 Dictionafy of Lowland Scotch. 

He's a fool that marries at yule, 

For when the bairn's to bear the corn's to shear. 
He's at his wii's end. 
He's wise tliat's timely war}'. 
He's as welcome as water in a riven ship. 
He's like a tiee in a blanket. 
He's no sae daft as he lets on. 
He's sairest dung that's paid wi' his ain wand. 
He's a sairy beggar that canna gae by ae door. 
He's o'er soon up that's hanged ere noon. 
He's poor eneuch that's ill loo'd. 
He's a sairy cook that mayna lick his ain fingers. 
He's a silly chiel that can neither do nor say. 
He's a wise bairn that kens his ain faither. 

He's unkofu' in his ain house that canna pike a bane in his neighbour's. 
He's a proud horse that winna bear his ain provender. 
He's well worthy of sorrow that buys it. 
He's like the singed cat, better than he's likely. 
He's a worthless goodman that's no missed. 
He's a good horse that never stumbled, 

And a better wife that never grumbled. 
He's a weak beast that downa bear the saddle. 
He sleeps as dogs do when wives sift meal. 
He speaks in his drink what he thought in his drouth. 
He sits fu' close that has riven breeks. 
He stumbles at a strae and lowps o'er a wonlyne. 
He that aught the cow gangs nearest her tail. 
He that blaws best let him bear the horn. 
He that's born to be hang'd will never be drown'd. 
He that's born under a tippenny planet will ne'er be worth a groat. 
He that buys land buys stanes, 

And he that buys beef buys banes. 
He that counts a' cost will ne'er put plough in the eard. 
Hethatcheatsmeanesshamefa'him,if he cheatme twice, shame fa' me. 
He that clatters to himself talks to a fool. 
He that canna make sport shou'd mar nane. 
He that canna do as he wou'd maun do as he may. 
He that comes unca'd sits unserved. 
He that counts before the ostler counts twice. 
He that does his turn in time sits half idle. 
He that does bidding deserves na dinging. 
He that deals in dirt has aye foul fingers. 
He that forecasts a' perils will win nae worship. 
He that fa's in a gutter, the langer he lies the dirtier he is. 
He that fishes before the net, 

Fishes lang or he fish get. 
He that gets gear before he gets wit, will die ere he thrive. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 357 

He that gets, forgets, but he that wants, thinks on. 
He that gangs a borrowing, gangs a sorrowing. 
He that gi'es a' his gear to his bairns. 

Take up a bittle and ding out his hams. 
He that gi'es all wad gi'e nathing. 

He that gets ance his nieves in dirt can hardly get them out. 
He that has twa hoards will get a third. 
He that has a good crop may thole some thistles. 
He that has nae siller in his purse shou'd ha'e silk on his tongue. 
He that hides can best find. 
He that has mickle gets aye mair. 
He that has mickle wad aye ha'e mair. 

He that has a dog of his ain may gang to the kirk wi' a clean breast. 
He that has a mickle nose thinks ilka ane speaks o't. 
He that's ill to himsell will be good to naebody. 
He that in bawdry wastes his gear, 

Baith shame and skaith he will endure. 
He that kens what will be cheap or dear, 

Needs be a merchant but for ae year. 
He that keeks through a hole may see what will vex him. 
He that lives weel lives lang. 
He that lacks my mare wad buy my mare. 
He that laughs at his ain joke spills the sport o't. 
He that laughs alane will make sport in company. 
He that lives upon hope has a slim diet. 
He that looks to freets, freets follow him. 
He that marries or he be wise will die e'er he be rich. 
He that meddles with tulzies comes in for the redding streak. 
He that never rade never fell. 
He that never eats flesh thinks harigalds a feast. 
He that shaws his purse bribes the thief. 
He that sleeps with dogs maun rise with fleas. 
He that slays shall be slain. 
He that steals can hide. 

He that strikes my dog wad strike mysell if he durst. 
He that spends his gear before he gets't will get little good o't. 
He that seeks motes gets motes. 
He that speers all opinions comes ill speed. 
He that speaks what he should not. 

Will hear what he would rather not. 
He that spares to speak spares to speed. 
He that sells ware for words maun live by the wind. 
He that speaks wi' a drawnt and sells wi' a cant, 

Is right like a snake in the skin o' a saunt. 
He that teaches himsell has a fool for his master. 
He that will cheat in play winna be honest in earnest 
He that winna when he may, shanna when he wad. 

358 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch . 

He that wad eat the kirnel maun crack the nut. 
He that will to Cupar maun to Cupar. 
He that's welcome fares well. 
He that well bides well betides. 
He that will na thole, maun flit mony a hole. 
He was the bee that made the honey. 
He was scant o' news that tauld his father was hanged. 
He wears twa faces beneath ae cowl. *. 

He was mair fleyed than hurt. 
Help is good in a' play. 
Hens are aye free of horse corn. 
Highest in court the nearest the widdy. 
His wit gat wings and would have flown, 
But pinching poortith pu'd him down. 
His auld brass will buy a new pan. 
His bark is waur than his bite. 
His egg has aye twa youks. 
His geese are a' swans. 
His room's better than his company. 
His pipe's out. 

Honesty hands lang the gate. 
Honesty's the best craft. 
Hooly and fair gangs far in a day. 
Horses are good of a' hues. 
Hunger will break through stane wa's. 
Hunger's hard upon a heal heart. 
Hunger is good kitchen. 
Hunger thou me and I'll harry thee. 
Hungry dogs are blythe o' bursten puddings. 
Hungry stewards wear mony shoon. 

I ANCE gae a dog his handsel, and he was hanged ere night. 

I bake nae bread by your shins. 

I canna sell the cow and sup the milk. 

I have gi'en a stick to break my ain head. 

I had rather gang by your door than o'er your grave. 

I ha'e gotten an ill kame for my ain head. 

I ha'e seen mair than I have eaten. 

I ken by my cogue wha milks my cow. 

I ken how the world wags, 

He's honor'd maist wlio has moniest bags. 
I ken him as well as I had gane through him with a lighted candle. 
I'll gi'e ye a bane to pike that will baud your teeth gawn. 
I'll gar his ain gartens tie up his ain hose. 
I'll never dirty the bonnet I'm gawn to put on. 
I'll keep my mind to mysell and tell my tale to the wind. 
I'll never stoop sae laigh and lift sae little. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 359 

I'll never put the carl aboon the gentleman. 

I'll never keep a dog and bark mysell. 

I'll never live poor to die rich. 

I'll never buy a blind bargain, or a pig in a pock. 

I'll never brew drink to treat drunkards. 

I'm o'er auld a cat to draw a strae before. 

I'm no sae blind as I'm blear-eyed. 

I'm flyting free with him. 

I'm no sae scant o' clean pipes as to blaw with a brunt cutty. 

I'm no every man's dog that whistles on me. 

I'm neither sma' drink thirsty, nor gray bread hungry. 

I may come to break an egg in your pouch. 

I never liked a dry bargain. 

I spake but ae word, gi'e me but ae strake. 

I took him aft" the moor for God's sake, and he begins to bite the bairns. 

I wad be scant o' claith to sole my hose with dockens. 

I wadna ca' the king my cousin. 

I wad rather see't than hear tell o't. 

I wadna be deaved with your keckling for a' your eggs. 

I winna make fish 0' ane and flesh o' anither. 

I wish you readier meat than a running hare. 

I wish you as muckle good o't as dogs get of grass. 

If ae sheep lowp o'er the dyke a' the lave will follow. 

If a lie could worry you, ye wad have been choked langsyne. 

If a man's gawn down the brae ilk ane gi'es him a jundie. 

If e'er I find his cart tumbling I'se gie't a put. 

If he be not a souier he's a good shoe-clouter. 

If I canna kep geese I'll kep gaislins. 

If I canna do't by might I'll do't by flight. 

If it can be nae better, it is well it is nae warse. 

If it winna be a good shoe, let it gang down i' the heel. 

If it serve me to wear, it may serve you to look to. 

If marriages be made in heaven, ye have had few friends there. 

If the de'il be laird ye'U be tenant. 

If things were to be done twice ilka ane wad be wise. 

If the de'il find you idle he'll set you to wark. 

If we hae little gear we hae less care. 

If ye dinna like what I can gie, 

Tak what ye brought w'ye. 
If ye can spend muckle, put the mair to the fire. 
If ye brew weel ye'll drink the better. 
If ye wad be a merchant fine. 

Beware 0' auld horseg, herring, and wine. 
If ye sell your purse to your wife, gi'e her your breeks to the bargain. 
If you tell your servant your secret, you make him your master. 
If ye had as little money as ye ha'e manners, ye wad be the poorest 
man of your kin. 

36d Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

If ye do a wrang make amends. 

If ye do nae ill dinna ill like. 

If ye steal no my kale, break na my dyke. 

If ye wad live for ever, wash the milk frae your liver. 

If ye wad be haly, healthy, and wealthy, rise soon in the morning. 

Ill bairns are best heard at hame. 

Ill comes upon waur's back. 

Ill counsel will gar a man stick his ain mare. 

Ill doers are aye ill dreaders. 

Ill deem'd haff hang'd. 

Ill getting het water frae 'neath cauld ice. 

Ill herds make fat foxes. 

Ill news are aft o'er true. 

Ill payers are aye good cravers. 

Ill weeds wax weel. 

Ill- won gear winna enrich the third heir. 

Ill-won as ill ware'd. 

It canna rain, but it pours. 

It gangs in at the ae lug and out at the ither. 

It is a bauch brewing that's no good in the newing. 

It is a bare moor that ye gang through and no get a heather coo. 

It is a good game that fills the wame. 

It is a good tongue that says nae ill. 

It is a hard task to be poor and leal. 

It is an ill wind that blaws naebody good. 

It is an ill pack that's no worth the custom. 

It is an ill cause that the lawyer thinks shame o'. 

It is a lamb at the up-taking, but an auld sheep ere ye get it aflF. 

It is a mean mouse that has but ae hole. 

It is a stinking praise comes out of ane's ain mouth. 

It is a sin to lie on the de'il. 

It is a shame to eat the cow and worry on the tail. 

It is a sair field where a's slain. 

It is a sooth dream that's seen waking. 

It is a silly flock where the ewe bears the bell. 

It is a sairy hen that canna scrape for ae bird. 

It is a' tint that's done to auld fowk and bairns. 

It is a' tint that fell by. 

It is best ganging wi' a horse in ane's hand. 

It is better to sup wi' a cutty than want a spoon. 

It is by the head that the cow gie's milk. 

It is clean about the wren's door where there is nought within. 

It is dear coft honey that's licked aff a thorn. 

It is eith crying yool on anither man's stool. 

It is eith finding a stick to strike a messan. 

It is fair in ha' when beards wag a'. 

It is good to dread the warst, the best will be the welcomer. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 361 

It is good to be good in your time, ye kenna how lang it may last. 
It is good to be merry and wise, 

Quoth the miller when he mouter'd twice. 
It is good to have our cogue out when it rains kail. 
It is good to hae twa strings to your bow. 
It is hard to gar an auld mare leave flinging. 
It is hard to sit in Rome and strive wi' the Pope. 
It is hard for a greedy eye to ha'e a leal heart. 
It is hard baith to have and want. 
It is ill to be ca'd a thief and aye found piking. 
It is ill crooking before cripples. 
It is an ill kitchen that keeps the bread away. 
It is ill to bring out o' the flesh what's bred i' the bane. 
It is ill to lear the cat to the kirn. 
It is ill taking corn frae geese. 
It is ill bringing butt what's no ben. 
It ill sets a haggis to be roasted. 
It is ill meddling between the bark and the rhind. 
It is ill making a silk purse o' a sow 's lug, or a touting-horn 0' a 

tod's tail. 
It is ill putting a blythe face on a wae heart. 
It is kittle shooting at corbies and clergy. 
It is kittle for the cheeks when the hurl-barrow gaes o'er the brig 

o' the nose. 
It is kittle to waken sleeping dogs. 
It is lang or the de'il be found dead at a dyke side. 
It is lang or ye cry shoo to an e^g. 
It is muckle gars the tailor laugh, but souters girn aye. 
It is needless to pour water on a drown'd mouse. 
It is no the cowl that makes the friar. 
It is nae sin to take a good price, but in gi'eing ill measure. 
It is nae mair to see a woman greet than to see a goose gae barefoot. 
It is nae play when ane laughs and anither greets. 
It is no the way to grip a bird to fling your bonnet at it. 
It is not what is she, but what has she ] 
It is weel ware'd that wasters want. 
It is weel that our fauts are not written on our face. 
It is time enough to skreigh when ye're strucken. 
It is time enough to make my bed when I'm gawn to lie down. 
It is the best spoke in your wheel. 
It keeps his nose at the grindstane. 
It maun be true that a' fowk says. 
It sets a sow weel to wear a saddle. 
It was never for naething that the gled whistled. 
It will be a het day gars you startle. 
It will set his beard in a bleeze. 
It will be a feather out of your wing. 

362 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Kail hains bread. 

Kame sindle, kame sair. 

Kamesters are aye creeshy. 

Keek in the stowp was ne'er a good fellow. 

Keep hame, and hanie will keep you. 

Keep woo and it will be dirt, keep lint and it will be silk. 

Keep out of his company that cracks of his cheatery. 

Keep your ain fish guts to feed your ain sea maws. 

Keep your kill-dry'd taunts to your mouldy-hair'd maidens. 

Keep your tongue within your teeth. 

Keep the staff in your ain hand. 

Keep your breath to cool your crowdie. 

Keep your mouth close and your een open. 

Ken yoursell and your neighbours winna misken you. 

Ken when to spend and when to spare, 

And ye needna be bissy, and ye'll never be bare. 
Kindness comes wi' will ; it canna be coft. 
Kindness will creep where it canna gang. 
Kindness canna stand aye on ae side. 
Kings and bears aft worry their keepers. 
Kissing gaes by favour. 

Kiss ye me till I be white, and that will be an ill web to bleach. 
Kythe in your ain colours that fowk may ken you. 

Lacking breeds laziness, praises breed pith. 

Laith to bed and laith to ri^e. 

Lang mint, little dint. 

Lang look'd for comes at last. 

Lang or ye cut Falkland wood with a penknife. 

Lang standing and little offering mak a poor priest. 

Lang straes are nae motes. 

Lang tarrying tines thanks. 

Lang sports turn to earnest. 

Langest at the fire soonest finds cauld. 

Langer lasts year than yule. 

Law's costly, tak a pint and 'gree. 

Law-makers should na be law-breakers. 

Laugh at leisure, ye may greet ere night. 

Leal heart never lied. 

Leave welcome behind ye. 

Leave aff as lang as the play's good. 

Learn young, learn fair. 

Learn the cat to the kirn and she'll aye be lickin'. 

Letna the plough stand to slay a mouse. 

Let alane maks mony a lown. 

Let a friend gang with a fae. 

Let byganes be byganes, and fairplay in time to come. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 363 

Let him play a spring on his ain fiddle. 

Let him cool in the skin he het in. 

Let him that's cauld blaw up the ingle. 

Let his ain wand ding him. 

Let it fa' upon the fey est. 

Let the horns gang wi' the hide. 

Let the mom come and the meat wi't. 

Let the kirk stand in the kirk yard. 

Let them laugh that win. 

Let them care that come behind. 

Lie for him and he'll swear for you. 

Light suppers mak lang life days. 

Light winning maks a heavy purse. 

Lightly come lightly gane. 

Light burdens break nae banes. 

Like a Scots man ye take your mark frae an ill liour. 

Likely lies aft in the mire, when unlikely wins thro'. 

Lik'd gear is haff bought. 

Like hens, ye rin aye to the heap. 

Like the wife, that never cries for the ladle till the pot rins o'er. 

Like the cat, fain fish wad ye eat, 

But ye are laith to wet your feet. 
Like the wife wi' the mony daughters, the best comes hind- 
Lippen to me but look to yoursell. 
Little can a lang tongue lien. 
Little kenn'd the less cared for. 
Little gear the less care. 

Little wats the ill-willy wife what a dinner may haud in't. 
Little odds between a feast and a fu' wame. 
Little said is soon mended, little gear's soon spended. 
Little wit in the head maks muckle travel to the feet. 
Little meddling maks fair parting. 
Little may an auld nag do that mauna nicher. 
Little dogs hae lang tails. 
Little mense to the cheeks to bite aff the nose. 
Live and let live. 

Live upon love as lav'rocks do on leeks. 
Look before ye lowp, ye'll ken the better how to light. 
Lordships change manners. 
Love and lordships like nae marrows. 
Love and raw peas break the heart and burst the wame. 
Love's as warm among cotters as courtiers. 
Love me, love my dog. 
Love me lightly, love me lang. 
Love o'er het soonest cools. 
Love o'erlooks mony fauts. 

364 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Maidens should be mild and meek, 

Quick to hear and slow to speak. 
Maidens' bairns are aye well bred. 

Maidens' tochers and ministers' stipends are aye less than ca'd. 
Mair by good luck than good guiding. 
Mair haste the waur speed, 

Quoth the tailor to the lang threed. 
Make ae wrang step and down ye gae. 
Mair hamely than welcome. 
Mak the best of an ill bargain. 
Mak your hay when the sun shines. 
Malice is aye mindfu'. 
Man propones but God dispones. 
Marry in haste, repent at leisure. 
Marry aboon match and get a master. 
Mealy mou'd maidens stand lang at the mill. 
Measure twice, cut but anes. 

Meat feeds, and claith cleads, but manners mak the man. 
Messengers shou'd neither be headed nor hanged. 
Mickle fails that fools think. 
Mickle corn mickle care. 
Mickle wad aye hae mair. 
Mickle spoken, part spilt. 
Mickle power maks many faes. 
Mickle may fa' between the cup and the lip. 
Mickle water rins by that the miller wats not of. 
Mickle pleasure some pain. 
Mickle about ane, quoth the de'il to the collier. 
Might o'ercomes right. 
Mint ere ye strike. 
Misterfou' fowk mauna be mensfu'. 
Money is welcome in a dirten clout. 
Money maks money. 
Mony hands mak light wark. 
Mony a ane kisses the bairn for love of the nurice. 
Mony hounds may soon worry ae hare. 
Mony heads are better than ane. 
Mony purses baud friends lang together. 

Mony fair promises at marriage make few at tocher good paying. 
Mony lack what they hae in their pack. 
Mony dogs die ere ye fa' heir. 
Mony ane's coat saves his doubtlet. 
Mony ways to kill a dog tho' ye dinna hang him. 
Mony cooks ne'er made good kail. 
Mony sma's mak ae mickle. 

Mony a ane maks an errand to the ha' to bid the lady good-day. 
Mony irons in the fire part maun cool. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 365 

Mony aue opens their pack and sells nae wares. 

Mony a ane speers the gate they ken fu' well. 

Mouths are nae measure. 

Mows may come to earnest. 

Moyen does mickle, but money does mair. 

Murder will out. 

Must is a king's word. 

My son's my son aye till he get him a wife, 

My daughter's my daughter a' the days o' her life. 
My niest neighbour's skaith is my present peril. 

Nae butter sticks to his bread. 

Nae fool to an auld fool. 

Nae friend to a frieud in need. 

Nae fleeing without wings. 

Nae great loss but there's some sma' advantage. 

Nae langer pipe nae langer dance. 

Nae man has a tack o' his life. 

Nae man can thrive unless his wife let him. 

Nae man can live langer in peace than his neighbour likes. 

Nae mair haste than good speed. 

Nae safe wading in unco waters. 

Nae weather's ill if the wind be still. 

Nathing freer than a gift. 

Nathing comes fairer to light than what has been lang hidden. 

Nathing's baulder than a blind mare. 

Nathing enters into a closs hand. 

Nathing sae crouse as a new washen louse. 

Nathing's ill to be done when will's at hame. 

Nathing to be done in haste but gripping of fleas. 

Nathing venture nathing win. 

Nane ferlies mair than fools. 

Nane sae weel but he hopes to be better. 

Nane can mak a bore but ye'll find a pin till't. 

Nane can play the fool sae weel as a wise man. 

Narrow gather'd widely spent. 

Nearest the heart nearest the mouth. 

Nearer the night the mair beggars. 

Necessity has nae law. 

Need makes men of craft. 

Need will gar an auld wife trot and a naked man rin. 

Neither sae sinfu' as to sink, nor sae haly as to saunt. 

New lords have new laws. 

Never a barrel better herrings. 

Never break out of kind to gar your friends ferly at you. 

Never draw your dirk when a dunt will do't. 

Never fin' faut with my shoon unless ye pay my souter. 

366 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Never gae to the de'il wi' a dish-clout about your head. 

Never let on you, but laugh in your ain sleeve. 

Never meet never pay. 

Never marry a widow unless her first man was hang'd. 

Never put a sword in a wud man's hand. 

Never put the plough before the owsen. 

Never quat certainty for hope. 

Never o'er auld to learn. 

Never scaud your lips in other fowk's kail. 

Never seek a wife till ye ken what to do wi' her. 

Never show your teeth unless ye can bite. 

Never strive against the stream. 

Never venture never win. 

Nineteen nay-says of a maiden are haff a grant. 

Now's now, and yule's in winter. 

Nobility without ability is like a pudding without suet. 

O'er braw a purse to put a plack in. 

O'er mickle of ae thing is good for naething. 

O'er mickle hameliness spoils good courtesy. 

O'er mickle cookery spoils the brochan. 

O'er mickle loose leather about your chafts. 

O'er narrow counting culzies nae kindness. 

O'er rackless may repent. 

O'er strong meat for your weak stamach. 

Of a' sorrow a fu' sorrow's best. 

Of a little take a little, when there's nought take a'. 

Of bairns' gifts ne'er be fain, 

Nae sooner they give but they seek them again. 
Of ill debtors men get aiths. 
Of twa ills choose the least. 
Open confession is good for the saul. 
Our sins and debts are aften mair than we think of. 
Out of debt out of danger. 
Out of the peat pot into the gutter. 
Out of men's blessing into God's sun. 

Pay him in his ain coin. 

Penny wise and pound foolish. 

Pennyless sauls may pine in purgatory. 

Placks and bawbees grow pounds. 

Play's good while it is play. 

Please your kimmer and ye'll easily guide your gossip. 

Plenty makes dainty. 

Poor fowk's friends soon misken them. 

Poor fowk are fain o' little. 

Poortith parts good company. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 367 

Poortith \vi' patience is less painfu'. 

Possession is eleven points of the law. 

Pride and grace dwell never in ae place. \ 

Pride ne'er leaves its master till he get a fa'. 

Pride and sweerness tak niickle uphadding. 

Provision in season makes a bien liouse. 

Put a coward to his mettle and he'll fight the de'il. 

Put twa pennies in a purse and they'll creep together. 

Put the saddle on the right horse. 

Put your hand nae farther than your sleeve will reach. 

Put your hand twice to your bonnet for anes to your pouch. 

Put your finger in the fire and say it was your fortune. 

Quality without quantity is little thought of. 
Quick at meat quick at wark. 
Quick, for you'll never be cleanly. 
Quick returns mak rich merchants. 

Reckless youth maks a ruefu' eild. 

Raise nae mair de'ils than ye're able to lay. 

Rather spill your joke than tine your friend. 

Red wood makes good spindles. : 

Remove an auld tree and it will wither. 

Remember, man, and keep in mind, 

A faithfu' friend is hard to find. 
Rich fowk hae rowth of friends. 
Right mixture maks good mortar. 
Right wrangs nae man. 
Rob Peter to pay Paul. 
Robin that herds on the height, 

Can be as blythe as Sir Robert the knight. 
Rome was not a' bigged in ae day. 
Roose the ford as ye find it. 
Roose the fair day at e'en. 
Royet lads may make sober men. 
Rue and thyme grow baith in ae garden. 
Rule youth well, for eild will rule itsell. 

Sae mony men sae mony minds. 

Sain yoursell frae the de'il and the laird's bairns. 

Sair era vers are aye ill payers. 

Satan reproving sin. 

Saw wheat in dirt and rye in dust. 

Say weel's good, but do weel is better. 

Scant of grace hears lang preachings. 

Scant of cheeks makes a lang nose. 

Scorn comes commonly wi' skaith. 

368 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Seeing's believing a' the world over. 
See for love and buy for money. 
Seek your saw where ye get your ail, 

And beg your barm where ye buy your ale. 
Seek mickle and get something, seek little and get nought. 
Second thoughts are best. 
Send you to the sea ye'll no get saut water. 
Serve yoursell till your bairns come to age. 
Set a beggar on horseback he'll ride to the de'il. 
Set that down on the back side of your count-book. 
Set a knave to grip a knave. 
Shame's past the shade o' your hair. 
Sharp stomachs mak short graces. 
Shoal waters make maist din. 
She that gangs to the well wi' ill will. 

Either the pig breaks or the water will spill. 
She looks as if butter wadna melt in her mou'. 
She'll keep her ain side o' the hoose,'and gang up and down in yours. 
She hands up her head like a hen drinking water. 
She that taks gifts, hersell she sells. 

And she that gi'es them does nought else. 
She's better than she's bonny. 
Shod in the cradle and barefoot on the stibble. 
Short fowk are soon angry, their heart's soon at their mouth. 
Sic man sic master, sic priest sic offering. 
Sic as ye gi'e sic will ye get. 
Sic reek as is therein comes out o' the lum. 
Silence grips the mouse. 
Silks and satins put out the kitchen fire. 
Sindle seen soon forgotten. 
Slaw at meat slaw at wark. 
Slander leaves a slur. 
Smooth waters run deep. 
Sma' fish is better than nae fish. 
Soon enough to cry chuck when it is out of the shell. 
Soon ripe soon rotten, soon het soon cauld. 
Soon enough if well enough. 
Some hae hap and some stick in the gap. 
Sorrow is soon eneuch when it conies. 
Sorrow and an ill life make soon an auld wife. 
Sorrow and ill weather come unsent for. 
Spare when ye're young and spend when ye're auld. 
Speak the truth and shame the de'il. 
Spend and God will send, spare and aye be bare. 
Speak good o' pipers, your faither was a fiddler. 
Speak o' the de'il and he'll appear. 
Spilt ale is waur than water. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 369 

Standers-by see mair than the gamesters. 

Standing dubs gather dirt. 

Stay nae langer in your friend's house than ye are welcome. 

Strike as ye feed, and that's but soberly. 

Strike the iron as lang as it is het. 

Stuffing hands out storms. 

Sudden friendship sure repentance. 

Supp'd out wort was ne'er good ale. 

Surfeits slay mair than swords. 

Some ha'e a hantle faiits, ye are only a ne'er-do-weel. 

Sour plumbs, quoth the tod when he couldna climb the tree. 

Souters and tailors count hours. 

Souters shou'dna gae ayont their last. 

Souters shou'dna be sailors that can neither steer nor row. 

Spare at the spigot and let out at the bung. 

Spae well and hae well. 

Speer at Jock thief if I be a leal man. 

Speak when you're spoken to and drink when you're drunken to. 

Stown dints are sweetest. 

Sturt follows a' extremes. 

Sturt pays nae debt. 

Swear by your burnt shins. 

Sweet at the on-taking, sour in the aflf-putting. 

Sweer to bed and sweer up in the morning. 

Spit on a stane, and it will be wet at last. 

Stay and drink of your ain browst. 

Sticking gangs na by strength, but by right guiding o' the gullie. 

Tak it a' and pay the merchant. 

Tak a spring of your fiddle, and dance when ye have done. 

Tak the bit and the buffet wi't. 

Tak a pint and gree, the law's costly. 

Tak your ain will and then ye'll no die o' the pet. 

Tak time ere time be tint. 

Tak your venture as mony good ship has done. 

Tak your thanks to feed your cat. 

Tak wit in your anger. 

Tak care o' the man that God has marked. 

Tak a hair o' the dog that bit you. 

Tak part of the pelf when the pack's a dealing. 

Tak a man by his word and a cow by her horn, 

Tak me not up before I fa'. 

Tak nae mair on your back than you're able to bear. 

Tak your will, you're wise enough. 

Tak up the next ye find. 

Tam Tell-truth is nae courtier. 

Tell nae tales out 0' school. 

2 A 

370 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

Tell not your fae when your foot's sleeping. 

That's but ae doctor's opinion. 

That's for the father but no for the son. 

That's for that and butter's for fish. 

That's my tale, where's yours ? 

That's the piece a step-bairn never (^at. 

That which God will give, the de'ii canna reeve. 

The auld aver may die waiting for new grass. 

The auld dog maun die in somebody's aught. 

The bairn speaks in the field what he hears at the fireside. 

The bird maun flichter that flees wi' ae wing. 

The bird that can sing and winna sing shou'd be gart sing. 

The best is aye best cheap. 

The better day the better the deed. 

The book o' maybe's is very braid. 

The banes o' a great estate are worth the picking. 

The banes bear the beef hame. 

The blind man's peck shou'd be well measured. 

The cow may want her ain tail yet. 

The cure may be warse than the disease. 

The cow that's first up gets the first o' the dew. 

The de'il bides his day. 

The de'il was sick, the de'il a monk wou'd be, 

The de'il grew hale, syne de'il a monk was he. 
The de'il's aye good to his ain. 
The de'il's bairns hae the de'il's luck. 
The day has een and the night hears. 
The de'il's aye busy with his ain. 
The de'il will take little ere he want a'. 
The de'il drives aye his hogs to an ill market.. 
The de'il does na aye show his cloven cloots. 
The de'il's aye good to beginners. 
The e'ening red and the morning gray. 

Is a good sign of a fair day. 
The farthest way about is aft the nearest gate hame. 
The foremost hound grips the hare. 
The foot at the cradle and the hand at the reel, 

Are signs of a wife that means to do weel. 
The farther in the deeper. 
The first dish is best eaten. 
The grace o' a gray bannock is in the baking o't. 
The good or ill hap o' a good or ill life, 

Is the good or ill choice o' a good or ill wife. 
The gray mare may be the best horse. 
The greatest burthens are not the maist gainfu'. 
The gravest fish is an oyster. 

The gravest bird is an owl ; 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 371 

The gravest beast is an ass, 

And the gravest man is a fool. 
The greatest clerks are no the wisest men. 
The happy man canna be berried. 
The hen's eggs gang to the ha', 

To bring the goose's egg awa'. 
The higher up the greater fa'. 
The higher the hill the laigher the grass. 
The hurt man writes wi' steel on marble stane. 
The king's errand may come in the cadger's gate. 
The lazy man's the beggar's brother. 
The lucky pennyworth sells soonest. 
The langest day will have an end. 

The mother of a' mischief is nae bigger than a midge's wing. 
The mair cost the mair honour. 
The mawt is aboon the meal wi' him. 
The mair noble the mair humble. 
The mother's breath is aye sweet. 
The master's eye makes the horse fat. 
The mair mischief the better sport. 
The name o' an honest woman's muckle worth. 
The poor man's aye put to the warst. 

The reek o' my ain house is better than the fire 0' my neighbour's. 
The strongest horse lowps the dyke. 
The still sow eats up a' the draff. 

The stoNvp that gangs aft to the well comes hame broken at last. 
The subject's love is the king's life guard. 
The smith's mare and the souter's wife are aye warst shod. 
The thing that's done is no to do. 
The thing that's fristed is not forgi'en. 
The thing that lies not in your gate, breaks not your shins. 
The thrift of you was the death of your good-dame. 
The tod ne'er sped better than when he gaed on his ain errand. 
The tod's whelps are ill to tame. 
The tree does na fa' at the first strake. 
The water will never rob the widdy. 
The warse luck now the better another time. 
The weakest gangs to the wa'. 
The worth 0' a thing is best ken'd by the want o't. 
There is mony a true tale tauld in a jest. 
There is nane sae blind as them that winna see. 
There is naething ill said that's no ill tane. 
There is nae sport where there is neither auld fowk nor bairns. 
There was aye some water where the stirk was drown'd. 
There was never enough where naething was left. 
There was never a silly Jocky but there was as silly a Jenny. 
There was never a thrifty wife with a sheet about her head. 

372 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

There is skill in gruel making. 

There is nae fence against a flail. 

There is a time to gley and a time to look straight. 

There is a great differ amang market days. 

There is little wit in his pow that lights the candle at the low. 

There is an end o' an auld sang. 

There is a tough sinew in an auld wife's heel. 

There is aye life in a living man. 

There is an act in the laird o' Grant's court, that no aboon eleven 

speak at anes. 
There are mair ways to the wood than ane. 
There are mair working days than life days. 
There is ae day of reckoning and another of payment. 
There came never ill after good advisement. 
There is a sliddery stane afore the ha' door. 
There's a difference between will ye buy ] and will ye sell ? 
There's as good fish in the sea as ever came out o't. 
There is a great difference between fenn and farewell. 
There is a hole in the house. 
There is life in a throssle as lang as she cheeps. 
There is little for the rake after the shool. 
They are well guided that God guides. 
They are aye good that are far away. 

They are lightly berried that have b! their ain. ^ 

They are sad rents that come in with tears. 
They complain early that complain o' their kail. 
They have need of a cannie cook that have butae egg to their dinner. 
They loo me for little that hate me for nought. 
They never saw great dainties that think a haggis a feast. 
They shou'd please the goodwife that wou'd win the goodman. 
They speak of my drinking that never think of my drouth. 
They that get the word o' soon rising may lie in their bed a' day. 
They that laugh in the morning may greet ere night. 
They that give you hinder you to buy. 
They that live langest fetch wood farthest. 
They that see your head see not your height. 
They that hae rowth of butter may lay it thick on their scone. 
They were scant o' bairns that brought you up. 
They were never fain that fidged, nor fu' that lick'd dishes. 
They wist as well that didna speer. 

They were never first at the wark that bid God speed the wark. 
They never gae with the speet but they gat with the ladle. 
Thistles are a salad for an ass. 
Three is aye sonsy. 

Three can keep a secret if twa be away. 
Time o' day to find the nest when the birds are flown. 
Time tint is ne'er to be found. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 373 

Time and thinking tame the toughest grief. 

Time and tide will tarry for nae man. 

Time tries a'. 

Tine heart and a's gane. 

Tine book, tine grace. 

Tine thimble, tine thrift. 

Touch nae me on the sair heel. 

Tramp on a snail and she'll shoot out her horns. 

True blue will never stain. 

Truth and honesty keep the crown o' the causey. 

True love kyths in time of need. 

Try your friend ere you need him. 

Try before you trust. 

Twa hungry meals make the third a glutton. 

Twa blacks make na ae white. 

Twa things ane shou'd not be angry at, what he can help and what 

he canna help. 
Twa fools in a house are a couple ower mony. 
Twa words maun gang to that bargain. 
Twa wits are better than ane. 
That bowt came never out of your bag. 
The back and the belly bauds every ane busy. 
The black ox ne'er trod on your taes. 
The cat wou'd fain fish eat. 

But she is laith to weet her feet. 
The de'il's good when he's pleas'd. 
The father buys, the son biggs, 

The oye sells, and his son thiggs. 
The greedy man and the gielainger are well met. 
The greatest tochers make not the greatest testaments. 
The kirk's muckle, but ye may say mass in the end o't. 
The laird may be laird and need his hind's help. 
The man may eithly tine a stot that canna count his kinsh. 
The mair the merrier, the fewer the better cheer. 
The meal cheap and the shoon dear, 

What souters' wives like weel to hear. 
The pains o'ergang the profit. 
The poor man's shilling is but a penny. 
The scholar may waur the master. 
The simple man's the beggar's brother. 
The warst warld that ever was, some maun won. 
The weeds o'ergrow the corn. 
The warld is bound to nae man. 
The unsonsy fish gets the unlucky bait. 
There is mair knavery amang kirk men than there is honesty amang 

There is a measure in a' things. 

374 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch* 

There is muckle to do when burghers ride. 

There is mair room without than within. 

There is nae remedy for fear but cut aff the head. 

There was never a fair word in flyting. 

There is steel in the needle point tho' little o't. 

There are twa enoughs, and he has gotten ane of them. 

There are mair married than good house hadders. 

There's a bonny reason wi' a rag about the foot o't. 

There came never sic a gloff to a daw's heart. 

There is fey blood in your head. 

There grows nae grass at the cross. 

There is little to sew when tailors are true. 

They are not a' saints that get haly water. 

They 'gree like butter and mells. 

They may ken by your beard what has been on your board. 

They never beuk a good cake but may bake an ill ane. 

They that see you a' day winna break the house for you at night. 

They that hain at their dinner will hae the mair to their supper. 

They that burn you for a witch lose a' their coals. 

They tliat lie down for love shou'd rise for hunger. 

They that eat till they sweat and work till they're cauld, 

Sic servants are fitter to hang than to hald. 
They that bourd with cats maun count upo' scarts. 
They are eith hindered that are not very furdersome. 
Twa dogs were striving about a bane, and the third ran awa' wi't. 
Twa conveniences sindle times meet, 

What's good for the plant is ill for the peat. 
Tarry breeks pay nae fraught. 
Tell your gleyd good-dame that. 
That's a tee'd ba'. 
That's a tale o' twa drinks. 

The bag to the auld stent, and the belt to the yule hole. 
The cause is good, and the word fa' on. 
The death of ae bairn winna skail a house. 
The dorty dame may fa' in the dirt 
The e'ening brings a' hame. 

The flesh is aye sairest that's farthest frae the bane. 
The gait gi'es a good milking, but dings it down wi' her feet 
The langer we live the mair ferlies we see. 
The neist time ye dance tent wha ye take by the hand. 
The piper wants muckle that wants his nether chafts. 
The poor man pays for a'. 
The thacker said to his man, 

Let us raise this ladder, if we can. 
The thrift of you and the woo of a dog wou'd make a braw web. 
The tod never fares better than when he's bann'd. 
There was never a good town but there was a dub at the end o't 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 375 

There was never a cake but it had its maik. 

There is little mair between the poor and the rich but a piece of an 

ill year. 
They have been born as poor as you that have come to a pouchf u' o' 

green pease ere they died. 
They that drink langest live langest. 
Thoughts beguiled the lady. 

Thoughts are free, tho' I mayna say mickle, I can yerk at the thinking. 
Till other tinklers ill met ye 'gree. 
Touch a gawd horse on the back and he'll fling. 
Tit for tat, as the auld wife said when she f — — -d at the thunder. 
Trot father, trot mother, how can the foal amble ] 
Twine tow, your minny was a good spinner. 

Untimeous spurring spills the steed. 

Unseen, unrued. 

Under water dearth, under snaw bread. 

Up hill spare me, down hill take tent to thee. 

Up starts a carle and gather'd good. 

And thence came a' our gentle blood. 
Use makes perfytuess. 

Wad ye gar us trow that the moon's made 0' green cheese, or that 

spade-shafts bear plumbs 1 
Wage will get a page. 

Wae's the wife that wants the tongue, but well's the man that gets her. 
Want of wit is waur than want of wealth. 
War makes thieves, and peace hangs them. 
Wark bears witness of wha well does. 
Wealth gars wit waver. 
Weans maun creep ere they gang. 
Well kens the mouse when the cat's out o' the house. 
Well's him and wae's him that has a bishop in his kin. 
Welcome is the best dish in the kitchen. 
Well worth a' that gars the plough draw. 
Well is that well does. 
Were it not for hope heart wad break. 

We'll never ken the worth of the water till the well gaes dry. 
We can drink of the burn when we canna bite of the brae. 
We'll meet ere hills meet. 

We can live without our kin, but no without our neighbours. 
We'll bark oursells ere we buy dogs sae dear. 
We canna baith sup and blaw. 
We maun live by the living, but no by the dead. 
We are bound to be honest and no to be rich. 
We may ken your meaning by your mumping. 
Wedding and ill wintering tame baith man and beast. 

376 Dictionary of Lowland Scotch. 

We are aye to lear as lang as we live. 

We can poind for debt, but no for unkindness. 

We may ken your eilk by the runkles o' your horn. 

Wee things fley cowards. 

Wha wats wha may keep sheep another day. 

Wha uses perils, perish shall. 

What ye win at that, ye may lick afF a het girdle. 

What better is the house that the daw rises soon. 

Wha can baud what will away % 

Wha comes aftener and brings you less 1 

Wha daur bell the cat 1 

Wha can help misluck ? 

Wha canna gi'e will little get. 

What the eye sees na the heart rues na. 

What's nane o' my profit shall be nane o' my peril. 

What if the lift fa', then ye may gather lav'rocks. 

What's gotten o'er the de'il's back will gang away under hifi belly. 

What raks the feud where the friendship dow not. 

What winna do by might do by flight. 

What's my case the day may be yours the morn. 

What's waur than ill luck ? 

What may be done at ony time will be done at nae time. 

What puts that in your head that didna put the sturdy wi't ? 

What need a rich man be a thief 1 

What said Pluck ? the greater knave the greater luck. 

What may be, may not be. 

What canna be cured maun be endured. 

When ae door steeks anither opens. 

When a' men speaks nae man hears. 

When drink's in wit's out. 

When friends meet hearts warm. 

When Adam delved and Eve span, 

Where was a' our gentry than % 
When my head's down my house is theeked. 
When the tod preaches tak tent o' the lambs. 
When thieves reckon, leal fowk comes to their gear. 
When the bags are fou the dron gets up. 
When the tod wins to the wood he cares not how many keek for his 

When the cup's fu* carry it even. 
When poverty comes in at the door friendship flies out of the 

When lairds break carles get land. 
When a fool finds a horse-shoe, 

He thinks aye the like to do. 
When a' fruit fa's, then welcome haws. 
When I'm dead make me a cawdel. 

A Collection of Scotch Proverbs. 377 

AVhen ilka ain gets their ain the thief will get the widdy. 

When a ewe's drown'd she's dead. 

When the goodman drinks to the goodwife, a' wad he well. 

When the goodwife drinks to the goodman, a' is well. 

When the heart's fou of lust the mouth's fou of leasing. 

When your neighbour's house is in danger take care 0' your ain. 

When you are served a' the geese are water'd. 

When wine sinks words swim. 

When the barn's fu' you may thresh before the door. 

When ye're gaun and coming the gate's no toom. 

When the heart's fu' the tongue will speak. 

When he dies for age ye may quake for fear. 

When ye are weel, hand yoursell sae. 

When the well's fu' it will rin o'er. 

When the pot's o'er f u', it will boil o'er and bleeze in the ingle. 

When the steed's stown, steek the stable door. 

Where the buck's bound, there he maun bleet. 

Where the deer's slain some of the blood will lie. 

Where the dyke's laighest it is eithest to lowp. 

Where there is o'er mickle courtesy there is little kindness. 

Where there is naething the king tines his right. 

Where drums beat laws are dumb. 

Where the pig's broken let the sherds lie. 

Where there are gentles there is aye aff-fawing.