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Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, and 
Popular Rhymes of Scotland 

Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, 


Popular Rhymes of Scotland 




Author of "Trick, Trial, and Triumph," ''The Provdst of 

St. Foins," Etc., Etc. 

- '• • •• 



$ntiU0l|eT to ^ev (Pafrstp t^r (Quern 






Xa-^a.-**— v>v-» 


5- 2.^ tlfC 


It is now nearly nine years since I first began to collect 
materials relating to the proverbs, proverbial expressions, and 
popular rhymes of Scotland. During a somewhat erratic course 
of reading, persistently pursued for many years, I came across 
quite a number of curious sayings not only in books and maga- 
zines, but also in daily and weekly newspapers, and it is some- 
what remarkable that many of the rarest, and most precious 
gems were discovered in singularly primitive journals, published 
in quiet, quaint old world burgh towns. But not only' was I 
attracted by the sayings themselves, I was over and over again 
intensely interested in reading the stories of their origin, or the 
historical, social, humorous, or pathetic incidents with which 
many of them have become associated. Indeed, what may be 
called the secondary, or subsidiary incidents are in many cases 
more interesting, and important than the original sayings. The 
well known, and frequently quoted proverb, "The mair mischief 
the better sport " is given in most of the previous collections, 

V, but there is a story connected with it which is related in none of 

them. On the day appointed for the execution of Lord Lovat, 
of the '45, when the guards entered his cell to conduct him to 

3 the place of execution, they informed his Lordship, that the 

platforms erected to give the public a good view of the gruesome 
procession to Tower Hill had collapsed, causing the death of 
several persons. "Weel, weel," grimly replied the doomed 
nobleman, " the mair mischief the better sport." Now such a 
striking historical incident gives an interest to this proverb apart 
from, and superior to its intrinsic value, because instead of being 
regarded merely as an abstract saying it becomes associated in 
our minds with the striking personality of one of the most re- 


markable characters in Scottish history. In this collection many 
interesting stories will be found linked by the sanction of history 
or tradition, with numbers of our most familiar sayings. 

The next step from being interested in any particular subject 
is to make a hobby of one's favourite pursuit, and to cultivate it 
with persistence and assiduity. The pursuit of most hobbies 
generally involves a considerable expenditure of hard cash, but 
to the student who desires to collect the popular sayings of his 
country only a certain amount of leisure, free access to the 
necessary books, and a sufficient supply of stationery are indis- 
pensable. In forming the foundation of my collection I read 
all the best Scottish books I could find with the view of picking 
out the proverbs from their pages. Amongst the authors care- 
fully studied were Scott, Burns, Ramsay, Gait, Hogg, and many 
others too numerous to mention here, but to whom references 
are given throughout this volume. In particular many gems 
were met with in the Waverley Novels, Scott uses these quaint 
old sayings with great aptness, and point, and perhaps none of 
the characters created by the genius of the "Wizard of the 
North " clenches an argument with a proverb more tellingly than 
Andrew Fairservice, the quaintly pawky, yet unblushingly selfish 
gardener in ** Rob Roy." " If ye dinna think me fit," replied 
Andrew, in a huff, " to speak like ither folk, gie me my wages, 
I and my board-wages, and I'se gae back to Glasgow — there's sma' 
I sorrow at our pairting, as the auld mear said to the broken cart." 
^ Having, as the result of my reading, got together a very con- 

siderable collection of old sayings, as well as many anecdotes 
relating to them, I next began to inquire as to what works had 
already been published in this department of Scottish folk-lore. 
It would appear that it is to the clergy we owe the earliest 
works on this interesting subject. About the time of the Refor- 
mation, Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, made a small cgjlec- 
tion, concerning which, however, so little is known that it can 
hardly be recognised as one of the authorities on the subject. 
The earliest work of undoubted authenticity and real import- 
ance is the limited but deeply interesting collection formed by 

PREFACE. vii. 

the Rev. David Fergusson , minister of Dunfermline, who was a 
contemporary of the Glasgow Prelate. Fergusson's collection 
contains 940 proverbs, not a large number by any means, but 
highly creditable as a pioneer attempt in a new and unexplored 
field of literature. The slender leather bound volume which 
contains Fergusson's collection, though exceedingly rare, may 
occasionally be picked up at sales, and elsewhere, sometimes as 
a great bargain, but such a chance seldom occurs, and anyone 
wishing to consult the little work cannot do better than refer to 
the copy which is preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edin- 
burgh. A very excellent work on this subject, b y Tames Kelly , 
was published in London in 172 1. In several respects Kelly's 
work is superior to any collection which has subsequently ap- 
peared, and has undoubtedly been extensively used by and greatly 
influenced all later students in the same sphere. Kelly's volume 
contains nearly 3000 sayings, the notes are very numerous, and 
exceedingly suggestive and interesting, while the parallel sayings 
are not only plentiful, but invariably very much to the point. 
In the matter of notes Kelly's work is unquestionably the best 
collection of Scottish proverbs which has hitherto appeared. 
However, Allan Ramsav . the poet, took exception to the purity 
of Kelly's Scotch and formed a collection himself, which was 
published at Edinburgh in 1763. In his preface, which is ad- 
dressed to the " Tenantry o? Scotland, Farmers of the Dales, 
and Storemasters of the Hills," Ramsay refers to Kelly's work 
as a " late large book of them, fou of errors, in a style neither 
Scots nor English." 

There is little doubt that, to a certain extent at least, Ramsay's 
complaint was well founded, yet the fact remains that while his 
collection is now hardly ever referred to, Kelly's notes are still 
the standard annotations on the proverbs to which they refer. 
Ramsay's collection may be found in certain editions of his 
works, and Kelly's volume occasionally finds its way into the 
second-hand book market where its selling price is about ten 

After a long interval another collection, formed by Andrew 


Henderson , was published at Glasgow in 1832. This collection 
is fuller than the preceding ones, but its notes and parallel 
phrases are meagre in the extreme. It is prefaced by a long, 
elaborate, and somewhat dull essay on the general subject of 
proverbs by the poet Motherwell. 

The last collection of Scottish Proverbs is that formed by 
Alexander Hislop, the first edition of which was published in 
Glasgow in ^1862 . In many respects Hislop's collection is an 
exceedingly interesting and highly meritorious work. It is more 
extensive and systematic than any of its predecessors, and in the 
many subsequent editions which have been called for by the 
favour of the public, its scope and accuracy have invariably been 
extended and improved. Still there is much room for improve- 
ment and additions in regard to such important details as notes, 
parallel phrases, and references. Its great defects, however, are 
that it almost entirely ignores proverbial phrases, as distinguished 
from proverbs, while the popular rhymes of the country are 
omitted altogether. These are serious omissions, as the 
phrases are almost invariably more characteristically Scottish 
than the longer sayings, and have usually a more or less interest- 
ing history ; the rhymes, too, are peculiarly national, and are 
certainly entitled to find a place in such a collection. 

Mr. W. C. Hazlitt, in the Preface to his comprehensive and 
admirable collection of English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases^ 
second edition, London, 1882, writes as follows : — 

" The greater part of the sayings in this collection are also 
current in Scotland, having been in the natural course of things 
transplanted and localised, not always only in form, but occa- 
sionally even in substance. The Scots appear to have as few 
proverbs of their own as they have ballads ; but the so-called 
proverbs of Scotland are in a very large proportion of cases 
nothing more than Southern proverbs Scotticised, while the 
ballads of Scotland are chiefly ours sprinkled with Northern 

" I have spoken of the proverbs of Scotland, so far as they 
are known to me through existing compilations, as for the most 


part merely Scoticised versions of English sayings ; but I do not 
desire to be understood as expressing a confident opinion here, 
and the question is one which might repay an investigator. It 
cannot for an instant be disputed that the Scots possess a certain 
number of adages of native growth and Northern upon the face, 
but how far these might go towards filling a volume as ample as 
Mr. Hislop's, I shall not undertake to guess." 

There can be no doubt that, to a certain extent, Mr. Hazlitt's 
complaint is well founded, many of the sayings in Hislop's, as 
well as in the preceding collections, cannot be regarded as in 
any sense distinctively Scottish ; numbers of them are clearly of 
English, Classical, Eastern or Continental origin. But it is some- 
what remarkable that while Mr. Hazlitt casts doubts on the 
genuine Scottish origin of many of our sayings, he yet falls into a 
similar fault to the one he condemns in our collectors. In his 
collection of English proverbs many sayings are included which 
must be regarded as undoubtedly and distinctively Scottish. For 
example, at page 123 of his book we find the phrase "Dumbar- 
ton youths," and again at page 418, though in a somewhat cor- 
rupt form, Thomas the Rhymer's well-known prophecy regarding 
an ancient Berwickshire family — 

** Tide what may betide, 
Haig shall be laird of Bemerside." 

Surely, when, according to Mr. Hazlitt, England is so rich, and 
Scotland so poor in popular sayings, he might at least give us 
credit for what is unquestionably our own. 

In the present collection a strenuous attempt has been made, 
so far as possible, to eliminate all sayings, which cannot be re- 
garded as Scottish either in their origin, form, or historical 
associations. That all the sayings in this volume are distinc- 
tively and peculiarly Scottish cannot, of course, be maintained, 
because as is well known many of the most familiar proverbs are 
common to all languages. In these cases I give the Scottish 
form with parallel phrases from English, and other collections. 
Indeed, many of the proverbs in Mr. Hazlitt's collection as well 


as in this one are neither English nor Scottish in their origin, 
but can be traced back to a remote antiquity. 

With regard to the Popular Rhymes of Scotland, two works 
only claim our attention, the most important being the well- 
known collection of Dr. Robert Chambers, first published in 
1826. As the contents of the volume were novel, and at 
the same time extremely interesting, it soon became ex- 
ceedingly popular. During the seventy years which have 
elapsed since its first publication, numerous editions have been 
called for, and the book is still well known and highly appre- 
ciated by all who are interested in this particular branch of 
Scottish literary antiquities. The outstanding defect of this 
work is its tendency to undue prolixity in the notes on the 
rhymes — in short, to use a pithy old saying, there's "muckle 
whistlin' for little red land.'' The book might also be improved 
by the elimination of certain of the children's rhymes, which as 
verse are the veriest doggerel, and have no special interest either 
historical or social. At the same time, the work contains much 
excellent matter, though it may appear to some a rather tedious 
process to pick out the wheat from the chaff. 

The other collection of Scottish popular Rhymes is the work 
entitled, "The Popular Rhymes, Sayings, and Proverbs of the 
County of Berwick, with Illustrative Notes," by George Hender- 
son, Surgeon, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1856. As its title implies, 
this work is entirely confined to sayings distinctly associated 
with the County of Berwick. The greater number of these say- 
ings are in the form of rhymes, and for the most part relate to 
persons or places connected with the Border County. The 
book is a small volume of 184 pages, and has been long out of 
print. Its price in the catalogues of second-hand booksellers 
runs from 5s. to 7s. 6d., according to condition. As a collection 
of the Popular Rhymes current in Berwickshire, this work is ex- 
ceedingly valuable. It is evident that Dr. Henderson, who 
practised his profession at Chirnside, a village in the eastern 
district of the county, must have picked up the quaint sayings 
which form his collection as he went his busy rounds amongst 


the farmers, shepherds, and hinds of that primitive district. A 
work of this sort, which is clearly at first-hand, is not only inter- 
esting to its readers but highly creditable to its author. Un- 
questionably, Dr. Henderson has preserved many interesting 
sayings relating to the County of Berwick, which, but for his 
painstaking diligence, might have been irretrievably lost. Un- 
fortunately, the work is altogether wanting in method. It 
would almost appear as if the Doctor had just written down the 
sayings as he picked them up, and then sent the MS. off to the 
printer, without any attempt at arrangement whatever. It is 
therefore extremely difficult to find the saying you wish to see, 
small though the book is, and the inquirer, who has frequently 
to run over the greater part of the volume before he discovers 
what he is seeking, cannot help lamenting that Dr. Henderson 
has omitted any systematic arrangement, even an index, from 
his otherwise admirable work. 

Any notice of the works which have from time to time appeared 
relating to the popular sayings of Scotland would be incomplete 
without a reference to the scholarly collection of Gaelic Pro- 
verbs and Familiar Phrases ^ edited by the late Sheriff Nicolson, 
and published at Edinburgh in 1881. The Sheriff's work is 
based on a collection formed by the Rev. Donald Macintosh, 
published at Edinburgh in 1785. The later work, however, is 
much more comprehensive, and in every way superior to its pre- 
decessor. The number of sayings in the first edition of 
Macintosh's collection was 1305, in the second, published in 
1 81 9, 1538, while in Mr. Nicolson's work the number exceeds 

In preparing the present collection, I decided, from the first, 
to follow the alphabetical arrangement, as any other method of 
procedure is certain to lead to inextricable confusion, from the 
fact that many sayings are capable of being classified under a 
variety of headings. An index, however, is added, in which the 
contents of the volume are grouped under their appropriate 

While it is not claimed that this work has attained to perfec- 



tion, or anything like perfection, in the treatment of this impor- 
tant and deeply interesting branch of folklore, yet I trust it will 
be found fuller and more accurate, both as regards the sayings 
themselves and also with reference to the notes and parallel 
phrases, than any of the collections which have hitherto been 

It is, I think, satisfactory that in this work the Popular 
Rhymes of Scotland and the Proverbial Expressions current in 
the country have, for the first time, been included in a collec- 
tion of Scottish Proverbs. I shall be obliged if any readers of 
this volume, who may be acquainted with popular sayings 
omitted from this collection will kindly communicate with me 
on the subject, and should a new edition of the work be called 
for by the favour of the public, their suggestions will receive 
careful attention and due recognition. 

It only remains for me to add that the greatest care has been 
taken in the preparation of this collection for the Press, but 
should any mistakes have inadvertently crept in, I trust my 
readers will pardon such sins either of omission or commission, 
for amidst such a multiplicity of details absolute accuracy is 
almost impossible. 

A. C. 
Marchy i8g6. 



A BAD servitor ne'er made a gude maister. 
Male imperat qui parere nescit. — L. 

A BARLEY sugar kiss. 

i,e.i a stick of sugar candy. 

A BASTARD may be as gude as a bowstock by a time. 

Bastard kail are a sort of cabbage that never close ; those that close 
are called bowstocks. The meaning is that a bastard may prove as 
worthy a person sometimes as the full begotten. — Kelly, 


According to a Fifeshire tradition, one of the infant kings was ex- 
hibited to the public on a payment proportioned to the rank of the 
spectator, the humbler classes being admitted to see the juvenile mon- 
arch on the presentation of a small coin equal to the English halfpenny, 
and which was consequently called a bawbee, i.e,t baby. 

■** A BEGUN turn is half ended," quo' the wife when she stuck her 
graip in the midden. 

A jocular beginning of work which if it went no further would be 
long enough ere it were finished. — Hislop, 
Compare^ Weel saipet is hauf shaven. 

A Bellendaine. 

The slogan of the Scotts of Buccleuch, from Bellendean, at the head of 
the Borthwick Water in Roxburghshire, the gathering place of the clan. 

A beltless bairn cannot lie. 

A very young child has not the cunning required by liars. Children 
and fools cannot lie. — £. So Dutch and Fr. 

A BIT but and a bit ben maks a mim maiden at the board end. 

A jocose reflection upon young maids when they eat almost nothing 
at dinner, intimating that if they had not eaten a little in the pantry or 
kitchen, they would eat better at the table. — Kelly, 



A BIT is often better gien than eaten. 

Better apple given nor eaten. — Fergusson, 

An apple may happen to be better given than eaten. — E. 

A BLACK beginning maks aye a black end. 

In 1620 a memorable snow-storm, still spoken of as **the thirteen 
drifty days," almost annihilated the sheep in the south of Scotland. 
On one large farm in Selkirkshire, on the estate of Sir Patrick Scott of 
Thirlestane, all the flock died except one black ewe, from which the 
farmer had high hopes of preserving a bieed, but unfortunately this sole 
remnant of a good flock was chased by some idle boys into a lake and 
drowned. When John Scott, the farmer — commonly called *'Gouffin' 
Jock " — heard of this, he is reported to have said, **Ochon ! ochon ! 
an' is that the gate o't. A black beginning maks a black end." — 
I^ogg, "Storms." 

A BLATE cat maks a proud mouse. 

Compare^ Weel kens the mouse that the cat's oot o' the house. 

A BLAW in my lug. 

A flatterer.— " St. Ronan's Well," ch. 2. 

A BOASTER and a liar are near akin. 

A boaster and a liar are cousins-germain. — E. 

A body's no broke while they hae a gude kail stock. 

When all is not lost, all may be recovered. A good kail stock means 
a good kitchen garden. 

A BONNY bride is sune buskit, and a short horse is soon wispit. 

The second part corresponds to the English proverb— A thin meadow 
is soon mow'd. 

A BONNY grice (young pig) makes an ugly auld sow. 


In Scotland the wives of the publicans used to brew the ale consumed 
in the taverns, and as the occupation would seem to have thriven with 
them, ** a brewster wife " became a description for any female who was 
enormously fat. 

A BROKEN clan. 

"The Abbot," ch. 34, and footnote. — A clan without a chieftain to 
find security for their good behaviour, 

A BROKEN kebbuck (cheese) gangs quick done. 

The converse of the English proverb — Take care of the pence, the 
pounds will take care of themselves. So, A broken bannock is as good 
as eaten. — Gaelic. 

A BROKEN man. 

An outlaw. — " Rob Roy," ch. 26. 



A BURDEN carrier. 

One who made a living by bringing fallen wood from the neighbour- 
ing plantations was so called on the Borders. 


A blacksmith. 

** Then burnewin comes on like death 

At every chaup." — Burns. 

A BUSHEL of March dust is worth a king's ransom. — S. and E. 
A Busy Gap rogue. 

This Border phrase was applied to anyone who was regarded as a 
dangerous member of society. Busy Gap is a trackway through the 
Roman wall, not far from Hayden Bridge in Northumberland, and here 
robbers and other outlaws were sure to find a refuge, as hordes of 
rogues lay there, ever willing to assist their brethren in crime, and 
always ready to fight on their behalf. 

A CADGER powney's death. 

i.e., at the back of the dyke. 

A Candlemas bleeze. 

A bonfire of furze, or other material, at the season referred to. 

A CARELESS watch invites the thief. 

He that shows his purse longs to be rid of it. — E. 

He that shows his purse bribes the thief — Kelly. 

Bad keeping makes many thieves. — Gaelic. 

Opportunity makes the thief. So Fr. 

Occasio facit furem. — L. 

Where a chest lieth open a righteous man may sin. — Italian. 

The open door tempts a saint. — Spanish. Also Germ,, Dan., Dutch* 

Compare^ A reckless houssie makes many thieves. 

\r A CAULD needs the cook fully as muckle as the doctor. 

Diet cures more than the lancet. — E. 

A CHANGE o' markets. 

i.e., of circumstances. — " Waverley," ch. 6^' 

A CHEAT the wuddie. 

i.e., one who has escaped, but deserves, the gallows. 


i.e., a dram. — "Guy Mannering," ch. 24. 

A CHIEFTAIN with his tail on. 

i,e.i attended by his clan, — ** Waverley," ch. 16. 

A CHURL will savour of churl's kind. 
" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 34. 



i.e,t concubinage. 

A CLEAN strae death, or, A fair strae death. 

1.^., a natural death. — ** Guy Mannering," ch. 27. 
A CLEAN shrift makes simple living. 

"The Merry yLtn,**— Stevenson. 

" A CLEAN thing's kindly," quo' the wife, when she turned her 
sark after a month's wear. 

A CLIP o' Johnnie Hastie*s shears. 

Johnnie Hastie was a tailor in Crail,' Fifeshire, a real cankered body, 
but with about an equal quantity of humour or malevolent wit. When- 
ever he found a proper opportunity, he used to bend his fore and middle 
fingers, and then protruding the middle joint, and opening and separat- 
ing the one from the other, he used to apply this instrument to the 
fleshy and most sensitive part of any person who might happen to sit 
near him, and by compressing suddenly the joints and fingers, give the 
impression of severe clipping. This he denominated ** A clip o* Johnnie 
Hastie*s shears," and hence arose the by-word. — Professor Thomas 
Gillespie, *The Natural History of Idiots,' in the ** Tales of the Bor- 

A COCK and feather. 

i.e,, a gill of brandy and a bunch of raisins, over which it was the 
custom to fee counsel in Johns* Coffee House, Edinburgh. 

A COCKED egg. 

f.^., the main point. Something of importance. 

A Coldstream or Caustrum marriage. 
A Gretna Green marriage. 
A Lamberton Toll marriage. 

Coldstream and Lamberton in Berwickshire were long famous for 
irregular marriages, many of which were runaway matches. Gretna 
Green in Dumfries-shire was, however, the favourite resort of those who 
desired to be married in a hurry. These Border marriages ceased in 
1859, in consequence of an Act of Parliament passed in that year which 
\f required a residence of twenty-one days in Scotland immediately before 

the ceremony by one of the parties, at least, as a preliminary to a mar- 
riage according to the law of Scotland. 

These phrases are used to indicate an irregular marriage. Compare^ 
Ruglen Marriages. 


i,e,i a fight amongst shepherds' dogs, a regular free fight. A Donny- 
brook Fair. — Irish. The phrase was originally applied to any con- 
fused uproar, like that produced when collies £ail a worrying one 
another ; about one of their own kind who has got a shangie or slmgan, 
i,e,f a cannister tied to his tail. 


A COLLOP of the foray. 

This Highland phrase refers to a part of the robbers' booty, anciently 
called steakraid. — ** Waverley," ch. 23. 

A CONSCIENCE that ne'er did him ony harm. 

i.e.f an accommodating elastic conscience. — '* Waverley," ch. ii. 

\/ A COOKIE shine. 

i,g., a tea party. 

A CORBIE messenger. 

One that is long upon his errand, or who, like the raven sent from 
the ark, returns not again. 

A CORRESPONDENCE fixed wi' hcaven 

Is sure a noble anchor. — Burns, 

A Crail capon. — Ft/e. 

i.e,y a haddock. So, A Yarmouth capon — a red herring. — E. The 
Italian friars (when disposed to eat flesh on Fridays) call a capon, 
"piscem h corte," a fish out of the coop. — Ray. 

A CRAMMED kyte maks a crazy carcase. 
A full belly sets a man jigging. — Fr. 

A Cromarty fire. 

i,e,y one that is spark out. The Cromarty people were proverbial 
for thrift, and there is an old joke about the key of the peat chest, 
which a Cromarty farmer entrusted to his daughter, with instructions 
to bring out a turf and a half and make a good fire. 

A CROOK in the Forth | Is worth an Earldom in North. 

Refers to the fertility of the lands on the banks of the Forth, which 
is noted in some parts of its course as a meandering river with many 
crooks or turns in it. 

A CROOKED (lame) man should sow beans, and a wud (foolish) 
man peas. 

The one agrees to be thick sown, and the other thin. — Xelfy. 

A crooning (singing) cow, a crawing hen^ and a whistling maid 
were ne'er very chancy. 

A whistling wife and a crowing hen 

Will call the old gentleman out of his den. — E. 

Whistling of women, and crowing of hens, two forbidden things. — 

\/^ The house doth every day more wretched grow. 

Where the hen louder than the cock doth crow. 

— Fr. — probably the original. 

/ A CRUEL king ne'er reigns long. 


A DEAR ship lies lang in the harbour. 
Applied often to nice maids. — Kelly ^ 

A DEED grip. 

The grasp of a drowning man. — Hogg, 

A DEED light bodes the living nae gude.— Z^^. 

A DINK (neat, trim^, maiden often maks a dirty wife. 

A DISH o' married love right soon grows cauld, 

And dozens doun (settles doun) to nane as folks grow auld. 

— Ramsay, 

A DOG in a deer's den. 

Spoken when a widow or widower marries a person inferior to their 
former match. — Kelly, 

A DOUCER man ne'er broke warld's bread. 

t,e., a hetter man never lived. A douce woman is often called a 
decent body. 

A Douglas ! a Douglas ! 

The Douglas slogan. 


i,e., a dram. 

A DRAP and a bite's but a sma' requite. 

An inducement to a friend to accept your hospitality as a meal is after 
all but a poor return for his past services. — Hislop, 

A DREEPiNG roast. 

i,t,^ a good downsitting. 
A DREiGH drink is better than a dry sermon. 

i,e,<i anything is better than a dry sermon, for, of course, a dreigh 
drink is no drink at all. 

A DRINK is shorter than a tale. 

Nicolson says this is a proverb of purely Gaelic origin, and he ex- 
plains it as referring to the hospitable Highland custom of offering a 
visitor a drink of the best whenever he enters the house. 

It first appeared in print in Allan Ramsay's ** Collection," 1736. 
Hazlitt gives it as an English proverb. 

A DRUCKEN doctor is aye clever. 

A DRUDGER gets a darg, and a drucken wife the drucken penny. 

i,e,y a willing labourer manages to get work, and a drunkard con- 
trives to get drink somehow or other. — Hislop, 

Kelly explains this proverb in a different sense. He says. They that 
are free and liberal will have to spend, when the saving and penurious 
will get hard labour. 


^\/ A DRY summer ne'er made a dear peck. 

A dry summer never begs its bread. — Cornwall, 

A DRY Stick. 

An uninteresting, unpopular preacher. A wooden minister. — Gaelic. 

A DUMB dog. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. ii. Compare, A dry stick. 

j/ A DUMB man baud's a'. 

i,e,, makes no disclosures. 

A DUMB man wins nae law. 

Unless an advocate has the gift of the **gab," he is of very little use. 

A DYKE louper. 

A man who is given to illicit amours. — "Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 32. 

A FAIR maid tocherless will get mair wooers than husbands. 

i.e., a girl without a fortune. 

A FiDGiNG (skittish) mare should be weel girded (restrained). 

A thief does not always steal, but alwslys be on your guard against 
him. — Ruffian, 

A FIE man and a cursour fears na the deil. 

i,e,, a predestined doomed man, and a stallion. — *'Guy Mannering," 
ch. II. 

A FiNDLY bairn gars his daddy be hang'd. 
i,e,, one who finds, or steals, — UTelly, 

A FINE hoo-dy-ye-dae. 

i,e,, a pretty business — ironically. 

^ A Flander's baby. 

t.e,, a doll, because in former times Flanders was famous for pro- 
ducing these toys. 

A FLEA-LUGGED fallow. 

i.e., a scatter-brained fellow. — ** The Ayrshire Legatees," ch. 6, 
letter 18. 

A fleyer (coward) would aye hae a follower. 

Compare, A skittering cow in a loan, etc. Cowards like to have 
associates so as to relieve them of responsibility for mean actions. — 
Hislop, Girls run away to be pursued. — Kelly, 

\f A FOOL is happier thinking weel o' himsel' than a wise man is o' 
it hers thinking weel o' him. 

. . A FOOL may make money, but it requires a wise man to keep it. 
^ The English say, to spend it. 


A FOOL of a nurse maks a wise child. 

Said as an excuse for the nonsensical bawling of nurses to their chil* 
dren. — Kelly, 
The nurses' tongues are privileged to talk. — E. 

A FOOL winnae gie his toy for the Tower o' London. 

There seems a reference here to an incident in the life of Charles II., 
who, according to the Earl of Rochester, " never said a foolish thing, 
and never did a wise one : " the allusion being to the monarch chasing 
butterflies in his garden for the amusement of the ladies of the Court, 
while the Dutch Heet was threatening his capital. 

Fools will not part with their bauble for all Lombard Street. — £. 

A FOUL (it maks a fu' wame. 

Because a dirty foot implies industry. — Kelly, 

A FOUL hand maks a clean hearthstane. 

A FRIEND at Court is worth a penny i' the purse. 

A friend at Court makes the process short- Fr. 

This proverb is also found in English collections. It is, however, 
peculiarly applicable to the condition of things at one time prevailing 
in Scotland, for, as Kelly says, 1721, '*a purse seems to be the only 
friend at Court, for without that there is nothing there but neglect and 
empty promises." 

A friend in Court is better than a crown in the purse, or than a cow 
in the fold. — Gaelic. Also Irish and Welsh. 

As a man is friended. 
So the law is ended. — E. 

A friend's dinner is soon dight 
Le.^ prepared. 

A frosty winter, a dusty March, a rain about April, 
Another about the Lammas time when the corn begins to fill. 
Is worth a pleuch 0* gowd, and a' her pins theretill. 

George Buchanan, being asked what would buy a plough of gold, 
answered in the words of this rhyme. 

A Fu' cup is ill to carry. 

A full cup must be carried steadily. — E. and in Gaelic. 

A FU' heart is aye kind. 

A Fu' heart never lied. 

The truth comes out under the impulse of the feelings. — Hislot, 

A Fu' man and a hungry horse aye make haste hame. 

A FU' man's a true man. 

When wine's in wit*s out. — E. 

Drink washes off the daub and discovers the man. — E. 

What soberness conceals, drunkenness reveals. — E. 



Wine neither keeps secrets nor fulfils promises. — £. 
In vino Veritas. — L. 
Wine wears no breeches. — Spanish, for in liquor men expose their 
most secret thoughts. 
C^ A drunken heart won't lie. — Gaelic. 

A Fu' purse maks a haverin' merchant. 

A full purse makes the mouth run over. — E. Another version is, 
V A fu* purse maks a man speak, i,e,^ gives him courage. 



/ A FU* sack can bear a clout i' the side. 

i,e,, a slight misfortune does not affect the prosperous. 

^ J A Fu' wame maks a straight (or stiff) back. 

t.e,, one fit for labour. — Kelly, 

The two preceding proverbs mean that when a man is in prosperous 
circumstances, be bears himself in accordance with his position, and 
cares little for the envious remarks of his less fortunate neighbours. — 

A gallopin' Tam. 

A sermon re-preached in different churches. 

A GAUN fit aye gets gate aneucb. 

A willing worker never wants a job. 

A GAUN fit's aye getting, were it but a thorn or a broken tae. 

A man of industry will certainly get a living, though the proverb is 
often applied to those who went abroad and got a mischief, when they 
might safely have stayed at home. — JCelly. 

A GAUNT at the door. 

A yawner ; a useless loafer. 

A GENTLEMAN of Wales, I With a knight of Cales, 
V And a Lord of the North Countrie, 

A yeoman of Kent, | Upon a rack's rent. 
Will buy them out all three. 

Osborne*s "Traditional Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth," rfVra 1650. 
Ray's version varies from this, and is as follows : — 

A Knight of Cales, a Gentleman of Wales, 

And a Laird of the North Countree, 
A Yeoman of Kent, with his yearly rent, 

Will buy them out all three. 

Ray says: — Cales (Cadiz) Kniehts weve mad* 
Robert, Efarl of Essex, to the number of aizt|^ « 
of great birth) some were of low fortnnei, f^ 
betn was half offended with the Ewrl for amP^ 
Of the numerousness of Wdsh gentleinr 
Welsh generally pretending to gentilitj* 


in Scotland hold lands in chief of the King, whereof some have no 
great revenue. So that a Kentish yeoman, (by the help of a hyperbole) 
may countervail. 

A gi'en game was ne'er won. 

\r It is easy to slay an enemy who enters not the lists. — £. 

A voluntary concession may be no tribute to the skill of an opponent. 

— Hislop. 

A Glasgow Magistrate. 

f.^., a red herring. A soldier. — £. 

A GNARLED tree may bear good fruit, and a harsh nature may 
give good counsel. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 22. 

A GOOD man God-ward and man-ward. 

Old Scottish Presbyterian phrase. **The Antiquary," chap. 31. 

A Gordon in green | Should never be seen. 
A GouROCK ham. 

f.^., a salt herring. 

A GOWK at Yule 11 no be bright at Beltane. 

V ue,y he that is a fool at Christmas will not be wise in May. 

What's bred in the bone wont out of the flesh. — Dutch and E. 

A gowk's errand. 

i.e,^ a foolish undertaking. 

A sleeveless errand. — E. So, To send him for yard wide pack 
thread. -.-E. 

Sending him to chase the cuckoo. — Gaelic ; and. Whistling on a 
cold track. — Gaelic. 

A gran' lift. 

ue,\ great promotion. 

A GREAT rooser was ne'er a gude rider. 

A great boaster is rarely a good performer. 
A GREAT slave to the paper. 

2.^., a minister who reads his sermons closely. 

A GREEDY e'e ne'er got a gude pennyworth. 
\/ Greedy eye never got good bargain. — Gaelic. 

A GREEDY e'e ne'er got a fu' wame. 

His eye is bigger than his belly. — E. 

A GREEN turf is a gude gudemither. 

V There is no good mother-in-law but she that wears a green gown. — E. 

The sod is a good mother-in-law. — Gaelic. 
The best mother-in-law on whom the geese pasture. — Ger. 



A GREEN wound is half game. 

Because it commonly smarts more afterwards. — Kelly, 

A GREEN Yule maks a fat kirkyaird. 

A black Christmas makes a fat churchyard ; and, A green winter 
makes a fat churchyard. — £. So in Gaelic. 

Ray says this proverb was confuted in 1667, when, though the season 
was unusually mild, the health of the community was excellent. 

A Gretna Green marriage — see^ A Coldstream marriage. 
A greybeard. 

ue.y an earthenware jar used to hold whisky. 

A gude calf is better than a calf o' a gude kind. 

The latter may perhaps turn out badly. So, A bird in the hand is 
worth two in the wood. — E. 

A GUDE day's darg may be done wi' a dirty spade. 
A GUDE dog ne'er barkit aboot a bane. 

Only fools make an outcry aboat a trifle. 
A GUDE fellow is a costly name. 

A GUDE fellow ne'er tint but at an ill fellow's hand. 
i,e,y one honest man will not cheat another. 

A GUDE goose but she has an ill gansel (gabble). 

Spoken when one has done a good turn, and by their after behaviour 
spoilt the grace of it. — Kelly, 

A GUDE goose may have an ill gaislin'. V 

Also Gaelic, Greek and L. So the English say, Many a good cow 
hath an evil calf. 

A GUDE grieve (overseer) is better than an ill worker. 

A GUDE hairst makes men prodigal, and a bad ane provident. 

A GUDE ingle maks a roomy fireside. ^ 

A good fire can accommodate a large circle. — Hislop, 

A GUDE name is sooner tint than won. v/ 

And in Gaelic. 

Good repute is like the cypress, once cut it never puts forth leaf 
again. — Italian. 

A GUDE Scotch louse aye travels South. v \ 

A hit at the tendency of Scotchmen to seek their fortune in England. 

A GUDE steel is worth a penny. 

A good article is worth a fair price. — Hislop, 




A GUDE year winna mak him, nor an ill year mar him. 

Spoken of slothful, idle, lazy fellows, who live from hand to mouth, 
and are equally poor all years. — Kelly, 
A beggar will never be bankrupt. — E. 

\j A GUDE yeoman (husband) maks a good woman. 

A good wife maketh a good husband. — E. 

A HAIRY man's a geary man, but a hairy wife's a witch. 

It would appear that when this proverb originated only rich men 
allowed their beards to grow. 

A HALF merk marriage. 

i,e.i a clandestine marriage, from the price paid. 

•\^, A HALFLIN, or hafflin. 

Hoble-de-hoy, neither a man nor a boy. — E. 

A HALLAN shaker loon. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 4. A worthless character, a beggarly scamp ; 
one who must take his place behind backs at the hallan. The hallan 
was the partition between the door of a cottage and the fireplace. 

A Hallow Fair horse and a Sunday wife. 

A Sabbath maiden and a Lammas mare. — Gaelic. 

If thou desirest a wife choose her on a Saturday rather than on a 
Sunday. — E. ue,^ don't choose a wife when the lady is specially 
dressed, or has her company manners on. 

Hallow Fair is held annually at Edinburgh, on the second Wednes- 
day of November. 

A HAME push. 

i,e,y a telling hit. 

A han'-ower-head business. 

t.^., a peculiar affair. 

A hantle cry murder and are aye upmost. 

\/ Many that are least hurt cry loudest. — Hislop, 

A HARD beginning is a gude beginning. 

A hard beginning maketh a good ending. — E. 

A HASTY man is never lusty. 

A HASTY man is no better than a fool. 

A HASTY meeting, a hasty parting. 

Hasty love is soon hot, and soon cold. — E. So, Marry in haste, and 
repent at leisure. — E. 

A HAVERAL woman's tongue is nae scandal. 


A Hawick hug. 

A Cornish hug. — Ray, In wrestling, the Borderers grasp their 
opponents round the waist, the Cornish men hug their adversaries 
above the elbows. 

A HEARTY hand to gi'e a hungry mellith (meal). 

A sneer at one who makes a great profession of liberality, and really 
gives very little. 

\i A HEAVY purse makes a light heart. 

A light purse makes a heavy heart. — E. 

A HEN that lays thereout should hae a white nest egg. 

Efforts should be made to render home attractive to those who are 
disposed to wander. 

A Highland Cap. 

Ten miles.—" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 27. 

A Highland plea. 

** The broadsword*s pursuer or plaintiff, as you Englishers ca't, and the 
target is defender ; the stoutest head bears langest out, and there's a 
Hieland plea for ye."—" Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

A Highland welcome. 

Peculiarly cordiaL 

When death's dark stream I ferry o*er, 

A time that surely shall come 
In heaven itself I'll ask no more 

Than just a Highland welcome. — Bums, 

A Highlander's privilege. 

i.e,, rob the rich to help the poor. — " Heart of Midlothian," ch. 39, 

A HlNGIN* lug. 

i.e.y a grudge. 

A Home ! a Home ! 

Slogan of the Earl of Home. 

A HORN Spoon hauds nae poison. 

There is little likelihood of a poor man being poisoned, as nothing is 
to be gained by murdering him. 

A HORSE sail gang on Carrolside brae till the girth gaw his sides 

in twae. 

Carrolside lies on Leader water, and the desolation here predicted by 
the Rhymer has never been fulfilled. 

A HOT trod. 

A Border expression which refers to a hunt after a criminal. A 
burning turf was carried on the point of a spear, indicating that the 


party were pursuing a marauder. By the law of the Marches, the fiery 
symbol protected the pursuers from molestation, and the same law 
doomed to death any who might bar their way. The phrase is now- 
used to indicate that an enterprise is being pursued with great zeal, 
though such an undertaking may be difficult and dangerous. 

A HOUSE built and a garden to grow never brought what they 

V A HOUSE fu' o' folk and a purse wi' three fardens i* the corner 

o't dinna sort weel thegither. 

A HOUSE in a hastrie is dounricht wastrie. 

A HOUSE wi* a reek, and a wife wi' a reard, will make a man rin 
to the door. 

Smoke, a dripping roof, and a scolding wife are enough to drive a 
man out of his life. — Spanish. 

A HUNGER and a burst. 

A feast and a fast. — E. 

You been like Smith wick, either clemed or bossten. — Cheshire. 

A HUNGRY care's an unco care. 
A HUNGRY man sees far. 

A hungry man smells meat afar off. — E. Also in Gaelic. 

A HUNGRY man's meat is lang o' making ready. 
r Hungry men think the cook lazy. — E. 

A HUNGRY tike ne*er minds a blaud wi' a rough bane. 

Many will stand abuse and even harsh treatment when their interests 
are concerned. 
Take the bit and the buffet with it.— E. 
^'" Pelt a dog with a bone and you will not offend him. — Italian. 

A dog will not cry if you beat him with a bone. — E. 
A dog won't howl at a bone. — Gaelic. 

A HUNGRY wame has nae lugs. 

I.e,, a hungry man is deaf to reason. 
Empty belly hears nobody. — E. 

A Januar haddock, a Februar bannock, and a March pint o' 


Supposed to be at their best during these months. With regard to 
the haddock, the statement is contradicted by a Mearns proverb, which 
declares that — 

** A cameral haddock's ne'er gude 
Till it gets three draps o' A&y flude." 



In Northumberland they say — 

" The herrings are na gude, \y 

Till they smell the new hay." 

A Jeddart cast. 

Summary execution. — "Rob Roy," ch. 36. 
See^ Jeddart justice. 

A Jock Muck. 

Aberdeenshire, "Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk." 

A Johnnie raw. 

A country lout, or greenhorn. 

A JOKE has sometimes mair wisdom in't than the pulpit oration / 

& a greetin' minister. 

Many a true word is spoken in jest. — E. 

A JOURNEYMAN minister. 

t'.Cf one without a charge of his own. — Ifog-^. 
A guinea pig. 

A KAIL supper o' Fife. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 4. A term applied to the natives of the 
" kingdom " from their supposed ancient liking for good Scotch kail. 

A Kelso convoy. ^ 

A step and a half ower the door stane. — " Antiquary," ch. 30. 

A Kelso traveller. 

Border phrase. A wooden stand on wheels, upon which was placed 
the hot water kettle at toddy parties. The stand and kettle were run 
round the table for the convenience of the guests, hence the name. 

A KICK at the bendweed foal. 

i,e,, an obstinate fellow. — " The Entail," ch. 77. 

A KINDLY colt will never mak a gude horse. 

Fair in the cradle and foul in the saddle. — E. So, on the contrary, 
it is said, A ragged colt may make a good horse. — E. The Irish say, 
A raggetty colt, etc. So in Gaelic, Fr., Port., Ger. So also, Naebody / 

can tell what a rugged cout or a ragged callant may come to. — North- 

A KINDLY word cools anger. 
A King's face should gi'e grace. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 3 

A KINSMAN is part of a man's body, but a foster brother is a 
piece of his heart. 

Gaelic. "Waverley," ch. 23. 






A KiRKYAiRD descrter. 

Applied to persons who are remarkable for a ghastly and death-like 

A KISS and a drink o' water male but a wersh breakfast. 
Compare^ Its lang or four bare legs gather heat in a bed. 

A Laidlaw maun aye be read backward. 

Tht Ettrick Shepherd, " Siege of Roxburgh," ch. 13. 

A Lamberton Toll marriage. 

Compare, A Coldstream marriage. 

A LANDWARD lad is aye laithfu'. 

i.e,, a country lad is bashful. 


The Scots retain the use of the word town in its comprehensive Saxon 
meaning, as a place of habitation. A mansion or a farm house, though 
solitary, is called the toun. A landward toun is a dwelling situated in 
the country. — '* Old Mortality," ch. 8, and footnote. 

The term toun is applied to all the buildings about a farm ; it is the 
generic name for the master's house, the hinds' cottages, and the farm 
offices. Landward bred, i.^., country bred, homely in manners. — 
** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 36. 

A LANG gathered dam scon runs out. 

A LAUGHING faced lad often maks a lither (lazy) servant. 

A smiling boy seldom proves a good servant. — E. 

A lawyer's e'e has twa lenses. 

A layin' hen is better than a standing mill. 

Better a laying hen than a lym crown. — £. 

A LEAKY ship needs muckle pumping. 

A LEAsuRE, as lairds die. — Kelly. (At leisure.) 

Softly and fair, as lawyers go to heaven. — E. 
At leisure, as flax groweth. — E. 

A LED farm. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 50. /.«., a farm on which the tenant does 
not reside. 

A lingerin' death and a lingerin' love mak the heart sick. 

A LITTLE nacket. 

i,e,, a very diminutive person. 

A LocHARBRiGG lad or lass. 

ue..^ a warlock or witch, later, a doubtful character. 


Locharbrigg hill, about four miles from Dumfries, was the noted 
tryst of the Nithsdale and Galloway warlocks and witches. Their 
gathering hymn contained the following lines : — 

** When the grey howlet has three times hoo*d. 
When the grimy cat has three times mewed, 
When the tod has jowled three times i' the woode, 
At the red mune cowering ahin' the clud ; 
When the stars hae cruppen deep i' the drift, 
Lest cantrips had pyked them out o' the lift ; 
Up horses a', but in air adowe, 
Ryde, ryde for Locharbrigg knowe." 

A Lockerbie lick. 

Between Speldins and Lockerbie, on a level plain beside the Drjrffe 
water, a desperate battle was fought between the border clans of John- 
stone and Maxwell sometime about the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. Lord Maxwell was killed, and his followers put to flight, 
many of them so disfigured bv slashes in the face from the axes of their 
foes, that "a Lockerbie lick became from that time a proverbial ex- 

A Lord of Seat. 

A nobleman was called a Lord ot State. The Senators of the College 
of Justice were termed Lords of Seat, or of the Session. — '* Heart of 
Midlothian," ch. 4, and footnote. 

A LOUP-THE-DYKE Jenny Cameron. 

A woman of bad character. — Gali, ** The Entail," ch. 65. 

A LOUP the window. 

i.e., a secret lover. — Gait, " The Entail," ch. 64, 

A LOVING heart and a leal within 
Are better than gowd or gentle kin. 

A MAN canna bear a' his ain kin aboot on his back. \J 

i.e,y no one can be expected to support all his relations. 

A MAN cannot sell his tinsel (loss). 

Spoken when a man has refused a good rate for a commodity and 
afterwards lost it. — Kelly, 

A MAN may be kind, yet gi'e little o* his gear. Y 

A MAN may speir the gate he kens fu' weel. 

From policy. This is often done to puzzle the person examined, and 
so lead him to commit himself. This is condemned in another Scotch 
proverb, Deil speed them that speir and ken fu' weel. 

What sent the messengers to hell 
Was asking what they knew full well. 

*TWaverley," ch. 24. So, Asking what one knows, the worst kind of 
asking. — Gaelic. 



A MAN may speir the gate to Rome. 

Spoken to those who, being bid go an errand, excuse themselves 
because they know not the way. — JCeUy, 

A MAN may spit in his neive and do but little. 

\i As, Muckle cry and little woo. 

A MAN may woo where he will, but must wed where his weird is. 

»/ What's allotted can't be blotted. — Irish. 

A MAN of straw is worth a woman of gold. — J^e//y. 
A MAN should ride where he may not wrestle. 

A Border saying, as, Discretion is the better part of valour. 

A MAN was once hanged for leaving his drink. 

It took its rise from the villain that assassinated the Prince of Orange. 
Spoken when men proffer to go away before their drink be out. — A>//y. 
He will be hanged for leaving his liquor, like the saddler of Bawtry — is 
a parallel English proverb, though the reputed origin is different. The 
latter saying arose from the following circumstances. In former days 
an ale house, called "The Gallows House," stood half way between 
York and the place of public execution for that city, and here the cart 
invariably stopped for the refreshment of the convict and his escort. 
The saddler, however, refused the offer ot a last glass, and hastened on 
to the place of execution, where, very soon after he was turned off, a 
reprieve arrived, so that had he stopped at "The Callow's House," the 
time consumed there would have been the means of saving his life. — 
Pegge^s **Curialia," ed. 1818, pp. 340-1. 

A MAN wha lippens to a strae rope may hang himsel*. 

Better run no risks. 

A man's a man for a' that. — Bums, 

A man's aye blind in his ain cause. — Fergusson. 

A man's aye crouse in his ain cause. 

A man is bold with what's his own. — Gaelic, and, Every man is a 
lion in his own cause. — Gaelic. 

A man's hand, and a mailed glove on that. 

The Borderers, with all their carelessness, were severe observers of 
the faith which they had pledged even to an enemy. Their declaration 
of good will and form of pledging faith, "A man's hand and a mailed 
glove on that," was regarded as inviolable. If any person broke his 
word so plighted, the individual with whom faith had not been kept, 
used to bring to the next Border meeting a glove hung on the point of 
a spear, and proclaim to Scots and English the name of the defaulter. 
This was considered so great a disgrace to all connected with him, that 
his own clansmen sometimes destroyed the offender to escape the infamy 
he had brought on his name. 



A man's hat in his hand ne'er did him ony harm. 
Politeness is usually good policy. 

A man's head is safer in a steel cap than in a marble palace. 

"Legend of Montrose/' ch. 2. A saying of the troubled times, 
implying that no condition of life was so safe as one of continual de- 
fence against the too probable attack. 

A man's mind is a mirk mirror. 

A man's weel or wae as he thinks himsel' sae. 

A man's worst friends are those he brings with him, \/ 

For if they disparage him they are believed, as being supposed to 
know him. Spoken also when they whom we thought to have been 
our friends in such a case, were against our interest. — Kelly, 

You are good to help a lame dog over a stile. — E. 

Where shall a man have a worse friend than he brings from home. — 

A Mart. 

The fat ox killed at Martinmas and salted for the winter's consump- 
tion. Winter provisions generally. 

A Mary. 

Queen Mary of Scotland made it a custom to have four Mar3rs as her 
ladies of honour, until at last it became a common phrase to speak of a 
favourite waiting woman as a Mary. 

A MEiN pot (in which many have a share) never played even. 

Prospects in which many have a share often prove failures. — Kelly, 
* There is falsehood in fellowship. — E. 

A pot that belongs to many is ill stirred and worse boiled. — E. So, 
A party pot ne'er plays even. — Hislop, And he says, An interested 
party cannot be an impartial judge. 

A Merse mist alang the Tweed 

In a harvest mornin's gude indeed. — Henderson, 

A MIDGE is as big as a mountain amaist. 

The latitude afforded, in the word " almost " furnishes the point in 
this and several other proverbs. — Hislop, So, Almost a mare's as great 
as a mountain. — Kelly, 

The cow is only a good deal bigger than the midge. — Gaelic. 

Almost was never banged ; and. Almost and very nigh save many a 
lie. — E. 

The signification of this word almost having some latitude, men are 
apt to stretch it to cover untruths. — Ray, 

Compare^ Amaist and very near, etc. ; and, Amaist was ne'er a man's 

A MILE and a bittock. 

*'Guy Mannering," ch. u 



A Yorkshire way- bit A Kentish mile. — E. 

Ask a countryman how many miles it is to such a town, and he will 

return commonly " So many miles and a way-bit." Which way-bit is 

enough to make the weary traveller surfeit of the length thereof. But 

^ it is not way- bit, though generally so pronounced, but wee-bit, a pure 

^ Yorkshireism, which is a small bit in the northern language. — Ray, 

A MILE of Don's worth two of Dee, 
Except for salmon, stone and tree. 

A MIND that's scrimpit never wants some care. 

But aiblins, neibour, ye hae not a heart, 
And downa eithly wi' your cunzie part. 
If that be true, what signifies your gear ? 
A mind that's scrimpit never wants some care." 

--Ramsay's ** Gentle Shepherd." 


In Scotland when a young woman bears an illegitimate child she is 
said to have had **a misfortune." So, **the unfortunate one" is the 
popular Russian and Siberian name for a criminal. 

A MISTY May and a dropping June 
Brings the honny land of Moray aboon. 

Shaw's " History of Province of Moray," ed. 1826, p. 198. Moray 
owing to its gravelly soil is the better of summer rains. 

A MISTY morning may be a clear day. 

A misty morning may have a fine day. — E. 

A MOLL on the coals. 

A sigher of sadness.— C7a//*j **The EnUil," ch. 18. 

A morning's sleep is worth a fauld o' sheep to a hudderin' 
dudderin' daw. 

A reflection upon lazy, sleepy drabs, who prefer nothing to soaking 
in their beds in the morning. — JCeily, 

A mouthfu' o' meat may be a tounfu' o' shame. 

That is if it be stolen, intimating that a little thing picked will pro- 
cure a great disgrace. — Kelly ^ Or, An egg is a mouthful of meat and 
a townful of shame. — £. Also in Gaelic and Irish. 

A muckle hash. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 28. f.«., a clumsy, clownish lad. 


i,e,i one who, for his future safety, assumed a mask or disguise in 
leading the enemy to the haunts of his neighbours or associates whom 
he betrayed. —"Tales of the Borders," — *Archy Armstrong.' "The 
Abbot," ch. 33, and note, P. 

A NAG wi' a wame and a mare wi' nane are no a gude pair. 


That is a well fed man and a hungry man, or, it may be, an intelli- 
gent and ignorant man are not well matched. — Hislop, 
May it not also refer to a married pair who are unequally yoked ? 

A NAKED man maun rin. n^ 

ue,y a. destitute man must exert himself. 

A ne'er-do-weel. 

Never to thrive — ^a thorough scap^ace. 

A NEST egg. 

i,f,, the nucleus of a fortune. 

A NEW mantle and a new hood, 

Poor brownie, ye'll ne'er dae mair good. 

If the inmates of a house wished to get rid of a brownie, they had 
only to leave out for him a new coat or mantle. Hence one of these 
spirits, where this had been done, was heard to take his leave of the 
house in the words of this rhyme. 

A NEW pair o' breeks will cast doun an auld coat. vy 

i,e,, a new friend may tend to lessen our esteem for an old one. 

A NEW tout on an old horn. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 27. 
Compare, An auld tout, etc. 

A NEW warld. 

Jacobite phrase, i.e., political change. — ** The Abbot," ch. 18. 

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 16. \f ^ 

You may either nod or wink at a blind horse. — E. 

A PEAR o' another tree. 

A hawk of another nest. — E. 

A PEESMEAL o' cHshmaclavers. 
i.e., SL parcel of nonsense. 

A PENNY in the purse is better than a crown spent. 

A crown in pocket doth you more credit than an angel spent. — E. 

A PENNY stane cast. 

i.e., a short distance. — " Guy Mannering," ch. 11. 

A PENNY wedding. 

So called because the guests paid for their entertainment. The price 
paid was originally a penny Scots. 

A Perth arrow hath a perfect flight. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 24. 



A pickle's no missed in a mickle, 
A PICKLED primineary. 

i.e,f an awkward predicament. — Tlie Etirick Shepherd^ "The 
Brownie of Bodsbeck," ch. 5. 

A PINT ale*s man. 

ue.i a good jovial companion. 

A POOR man maks a poor marriage, and there's no meat for him. 

Spoken when people of mean condition are meanly treated. — Kelly. 

V A POUND o' woo' is as heavy as a pound o' lead. 

A'pRETTY kettle of fish. 

The origin of the phrase is said to be as follows : — Michael Scott, the 
f wizard, after a successful day's fishing on Tweed, found the contents of 
^ his basket turned into grotesque imps and miniature salamanders by 
Satanic agency, hence the exclamation. 

A PRETTY man. 

This phrase was used in Scotland in the sense of the German prach- 
iigy and meant a gallant, alert fellow, prompt and ready at his weapon. 
— **RobRoy,"ch. 26. 

A PRICK the clout loon. 

1.^., a tailor. — " Redgauntlet," Letter 12. 

A PRiMSiE damsel maks a daidlin* dame. 
Another version of, A dink maiden, etc. 

A PROUD heart in a poor breast has muckle dolour to dree. 

Pride and poverty suffer much. A proud heart and a beggar's purse 
are never lovmg companions. — E. 

A QUERN Stone is the better of being pitted and indented with 
many blows, so that you do not break it. — Gaelic 

This proverb is an old one of a state long before the age of water- 
driven grinding mills, and when hand querns were in common, every- 
day use over all the Highlands. The meaning is that a criminal or evil 
doer of any sort is to be punished with all necessary severity where the 
case required it ; the end always in view, however, was the reformation 
of the culprit, not his utter ruin from over severity of bodily punish- 
ment, and least of all his death. 

A Rab Ha'. 

i.e,^ a restless man. 

A RAGGiT coat was ne'er a mote in a man's marriage. 

A RAiK o' water. 

».r., two pitchers*-full. 

^/ V 


A RAINBOW in the morning is the shepherd's warning, 

A rainbow at night is the shepherd's delight. \r 

If the rainbow comes at night 

The rain has gone quite.— East Anglia. 

A rainbow in the morn, 

Put your hook in the corn ; 

A rainbow at eve, 

Put your head in the sheave. — Cornwall. 

A RAVELLED hasp on the yarn windles. 

i.e,y a confused matter. A windle is a turning frame upon which 
yarn is put to be wound off. 

A RECKLESS houssie maks many thieves. V^ V 

Opportunity makes the thief. — L. and Fr. 

A RED nose maks a raggit back. 

As the drunkard goes, he is known by his nose. — E. 

A REEK hen. 

In Aberdeenshire the poultry delivered to the landlord as part of the 
rent were called "reek hens." — "Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk." 

A REEKY house and a girnin' wife will lead a man a fashions life. V 

Compare, A house wi* a reek, etc. 

Kelly says, A leakie house and a scolding wife are two bad com- 

A REGULAR Pate Stewart. — Orkney, 

Said of any cruel tyrannical man. This reference is to Earl Patrick 
Stewart, son of Earl Robert, who received a grant of the Orkney Islands 
from Queen Mary, his natural sister. While the father was a rapacious 
and hard taskmaster, the son was even worse. At last his manifold 
misconduct attracted the attention of the authorities at Edinburgh, and 
being summoned there to answer the charges brought against him, he 
was after considerable delay executed at the Market Cross of the metro- 
polis on the 6th February, 16 15. 

In the " Pirate " a fisherman is made to say of Mr. Merton, who had 
pelted him from his house at Dunrossness with his own fish, "that, if 
they provoked Mr. Merton any further, he would turn an absolute Pate 
Stewart on their hands, and hang and head without either mercy or 

A RENT is better than a darn. 

A blunder is often made worse by attempts to explain it away. V^ ^ 

A REPROOF is nae poison. 

No, indeed ! but a wholesome medicine, whichsoever refuseth is 
brutish. — Kelly. 

A RICH man has mair cousins than his faither had kin. 

Every one is kin to the rich man. — E. and in Italian. ^" V 



V ^ ' 


A RICH man's wooing is seldom long o' doing. 
A RiCKLE o' banes. 

An exceedingly thin person is said to be a mere ''rickle o' banes." 

A ROUGH bane maks a fu' wame. 

Compare^ A hungry like, etc. 

A ROUGH husk often covers a sweet kernel. 

A ROYT nickuro. — Aberdeenshire. 

«.^., a tricky fellow, — "Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk.'' 

v/ A SAFE conscience maks a sound sleep. 

A SAFT (useless) aiver was ne'er a gude horse. 

A SAFT slink o' veal. 
ue,^ a soft fellow. 

A SAiR income. 

i,e.y a serious disease. 

A SALLOW Lowlander. — Gaelic. 

Gall-glas was formerly applied to the Gael as contrasted with Dubb- 
ghall, or black Lowlander. The term glas is never applied to the 
Sassenach or Englishman. — Nicolson. 

A Scot on Scot's bank. — Hazlitt, 
A Scotch convoy. 

i.e,<, to accompany a friend to his own home. 

A Scotch cousin. 

^ f.^., any blood, relation no matter how remote. 

A Scotch mist will wet an Englishman to the skin. 

Because the English are not so hardy as the Scotch. 

A Scotch prize. 

ue,<, a mistake, worse than no prize. Something likely to entail dis- 
aster on the captors. See "Colville of the Guards,'' hy James Grants 
VoL III,, p. 5. 

A Scotch warming pan. 

v.. This is an English sneer at the primitive manners of the Scots. It is 

said that an English gentleman travelling in Scotland, having desired 
that his bed should be warmed, the servant maid doffed her clothes and 
laid herself down in it for a while. — Ray, 

A Scotsman. 

Is the name given by the natives of Natal to a florin, because once on 
a time a Scotsman made a great impression on their simple minds by 

.' V 



palming off some thousands of these coins among them at the nominal 
price o( ha\{'a.'Crown,—Ifagsard's "Jess," ch. 10. 

A Scotsman, a crow, and a Newcastle grindstone travel a' the 
world ower. 

Indicates the good qualities of the grindstones, and the wandering 
propensities of Scotsmen and crows. 

A Scotsman is aye wise ahint the hand. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 4. 

It is too late to throw water on the cinders when the fire is burned 
down. — Danish. 

The French seem to have the same failing as the Scots, for it is said, 
The Italian is wise before he undertakes a thing, the German while he v 
is doing it, and the Frenchman when it is over. — E. So, The Irish- 
man's wit is on his tongue, but the Gael is wise after the time. — Gaelic. 
Also, The Manxman is never wise till the day after the fair. — Manx. ^'' 

A Scotsman is one who keeps the Sabbath — and every other \/ 
darned thing he can lay his hands on. — ^Yankee. 

A SECRET foe gives a sudden blow. — Xelfy. y/ 

Magis nocent insidiae quae latent. — L. 

A SEVEN years' maiden is aye at the slight. 

A woman of a certain age is apt to be sneered at or slighted. Such 
a one is also called, A stayed lass. 


ue.f a make-shift bed on the floor or sofa. — Introduction to "Guy 

A shor'd tree stands long. 

Men do not die of threats. — Danish. 
Threatened folk live long. — E. 

A SHORT grace is good for hungry folk. 

Sharp stomachs make short devotions. — E. 

A SHORT tale is soon told, and a short horse soon curried. 

A SHOWER in July when the corn begins to fill 

Is worth a plough of oxen and all belongs theretill. — Kelly. 

A SIGHT o' you is gude for sair een. \X 

A SILLY man will be slily dealt wi*. 

ue.^ rogues take advantage of a simple man. — Kelly, 

He that makes himself a sheep shall be eaten by the wolf. — E. V 

A siLVERLESS man goes fast through the market. 

Because he does not stay to cheapen or buy. — Kelly. V 

He that is barest runs best. — Gaelic. 

A moneyless man goes fast through the market. — E. 




A SINKING maister aft maks a rising man. 
A Skairsburn warning. 

i.e.t no warning at all. A sajdng common in Kirkcudbrightshire, 
arising from the sudden floods for which the river Skairsburn in that 
county is noted. 

A SKELPiT bum breaks nae banes. 

A skittering cow in the loan wad aye hae mony marrows. 

Compare^ A fleyer, etc. 

A SLOTH Fu' hand maks a slim fortune. 

Sloth is the mother of poverty — E. So, Sloth is the key to poverty. 

A smith's house is aye lowin*. 

A place should always be like the work which is carried on there. 

A SORT o' siller. 

i.^.y a good deal of money. 


A mess of food such as Irish stew. The term was popularly applied 
to the entertainment provided by Luckie Luckhart, of the Potter-Row, 
and other popular vintners in Edinburgh in the last century, for their 
customers, who not having been able to breakfast on account of the 
previous evening's conviviality, felt hungry during the forenoon. The 
refreshment was appetising, though plain, generally consisting of a 
savoury stew. 

A SPINDLE o' bourtree, | A whorl o' caumstane, 
Put them on the housetop, | And it will spin its lane. 
This was a supposed charm against witches. 

A spoonfu' o' Stink will spoil a patfu' o' skink. 

Skink is a strong soup made of cows' hams. 
\/ One ill weed will spoil a potful of pottage. — E. 

A St. Johnstone's tippet. 

•* Waverley,** ch. 39. The Perth term for the rope used at the 


A case for physical force, sticks and fists. 

A START and an ower cap. 

The usual expression for a slight encroachment on a neighbour's pro- 
perty.— Footnote to " St. Ronan's Well," ch. 3. 

A STAYED lass. 

Compare^ A seven year's maiden, etc. 



A STEEVE bit o' a bothie. 

A well-built, durable, little house. 
A STicKiT stibbler. 

A probationer who has failed to get a church of his own. — "Guy 
Mannering,*' ch. 46. 

A STURDY beggar should hae a stout naesayer. 

Shameful craving must have shameful nay. — £. 

A TALE never tines in the telling. 

A TALE pyat. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 4. /.^., a tell tale, because the magpie by its 
screams indicates the position of its nest. 

A TALETELLER is woise than a thief. — Kelly. 

A Tam Park o' a glass. 

A small one.— "A Shepherd's Wedding," The Ettrick Shepherd. 

A TAP o' tow. 

A passionate, quarrelsome man. — GaWs ** Annals of the Parish," 
ch. 20. Literally the quantity of tow or hards that is made up in a 
conical figure to be put upon the distaff. 

A TAPPiT hen. 

An old liquor measure containing three quarts. " I had a fair tappit 
hen under my belt." — ** Guy Mannering," ch. 39, and note H. 

^ A TARROWiNG bairn was never fat. 

ue,, a child that does not take its food well ; so, those who neglect 
their opportunities must not expect to prosper. Tarrow, to murmur at, 
be discontented with one's lot. 

A TERRIER tyke, and a rusty key, 
Were Johnnie Armstrong's Jeddart fee. 

It is said that a convicted moss-trooper of this name was promised 
his life on condition of disclosing the best safee^uards against burglars. 
He suggested a terrier and rusty locks. — Chambers. 

A Teviotdale tup. 

'*Giiy Mannering," ch« 36. ue,^ a Border man. 

A THOUGHT afif the naiL 

GcUfs ** Steamboat," ch. 12. i.e., half seas over. He's gane aff at 
the nail— destitute of any regard to propriety of conduct, miuii wrong* 
headed, tiDty.—^amiejon. 

Taken from scissors when the two sides go aiunder* — UTelfy, 

A THOUGHTLESS body's aye thrang. 

A THRAWN question should ha^ a tbrawart answer. 


Y A THREAD will tie an honest man better than a rope will do a 

Compare, An honest man is soon bound, etc. 

A Tinkler was never a toun taker, 
A Taylor was never a hardy man, 
Nor yet a Wabster leal o' his trade. 
Nor ever was since the warld began. 

A rhyme from the vagrant life of the first, the sedentary, inactive life 
of the second, and the thievish disposition of the third. — Kelly, 

/^ A TOCHERLESS dame sits lang at hame. 

A poor beauty finds more lovers than husbands. — £. 

A tocher's nae word in a true lover's parle. 

i,e,, true love is not mercenary. 

A TOOM pantry maks a thriftless gude wife. 

Because she has nothing to be thrifty with. 
Bare walls make a giddy housewife. — £. 
\ Housekeeping can't be done with empty shelves. — Gaelic. 

Empty rooms make women play the wantons. — Fr. — Ray, 

A TOOM purse maks a blate merchant. 

Empty purse makes slow purchase. — Gaelic. 

A TOOM purse maks a thrawn face. — Kelly. 
Wrinkled purses make wrinkled faces. — E. 

A TRICKY man's easiest tricked. 
A TURN well done is twice done. 

Because done to the purpose. — JCelly. 

A TWA-HANDED crack. 

i,e,, a tSte a tSte ; bocca a bocca (mouth to mouth). — Italian. 

A TWALPENNY Cat may look at a king. 
V A cat may look on a king. — E. Also Gaelic, German and Dutch. 

A wa' between best preserves friendship. 

f.^., friends are best separate. 

A WAMEFu's a wamefu' were't but o' bare cauf. 

A wamefu' is a wamefu' whether it be of the barley meal or the bran, 
is the form given in ** St. Ronan's Well," ch. lo. 
A bellyful is a bellyful whether it be meat or drink. — E. 

A warld's wonder. 

A prodigy of evil. — "Old Mortality," ch. 14. 



A WAUF carL 

" Guy Mannefu^" ch. 39. An insignificant churL 

A WAUF hand. 

An unpopular preacher is so called. 

A WEAN micht lead bim. 

A simple man or a docile horse. 

A WEARY while. 

i.e.^ a long time. — "Guy Mannerii^," ch. 23. 

A WEE bush is better than nae bieid. 

^ Any friend is better than to be qnite destitnte« — Fr. 

V A bad bosh is better than the open field. — £. 

A thin bosh is better than no shelter. — £. 

^ A WEE mouse will creep beneath a muckle com stack. 

An apol<^y for a little woman's marriage to a big man. — Kelly. 
V/ The moose is not crushed under the haystack. — Gaelic 

A WEE spark maks mickle wark. 

A small spark makes a great fire. — E. and Gaelic 
A single spark may bum the whole quarter. — Arab., also Italian and 
Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. — " St. James' Epistle" 

A WEE thing fleys coward. 

\/ A WEE thing puts your beard in a blaze. 
Little puts you in a passion. 

A WEIL reikit lass. 

One with a good provision for marriage. 

A WEST wind north about | Never long holds out — Border. 

A WET May and a windy | Maks a full barnyard and a findy. 

— Galloway. 

Findy or finnie, a Galloway word, which here means that the grain 
has a good feeling in the hand. So the Germans say — 

^ May cool and wet 

Fills the stack yard and the casks. 

A WHANG afifa new cut kebbuck is never missed. 

A WHAUP in our nest. 

GMs '* The Entail," ch. 83. A troublesome intruder, a trick, un- 
fair dealing. To express what we mean when we say there is ''a screw 
loose," it IS said there is '* a whanp in the rape," 1.^., something wrong. ' - 

A WIFE is wise enough when she kens her gudeman's breeks t^ 
frae her ain kirtle. 


This is old and a good one, if rightly understood, that is, she is a 
good wife who knows the true measure of her husband's authority. — 

A wiLFu' man maun hae his way. 
A wiLFu' man ne'er wanted wae. 

Will, will have wilt, though it woe win. — E. 

It has been said, and may be sae, 

A wilfu' man wants never wae, 

Thocht he gets little gains.— ** Cherry and the Slae." 

A WIN kin' cat's no aye blind. 

A WINTER night, a woman's mind, and a laird's purpose aften 


Women, wind, and luck soon change. — Portuguese. 
Winter weather and women's thoughts often change. — E. 

A WISE man carries his cloak in fair weather, an' a fool wants 

his in rain. 

An encouragement to care, caution, and foresight, and especially'not 
to leave your cloak be the weather ne*er so encouraging. — Kelly, '^*^ 
[y Have not thy cloak to make when it begins to rain ; and, Although 

the sun shine, leave not thy cloak at home. — E. 

A WISE man never returns by the same road if another is free to 


** Rob Roy," ch. 35. The marauding habits of the Highlanders are 
here referred to. 

\y' A WISE man wavers, a fool is fixed. 

Wise men change their minds, fools never. — E. 

A WITTY wench, a woughing dog, a waukit woo'd wedder, and a 
pair o' shambling shears, four things which a sheep fold at 
shearing time cannot bear. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, "The Shepherd's Calendar," ".Mr. Ander- 
son of Laverhope. 

A woman's love will traise further than horses. 

Galfs ** Steamboat," ch. 8. 

One hair of a woman draws more than a team of oxen. — E. 

y A woman's wit is in her forehead. 

1.^., she is guided by her senses rather than her judgment in love 
affairs. — "Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk." 

A working hand is worth a gowpen o' gowd. 

^ A working mither maks a daw daughter. 

A light-heeled mother makes a heavy-heeled. daughter. — E. 


The active mother makes the IsLzy daughter. — Gaelic. The opposite 
also occurs in Gaelic, i.e.. The active daughter makes the lazy mother. \/ 

So Irish, Spanish, Portuguese. 

Compare^ An olite mither, etc. 


An eccentric but usually popular character. 

A YOUNG cowte will canter be it uphill or down. {/ 

**St. Ronan's Well," ch. i. ue,^ youth will have its fling at any 

A YOUNG hopeful. 

Used ironically with reference to a lad who promises ill. 

A YOUNG plant never throve that was watered with an old man's 

**The Abbot," ch. 33. Disrespect to age brings ill-luck. 

A Yule feast may be done at Pasche. 

A Christmas feast may be paid again at Easter. — E. 
Some functions may be held at any time. 

A' body's bairn's aye in luck. ^ 

i.e,j a general favourite is usually fortunate. 

A' COMPLAIN o' want o' siller, but nane o' want o' sense. x^ 

A' CRACKS maunna be trewed. • 

ue.f all that is heard must not be trusted. 
A' FAILS that fools think. 

A' FELLOWS, Jock, and the laird. 

Spoken when unworthy persons intrude themselves into the company 
of their betters. — Kelly, 
Hail fellow, well met ; and, All fellows at football. — E. 

A' GUDE or a' dirt. 

All honey or all turd. — E. 

A' HIS buzz shakes nae barley. 

i.e,t all his talking does no good. 

A' I GOT by him I may put in my eye, and see nothing the ^ 
worse for it — Keiiy, 

At the end I might pat my winning in my qre and fet netur tilt 

worse for it — E. 

A' LAW is no justice. 

A' BiAUN ride when he is in the saddle*, 

**TbeADtiqtuu7,''ch.4a He is ft amUmM MHi^ 


A' owERS are ill, but ower the water and ower the hill. 

All owres are repute to be vyce, 

Owre hich, owre low, owre rasch, owre nyce, 

Owre het, or zit owre cauld. — ** Cherry and the Slae." 

A' Stuarts are no sib to the King. 

There is some distance between Peter and Peter,— Spanish. 

A' that's said shouldna be sealed. 

Spoken when people tell us that such a thing is said which we are 
not willing to have believed. — Kelly, 
^' Compare^ A' cracks maunna be trewed ; They say so, is half a lie. — E. 

A' THAT yell tak wi' ye will be but a kist and a sheet after a*. 

i,e,y when you die, no matter how rich you may be, 

A' THE better since you speir'd, speir o'er again. 

An answer to the question. How do you do ? — Kelly, 

A* THE clothes on your back were once in clues. 

A senseless rh3nne to them that ask you, what news ? — Kelly, 

A' THE corn's no shorn by kempers. 

A kemp was a struggle in the harvest field between the shearers as to 
who should cut their rig first, by dexterity and force of arm. The 
kempers were therefore the hardest workers, and the term came to be 
applied to the most excellent. The proverb consoles men of moderate 
capacity and energy by suggesting that the *' kempers,'' the first-class 
men, cannot accomplish all the work that is to do. 

The greatest strokes make not the finest music. — E. 

A* THE men i' the Mearns can do nae mair than they may. 

"Black Dwarf," ch. 9. Dean Ramsay gives another form — ^Thc 
men o' Mearns maunna do mair than they may. 
A man can do no more than he can. — E. 

A' THE months wi' an R in them. 
V The rule for household fires in Scotland. — Chambers, 

A' THE safety there shall be, 

Shall be between Criflfel and the sea. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

A* THE speed's no in the spurs. 

The English proverb — All the speed is in the spurs, is the exact 
opposite of this. 

A' THE truth shouldna aye be tauld. 

Truth should not always be revealed. — E. 

A* THE winning's in the first buying. 
i.e,, avoid middlemen. 

A' THE wit o' the warld's no in ae pow. 


A' THE wives o* Corncairn, | Drilling up their harn yarn, 

They hae corn, they hae kye, | They hae webs o' claith forbye. 

Refers to the noted thrift of the wives of Corncairn, a fertile district 
in the parish of Ordiquhill, Banffshire. — Chambers. 

A* THINGS anger you, and the cat breaks your heart. >/ 

i,e,f you are annoyed by trifles. — Kelly, 

A* THINGS sturts (trouble you), no wonder you be old like. 

You are making a bustle about matters with which you have little or 
no concern. — Kelly, 

A' THINGS thrive thrice. 

Compare, The third time's lucky. 

A' THINGS wytes that no weel fares. 

Accusing the times is but excusing ourselves. — E. 

A' WOULD hae a', a' would forgie. 

Those who exact much should be ready to concede. 

A' YOU run you win. 

Taken from playing at bowls ; applied to a project that seems not 
feasible, where what you can make is clear gain. — Kelly. 

A' YOUR debtors convey you to the widdie. 

Spoken facetiously when a man craves what you have no mind to pay, 
or he to exact. — Kelly, 

A's fair at the ba' o' Scone. 

Refers to the annual game of football on Shrove Tuesday between 
the married men and bachelors of Scone, Perthshire. A local proverb, 
according to the "Statistical Account," 1796. 

A's fair at war or at the ba\ 

A's i' the dirt. 

All the fat is in the fire. — E. 

A's no gowd that glitters, nor maidens that wear their hair. 

It was the fashion some years ago ( 1721 ) for virgins to go bare-headed. 
The proverb means that everything is not so good as it appears. — Kelly. 

The first part of the proverb is common to all nations. 

Front! nulla fides. — L. 

One Gaelic form is, All that's yellow is not gold, and all white things 
are not eggs. The second part also occurs in Gaelic. 

A's no ill that's ill like. 

A's no pairt. 

A's no tint that fa's bye. — Hislop. 

The converse of this is given by Kelly, 1.^., All was tint that fell 



bye ; which he thus explains : Spoken when correction is given to them 
that deserve it well, as if no blows were amiss but those which did not 

A's yours from the door doun. 

i.e., outside you may claim what you please, but inside the house you 
have no right to anything, notwithstanding your claim. — Kelly, 

Aboon his fit. 

i.e., above his capacity. 

Abundance o' law breaks nae law. 

Those who know the law best are least likely to break it. — Hislop. 

Rather do more than the law requires, than less. — Kelly. 

Take heed is a good reed (advice). — E. Take heed is a fair thing. — E. 

Good take heed doth surely speed. — E. 

Abundantia juris non nocet. — L. Abundans cautela non nocet. — L. 

And in Spanish. 

Ae faither's bairns. 

Refers to the universal fatherhood of God. 

Ae fine thing needs twa to set it oflf. 

" Ae gude turn deserves another,'* as the deil said to the loon 
o' CuUoden, when he hauled him doun screaming to the place 
ye ken o\ 

Refers to the ** Royal Butcher," the Duke of Cumberland. 

Ae gude turn may meet anither an' it were at the brig o' Lon- 

Cast your bread upon the waters and you will find it after many days. 

Ae hand is nae hand. 

Unus vir, nullus vir. — L. 
One and none is all one. — E. 

Ae lawsuit breeds twenty. 

Litem parit lis. — L. And in E. 

Ae man may bring a horse to the water, when twenty winna gar 
him drink. 

A man may bring his horse to the water, but he will choose whether 
he will drink. — E. 

In vain do you lead the ox to the water if he be not thirsty. — Fr. 

Ae scone o' that baking's enough. 

The sack is known by the sample. — E. So — 

Ae shook o' that stook's enough. 

When we see one we condemn the remainder. 

Ae year a nurish, seven years a daw. 


One year a nurse and seven years the worse. — E., with reference to \/ 
which Ray says: Because feeding well and doing little she becomes 
liquorish and gets a habit of idleness. 

Aff the pin o' the wheel. 

Aff the wire again. 

These two sayings imply that the person addressed is wandering from 
the point under discussion. 

Affront your friend in dafiin', and tine him in earnest. 

" Afore I was at this speed," quo' the tod, " I wad rather hae 
my tail cuttit aff*" 

It was said that he was taken at his word, as he immediately after- 
wards got into a trap which swept off his tail. — The Ettrick Shepherd ^ 
**The Brownie of Bodsbeck," ch. 13. 

Aft counting keeps friends lang thegither. V 

Short accounts make long friends. — E. 

Aft ettle, whiles hit. 

Often try, occasionally succeed. He that shoots oft at last shall hit 
the mark. — E. 

Aft times the cautioner pays the debt. 

He that would be master of his own must not be bound for another. — E. 

After a sort. 

In ** Rob Roy," ch. 26, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, speaking of Rob Roy 
says : Ay, he has a kind o' Hieland honesty ; he's honest, after a sort, 
as they say. My faither, the deacon, used aye to laugh when he tauld 
me how the bye- word came up. Ane Captain Costlett was cracking 
crouse about his loyalty to King Charles, and clerk Pettigrew [ye*ll hae 
heard many a tale about him] asked him after what manner he served 
the King when he was fighting again him at Wor'ster in Cromwell's 
army, and Captain Costlett was a ready body, and said that he served 
him after a sort. My honest faither used to laugh weel at that sport, 
and sae the bye-word came up. 

After a storm comes a calm. 

Also E., Fr. and Italian. 

After clouds comes fair weather. 

^ After black clouds clear weather. — E. 
After Lammas corn ripens by day and night. V 

After lang mint (effort) little dint (stroke). — Fergusson. 
Muckle cry, little woo. Lang mint, little dint. — Kelly, 

After words comes weird, fair fa's them that ca's me madam. 

After libel comes proof, let them that speak ill of me look to them- 
selves, —/amieson. 


After yon is good manners. 

Spoken to children. — Kelly, 
Air day, or late day, the fox's hide finds aye the flaying knife. 

**Rob Roy,"ch. 27. 

At length the fox is brought to the furrier ; and, Every fox must pay 
y his own skin to the flayer. — E. 

The crafty are at length surprised. Thieves most commonly come to 
the gallows at last. — Ray, 
The proverb is also found in Fr. and Italian. 

Air 11 no fill the wame. 
Albanich I 

Slogan of the Highlanders generally. Simply their distinguishing 

Ale-sellers shouldna be tale-tellers. 

All craiks, all bears. 

Spoken against bullies who keep up a great hectoring and blustering, 
yet when put to it, tamely pocket an affront. — Kelly, 
Great barkers are not biters. — E. 

All evil comes out o' thereaway. 

'* Black Dwarf," ch. 8. Meaning that danger was constantly to be 
apprehended from England, and when any injury was ascertained to 
have been done, it might safely be ascribed to the Southerns. The 
English Borderers retorted with the sayings, — 

'\ Out of the North 

All ill comes forth ; and 

Omne malum ab aquilaine. — L. {q, v,) 

Allow me to make the songs of a country, and I will allow you 
to make its laws. — Fletcher of Saltan, 

Amaist and very near hae aye been great liars. 

Almost and very nigh saves many a lie. — E. 

Amaist was ne'er a man's life. 

Almost was never hanged. — E, 
Almost never went over a rock. — Gaelic. 
Almost never got game. — Gaelic. 
Almost kills no man. — Danish. 
Compare^ A midge is as big, etc, 

Amang you be't priests' bairns I am but a priest's oe (grand- 

Spoken when some one has been slighted. 

Amangst twenty-four fools not one wise man, — Fergusson. 


An Aberdeen man ne'er stands to the word that hurts him. ^ 

This old saying is not very complimentary to the Aberdonians. 

An Aberdeen sweetie. 

f.^., a crack on the head with a flip of the thumb. 

An admirable Crichton. 

Applied to a man of great and varied attainments, or, ironically, to 
one of high pretensions. 

The original admirable Crichton was a son of Robert Crichton, of 
Eliock, Dumfries- shire, where he was born in 1550, or according toother 
authorities, in 1560. He was remarkable for the beauty of his person 
and the elegance of his manners, while his soldierly skill and bravery 
were as conspicuous as his brilliant intellectual attainments. He was 
killed at Mantua, in the 22nd year of his age, by Vincentio, the son of 
the Duke of Mantua. 

An air winter maks a sair winter. .^ 

An early winter, a surly winter. — E. 

An Annandale end. 

** Fortunes of Nigel,*' ch. 5. i,t.y a violent death. 

Adieu, my brother Annan thieves. 
That helped me in my mischieves ; 
Adieu, Crossars, Nicksons, and Bells, 
Oft have we fared through the fells. 
With King Correction be ye fangit. 
Believe right sure ye will be hangit. 

According to Sir David Lindsay, the above was the last dying speech 
of the Annandale rogues. 

An auld body's blast's sune blawn. ^ 

i,e,t he soons gets out of breath. 

An auld gum broken oot again. 
An old grievance revived. 

An auld Hexe. 

An auld witch, later, a woman of bad character. 
Compare, Gae to Heckspath, etc. 

An auld mason maks a gude barrowman. 
An auld packman maks a gude merchant. 
An auld pock is aye skailing (leaking). 
An auld threep. 

"Guy Mannering,'*ch. 45. An old superstition obstinately persisted in. 

An auld tout on a new horn is little minded. 

Little heed is paid to an old story, even though it is told in a new 


V An eating horse ne'er foundered (stumbled). 

An excuse for taking a hearty meal. 

An elbuck dirl will lang play thirl. 
The effect follows the cause. 

An Eskdale souple. 

ue,, a good thick stick ; the striking part of a flail. — The Ettrick 
Shepherd f ** Siege of Roxburgh," ch. 15. 

An even hand to cast a louse in the fire. 

A ridicule upon them that pretend to hit a mark well, or carry a dish 
evenly. — Kelly. 

An honest man is soon bound, and you can't bind a rogue. 

^ An honest map's word is as good as his bond. — E. 

An ilka day braw maks a Sabbalh day daw. 

If we wear our best clothes at ordinary times, we will be at a loss on 
special occasions. 
Alike ilka day maks a clout on Sunday. — Fergusson and E. 

An ill bird maun hae an ill brood. 

An ill custom is like a gude bannock — better broken than kept. 

An ill-gated coo had aye short horns. 

,' With evil disposed persons, the will to do mischief is often greater 

^' than the power. 

An ill shearer ne'er got a gude heuk. 

/ An ill workman quarrels with his tools. — E. and Fr. 

Weapon to the brave won't be wanting. — Welsh. 
Also in Gaelic, Irish, and Manx. 

v" An ill tongue may do much. 

Spoken when people mean the thing that would disappoint you, often 
spoken at games in merriment. — Kelly, 

An ill wife an' a new-kindled candle should hae their heads 
hadden doun. 

Both must be done with care, caution, and discretion, otherwise you 
may put the candle out, and make the wife worse. They will say also, 
if a man complain of his wife's stubbornness, *' Make a new-lighted 
candle of her." — Kelly, 

An ill willy cow should hae short horns. 

It were a pity that a man of ill nature should have much authority for 
he'll be sure to abuse it. — Kelly, 
A curst cur should be short ty'd. — E. 

An ill won penny will cast doun a pound. 


An inch is as gude as a mile for a home thrust 

** The Antiquary," ch. 6. 

An inch o' a nag is worth a span o' an aiver. 

A little man, if smart and stoat, is much preferable to an unwieldy 
lubber though much bigger. — Kelly, 

A piece of a kid's worth two of a cat. — E. 

An olite (active) mither maks a sweird (indolent) dochter. 

Compare, A working mither, etc. 

An only dochter is either a deil or a daw (slattern). ^ 

An ony body ask ye, say ye dinna ken. 
" Heart of Midlothian," ch. i6. 

An open enemy is better than a hollow friend. sY 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 9. 

An orra man. . --' 

ue., the man about a farm who is expected to turn his hand to any- 

An ounce o' a man's ain wit is worth ten o' ither folks. 

An ower crouse king ne'er reigned lang. 

Compare, A cruel king, etc. 

An ower true tale. 

i.e,, it*s a pity, but yet it's true. 

An uncommonly mean hand. 
A very poor preacher. 

An unhappy fish gets an unhappy bait. 

The unsonsy fish gets the unlucky bait. — E. 
Mains piscus, malus hamus. — L. 

An unlucky man's cart is eithly coup'd. 

Some are so unfortunate that what would be a trifle for others is most 
disastrous for them. 
One man may better steal a horse than another look over the hedge. — E. \ 

An ye love me look in my dish. 
ue,, afford me substantial relief. 

Ance a bailie, aye a bailie. 

So, — Bailie ance, Bailie ftje^ 

Deacon ance, Deacon dk» 

Ance awa', aye awa'. 

Quoted to prove that no priviat 
once been allowed to be ft pom 


Probably it is equivalent to the two following English sayings — 
Absence weakens home ties ; and, Out of sight out of mind. 

\j Ance is nae custom. 

Ance payt never craved. 

A man is richer for paying his debts. — Fr. 

Ance provost, aye My Lord. 

In **Redgauntlet," ch. 20, Peter Peebles says: Was I a burgess? 
and am I not a burgess even now ? I have done nothing to forfeit the 
right, I trow, once provost, and aye my Lord. 

Ance there, and awa' wi* care. 

Said when one has secured safe and comfortable quarters. 

Ance wud, and aye waur. 

"St. Ronan's Well," ch. 15. 

Ance wud never wise. 

Insanity usually gets worse instead of better, and a man who has once 
been deranged is always suspected. 

And for the buck thou stoutly brought 

To us up that steep heuch, 
Thy designation ever shall 

Be John Scott in Buckscleuch. 

According to a tradition — ^as given by the old chronicler, Satchells — 
one of two brothers who had come to Ettrick Forest seized a stag which 
stood at bay in the glen, now called Buccleugh in Ettrick, and grasping 
the animal by the horns, carried it to the king, who was on the top of 
a steep bank at a place called Cacra Cross. Upon which the king is 
said to have addressed him in the words of the rhyme. 

Ane at a time is gude fishing. 

Ane gets sma' thanks for tineing his ain. 

Ane herrand damysele, and ane spekand castel, 
Sal neuyr end with honour. 

**The Complaint of Scotland," ed. 1801, p. 167. 
A castle that speaketh and a woman that will hear, they will be 
gotten both. — E. 

Ane may bind the sack afore it's fu*. 

A stop may be put to some operations at any time without injury.— 

Ank may like a haggis weel enough that wadna like the bag 
bladded (slapped) on his chafts. 

\ Ane may like the kirk weel enough and no ride on the riggin' 


i,e,f he is a good churchman, but not a fanatic. 

A man may love his house well, though he ride not on the ridge. — E. 

ANE'wad like to be lo'ed, but wha wad mool in wi' a moudie- 
wort ? (a mole). 

The preceding three proverbs imply that we should avoid extremes* 

Ane never tines by doing a gude turn. ^ 

Ane wha sees a spirit dies soon. 

Ane wuU gar a hundred lee. 

Ane's ain hearth is gowd's worth. ^ 

Anger's a drouthy passion. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 4, 

Anger's mair hurtful than the wrong that caused it. 

Anger's short lived in a gude man. \y 

Angus bodies. 

ue,^ Forfarshire men. 

Annan, Tweed, and Clyde | Rise a* oot o' ae hillside. 

So it is said — 

Tweed ran, Annan wan, 
Clyde fell and brake its neck owre Corra Linn. 

The Annan, as the shortest of the three, is here said to win the race. 

The Tweed rises at Tweeds well, in the Parish of Tweedsnftiir, 
Peebleshire, at the base of a hilly range, from the further side of which 
spring the rivers Annan and Clyde. 

Another for Hector. 

Said at the battle of Inverkeithing, 1562, with reference to the chief 
of the Macleans, Hector Roy of Durat. — ** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 34. 

Apprehended dangers may be always defended dangers. 

Attributed to "Earl Trueman,"an Earl of Douglas, so called.—: 
Footnote to **Quentin Durward," ch. 26. 
A danger foreseen is half avoided. — E. ^ 

April showers bring May flowers. 

April showers bring summer flowers. — E. 

" Are they no a bonny pair ? " as the deil said to his hoofs. 

Arthur and Bower has broken his bands, 
And he's come roaring owre the lands j 

The King o' Scots, and a' his power, 
Canna turn Arthur and Bower. 

A riddle on a high wind. — Chambers, 


As a carl riches, he wretches. 

Wretch, a covetous or niggardly petson.—yamieson. So, The more 
y you heap, the worse you cheap. — E. 

^ As wealth increases, so the love of money grows. — L. 

\/ As ae door shuts anither opens. 

As akin to a peats-ship and Sheriffdom as a sieve is to a riddle. 

In Scotland when a young lawyer was supposed to be under the 
patronage of a judge, he was termed a peat, or pet. — ** Redgauntlet," 
Letter 13. 

As ane flits anither sits, and that keeps mailins (farms) dear. 

Compare^ Flitting o* farms, etc. 

Tenant after tenant makes the land dear. — Gaelic. 

As auld as the hills. 

As auld as the three trees o' Dysart. — Fife. 
y As blunt as a beetle — (a heavy mallet). 

As deaf as a beetle. — E. 

As caigue as a pyat picking at a worm. 
As caller as a kail blade. 
As cautious as a Scot. 
As i:heeky as a young bantam cock. 
V As clean as a leek. 

As clean as a new penny. 

As clean as a whistle. — E. 

As clean gane as if the cat had lick't the place. 

As coarse as Nancie's harn-sark — three threads out o* the 
pound (?) 

As crouse as a cat when the fleas are kaimed afif her. 

**Rob Roy,"ch. 19. 

As crouse as a new washen louse. 
As daft as a cuddy. 
As daft as a yett on a windy day. 
As dark as a Yule midnight. 

As day brake, butter brake. 

Spoken when a person or thing that was wanting comes opportunely. 



As deaf as a post. 

As deaf as Ailsa Craig. 

As deep as Pedwell (pro Peddle). 

Spoken of a designing person. Pedwell is a fishing village on the 
Tweed, and is mentioned in Reginald the Monk's "Miracles of St. 
Cuthbert. " — Henderson, 

As dumb as a dead cuddy. • 

As dure as a door nail. 

As fain as a fool o' a fair day. 

As false as a Scot ; and, Fair and false like a Scot. 

For many centuries previous to the Union of the Crowns, the 
English, in speaking of their northern neighbours, used to say *'as 
false as a Scot," forgetting, as Scott points out in note D. to the 
" Talisman," that their own encroachments on the independence of the 
weaker nation compelled the Scottish people to defend themselves by 
policy as well as force. The disgrace must be divided between Ed- 
ward I. and III., who enforced their dominion over a free country, and 
the Scots who were compelled to take compulsory oaths without any 
intention of keeping them. 

The English also detested the Burgundians, and speaking ironically 
said. By the faith of a true Burgundian. This expression is put into 
the mouth of Echo, the parasite, in Gascoigne's **Glasse of Govern- 
ment, 1575." See his "Poems," II., 23, 62. 

The English appear not to have borne a much better character in 
respect to good fai& themselves, for — 

Foy d'Anglais, 

Ne vaut un poitevin, 

expressed the opinion prevalent in the Middle Ages as to English 
treachery. This seems to be a favourite complaint against foreigners, 
for the Finns say, German faith, ironically, as the Romans said, Punica 
fides ; and Juvenal wrote of Grsecia mendax, as the French spoke of, 
and perhaps still speak of Le perfide Anglais. 

The Russian proverb asserts that The Greeks only tell the truth once > 
a year ; while the Arabs express their opinion of Western veracity in 
the saying. List to a Frank and hear a fable. 

As false as Waghom, and he was nineteen times falser than the 

As fat as a Lochrin distillery pig. 

Lochrin distillery is situated at Tollcross, Edinburgh, but is not now 
iised for its original purpose. 

As fat as a miller's horse. 

As fierce as the Pentland Firth. 



As fine as tippence, you'll gie a groat raking (readily). 

A jest upon a girl who is finely drest, whereas she used to be dirty. 

As fine as hands could mak them. 
As fixed as Cheviot. 

"Black Dwarf," ch. 14. 

As fiat i' the fore as a farrow cat. 

Spoken of a hungry looking person. 

As firesh as a May gowan. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 33. 

As fu' as a biled wulk. 

As fu' as a piper. 

As fu' as Bastie. 

A Kyle proverbial saying. — Bums, 

As fu' as the Baltic. 

As fushionless as rue leaves at Yule. 

"Rob Roy,"ch. 20. 

As gentle as German's bitch that lap ower the ingle and ate the 

As gleg as a gled. 

«.^., as hungry as a kite. — ** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 5. 

\j As glum as a man who has found a penny and lost a sixpence. 

As greedy as ten cocks scraping in a dunghill for ae barley 

Excessive greed and keen competition. 

As gude a fallow as ever toom'd a bicker. 
As gude fish i' the sea as e'er cam' oot o't. 

'/ Also in Gaelic and Irish. 

Be content, the sea hath fish enough. — E. 

As gude baud as draw. 

Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better. — E. 

As gude may baud the stirrup as he that loups on. 

An illegitimate son of Elliot of Larriston in Liddesdale — the head of 
the family — served as stable-boy with his relative, Elliot of Stobbs. 
His master, who knew the connection, was in the habit of saying, as 
he mounted his horse, " Better he that holds the stirrup than he that 


rides." The young man entered the army, made a fortune in India, 
and on his return to Scotland purchased the ancestral estate. — *' Bor- 
der Memories," W, R, Carre^ p. 144. 

As gude merchants tine (lose) as win. 
As gude speak to the stane in the wa*. 
As gude syne as sune. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 26. Festina lente — hasten slowly — the 
favourite proverb of Erasmus, and the motto of the Onslow family. 

Sir Amias Pawlet, an English statesman, when he perceived too 
much hurry in any business, was accustomed to say, ** Stay a while to 
make an end the sooner." So, **The more haste the worse speed," ^ 

quoth the tailor to his long thread. — E. and Scot. 

Take it easy, you'll speed better. — Gaelic. 

As gude (or gweed) to ye tak' a millstane oot o* Penan. 

Applied to any difficult undertaking formidable enough to bid 
defiance to a man's unaided strength. 

A quarry at Penan, in the parish of Aberdour, Aberdeenshire, used 
to supply the whole of that county and part of Banffshire with mill- 
stones, and it was to the difficulty of getting them home that the saying 
referred. See "Sketches of Northern Rural Life," by the author of 
** John Gibb of Gushetneuk.'* 

As happy as the day is lang. 

As hard-hearted as a Scot of Scotland. — E. 

This saying refers to the proverbial national keenness in money mat- 
ters, as in another English expression a hard-hearted man is said To 
use one like a Jew. 

As hause and as roupit as a craw. 
As het as a Jenny Nettle. 

As high as Gilderoy. 

Gilderoy was an Aberdeenshire freebooter who, along with several of 
his band, was hanged at Edinburgh about the beginning of the 17th 
century. As a mark of his position as leader of the gang, he was 
hanged on a higher gallows than his companions, hence the phrase, As 
high as Gilderoy. 

As I gaed ower by Glenap, 

I met wi' an aged woman ; 
She bade me cheer up my heart, 

For the best o' my days were coming. 

Glenap is a remote vale amid the wilds forming the confines of Ayr- 
shire and Wigtownshire. Mr. Lockhart says this apothegm was a 
favourite with Burns. The saying is spoken by way of consolation. 



As I gaed up the Canongate, | And through the Netherbow, 
Four and twenty weavers | Were swinging in a tow ; 
The tow ga'e a crack, | The weavers ga'e a girn, 
Fie, let me doun again, | I'll never steal a pirn ; 
I'll never steal a pirn, | I'll never steal a pow, 
O fie, let me doun again, | I'll steal nae mair frae you. 

— Chambers, 
One of the many proverbial reflections on the honesty of weavers. 

As ill a guesser has gotten a drink. 

A senseless but common saying when one guesses aright. — Kelly. 

As lang as a dog would be bound wi' a bloody puddin'. 

As lang as siller's current folk maunna look ower nicely at what 
King's head's on't. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 22. 

Dirty hands make clean money. — E. 

As lang as the bird sings afore Candlemas, he greets after it. 

For every song the mavis sings in February, she'll lament ere spring 
be over. — Gaelic. 

As far as the sun shines on St. Bride's day, the snow will come before 
Beltane. — Manx ; and E. 

As lang as there's a cock i' the North, 

There'll be a Fraser in Philorth. 

i.e., the Erasers of Philorth — represented by Lord Salton — shall exist 
as long as the head of the Gordon clan. 

V As lang as ye serve the tod, ye maun bear up his tail. 

i.e., one good turn deserves another ; we must support those who help 
us. And in Gaelic. 

V,. As lang as ye stand, ye don't stay. 

i.e., if you don't sit down, you don't stay. An argument to make 
your friend who is in haste stand and chat a while. — Kelly. 

As lang lasts the hole as the heal (whole) leather. 

Spoken to them who quarrel with a hole in your coat or shoe. — Kelly. 

As lang lives the merry man as the wretch, for a' the craft he 

Wretch, a miser. — Fergusson, 

As lang runs the tod as he has feet. 

As learn't as a scholar o' Buckhaven College. — Fife. 

This phrase, like the parallel English one — As wise as a man of 
Gotham — is used ironically, and as a periphrasis for ignorance and 


stupidity. The students are the fishennen of Buckhaven, and the Col- 
lie is imaginary. 

Men in all ages have made themselves merry with singling out some 
place and fixing the staple of stupidity and stolidity therein. So the 
Phrygians in Asia, the Abderitae in Thrace, and the Boeotians in 
Greece, were notorious for dulness and blockheads. — Ray, 

We suppose that Buckhaven is no more deserving of such a character 
than similar primitive communities. 

As mad as a gled stung quey. 

As menseless as a tinkler's messan. 

t,e,y as ill bred as a tinker's dog. 

As merry as the maltman. 

j.^., drunk. — Kelly. 

As mim as a May puddock. 

Gait's "Annals of the Parish," ch. 48. 

As mony heads, as mony wits. 

Tot homines, quot sententiae. And in £., Fr. and Italian. 

As muckle as your life's worth. 

A threat.—" Rob Roy," ch. 24. 

As muckle thanks as if you (I) did. 

An excuse for declining a slighting offer. — ICelly, 

As muckle upwith, as muckle downwith. 
The highest tree, the greatest fall. — E. 

As muckle water gaes by the miller when he sleeps. 

Spoken to those who make their excuse for not doing what you 
desired them, because they are otherwise employed, and cannot neglect 
their master's business, intimating that at another time they will luiter 
much longer. — Kelly, 

As plump as a miller's sparrow. 

As proud and as poor as a Scot. 

Proud as a Scot. Proud as a Gascon. — ** Three Musketeers," ch. 21. 
— Dumas. 

As proud as a Highlander. 
V As quiet as a sittin' hen. 

As ragged and dirty as a Leith carter's pony. 

As safe as a gabbart. 

A kind of lighter used in the river Clyde, probably from the French^ 
gaJbare. — Footnote to ch. 31, *' Rob Roy." 


As sair fights the wren as the crane. 

All are equally courageous or earnest in extremity. — Hislop, 

As sair greets the bairn that's paid at e'en as he that gets his 
paiks in the morning. 

Punishment or misfortune is much the same whenever it comes. 

As sound as a tap (or peerie). 

As stubborn as Muirkirk iron. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

As sure's death. 

A common Scottish proverbial expression to signify either the truth 
or certainty of a fact, or to pledge the speaker to a performance of his 
promise. In the latter sense, an amusing illustration of faith in the 
superior obligation of this asseveration to any other is found in the 
Eglinton papers. The Earl one day found a boy climbing up a tree, 
and called on him to come down. The boy declined because, he said, 
\ f ■ the Earl would thrash him. His Lordship pledged his honour that he 

I would not do so. The boy replied, ** I dinna ken ony thing about your 

honour, but if you'll say as sure's death, Til come doun." — Dean Ram" 
say's "Reminiscences." 

As the auld cock craws the young cock learns, aye tak' care 
\ what ye do afore the bairns. 

The first part is universally prevalent. Ray gives another form. The 
young pig grunts like the old sow. Like father, like son, is also a 
generally accepted saying. 

As the day lengthens, the cauld strengthens. 

This saying is also found in English, French, German, and Italian 

Winter comes not till after the new year, nor spring till after St. Ber- 
nard's day (March 17th). — Gaelic. 

As the sow fills the draff sours. 

This is the opposite of the saying, Hunger is the best sauce. Also 
in Gaelic. 

As the wind blaws seek your beild. 

This is a politick proverb, advising us to make our interest as the 
times change. This proverb some act very dexterously, and others 
cannot get acted. — Kelly, 

Pull down your hat at the wind side. — E. 

In sapiens qui se ad causas accommodat omnes. — L. 

Arrange your cloak as the wind blows. — Fr. 

As thick as ben' leather. 

t.^., very close friends. 

As thrang as a skep at the castin'. 


As tired as a tike is o' lang kail. 

Spoken when a person is getting the same kind of meat every day. 

As waukrife as the cat. 

As wanton (dejected) as a wet hen. 

As weel as I am, but not so weel as I would. 

An answer to the question. How do you do ? — Kelly, 

As weel as the wife that brew'd it. 

i,e,y drunk. — Kelly, 

As weel be sune as syne. 

"Rob Roy," ch. i8. 

Delay hath often wrought scathe. — E. 

As weel try to stop the North wind comin' throu' the glens o* 
Foudland. — Aberdeenshire. 

As weel try to sup soor dook (milk) wi' an elshin. 

The two preceding proverbs are used to indicate impossibilities. 

As wight as a wabster's doublet that ilka day taks a thief by the 

An insinuation that weavers, as a class, are dishonest. The English 
say, As stout as a miller's waistcoat that takes a thief by the neck every 

As yauld as an eel. 

*'The Antiquary,'' ch. 12. ue,y as alert as an eel. 

As ye brew weel, ye'll drink the better. 

We must eat as we bake. — E. 

As ye're stout be merciful. 

Used tauntingly. — Kelly, 
Satis est prostrasse leoni. — L. 

Ask the tapster if his ale be gude. 

Ask the seller if his ware be bad ; and. 
Ask my fellow whether I be a thief. — E. 
Ask my mother if my father be a thief. — North of England. 
An ironical answer by a person who is asked to give an opinion of 
his own character or property. — Hislop, 

At deil speed the liars. 

Used when persons are roundly abusing one another. — ** Red Gaunt- 
let," Letter 11. 

At Eildon tree, if you shall be, 

A brig owre Tweed you there may see. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

A prophecy long since fulfilled. 




At Fasten e'en the maiden was fou', 

She said she would fast all Lentren through. 

Spoken when people in plenty commend temperance. — JCelly, 

At no hand. 

t,e,y on no account, — certainly not. — *'Guy Mannering," ch. 39. 

At the last an' the lang. 

i,e,, after all. — " Ro/s Generalship/' part 4. 

At Three-burn Grange on some after day, 

There shall be a long and a bloody fray, 

When a three thumbit wight by the reins shall hold 

Three kings' horses, baith stout and bold ; 

And thae three burns three days shall rin 

Wi' the blood o' the slain that fa' therein. — Thomas the Rhymer. 

A little above the Press, about three miles from Coldingham, the 
Ale water is formed by the junction of three small streams descending 
from Coldingham moor, at a place called Threeburn Grange — properly. 

Towards the end of last century a child was bom with three thumbs- 
at Renton, a place about three miles distant from Threeburn Grange. 
Though this circumstance alarmed the country people, the prophecy, 
happily, remains unfulfilled. 

A popular saying declares, with reference to this place. That a three- 
thumbed man should baud three kings' horses up to the saddle girths 
lappert i* bluid. — Henderson, 

At two full times and three half times. 

Or threescore years and ten. 
The ravens shall sit on the stones o' St. Brandon 

And drink o' the bluid o' the slain. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

The stones of St Brandon stand in a field about a mile to the west 
of Banff. This field is supposed to have been the scene of one of the 
early battles between the Scots and the Danes. 

At Yule, and Pasch, and high times. 

Such a thing must be done, worn, or expended only on extraordinary 
occasions. — Kelly, 

Atween the wat grund and the dry. 

The gowd o' Tamleuchar doth lie. 

Refers to the tradition of a treasure buried under Tamleuchar Cross 
in Selkirkshire. 

AuLD acquaintance is kindly, like clean linen. 

AuLD age is a puir scouth. 

AuLD Ayr wham ne'er a toun surpasses 
For honest men and bonnie lasses. — Burns, 


AuLD chimes and auld rhymes, | Gar us think on auld times. yJ 

AuLD Clootie. 

A popular name for the devil. 

Auld fruit has little savour. 

Many forget past favours and auld friends. — "Old Mortality," ch. 13. 

Auld Hornie. 

A popular name in Scotland for the devil. 

Auld lang syne. 

An expression peculiar to Scotland. 

Auld love's easy kindled. 

Auld moon mist ne'er died o' thrist (thirst)., a mist at the period of full moon bodes wet weather. — Hislop, 
Compare the following English sayings — 

An old moon in a mist 
Is worth gold in a kist % 
But a new moon's mist 
.Will never lack thirst. 

Or — As safe as treasure in a kist 

Is the day in an old moon's mist. 

Auld Reekie. 

A popular name of Edinburgh. — ** The Antiquary," ch. 6. 

At a high masonic festival held in the city some years ago, the Earl 
of Dalhousie very appropriately gave the toast, **Lang may auld 
Reekie's lums reek rarely ! " but he felt so much difficulty in articulating 
the words that much merriment was excited. — Chambers, 

It is said the Fife people hit upon the name from observing the 
smoke of the city across the Firth of Forth. 

Auld saws speak truth. ^ 

Auld sparrows are ill to tame. 
Auld springs get nae price. 

Spoken when people or thinj^s r re des;iised. — Kelly, 

Auld stots hae stiff horns. 

Auld use and custom hin^s aboot the fire. 

Once a use and ever a custom. — E. 

Auld wives and bairns njak' fools o* ph\sicians. 

The former on the slren;_th of their experience, and the latter from 

Auld wives were aye gude maidens. >' 


AvANT Dernele ! 

f.^., forward Damley I The slogan of the Stewarts, Earls of Lennox. 
Darnley, in Renfrewshire, was the original seat of the race, and from it 
their second title was taken, which was borne by the eldest son of the 
house. The slogan came to be adopted as the family motto. — Cham- 

Awe the mear, awe the bear, let the filly eat there. 

Spoken when we see a man's goods squandered by his own people. 

" Ay, ay, Billy Baneless, an a' tales be true yours is nae lee," as 
the man said to the ghost. 

" Siege of Roxburgh," ch. 15.—. 7%^ Ettrick Shepherd. 

Aye as ye thrive your feet fa's frae ye. 

Unexpected interruptions occur in business. — Kelly. 

The further you go the further behind. — E. given by Kelly. 

Aye Aether (argue) away ; since I'll no do wi' foul play, try me 
wi' fair. 

Aye keep your bannet on : sheeps' heads are best warm. 

Aye tak' the fee when the tear's i' the e'e. 

A good advice to doctors. 

Aye to eild, but never to wit. 

He is continually growing older, but never any wiser. 


Bad legs and ill wives should aye stay at hame. 

Baek feast. — Orkney. 

An entertainment given by the best man at the close of the usual 
wedding festivities, in defraying which he was assisted by contributions 
from other young men in the neighbourhood. 

Bairns' mither bursts never. 

Because she will keep meat out of her own mouth to put it in theirs. 
— Kelly. Also in Gaelic. 

Bairns speak i' the field what they hear i' the ha'; and. 

Bairns and fules speak at the cross what they hear at the ingle- 

Baith weel and woe come aye wi' the warld's gear. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 49. 


Baken bread and brown ale winna bide lang. 

Banks fou', braes fou', 

Gather ye a' the day, ye'U no gather your nieves fou'. 
An enigmatical couplet on mist. — Chambers, 

Bannocks are better than nae bread. 

Half a loaf is better than no bread. — £. 
Thin kneading is better than no bread. — Gaelic. 
In scarcity time vetch mixed bread. — Italian. 
Better half an egg than an empty shell. — German. 

Bare gentry, bragging beggars. 
Bare legs need happing. 

ue.^ poor people require assistance. 

Bare shoulders mak' burned shins. 

When a boy is ill clothed he will sit so near the fire that his legs will 
bum. — Kelly, 

Bare words mak' no bargains. 

A preface to the demanding of earnest. — Kelly, 
Bare words buy no barley. — E. 

Barla fummil barley. 

An exclamation for a truce by one who has fallen down in wrestling 
or play, **by our Lady, upset ! I am down." 

Baron of Buckly vie, | May the foul fiend drive ye, 
And a' to pieces rive ye, | For building sic a toun, 
Where there's neither horse meat nor man's meat. 
Nor a chair to sit doun. 

•* Rob Roy," heading to ch. 28. 

The Baron of Bucklyvie was a Buchanan, a cadet of the family of 

Bastard brood are aye proud. 
V Be a friend to yoursel', and ithers will. 
Be aye the thing you would be ca'd. 
Be gaun, the gate's afore ye. 

i,e,^ a jocose or surly hint to go. 

^/ V Be lang sick that ye may be sune hale. 

i,e,^ do not rise from a sick bed too soon. 

Be ready wi' your bonnet, but slow wi' your purse. 
%,e,y be free with civility, but sparing with your cash. 

Be slow in choosing a friend, but slower in changing him. 





Be still taking and tarrowing. 

Take what you can get, thorgh not all that is due. — Kelly, 
A taking man will never want. — E. 

Be thou weel, or be thou wae, thou wilt not be aye sae. 

Our circumstances will probably change. 

,y Be what ye seem, and seem what ye are. 

The best way for hypocrisy is soon discovered and afterwards 
abominated. — Kelly, 

y^ Bear and forbear is gude philosophy. 
Beasts and fules will aye be meddling. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 23. 

^ Beauty 11 no mak' a man's parritch. 

There are several English sayings to the same effect. As, Prettiness 
makes no pottage. Beauty will not make a man's house happy, nor 
keep the pot boiling. Beauty will buy no beef. 

N^ Beauty's muck when honour's tint. 

A fair woman with foul conditions is like a sumptuous sepulchre full 
of corruption. — E. 

J ** Because " is a woman's reason. 

A lady's reason, ** It is so, because it is so." — E. 

J " Beds are best," quo' the man to his guest. 

t,e,y better go to bed as there is no supper for you. 

Beefsteaks and porter are gude belly mortar. 

Befa', befa' what e'er befa', 

There '11 aye be a gowk in Purves Ha'. 

Refers to the very ancient family of Purves of Purves Hall, in the 
Parish of Eccles, Berwickshire. 

Before an ill wife be gude, even if she was a' turned to tongue. 

Used when we promise to do a thing soon, tho' the promise need not 
oblige us to haste, for it will be a considerable time before a woman 
reforms an ill tongue. — Kelly, 

Before I ween'd, but now I wat. 

i,e.<i before I only suspected, now I am certain. 
Spoken on the full discovery of some malefice which before was only 
suspected. — Kelly, 

Before the deil gaes blind, and he's no blear-e'ed yet. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 22. i.^., never. So, Ad Graecas Kalendas. 
— L. At latter Lammas (or never Mass) ; and, Before the cat licks his 
ear. — E. At Tibb*s Eve, and that is neither before nor after Christ- 
mas. — Irish. They'll come as Goodyer's pigs did. — E. It will be paid 



on tardy Monday. — Gaelic. The day of lint reaping (lint is pulled, not 
cut). — Gaelic. Also. The Moon-day. — Gaelic. 
Compare, That *11 be when puddocks, etc. 

\/ Beg frae beggars, and you'll ne'er be rich. 
Beggars douna (cannot) bide wealth. 
Begin the warld at the richt end. 

Compare, He began wi' the chuckie. 

Begin wi' needles and pins, and end wi' horned nowte. 

A caution against dishonesty. 

He that will steal a pin will steal a bigger thing ; and, He who steals 

an ^g would steal an ox. — E. So, the following Gaelic sayings, — He 

^ who steals the needle would steal the thimble. He that steals the little 

needle would steal the big one. He who would steal the hen egg would 

steal the goose egg ; and, Who would steal the egg would steal the hen. 

Being gude naturally leads to the getting o' gude. 

Bell-ell-ell, | There's a fat sheep to kill ! 

A leg for the Provost, | And ane for the Priest, 

The Bailies and Deacons | They'll tak' the neist, 

And if the fourth leg we cannot sell, 

The sheep it maun leeve, and gae back | Tae the hill. 

The butcher of Lanark used to send the bellman round with this 
intimation when he proposed killing a fat sheep, of which he had sold 
a leg each to the Provost, Minister and Town Council, but required a 
purchaser for the fourth quarter. 

Beloved Scotland ! — Gaelic. 
Beneath this pot you will find another. 

A Latin inscription upon an iron porridge pot, which a shepherd 
found in his kail yard, was thus translated by a pedlar, eighteen years 
after it had been discovered. The shepherd dug as directed, and was 
rewarded by finding another pot full of gold. — Chambers, 

Best not handle the horse shoe till it cools. 

Betide, betide what e'er betide, 

Haig shall be Haigh of Bemerside. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

The present proprietor of this Berwickshire estate bears the name 
referred to in this ancient prophecy, which has so fiur been Utenllv fol- 

Better a deil as a daw. 

Better a shrew as a sheep. — E. 

Better a dog fawn on you than baik at yoou 
Better the dog that wags his tail than the doa 



^«- Better a finger afT than aye wagging. 

"Rob Roy," ch. i8. 

Better pass a danger once than be always in fear ; and. Better eye 
out than always ache. — £. 

Better a fremit friend than a friend fremit 

f.^., better a strange friend than a friend turned stranger. 

Better a mouse in the pot as nae flesh. 

Better a louse in the pot than no flesh at all — £. 
A living pudding is better than a dead lion. — Ray» 
The kail will be better of putting the cat in. — Gaelic. 

Better a saft road than bad company. 

**The Black Dwarf," ch. 3. Scott in a footnote says, the Scots use 
the epithet soft in malam partem, A soft road is a road through quag- 
mire and bogs, and soft weather signifies that which is very rainy. 

Better a sair fae than a fause friend. 

Better a shameless eating than a shamefu' leaving. 

Better a thigging mither than a riding faither. 

"Thigging," b^ging, borrowing. The begging mother who) has 
been brought to this pass by the extravagance of her husband is better 
than a riding, i.^., sporting father. 

A begging mother is better than a sworded father. — Gaelic 

Better a tight girth than a loose saddle. 

Better an even doun snaw than a driving drift. 

Better an old woman with a purse in her hand than three men 
with belted brands. 

"Waver ley," ch. 20. This saying seems to have arisen from the 
efforts made to prevent the Highlanders from plundering their Lowland 
neighbours. Armed men had become of little use, the purse now ruled 
the roast. 

Better at a time to gie than tak'. 
Better auld debts than auld sairs. 

Better old debts than old feuds. — Gaelic. 

Better bairns greet than bearded men. 

Better children weep than old men. — E. 

It is said that John Knox addressed this proverb to Queen Mary — 
substituting women for bairns — after he had moved her to tears by his 
stem denunciation of her Popish pioclivities. The Tutor of Glamis 
also used this expression to King James VI., when after the raid of 
Ruthven the king burst into tears on finding himself a captive. 

Better be a fool at a feast than a wise man at a fray. 


Better be before at a burial than ahint at a bridal. 
Better be blythe wi' little than sad wi' naething. 
Better be friends at a distance than enemies at hame. 
Better be idle than ill occupied. 

The brain that sows not com plants thistles. — E. 

Better be John Thomson's man than King, and Dinn's, or 
John Knox's man. « 

John Thomson's man is he who is complaisant to his wife's humours ; 
King and Dinn is he whom his wife scolds ; John Knox is he whom his 
wife beats. — Kelly, 

\f Better be kind than cumbersome. 

Better be sonsy than soon up. 

It is better to be well off than to be compelled to rise early in order 
to work for a living. 
Better be lucky than wise ; and, It's better to be happy than wise. — E. 

Better be the lucky man than the lucky man's son. 

Better be lucky bom than a rich man's son. — E. 

Better bow to my faes than beg frae my friends. 
Better cry " Feigh Saut " than " Feigh Stink." 

An apology for having our meat too much powdered, as otherwise it 
would stink. — Kelly, 

\f Better deaf than hear ill tales of oneself. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 33. 

Better dogs are born in the kennel than in the parlour. 
** St. Ronan's Well," ch. 18. 

Better eat brown bread in youth than in eild. 

If youth knew what age would crave. 
It would both get and save. — E. 

Better find iron than tine siller. 
Better fleech a fool than fight him. 

So, Fools must be flattered not foughten with. — " The Abbot," ch. 21. 

Better fleech the deil than fight him. 

It's useless to defy those who are stronger than ourselves. — *' High- 
land Widow," ch. 2. 

Better gang farther than fare waur. 

««RobRoy,"ch. 28. 

Better gie the slight than tak' it. 

« ■ 

\. V 


Better gude sale than gude ale. 

Fame may do more than great feats. — JCelly, 

Better guide weel than work sair ; and, 
Better hain weel than work sair. 

Skill and economy lighten our labour. 
Better direct well than work hard. — E. 
Directing is better than heavy work. — Gaelic. 

Better happy at Court than gude service. 

Luck often raises a courtier when good service is not rewarded. — 

Better haud by a hair than draw by a tether. 
Better haud wi' the hounds than rin wi' the hares. 

The policy of the Vicar of Bray, who changed his religious professioii 
as the Government favoured Protestantism or Popery. i,e., side with 
the strongest party. 

Better in spring the work of one day, 
Than three at Hallowmass, work as you may. 

This is a West Highland saying. 

Better keep the deil oot than hae to pit him oot. 

Better hold out than put out. — E. 

Better keep weel than mak' weel. 
Better kind fremit than fremit kindred. 

"Quentin Durward,** ch. 6. t.e,, better kind strangers than 
estranged kindred. 

Better kiss a knave than cast oot wi' him. 
Better lang little than sune naething. 

A persuasive to sowing and good husbandry. — JCelly. 

Better late thrive than never do weel. 

"St. Ronan's Well," ch. 12. 

Better laugh at your ain pint stoup, than greet, and gather gear. 
Better learn frae your neebor's skaith than your ain. 

Wise men learn by others' mistakes, fools by their own. — E. 

Better leave to my faes than beg frae my friends. 
Better mak' your feet your friends. 
Better marry than do worse. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 30. 


Better meddle wi' the deil than the bairns o' Falkirk, 

Compare^ Falkirk bairns, etc 

t Better my bairas seek frae me than I beg frae them. 
Better my friends think me fremit than fashions. 

A caution against losing onr friends by too frequent visits. 

s/^ Better nae man (husband) than an ill man. 

Better ne'er begun than ne'er ended. 

Better ower't than on't. 

ue*t beyond the fear of danger. 

Better ride safe in the dark, than in daylight wi' a cut-throat 
at your elbow. 

Better rue sit than rue flit. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 20. 

Bear the ills we have 
Than fly to others that we know not of. — ** Hamlet," iii. i. 

^ Better rugh and sonsy than bare and donsy. 
Rough plenty is better than genteel poverty. 

Better saucht wi' little aucht, than care wi' mony cows. 

Better a little and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices 
and strife. — ** Solomon's Song." 

Better saut than sour. 

Better say " Here it is," than " Here it was." 

Better try to secure what you want than lament the loss of it when 
it IS gone. — Kelly* 

\f Better short and sweet than lang and lax. 

Applied to sermons. — Kelly, 
Sermonis prolixitas odiosa. — L. 

Better singeing pigs' faces than trimming courtiers. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 27. 

Better sit idle than work for nought. 

As well play for nought as work for nought. — E. 
Better rest than work for nothing. — Gaelic. 

Better skaith saved than mends made. 

It is wiser to avoid giving offence, than doing so, and then being 
obliged to apologise. — Hislop. 

--/ Better speak bauldly oot than aye be grumphin*. 

f.^., say out what is in your mind rather than brood over a grievance 
and make insinuations. 


Better stay wi' ken'd friends than gang farther and &re waur. 

Introduction to ** Legend of Montrose." 

In the desert no man meets a friend. — Arabic This is true of 
strangers generally. 

Better stumble in the path than be upheld by the arm of a 

Better the barn filled than the bed. 

i.e.f rather have the com than the chaff with which mattresses are 

Better the ill ken'd than the gude unken'd. 

The known evil is better than the unknown ; and, If the known have 
one fault the unknown will have twelve. — E. 

Better the lean lintie in the hand than the fat finch on the 

A bird in the hand's worth two in the wood. A universal saying. 

Better the nag that ambles a' day than him that maks a brattle 
for a mile, and then's dune wi' the road. 

" Redgauntlet," Letter 12. 

Better the mother with the poke than the father with the sacL 

Kelly says, A poor mother is generally more kindly to her children 
than a father in a similar condition. 

Better be a grumph than a sumph. 

For a surly man is more easily endured than a stupid one. 

Better tine life, since tint is gude fame. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 7. 

Honour is a tender thing ; and, Take away my honour, take away 
my life. — E. and Gaelic. 

Better to baud than draw. 

Possession is nine points of the law. — E. 

An old woman's grip is better than a hero's pull ; and. He who has 
let him hold, he who wants let him pull. — Gaelic. 
Compare, As gude baud as draw. 

Better to rule wf the gentle hand than the Strang. 

Better unkind than ower cumbersome. 

Better wade back mid water than gang forward and droun. 
Also in Gaelic, Irish, and Dutch. 

Better wait on the cook than on the doctor. 

Better bid the cooks nor the mediciners. — E. 

Better wear shoon than sheets. 


Better well beloved than ill-won gear. 
Better you laugh than I greet. 

Rather suffer ridicule for refusing to take a particular course, than do 
so, and be sorry for it afterwards. 

Between Dillerhill and Crossford, 
There lies Katie Neevie's hoord. % 

Refers to the tradition of a buried treasure under a great stone on the 
farm of Clerkston, Parish of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. The stone 
was ultimately demolished by some Irish reapers in a vain search for 
the hoard. — Chambers, 

Between Seton and the sea | Mony a man shall die that day. 

Thomas the Rhymer, 

Between the Blawart lap and Killievair stanes 
There lie mony bloody banes. 

Near Menmuir, Forfarshire. Allusion to some old battle. — Chambers, 

Between the Camp at Ardoch, and the Grinnan hill o* Keir, 
Lie seven kings' ransoms for seven hunder year. 

It is said that a subterranean passage between the Roman camp at 
Ardoch and another Roman fortification on the Grinnan Hill {i,e.. 
Sunny Hill) of Keir contained a great treasure. See Chambers, pp. 


Between the less-lee and the mair 

He slew the knight and left him there. 

An old rhyme by which the Leslies indicate their descent from an 
ancient knight, who is said to have slain a gigantic Hungarian cham- 
pion, and to have formed a proper name for himself by a play of words 
upon the place where he fought his adversary.— "Quentin Durward," 
ch. 37, and footnote. 

Between three and thirteen, thraw the woodie when it's green. [/ 

The child whom you teach at your knee you won't teach at your ear. 
— Gaelic. 
As the twig's bent the tree's inclined. — E. And — 

The trick the colt gets at his first backing 
Will, while he continueth, never be lacking. — E. 

Between you and the lang dyke be't. 

Spoken to a person who denies an offence with which he is charged. 

Beware the bear. 

** Wav^rley," ch. 8. This is the title of a tract which was published 
in 1650, and which probably referred to some proverbial expression of 
the time. 

Beware the redding straik. 
** Guy Mannering," ch. 27. 


The interposer has often got a blow. — Gaelic. 

To put one's finger in the fire. — E. 

Meddle not with a quarrel voluntarily wherein you have no concern. 


\ Bide a blink., stay a little.— '* Old Mortality," ch. 37. 

Bide amongst the mists and the crows. 

This saying expressed the policy of the Highlanders, when in danger 
from political or other causes, of flying to the remoter districts of the 
Highlands, where they were safe from their Lowland adversaries, at 
least a Highland rhyme on Glencaim's expedition in 1650 has the lines, 

We'll bide awhile among ta crows. 
We'll wiske ta sword and bend ta bows. 

" Waverley," ch. 28, and footnote. 

Bide me fair ! 

The slogan of the Hepburns. 

Bide weel, betide weel. 

1.^., everything comes to him that waits. 
There's luck in leisure. — E. 

BiLHOPE braes for bucks and raes, | Carit-rigs for swine, 
And Tarras for a guid bull trout, | If it be ta'en in time. 

This refers to localities in Liddesdale and Eskdale once famous for 

^ Bind the sack ere it be fou. 

^ 1.^., don't push your advantage too far. 

BiRK will burn be it burn drawn, sauch will sab if it were sim- 
mer sawn. 

i.e.y wood will bum even if drawn through water, and the willow 
will droop if planted out . of season. In any and all circumstances 
nature will assert itself. — Hislop, 

What's bred in the bone will not out of the flesh. — E. 
*. . ' That which comes naturally continues till death. — Italian. 

Wood that grows crooked will hardly be straightened. — Greek. 

The wolf may change his hair but not his disposition. — L. 

There are many sayings to the same effect in all languages. 

Bite and soup. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8. i,<?., meat and drink. 

Bite not my bannock. 

i.e,y do not interfere with my affairs. — Kelly. 
Thrust not thy sickle into another man's harvest. — E. 

Bites and bames. 

*• Guy Mannering, ch. 3. i.^., hoaxes and quizzes. 


Bitter jests poison friendship. 

Black dog, white dog, what shall I ca' thee ? 
Keek i' the kail pat and glower i' the awmrie. 

Said to boys caught helping themselves at the cupboard. 

Black mail 

The tax paid by proprietors, farmers, and others near the Highland 
line, to some powerful chieftain in return for his protection against the 
Highland caterans. See "Waver ley," ch. 15, and note N. ; and "Rob 
Roy," ch. 26. 

Black Prelacy. 

Dean Stanley says the Episcopal clergy wore no distinctive dress, or 
else a black gown, hence the name. 
Compare^ Blue Presbyterians. 

Black's my apron, and I'm aye washing 't 

Black will take no other hue. — E. 

Lanarum nigrae nullum colorem bibunt. — Pliny, 

Vicious persons are seldom or never reclaimed. 

Blaw the wind as it likes, | There's beild about PitmiUy dikes. 

— Fifeshire. 

At Pitmilly, between Crail and St. Andrews, the road takes a sharp 
turn, and there is always shelter at some part of it or another, as there 
are walls presented to each of the cardinal points. —Chambers, 

Blearing ane's e'en. 

ue,f deceiving. — "Guy Mannering," ch. 39. 

Bleary, Buckie, Backie, Jackie, 

The East Toun, the West Toun, 

The Quithill and Pitdwathie, 

Annamuck and Elfhill, 

The Gowans and the Tannachie. — Kincardineshire. 

These places are farms in the Braes of Glenbervie. 
The first four words are familiar abbreviations of Blearerno, Buckie's 
Mill, Blackhill, and Jacksbank. — Chambers, 

Blue gowns. 

i,e,f King*s beadsmen, gaberlunzie men. They received annually a 
penny for each year of the King's life and a blue gown, alons with the 
privilege of begging, free from the molestation of the authorities. 

Blue Presbyterians. 

Dean Stanley says this name arose from the distinctive dress of the 
Presbyterian clergy — a blue gown and a broad blue bonnet. 

Blue's beauty, red's a taiken. 
Green's grief, and yellow's forsaken. 




Bluid never bleaches oot o' linen claith. 

«' Heart of Midlothian," ch. 17. 

Bluidy bluidy bat, | Come into my hat. 

Cried by boys to bats, as if they expected their wish to be realised. 
— Chambers, 

Bode a robe and wear it, | Bode a poke and bear it 

As yoa make your bed so you must lie on it. — E. 

Bode for a silk gown, and yell get a sleeve o't. 

" Redgauntlet," Letter 2. 

Look to a gown of gold, and you will at least get a sleeve of it. — E* 

Bode gude and get it. 
Bode weel and hae weel. 

Hope well and have well. — E. 

BoDEN gear stinks. 

The theory of the fox and the grapes ; it stinks because we cannot 
obtain it. — Hislop, 


The slogan of the district of Glenlivet. 

Bonnet aside ! how sell you your mantle ? 

A jest upon those whose bonnet, cravat, or other parts of their dress 
we see sit crooked. — Kelly, 

Bonnie Dundee. 

Skene's MS., circa 1628. 

Bonnie ladye, let down your milk, 
And I'll gie you a goun of silk, 
A goun o' silk, and a ball o' twine, 
Bonnie ladye — your milk's no mine. 

A charm used by the dairymaids of Clydesdale to induce refractory 
or bewitched cows to give them milk. — Chambers, 

Bonnie silver is soon spent. — Ferguson, 

BoNNiNGTON lakcs, I And Crookston cakes, 

Laidmuir and the Wrae, | And hungry, hungry Hundleshope, 

And skawed Bell's brae. 

Bonnington, in the Parish of Peebles, was formerly in the condition 
of a morass interspersed with large pools, which are noticed in this 
ancient rhyme as one of the features of the district — Chambers^ ** His- 
tory of Peebleshire." 

Bonny feathers dinna aye mak' bonny birds. 


Bonny Munross will be a moss ; | Dundee will be dung doun ; 
Forfar will be Forfar still ; | And Brechin a braw burrow's toun. 

Montrose, Dundee, Forfar, and Brechin. 

Bonny sport to fare weel, and pay nothing for't. 

The wholesomest meat is at another man's cost. — E. 

Boo to yirsel. AVho begoo'd it ? 

You began it yourself, as the fool said to the bull. — Gaelic. 

The story is that a fool, in the Highland version, and a baronet in 
that of Galloway, mimicked the bellowing of a bull, much to the in- 
dignation of the animal, who gave chase to his tormentor. When the 
mimic got safe over the dyke, he addressed the bull as above. — Nicolson, 

Boot who better has. 

He that has the best bargain gives the boot. — Kelly, 
i.e.y he gives something extra. 

Border doom. 

;.^., a violent death.— "The Abbot,'* ch. 18. 

Borrow as I did. 

A facetious answer to a man who asks his loan before I have done 
with W.— Kelly, 

Borrowing days. 

A proverbial expression for the last three days of March, old style. 
They are said to have been so named in commemoration of the Israelites 
borrowing the property of the Egyptians. Superstitious persons refused 
to lend and were not disposed to borrow on these days. When the bor- 
rowing days were tempestuous it was held that the season would be 
favourable ; if fine, a bad summer was anticipated. One form of the 
rhyme prevalent in Scotland runs thus : — 

March borrowed frae Aprile 

Three days, an* they were ill ; 

The first of them was wind an* weet. 

The second of them was snaw and sleet, 

The third of them was sic a freeze. 

That the birds* legs stack to the trees. 

Another version is : — 

March borrows of April 
Three days, and they are ill ; 
April borrows of March again 
Three days, and they are rain. 

In a note to the ** Heart of Midlothian,** ch. 28, these days are thus 
referred to, ** The last days of March, old style, are called borrowing 
•days ; for as they are remarked to be unusually stormy, it is feigned that 
March has borrowed them from April to extend the sphere of his rougher 
sway. ** 

The following is the version prevalent in Stirlingshire : — 



March said to Averill, 

I see three hogs on yonder hill, 

And if you'll lend me days three, 

I'll find a way to gar them dee I 

The first of them, etc. (as in first version given). 

When the three days were past and gane 

The silly poor hogs cam hirplin' hame. 

According to the English version given by Ray, April borrows three 
days from March, and they are ill. 

The Gaelic tri \k nan oisgean, the three days of the ewes, or 1^ nan 
trl oisgean, the days of the three ewes, differed both in time and char- 
acter from the borrowing days. The oisgean fell in the third week of 
April, O.S., and are more to be considered mild days borrowed from 
summer than killing days borrowed from April, the name being derived 
from the idea that a few mild days are given in lambing time for the 
sake of the ewes and lambs. — Nicolson, 

BouRDNA wi' bawty lest he bite ye. 

i,e,^ jest not with your superiors — bawty is the name of a dog. 

BouRDNA wi' my e'e nor wi' mine honour. 

Avoid jesting about delicate subjects, such as character, etc. 

BouRTREE, bourtree, crooked rung, 
Never straight, and never strong ; 
Ever bush, and never tree, 
Since our Lord was nailed to ye. 

\ The elder or bourtree has a bad reputation, as being supposed ta 

have composed the cross on which the Saviour was crucified. — 

Boy of the belt. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 1 8. One who executes the will of his 

Brachan^s day brisk, 

The langest day an' the shortest nicht. — Kelly, 
Seems to be a copy of the English rhyme — 

Barnaby Bright, 
The longest day and the shortest night. 

St. Barnabas' day, June ii, old style ; this corresponds to June 21 of 
our computation. — Hazlitt, 

Chambers gives a rhyme which appears to be varied to suit local cir- 
cumstances — 

Barchan's bright. 
The shortest day and the langest night. 

This is a saying at Kilbarchan, in Renfrewshire, probably the original 
seat of this saint (St. Barchan) who, however, has a fame limited to 
Scotland only. His day is still celebrated at Kilbarchan by a fair held 
on the 1st of December, old style — 13th December, new style. 


The parallel English saying to this Kilbarchan rhyme is, Lucy Light, 
the shortest day and the longest night. 


{.^., natives of Bute, from St. Brendane, the patron saint of the islands 
in the Firth of Clyde. The territory of Bute was the king's own patri- 
mony, and its natives his personal followers. The noble family of Bute, 
to whom the island now belongs, are a branch of the royal house. —See 
note N to ch. lo of the ** Fair Maid of Perth." 

Brandy cannot save her. 

*' Heart of Midlothian," ch. 27. 

Brank new. 

Bran new. Spick and span. — E. i.e,^ quite new; fresh from the 
workman's hands. 

**Brawly, finely, geily at least." 

Answer to the question, " How do you do ? " — Kelly, 

" Bread and cheese is fair to see, 

But man keep thou thine honestie." — Said the landlady. 

" Bread and cheese is gude to eat 

When folk can get nae ither meat." — Replied the guest. — Kelly. 

They that have no other meat, \J 

Bread and butter are glad to eat. — E. 

Bread and milk is bairns' meat, I wish them sorrow that lo'e it. 

A sort of riddle, not meaning the bread and milk, but sorrow. — Kelly. 

Bread o' gude, an' ye'U find flesh, I'se find appetite. 
Bread's house skailed never. 

So long as people have bread they need not give up housekeeping. — 
Kelly, Also in Gaelic. 

Break his head ! break a puddin's end ! 

i.e.^ Oh ! nonsense. 
Break my head, and syne draw on my hoo (nightcap). — Kelly. 

So, Burn me first, then blow me. Break my head and bring me a 
plaister. He covers me with his wings and beats me with his bill. — E. 

Breeding wives are aye greening. , 

i.e,^ desiring something or other; greedy. 

Brent brow and lily skin, 

A loving heart and a leal within, 

Is better than govd or gentle kin. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 36. 

Bridal feasts are soon forgotten. 



Bridal magic. 

According to a belief prevalent in Dumfries and Galloway, a bridle 
made from the skin of an unbaptised infant, with its bits forged in 
Satan's armoury, possesses irresistible power when shaken above any 
living creature. 

Brig o' Balgounie, black's your wa', 

AVi' a wife's ae son, and a meer's ae foal, 
Doun ye shall fa.' 

Byron, it is said, was afraid this prophecy would apply to him, and 
an Earl of Aberdeen who was an only son, and rode a meer*s ae foal, 
always dismounted before crossing the bridge. Balgounie bridge is on 
the river Don, near the auld toun o* Aberdeen. 

Broidery and bullion buttons mak' bare pouches. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 14. 

Broken bread mak's hale bairns. 
Brose day. 

Fasteen's e*en. In some parts of England and Ireland it is known 
as Pancake day. 

Brosie Forfar. 

Brosie implies the plethoric appearance arising from excess in meat 
and drink. The lawyers of the town were known as the ** drunken 
writers of Forfar. ** It was on one occasion suggested by the Earl of 
Strathmore that the cheapest and quickest way of draining a loch in the 
neighbourhood of Forfar would be to throw in a few hogsheads of good 
whisky and set the drunken writers of Forfar to drink it up. 

Brothers and sisters. — Orkney. 

The jocular term applied to the ** Lammas lovers," who met each 
other at the great annual fair held at Kirkwall on the third of August, 
St. Ola's day. 

Buchanan's Almanack, long foul, long fair. 

Weather goes in cycles. — J^e//y, 

Buckle your girdle your ain gate. 

*♦ Heart of Midlothian," ch. 28. 

Buff an* nonsense. 

Oh ! absurd. 

BuGHTRiG and Belchester, | Hatchetknowes and Darnchester, 

Leitholm and the Peel, 
If ye dinna get a wife in ane o' thae places, 

Ye'll ne'er do weel. 

These places are in the parishes of Eccles and Coldstream, Berwick- 
shire. The version given is that of Chambers. Henderson gives 
another form, as follows : — 


Hilton and Hornton (Horndean), 
Claribad and Paxton, 
Easterlaws and Wesierlaws, 
Kimmerghame and Mungoswa's, 
Bughtrig and Belchester, 
Hatchetknowes and Darnchester, 

Leitholm and the Peel, 
If ye dinna get a wife 
In ane o' thae places, 

Ye'll ne'er do weel. 

This embraces a much wider range of country. Grant, in his novel, 
** Lady Wedderburn's Wish," also quotes the rhyme, though in a modi- 
fied form. 

Buikin' night. 

ue.i booking night. The evening on which the names of persons to \J 
be cried in church, with a view to marriage, are handed into the 
Session Clerk was, and is still, known by this name. 

Build in the cow haugh ! Build in the cow haugh ! 

This refers to the building of the Castle of Balindalloch in Banffshire. 
The site originally chosen was a high bank overlooking the river Aven, 
but during the progress of the work every part of the masonry erected 
during the daytime was thrown down in the following night. One 
night the laird watched himself, with the result that, in the midst of a 
lurid glare and appalling shrieks, he and his henchmen were caught up 
by a whirlwind and cast head foremost into a holly bush. The work of 
devastation meanwhile went on as usual, and in the midst of the super- 
natural sounds a loud voice issued the command, ** Build in the cow 
haugh," which accordingly was done, and peace secured. 

Build it in a bog, | Where 'twill neither shake nor shog. 

Refers to Melgund Castle in Forfarshire. The situation of this 
building is remarkably low. A similar incident to the preceding. 

Build the house where it should be, | Build it on Mauls' Lee. 

Refers to Maudslie Castle, Lanarkshire. A similar incident to the 
two preceding. These sayings probably arose from an attempt on the 
part of the country people to account tor the situation of the buildings 
to which they refer. 

Bungle, Billie, and Blanerne, — 
Three castles strong as aim, 
Built when Davy was a bairn ; 

They'll a' gang doun | Wi' Scotland's croon, 
And ilka ane shall be a cairn. — Berwickshire. 

Refers to three castles in the parishes of Buncle and Edrom, with 
respect to which the prophecy has been literally fulfilled. The barest 
ruins now only remain. The Davie mentioned is probably David 
Bruce, who died in 1371. 


Bundle up your pipes and go. • 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 26. 

Put up your pipes and go to Lokington wake. — E. 

Burn whins, a' whins ; how whins, nae whins. 

i.e,, if you burn whins they will spread, but if you root them with a 
hoe, or **how," you will exterminate them. 

j Burning a halfpenny candle seeking for a farthing. 
To waste a candle and find a flea. — E. 

Burning the water. 

Leistering — spearing salmon by torchlight. 
Busy folk are aye meddling. 
But bonny o*t (pretty little) like Bole's gude-mither. 

Spoken when we think a thing little. — Kelly, 

But the crib, and ben the crib, | And doun the crib raw ; 


Thou's ane, and thou's nane, 
Thou's twa, and thou's nane, 

And thou's ane a' out ; 
And thou's twa a' out, etc. 

(Onto a score,) 

Prior to the use of the yarn windle blades, women counted the thread 
produced on their spinning wheels by winding it between their left 
hand and elbow, repeating the above rhyme as the process went on. — 

Butter and burn trouts are kittle meat for maidens. 
Butter is king o' a' creesh. 

Butter to butter's nae kitchen. 

Like to like is no relish, used when women kiss each other. Bread 
to bread, etc., is another version. 

Butter to butter is neither food nor kitchen. — Gaelic. 

Buy a thief frae the widdie and he'll help to hang ye. 

Save a thief from the gallows and heMl be the first to show thee the 
way to St. Giles. — E. 

Buy friendship with presents and it will be bought frae you. 

Buy what you dinna want, and ye'U sell what ye canna spare. 

By chance a cripple may grip a hare. 

By chance, as the blind man felled the dog. — E. 

By the ^ve Kirks o' Eskdale ! 

An old form of odXh, —The Ettrick Shepherd^ "The Shepherd's 


Ca' a cow to the ha', and she'll rin to the byre. 

Set a frog on a golden stool, 

Off it goes again to the pool. — German. 

Take the cow to the castle, and she'll go home to the byre. — Gaelic. 
An ox remains an ox, even when driven to Vienna. — Hungarian. 

Ca' again ; you're no a ghaist. 
i.e,, your visits are agreeable. 

" Ca' away, callant ! for the deil a bit o' yon man I like," as 

Robin A said when coming frae the Dron moss wi' the 

stolen peats. 

Robin A , a basketmaker of Reston, Berwickshire, on returning 

home from the moss with a cartload of stolen peats saw the owner ap- 
proaching, and at once called out to the boy who was driving the cart, 
**Ga* away, callant, etc." 

Applied jocularly when labourers notice their master entering the 
field. — Henderson, 

Ca' brownie ca' | A' the luck o' Bodsbeck's away to Leithenha'. 

The farmer of Bodsbeck, in Moffat-dale, left out some food for the 
brownie, who resenting this offer, left the house saying the words of 
the above rhyme. 

Compare, There's a piece wad please a brownie. 

Ca' canny, and flee laigh. 

Ca' canny, and ye'U break nae graith. 
Hasten slowly. — E. 

Ca' canny, lad, ye're but a new come cooper. 

No man is his craft's master the first day. — E. 

Cadgers are aye cracking o' creels. 

Cadgers are aye cracking o' crook saddles ; or. 

Cadgers hae aye mind o' lade saddle. 

^ ** Rob Roy," ch. 26. We are all inclined to talk shop. 

V Navita de ventis, de tauris narrat avator. — L. 

Caff and draff is gude enough for aivers. 

Compare, Gorn's no for staigs. Draff is good enough for hogs, and, 
No carrion will kill a crow. — £. 

Cairn-na-cuen ! 

Slogan of the Farquharsons. Gairn-na-cuen, ue,, Gairn of Remem« 
brance, a mountain in Braemar. 



Cairnsmuir o' Fleet, | Cairnsmuir o' Dee, 

And Cairnsmuir o' Carsphairn, | The biggest o' the three. 

Hills in Galloway. 

Cake day. 

In Fife the last day of the year is known as Cake day. The petition 
for cakes is the following couplet : — 

^j Our feet are cauld, our shoon are thin, 

Gie's our cakes an* let us rin. 

1. Callant, are ye for parritch or brose? 

I think he says brose. 

2. Thick or thin ? 

I think he says thin. 

3. What are ye for to them — milk or butter ? 

I think he says milk. 

4. Sweet or sour, callant ? 

I think he says sour. 

These are the four cries of " Lady Betty," who lived at Auchencrow, 
Berwickshire. She took care the herd boy could not hear her cries. 
The following is another of the penurious Lady Betty's rhymes : — 

Fye shoo ! fye shoo ! Robbie Bogue's cock, 
You eat a' my chuckie's meat, and no wordy o*t, 

For fient a hen you'll tread ava* — 

The laziest cock in Edencraw, 
Fye shoo ! Robbie Bogue's cock. — Henderson, 

Can do is easily carried about wi' ane. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 38. 

Canna has nae craft. 

If you don't learn you can't have skill. 

Canny stretch, soon reach. 

i,e.^ luck in leisure. 

Cap for cap, and clean cap out. 

i.e,^ drink fair. 

Careless folk are aye cumbersome. 

Those say they don't care when things go wrong. — Kelly, 

Carena would hae mair. 

•'* I don't want it, I don't want it," says the friar, "but drop it into 
my hood." — Spanish. 

\f Care will kill a cat, and yet there's nae living without it. 

Care clammed the cat. — E. 


Cariston and Pyestone, | Kirkforthar and the Drum, 

Are four o* the maist curst lairds | That ever spak* wi' tongue. 

— Fifeshire. 

Pyestone and Kirkforthar were Lindsays, Cariston, a Seton, and 
Drum, a Lundle. Now all are among the things that were. — Chambers. 

Carrick for a man, | Kyle for a coo, 

Cunninghame for butter and milk, | And Galloway for woo.' 

Carry a lady to Rome, and give her one hatch (jolt) all is done. 

A reflection upon the humours of great persons, whom if you oblige 
in a hundred things and disoblige in one, all the fat is in the fire. — Kelly, 

Carrying saut to Dysart, and puddings to Tranent. 

Dysart in Fyfe, and Tranent in East Lothian, must have been at 
some time celebrated for salt and puddings respectively. The parallel f^ 
English proverb is the well known saying. To carry coals to Newcastle. ^ 
To carry pepper to Hindostan. — Persian. To carry oil to the city of 
Olives. — ^Jewish and Greek. Crocum in Ciliciam, ubi sc. maxime 
abundat. — L. The French and Germans say, It is not necessary to , 

send water to the sea. Another French proverb is. To carry leaves to (/ 

the woods. The Dutch are not so foolish as To send fir to Norway, 
and an Asiatic will not Carry blades to Damascus. The Highlanders 
deride the idea of sending birds to the woods, as in ancient times the C^ 
suggestion of sending owls to Athens was ridiculed. The Orientals 
thought it unnecessary To send enchantments to Egypt ; so in the Middle 
Ages it was deemed out of place To send indulgences to Rome. The ^^ 
Italians do not Sell sun in July, and think it foolish to Show glowworms 
by candle light. 

Cast a bane in the deil's teeth. 

i.e. , make a concession to an oppressor to save yourself from harm. 
A bite for the monster*s mouth. — Gaelic. 

Cast a cat ower the house, and she'll fa' on her feet. 

He's like a cat, fling him which way you will he'll light on his legs* 
— E. 

Castnae snawba's wi' him. 

Do not trust him too much. He's no to ride the water wi'. — Hislop, 
Cease your snowballs casting, i.e,y your taunts. — ICelly, 

Cast not a clout till May be out. 

Change not a clout till May be out. — E. ^ 

Stick to your winter things till the 40th of May. — German. 

Don't put off your greatcoat in May. — Scandinavian ; also, Who has 
a log of wood let him keep it for May. 

May ! lovely May ! to thee thy roses, to me my furs. — Italian. 

In the middle of May comes the tail of winter. — Fr. and German. y 

Who sheers his sheep before Servetius' day (13th May), loves more 
his wool than sheep. — German. 

The gentleman's winter — May. — Italian. 








Cast the cat ower him. 

It is believed that when a man is ra^ng in a fever the cat cast ower 
him will cure him ; applied to them whom we hear telling extravagant 
things, as they were raving. — Kelly, 

Cast the glamour o'er her. 

Impose on her, as the witches did to their victims. 

Cast ye ower the house riggin* and yell fa' on your feet. 

If he lost a penny he would find a ducat. — E. 

Throw him in the Nile and he will rise with a fish in his mouth. — 

Cast yer cloths together. 

i.e.y marry. — Kelly ^ 

,^ Catch a weasel asleep ! 

Said to be impossible. 

Cats and carlins sit i* the sun, but fair maidens sit within. 

Cauld aim ! cauld airn ! 

When the fisherfolk heard what they regarded as an unlucky word, 
they cried out, ** Cauld airn ! cauld airn ! " and touched the nearest 
available piece of iron. This they regarded as an antidote to the 
influence of the obnoxious word. 

Cauld Carnousie stands on a hill, 
And mony a fremit ane gangs theretill. 

Carnousie is a small estate in the parish of Forglen, Banffshire, which 
has frequently changed hands. — Chambers, 

r Cauld grows the love that kindles ower het. 

Hasty love is soon hot, and soon cold. — E, 

Cauld kail het again is aye pat tasted. 

Cauld kail het again, i,e.^ old sturies, and particularly old sermons 
repeated. In the **Two Drovers," ch. 2, it is used in the sense of 
giving a thrashing to one who has already been severely beaten. 

A colewort thrice sodden. — E. 

Cauld kail in Covington, | And crowdie in Quothquan, 

Singit sweens in Symington, | And brose in Pettinain, 

The assy peats o* Focharton, | And puddings o' Poneil, 

Black folk o' Douglas, | Drink wi' the deil. 

Refers to places in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire. The "black 
folk o' Douglas" are colliers. — Chambers, 

Cauld water scalds daws. 

Used ironically, implying that they dislike work so much that touching 
even cold water would injure them. 


Cauldrifc laiw wark. 

A xBQcal casaj as opposed to x goBpel sensoix. 

Certes I je're a fioe ane. 

Used icosicallT'. 

Chalk is no sfaeais^ — IkrgitssoM and Kelly. 

Taken firara taxlocs markiEig octt thttr doth before tbej cat it, stgoi* 
fyiog that a thing majbe ptoposed that will nerer be exccated. — Kt.'liji^ 

Change of maisteis^ chai^ of maiimers^ — Kelfy. 

When a new king comes» new laws come. — Gaelic 
New k)fds» new laws^ — £. So Fr. and Spanish. 

Changes are lichtsome, and fools like them. 

The Toktile youth's desire — all that's new is best. — Gaelic. 
Change is leetsome, if it's only oot of bed into beck. — Cumbefland. 
Change of deils is lightsome. — Kitlly, 
Est qaoqne conctanmi novitas giatissima lenim. — Ik 

Changes o' wark is a lightening o' hearts. 

Change is refreshing. — Gaelic 

Change of work b ease. — Manx. S/ 

Charge your friend ere ye need him. 

So that you may know what to expect from him if you do. — Keily. 

Try your friend ere you trust him. — E. L 

Charity begins at hame, but shouldna end there. 

The first part of the saying is universally prevalent. ^ 


Charm your tongue and take care o' saucy answers. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 2. 

Ch EATERY game will aye kythe (appear). 

Murder will out. — E. 

Cheer up a gliff. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 22. i.^., keep up your spirits. 

Choose ye, choose ye, at the cross o' Turra, 
Either gang to Aberdeen, or Elgin o* Moray. 

Turriff is equally distant from Aberdeen and Elgin. 

Choose yer bird oot o* a clean nest. V 

i.e.^ your wife from a respectable family. 

Take a vine of a good soil, and a wife of a good mother.— KnglUht 
Marriage over the midden, sponsorship over the «ea.— (jacHc. 
Better wed over the mixen tnan over the moor.—ChcNhire. i%i 
known person rather than a stranger. 






i,g,, The national nursery bugbear. In the beginning of the reign ol 
David II. Scotland was reduced to great extremities by the united forces 
of war and famine. A number of people took shelter in a cave in the 
Grampian Hills, and endeavoured to subsist for a while on the chance 
wild animals which yet remained alive. When these failed they resorted 
to canabalism at the instigation of their leader, Andrew Christie, a Perth 
butcher. This monster lay in wait for passing horsemen, and dragged 
them from the saddle with a large iron hook fixed to a long pole, hence 
his nickname. Most of the gang were arrested and executed, but it is 
said Christiecleek escaped, and died many years after, a married man, 
and prosperous merchant in Dumfries. It is said that for centuries after 
his time the mere mention of the word Christiecleek was sufficient to 
silence the noisiest child. 

Clare Innis ! (or Inch). 

The slogan of the Clan Buchanan. From their place of rendezvous, 
a small island in Loch Lomond. 

Clauts o' cauld parritch. 

"Rob Roy," chap. 17. 1.^,, cold, unedifying sermons. 

Claw favour, and Cuttle favour. 

t.e.t curry favour. 

Claw for claw, as Conan said to Satan, and the deil take the 
shortest nails. 

Conan the jester, a Celtic hero, made a vow that he would never take 
a blow without returning it, and having descended to the infemaj 
regions, he received a cuff from the arch fiend who presided there, 
which he instantly returned, using the expression, "Claw for claw, and 
the deil take the shortest nails. — ""W'averley," note W., ch. 22 and 
42. The proverb was used by a man who was resolved to fight man- 
fully, no matter who might be his opponent, and to return with interest 
any blows he might receive. 

Claw me and I'll claw thee. 

Ka ma, ka thee. — E. Swear for me, and I'll do as much for you. 
Da mihi mutuum testimonium. — Cicero, 
Manus manum lavat aut fricat. — L. 

Scratch my breech, and I'll claw your elbow. — What we call a 
Mutual Admiration Society. 
Compare Giff-gaff, etc. 

Claw up their mittens. 

" Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 18. t.e,, give them the finishing stroke, 
in argument silence them. 

Clawing and eating needs but a beginning. 
Clean and clear tint. 

i,e,, utterly ruined. 


Cnir.o: Ifiatheritf . 

id.,, stanr fighting. " Old Mortality,'* chai?. ij. 

Qsj£XS^ pitii and fair play. 

Without trick or cheat, taken from wrestliu|j. — Ivctly* 

Clejeh.. iit the aautfa. beguiled the cadger. 

Spoken, to pecans who prove false weather propheti». 

CflH-ati the Causey. 

The nickname of that Lard Glamis whose wife wais burned lor wilch*^ 
emit;, rsr- 

O.Fnrr^G tunes are aye canty times. 

"Guy iCannering, '* ch. I. Hospitality was ireeiy oirured to .dl 
comers an the occasion uf a birth. 

Cltppst sheep will grow again. 

CuppEffG time 

i,d,y the nick cf time. Compare — ^To come in clipping timtj. 

Clock Sorrow Mill has nae feir (match), 

Sfie stands aneth a heuch. 
And a' the warld's at the weir 

When she has water eneuch. 

Clock Sorrow Mill, Renfrewshire, has near it a linn in which p«s:ple 
affficterf with insanity used to be dipped tor their cure. — Chamu^rti. 

Cloot and cloot 

Hoof and hoof. «.a, every hoof. 

Cloth must we wear, | Eat beef and drink beer, 

Thtf the dead go to bier, 


To the grave with the dead. 
They who live to the bread. — E. 

Clout upon a hole '^^ gude gentry, clout upon a clout is gude 
* yeomanry, but clout upon a clouted clout b downright beggary. 

Facetioosly spoken to those who quarrel with a patch abcct jocl — 

A patch is better than a hole, but a hole u more ^nteel ; and. Patch \ 

on hole is economy ; patch on patch « tarreti. — (jzitlic 

A true gentleman would prefer hU clothca ragge»i than patcheiJ. — 
Spanish. Also Irish, Breton, ind G^trman. 

Better a cloot than a hole out ; and, Pafr.h by patch » pkle bm^- 
wifeiy, bat patch upon patch i:i plain h^^zry. — E. 

Cocks are aye gude wxU'd o' honei cr^riL 

The cock was very booncxfol with thtt hiimtt*% oonL< 


CoLDiNGHAM Packmen. 

The name is locally given to the cloud called Cumulus. — Henderson, 


Meetings of the great men of the kingdom held at Edinburgh during 
the reign of Alexander III., and which preceded the regular Parlia- 
ment. These were festive meetings, as well as assemblies for the pur- 
pose of considering informally the business which was expected to come 
before Parliament. 

CoLQUHALLY and the Sillertoun, | Pitcairn and Bowhill, 

Should clear their haughs ere Lammas spates | The Ore begin 

to fill. 

Farms in Fife lying along the Ore immediately after its junction with 
the Fittie, and on a low alluvial track which is very easily flooded. 
Hence the caution to get the hay in before the Lammas spates. 

Come a' to Jock Fool's house, and ye'll get bread and cheese. 

Spoken sarcastically of those who invite every person indiscriminately 
to dine or sup with them. — Hislop, 

Come back the morn, and ye'U get plack pies for naething. 

A plack was one third of a penny. 

Come day, go day, | God send Sunday. 

Spoken to lazy, unconscionable servants, who only mind to serve out 
their time and get their wages. — Kelly. 

In Northamptonshire, according to Miss Baker (" Gloss in voce"), a 
listless, improvident person is called **a come day, go day." 

CoMF. it air, or come it late, | In May will come the cow-quake. 

Also current in England. 

The cow-quake is a particular kind of spring grass, so named. — 

" Come to the point," as the cat said when she let claut at the 
^ dog's nose. 

Come unca*d sits unserved. 

^ Montgommery's "Cherrie and the Slae," 1597. 

Come when ye're ca'd, and yell no be chidden. 
Come wi' the wind, and gang wi' the water. 

Lightly come, lightly go. — E. 

What comes with the wind will go with the rain. — Gaelic. 
V Male parta, male dilabuntur. — L And in Dutch and Manx. 

Comes Liddesdale's peace | When Armstrongs cease. 

The turbulent and powerful Armstrong clan ceased to be of any con- 
siderable consequence after the execution of their chieftain, Johnnie 
Armstrong, by order of James V. 




Condition makes, condition breaks. 

Pactio tollit legem. — L. i.e., contracts must be kept unless both 
parties agree to break them. 

Content is better than riches. 

Content is nae bairn o' wealth. 

Content with what the sea sends and the land lends. — Shetland, 

i.e., wreckage, fish, and land produce. 

Contented wi' little, and canty wi' main — Burns, 

He would take the big stacks, and the little stacks would do. — Gaelic. 

" CoNTENTiBUS," quo' Tommy Thomson, " kiss my wife, and 

Spoken facetiously when we comply with a project. — Kelly. 

Contentment kitchens wark. 
Corbies and clergy are kittle shot. 

Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle, — Burns, **The Brigs of Ayr. '*^ 

Corbies dinna gather without they smell carrion. 

Where the carrion is there doth the eagles gather. — Danish. 

Corbies dinna pike oot corbies' een. 

1^ i.e., one rogue does not prey on another. 

Crows do not peck out crows* eyes. — Portuguese. 
One crow will not pick out another *s eyes. — E. 

^ Corn him weel, he'll work the better. 

A good master's servant is strong. — Gaelic. 

Corn's no for staigs (young horses). 

Young people should not have luxuries. Compare Caflf and draff, etc. 

CoRNUA reparabit Phoebe. 

i.e., we'll have moonlight again. This is the motto of the Scotts of 
Harden, which, with a crescent moon, forms the coat of arms of this 
ancient family, in allusion to the frequent raids by moonlight for which 
they were celebrated. Compare The one life lost, etc. 

Counsel of the bell of Scone, 

Touch not what is not thine own. — Gaelic. 

The voice of the Bell of Scone, the ancient seat of Scottish royalty,. 
was taken to represent the voice of law and justice, of which the funda- 
mental maxim is "suum quique," — Nicolson, 

Count again is no forbidden. 

Spoken when we count the money we haT' 



Count like Jews and gree like brithers. 

Count like Jews, pay like friends. — Kelly, 
Short accounts make long friends. — E. 
Correct counting keeps good friends, — Gaelic. 

Be brothers, and keep between you the accounts of merchants. — 
Arab. And in Irish, Dutch, German, French, and Portuguese. 

1/ Count siller after a' your kin. 

Courtesy is cumbersome to them that kens it na. 
Cow bewitched. 

In Dumfries and Galloway, in order to remove the charm from a 
bewitched cow, the tainted milk was boiled in a brass pan, pins were 
added, and the mixture was stirred with a wand of rowan tree ; when 
the brew came to the boil, rusty nails were dropped in, and the witch 
immediately felt the power of the medicine. She announced her arrival 
by knocking at the window, the gudewife compounded with her for the 
** hale loan o' kye " (the whole herd), the pan was cooled, and the cow*s 
udder swelled with genuine milk. 

Cow? the crans. 

i.e.^ go to wreck and ruin, like a pot on the fire, when the cran upon 
which it stood is upset. — " Rob Roy," ch. 24. 

CowpiNG the creels upon one. 

In former times the ordinary carriages of the farm were accomplished 

by means of currachs or creels of wicker work, hung from a crook 

saddle, one on each side of the horse. In loading, it was needful to 

i fill the two currachs simultaneously to keep them balanced. "When one 

man filled more promptly than his fellow of any heavy material, he 
gained an advantage in depressing his own creel and correspondingly 
elevating that on the other side of the horse. Hence the phrase, which 
means to take an advantage of a rival or associate. 

CowpiNG the kirn. 

Great efforts were made in the harvest field not to be last at the 
landing when the field was finished ; this was called cowping the kirn 
on the luckless reaper who completed his or her task behind all the 
others. It was considered a great disgrace to occupy this position. 

A balk in autumn is better than a sheaf the more. — Gaelic. 

The balk, or bauk, is a strip of fallow ground. The reaper who came 
to a balk in his or her rig, of course had less to cut, and therefore more 
chance of escaping being left with the last sheaf. — Nicolson^ 

C RABBIT was, and cause hadna. 

Crab without cause, mease without mends. 

i.e.y those who are angry without cause must recover their temper 
without amends. 

Crack of wealth, Watty ! 

A jeering exclamation when one has gotten something they did not 
expect, or far'd better than was supposed. 



Craft maun hae claes, but truth goes naked. 

i.g,, the Rock of the Raven. A place in the Glengarry country used 
as the rendezvous of the clan Macdonnell, and gave the name to the 
slogan of the clan. 

Craig-dhu ! 

The slogan of the Macphersons. It means Black Rock, and refers 
to an eminence in Badenoch. 

Credit keeps the croun o' the causey. 
Credit only comes by catch and keep. 

"The Shepherd's Calendar," T/ie Ettrick Shepherd, 

Creeling a bridegroom. 

In the Borders it used to be the custom for the young men of the 
place to visit a newly married couple and decorate the bridegroom by 
hanging an old creel filled with stones round his neck, and this burden 
could only be removed by the bride kissing her husband, and so securing 
his freedom. Now-a*days the creeling is usually commuted for a small 
money payment. 

In Yorkshire a custom not unlike "creeling,** and known as "pitch- 
ering,*' is prevalent. When a young man visits his sweetheart for the 
first time, one of her younger brothers half fills a pitcher with water, 
and, accompanied by his companions, presents it to the lover, demanding 
a present of money. If the money is paid, the visitor is generally made 
free of the house, if refused, he is saluted with the contents of the 

Crimp, Cramp, and the Granges, 
Midlock and the Castle Mains, 
Camp-seed and Cow Hill, 
Blackens and the Norman Gill. — Lanarkshire. 
Places on Douglas water. — Chambers, 

Cripples are aye better planners than workers. 
Cripples are aye great doers — break your leg and try. 

Those who are liberal with their advice are generally slow in afford- 
ing more substantial assistance. 

" Crookit carlin," quo' the cripple to his wife. 

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, 
To see oursels as ithers see us. — Bums, 

He that scoffs at the crooked had need go very upright himself. — E. 

Crowdie time. 

i,e,^ breakfast time. — Burns, 

Cruachan ! 

The slogan of the Campbells. 


Cubbies and cazies. — Orkney. 

i,e.f heather creels and straw panniers, balanced by dibbers on the 
back of ponies, in which the farm produce was carried from place to 
place. In the south of England a similar contrivance, called "a Dor- 
setshire dorser," was formerly in use. 

CuLROSS girdles. 

"Fair Maid of Perth." Culross, on the Forth, was anciently famous 
for the manufacture of girdles, t.^., iron plates for baking cakes and 

Cumins of the hen trough. 

The Cumins at the period of their prosperity (they were entirely 
broken by King Robert the Bruce) used to initiate all applicants for 
admission into their clan by plunging them head foremost into a hen 
trough, and the persons so treated were known as "Cumins of the hen 
trough," an epithet which is still sometimes applied in the north of 
Scotland to persons who have attained good positions by dirty means. 

Cummer gae ye before, cummer gae ye, 
Gif ye will not gae before, cummer let me. 

The Scottish witches sang this couplet when dancing. 

Cure by the coin. 

In Shetland there is a belief that a touch by a coin is efficacious in 
curing the King's evil, for which purpose crowns and half-crowns of the 
First Charles are particularly prized. This process is known as "cure 
by the coin." 

Curled heads are hasty. 

\/ i.e.^ fops are rash. — ** Castle Dangerous," ch. 8. 

Curly doddy, do my bidding ; 

Soop my house, and shool my midden. 

In Fife the children thus address the stalk and flower of the scabius, 
or devil's bit, which they call the curly doddy. The children of Gallo- 
way play at hide and seek with a little black -topped flower which they 
call the Davie-drap, saying — 

Within the bounds of this shap. 

My black and bonny Davie-drap, 

Wha is he the cunning ane 

To me my Davie-drap will fin* ? — Chambers, 

Curse of Scotland. 

The term applied to the nine of diamonds in a pack of plajdn^ cards. 
The origin of the phrase is disputed. One view suggests that it refers 
to the detestation entertained in Scotland towards John Dalrymple, 
first Earl of Stair, on account of his share in the massacre of Glencoe, 
and for which he had to resign office in 1695. The heraldic bearing 
of this person was, or on a saltire azure, nine lozenges of the field. 
These nine lozenges resemble the nine of diamonds. (2.) The nine of 
diamonds in the game of Pope Joan is called the ** Pope, the antichrist 


of the Scottish reformers." (3- ) 1° the game of Comette, introduced by 
Queen Mary from France, it is the great winning card, and the game 
was the curse of Scotland, because it was the ruin of so many families. 
(4. ) Diamonds represent royalty, and the belief that every ninth Scot- 
tish King had proved a tyrant, gave occasion in the course of time to 
form the proverb. (5.) The card on which the ** butcher " Duke wrote 
his cruel order for the massacre of the wounded prisoners after the 
battle of CuUoden. At that time, however, the phrase must have been 
in vogue, as the ladies nicknamed Justice Clerk Ormiston the curse of 
Scotland in 1 71 5. (6.) It is said curse is a corruption of cross, and the 
nine of diamonds is so arranged as to form a St. Andrew's cross ; but as 
the nine of hearts would do as well, this explanation must be abandoned. 
Whatever was the original incident or tradition connected with the 
phrase, there is no doubt that Cumberland wrote the order for the mas- 
sacre of the wounded insurgents on a nine of diamonds which he picked 
up from the floor. 

Curses mak' the tod fat. 

Hard words break no bones. — E. \j 

A curse will not strike out an eye unless the fist go with it. — Danish. 

Cut a tale with a drink. 

" Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 21. Spoken when a man preaches or 
proses over his liquor. 

Cut dwells in every town. 

Cut is a dog's name, and cut is a public tax, and few towns want 

Cut the gumpin. 

A harvest phrase. It means to get as far ahead of a rival shearer as 
to cut across his rig, which was considered the greatest insult to the 
lagging fellow. 


Daach, Sauchin, and Keithock mill, 
Of Tam of Rathven owned the will, 
Balveny, Cults, and Clunymoire, 
Auchindroin, and many more. 
Refers to places in Banffshire. 

Baffin' and want o* wit mak' auld wives donnart (or, " kirn 
yvzXQi:')— Kelly. 

Daffin' does naething. 

Daft clavers. 

f.^., foolish talk. 


V Daft folk dinna bide to be contradicted. 
Daft folk's no wise, I trow. 

Spoken when people advise what is not prudent, or promise what is 
not reasonable. — Kelly, 

Dame, deem warily, ye watna wha wytes yoursel. 

Deemer, one who judges. From doomster.— ^a/^^j^M. 
Judge not that ye be not judged. 

Dammin' and lavin' is gude sure fishing. 

Dammin' and Iavin\ a low poaching mode of catching fish in rivulets, 
by damming and diverting the course of the stream, and then laving or 
throwing out the water so as to get at the devoted prey. —Jamieson, 

Dandie Dinmonts. 

A famous breed of Scotch terriers, rough-haired, long-bodied, short- 
legged, game little animals, excellent for vermin, and pepper and mus- 
tard in colour. The name is derived from "Dandie Dinmont," a 
border farmer, one of the characters in " Guy Mannering." Dandie is 
represented as being the owner of a number of dogs possessing the 
characteristics mentioned. James Davidson, tenant of the farm of 
Hindlee in Teviotdale, was supposed to be the original " Dandie," and 
he possessed a breed of terriers which he called by the names of Pepper 
and Mustard, according as their colour was greyish-black or yellow, — 
hence the name was fixed upon him. Scott says, "The character was 
drawn from no individual," — Note C to "Guy Mannering." The 
epithet of "Dandie Dinmont'* is often applied to an honest, genial, 
though roughish farmer, with sporting proclivities. 

^/ Danger past, God forgotten. 

Daughters pay nae debts. 
Darkness waukens the owl. 

/.^., mystery leads to inquiry. 

Dawted bairns can bear little. 

i,e.i petted children are not hardy. 

y Dawted daughters mak' dawly wives. 

2.^., petted daughters make poor wives. 

rj Daylight has mony een. 

The Ettrick Shepherd^ " The Brownie of Bodsbeck," ch. l6. i.^., 
it reveals many things ; explains mysteries. 

yj"^ Daylight will peep through a sma' hole. 

Dead dole. 

ue,, that which was dealt out to the poor at the funerals of the rich. 
Dead men are free men. 


Dead men bite not. 
Dead men do nae harm. 
Dead's part. 

The portion of the movable estate of the deceased which remains 
over after satisfying the legal demands of his wife and children. It is 
so called because it is the only part of his possessions he can dispose of 
by will. 

The dead man's part. — E. 

The third part of a man's estate which, after paymept of debts, etc., 
goes to the younger children, the other two belonging to the widow and 
to the eldest son. This is the custom of London. — Hazlitt, 

Deal sma* and ser* a'. 

A prudent advice to a carver at dinner. 
Dear bought, far sought, and little for the handling. 
Dear o' little siller. 

i.e,^ dear at any price. 

Death and drink-draining are near neighbours. 

^ **Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 23. 

Refers to the drinking customs formerly prevalent at funerals. 

Death and marriage make term day. 

**Redgauntlet," Letter II. 

Marriage frees a man from his service in Scotland, and death in all 
countries. — Kelly, 

Death at ae door, and heirship at the other. — Fergusson, 

The idea here is that, as death claims his victim, the heir is eagerly 
waiting for his inheritance. Kelly has "hardship " for "heirship," i,e., 
death often entails hardship on the survivors. 

yy Death comes in and speirs nae questions. 

Death does not blow a trumpet. — Danish, 

y Death defies the doctor. 
Death pays 2! scores. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 23. 
He that dies pays all debts. — E. 

Death's gude proof. 
Death's mailing. 

t,e,i the churchyard. 

Debatable Land. 

A tract of land situated between the Esk and the Sadr- ^ bv 

both England and Scotland, and notorious as th« 
even after its division in 1542. 


Deed shews proof. 

The thing done shews how it was done, and what was done with it. 
Deeds are fruits, words are leaves. — E. 

Deedle linkum dodie, 

We've gotten drucken Davie's wife, 

The smith o' Tullibody ! 

So sang the fairies when they flew up the chimney with the smith's 

Deil a bodle. 

f.^., nothing at all. 

Deil a cowrie. 

f.^., not a farthing will you get from me. 

Deil a fear o' me. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 35. «.^., certainly not. 

Deil be in the house that ye're beguiled in. 

t.^., it would require the very devil to take you in. 

Deil be in the pock that ye cam' in. 

Deil be licket. 

Introduction to "Guy Mannering." "I got deil be licket," t.^., 
nothing at all. 

Deil choke them. 

Deil ding a divot aflf yer wame wi' a flaughter spade. — Kelly, 

Deil may care. 

Deil mean them. 

The phrase ** Deil mean them for justice, a wheen kithless loons," 
was applied by a Scottish judge of the old school to the English judges 
sent by Cromwell to administer justice in Scotland. The saying shows 
how the native judges favoured their relatives and friends. 

Compare^ Show me the man, etc. 

Deil mend ye if your leg be broken. 

Similar to Deil be in the pock, etc., — a malediction on the agency 
that brought you there. 

Deil raise ye, and set ye doun wi' a rattle. 
Deil ride to Turin on ye | For a lade o' sclates. 

A Forfarshire execration. Probably originated from the poor people 
of St. Vigean's parish, Arbroath, being compelled by the priests to carry 
slates upon their backs from the distant quarry of Turin, near Forfar, 
to roof their church. — Chambers, 


Deil speed them that speir and ken fu' weeL 

Compare, A man may speir the gate, etc. 

Deil stick pride — my dog died o't. 

Deil tak' them wha hae nae shifts, and, Deil tak' them wha hae 
ower mony. 

The English version is, Hang them, etc. 

A man with no luck or shift should be hanged, and so should a man 
with too much. — Gaelic. 

Deil's buckie. 

i.e,, an imp of Satan. 

Deil's in oor bairns, they will not go to bed when their belly is 

A rebuke to those who are discontented when they have every reason 
to be satisfied. — Kelly » 

Deil's in't. 

ue,f confound it. — "The Antiquary," ch. i. 

Did ye ever fit counts wi' him ? 

i.e,t money transactions are a good test of friendship. 

DiDRUM, drum, | Three threads and a thrum, 

Thrum gray, thrum gray. 

A nursery rhyme on the purring of the cat. There is an English 
rhyme on the plant marum to tlie following effect — 

If you set it. 
The cats will eat it ; 
If you sow it. 
The cats will know it. — Chambers, 

Die for the law. 

i,e., be hanged. — " Waverley," ch, 18. 

DiGHT your gabs and be hushed. 

**The Abbot," ch. 14. i.e., be quiet. 

Ding doun the nests, and the rooks will flee awa*. 

Destroy the place where villains shelter and they will disperse. ^ This 
proverb was unhappily applied at the Reformation to the destroying of 
many stately cathedrals and collegiate churches. — ICelly, 

See "The Abbot," ch. 15. 

DiNNA be carrit 

Or as the Yankees say of a conceited man, " His head is swollen," 
and the French say, " He cannot stand beans." i,e,, any little success 
puts him off his head. 

DiNNA bow to bawtie, lest he bite. 

Be careful how you are familiar with your superiors. — Hislop, 




DiNNA cast awa the cog when the cow flings. 

i.e.i do not act rashly when you meet with a misfortune. 
J DiNNA dry up the bum because it may wet your feet. 

What is a private grievance may be a public advantage, and the for- 
mer must yield to the latter. 

DiNNA gut your fish till ye get them. 

^ Don't cry herrings till they are in the net. — Dutch. 

Don't sell the bear-skin before you have caught the bear. — Italian. 

Unlaid eggs are uncertain chickens. — German. 

First catch your hare, and, Count not your chickens before they be 
hatched. — E. The English also say, Make not the sauce till you have 
caught the fish, and. All the craft is in the catching. 

Ante victoriam ne cannas triumphum. — Ray, 
y^/ Don't say chuck to the chick till it be out of the egg. — Gaelic and 

Italian. Never count the fish till they come out of the sea.- — Gaelic 
and Irish ; and, Don't skin the deer till you get it. — Gaelic. 

DiNNA kill her, Joseph, | But lay the hazel till her, Joseph ! 

Craik of Amperley, in Berwickshire, who in his time had several 
wives, and treated them all equally cruelly, used to order his eldest son, 
Joseph, to thrash his last help-mate with a stout hazel rung. — Henderson, 

DiNNA let the multure be ta'en by yer ain mill. 

Referring to the old custom by which farmers were thirled to particu- 
lar mills. This proverb is a hint to people to look after their own 

DiNNA lift me before I fa*. 

f*.^., don't find fault with me without good reason. And in Gaelic 
and Irish. 

DiNNA meddle wi' the deil and the lairds' bairns. 

i.e., don't interfere with mischievous or dangerous characters. 

DiNNA scald yoursel wi' yer ane ladle. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 27. 

DiNNA sell yer customers wi' yer gudes. 

DiNNA speak o' a raip to a chiel whase faither was hanged. 

Name not a rope in his house that hanged himself. — E. and Fr. 

DiNNA tell your fae when your fit sleeps, nor your step-mither 
when thou'rt sore hungry. 

The one will take an advantage of thee, and the other will not be 
ready to supply thee. — Kelly, 
Never tell thy foe that thy foot acheth, quoth Hendyng. — E. 

DiNNA touch him on the sair heel j and, 
DiNNA tread on his corns. 







Imply that we should not speak to a man on a subject about which 
he is known to be sensitive. 

Dirt bodes luck. 

Dirt defies the king. 

Dirt pairts gude company. 

ue., unwelcome intruders.— 7 A^^j/Zj'. 

Dit your mouth wi' your meat. 

**Dit," i.e,, close. A hint to discontinue idle conversation. 

Do a man a gude turn and he'll never forgi'e you. — Shetland. 

Save a thief from the gallows, and he will hang you on it. — Fr. 
Compare, It's best to let salt water take its gait, etc. 

Do as the collier did when he met the deil, hae naething to say 
to him, if he has naething to say to you. 

Do as the cow o' Forfar did, tak' a standing drink. 

A woman of Forfar having placed a tub of beer by the door to cool, 
a passing cow drank the contents. The owner of the beer sued the 
cow's master for damages, but the Bailies of Forfar, found for the 
defender, because the farewell drink, called in the Highlands doch-an- 
doris, or stirrup cup taken by the guest standing is never charged, and 
as the cow had taken a standing drink she was not to blame, and her 
owner was not liable for the cost of her refreshment. This incident is 
referred to in note K. to " Waverley." 

Do as the miller's wife o' Newmills did, she took what she had, 
and she never wanted. 

Newmills is a village in the parish of Loudon, Ayrshire. 

\f Do the likeliest, and God will do the best. 

Do weel, and doubt nae man, do ill, an' doubt a' men. 

For, 111 doers are ill dreaders. 

^ Do weel, and dread nae shame. 

Do well, and have well. — E. 

Do what ye ought, and come what can, think o' care, but work 

Do what ye ought, and let come what will. 

Do your turn weel, and nane will speir what time ye took. 

Every one will ask, "who made it?" but they won't ask, "how 
long was it in making ? " — Gaelic. 

DoDDS rabbit me ! 

i.e,. Oh ! confound it. — ** Fortunes of Nigel," chap. 23. 




Dogs, and bairns are aye fain o' fools. 
Dogs will redd swine. 

i,e,t keep them in order. 

Donald Din | Built his house without a pin. 

Refers to Dundonald Castle, Ayrshire, built by a hero named Donald 
Din, and constructed entirely of stone. Donald was originally a poor 
man, but through the finding of a treasure in his kail-yaird, acquired 
great wealth. 

Doom o' Polart. 

It is said that the waters of the "Black Well," at Polwarth, in 
Berwickshire, possess the magical properties of retaining in the same 
place for ever, anyone who drinks of them. Sometimes the phrase is 
jocularly applied to a friend who wishes to leave a party too. soon, as, 
may you hae the doom o' Polart. 

Doos and dominies leave aye a foul house. 

Is this explained by the Dutch proverb, Dominies come for your 
wine, etc. ? 

Who would hold his house very clean ought to lodge no priest nor 
pigeon thereon. — E. 


i.e.^ difficult of attainment, and not much worth when got. 

Double drinks are gude for drouth. 

The French proverb says, the appetite comes with eating. So in 
drinking, the more we imbibe, the more we desire. 

Douglas tender and true. 
DouN bye. 

i.e.i doun the way. 

DouN on his hunkers. 

i.e.^ in reduced circumstances. 

" DouN wi' the lid/' quo' Willie Reid. 

DowiE, dowie Deen, | Ilka seven years gets e'en. 

This is said of the river Deen in Forfarshire, and implies that in 
every seven years some person is drowned in it. 

Dree oot the inch, when ye hae tholed the span. 

For when things are at their worst they often mend, so endure a 
a little longer, as you have suffered so much in the past. 

Drive the swine through our bonnie hanks o' yarn. 

" Redgauntlet," chap, i, and footnote. In former times the "wives" 
used to bleach their yarn on the banks of the bum that ran by the 
village, or farm, and very frequently the pigs of the community made a 
pretty mess of the thread as they rampaged through it. 


Drucken joy brings sober wonmi. 
Drunk at e'en, and dry ia the mmm»^, 

A drunken night makts a fXtm^ m^fAft^^r=^%, 

Drunken Dunblane. — Chamberf, 

Dry bargains bode ilL 

Bargains used to be cooiid«ft4 wAs^y iVAtJU^ r«<t^M \iy u^ 40Hi^.- 

Dry wark. 

i.e., where little or no drink k fS^Af)^-^** tUmi *4 ^i4i^/ti4»4f/^ 
chap. 44. 

Duke Hamilton, and Brandon^ ) Earl Cbat$:lb«r«ii(i #«4 Aff #«, 
The laird o' Poneil, | The gtsdeman </ XH^Msoi.^CfMmkr^^ 

The Duke of liamiltofi'f tiller. 

Duke of Atholl, King in Man^ 
And the greatest man ia Scotland. 

i.e., as King of Mao next after the King ifi ik<4Un94, 

Dumbarton youths. 

Any person in that county les* than seventy is so CMtk4,^//aM/, 
It is used by Gait In the sense of a woman approaching ol^} mMeti' 
hood, — nearer to forty than thirty. 

"I warrant Baby a I>ambarton irouth anyway, and that is well 
known to be six and thirty gooo,'*~'West Country Exclusives/ 
"Tait's Edinburgh Magazine,^* October, 1834. 

DuMMiE canna be. 

Dundee lads, and Aberdeen loons. 

Compare Glasgow people, etc. 

DuNSE dings a', or as it is sometimes said Dunse dings a' for 
drucken wives and bonny lasses. 

Other forms are, Dunse dings a' for braw lads and bonny lasses, For 
braw lads and drucken wives, and For gude yill and bonny lasses. 
Henderson says the phrase in its original form, Dunse dings a', refers to 
the famous John Duns Scotus, and not to the town per se. 

Dusty pokes o* Crossmichael, | Red shanks o* Parton, 
Bodies o' Balmaghie, | Carles o' Kelton. 

Refers to places in the stewartiy of Kkkcndbriii^— C^'*« 



Eagles catch no fleas. 

Spoken ironically of vain people who affect disdain for petty details. 
A goss hawk beats not a bunting. — E. 
Aquila non capit muscas. — L. 

Earl Beardie ne'er will dee, 
Nor puir Jock Barefoot be set free, 
As lang's there grows a chesnut tree. 

The fourth Earl of Crawford who died in 1454 was nicknamed Earl 
Beardie, from his personal appearance, and also the "Tiger Earl/' 
from his savage disposition. This latter epithet was also applied to the 
first Earl Crawford. The chief seat of the Lindsays was Finhaven 
Castle, in Forfarshire, and at the gate of this Castle stood a majestic 
and venerable Spanish chesnut tree which was used as the common 
place of execution. This tree, said to have existed since the time of 
the Roman occupation, was regarded by Beardie with a kind of super- 
stitious veneration, and he cruelly hung a poor lad, — the Jock Barefoot 
of the rhyme, — because Jock unfortunately cut a branch from the tree 
to make a walking stick. According to the rhyme Beardie and his 
victim still haunt the locality. Compare the Tiger Earl. 

Earl Percy sees my fall. 

These words are said to have been uttered by Douglas as he lay 
d3ring at the battle of Otterburn. Applied to cases where an old rival 
is Mritness of a man's discomfiture. — "Heart of Midlothian," ch. 12; 
"The Surgeon's Daughter," ch. 7, 

Early maister soon knave. 

When a youth is too soon his own master, he will squander his 
patrimony, and so turn a servant. — Kelly, 

Early rising is the first thing that puts a man to the door. 

To be put to the door is to be ruined ; so the jest lies in the double 
signiHcation of the word, for when a man rises early he will soon go to 
the door. — Kelly. 

East and Wast, | The sign o* a blast ; 
North and South, | The sign o' a drouth. 

Easy learning the cat the road to the kirn. 

Eat weel's, drink weel's brither. 

Liberal living implies a good cellar as well as a gude cook. 

Eat your fill, and leave your leavings. — Kelly, 

Eat your fill, but pouch nane is gardener's law. 
Eat your fill and pocket nothing. — Gaelic. 


Eaten meat is eith to pay. — Kelly ; and, 
Eaten meat is ill to pay. 

1.^., is not paid at all, or paid witha grudge. E^ten bread is soon 
forgotten. — Italian. 

Eating, drinking, and cleaning, need but a beginning. 

One shoulder of mutton drives down another. — E. ; and, 
The appetite grows by eating. — F. 

Eats meat, an's never fed, | Wears claes, an's never cled. 

Some people are never "like their meat," others can*t do justice to 
their fine clothes. 

Edinburgh Castle, town, and tower, 

God grant ye sinke for sinne, 
And that even for the black dinner 

Earl Douglas gat therein. 

In the reign of James II., Lord Douglas was invited to a banquet in 
Edinburgh Castle, and there treacherously put to death in the year 
1440, at the instigation of Chancellor Crichton. 

Edinburgh's big, | But Biggar's bigger. 

Eelie, eelie, ator, | Cast a knot upon your tail, 
And I'll thraw you in the water. — Peeblesshire. 

In the Mearns they say — 

Eelie, eelie, cast your knot. 

And ye'll get back to your water pot. 

Spoken by boys when they find an eel and cause it to riggle about. 
— Chambers, 

E'en as ye won't, sae ye may wear't. 

As you have won it, so you may wear it. Applied either in a good 
or bad sense. 

E'en pickle in your ain poke neuk. 

i.e.<, supply yourselves from your own resources. "Rob Roy," 
ch. 23. 

\l E'ening red, an' morning grey, 
Is a taiken o' a bonny day \ 
E'ening grey, an' morning red, 

PutTon your hat or you'll wet your head ; or — 

If the evening's red, and the morning grey, 

It is the sign of a bonnie day ; 

If the evening's grey, and the morninfi^ red, 

The lamb and the ewe will go wet to bed. — Yarrow ; and — 

Evening red and morning grey 

Are sure signs of a fair day, 

Evening grey and morning red 

Sends tne poor shepherd home wet to his bed. — East Anglia. 


Or, in the last line — 

Make the shepherd hang his head. — £. 

With a rosy sky at bed-time, 

Fingal would rise early. 

With a rosy sky at dawn 

He would take another sleep. — Gaelic. 

If the sun rises hot and red we may look for a wetting. — Manx. 

He answered and said unto them : When it is evening, ye say, It will 
be fair weather ; for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be 
foul weather to-day, for the sky is red and louring. — Matthew, xvi. 2-3. 

Le rouge soir et blanc matin 
Sont r^jouir le p^lerin. — Fr. 

^y Evening red, and weather fine. 

Morning red of rain's a sign.— -German. 

EiDENT youth maks easy age. 

"Eident." diligent. 

Industry is the parent of fortune. — German. 

EiLD and poortith's sair to thole. 

Poverty on an old man's back is a heavy burden. — E. 

EiLD should hae honour. 
Either live or die with honour. 
Either the tod or the bracken bush. 

Spoken to silly people when they speak with uncertainty. — Relly, 
'Tis either a hare or a brake bush.— E. 
Aut navis aut galerus — L. 
Something, if you knew what. — Ray, 

EiTH to that thy ain heart wills ; and, 

EiTH working when will's at hame. 

Will is power ; and A willing heart greatly helps the work. — Fr. 
When the will is ready the feet are light, — German. 

Elder's hours. 

Compare^ Timeous hours. 

Ell and tell is gude merchandise. 

Ell and tell is ne'er forgotten, and the best pay's on the peck 

" Eli and tell " is good measure and prompt pajrment, and the latter 
saying may be construed thus — The gram is emptied from the " peck " 
measure, the measure is inverted, and payment for the grain is told on 
the bottom of it. — Kelly, 

Elliots' and Armstrongs' ride thieves a'. 


Endless Willie. 

The tjrpe, of and popular term for a troublesome class of writers 
(solicitors) who, in the old days, before the Court of Session procedure 
was so reformed that a record made up, and closed by the judge, was 
necessary in order to the trial of a cause, used to raise issues, objections, 
• and pleas at all stages of the case, and so get it remitted to the Lord 
Ordinary to be begin de novo* The original Willie flourished about the 
beginning of the present century. — Life of Henry Erskine. 

England is fat feeding ground for North Country cattle. 

**Redgauntlet," chap. i6. This is a sneer at Scotch poverty, as 
well as at the tendency of the Scots to follow their king to the rich pas- 
tures of the South. 

Compare^ Which is the finest view in all Scotland, etc. 

England's art and Scotland's force. — Gaelic. 
English gin. 

Is whisky made in the Cheviot hills. — ** Tales of the Borders." 

English riders. 

An Aberdeen expression to indicate equestrian bagmen. 

Enough's enough o' bread and cheese. 

Too much of one thing is not good. Enough is better than too 
much. — French and Dutch. 
Enough is enough, and too much spoils. — Italian. V 

Enough's as good as a feast. — English. 

Envy aye shoots at a high mark. 

Envy ne'er does a gude turn but when it means an ill ane. 

Ettrick Hall stands on yon plain, 

Right sore exposed to wind and rain, 

And on it the sun never shines at morn, 

Because it was built in the widow's corn ; 

And its foundations can never be sure. 

Because it was built on the ruins of the poor ; 

And ere an age has come and gone. 

Or the trees o'er the chimney-tops grow green. 

We winna ken where the house has been. 

This rhyme refers to the fate of Ettrick Hall in Selkirkshire. About 
the year 1700 one of the Tushielaw family turned out the inhabitants 
of a whole village, destroyed their dwelhngs, and built a magnificent 
mansion on the deserted site. Hence the prediction contained in the 
rhyme, which has been literally fulfilled, as every vestige of the hall has 
long since disappeared. 

Even a Gael will find his fellow. 



Even a haggis will run down hill. 

E'en a haggis (God bless her) could charge down hill. — ** Waverley, 
chap. 46. 

Even like yerser, poor and proud, and something false ; and, 

Even living and lairds do no more. — Kelly, 

Answers to the question, ** How do you do ? " 

Even so, for faut o' better. 

" Old Mortality," ch. 25. i.^., all that is for us. 

Even stands his cap the day, for a' that. 

It took its rise from a minister in our country who, for a sermon^ 
preached most fiercely against the supremacy of the Pope, and for a 
conclusion said : *' Even stands his cap for all that I have said, drinking 
good Romany wine this day." Applied when we signify that all that 
we can say against any great man can do him no harm. — Kelly, 

Ever busy, ever bare. 

1.^., great cry and little woo. 

Every ane loups the dyke where its laighest. 

Where the hedge is lowest, men will soonest over. — E. 
Also in Gaelic, Dutch, and Fr. 

Every beast his bottle. 

" Bottle," i.e,^ bundle of fodder. 

This is only spoken when people are drinking, and propose that every 
man shall have his pint, quart, etc. — Kelly, 

Every cheese maun keep its ain chisset. 

i.e,^ we must keep our place. 

Every day is no' Yule-day — cast the cat a castock. 

A castock is a stalk of cabbage. Satirical : Spare no expense, bring 
another bottle of small beer ; or, with much pretence of liberality, give 
your friend something which is as useless to him as a castock is to a cat. 

Every dud on his back is bidding gude-day to the other. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 5. 

He is in the ragman's hands. — E. 

Every English archer beareth under his girdle twenty four 

Roger Ascham quotes this proverb as indicating the greater skill of 
the Southerns in the art of archery, as well as the confident and con- 
temptuous manner in which they alluded to the anticipated result of a 
contest between them and their Scottish enemies. 

Compare^ God help the kindly Scot, etc. 


Every fadge and every cake, 

Every bannock had its make, but the bannock of Tollishill. 

Every cake hath its make, but a scraj>e cake hath two. — E. 

This proverb originated in a romantic incident of the seventeenth 
century. Thomas Hardie, tenant of the farm of Tollishill, in the Lam- 
mermoors, through losses in his flock, was at one term unable to pay 
his rent. The farmer's wife, a very beautiful young woman, known as 
"Midside Maggy," interceded with the landlord, Lord Lauderdale, on 
her husband's behalf, and his Lordship agreed to remit a year's rent 
provided Maggie would bring him to Thirlestane Castle a snowball in 
the month of June. This she managed to do by storing a huge mass of 
snow in a cavern on the banks of the Leader, adH on presenting her 
curious offering, Lauderdale at once gave her a receipt for a year's rent. 

In time the position of landlord and tenant was reversed, for the Earl 
was confined by Cromwell in the Tower of London, whilst Hardie had 
recovered his position. During Lauderdale's imprisonment no rent was 
collected from his tenantry, so Maggie proposed to her husband that 
they should personally convey to their landlord the money they owed 
him, and, for greater security, it was decided to conceal it in a bannock 
of peasemeal. When Lauderdale broke this goodly bannock, he burst 
into tears, and exclaimed, * * Well, every bannock has its make but the 
bannock o' Tollishill." 

At the restoration, Lauderdale rose to high position in the State, and 
was created a Duke, and whatever may have been his faults in other 
respects, he certainly did not fail in gratitude to his humble friend, the 
farmer's wife. One day at the head of a gallant company, he rode up 
to the farm house, and dismounting, clasped a costly silver girdle round 
Maggie's waist, at the same time intimating that she, her husband, and 
the next generation, would sit rent free on the lands they farmed. 
*'For," said the Duke, ** truly every bannock had its make, but the 
bannock o' Tollishill." 

Every fault had its fore. 

Every house which a man, not a lawyer, builds out of Edin- 
burgh enables a man, who is a lawyer, to build one equally 
comfortable in Edinburgh. 

Every land has its ain laigh ; every corn has its ain caff. 

Every man bows to the bush he gets bield frae. 

Every one pays court to him who gives him protection. — famieson. 

Every man can tout best on his ain horn. 

" Every man for himself," quo' the Martin. — Fergusson. 

Every man for his ain hand, as Henry Wynd fought. 

In the year 1392, two great clans fought out a quarrel with thirty 
men aside, in presence of the King, on the North Inch of Perth. As a 
man was amissing on one side, his place was taken by Henry Wynd, a 
little bandy-legg^ citizen of Perth. The substitute fought so well that 
he contributed greatly to the fate of the battle, Uiougifa he had no inteiest 



in the matter, and did not know on which side he fought. So, to fight 
for your own hand like Henry Wynd, passed into a proverb. See "Rob 
Roy," note E, and "Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 34. 

Every man for his ain hand, as John Jelly fought. 

John Jell^ interposed in a fight between two men, and on being asked 
on which side he was, answered, " for his own hand," and beat them 
both. — JCelly, 

For his own hand, as the smith was in the field. — Gaelic. 

\ .. Every man has his ane bubbly Jock. 

Every peat has its own smoke. — Gaelic. 

To every one his own care. — Welsh. 

Every one thinks his sack heaviest. — E. 

Every heart hath its own ache. — E. 

Dean Ramsay relates a story of a parish idiot who, " like the rest of 
mankind, had his own trials, and his own cause for anxiety and annoy- 
ance." He stood in great awe of the big turkey at one of the farms in 
his round, and when a friend reminded him how comfortable he was, 
he admitted the truth of the remark generally, but still, like others, he 
had his own peculiar grief which sorely beset his path in life. There 
was a secret presence which had embittered his life, and to his friend 
he thus opened his heart : " Ae, ae, but oh, I'm sare hadden doun wi' 
the bubbly jock." i.e., sorely kept under by the turkey cock. 

Every man has his ain draff poke, though some hang eider than 

" Eider," more prominently. The two preceding sayings are similar, 
but in the latter it is admitted that faults or imperfections appear more 
prominently in some than in others. 

Every man kens best where his ain sair lies. 

Everyone feels his own headache. — Gaelic. 
A man feels his own hurt sorest. — Irish. 

Every man kens best where his ain shoe binds him. 

We have here the well known Latin proverb, originated by Paulus 
Aemilius, who, when asked by his wife's relatives what fault he had to 
find with his lady, as he refused to live with her, replied, ** None of 
you know where the shoe pinches." This proverb is found in Gaelic, 
Fr., Italian, Spanish, and German. 

Every man's blind in his ain cause. 

Self love is a mote in every man's eye. — E. 

Every man's man had a man, and that gar'd the Threase fa'. 

The Threase was a strong castle built by " The Black Douglas. " The 
governor left a deputy, and he a substitute, by whose negligence the 
castle was taken and burn'd. — Kelly. 

Every play maun be played, and some maun be the players. 



Everything has its time, and sae has a ripph'ng kame. 

''Rippling kame," a coarse comb used in the preparation of flax. 
The proverb means that there is a proper time for everything. 

Everything would fain live. 

Spoken in excuse of man or beast who make their best endeavour to 
get a living. — Kelly, 

Every wight has his weird, and we maun a' dee when our day 

" Rob Roy," ch. 34. 

Evil to him that entertains feud first. 
'f Evil words cut mair than swords. 

A word hurts more than a wound. — E. 


Fa' tae. 

An invitation to draw your chair to the table, and begin the meal. 

Faare are ye ga:en ? To Killiemuir, 
Faare never ane weel fure, 
But for his ain penny fee. — Chambers, 
Refers to Kirremuir, in Forfarshire. 

Face and outface the Pope, Devil, and Pretender. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 38. Z.^., I fear no one. 

Facts are chiels that winna ding. — Burns, 
Fair and false, like a Scot. 

See^ As false as a Scot. 

Fair and honest John o' the Bank 
Has aye the right gully by the shank. 

*' Applied when one countryman wishes to compliment another for 
his honesty, frankness, and independence of mind. " 

John o' the Bank was John Richardson, tenant of Blackadder Bank 
farm, in the parish of Edirom, Berwickshire, at the end of last century. 
He was a witty, jovial fellow, fond of a dance. When striking a bar- 
gain he was wont to commend his own truthfulness and honesty by say- 
ing that **he was fair and honest John o' the Bank." — Henderson, 

Fair fa' gude drink, for it gars folk speak as they think. 

What is in the heart of the sober man is on the tongue of the drunken 
» man. — L. 

Compare^ A fu' man's a true man. 

Fair chieve good ale, it makes many folks speak as they think. — Ray, 





Fair fa' the wife, and weel may she spin, 

That counts aye the lawin' wi' a pint to come in, 

i.e.f Good luck to the hostess who includes a pint still to come when 
the reckoning is called for. — Hislop, 

Fair fa' you, and that's a fleach. 

A sneer. — Kelly, 

Fair fa* you, and that's nae fleaching (flattery). 
A good wish sincerely expressed. 

Fair fa' your sonsy face. 

i.e.^ may you have good luck. 

Fair folk are aye foisonless. 

** Foisonless," without strength or sap, " dried up," " withered." — 

" Unsubstantial."— "Old Mortality." 

Fair folk, fair folk, | Gies oor fare, 

Yer pockets are ripe, | And oor's are bare. 

An old rhyme common on the Borders, where the children salute 
people with it who are returning from Fairs or Races. 

Fair gae they, fair come they, and aye their heels hindmost. 

Originally applied to the fairies, about whom the vulgar Scots have 
strange stories and opinions, but now applied to disreputable persons 
with whom the speaker wishes to have no dealings. — Kelly, 

Fair hair may hae foul roots. 

Fair Maiden Lilliard lies under this stane. 

Little was her stature, but great was her fame ; 

Upon the English loons she laid mony thumps, 

And when her legs were cuttit off, she fought upon her stumps. 

At the battle of Ancrum Moor, fought in 1545 between the English 
and Scots, a female warrior named Lilliard is said to have fought 
bravely on the Scottish side, and even when her feet were cut off she 
continued to fight in the manner of Squire Witherington. Buried on 
the field of victory, she was commemorated to future ages by her name 
being given to the spot, and a stone being erected on which was the 
above rhyme. — Chambers, 

Fair maidens wear nae purses. 

Spoken when young women offer to pay their club in company, which 
the Scots never allow. — Kelly, 

Fair words are nae cause o' feuds. 

Fair words canna mak' amends for foul actions. 

Fair words winna mak' the pot boil. 

Fair words butter no parsnips. — E. 


Fairy, fairy, come bake me a scone, 

And ril gie ye a spurtle to turn it aff and on. 

It was supposed that in a time of scarcity, a supernatural supply of 
food might be obtained by repeating this rhyme. So the ploughmen of 
Clydesdale believed that if they recited the rhyme — 

Fairy, fairy, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, 
And I'll gi*e ye a spurtle aflf my gad end ! 

three several times on turning their teams at the head-rigs, they would 
find the desired fare prepared for them at the end of the fourth bout. 
— Chambers. 

Falkirk bairns dee ere they thrive ; and, 

Falkirk bairns mind naething but mischief. 

Another version given by Chambers is, Like the bairns o* Falkirk, \y^ 
they'll end ere they mend. 

This adage has had the effect of causing the men of Falkirk to speak 
of themselves jocularly as ** the bairns." 

Falkland manners. 

The old courtly manners associated with Falkland Palace, in Fife- 
shire, are still remembered, for in that county good manners are still 
called in all sincerity '* Falkland manners." 

Fall on the feyest, the beetle among the bairns. 

The feyest are those that have the most signs of death. 

Spoken when we do a thing at a venture that may be good for some 
and bad for another, and let the event fall on the most unfortunate. 
Answers to the English, ** Among yon blind Harpers," — Kelly, 

Fanned fires and forced love ne'er did weal. 

Far ahint maun follow the faster. 

Far ahint that mayna follow, an' far before that canna look back. 

First part in Gaelic. 

Far and sure. 

The golfer's motto. 

Far awa' fowls hae fair feathers. — Fergusson. v/ 

Far off cows have long horns. — Gaelic. 

Omne ignotum magnifico. — L. 

'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view. — Campbell. 

Kelly says, Fat fowls, etc 

Far from my heart my husband's mother. 

Spoken when a loss is mentioned in which one bas Uttlt oonoerD.— • 

Far up on Lammermoor, amang the heath* 
The earliest har'st that e'er was seen 
Was seen at Bentydod. 


Because they were shearing the remainder of the crop at this farm on 
a New Year's morning. 

Farcie on his face, I hae seen mony a fairer hang on the 

"Pirate." The Borough-Moor, on which part of the district of 
Momingside, Edinburgh is built, was in ancient times the place of 
execution for the city. The saying indicates that the person spoken of 
was clearly A cheat the wuddie. 

Farewell frost, fair weather neist. 

Farewell frost, nothing got is nothing lost. — E. 

Fare-ye-weel, Meg Dorts, and e'en's ye like. 

A jocose allusion to those who go away in the sulks. 

Farmers fauch gars lairds laugh. 

Fallow ground pleases the landlord, because it indicates that care is 
being bestowed on the land. 

Farther east, the shorter west. 

\^/ Farthest frae the kirk aye soonest at it. 

Fashion of Pudding-burn house — where 
They who came not the first call 
Get no more meat till the next meal. 

** The Abbot," ch. 29. 

Fashious fools are easiest fliket 

i.e., troublesome persons are easiest offended. 

Fast Castle, if ye be ta'en. 
Fair fa' you, Johnny Robertson I 

. About the year 1550, Fast Castle, in the parish of Coldingham, Ber- 
wickshire, was in the hands of the English, and it is said was re-taken 
by stratagem, John Robertson, a peasant in the neighbourhood, having 
the credit of planning the project by which it was regained to the Scots. 
At his instigation a number of peasants, who were carrying bags of peats 
into the castle for the use of the garrison, flung down their burdens in 
the narrow gateway, and so prevented the door being shut. Others 
rushed in, and the party drawing swords from under their clothes, sur- 
prised and quickly overpowered the garrison. It is also said of Fast 
Fast Castle firm and sure, 
On the rock will aye endure. 

Fat flesh freezes soon. 

Fat hens are aye ill layers. 

Fause folk should hae mony witnesses. 

z,e,, don't trust a liar unless he pledges himself before witnesses. 



y Fausehood male's ne'er a fair hinder-end. 

ue,y falsehood is sure to be exposed in the long run. 

Favours unused are favours abused. 

Fear has lang legs. 

Featless folk is ay fain of other. 

A jest upon two people who are glad when they meet. — Kelly. 

Febrawar will fill the dyke, 
^ Be it black, or be it white. 

The English version is, 

February fill dyke, be it black or be it white. 
But if it be white, it*s the better to like. 

The saying is common to many nations. Another rhyme about Feb- 
ruary is as follows — 

Februar, an* ye be fair, 

The hoggs '11 mend, and naething pair ; 

Februar, an' ye be foul. 

The hoggs '11 die in ilka pool. 

** Pair," unpair, lessen, grow less, fewer in numbers. 

Fecht awa' wi' the fou' hand and the toom purse. 

i.e.^ against hard work and poverty. 

Feckless fools are aye fain o' ane anither. 
\/ Feckless fools should keep canny tongues. 

Which, unfortunately, they very rarely do. 

Feed a cauld, but hunger a colic 

Feeding out o' course mak's mettle out o* kind. 

Good pasture will make a small breed of cattle larger. — Kelly, 

Feel a thread's end ! 

Oh, nonsense I 


A popular name for whisky from the celebrated distillery at one time 
belonging to Forbes of Culloden. — Bums, 

Ferlies mak' fools fgin. 
Few get what they glaum at 

i,e,t try to secure. 
Fey folk run fast. 


** Fey," fie, means acting unacconntablv, as 
soon to die, are supposed to do in some list ■sd>' 
so those predestined to an early death an w^ 




Fiddlers, dogs, and flesh flies come aye to feasts unca'd. 
Fiddlers' wives and gamesters' drink are free to ilka body. 
Fife folks are queer folks. 

"Tales of the Borders." 


** Redgauntlet," ch. 7. Peter Peebles, in explaining the meaning of 
daft, says: **Just Fifesh," replied Peter; "woof, a wee bit by the 
E^st neuk or sae, it is a common case.*' 

Fill fu', and baud fu' mak's the stark man. 

In Border language a stark man was one who takes and keeps boldly. 
— Ramsay's Reminiscences. 
Good and regular living makes such a man. 

Findin' 's keepin'. 

i.e,^ who finds keeps. — E. 

Fine to fine mak's a bad line. 

Compare^ Butter to butter, etc. 

Fine words make foolish maidens fain. 
Finn men. 

i,e,^ the sea fairies of Orkney, which are said to drive fish from the 
part of the sea they frequent. 

Fire is gude for the fireside. 

i,e,^ all things are good in their proper place. 

First a wood, and then a sea, | Now a moss, and ever will be. 

Refers to Lochar Moss on the shores of the Solway Firth. Locbar 
Moss is said to have originally been a wood, afterwards it was inundated 
by the sea, which, upon receding, left behind it the decaying vegetable 
matter in which the moss originated. — Chambers, 

Compare the English saying, 

Once a wood, then a sea, 
Now a moss, and e'er will be. 

This refers to Pilling Moss in Lancashire. 

First came Todrig, | Then came Woll, 

Last came Whitslade, | The chief of the water Ail. — 1690. 

Wilson*s "Annals of Hawick." The Scotts of Whitslade were 
apparently in 1690 the chief family in Ail water. 

First comes Candlemas, and then the new moon. 
The next Tuesday after is Fasten's e'en. 

This may be true in many cases, but cannot in all, as Shrove Tuesday 
may occur on any day between February 2 and March 9, during which 
there may be a second renewal of the moon after Candlemas day. 



Fasten *s e'en, or Brose day, i.e., Shrove Tuesday, used to be the 
great day of the year in some places. At Jedburgh an annual football 
match was, and is still, played on this day, and a similar custom was 
long prevalent at Scone, in Perthshire, giving rise to the proverb, A's 
fair at the ba* o' Scone, etc. At Kilmarnock a curious practice existed 
of the townspeople meeting at the cross, and being played on by the 
firemen with their hose. There was also, as in the Continental carnival, 
much festivity as a preparation for the rigours of Lent. 

First fit. 

On New Year's morning the first visitor to a house is called the 
** first fit." He usually brings with him a bottle of whisky with which 
to treat his friends, and the compliment is promptly and cordially re- 

First I ca'd her honest woman, | Twas true, indeed ; 
Neist I ca'd her jade and thief | Fause tongue, ye lee'd ! 

A formula of acknowledgement made at the church doors in former 
times as a reparation for scandal. 
Variation in case of a man — 

First I ca'd him honest man — 
'Twas true, indeed ; 
Syne I ca'd him thief's face — 
Fause tongue, ye lee'd. 

Fish guts and stinkin' herrin' 

Are bread and milk for an Eyemouth bairn. — Henderson. 

Fleas and girning wives are waukrife bed-fellows. 

Flee as fast as you will, your fortune will be at your tail. 

y/ Fleying a bird is no the way to grip it. 

Throwing your cap at a bird is not the way to catch it. — E. 
Compare, The way to catch a bird, etc. 

Fling at the goad was ne'er a gude ox. 
Flit an auld tree an' it'll wither. 
Flit her tether. 

i.e., marry her. 

Flitting o' farms mak' mailens dear. 

Compare, As ane flits, etc. 

Floak and Bloak, and black Drumbog, 
Hungry Gree, and greedy Glashogh, 
Dirty doors in Wannockhead, 
MouUy siller in Wylieland, 
Taupy wives in Bruntland, 
Witch wives in Midland. 


Places in the parish of" Fen wick, Ayrshire. "Taupy wives," namely, 
uselessly indolent. The term *' a thowless taupy is the strongest 
])ossible designation of an indolent, incompetent housewife or a dreamy 

Folk are ill to ken. 

Folk aye like them that are opposite to themselves. 

Folk get used to a' thing. 

Folk maun grow auld, or dee. 

Folk maun submit 

Folk should never ask for mair than they can mak' a gude use 

Folk wha count afore the change-keeper have often to count 

As the English say, They who reckon without their host, etc 

Folks' ain are aye their ain. 
^ Folks' dogs bark waur than themsels. 

Folks sometimes get a gude meal oot o' a dirty dish. 

In the reminiscences of Yarrow by Dr. Russel, it is stated that when 
the Dissenters happened to attend Yarrow church during the earlier 
part of his father s ministry, they indicated their appreciation of the 
preacher, and dislike of the State Church, by declaring in the words of 
this proverb, that they had got ** a gude meal oot o' a dirty dish." A 
good article from a tainted source. 

Folks wat not sometimes whether to run fast or go at leisure. 
Folly is his best wisdom. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 30. 

\J Fools and bairns never ken when they are weel aff. 

Fools are aye fleet and fain. 

i.e,^ in a great hurry and high spirits. 

Fools are aye fond o' flittin', and wise men o' sittin'. 

For far aff fowls ha*e feathers fair. 
And fools o' change are fain. — Bums. 

Also in Gaelic and Irish. 

Fools are aye fortunate. 

Fools are aye seeing ferlies. 

Fools are fain o' naething. 

Fools are fond o' a' they foregather wi*. 



Fools aye see ither folks' fauts, and forget their ain. 
^ Fools, bairns, and drunken men tell all that is in their minds. 

The reflection is on the last. — Kelly, 

Fools do aye as they are bidden. 

Fools look to to-morrow, and wise men use to-night. 

" The Abbot," ch. 35. 

\J Fools mak' feasts, and wise men eat 'em. 

This was said to the Duke of Lauderdale on his giving a great enter- 
tainment in London, and he readily answered, '* Ay, and wise men 
make proverbs, and fools repeat *em." — Ramsay's Reminiscences » 

The first part is also an English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Gae- 
lic proverb. 

Fools ravel and wise men redd. 
Fools shouldna hae chappin' sticks. 

*' Rob Roy/* ch. 34. 2.^., the means of doing mischief. 
It is ill putting an naked sword in a madman's hands. — E. 
A sword in a fool's hand, a beetle in an idiot's. — Gaelic. 
Don't give a sword to a child or a fool. — Greek. 
Non prodest stulto virgo nociva data. — L. 

Fools wonder aye at ferlies. 

For a hen's gerse, | They'll flit i' the Merse. 

Refers to the fondness of the Berwickshire ploughmen for flitting, and 
the slight matters which frequently lead to change. At one time hinds 
were allowed to keep a few hens, and so the saying may be literally 

For a tint thing carena. 

It's no use crying over spilt milk. 

For a' that's come and gane yet. 

t.^., notwithstanding the past. — "The Antiquary," ch. 7. 

For ance errand. 

i,e,y for that purpose alone. 

For as gude again, like Sunday milk. 

'* A precise woman in the country would not sell her milk on Sunday, 
but would give it for as good again. Spoken when we suspect people's 
kindness to be mercenary. — Kelly* 

" For better acquaintance sake," as Sir John Ramsay said when 

he drank to his father. 

Sir John Ramsay had been long abroad, and coming home he acci- 
dentally met with nis father, who did not know him. He invites his 
father to a glass of wine, and drinks to him for more acquaintance. — 


nV For faut o* wise men fools sit on binks. 

That is to say, fools often attain important positions through the care- 
lessness of those in authority. 

For feid or favour. 

For gude cheese and gude cheer mony haunt the house. 

For puir folk they seldom ring. 

For saints' blood, and saints harried, 
The third generation will ne'er inherit. 

A Covenanting prophecy with reference to the persecutors, which 
was in many cases literally fulfilled. 

Forget a cause of quarrel with a friend whose back is already 
at the wa', and remember nothing but his kindness. 

"Quentin Durward," ch. 31. 

Forsake not God till you can find a better master. 
Forth bridles the wild Highlandmen. 

An old saying arising from the fact that the River Forth was an ex- 
cellent defence of the low country against the rapacious raids of the 
hillmen.— ** Rob Roy," ch. 28. 

Forth fortune. 

2.^., may good luck attend us. 

Fortune and futurity are no to be guessed at. 

Fortune gains the bride. 

Fortune helps the hardy and poltroons ay repels. — Kelly, 

From the "Cherrie and the Slae." 
Audentes fortuna jurat. — L. 

Fortune will be fortune still, | Let the. weather blaw as it will; 
For the laddie has his lease, and the lassie has her ring. 
And there's mony a merry heart 'neath a mourning string. 

Foul fa' nought, and then he'll get naething. 

Used in satirical allusion to those who expect a legacy from a very 
improbable source. — Hislop, 

Four hours. 

A dish of tea at four o'clock, dinner being at three. A favourite 
form of entertainment with the Edinburgh ladies of the list century. 
Now used to signify a " snack " between meals. 

Frae Buchaness to Ardnamurchan; frae the Mull o' Galloway to 
John o' Groats. 

ue,y From Dan to Beersheba ; From Land's End to John o' Groats. 


From Berwick to Dover 

Three hundred miles over. — Ray, 

Frae Maiden Kirk to John o' Groats. 

The Mull of Galloway is situated in the parish of Kirkmaiden. 

Hear land o* cakes and brither Scots, 

Frae Maiden Kirk to John o' Groats. — Bums, 

Frae the greed o' the Campbells, 
Frae the ire o' the Drummonds, 
Frae the pride o' the Grahams, 
' Frae the wind o' the Murrays, 

God Lord deliver us ! — Perthshire. 

Maxton of Cultoquey's Litany. 

Fraoh Elan ! 

The slogan of the M*Naughtans, from an island in Loch Awe, which 
contained a castle, long one of the principal strongholds of their chief- 

Freedom and whisky gang thegither 1 
Tak' afF your dram. — Bums, 

Freedom is a fair thing. 

No man loves his fetters, though made of gold.- — E. 
Sir William Wallace used to quote the following Latin proverb for 
the encouragement of his followers — 

Dico tibi verum, Kbertas optima rerum, 
Nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili. 

Fresh fish and puir friends soon grow ill faur'd. 

\J Fresh fish and strangers smell in three days. — E. 

Piscis nequam est nisi recens. — Plautus. 

Friday flit, short time sit. 

It is believed that to remove on a Friday is unlucky, so sailors do not 
care about sailing on that day. Friday has always been held an unlucky 
day throughout all Christendom, probably because it was the day of our 
Lord's crucifixion, on account of which it is a fast day in the Romish 
Church. The Brahmins also hold Friday to be an unlucky day. 

Friday's numbering on the neighbouring sheep. — Gaelic, ue.^ bad 
luck to you. So, If you kill a beast on Friday, the Friday fate will fol- 
low you for ever. — Gaelic. 

Friday's hair and Sunday's horn goes to the dool on Monday morning. 
— E. Compare^ Saturday flit, etc. 

Friech 1 

f.^., heather. The slogan of the Macdonalds. 
The heather is the cognizance of this clao, and borne in thdr booaett 
in battle. — Chambers, 



Friends frae the teeth outwith. 

ue,, insincere friends. 

Friends 'gree best at a distance. 
Friendship canna stand aye on ae side. 

We must give as well as take. 

Frosty winter, misty spring, checquered summer, and sunny 
autumn, never left death in Scotland. 

Gaelic. Nicolson, 

Fry stanes wi' butter, and the broo will be gude. 

Full moon and high sea, Great man shalt thou be ; 
Red dawning, stormy sky. Bloody death shalt thou die. 

*' Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 6. This rhyme is said to have been a pro- 
phecy uttered by the midwife at the birth of Johnston of Warriston. 
Johnston was high in office under the Estates and Commonwealth, but 
after the Restoration, fell under the vengeance of the new Government, 
and was executed in Edinburgh, July 22nd, 1663. 

Fyvie, Fyvie, thou'se never thrive. 

As lang's there's in thee stanes three j 

There's ane intill the highest tower. 

There's ane intill the ladye's bower. 

There's ane aneath the water-yett. 

And thir three stanes ye'se never get. — 7 homos the Rhymer, 

An Aberdeenshire tradition represents that the walls of Fyvie Castle 
had stood for seven years and a day wall wide, waiting for the arrival 
of True Tammas, as he is called in that district. At length he arrived, 
accompanied by a violent storm of wind and rain, which stripped the 
surrounding trees of their leaves, and shut the castle gates widi a loud 
clash. The storm, however, did not affect the spot on which the seer 
stood. He denounced his wrath in the words of the rhyme. Two of 
the stones were found, but the third, beneath the gate leading to the 
river Ythan, has never been discovered. — Chambers, 


Gae and take a seat on Maggie Shaw's crockie. 

i,e., go and hang yourself. Applied to a person who has met with an 
overwhelming disappointment. 

Maggie Shaw's Crockie is a broad, flat stone, near to the brink of a 
precipice overhanging the sea-shore, about a mile to the north of Eye- 
mouth. The stone was placed over the remains of an old woman who 
had hanged herself, and who, it is said, frequently sits there in the 
shape of a white sea mew. 


High on yon bare rock 

Auld Maggie sits alane. 

Ilka night at twal o'clock 

She sits upon the stane. — Henderson. 

Gae fiddle my dog a dance. — Kelly. 

Gae hop and hang yoursel, and then you'll die dancing. 

An impertinent, ill-mannered by- word. — Kelly. 

Gae thy way lad, and gie thy wife naething. 

An exclamation when we pretend to admire some silly saying or 
thing — peculiarly applicable to a boaster. — Kelly. 

Gae to Bamph and learn to dance. 

Used tauntingly. Do as you like. — The Eitrick Shepherd^ "Win- 
dow Wat's Courtship." 

Gae to Birgham and buy bickers, 

And get your hide tann'd with the Southland Prickers. 

The Border village of Birgham, in the parish of Eccles, Berwickshire, 
is situated on the l^inks of the Tweed, immediately opposite Carham in 
Northumberland, and at one time numbered amongst its inhabitants 
many coopers or bicker-makers, who were noted for the excellence of 
the articles they produced. Here, too, in 1291, the competitors for the 
Scottish Crown met, and acknowledged Edward I. as their supreme 
lord and master. 

The proverb is formed from a pun on the name of the staple industry 
of the place and the quarrels which the award of the Crown to Baliol 
occasioned. The saying was used as a term of reproach, i.e.y go to 
the devil. 

Gae to Heckspath and spean young deils. 
And you'll ken what it is to live wi' the Neals ! 

Variation, Gae to Heckspeth and spin hemp. Applied as in Gae to 
Birgham, etc. 

Heckspath is a farm in the parish of Gordon, Berwickshire. Hecks, 
or Hexe signifies a witch, and is from the Saxon Hexa^ a druidess, or 
chief priestess. The Neals were apparently a Heckspath family who 
bore an evil reputation, and the rhyme seems to have got its origin from 
some one who was ill-used by them. — Henderson. 

<^ Gae to Scotland without siller, and to Ireland without blarney. 
Used ironically. 

Gae to the deil, and he'll bishop you. 

If vou are so wicked as to be well worthy of a high position in the 
devil s service. 

Gae to the deil for his name's sake. 

Gae to the Tower of Repentance. 
Jocularly applied to a wrongdoer. 


Repentance tower stands on a hill, 
The like you'll see nowhere, 
Except the ane that's niest to it, 
P'ouks ca' it Woodcokaire. 

The ** tower of repentance " was built at Hoddam, Dumfriesshire* by 
John Herries of Herrie, (John de Reeve) as a place to which he might 
retire and bewail his crime in cutting the throats of some Engli^ 
prisoners and throwing them into the Solway. 

Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe refers to the incident in one of his 

Repentance I signal of my bale, 

Built of the lasting stane, 

Ye lang shall tell the bluidy tale, 

When I am dead and gane. 

How Hoddan's lord, ye lang sail tell. 

By conscience stricken sair, 

In life sustained the pains of hell. 

And perish'd in despair. 

Gaen a rockin'. 

Refers to the meeting of neighbours at one another's houses during 
the moonlight nights of winter and spring. The meetings were for 
social intercourse and work, as the women brought their rocks or distafEs 
— hence the name. Burns celebrates the rocking as foUovTS : 

On Fasten e'en we had a rocking, 

To ca' the crack and weave our stocking. 

And there was muckle fun and joking 

Ye needna doubt. 
At length we had a hearty yoking 

At sang about. 

Gainsay who dares. 

The slogan of Clanranald. 

Gair gathered siller Will no haud thegither ; 
The heir will be careless, | His wife mibby waur, 
Their weans will be fearless, | And fa' in the glaur. 

A Lanarkshire rhyme on ill got wealth. 

Gang an' hear the gowk yell, 
Sit an* see the swallow flee, 
See the foal before its mither's ee, 
'Twill be a thriving year wi' thee. 

To be seated when we see a swallow in spring, to be walking when 
we first hear the cuckoo for the season, and to see, for the first time in 
the year, a foal going before the eyes of its mother, is thought lucky. 

Gang farther doun | To Fordoun's toun. 

The site originally chosen for the ancient church of Fordoun was on 
Knock -hill, about a mile from the village. During the building the 
work was destroyed by unseen spirits, and a voice was heard repeating 
the above rhyme. It is said that the site was finally determined by 
throwing a hammer. — Chambers. 



Gang ye late, or gang ye soon, | Ye'U get a fish afF the Moon. 

The Moon is a stone on the sea-banks directly opposite Maw Craig, a 
precipitous sea rock off the coast of Berwickshire. It is reckoned a 
landmark by the fishermen. 

Similar to the preceding is the following — 

Gang ye soon, or gang ye late, 
Ye'll get a fish at the Bait. 

The Bait is a rock in the sea, between Brander Cove and Lumsden 
shore, and the fishing there, like that of the Moon, was always produc- 
tive. These two sayings were common among the old Redheugh fisher- 
men. Redheugh is no longer a fishing station. — Dr, Henderson, 

Gape while you get it. 

Spoken to those who expect a thing without reason. — Kelly, 

He that gapes till he be fed, may gape till he be dead. — E. \/ 

Gar wood's ill to grow, chuckle stanes are ill to chow. 

A return to them that say they will gar, that is force you to do such 
a thing, as if they would find it a hard task. — Kelly, 

Gather the haws before the snaws betide what e'er betide. 

Gait's " Entail," ch. 50. 

i.e.<t Duties should be performed at the proper time. 

Delay hath often wrought scathe. — E. 

Gathering gear is weel liket wark. 

Gaunting (yawning) bodes wanting ane o' three things, sleep, V 
meat, or gude companie. 

Gaunting gaes frae man to man. ^ 

Oscitante uno, deinde oscitat alter. — L. 
One fool breeds many. — E. 

Gawsie cow, gudely calf. Handsome mother, comely daughter. — "Bride of Lammermoor," 
ch. 12. 

Gear is easier gain'd than guided. 

And in English. 

Gentle deid maks gentle bleid. ^ 

Gentle partans (crabs) hae lang taes. 

Gentle servants are poor men's hardships. \/ 

As they have too high an opinion of their position. 

Gentle servants are rich men's tinsel. 

Gentlemen are unco scant when a wabster gets a Udy. \y 

Get well, keep well. 

Get what you can, and what you get hold, 

*Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold. — E. 



V Get your rock and spindle ready, God will send the tow. 

Let us do our duty, and refer the rest to God's providence. — Ray, 
Also given in English collections. 

Geylie is sing walloway's brother. 

" Geylie " — middling, indifferently. " Walloway " — a word of 

Spoken when we ask how a thing is done, and are answered geylie, 
that is indifferently, as if indifferent was next to bad. — Kelly » 

Geylie would be better. 

Gibie's grace — deil claw the clungiest. 

i.e.f Deil take the hungriest. 

% . y GiE a beggar a bed, and he'll pay you wi' a louse. 

Sue a beggar, and catch a louse. — E. 

Gie a gaun man a drink, and a rising man a knock. 

The former is one who is leaving the company, the latter is one who 
rises to make a disturbance, — Kelly. 

I GiE a greedy man — or dog — a muckle bane. 

Spoken when we give a thing big in quantity, though coarse. — Kelly. 
Also in Gaelic. 

GiE a Scotchman an inch and he'll take an ell. 
Gie a strong thief a stark name. 

A ridicule upon the hard names doctors give their remedies. — Kelly, 

GiE a thing, tak' a thing, | Auld man's gowd ring ; 
Lie but, lie ben, | Lie amang the dead men. 

Said in reproach to those who ask back a gift. 
The English version is as follows : — 

Give a thing, 

And take a thing. 

To wear the devil's gold ring. 

Or — Give a thing, and take again, 

And you shall ride in hell's wain. 

GiE brownie coat, gie brownie sark, 
Ye'se get nae mair o' brownie's wark. 

Brownies keenly resented being offered any gift by those whom they 
served. A farmer in the parish of Glendevon left out some clothes for 
the brownie one night, and he was heard to depart repeating in a highly 
offended tone the above couplet. 

Compare^ There's a piece wad please a brownie ; and, A new mantle, 

The brownies were the Robin Goodfellows of Scotland. 

** GiE her her will or she'll burst," quo the man when his wife 
kaimed his head wi' the three-legged stool. 



GiE him a hole and he'll find a pin. 
And in Gaelic and Fr. 

GiE is a gude fellow, but he soon wearies. ^ 

GiE my cousin kale enow, and see my cousin's dish be fou'. 

ue,t his room is better than his company. — Kelly. 

GiE ower when the play's gude. a/ 

When the play is best *tis best to cease. — Gaelic. 
Also in Manx, Italian, Spanish, German and Danish. 

GiE the deil his due, and ye'll gang to him. * 

GiE the Lord's leather to the Lord's weather. V ^ "" 

t.^., don't wear gloves. 

GiE ye a use, and ye'll ca't a custom. 

i.e., give you an inch, and you'll take an ell. 

GiE ye meat, drink, and claes, and ye'll beg among your friends. 

Refers to those who, though well off, are never satisfied. 

GiE your heart to God, and your alms to the poor. — Henderson ^ 

GiE your tongue mair holidays than your head. ^ 

Gie't about, it will come to my father at last. 

A young fellow sitting in company received a blow from his father, 
which he passed to his next neighbour in these words. — Kelly, 

GiFF gaff maks gude friends. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. x6. 
Compare, Claw me, etc. 

GiF we did as we sould we mycht haif as we wald. 

i.e., if we did as we should, we might have as we would. This 
saying is inscribed on a building opposite St. Peter's Pend, Cowgate, 

Gill Mill, | Canner-water, and Whitehill, 
Everwood, and Doosdale, | Canner, and Canner Mill, 
Canner side, and Rawhill, | The Riccarton, the Rabberton, 
The Raploch, and the Ross, | The Merrytown, the Skellytown, 
Cornsilloch and Dalserf. 

Places between Lanark and Hamilton. 

Gin I hae broken the head I sail find the plaster. 

**RobRoy,"ch. 28. 

Break my head and bring me a plaster. — E. 



Gix ye fa' doun i' the mud ye*ll rise fylt wi' glaur. 

He who falls in the mud will rise dirty. — Gaelic. 
He that falls into the dirt, the longer he stays there the fouler he is. 
— E. 

Gin you wish to be leman mine, 

Lease off the St. John's wort, and the vervine. 

The devil was supposed to have a great dislike to these herbs. This 
rhyme was addressed by Satan, in the guise of a young lover, to a girl 
whom he wished to seduce. The maiden discovered the real character 
of her lover by his repugnance to the sacred plants. In Sweden the 
power of the vervain is acknowledged, for there it is called fuga 
demonum. This plant was revered by the Druids, and in Ireland doc- 
tors and wise women pulled it for medicinal purposes, with an iiivoca- 
\\0Ti in the name of the three persons of the Trinity. In England the 
following rhyme was said as the plant was plucked : — 

Hail be thou, holy herb. 
Growing on the ground. 
All in Mount Calvary 
First wert thou found. 
Thou art good for many a sore. 
And healest many a wound. 
In the name of sweet Jesus, 
I take thee from the ground. 

GiRN when you bind, or knit, and laugh when you lowse. 

i.e.f be firm when on duty but relax when work is done. Kelly says 
the idea is taken from the binding of sacks. 

Glasgow people, Greenock folk, and Paisley bodies. 

Liverpool gentlemen and Manchester men. — E. 

Gleds and corbies will never pair. 

" Corbies," ravens ; ** gleds," kites. 

Glenkirk and Glencotha, | The Mains of Kilbucho, 
Blendewan and the Raw, | Mitchell Hill and the Shaw, 
But the hole aboon Thriepland | Wad baud them a*. 

On the side of the hill above Thriepland, in the parish of Kilbucho, 
Peebles-shire, is a large hole said to have been made by digging for 
lead, or some other ores, in the time of James V. ; it has suggested this 
rhyme involving places in the parishes of Kilbucho and Glenholm. 
These parishes have long been united for ecclesiastical purposes with 
the parish of Broughton, with the exception of a part of Kilbucho which 
is attached to the parish of Culter in Lanarkshire. See Chambers' 
** History of Peebles-shire." 

Glib i' the tongue is aye glaiket at the heart. 

Fair words make me look to my purse. — E. 

Glowering is no gainsaying. 
Glum folk's no easy guided. 



Glune Amie. 

Originally means black cattle, and was contemptuously applied by 
the Lowlanders to the Highlanders, as on an intellectual level with their 
herds.— "Fair Maid of Perth," Note E. 

God be wi' the gude laird o' Balmaghie, for he ne'er took mair 
frae a poor man than he had. 

Spoken when we have gotten all from poor debtors that they could 
give, though not all they owed. The laird of Balmaghie was a good 
man, and took anything from his tenants that they could spare. — Kelly, 

God bless King William and Queen Mary, 
Lord Strat;hmore and the Earl o' Airly, 
The laird o' Banff and little Charlie. 

This is a grace given by the Earl of Airlie's footman, at a dinner in 
Stirling Castle, when he was called upon to officiate as chaplain, as no 
member of the company was willing to act. Another version of the 
footman's grace is as follows : " Bless these benefits, and a' them who 
are to eat them ; keep them frae choking, worrying, or over-eating 
themselves ; and whatever their hearts covet, let their hands trail to 

Gob doth not measure men by inches. 

People of small stature may have stout hearts. — Kelly, 
Men are not to be measured by inches. — E. 

God gies, and the diel misgies. 

God help the poor for the rich can help themselves. 

God help the rich for the poor can beg. 

Kelly says that the first of the two preceding proverbs refers to 
famine, and the second to public disturbances. 

God help them that gets them with one, and brings them up 
with another. 

Refers to the up-bringing of children by a step-mother. — Kdly. 

God help you to a hutch, for you'll never get a mailing. 

i,e,^ if you make a bare living that is all you will manage ; or, you 
may well be content with a meaner match in marriage than you are 
seeking. — Kelly, 

** God keep ill gear oot o' my hands, for if my hands ance get 

it, my heart winna part wi%" sae prayed the gude Earl of 


The Earl of Eglinton turned off his chaplain, and said public prayers 
in his own family, where this proverb, and, God send us siller, etc., 
were two standing petitions. — Kelly. 

God keep my tongue for my tale was never sicker (sure, staunch). 

i,e,y you could say something, but think it better to hold your tongue. 






I. V » 


CiOD keep the cat out o' our gate, for the hens canna flee. — 

f.^., keep us from danger, for we can't protect ourselves. 

God keep the cats out of your way, for the hens can flee. 

Spoken with disdain to them that threaten what they will do, when 
they dare do nothing. — Kelly, 

God keep the house and all within 

From Cut MacCuUoch and his kin ; or, 

God keep the good corn, and the sheep, and the bullock, 

From Satan, from sin, and from Cutlar MacCuUoch. 

These rhymes refer to the fear entertained by the inhabitants of the 
northern coast of the Isle of Man for Cutlar MacCuUoch, chief of the 
<iaIloway clan of that name. Cutlar flourished about the beginning of 
the sixteenth century. So much was he dreaded by the Manx men, Uiat 
they used to eat the meat before supping the broth, lest they should be 
deprived of the more substantial part of the meal by the unwelcome 
appearance of their enemy. 

The rhymes were used as prayers or graces, and it is said that on one 
occasion as the master of the house uttered one of these popular beni- 
sons, Cutlar in person entered the dwelling with the apt reply — 

** Gudeman, gudeman, ye pray too late, 
MacCulloch's ships are at the Yate." 

The Yate was a well known landing-place on the north side of the Isle 
of Man. See Note K to " Peveril of the Peak." Scott says in this 
note : "The redoubted corsair is now represented by the chief of the 
name James MacCuUoch, Esqre.', of Ardwall." 

God keep the kindly Scot from the cloth yard shaft, and he will 
keep himself from the handy stroke. 

It would seem from this saying that the Scots acknowledged their 
inferiority to the English in archery. 
Compare, Every English archer, etc. 

God puts his best jewels in his finest cabinets. — Kelly. 

God sain you. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 17. i.e., bless you ; sign with the sign of the cross. 

God sain your eye, man. 

Spoken when you commend a thing without blessing it, which my 
countrymen cannot endure, thinking that thereby you will give the blinK 
of an ill eye ; a senseless, but common conceit. If the person com- 
mending be an unworthy or inferior fellow, they will say, " Deil be in 
your een and a pickle salt together." — Kelly, 

God send us a' to dae weal, and then have hap to meet wi' seil 
(salvation). — Kelly, 

" God send us siller, for they're little thought o' that want it/* 
quoth the Earl of Eglinton at his prayers. — Kelly. 


God send water in that well that people thinks will never go dry. 

Spoken when our poor kin and followers are always asking of us, as 
if we should never be exhausted. — Kelly, 

^ God send ye readier meat than running hares. 

Spoken to them who have improbable expectations. — Kelly » 

God send ye the warld ye bode, and that's neither scant nor 

God's bairn is eith to learn. — Kelly, 

Compare^ Gude bairns. 

Gordon, Gordon bydand ! 

The slogan of the Gordons. Bydand, abiding, or waiting, has been 
adopted by the family as a motto to their crest. 

GowD in gowpens. 

i.e.y a large sum of money. A gowpen is as much as both hands held 
together, with the palm upwards, and contracted in a circular form, 
can contain. 

GowKS o* Gordon. 

This expression indicates an extreme degree of folly. 

Huntly wood, the wa's doun, 
Bassandean and Barrastoun, 
Heckspeth wi* the golden hair, 
Gordon gowks for ever mair 
Will keep their nests frae being bare. 

The phrase ** Gordon gyper " was much resented by any inhabitant 
of the village to whom it might be applied. The expression ** Gowks 
o' Gordon took its rise from a tradition that certain men belonging to 
the village of Gordon in Berwickshire, attempted to drown eels, and 
also built a wall round a tree frequented by the cuckoo, hoping that, if 
they could detain the bird the whole year, they would enjoy perpetual 
summer. Having failed in their object, they accounted for the result 
by alleging that the wall was not built high enough. 

The municipal authorities of Kochem on the Moselle are credited 
with ideas quite as original and absurd as those of the Gordon worthies. 
One of the magistrates sentenced a mole to be buried alive, for nibbling 
at the cucumbers in his worship's garden, while another of the city 
magnates, having neglected to publish an order of the magistrates for 
the removal of ice and snow from the streets, and finding the document 
in his pocket sometime afterwards, at once caused it to be posted up, 
though spring was then far advanced. The people were puzzled how to 
obey this unreasonable order, but luckily a storm on the previous night 
had covered the roads with cherry blossom, so to save the credit of the 
magistrates, this was swept into heaps like snow and tipped into the 
Moselle. So a " Gordon gowk " is a person who, in all good faith, it 
attempting the impossible. 


(JowKscRoi-T and Barnside, | Windy wallets fu* o' pride ; 
Monynut and I^ikyshiel, | Plenty milk, plenty meal; 
Strapli union Mill and Bankend, | Green cheese as teugh as bend ; 
Shannahank and Blackerstane, | Pike the flesh to the bane ; 
(^)uixwood and Butterdean, | Lu' o' parritch to the een ! 

A string of places in the eastern district of Lammermoor. — HendersanJ 

I (iKACK and |)eace cam' by Collace, | And by the doors o' Dron ; 

I But the caup and stoup o' Abernyte | Mak' mony a merry man. 

Collace is a village under the slope of famed Dtinsinnan Hill ; Dron, 
I a parish to the south of Perth ; and Abernyte, a parish in the Carse of 

( f o wrie. - - Chambvrs, 

CiKACK gangs no by generation. 

That is by birth. 
/ CiKACK is l)est for the man. — Fergusson, 

(iKACKLKSS meat maks folk fat. 
CiRATirrDK is a heavy burden. 
Okatitudk preserves old friendships and begets new. 
(Iray Stkkl. — Orkney. 

A magic sword forged by the dwarfs or trows, and supposed to make 
its owner invincible. 

(Irk AT folks' servants are aye mair saucy than themselves. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 27. 

(iRKAT tochers makna aye the greatest testaments. 

He that's needy when he's marri'd shall be rich when he's buri'd. — E. 
Tis not the big dowry that makes the wealthy will. — Gaelic. 

(iREK amang yoursells, Johnstons. 

It is said that a rival chief with whom the Johnstons had long been 
at feud, having succeeded in defeating and slaying a party of the dan, 
caused their heads to be severed from their bodies and put promiscuously 
into a sack. As the bearer of this ghastly burden slung the sack on his 
back, he said with a chuckle, " Gree amang yoursells, Johnstons," im- 
plying that their power of mischief-making was gone. The saying is 
still a proverbial expression in Annandale. — Chambers, 

Gree like tykes and swine. 

Like dogs that snarl about a bone, 
' And play together when they have none. 

Greed is envy's auldest brither ; scraggy wark they mak' tlie- 

Greedy folk hae lang arms. 

Long is the arm of the greedy, and the hand of poverty is Vang 
lean. — Gaelic. 


Green hills and waters blue, | Grey plaids and tarry woo'. 

The chailei verse of Etlrick. 
Greening wives are aye greedy. 
Greetin' fou. 

i.e., maudlin drunk. 
Grey eyed, greedy ; brown eyed, needy ; black eyed, never blin' 

till it shames a' its kin, 
Grippie for grippie. 

i.e., gripe for gripe; fair play in wrestling. 
Grisly Droedan sat alane | By the Cairn and Pech stane; 
Billy wi' a seg sae stout, | Cries, I'll turn grisly Droedan out I 
Droedan leuch, and stalk'd awa'. 
And vanished in a babbanqua (quagmire). 

This [l)ynie relates ia a cairn in the parish of Buncle, Berwickshire. 
The Pech stane, a lai^e stone, of reddish hue when fractured, stood a 
liltle tu the east of the caiin. The caiin was probably a place of druidi- 
cal worship, and the rhyme may refer to the victory of Christianity over 

Grisly oaths suit not wi' grey beards. 

GuDE ale needs nae wisp. 

A wisp of straw stuck upon the top of a country house is a sign that 
ale is to be sold there, but, if the ale be good, people will haunl the 
house though there be none. — Killy. 

Good wine needs no bush. — E., etc. 

Vino venali non opus est suspensa bedera.— L. 

GuDE bairns are eith to lear (learn). 
Gude bairns get broken brows. 

i.e., are as liable lo injury as bad ones. 
GuDE be about us 1 

i.e., God be about us I an exclamation indicating alarm. 
Gude be wi' auld langsyne when oui gutcbers (grandfathers) ate 

the trenchers. 
Gude breeding and siller make our sons gentlemen. 
Guhe cheer and cheap gars mony haunt the house. 

Where men are well used, they'll freciuent there. — E. 
Gude counsel is abune a' price. 
Gude counsel never comes too late. 

If connscl be good it is tUway* nriubl^— J^. 


GuDE day to ye a', and deal't amang ye. — Kelly. 
GuDE Enough has got a wife, and Far Better wants. 
GuDE faces are the best. 

"^ GuDE folk are aye scarce, talc' care o' me. 

Make much of me ; good men are scarce. — £. 

Good folks are scarce in the parish, take care of me. — Norman. 

GuDE foresight furthers the wark. 

GuDE gear gangs into little bouk. 

GuDE gear's no to be gaped at. 

GuDE kail is hauf meat. 

Good kail is half a meal. — E. 

^' GuDE memories have ill judgments. 

Spoken to them who call to mind a past thing at an unseasonable 
time, or before improper company. — Kelly, 

GuDE news are welcome to some folk if they cam' frae the deil 


GuDE night, and joy be wi' you a'. 
GuDE reason, and part of cause. 

An ironical approbation of some foolish saying, action, or design. — 


GuDE Sir James Douglas, 

Who wise, wight, and worthy was. 

Was never over glad for no winning. 

Nor yet over sad for no tining : 

Good fortune, and evil chance. 

He weighed both in one balance. 

A contemporary estimate of the ''good" Sir James Douglas, quoted 
by Hume, the historian of the family. 

Gude to fetch sorrow to a sick wife. 

Good to fetch a sick man sorrow, and a dead man woe. — Cheshire. 

GuDE wares hae often come frae an ill market. 

In ** Rob Roy," ch. 26, it is "frae a wicked market." 

GuDE watch hinders harm. 

Better caution than danger. — Gaelic. 

GuDE will ne'er halted at the doorstane. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 40. 

GuDE will ne'er wants time to show itseP. 


GuDE will should aye be ta'en in part payment. 

GuDE ye're common to kiss your kimmer. 

Spoken to those who are kind to them to whom they are obliged. 

GuDENESS ne'er grows cauld. 
Guessed wark's best if weel done. 

Which it seldom is. 

*' Gulp," quo' the wife when she swallowed her tongue. 
Gunpowder is hasty eldin (fuel). 

Gustin' bane o' Kirkmahoe. 

See a ballad by Allan Cunningham. In place of meat a bone, de- 
nuded of flesh, was purchased at Dumfries, and served a number of 
families in the parish of Kirkmahoe as the foundation of the broth. The 
system followed was ''Lend me your bane the day, and Til lend you 
mine next time." The bone was not boiled in the broth, but only 
dipped in the cold water, previous to its being placed on the Are, so 
that some of the meat particles adhering might give a flavour to the 
soup. This was called the '*gustin* bane." A speculative shoemaker 
purchased a number of such bones, which he hired out at a halfpenny 
each for a single use. The hirer was allowed to make three dips and 
one whisk round in the cold water. This curious custom gave rise to 
the following doggerel distich, which was repeated for nearly a century 
whenever passion or prejudice ran high — 

Wha*ll buy me ? wha'll buy me ? 

Three plumps and a wallop for a bawbee. 

The mere mention of the phrase *' gustin* bane " in a company including 
men from Kirkmahoe, was sufficient to raise a riot. 

Guthrie o* Gaiggie, 
An' Guthrie o* Craigie. 
Refers to the old Forfarshire family of Guthrie. 


This term seems to be a local designation for the natives of Peebles. 
A volume of poems by James Grossart, a Peebles man, published in 
1884, is dedicated to ** Gutterbluids at home and abroad." The term 
is also sometimes applied to the natives of Galashiels. 

Guthrie o' Guthrie, 
Guthrie o* Taybank, 


Ha' binks are slidry. 

Great men's favour is uncertain. — ITe/iy* 
High places have their precipices. — £• 
Favor aulae incertus. — u. 


" Ha' ds' aV quoth the herd's wife, " kiss me first, for I am 
farrest from home." 

** Ha* ds* a*,'* i.^., we are all content. 

A senseless bauble signifying no more so that we are all content — 
I have heard this old saying used by the peasantry in Berwickshire. 

Ha ! ha ! ha ! I Brownie has 't a' ! 

Chanted by a brownie as he sat on a form between two dairymaids in 
Peebles-shire, and drank up the milk which the girls were about to enjoy. 

Haaf fishing. — Orkney. 
i,e.y deep sea fishing. 

Had heather bells been corn o' the best, 

Buccleuch had had a noble grist. 

Refers to the wide extent and former unproductiveness of the Buc- 
cleuch estates. 

Had I as muckle black spice, as he thinks himself worth of 
mice dirt, I would be the richest man of my kin. 

Spoken satirically of proud beaus, whom we suspect to be highly con- 
ceited of their own worth. — Kelly, 

Had you been in the midden you would not have seen that 

Spoken with resentment when people say they saw such and such a 
thing that was indecent. — Kelly, 

Had you but seen the roads before they were made, 
You would hold up your hands and bless General Wade. 

Roads were constructed in many parts of the Highlands after the 
rising of 1715, under the direction of General Wade. The author of 
the couplet is unknown ; it forms a capital Irish bull. 

Had you sic a shoe on ilka foot, it would gar you shackle- 
shochel (shove your foot along). 

1.^., had you my sorrows to bear, you would look equally miserable. 
— Hislop. 

A scornful return of a woman to a fellow that calls her she, and not 
by her name. She and shove have both the same accent in Scotch. — KtUy^ 

Haddies is men's lives. 

The invariable argument used by the Newhaven fishwives in order to 
enhance the value of the fish they are selling. 

Haddington was thrice burnt and thrice drowned. 

The drownings were due to the sudden floods of the Tyne, while of 
the burnings, the first two were the work of English invaders in 1 244 
and after the battle of Pinkie ; the last conflagration was due to the 
carelessness of a nursemaid while airing the linen she had in charge. 

To commemorate this event and guard against its recurrence, the 
. bailies of the burgh instituted an annual celebration known as Coal an' 


Can'le, when a town's officer perambulated the streets repeating at in- 
tervals the following lines — 

A' gudc men's serraots, where'er ye be, 

Keep coal an' canle lor charitie, 

In bakehouse, btewhouse, baros. and byres, 

It's for your sakes, keep well your fires ! 

Baith in your kitchen and your ha' 

Keep well your fiies whaie'et befii'. 

For often times s little spark 

Brings mony hands to mickle wark. 
^^ Ye nourrices that ha'e bairns to keep, 

Tak' care ye fa' na ower sound asleep. 

For losing o' your gude renoun 

An' baniSiing o' this burrow toun ; 

It's for your sakes that I do cry. 

Take warning from your neighbours by. 
The fire happened some time in the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, but the ceremony went on until about thirty years ago. 

Hae a care o* the cattle. 

An ironical caution upon a feigned danger. — fCiUy. 
Hae gars a deaf man hear. 

" Hae," i.i., here lake, an offer. 
'^ Hae God, hae a'. 
Hae is half full. 

Abundance makes people's stomachs less sharp and craving. — Kelly. 
Hae lad, rin lad, that mak's a willing lad. 
' Hae you gear, or hae you nane, tine heart and a' is gane. 
Haill be your portion. 

A good wish, " Heart of Midlothian," ch. 42. 
Hain'd gear helps weel. 

" Hained gear," i.e., saved money. 
Hair and hair makes the carle's head bare. 

An estate may be ruined by small diminutiont, — Kelly, 

Ever one hair, only one, and the man is bald at lut — German. 

Pull hair and hair, and you'll make the carie bold. — E. 

Hale sale is gude sale. 

It is good merchandising when we can put off all our wares in ' 
bulk. Spoken jocosely when we take all that is liefore a%,—Ktlly. 

Halv be his cast. 

i.e., happy be his fate. 
Hame's a hamely word. 


Hame's aye kindlier than a strange place. 

Home is home, be it never so ill. Home is home, be it ever so 
homely, and There's no place like home. — E. 
j Home, my own home, poor though thou be, to me thou seemest an 

■^ abbey. — Italian. 

/ To every bird its nest is fair. — Fr. 

^ Better dry bread at home than roast meat abroad. — E. 

Domus amica, domus optima. — L. 
^ To him that farthest went away, the sweetest music was come home. 

— Gaelic. 

East and west home is best. — English, Scottish, German, and Dutch. 

" Hame's hamely," quo' the deil, when he found himsel' in the 
Court o' Session. 


i.e,, hand-in-fist. This phrase was used to describe a curious marri- 
age custom at one time prevalent in Dumfriesshire, by which couples 
married for a year simply by shaking hands. It is said that James, 
Earl of Murray, and Isabel, daughter of the laird of Innes, were 
married for a season in this fashion. 

Hand in gear helps weel. 

Or, in another form, Held in gear helps weel. — Fergusson, 
Compare^ Hained gear, etc. 

Hand in use is father o' lean 

Practice makes perfect. — E. 

Usus promptum facit, and Usus adjurat artem. — L., and in Gaelic. 

Hand ower head, as men took the Covenant. 

* This saying refers to the manner in which sixty thousand persons took 
the Covenant in Greyfriar's Churchyard, Edinburgh, in 1638. A novel 
circumstance at the time, but one since paralleled by the French in 
voting by "acclamation." — Disraeli's " Curiosities of Literature. " 

Handle the pudding while it is hot. 

Strike the iron while it is hot. — E. 

Handle your tools without mittens. 

Hands aff is fair play. 

Hang a thief when he's young, and he'll no steal when he's auld. 

This was a favourite saying of Lord Justice Clerk Braxfield, who 
invariably acted upon its teaching. 

Hang hunger and droun drouth. 

Spoken jocosely when we deal liberally. — Kelly, 
Let the dog lick the cat's mouth. — E. 

Hanging's nae better than it's ca'd. 
Hankering an' hinging on is a poor trade. 


i,e,y sponging is a miserable way of living ; Dependence is a poor 
trade ; and He that waits on another man's trencher eats many a late 
dinner. — E. 

Happed up i' the mools. 

i.e,, buried. 

Happy and unhappy feet. 

Terms used by the people of Fori^Ien in Banffshire, in the interchange 
of good and bad wishes. So they wish a newly-married couple "Happy 

Happy is the married life of her who wears the white heather at 
her wedding. — Highland. 

The Princess Beatrice carried a bouquet of white heather at her wed- 

Happy the man who belongs to no party, 

But sits in his ain house, and looks at Benarty. 

Sir Michael Malcolm of Lochore pronounced this couplet when 
troubled in his old age with the talk about the French Revolution. — 
Fifeshire. — Chambers. 

Happy's the maid that's married to a raitherless son. v 

Hareship in the Highlands, the hens in the corn, 
If the cocks go in, it will never be shorn. 

An ironical outcry upon a small loss. — Kelly, 

Hareship, or her'ship, ».^., plundering by armed force. — *• Heart ot 
Midlothian," ch. 42, and foot. note. 

Haste wha will ! 

1.^., I wont hurry. 

Compare, As gude s)nie as sune. 

Hasty maisters mak' slovenly service. 

*'Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 32. 

Hasty was hanged, but speed o' foot wan awa.' 

Haud fast, Sidney, by the sark tail. 

And I'll gully-mudge him without fail, 

And he'll never mair play pawt on hill or dale. 

In the early part of last century, a farm house at Edington in the 
parish of Chimside, Berwickshire, was inhabited by Sabina or Sidney 
Paterson. This woman and her husband attempted to murder a travel- 
ling packman, who had got a night's lodging m their house. As the 
packman was escaping through a window, clad only in his shirt, Sidney, 
with a gully knife m her hand, clasped him by the sark tail, and while 
she so held him, her husband called out, '* Hand fast, Sidney, etc" It 
is said the man escaped, leaving his sark tail in Sidney's hands, and the 
saying of her huslx&nd became proverbial in the dasXtklL'^Mtmbnm* 



Haud the hank in your ain hand. 

i.e., do the most difficult part of the work yourself. — Hislop, 

Haud ye're peace. 
».e., be silent. 

Haud yer feet, Lucky Dad, auld folk's no scery. 

Literally, look to your feet as you are not nimble. Applied when 
people stumble. — Hislop, 

Haud yer hand, yer faither slew a whaup. 

V Haud yer hands aff ither folks* bairns till ye get some o' yer ain. 

Hauf a laddie, hauf a lassie, | Hauf a jenny-wullock. 
Spoken of boys who do girls* work. 

Hauf a laddie, hauf a lassie, | Hauf a yellow yoldrin. 

Spoken in contempt for effeminate boys. — Chambers, 

Hauf a puddock, hauf a taed, | Hauf a yellow yoldrin, 
Gets a drap o' the devil's bluid | Ilka May momin*. 

The popular prejudice in Scotland against the yellow hammer is 
believed to have originated owing to the birds having, by their cry and 
movements, frequently discovered to the troopers the solitary retreats of 
the persecuted Covenanters. 

The pees weep or curlew is also obnoxious, and probably for the same 

Hauf a tale is enough for a wise man. 
Hauf acres bears gude corn. 

Half an acre is good land. — E. 

Alluding to the half acre given to the herd, and commonly spoken in 
gaming when we are but half as many as our antagonists. — Kelly, 

Hauf done, as Elgin was hauf burned. 

During the wars of the fifteenth century between the Douglasses and 
the royal authority, Lord Huntly burned down that part of Elgin which 
belonged to the Douglasses. They retaliated and killed many of the 
Gordons in the bog of Dunkinty, near Elgin. Hence the mocking dis- 

What's come o* thy men, thou Gordon so gay ? 
They're i' the bog o* Dunkintie mowing the hay I 

Hawks winna pike oot hawks' een. 

,' Clericus clericum non decimat. — L. 

The priest does not prey on the priest. One crow never polls out 
another's eyes, and. My left hand takes no guerdon of my right. — ^EL 
So, Dogs should not worry dogs, and, There is honour among thieves, 
are also English sayings. 

It was an unco thing to see hawks pike out hawks* een, or ae kindly 
Scot cheat another. — ** Rob Roy," ch. 19. 



He aye bare the gree. 

i,e,y carried off the prize, palm, credit. 

He aye keeps the cobble head doun the stream. 

i.e.^ he acts so as to secure the favour of the influential. — " Old Mor- 
tality," ch. 42. 

He began wi' the chuckle. 

An old couple who had risen from poverty to opulence, on being 
asked why their son, who had got a much better start in life, should 
have fallen into poor circumstances, replied **He began wi' the chuckie," 
meaning that he indulged in luxuries before he could afford them. So 
the English say, Better spare at brim than at bottom, and. He that 
spares when he is young may spend when he is old. Another Scottish 
saying recommends us to Begin the world at the right end. 

He blushes at it like a beggar at a bawbee. 
He breeds o' the gowk that casts 2! doun at e'en. 
He cam' awa' as wise as he went. 
He can do ill, and he may do gude. 

He can draw a sneck weel. 

i.e.y take an advantage. A sneck drawer, a sly fellow, literally a 
catch lifter, a bolt drawer. 

" I ken he weel a sneck can draw, 
When simple bodies let him." — Bums. 

He can haud the cat and play wi' the kitten. 

He can hide his meat and seek main 

He can ill rin that canna gang. 

He can lee as weel as a dog can lick a dish. 

He can say " My Jo," and think it no. 
f.f., he is complimentary, but insincere. 

He can wile the flounders oot o' the sea. 
** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 22. 

He canna get brose without butter. 

He canna haud a candle to him. 

He canna haud meal in his mouth and blaw. 


I cannot eat the meal and blow the fire. — GaeUCt 
And in Irish, German, Dutch, and Spanish. 
A man cannot spin and reel at the same thne.— £• 
at once. Tis hard both to sop i^d Mow with a «ii 

He canna mak' saut to his parritch. 



He canna play paw. 

The Et trick Shepherd, i.e., he is impotent, helpless. 

He canna tell his bluid frae his banes. 

ue,, he has got such a thrashing. 

He canna tell nicht frae day. 
The acme of stupidity. 

He ca s me scabbed, because I winna ca* him sca'd. 

Said when a man who tries to irritate an opponent only succeeds in 
losing his own temper. 

He cleckit a great muckle bird oot o' a wee egg. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 22. 

He cocks up his bannet. 
^^ He comes as Tweed comes to Melrose. 

** Redgauntlet," Letter 13. «.^., he is long of coming. 
Christmas will come. — Gaelic. 




He comes oftener wi' the rake than the shool. 

Spoken of a poor man whose business is not to give us but to get 
from us. — Kelly. 

He is better with a rake than a fork. — E. 

Most men are better with a rake than a fork, more apt to pull in and 
scrape up, than to go out and communicate. — Kay. 

He comes o' the gude, he canna do ill. — Kelly, 

Dos est magna parentum virtus. — L. 

He complains early that complains o' his parritch. 
i.e., his breakfast. Another form is — 

He could drink with the face of man. 

'* Tales of the Borders." i.e., he could drink as much as any man. 

He couldna bite his thoom. 

i.e., he was very drunk. 

He counts his ha'penny gude siller. 

i.e., he makes a great deal of a very little gift. 

He cracks crouse. 

He cuts awfu' near the wood. 

/.^., he is very keen in driving a bargain. 

He daurna say " Bo '' to yer blanket. 

He cannot say ** Shoo " to a goose. — E. 





He died o* ower muckle care, like Lucky Christie's chickens. 

He does as the blind man does when he casts his staff. — Fer- 

i.e., he can do nothing. And in £. 

He doesna aye ride when he saddles his horse. 

Compare, He'll not ride to-day, etc. 

He doesna ken what end o* him's upmost. 

He doesna ken when the clatter comes frae him. 

i.e., he is a talkative fool. 

He doesna like his wark that says " Now " when it's done. 
He doesna need to scart a neebor's parritch pat. 

i.e., he is well off. 

He draws in his horns like a snail at a bairn's finger. 
He eats his kail in a riven dish. 

Spoken of them who are lightly regarded. — Kelly, 

He found himsel' in five-bladed clover. 

i.e., in comfortable quarters. 
He is in clover. — E. 

He fyles his neebor's cog to get the brose himsel'. 

i.e., he injures the character of a neighbour in order to^secure an 
advantage for himself. 

He gangs awa' in an ill time that never comes back again. 

He gangs awa* wi* borne head. — Fergusson, 
i.€., he holds his bead high. He is proud. 

He gangs early to beg that canna say nae. — Ke/fy ; and, 
He gangs early to steal that canna say nae. — Fergusson, 
He gangs far about seeking the nearest. 

He gangs frae the jilt to the gellock. 

i.e., he passes very quickly from playfulness to passion. 
To '* jilt," i.e,, to throw cold water on a person ; ''gellock " (gave- 
lock) an iron lever or crow bar. — Hishp, 

He gars a deaf man hear. — Fergusson, 
He gars a' body dance after his fiddle. 


He gars his ain wand ding him. — Fergusson, 

He cuts a stick for his own back. — E. 
He makes a rod for his own breech. — E. 

^ He gied him a lick wi' the rough side o' his tongue. 

'* The Abbot," ch. 4. 

He gied him sour sillocks for stock fish. 

**Sillock," a fish usually called a podley — gadus carbonarius. This 
is a Shetland phrase, expressive of ingratitude. 

He gied nae green barley for it. — Kelly, 

Compare^ He has it o' kind, etc. 

He gied nae whitings without banes. 

That is, he gave me fair words. The Scots call flatteries, whitings, 
and flatterers, white people. — Kelly, 

He girns like a sheep's head in a pair o' tangs. 

He girns like a spained puggy. 

To girn like a Cheshire cat. — E. 

He gives no other milk. 

Refers to a horse you are said to have overworked. His work is all 
you can get from him. — fCelly. 
Compare^ Every man's dog, etc. 

He glacket my mittens. 

i.e., gratified me, gave me money. 
Compare, To creish my loof. 

He glowers like a duck hearkenin* to thunner. 

He glowers like a wuUicat. 

He got his mither's malison the day he was married. 

Spoken of a man who has a bad wife. 

He got raps ower the costard, and only paid back in mak' 

** Rob Roy," ch. 12. i,€,, he inadequately avenged an injury. 

\/ He grudges ilka drap o' water that gaes by his ain mill. 

Spoken of an avaricious man. 

He had nae help but in his ten fingers. 

He hangs his fiddle up at his ain door cheek. 

i.e., though he has plenty to say in company, he is very quiet in his 
own family circle. 

, ^ He has a bee in his bannet. 

The English say in his head. 


He has a cauld coal to blaw at. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 7. His position is humble, and his prospects 
are poor. 

Blowing cold coals.— Gaelic. 

He has a conscience as wide as Coldingham Common. 

Before 1773* Coldingham Common was an undivided waste of about 
6000 acres, but on the 15th of January of that year, it was divided by a 
decree of the Court of Session among those heritors proving thereto. 

A conscience as large as a shipmairs hose, is a parallel English saying. ■/ L/ 

ComparCy A conscience that ne'er did him ony harm. 

He has a crap for a* corn. 

All is fish that comes to his net ; and, You have a barn for all grain. — E. 

He has a gude conceit o' himser. 

He has a steady fit wha ne'er maks a slip. ^^ 

i.e,y firm principles, who never goes wrong. 

He has a' the ill laits that ever followed swine. 

f.^., he is lazy, greedy, dirty, obstinate, and mischievous. 

He has an ill scrapit tongue. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 17. i.e., he is a foul tongued fellow. 

He has an unco close grip. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 11. i.e.^ he is hard and avaricious. 

He has baith the skaith and the scorn. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 29. i.e., both the injury and insult. 
And in Gaelic 

He has brocht his pack to a braw market. 

Spoken ironically. 

We have brought our pigs to a fair market. — E. 

Compare f She has ta'en her sheep, etc. 

He has broken his face on the aumrie. 

Spoken of bluflf, fat-cheeked boys. — JCelly. 

They struck her head against the ambry. — Gaelic. 

He has but ae rhyme like a gowk in June. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, " Welldean-Hall." 

He has carried on a bonny way. 

i.e., behaved badly. 

He has come to gude by misguiding. 

He has coosten his cloak on the ither shouther. 
To turn cat in the pan. — E. 

134 • PROVERBS. 

He has cowped the muckle pat into the little. 

Spoken when people have fallen behind in dealing. — Kelly » 
He has brought his noble to ninepence, and his ninepence to nothing. 
— E. 

He has drouned the miller. 

Another form is, Ower muckle water drouns the miller. — "The 
Antiquary," ch. 21. Applied to overwatering toddy. So the English 
say. He has put the miller's eye out. 

He has gane clean gyte. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 43. 

He has gane out o* the cheesewell he was made in. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 17. " Cheesewell," cheesefat. 
The priest forgets that ever he was a clerk. — E. 

He has gane ower the tow. 

i.e.^ he has gone wrong. Taken from a horse getting its leg over the 

He has gane without taking his leave. 
That is. To take French leave. — E. 

He has gi'en up a trade and ta'en to stravaigin. 

He has got a bite o' his ain bridle. 

i,e,y he is paying for his whistle ; suffering for his misconduct. 

He has got a wing o* Wauchope's moorhen. 

i.e,^ he is in a querulous or peevish humour. — "The Hunt of Eildon," 
by the Ettrick Shepherd. 

The laird of Wauchope, in the autumn of 1827, sent a moorhen to a 
friend in Edinburgh, at whose table the bird was divided among a circle 
of friends on the 20th October of that year. The bird, however, proved 
so tough and unpalatable, that the guests completely lost their tempers, 
and so the bye-word took its rise in Edinburgh society. 

He has got his legs ower the harrows. 

ue,, cast off all restraint.— "Old Mortality," ch. 8. The English 
say "over the traces." 

He has got to the length of his tether. 
He has gotten his head under his belt. 

i.e,^ got him in his power. 

To have a man's head under one's girdle. — E. 

He has gotten his kail through the reek. 

/.^., a good scolding or sound thrashing. — " Rob Roy," ch. 30. 

He has gotten the boot and the better beast. 
The advantage in the exchange. — Kelly. 



He has gotten the heavy end of him. 

i,g,, the advantage. 
He has had ane o' the minister o' Lamington's reproofs. 

A certain minister of Lamington in Lanarkshire, was a remarkably 
meek man, and invariably yielded to his man John. One day a friend 
f calling at the manse, found the minister pacing up and down his study 
in a state of great excitement. On being asked the cause of his agita- 
tion, the minister confessed that it was caused by a severe rebuke he 
had that morning been compelled to administer to John, for disobedience 
to orders. "What did you say to him? "asked the visitor. "Oh," 
replied the minister, ** I said John ! John ! and many other strong 
things." So the phrase came to be applied to a delinquent who got too 
easily off. 

^ He has hardly sense enough to ca' the cows oot o' the kirkyaird. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 4. 

He has helped me out o' a deadlift. 

i.e., rendered great assistance in an emergency. 

fi He has it o' kind, he coft it not. 

What's bred in the bone won't out of the flesh. — E. 

What Cometh by kind costeth nothing. — Hazlitt, 

It was not by purchase he got it. — Gaelic. 

Spoken when people take after their parents in all things. — Kelly, 

He has left his pack in Weakfield (Wakefield) market. 

Applied to Scottish pedlars who fail in England. — Kelly. 

He has left the key in the cat-hole. 

?.^., run off. 

To leave the key under the door. — E. 

I wat not what he has done with his tripes, but he has taken his 
heels. — Irish. 

He has licket the butter aff my bread. 
He has lost himseV. 

f.^., gone astray. 

He has made a moonlight flitting. 

To shoot the moon. — E. To leave a house without paying rent. 

v^ He has mair jaw than judgment. 

He has mair stoor than he has flail for. 

ue.j more work than he can undertake. 

He has mair wit in his wee finger than you hae in your hale bouk. 

He has more wit in his head than Samson had on both his shoulders. 

\^ He has muckle prayer but little devotion. 



He hasna a bauchle to swear by. 

** Bauchle," an old shoe. 

He hasna a hail nail to claw him wi'. 

He hasna a penny to buy his dog loaf. — Fergusson. 

He hasna as muckle sense as a cow could haud in her faulded 

Another version is given by Hogg in "Katie Cheyne," — He has as 
muckle sense as a hen could haud in her steekit nieve. 

He hasna sense enough to keep a brock oot o' the kail yaird. 

Ettrick Shepherd, ''Tibby Hislop's Dream." 

V He hasna the gumshion o' a turkey cock. 

V/ He hasna the gumshion o' the cuckoo. 

He hasna the pith o' a pipe stapple. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, "The Wool-gatherer." 

He hasna the pith to pu' the head aff a rotten herrin*. 

He hasna the right grip o' his hand. 

i.f., he can't keep money. — " Rob Roy," ch. 21. 

^y He hasna the spirit o* a flea. 

N-' He hasna wit enough to ca' the cat frae the cream. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 34. 

He has nae mair mense than a miller's horse. 

See, As menseless as a tinker's messan. 

He has nae mair sense than a sooking turkey. 
He has naething to crave at my hand. 

I gave as good as I get. — E. 
Par pari retuli. — L. 

He has need o' a clean pow that ca's his neebours' nitty now. 

A man ought to be free of those faults that he throws up to others. — 

He has other tow to tease, or on his distaff. 

"Black Dwarf," ch. 12. Applied to a man who is suspected of 
xourting a woman not his ostensible sweetheart. Generally. He has 
other work to do. 

He has ower mony greedy gleds o' his ain. 

i.e., he can't do much for strangers as he has so many family claims 
on him. 


He has raxed ower the tether. 

ue,y lived beyond his means. — "St. Ronan's Well," ch. 10. 

He has run away wi' the harrows. 

Compare^ he has got his legs ower the harrows. 

He has skill o' roasted woo', when it stinks its ready. 

Spoken to those who pretend skill where they have none. As, You 
have good skill of horse flesh, you bought a goose to ride on. — E. 

^ He has soon done that never dought. 

** Bought," strength, ability. 
Spoken of weak people. — Kelly, 

He has spur metal in him. 
He has swallowed a flee. 

The English say, a spider. 

Refers to sots, as if there was a fly in their throats which they were 
trying to wash down. — Kelly, 

He has ta'en the country on his back. 
%,€,<, he has fled the country. 

He has ta'en the sheaf frae the mare. 

"Redgauntlet,"ch. 13. 

He has the ba' at his foot. 
He has the gift of t he gab. 

i,e,^ he is a ready speaker. 

He has the tow in his ain hand. 
V^ He has wit at will that wi' an angry heart can sit still. 
He hears wi' his heels, as the geese do in hairst. 

That is, he heard, had he been pleased to answer. — Kelly, 

He hid a bodle, and thought it a hoard. 
He jumped at it like a cock at a grosset. 

1.^., he eagerly accepted the offer. Ray gives the phrase, but with a 
different meaning, as ** Spoken of one that desires and endeavours to 
do harm but cannot." 

He just had plenty. 

f.f., he is not exactly drunk, but very nearly so. 

He keepit a lang lug in his ain sporran. 

King William (III.) caused Breadalbane to distribute twenty thou- 
sand gude punds sterling amang them, and it is said the auld Hieland 
Earl keepit a lang lug o't in his ain sporran. — **Rob Roy," ch. 26. 



He keeps his threep. 

" Bride of Lammcrmoor," ch. 27. That is to say, he sticks to his 
statement, accusation, etc. 


He kens his ain groats amang other folks' kail. 

An old lady who lived not far from Abbotsford, and from whom the 
"great unknown " had derived many an ancient tale, was waited upon 
one day by the author of *" Waverley." On his endeavouring to give the 
authorship the go-by, the old dame protested, **D'ye think, sir, I dinna 
ken my ain groats in ither folks' kail?" — Ramsay's "Reminiscences." 

He kens how to butter a whiting. 

He knows how many blue beans go to make five. — E. 
Said of a shrewd, calculating person. 

He kens how to turn his ain cake. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 13. 

He kens muckle wha kens when to speak, but far mair wha 
kens when to haud his tongue. 

Speech is silvern, but silence is golden. — Carlyle. 

He kens nae a mavis frae a madge howlet (an owl). 

He kens nae a selgh (seal) frae a salmon. 

He kens nae the door by the door-bar. — Fergusson, 

i.e, he does not know and keep his place. 
Compare^ I'll gar ye ken the dog, etc. 

/ He kens nae the pleasures o' plenty wha never felt the pains o' 

He kens the loan from the croun o' the causey as weel as the 
duck does the midden from the aidle dub. 

i.^., he knows what's what. — GaWs ** Ayrshire Legatees," Letter 12, 
ch. 5. 

He kens what drinkers dree. 

GaWs " Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 64. 

He kens what way the wind blaws. 
** Old Mortality," ch. 7. 

He lay in his scabbard as mony a gude sword has done. 

Discretion is the better part of valour. — E. 

He lee'd like a mill shillin'. 

He lets his wife craw atap o' his barn yett. 
Compare^ John Tamson's man. 

He likes nae beef that grows on my banes. 




He loes me for little that hates me for nought. 

He lo'ed mutton weel that licked where the ewe lay. 1 

**Thc Antiquary," ch. 44. 

He loved mutton well that dipped his bread in wool. — E. So, He 
loves bacon well who licks the sow. — E. ; and, He loves roast meat 
well who licks the spit. — E. 

Spoken to them who will sip the bottom of a glass where good liquor 
was, or scrape a plate after good meat. — JiLislfy, 

He looks as if he could swallow a cow. 
\^' He looks as if the wood were fu' o' thieves. 

He looks like a Lochaber axe fresh frae the grindstane. 

** A Lochaber axe," a long pole namely, with an axe at the extremity 
and a hook at the back of the hatchet. This hook was to enable the 
bearer of the Lochaber axe to scale a gateway, by grappling the top of 
the door and swinging himself up by the staflf of his weapon. — ** Heart 
of Midlothian," ch. 3, and footnote. 

He looks like the far end o' a French fiddle. 

Gin ye wad thole to hear a friend, 
Tak tent, and nae wi* strunts offend, 
I've seen queans, dink and neatly primed, 

Frae tap to middle. 
Looking just like the far-aff end 

O' an auld fiddle.— **The Farmer's Ha'." 

He looks like the laird o' fear. 

The preceding five sayings are expressive of personal peculiarities. 

He loses his time that comes early to a bad bargain. 

A man may come soon enough to an ill bargain. — E. 

He maks a puir mouth. 

i.e., he complains to gain compassion. 

He maks a wark about naething. 
"The Antiquary," ch. 8. 

He maks mickle o' his painted sheets. — Fergusson, 

i.e., he is proud. 

He maks nae bairn's bargain. 

He maun be a-gude friend when ye dinna ken his value. 
^ He maun be a poor gudeman that's never missed. 
He maun lie is he's bigget. 
He maun wait on clap and hopper. 

i.e., attend to his proper business. — "Redgauntlet," ch. 5. 


He may be as fair as a farthing candle for me. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 29. 

He may be trusted with a house full o' unbored millstanes. 

That is he can't be trusted at all. 

v^ ' He may grow better, but he canna be worse. 

If ever he alter it will be for the better. — E. 

He may lead, but he winna drive. 

He may tine a stot that canna count his kine. 

The man may aiblins tyne a stot 

That cannot count his kinsch, 
In zour awin bow ze are owre-schot 

Be mair than half an inch. — **Cherrie and the Slae." 

He may write to his friends. — Fergusson, 

Spoken of a drunkard. 

We say it of a man when all his hopes are gone. — Ray. 

And in French in this latter sense. 

He needs a lang-shanket spoon that sups kail wi' the deil. 

He that has to do with wicked and false men had need to be cautious 
and on his guard. — Kelly » 

He needs not a cake o' bread o' a* his kin. — Fergusson, 

Spoken of a drunkard. 

He needs not look on twa sides o' a penny. 

«* Heart of Midlothian," ch. 32. 

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

** A darg " is a day*s work. 

He ne'er had a hand to thraw a key wi'. 

r.^., he is a spendthrift. — " The Entail," ch. 38. 

He ne'er tint a cow that grat for a groat. 

He neiffers for the better. — Fergusson. 

He nickers like a cursour at a caup o' corn. 

i.e., he laughs, as a stallion neighs at feeding time. 

He never lies but when the holly's green. 

i.e.i he never speaks the truth at all, for the holly is an evergreen. 
Also in English. 

He never said an ill word, nor did a good thing. 

Probably refers to the saying about King Charles II. 

He owes a pudding to the glede (kite). 

Spoken of a beast that is djdng. — ICelly. 


He picked it up at his ain hand as the cow learned the flinging. 

He plays least in sight. 

Taken from a game at cards so called ; that is, he keeps himself con- 
cealed. — Kelly, 

He preed her gab. 

Le.^ kissed her. 

He puts his meat in an ill skin. 

Compare^ Eats meat an's never fed, etc. 

He puts in a bad purse that puts in his pechan (stomach). 

He ran a ram race, 

1.^., Acted in a reckless manner. Sometimes used to imply that the 
person referred to is guilty of fornication. — GaWs ** Steamboat," ch. 41, 

He reads his sin in his punishment. 

He reives the kirk to theek the quire. \j 

To steal from the church to roof the choir, is equivalent to the English 

JQ^ proverb, To rob Peter to pay Paul ; and to the Gaelic sayings, Starving 

little Malcolm to fatten big Murdoch, and. The thatch of the kiln on 

the mill. Tir the kiln to thack the mill, is another Scottish form of 

this proverb. 

He rides on the riggin' o't. 

Compare i Ane may like the kirk, etc. 

He rides wi' a sark tail in his teeth. 

Spoken when a new married man has been abroad and makes haste 
home. — Kelly, 

He rows his hurdies in a hammock. 

" So row't his hurdies in a hammock 

And owre the sea." — Bums, 

i,e,f he takes a sea voyage. 

He rules easier wi' a saugh wand than wi' a sharp brand. 

He saw how the land lay. 

He seeks nae mair than a bit and a brat. 
t,e,f he is content with little. 

He seirt his soul for a crackit saxpence. 
He set up his birse. 

i.e,, got angry. 

He set up his gab. 

i.e,, cocked his bonnet. 



He sets his ranlc weel. 

He sets the kiln on fire as fast as I could put it out. 

''Legend of Montrose," ch. 22. 

He shall either girn or man fin'. 

Spoken in a case of slander, that he that uttered it shall give the 
author or be punished for it himself. — Kelly, 

He should be seldom angry that has few to mease him. 

" Mease," appease. 

He that has none to still him may weep out his eyes. — £. 

He shouldna craw sae crouse. 
He sits above that deals acres. 

An appeal to the Divine Providence. 

/ He sits fu' close that has riven breeks. 

"^ This elegant speech was made by the Earl of Douglas, called Tine- 

man, after being wounded and made prisoner at the battle of Shrews- 
bury, where — 

His well labouring sword 
Had three times slain the semblance of the King. 

Note to ch. 35, ** Fortunes of Nigel." 

^ He sits wi' little ease wha sits on his neighbour's coat tail. 

He slippet awa' like a knotless thread. 

He snites his nose in his neighbour's dish to get the brose 

Coffiparey He fyles his neighbour's cog, etc. 

He soughed awa'. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8. ue,, died so peacefully that the on- 
lookers were hardly fully conscious of the great change. 

He span a muckle pirn oot o' a wee tait o' tow. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 22. 

Compare^ He cleckit a great muckle bird, etc. 

; He speaks in his drink what he thinks in his drouth. 

Compare, A fu' man's a true man. 

He speaks like a Hieland oracle. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 50. 

He speaks like a prent book. 
He speaks them fair. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 8. 

He spits on his ain blanket. — Fergusson, 


^■y He spoke as if every word would lift a dish. 

i.e., he speaks in a pompous, affected manner. 

He stands as near to the barn door. 

i.e., he is as near akin. 

He starts at straes, and lets windlins gae. 

A windlin is a bottle of straw or hay. The saying is the Scottish 
form of, To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. 

He stotit awa' like a birsled pea. 
He streaks reem in my teeth. 

Spoken when we think one only flattering us. 

He stumbles at a strae, and loups ower a linn. 

Stumble at a straw, and leap over a block. — E. 
He takes pepper in his nose. 

i.e., he is angry. — Fergus son. 

He tarrows early that tarrows on his kail. 

i.e., before he sees what his dinner is to be. — Kelly. 
** To tarrow," to complain. 

He that ance gets his fingers i' the dirt can hardly get them out 

He that bides weel betides weel. 

He that bids me to meat wishes me to live. 

He that blaws best bears awa' the horn. 

Compare, Wae to the coward, etc. 

He that blaws in the stoor fills his ain een. 

He that borrows and bigs, maks feats and thigs, drinks an's no 
dry — nane o' these three are thrifty. 

He that brings the gudes has a right to guide the gear. 

\ He that buys beef buys banes ; 

* He that buys land buys stanes ; 

V He that buys nuts buys shells ; 

He that buys gude ale buys naething else. 

The English version is as follows — 

He that buys land buys many stones ; 
He that buys flesh buys many bones ; 
He that buys eggs buys many shells : 
He that buys gude ale buys nothing else. 

He that can hear Dumbuck may hear Dumbarton. 


A Glasgow saying, Dumbuck hill is in Argyleshire and farther from 
Glasgow than Dumbarton, proverbially applied to those who are better 
acquainted with circumstances than they pretend to be, but who, in 
their anxiety to gain more information betray themselves. — Hislop, 

He that canna do as he would, must do as he may. 
He that canna do better maun be a monk. 

This saying is attributed to the last Earl Douglas who, being defeated 
at the battle of Lochmaben, where he was fighting against King 
James III., was sent by that monarch to the monastery of Lindores. 
Douglas, on hearing his sentence, uttered the above phrase which 
became proverbial. He died 15th April, 1488. 

He that cheats in daffin winna be honest in earnest. 

Fair is fair, work or play. — E. 

He that cheats me ance, shame fa' him ! he that cheats me twice, 

shame fa' me ! 

Twice bitten shy ; and, It is my own fault if I am deceived by the 
same man twice. — E. 
The wise man is deceived but once. — Gaelic. 

He that comes atween a fool and his ruin is like him wha inter- 
feres atween a man and his wife, he's sure o' the redding straik. 

He that comes first to the ha' may sit where he will. 

First come, first served. — E. 

He that counts a' costs will ne'er put plough i' the grund. 

He that forecasts all difficulties he may meet with in his business will 
never set about it. — Kelly, 

He that counts a' the pins i' the plough will never yoke her. 

He that dares weel fares weel. 

He that deals in dirt has aye foul fingers. 

He that handles pitch shall foul his fingers. — E. 

He that does as he's bidden deserves nae bannin'. ' 

He that does his turn in time sits half idle. 

He that does ill hates the light. — Fergusson, 

He that doesna mind corn pickles never comes to forpits. 

A forpit is the fourth of a peck. — " Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 5. 
He that does you an ill turn will never forgie you. 

He that drinks when he's no dry, will be dry when he gets no 
drink. — Kelly. 

He that eats a boll o' meal in bannocks eats a peck o' dirt. 


/ He that eats but ae dish seldom needs the doctor. 
He that eats till he burst will be worse while he lives. 

A jocose return to them that urge us to eat. — Kelly, 

He that eats while he lasts will be the waur while he die. — Fer- 

* He that fishes before the net, fishes lang or he fish get. 
It is ill fishing before the net. — E. 

He that forecasts a' perils will win nae worship. 

Compare^ He that counts a* costs, etc. 

He that gies a' wad gie naething. 

1.^., he gives in a fret. 

A forced kindness deserves no thanks. — £. 

He that gies a' his gear to his bairns, 
Tak' up a beetle and ding out his harns. 

Taken from the history of one John Bell who, having given his sub- 
stance to his children, was by them neglected. After his death there 
was found in his chest a mallet with this inscription — 

** I, John Bell, leave here a mcll, the man to fell 

Who gies a* to his bairns and keeps naething to himsel. — Kelly, 

Hazlitt gives as the English version — 

He that gives his goods before he be dead. 
Take up a mallet and knock him on the head. 

The saying appears to be originally Scottish. 

He that hains his dinner will hae the mair to his supper. 
' ^ He that has a dog at hame may gang to the kirk wi' a clean breast. 
He that has a goose will get a goose. 
He that has a muckle nose thinks ilka ane speaks o't. 

People who are sensible of their guilt are always full of suspicion. — 
The big nosed man takes everything to himself. — Gaelic. 

He that has a wide wame ne'er had a lang arm. 

Gluttonous people will not be liberal with their meat.— A>//y. 
Or a stout person is rarely active. 

He that has a wife has a maister. 

He that's not sensible of the truth of this proverb may blot it out or 
pass it over. — Kelly, 

He that hath a fellow-ruler hath an over-ruler. — E. 

He that has ae sheep in a stock will like a* the lave the better 



Spoken when we have a son at such a school, university, army or 
society, we will wish the prosperity of these respective bodies upon his 
account. — Kelly, 

He that has an ill wife should eat muckle butter. 

The jest is in the identity of the pronounciation of butter and but-her 
that is, without her. — Kelly, 

He that has gold may buy \2ind,^J^eIfy, 

He that has just enough can soundly sleep; the owercome only 
fashes folk to keep. 

He that hasna purse to fine may hae flesh to pine ; and 

If he hasna gear to fine, 
He has shins to pine. 

Luitur cum persona, qui luere non potest cum crumena, — Let him 
pay with his person who cannot pay with his purse. — **Rob Roy,*' 
ch. 27 ; " Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 5, and foot note. 

He that has routh o' butter may butter his bread on baith sides. 

Those who are well off may freely enjoy their abundance. 

He that has siller in his purse may want a head on his shoulders. 

The English sa3ring is the converse, namely, He that has money in 
his purse cannot want a head for his shoulders. 

He that has twa hoards is able to get a third. 

He that hath plenty of good shall have more. — E. 

He that hews abune his head may get a spail in his e'e. 

He that ill bodes ill betides. 

He that ill does never gude weens. 

i.e., wrong-doers think ill of others. 

He that invented the Maiden first handselled it. 

The Maiden is a machine constructed on the principle of the French 
guillotine, and was used in Scotland for the purpose of carrying out the 
sentence of death. It is still preserved in the Antiquarian Museum, 
Edinburgh. This ingenious contrivance was invented, or at least in- 
troduced into Scotland by }ames Douglas, Earl of Morton, Regent of 
the kingdom during part of Queen Mary's reign and the minority of her 
son, and, strange to say, he was himself executed by the agency of his 
own machine. So Dr. Guillotine died by the instrument which bears 
his name, and Deacon Brodie of Edinburgh, who greatly improved the 
construction of the gallows, was the first to experience the advantage of 
his own skill. 

He that keeps the cat's dish keeps her aye crying. 

He that lacks my mare may buy my mare. 

Spoken when a person belittles an article he is anxious to obtain. 


He that laughs at his ain jokes spoils the sport o' them. 

He that lends his pot may see his kail in his loof. 
ue., he who lends his goods may lose them. 

He that lends you hinders you to buy. 

He that lippens to bodden ploughs, his land '11 lang lie lea. 

He that lippens to chance lippens his back to a slap. 

He that leaseth surety and leaneth unto chance, 
When fools pipe he may dance. — E. 

\j He that liveth well liveth long. 

Because he has attained the end of living. — JCelly, 

V He that lo'es law will soon get his fill o't. 

He that looks not ere he loup will fa* ere he wat. 

s Look before you leap, 

For snakes among sweet flowers do creep. — E. 

He that looks to freets, freets will follow him. 

He that notices superstitious observances, such as spilling of salt on 
Childermass day, or the like, it will fall to him accordingly. — Kelly. 
He that yields to spells, let spells yield to. — Gaelic. 

He that looks with one eye, and winks with another, 

I will not believe him, though he was my brother. — Keily. 

He looks up wi' the tae eye, and doun wi* the tither. — Fergusson, 
He looks one way and rows another. — E. 

He that maks friends fear'd o' his wit should be fear'd o' their 

He that marries a beggar gets a louse for a tocher. 

He that marries a daw eats muckle dirt. 
i.e,, has many troubles to put up with. 

He that meddles wi' tulzies may come in for the redding stroke. 

"Tulzies," quarrelsome people. See, Beware the redding stroke. 
Compare, He that blaws in the stoor, etc. 

He that never eats flesh thinks harigals a feast. 

**Harigals," the heart, liver, etc., of a sheep, etc. 
He that never eats flesh thinks puddings a dainty. — E. 

He that never thinks will ne'er be wise. 
He that owes the mare owes the bear. 

Spoken when a man's own people or cattle do him harm. — Kelly. 

He that oppresses honesty ne'er had ony. 



He that pays his debts begins to male' a stock. 

He that plays wi* fools and bairns maun e'en play at the chucks. 

ue., he must adapt himself to the company he is keeping. — " Fortunes 
ofNigel,"ch. 5. 

He that puts on the public goun maun aff the private persoa 
He that puts the cat in the pock kens best how to tak' her oot. 
He that rides ahint anither doesna saddle when he pleases. 

i,e,, a dependent must do as he is told. 

He that seeks alms for Godsake begs for twa. 

He that sells his wares for words maun live by the loss. 

He that serves maunna be slack, 
Neither for weather nor yet for wrack. 

He that shames let him be shent. 

A wish that he who exposes his neighbour may come to shame him- 
self. — ULe/fy, 

He that shows his purse bribes the thief. 

He that shows his purse longs to be rid of it. — E. 

He that sits upon a stane is twice fain. 

That is, glad to sit down because he is weary, and glad to rise because 
the stone is hard. — ^e/fy. 

He that slays shall be slain. — Fergusson. 
He that spares to speak spares to speed. 

A man may injure his prospects by not speaking out on his own 

He that speaks to himsel' speaks to a fool. 

He that speaks wi' a draunt, an' sells wi' a cant, is right like a 
snake in the skin o' a saunt. 

The man who speaks in canting tones is generally insincere. 

He that speers a' gets wit but o' pairt. 
He that speers a' opinions comes ill speed. 

The two preceding sayings imply that those who are too inquisitive 
are frequently misinformed. 

He that spends his gear afore he gets it will hae but little gude 

He that strikes my dog wad strike mysel', if he daur'd. 


If you liked myself you would not strike my dog. — Gaelic. 
Love me, love my dog. — £., French and Italian. 

He that stumbles twice at ae bane deserves to break his shin ^ 

He should have removed the obstruction the first time he came in its 

He that thinks in his bed has a day without a night. 

And in English. 

He that tholes overcomes. 

Tandem patientia vincet. — L. 

He that can quietly endure overcometh. — E. 

He that tines his siller is thought to have tint his wit. 

i.e,, a man who loses money is by many considered a fool. 

He that wants to strike a dog ne'er wants a stick. 

A staff is quickly found to beat a dog. — E. 

He that will be angry for onything, will be angry for naething. 

He that will England win, 

Must with Scotland first begin. — " Hall's Chronicle," 1548. 

The enemies of England clearly perceived that Scotland would be an 
admirable base of operations from which to attack the larger country. 
The proverb arose about the time of the Protector Somerset's expedition, 
when Scotland was weak and disturbed. A similar saying refers to 
Ireland — 

He that would England win 

Must with Ireland first begin. — Fynes Moryson^s ** Itinerary," 1617. 

This proverb probably had its rise in the popular discontent felt in 
Ireland at the system of plantation which was carried into force there 
during the reign of James I. (VI.). — Hazlitt, 

This saying was quoted by the late J. A. Froude, in a letter written 
to an American friend on the Irish question in June, 1886, and is by 
him described as a Catholic proverb of the i6th century. The saying, 
Get Ireland to-day and England may be thine to-morrow, is found in 
the appendix to James HowelVs "Lexicon Tetraglotton," amongst 
phrases which he says **may serve as proverbs to posterity;" and 
another proverb declares that, England's difficulty is Ireland s oppor- 
tunity. So, the relations of England, France, and Scotland are thus 
referred to — 

But there's a saying, very old and true. 
If that you will France win, 
Then with Scotland first begin. 

— Shakspearcy "King Henry V.," I. ii., 166, it seq. 

The French and the Scots were firm allies, so, unless Scotland was first 
reduced, any attack by England on France would almost certainly 
entail a Scottish invasion of England. 


He that will to Cupar, maun to Cupar. 

'*The Antiquary," ch. 42. Applied to a pig-headed person. 

He that winna bear mitherhead, maun bear step-mitherhead — 

He that winna thole maun flit mony a hole. 

He that will not bear the itch must endure the smart. — £. 

He that would climb the tree maun tak' care o' his grip. 
He that's angry opens his mouth and steeks his een. 

i,e,y is abusive without looking at the facts of the case. 

He that's aught the cow gangs nearest the tail. 

Let him that owns the cow take her by the tail. — E. 
Let the cow's owner go first into the mire. — Gaelic. 
ue,, those who have an interest in any undertaking are willing to run 
most risk. — His lop. 

He that's born under a thripenny planet will never be worth a 
groat. — Kelly, 

He that's far frae his gear is near his skaith. 

i,e,t those who are at a distance from their property may suffer loss 
in their absence. 

He that's first up's no aye first ser'd. 

Desert and reward seldom keep company. — E. 

He that's hanged in May will eat no flames (pancakes) at Mid- 

"The Abbot," ch. 33. 

He that's hated o' his subjects canna be a King. — Fergusson. 

He that's ill o' his harboury, is gude at the way-kenning. 

t,e.i glad to get rid of a guest, and prompt at giving him directions 
for his journey. Kelly says it is spoken by one who refuses a loan, but 
recommends the borrower to try some one else. 

He that is not good at giving a bed is good at showing the road. — 

He that's no my friend at a pinch, is no my friend at a'. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed. — E. 

He that's rede for windlestraes should never sleep on leas. 

He that's afraid of the wagging of feathers should keep from among 
wild fowl. — E. 
He who is afraid of leaves should not go into the wood. — Dutch. 
He that's afraid of wounds must keep from a battle. — E. 
He that shakes at straws should not sleep in the field. — Gaelic. 


He that's scant o' breath shouldna meddle wi' the chanter. 
i,e,y we should not undertake more than we are able to perform. 

He that's too modest must go to the wall. 

**The Abbot," ch. 17. 

He that's welcome fares weel. 

He thinks himsel' nae page's peer. 

i,e.^ thinks no body comparable to himself. — Kelly, 

He thinks himsel' nae sheepshank. 

He thinks nae sma' drink o' himsel. 

The three preceding proverbs refer to conceited persons who think 
themselves of great consequence. 

Wha thinks himsel' nae sheepshank bare, 

But lordly stalks. — Burns. 

He thinks himsel' worth mickle mice dirt. — Fergusson, 
Same meaning as the preceding. 

He thinks his breeks a burden. 

i.e^y he will be heartily weary of such a thing. — JCelly, 

He tines bottles gathering straes. 

Galfs ** Entail," ch. 74. 

i.e., he fritters away his time on trifles and loses favourable oppor- 

He took the bog aslent (diagonally). 

i,e,f ran off. — Kelly, 

He vapours like a tyke in a tedder. 

A ridicule upon a conceited, swaggering, young fellow. — Kelly, 

He wadna look ower his shouther at her. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 15. 


He wags a wand in the water. — Fergusson, 
t,e., does no good. 

He wants only a hair to mak a tether o'. 

77ie Ettrick Shepherd, "The Brownie of Bodsbeck." 

He wants to get a blackfit. 

A blackfoot, (Latin, proxaruta, — " Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 32) is one 
who acts as an intermediary between a lover and his mistress, and when 
you say of a man that " he wants to get a blackfit," you mean that he is 
a bashful lover. Both the name and the office still seem to be recog- 
nised in some parts of Scotland, for, in a breach of promise trial from 
Lanarkshire, in the Court of Session, so lately as Februarv 24th, 1888, 
a witness deponed that " the defender wanted a blackfit, i,e,, one to 


go along with him to visit the pursuer, to introduce him, and make 
matters go smoothly. 

He warstled up the brae. 

i,e,, persevered and succeeded. 
He was born with a lucky hood on his head. 

**Quentin Durward," ch. 31. 

He was bom with a silver spoon in his mouth. — £. 

To be born clothed. — Italian. 

He was eerie and unco. 

He was fain and fey. 

The two preceding proverbs indicate that the person spoken of was 
strange in his manner. Compare, Fey folk, etc. 

He was just between the tining and the winning. 

i.e., at a critical stage. 

He was like to fire the house. 

i.e., in a great rage. 

He was missed by the water but caught by the widdie. 

He that is bom to be hanged will never be drowned, unless the water 
goes over the gallows. — Dutch. 

Compare^ the water will ne'er waur the widdie. 

He was not the inventor of gunpowder. 

i.e., he is timid, cowardly. 

He was scant o' grey cloth that soled his hose wi' dockens. 

The retum of a haughty maid to them that tell her of an unworthy 
suitor. — Kelly. 

He was the bee that made the honey. 
He was wrapp'd in his mither's sark tail. 

The Scots have a superstitious custom of receiving a child when it 
comes to the world in its mother's shift, if a male, believing that this 
usage will make him well beloved among women. And when a man 
proves unfortunate this way, they will say, ** He was kep'd in a board 
claith ; he has some hap to his meat, but none to his wives. " — Kelly. 

He was lapped in his mother's smock. — E. This means that he is 
Fortune's darling. 

He wastes a penny candle looking for a bawbee. 

He wats not whether he bears the earth, or the earth him. 

Spoken of excessive proud people. — Kelly. 


He wha marries a maiden marries a pockfu' o' pleasure; he wha 
marries a widow marries a pockfu' o'/^^-sure. 




These two are always joined together, and are a disuasive from 
marrying a widow, because she is often involved in law suits. — Kelly, 

He wha swims in sin will sink in sorrow. 

He wha wishes nae ill to his enemies, will never do wrang by 
his friends. 

He will neither haup nor wind. 

1.^., he will neither turn to the right hand nor the left, taken from 
the cry of hinds to their horses. Applied to a stubborn man. 

He winna send you awa' wi' a sair heart. 

He will promise you anything, though he has no intention of keeping 
his word. 

"^ He would fain have a fool, that makes a fool o' himsel. — Kelly. 
He would gang a mile to flit a sow. 

Spoken of sauntering persons who would take any pretence to go 
from their proper business. — Kelly, 

He would gar a man trow that the mune is made of green 
cheese, or that the cat took the herring. — Fergusson, 

You may as well tell me that the moon is made of green cheese. — £. 

He wouldna grip. 

i.e,, agree. — The Et trick Shepherd, 

He wouldna lend his gully, no, to the deil to stick himsel'. 

He would not lend the devil a knife to cut his throat. — Italian. 
Refers to those who in all circumstances decline to oblige borrowers. 

He would need to be twice sheeled and ance grund that deals 
wi' you. 

i,e,j he would need to be pretty 'cute. 

He would neither mess nor mell. 

i.e,t he would neither do one thing nor another, neither be friendly 
nor fight. 

He would not sup kail with him, unless he broke the dish on 
his head. 

A disdainful answer to them who compare our friend to some un- 
worthy, inferior fellow. — Kelly, 

He would rake hell for a bodle. 

A bodle was one-sixth of an English penny. It is said of the Ameri- 
cans that " If there was a bag of coffee in hell, a Yankee could be found 
to go and bring it out." 

He would skin a louse for the tallow. 

"The Abbot," ch. 19. Also in English and Italian. 


This is the favourite phrase used in Scotland to indicate extreme 
greed. The English speak of ** skinning a flint," and the French of 
'•Shaving an egg." Compare the preceding proverb. The Russians 
say to one who is notorious for greed, *' You would like to eat milk with 
a needle if you could ; " and the Yankees say such an one " Would sell 
his mother's coffin for a greenback dollar." So an old English proverb 
says of a greedy and tricky fellow, "He would cover that rock with 
hay and sell it for a haycock. " 

Flaying the tetter for its tallow ; and. It's a bare stone from which 
he can pick nothing. — Gaelic. 

He waddant part with the reek aff his kail. — Cumberland. 

He would set a parish by the lugs. 

Said of a mischief maker. 

He would tine his lugs if they were not tacked to him. 

He'll feel the strength o* my airm yet. 

He'll gang mad on a horse wha's proud on a pownie. 

Spoken of one who rides on the top of a very small commission. 

He'll gang to hell for hose profit. 

He'll get some o' the blessings in the byegoing. 

In doing good unselfishly, good will come to him unsought. 

He'll get the puir man's answer, " No." 

He'll gie his bane to nae dog. 

He'll gie you the whistle o' your groat. 

He'll girn in a tow yet. 

That is, he will come to the gallows. 

He'll hae enough some day, when his mouth's fu' o' mools. 

Spoken of covetous people who will never be satisfied while they are 
alive. — Kelly, 

The eye is bigger than the belly. — Gaelic and E. In the Scottish 
form, His een's greedier than his guts. 

The eye is not satisfied with seeing. — Ecclesiastes, i. 8. 

The dust alone can fill man's eye. — Arab. So in German and Dutch. 

He'll hang up his hat on some ither pin. 

Le.y marry some one else. 

He'll kythe in his ain colours yet. 

ue.^ he'll appear without disguise ; he'll be known for the man he is. 

He'll mend when he grows better, like sour ale in summer. 

** Waverley," ch. 14. i.e,^ he will always grow worse as sour ale in 
summer does. 
All wickedness doth begin to amend like sour ale in summer. — E. 


In 1569 a ballad with this title was licensed to Alexander Lacy. — 

He'll ne'er go weel for he was foundered in his feet. 

Refers to ill and imperfect grounding. — Kelly, 

He'll neither dee nor do weel. 
He'll neither hap, step, nor win. 
He'll neither haud nor bind. 

i,€,t he is in a state of violent excitement. 

Borrowed perhaps from the fury of an untamed beast, which cannot 
be so long held ihsit it may be bound with a rope. — famieson. 

He'll never rue but ance, and that'll be a' his life. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 5. 

He'll no haud doon his head to sneeze for fear o' seeing his 

i,e,, he is so vain. — "The Antiquary," ch. 26. 

He'll no lie where he's slain. 

Spoken of cowards as if their corpses would fly from the places where 
they are slain. — Kelly, 

He'll put ower the borrowing days. 

If weak cattle live the first nine days of April, we hope they will not 
die. — Kelly, See, Borrowing days. 

He'll scarce ride to-day, though he has had his boots on. 

Scott in ** Old Mortality," ch. 36, puts this proverb into the mouth 
of Lauderdale, of persecuting memory, making him say, with reference 
to a minister who had been undergoing the cruel torture of the boot for 
his participation in the rising which was quelled at Both well Brig, "He 
will make an old proverb good ; for he'll scarce ride, etc." 

He'll shoot higher that shoots at the moon, than he that shoots V 
at the midden, e'en though he may miss his mark. 

He'll tell it to nae mair than he meets. ^ 

/.^., he will tell it to all he meets. 

He's a bad hand at sic wark. 

ue,^ not good at dirty >work. 

He's a birsie man. 

ue,^ a passionate man. 

He's a cake and pudding courtier. 
He's a causey saunt and a house devil 

All saint without, all devil within. — £. 


A fine man abroad, and a great beast at home. Distin^ished abroad, 
disgusting at home. Bad at home, good abroad. — Gaehc 

He's a daw in borrowed feathers. 
"Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 12. 

He's a dour looking fellow. 

He's a fool that forgets himsel'. 

He's a fool that marries at Yule, for when the bairn's to bear the 
corn's to shear. 

He's a gentle horse that never cust his rider. 

f.^., a good servant that never disobliged his master. — Kelly. 

He's a gude crack. 

Advertisement to "The Antiquary.*' i.^., a man of good conversa- 
tional powers. 

He's a gude piper's bitch, he comes aye in at meal times. 
He's a gude seeker, but an ill finder. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 23. 

He's a gude shot that aye hits the mark. 
He's a hardy man to draw a sword at a haggis. 

An ironical ridicule upon a braggadocio. — Kelly, 

He's a heavy handfu'. 

f.^., a great trial ; responsibility. 

He's a landward loon. 

" Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 12. f.^., he belongs to the district ; is 
not a stranger. 

He's a mere cutchin carle for a' his manly looks. 

ue,y he is a coward. — Kelly, 

He's a pawkie carle. 

i,e,i a shrewd old fellow. 

He's a poor beggar that canna gang by ae door. 

He's a proud beggar that maks his ain awmous. 

He's a proud horse that winna carry his ain oats ; or, 
He's a weak baist that downa bear the saddle. 

Indicating pride and incapacity. Both versions occur in Gaelic and E. 
He's a proud horse that won't carry his oats. — Italian. So, A horse 
that will not carry the saddle must have no oats. — E. 

He's a proud tod that winna scrape his ain hole. — Kelly, 


He's a saft sap wi' a head nae better than a fouzy frosted turnip. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 14. 

He's a selfish skyte that cares but for his ain kyte (stomach). 
He's a silly chiel that can neither dae nor say. 

ue,j neither do good nor ilL — Kieify, 

He's a slotch ! he's a slotch ! | He wad slouter up a', 
Hell raise a dearth i' the land, | The slotch o' Marleha\ 

Marleha is the name of a cot house or two on the hxm of Crunkly, 
parish of Exlrom, Berwickshire. 

It is said of a tall thin lad. He's a lang, lean slough, fit to raise a 
dearth amang the bread. — Dr, Htnderson^ 

He's a Tammy a' thing. 

1.^., a general merchant ; one who sells all sorts of goods. 

He's a twa legged cratur wi' a goose's head and a hen's heart. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 26. f.^., he is a fool and a coward. 

He's a wise man that can make a friend o' a foe. — Kelly. 

He's a wise man that can tak' care o' himsel'. 

He's a wise man that when he's weel can baud himsel' sae. — 

He's a' guts and gab. 

ue,^ a great eater and a foolish talker. 

He's an auld horse that winna nicker when he sees corn. 
He*s an honester man than ever stood in your shoon or shanks. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 29. 

As honest a man as ever trod on shoe leather. — E. 

He's ane o' sna' ba's bairntime. 

That is such as wealth or prosperity make worse, or who insensibly 
go behind in the world. — Kelly, 

He's as bare as the birk at Yule. 

f.^., he is very poor. 

He's as blind as the silly blind body that his wife gart believe 
her gallant's horse was a milk coo sent frae her mimmy. 

"The Entail," Gait, ch. 73. 

He's as bold as a Lammermoor lion. 

i,e,<, as a sheep. Applied ironically to a coward or boaster. 

As fierce as a lion of Cotswold. — E. 

As valiant as an Essex lion. — E. i.e., a calf. 

s I 


He's as crouse as a cock wi* a double kame on. 

The Ettrick Shepherd y " Katie Cheyne." 

He's as fu* as a fiddler or piper. 

As drunk as a lord. — E. 

He's as gleg as M'Keachen's elshin that ran through sax plies o' 
bend leather into the King's heel. 
" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 17. 

He's as hard wi' me as if I had been the wild Scot o' Galloway. 
He's as stiff as if he had swallowed the poker. 
He's as uplifted as a midden cock upon pattens. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 43. 

He's auld and cauld, and ill to lie beside. 
He's awfu' big ahint the door. 

ue.t very courageous in safe circumstances. 

He's aye ahint the foremost. 

Gait's " Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 100. 

He's but daft that has to do, and spares for every speech. 

"The Cherry and the Slae." 

He's but Jock, the laird's brother. 

In former times the younger sons of a laird often remained about^the 
old house all their lives, and after their father's death, were tolerated — 
not very cordially — by their elder brother, the laird, as inevitable, 
though unwelcome, adjuncts of the family property. 

He's cooling and supping. 

That is, he has nothing but from hand to mouth. — JiTeiiy, 

He's dead now, and it's better for me to eat off him than lie on 
him. — JCe/fy, 

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. — Horace, 

He's easy wi' a' body that will be easy wi' him, but if ye thraw 
him ye had better thraw the deevil. 

«* Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

He's esquire o' nae place, and laird o' far less. 

Spoken of one who unwarrantably assumes great airs. 

He's failed wi' a fu' hand. 

/.^., he has failed with a private purse. In the Roman phrase, "a 
stellionate," from **stellio,"a little subtle serpent. In Scotland the 
crime was punished by arraying the fraudulent bankrupt in a yellow cap 



and stockings of different colours, or by leaving him for ever without 
his discharge. 

He's fishing wi' Hoy's net ; and 
His head's in Hoy's net. 

The first means he is courting, and the second that he has got married. 
—The Ettrick Shepherd, "The Woolgatherer " and **The Siege of 

He's frae the tap o' the wing, but ye're a grey neck quill. 

i,e., he is a better man than you. 

He's free o' his fruits that wants an orchard. 

** He is free with his horse that never had one," quoth Hendyng. — E. 

He's fond o' barter that niffers wi' old Nick. 

He's gane a' to pigs and whistles. V 

i.e.i gone to ruin. 

He's gane to seek his faither's sword. 

Refers to vagrants who travel without any good design. — Kelly, 

He's gey and red aboot the lugg. 

ue,, he is blushing. — ** Roy's Generalship," Part I. 

He's got a gran' landing. 

He's got his head in a gude kail pot. \j 

The two preceding proverbs mean that a man is well provided for ; 
by a rich marriage, or m some other way. 

He's gude that never failed. 
He's gudeless — ill-less. 

i.e., a nonentity. 

He's his ain trumpeter. 

When you die your trumpeter will be buried. — E. 

He's his faither's better, like the cooper o' Fogo. 
Or, His faither's better, cooper o' Fogo, 

At girding a barrel, or making a coggie, 

Tooming a stoup, or kissing a rogueie. 

The village of Fogo, near Dunse, was once noted for its coopers. 
Each generation improved upon the workmanship of the preceding, and 
the son became better than tne father. 

Compare, Ye*re like the cooper o' Fogo, etc 

He's horn deaf in that side o' his head. 
i,e»t he has made up bis mind on tbt «•< 

He's ill to dae wi'. 


He's in a creeL 

**01d Mortality," ch. 6; and— 

His hand is in the creel. — Fergusson* 

i.e,f his wits are jumbled ; or, he is a drunkard. 

He's in a dead swither. 

i,e,, undecided. 

He's in a very sma* way. 

'* Old Mortality," ch. 27. t.^., he has a poor business, or his health 
is bad. 

He's in nettle earnest. 

That is,, in dead earnest. 

He's laid doun the barroW. 

Compare^ Cowping the crans. 
He's laird o' muckle care. — Burns, 
He's like a cow in an unco loan. 

An '* unco loan " is a strange lane. 

He's like a crane upon a pair of stilts. 

Refers to the crutches or stilts which in Scotland were used to cross 
rivers. They are used by the peasantry of the country near Bordeaux, 
France, to traverse deserts of loose sand, which are met with in that 
locality. See footnote to ** Quentin Durward," ch. 5. 

He's like a fish oot o' water. 

He's like a weathercock. — Fergusson, 

He's like Giles Heathertrap's auld boar ; ye need but shake a 
clout at him to make him turn and gore. 

**Rob Roy,"ch. 21. 

He's like grain that takes sair wind to shake. 

t.^., he is a hardy, determined fellow. 

He's like the Smith's dog, so well used to the sparks that he'll 
no burn. 

Spoken of a habitual tippler — a well seasoned cask. 

He's like the wife's bawty — kens naething about it. 

He's like the witches o' Auchencraw, he'll get mair for his ill 
than his gude. 

i,e., favours are often granted a man through fear of his malevolence. 

In the toun o* Auchencraw, 
Where the witches bide a*. 

These sayings refer to the village of Auchencraw or Edencraw, in the 
east of Berwickshire, which seems to have had an evil reputation as the 
resort of witches. 


The operation of scoring aboon the breath — that is, drawing a gash 
across her brow — was inflicted upon the person of an old woman named 
Margaret Girvan, residing in Auchencraw, so late as the commence- 
ment of the present century. The cruel deed was done by a neigh- 
bouring laird, because he imagined the old wife had raised a wind to 
shake his corn. — Dr, Henderson, 

He's loose in the heft 

i.e.y not quite sane ; or, He has a slate loose, or aff. 

He's mair buirdly i' the back than i' the brain. 

i.e,^ his strength is rather physical than intellectual. 

He's nae a deacon o' his craft. 

f.^., he is a poor hand at his business. In Scotland the president of 
a trade corporation is called a deacon, so a deacon is a handy man at 
his trade. — " Waverley,** ch. 46. 

He's nae a' there. 

Compare^ He's loose in the heft. 

He's nae great gun. 

•* St. Ronan*s Well," ch. 10. Compare, He's nae a deacon, etc. 

He's nae gude weaver that leaves lang thrums. 

i.e,y he is a bad workman who wastes material, or leaves work in a 
slovenly state. 

He's nae sae daft as he's daft like. 
He's nae sae daft as he lets on. 
He's nae sae saft in the horn as that. 

2.^., not so green. 

He's ne'er at ease that's angry. 
He's no a man to ride the water wi'., he can't be \xv&\ti^.,—Jamieson, 

He's no a stirk o' the right sort 

Gait's "Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 28. 
He is not a hawk of the right nest. — £. 

He's no a' made up frae the paw and spoon. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, "Katie Cheyne." 1.^., there is more in him 
than the spoon puts in. 

He's no canny. 

%,e.y not to trust to, **Guy Mannering," chap. 10. There is some- 
thing of the supernatural about him. 

He's no nice but needfu'. 
He's no steel to the bane. 





He's no the fool that the fool is, but he that wi' the fool deals. 
He's no the happiest man that has maist gear. 
He's no to cree legs wi*. 

i.e., not to ride the water with. — "The Siege of Roxburgh," ch. 7. 

— Ettrick Shephtrd, 

He's o' a carrie mind. 

i,e,i soft, like flummery. — Kelly, 

He's on his high horse. 
High ropes. — E. 

He's on the ball. 

t.^., on the spree. 
He's other than a gude ane. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 18. 

He's out and in like a dog at a fair. 

He's ower auld a cat to draw a strae before. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

He's ower farren. 

He knows too much. — " Redgauntlet," ch. 12. 

He's poor enough wha's ill faur'd. 

He's poor whom God hates. 

A surlish reply to them that tauntingly call us poor. — Kelly. 

He's red wud, and awa wi't. 

He has gone mad, or is talking or acting very foolishly. — " Bride of 
Lammermoor," ch. 9. 

He's rich that has nae debts. 

He is young enough who has health, and he is rich enough who has 
no debts. — Danish. 

He's sairest dung that's paid wi' his ain wand. 

i.e, he suffers most who is responsible for his own misfortunes. 

He's silly that spares for ilka speech. 

He's slow at the uptak. 

He's sometimes i' the air, but ye're aye on the grund. 

He's spitting sixpences. 

The Ettrick Shepherdy "The Matchmaker."— Said of one who is re- 
covering from the effects of a debauch. 


He's taen the bent. 

Bent is a species of coarse grass. The phrase means to take the field, 
to run away. — ** Rob Roy," ch. 25. 

He's the best spoke o' your wheel. 

He's unco dreich. 

ug., a tardy payer, or sometimes applied to an uninteresting preacher. 

He's unco fu' in his ain house, that canna pick a bane in his 

Satirically spoken to those who are unwilling to take a meal in a 
friend's house. — Hislop, 

He's unco white aboot the gills. 

i,e.^ he looks delicate ; pale through fear. 

He's up i* the buckle, 
f.^., conceited. 

He's waur to water than to corn. 

ue,^ he is fonder of drink than food. 

He's weel eased that has aught o' his ain, when others go to 
meat. — Fergusson, 

He's weel put on. 

ue.<t well dressed. 

He's weel stocket there ben that will neither borrow nor lend. 

A man must be very favourably situated who can dispense with all 
assistance. — Hislop, 

He may be content who needs neither borrow nor flatter. — E. 

He's weel worthy o' sorrow that buys it wi' his ain siller. 

Compare^ He*s sairest dung, etc. 

He's windbound. 

A probationer for the ministry is said to be " windbound " when, fail- 
ing to get a church, he settles down in a school or some other subor- 
dinate appointment. — "Miss Maitland," by Mrs, Oliphant. 

He's worth gowd that can win it. 

He's worth nae weel that can bide nae wae. 

1.^., he does not deserve prosperity who cannot meet adversity, from 
the Latin Dulcia non meruit, qui non gustavit amara. There is a local 
addition usually made to this proverb in Berwickshire, as — 

He*s worth nae weel that can bide nae wae, 
As auld Eppie Orkney used to say. 

Eppie Orkney lived in Ayton, probably about the end of the seventeenth 
century. She seems to have been a notable woman in her time, for 
even yet her sayings are quoted. — Dr, Henderson, 

\ / 



Heads and thraws. 

i.e.^ lying side by side, the feet of the one by the head of the other. 

Hear a' parties. — Fergusson. 

H EARD you the crack that gave. 

Spoken when we hear an empty boast or a notorious lie. — Kelly, 

Hearken to the hinder end, aften comes not yet ; and 
Hereafter comes not yet. 

Spoken when we suspect that such a project or action will have an ill 
consequence. — Kelly. 

Heartwhole and moneyless, a hundred pounds would do me 
no harm. 

An answer to those who ask — How are you ? — Kelly, 

Hearth room and ha' room, steed room and sta' room. 

The ancient rights of travellers on the Borders. — See " The Siege of 
Roxburgh," ch. ii — Ettrick Shepherd, 

Heavy a* doun i' the Merse, | Fed upon brose and butter ; 

Bannocks and kail o' Lauderdale | Sets Jock oft owre the gutter; 

And curds and whey are very good meat 

For the herds upon Dye water. 

The Dye is a tributary of the Whitadder, and is peculiarly a Lammer- 
moor stream. — Dr. Henderson. 

Hech how is heavysome, | An' auld wife is dowiesbme, 
And courtesy is cumbersome | To them that canna shew it. 

"Hech how," an expression of grief, sometimes of relief or surprise. 

The whole is for the sake of the last, namely, that people who are 
not used to good breeding and mannerly behaviour perform it very 
badly.— AV//;/. 

** Hech ! " quo Howie, when he swallowed his wife's clue. 

Help for help in hairst. 

Refers to farmers assisting one another at harvest time. 

Help ! haud an ye may, | Or Roslin will lose his head this day. 

It is said that Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, in a hunting match with 
King Robert the Bruce, wagered his head that a white deer which they 
had started would be pulled down by his dogs before it could cross the 
march burn. The quarry being on the point of crossing the brook, the 
laird shouted out the words of this rh^me, which so encouraged his dog 
Help, that he made a spring and seized the deer in time to save his 
master, who immediately thereafter killed Help, so that the excellence 
of the dog might not again lead him into temptation. In the old church 
of Roslin there is a figure of a knight on the pavement, with the figure 
of a dog under his feet. These figures are said to represent Sir William 
and Help. 


Help is gude at a' thing except at the cog. \' 

We don't need help when taking our food. 

Hemp seed, I sow thee, | Hemp seed, I sow thee, 

And he who is my true love | Come after me and pu' me. 

The English version is as follows : — 

Hemp seed I set, 

Hemp seed I sow, 

The young man that I love 

Come after me and mow. — Hazlitt, 

On Hallowe'en a person who wished to ascertain his or her matri- 
monial prospects, went out to the peat stack, and sowing a handful of 
hemp seed called out the above incantation. Then from behind the 
left shoulder stood forth the apparition of the future spouse in the atti- 
tude of pulling the hemp. 

Knotting the garter is another Hallowe'en rite. A girl takes the 
garter from her left leg and ties three knots on it, repeating the follow- 
ing rh3rme upon tying each knot — 

This knot, this knot, this knot I knit, 
To see the thing I ne'er saw yet. 
To see my love in his array. 
And what he walks in every day ; 
And what his occupation be. 
This night I in my sleep may see ; 
And if my love be clad in green, 
His love for me is well seen ; 
And if my love is clad in gray, 
His love for me is far away ; 
But if my love be clad in blue, 
His love for me is ever true. 

Another version is — 

And if his livery I am to wear, 
And if his bairns I am to bear, 
Blithe and merry may he be, 
And may his face be turned to me. 

Hen scarts and filly tails | Make lofty ships wear low sails. 

Certain light kind of clouds are thus denominated, from their sup- \J 

posed resemblance to the scratches of hens on the ground and the tails 
of young mares. They are held as prognosticative of stormy weather. 
— Chambers, 

Henwoodie ! 

The slogans of the Cranstons, taken from Henwoodie, on Oznam 
Water in Roxburghshire, their place of rendezvous. The motto of this 
clan is, **Thou shalt want ere I want." — ** New Statistical Account of 
Scotland," article Oxnam. 

Herds wha count their hogs afore Beltane hae aften to count 


' The Ettrick Shepherd, *' The Shepherd's Calendar," "The Prodigal 
You must not count your yearlings till May day. — Cambrian. 

Here awa*, there awa', like the laird o' Hotch Potch's lands. 

** Bride of Lammermoor,'* ch. ii. 

Hickledy pickledy (higgledy piggledy), or one among another. — El 

That is to say, all through other, hurly burly, hodge podge, etc. 

Here come to cure a burnt sore, 

If the dead knew what the living endure, 

The burnt sore would burn no more. 

This is a Shetland incantation repeated by a person who is trying to 
cure a burn. The rhyme having been said, the operator blows his 
breath three times upon the burnt place. This recipe was believed to 
have been communicated by the spirit of her deceased mother to a 
young woman who had been burned. 

Here come John Black, and Gilbert Rain at his back. 

That is to say, clouds portending rain. 

Here to-day and away to-morrow. — Kelly. 

Here's a string o' wild geese, | How many for a penny? 

Ane to my lord, | And ane to my lady ) 

Up the gate and doun the gate, | They're a' floun frae me. 

Boys' cry on seeing a flock of wild geese. 

Here's the gear, but where's the money ? 

A proverbial excuse upon the showing of any fine thing. — Kelly » 

Here's the wine, but where's the wa'nuts ? 

Here's to you in water, | I wish it was in the wine, 
You'll drink to your true love, | An* I'll drink to mine. 

Het kail cauld, nine days auld, spell ye that in four letters. 

The point of the puzzle is the word that. 

Het love, hasty vengeance. 

Nihil vehemens durabile. — Latin. 

Hot love, soon cold ; and, Love me little, love me long. — E. 

So also Gaelic, Italian, French, and Danish. 

Hey, Willie Wine, and how, Willie Wine. 

This is a game played by young men and women. One of the lasses 
addresses one of the lads thus — 

Hey, Willie Wine, and how, Willie Wine, 
I hope for home you'll not incline ! 
You had better stop and stay all night, 
And ril gie thee a lady bright. 


Then Willie asks — 

Wha will ye gie if I with thee bide, 
To be my bonny blooming bride ? 

The girl replies — 

I'll gie ye Kate o* Dinglebell, 
A bonny body like yoursell. 

Then he declines the offer thus — 

I'll stick her up in the pear tree : 
' I lo'ed her once, but she's no for me, 
Yet I thank you for your courtesy. 

The game ends with the girl proposing a maiden agreeable to the youth. 

High Jinks. 

The favourite amusement of the old Edinburgh Clubs was played in 
this way. The dice were thrown by the company, and those upon 
whom the lot fell were obliged to assume and maintain for a time a 
certain fictitious character, or to repeat a fixed number of fescinnine 
verses in a particular order. If they departed from the character, or if 
their memory proved treacherous in the repetition, they incurred forfeits, 
which were either compounded for by swallowing an additional bumper 
or by paying a small sum towards the reckoning. See ** Guy Manner- 
ing," ch. 36, and note I. The phrase ** High Jinks " is still frequently 
used to express an exuberant frolic. 

High trees show mair leaves than fruit. I 

A disparaging allusion to tall persons. 

Highest in the court, nearest the widdie. 

Compare^ Ha' binks, etc. 

Highland Candlesticks. 

Macdonald of Keepoch, having made a bet with some Cumberland 
gentlemen that he could produce in his own castle more and better 
candlesticks than could be found in the whole of their county, was some- 
what at a loss how to make good his boast, as he had not an ounce of 
silver plate on the premises. However, as the event proved. Highland 
ingenuity was more than sufficient to supply the deficiencies of Highland 
poverty. "When the English gentlemen returned the chief's visit, he 
got out of his difficulty and won the wager, by substituting fully equipped 
and armed Highlanders — each man bearing in his right hand a naked 
sword, and in his left a torch — for the candlesticks he did not possess. 
— ** Legend of Montrose," ch. 4, and footnote. 

Highland honours. 

In drinking a toast with *' Highland honours," one foot is placed on l|i 
a chair and the other on the dining table. 

Highlanders shoulder to shoulder. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 34. 

The clan of Gael shoulder to shoulder. — Gaelic. 
Literally each with his arm round the shoulder of the other, as High- 
landers would do in crossing a deep water together. — Nicolson. 


Hilton, Homdean, and Jardinfield, | A king's living wad yield. 

These fertile farms are situated in the parishes of Whitsome and 
Ladykirk, Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson, 

\ Him that's awa'. 

So a widow speaks of her late husband. 

Him that beats a Cameronian has but anither to beat. 

The Ettfick Shepherd, "A Shepherd's Wedding." 

Hips and haws are very good meat, 

But bread and butter is better to eat. — Chambers, 

Hirsel' yont cannily ahint the toun. 

Literally, press forward cautiously, or shrewdly, behind the house. 
i.e., constantly endeavour to add to your land in the neighbourhood of 
your dwelling. A father's advice to a son. 

His absence is gude company, and his backside's a cordiaL 

His room's better than his company. — E. 

His auld brass will buy her a new pan. 

I'll cross him, and wrack him, until I heartbreak him, 
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan. — Bums, 

His back's at the wa'. 

i,e., he is unfortunate. 
His bark's waur nor his bite. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 22. 

His horn is not so hard as his roar is loud. — Gaelic. 

His birse is up. 

t.^., he is in a rage. 

His boat is kittle to trim. 

i.e., he is difficult to manage. 

His een's greedier than his guts. 

Compare^ He'll hae enough some day, etc. 

His e'ening sang and his morning sang are no baith alike. 

His face wad spean a foal to look at. 

His first word's aye warst. 

His horse got a bite aff a cauld bridle. 

i.e., neither hay nor corn. — Kelly. 

His hough was i' the sheep crook. 

i.e., he was in a fix. — The Ettrick Shepherd, ** Window Wat's Court- 


His life, but not his honour, feal'd. 

Spoken of those who die bravely in a good cause. — Kelly, 

His life is but in his lips. 

ue,y life is uncertain. — Galfs "Annals of the Parish," ch. 27. 

His meridian. 

ue»y noon dram. Until comparatively recent times, a morning — com- 
pare^ His morning, — and a noon dram were very generally indulged in 
by well-to-do Scotsmen. Scott says that the clerks employed in the 
Parliament House, Edinburgh, used regularly every day to rise up 
silently at the stroke of twelve and, headed by an ** old stager," proceed 
to John's Coffee House for their dram, which they drank in solemn 
silence, and then returned to their work. 

His morning. 

f.^., morning dram. 

His nose was as red as a partan's (crab) tae. 

His presence be about us ! 

His siller gangs like snaw afif a dyke. 

His strides were as stiff and as lang as a splinkey laddie's stalk- 
ing on stilts. 

Compare, He*s like a crane, etc. 
Galh **Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 80. 

His wark was nae better than a craw scratchin'. 

Hit it a bleech, Tarn Fish, 

And ye'se get brose in a muckle dish. 

Thomas Fish was laird of Bughteldub, a small property near Reston, 
Berwickshire. When thrashing his corn in the barn, the boys returning 
from school used to look in at the door, and call out to him, " Hit it a 
bleech, Tam Fish," causing Tam, much to their delight, to chase them 
with his flail. Applied ironically to one whose exertions we think are 
producing more cry than woo*. — Dr, Henderson, 

Compare, Muckle whistling, etc. 

HoGMANY, I Trollalay! 

Gie me o' your white bread, | TU hae nane o' your gray. 

Hoemanay, Trollalay 1 perhaps a corruption of the French, "Homme 
est ne, Trois rois la; i.e., a man is born, three kings are here — in 
allusion to the birth of Christ and the visit of the three wise men from 
the East. Dr. Robert Chambers suggests that the word Hogmanay is 
from the French, ** Aux gueux menez," that is, bring to the beggars. 
Professor Robinson of Edinburgh favours its derivation from the French 
phrase "Au gui menez," — to the mistletoe go- -which mummers for- 
merly cried in France at Christmas. The latter part of the rhyme given 
above refers to the custom of children visiting their neighbours on the 
last day of the year for their cakes. So in Fife and some other districts 


Hogmanay is called cake day. The children urge their request in the 
following couplet, — 

Our feet are cauld, our shoes are thin, 
Gies our cakes, and let us rin ; 

or in this rhyme, — 

Rise up, gudewife, and shake your feathers, 
Dinna think that we are beggars ; 
For we're but bairns come tae play, 
Rise up, and gies our Hogmanay. 

This is the Aberdeenshire version, the southern form is — 

Get up, gudewife, an' binna sweir, 
But deal your cakes while you are here. 
For the time will come when ye'U be dead. 
An' neither want for meal nor bread. 

Another form of greeting is — 

My shoon are made o' hoary hide. 
Behind the door I daurna bide ; 
My tongue is sair, I daurna sing, 
I fear I will get little thing. 

The evening of Hogmanay is termed in Fifeshire "singin' e'en," on 
account of the belief that the bees on that evening sing in their hives. 

On Hogmanay evening bands of young men called guizards, gro- 
tesquely dressed, go from door to door singing and acting the very 
curious old play of Golaschin. The following is the version prevalent 
in the Border district : — 

Dramatis Persona — Sir Alexander, Farmer's son, Golaschin, Wallace, 
Doctor Brown and Old Beelzebub. 

Sir Alexander enters and sings — 
Silence, silence, gentlemen, and on me cast an eye ; 
My name is Alexander, I'll sing you a tragedy. 
My men they are but young sir, they never fought before. 
But they will do the best they can — the best can do no more. 

The first I call in is the Farmer's son. 

Farmer's son — Here comes I, the farmer's son. 
Although I be but young, sir, 
I've got a spirit brave. 
And I will freely risk my life 
My country for to save. 

Golaschin appears — Here comes I, Golaschin — Golaschin is my name; 
My sword and pistol by my side, I hope to win the game. 

Farmer^ s son — The game, sir, the game, sir 1 it is not in your power, 
I'll cut you into inches in less than half-an-hour. 

Golaschin — My body's like a rock, sir. 
My head is like a stone. 
And I will be Golasehin till I am dead and gone. 

Wallace enters — Here comes I, Sir William Wallace, wight. 
Who shed his blood for Scotland's right ; 
Without a right, without a reason. 
Here I draw my bloody weapon. 

(They fight and Golaschin falls.) 


Farmer's son — ^Now, that yotuig man is dead, sir. 
And on the groand is laid ; 
And you shall suffer for it 
I'm very sore afraid. 

Wallace — It was not me that did the deed, 
Quite innocent of the crime ; 
It was the fellow behind my back 
That drew his sword so fine. 

Sir Alexander comes forward to Wallace — Oh, you are the villain, 
To lay the blame on me. 
For my two eyes were shut, sir. 
When that young man did dee. 

Wallace to Sir Alexander — Why could your eyes be shut, sir ? 
When I was looking on ; 
Why could your two eyes shut be 
When both the swords were drawn ? 

Farmer's son to Wallace — How can you thus deny the deed ? 
As I stood looking on, 
You drew your sword from out its sheath 
And slashed his body down. 

Wallace — If I have slain Golaschin, 
Golaschin I will cure, 
And I will make him rise and sing 
In less than half-an-hour. 
Round the kitchen, round the town, 
The next I call in is Dr. Brown. 

Dr. Brown enters — Here comes I old Dr. Brown, 
The best old doctor in the town. 

Wallace asks — ^What makes you so good, sir ? 

Doctor — Why, for my travels. 

Wallace — And where have you travelled ? 

Doctor — From Hickerty-pickerty-hedgehog, three times round the 
West Indies, and back to old Scotland. 

Wallace—is that all ? 

Doctor — No, sir. 

Wallace — What more ? 

Doctor — Why, IVe travelled from fireside to chairside, from chairside 
to stoolside, from stoolside to tableside, from tableside to bedside, from 
bedside to press-side, and got many a good lump of bread and butter 
from my mother, and that's the way my belly's so big. 

Wallace — Is that all, sir ? 

Doctor — Yes, sir. 

Wallace — How much would you take to cure this young man ? Would 
five pounds do ? 

Dr. Brown (turning away) — Five pounds ! No. Five pounds would 
not get a good kit of brose. Jack would come over the bed and sup 
them all up. 

Wallace — Would ten pounds do ? 


Doctor (approaching and touching the patient) — Well, ten pounds 
might get a little hoxy-croxy to his nose and a little to his bum. Rise 
up, Jack, and fight again ! 

Qolaschin rises up and sings — 
Once I was dead, sir, 
But now I am alive ; 
O, blessed be the doctor 
That made me to revive. 
O brothers, O brothers, 
Why drew you your sword to me ? 
But since I am revived again, 
We'll all shake hands and 'gree. 

All four — We'll all shake hands and 'gree, 
And never fight no more ; 
But we will be like brothers, 
As we were once before. 
God bless the master of this house, 
The mistress fair likewise. 
And all the pretty children 
That round the table flies. 
Go down to your cellar 
And see what ye can find ; 
Your barrels being not empty. 
We hope you will prove kind. 
We hope you will prove kind 
With some whisky and some beer. 
We wish you merry Christmas, 
Likewise a good New Year. 

After this was sung Old Beelzebub appeared to make the collection — 

Here comes I, Old Beelzebub, 

Over my shoulder I carry a club. 

And in my hand a frying pan, 

And I think myself a jolly old man. 

I've got a little box which can speak without a tongue. 

If you've got any coppers, please to pop 'em in. 

The costume of the actors in this old world play is generally on the 
following lines. Three of the mummers are attired in long white shirts 
coming down below the knee, and girt about by a gaudy scarf. Each 
man has a wooden sword attached to the scarf, and hanging by his side ; 
hideous false-faces of grotesquely-painted pasteboard conceal their fea- 
tures ; and tall paper helmets, gaily decorated with bright-coloured 
ribbons, complete their disguise. Another is oddly conspicuous in a 
woman's black gown, tied round the waist with a red handkerchief, and 
with an old military or police helmet for headgear. The doctor in the 
play wears a suit of rusty blacks, with a battered tall hat on his head, 
and carries on his arm a basket, presumably containing the parapher- 
nalia of his craft. 

The versions of the play, as used in different districts of the country, 
are not absolutely identical, and the names of the actors and their 
dresses also vary, but not to any great extent. 

Another form of salutation on entering is — 


Hery, Haiy, Hobblixhow, 

See ye not qaha is come now ? or — 

Oh ! leddy help your prisoner, 
The last nig^t o' the passing year. 

In Orkney, on this evening, bands of young men proceed firom house 
to house singing a song known as "We're a' Queen Mary's Men ** — ^the 
original singers being friars, thus followers of the Virgin Mary. For 
this ancient ballad, see "Summer and Winter in the Orknejrs," by 
Daniel Gorrie. 

In the Highlands a curious custom is prevalent at the New Year's 
season, which is entirely unknown in the Lowlands. The people of the 
place assemble, and the stoutest of the party gets a dried cow's hide, 
which he drags behind him, while the rest of the company follow, 
beating the hide with sticks and singing the following rhyme : — 

Hug man a ! 
Yellow bag. 
Beat the skin ; 
Carlin in neuk, 
Carlin in kirk, 
Carlin ben at the fire ; 
Spit in her two eyes. 
Spit in her stomach. 
Hug man a ! 

After going round the house where the meeting has taken place three 
times, each person utters an extempore rhyme extolling the hospitality 
of the master and mistress. The visitors are then regaled with bread, 
butter, cheese and whisky. Before leaving the house one of the party 
burns the breast part of the skin of a sheep and puts it to the nose of 
everyone, that all may smell it, as a charm against witchcraft and every 

HoLYROOD was not built in a day. V 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 10. 

Rome was not built in a day. — English, French, German, and Italian. 

Its by d^rees the fort is built — Gaelic. 

Link by link is made the coat of mail. — French. 

Honesty bauds lang the gate. 

To "baud the gate" is to maintain the even tenor of your way. — 

Honesty is no pride. 

Refers to carelessness in dress. — Kelly, 

Honesty keeps the croun o' the causey. 

Honour is a homicide and bloodspiller that gangs about making 
frays in the street; but credit is a decent, honest man that sits 
at hame and makes the pat play. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

Honour the bride on her bridal day. 


HooLY and fairly gangs lang in a day. 

«*The Antiquary," ch. 8 ; and 

Hooly and fairly men ride lang joume3rs. — Fergusson, 

Soft and fair goes far journeys, and He that goes softly, goes safely. — R 

HoosLY tattie broo, 

Gars the swine skunner, gars the dougs spue, 

Gars the lass o' our toun change her hue. 

The potatoe broth of Horsely has become a county proverb. Some 
say it was poisoned, and a young woman in a state of pregnancy 
poisoned by partaking of it. Horsely is a large farm in the parish of 
Coldingham, Berwickshire. — Dr. Henderson, 

Hope hands up the head. 

Hope helps. — E. 

Hope is sawin' while death is mawin'. 

HoPERS go to hell. — Keiiy, 

Hell is full of good meanings and good wishes, and Hell is paved 
with good intentions. — E. 

Horse and hattock. 

The well-known cry of the fairies when mounting for a moonlight 
expedition. Came to be familiarly applied on any occasion of mount- 
ing.—" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 7. 

Horses are gude of all hues. 

A good horse never had an ill colour. — E. 

Hough's i' the pat. 

In the old Border reiving days, when the beef was getting done, the 
lady of the house served up a pair of spurs on a trencher, or significantly 
remarked to the chief in the hearing of his men, " Hough's i* the pat, 
meaning that only the leg bones of the last bullock were left. 

Dishing up spurs, i.e.y dining off a whetstone. 

A Barmecide feast. — E. 

House gaes mad when women gad. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 4. 

A rouk toun's seldom a good housewife at home. — Yorkshire. 
'* A rouk toun " is a gossiping housewife, who loves to go from house 
to house. — Ray, 

Houses within themselves. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 36. Also called self-contained houses, in 
which the whole building is occupied by one family, as distinguished 
from those structures which are divided into fiats, each containing^a 
separate dwelling. 

HouT your dogs and bark yoursel*. 


A sharp return to those that say " Hout " to us, which is a word of 
contempt ; in Latin, apage ! — Kelly, 

How by yourself, bum'd be the mark. 

The Scots, when they compare person to person, or limb to limb, 
will say, ** Blist be the mark." This is spoken when other people 
throw up to us what we think agrees better to themselves, and instead 
of the blessing, add this imprecation. — Kelly, 

How came you and I to be so great ? 

Spoken when our inferiors are too familiar with us. — Kelly, 

How was Rome bigg'd ? 

An answer to them who ask how such and such a thing is to be done. 

HowBURN Stands its lee lane, 
Howburn folk are a' gane. 
The Pest has come by the water doun, 
And hasna left a soul i' th' toun \ 
The nettles grow on the hearth stane, 
And lang they'll grow ere there again 
A house will be seen at Howburn stead, 
For a' the folk o' Howburn's dead. 

It is said that some hundred years ago the inhabitants of the estate of 
Howburn, in the parish of Coldingham, perished in a visitation of the 
plague. The place was rebuilt about thirty years since (1856). — Dr. 

Human nature is nae better than its ca'ed. 

Humble worth and honest pride gar presumption stand aside. \; 

Hunger has sharp een ; and, A hungry man sees far. 
Hunger pierceth stone walls. — E. 

Hunger is hard in a hale man. 

i.e,^ to a healthy stomach. 

Hunger me and I'll harry thee. 

If servants get not their meat honestly and decently, they will neglect 
their master's business, or embezzle his goods. — Kelly, 

Hunger waits only eight days. 

A starved man is sooner or later driven to desperation. 

Hunger's gude kitchen to a cauld potato, but a wet divot to 
the lowe o' love. 

Hunger is good sauce to common meat, but a damper to love. — 


Hunger's gude kitchen or sauce is a universal saying. It occurs in 
Latin, French, English, Scotch, German, Danish, Dutch ; so 
Hunger is a good cook. — Gaelic. 

Hunger's ill to bide. 

Hungry stewards wear mony shoon. 

And in English. 

Hunt the gowk another mile | On the first o' Aprile. 

A greeting to an April fool. 

On the first of April 

You may send a gowk whither you will. — E. So — 

Hunting the gowk or cuckoo., a sleeveless errand. — E. A gowk's errand. 

Hurry no man's cattle. 

" Quentin Durward," ch. 7. 

Hush ye, hush ye, little pettie, 

Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye. 

And the Black Douglas shall not get ye. 

The good Sir James Douglas, the friend of Bruce, is the subject of 
this rhyme. His name had become so formidable that women used to 
sing these words to their children in order to frighten them. 

HuTTON for auld wives, | Broadraeadows for swine ; 
Paxton for drunken wives, and saumon sae fine ; 
Crossrig for lint and woo*, | Spittal for kail, 
Sunwick for cakes and cheese, | And lasses for sale. 

Places in the parish of Hutton, Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson. 

Hyndhaugh brig, and Hyndhaugh brae, 

Hyndhaugh brig shall slide away ; 

Hyndhaugh brig shall never stand 

For breaking o' the dead's command. 

But lift it up to Billy-burn-fit, 

And there it will stand for ages yet ; 

And there it will stand as firm's the Bass, 

Till ower it a thousand years shall pass. 

A packman in the 17th century left a sum of money to build a bridge 
over the Whitadder, with an injunction to build it near the foot of Billy 
Burn. This order was not obeyed, and as the bridge was being built 
at Hindhaugh, a voice was heard chanting the above rh3rme. This 
rhyme is ascribed by Henderson to George Lennox, schoolmaster at 
Chirnside, in the 17th century. The bridge was swept away by a flood ; 
part of one of the abutments still remains. 



I ANCE gied a dog hansel', an* he was hanged ere night. 

Used as a reason for not giving a gratuity, intimating that it would 
harm rather than benefit a person. — Hislop, 

I BAKE nae bread by your shins. 

Or, I am not indebted to you for any obligation. — Hislop, 

I BID you bide Wardlaw ! 

The slogan of the Maxwells. Wardlaw is a hill overlooking Caer- 
laverock Castle in Dumfries-shire, the rendezvous of the clan.-CAa/w^^rj. 

I BROUGHT him aflf the moor for God's sake, and he begins to 
bite the bairns. 

He has brought up a bird to pick out his eyes ; and, Put a snake in 
your bosom and it will sting when it is warm. — E. 

I CAN neither mak' buflf nor stye o't. 

Le.-t neither heads nor tails; one thing, or another. 

I CAN scarce believe ye, ye speak so fair. 

I CAN see as far through a millstane as ye can through a fir deal. 

GaWs ** Entail," ch. 97. 

I CANNA afford ye baith tale and lugs. 

Spoken to a person who is inattentive to what has been said to him, 
and who asks to have it repeated. — Hislop. 
He must tell you a tale and find your ears. — E. 

I CANNA be fashed. 

An expression of impatience. 

I CARENA if the rest were at Bamph (Banff). 

The Ettrick Shepherd, " Window Watt's Courtship." 

I CARENA the black afore my nail about it 

The Ettrick Shepherd, ** Adventures of Basil Lee." 

I CARENA whether the fire gae about the roast, or the roast gae 
about the fire, if the meat be made ready. 

i.e.f if the end is accomplished, no matter how it is done. 

I CARENA whether the tod worry the goose, or the goose worry 
the tod. 

I COULD ha'e done that mysel', but no sae weel. 

I DiNNA care a crack o' my thoom for him. 
"The Antiquary," oh. 25. 



I DiNNA care a tinkler's curse. 

An expression of supreme indifference. 

I GiED him an affcome. 

i.e.f a downsetting — offset. 

I GOT my supper. 

i.e., something has happened to spoil my appetite. 

I HAD a little sister, they called her Peep-Peep, 
She waded the waters so deep, deep, deep. 
She climbed up the mountains so high, high,* high. 
And, poor little thing, she had but one eye. 

Refers to a star. — Chambers. 

I HAD better kail in my cog, and never gave them a catch. 

Answer to them who chaff a girl about a suitor she dislikes. Refers 
to the practice of reapers throwing up their broth to cool them, which 
they can do without losing a drop. — Kelly. 

I HAD but little butter, an' that I coost on the coals. 

The little thing I had I mismanaged. — Kelly. 
I threw the helve after the hatchet. — E. 

I HAD died unless I had gone through with it — Periissem ni 

One of the Anstruthers of that ilk, finding that an antagonist with 
whom he had fixed a friendly meeting, was determined to take the 
opportunity of assassinating him, prevented the hazard by dashing out 
his brains with a battle axe. 

Two sturdy arms brandishing a battle axe, with the above motto, 
form the usual crest of the family. The motto of the Vernons, ** Ver 
non semper viret," and the motto of the Onslows, '* Festina lente," are, 
like this phrase, examples of what is called canting or punning heraldry. 
—Note M to *' Waverley." 

I HAD nae mind I was married, my bridal was sae feckless. 

Forgetting the marriage from the wretchedness of the wedding .-Gaelic. 
i.e.^ a circumstance was of so little importance that no notice was 
taken of it. — Hislop. 

I HAE a lang clue to wind. 

i.e., much to accomplish, and difficult work. 
I have a tangled skein of it to wind off. — E. 

I HAE a Scotch tongue in my head, if they speak Tse answer. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

I HAE a workman's eye in my head. — Kelly, 


HAE an auld craw to pluck wi' him, and a pock to put the 
feathers in. 

"Redgauntlet" Narrative, ch. 4. 

HAE baith my meat and my mense. 

Spoken when we proffer meat or anything else to them that refuse 
it. — Kelly, ** Mense," good manners. 

HAE gude broad shoulders. — Kelly, 
HAE gotten an ill kame for my ain hair. 

HAE ither grist to grind. 

1 have other fish to fry ; and, I have other eggs on the spit. — E. 
That was not the stuff on his distaff. — Gaelic. 

HAE licked myser clean. 

i,e,^ I have come well out of a transaction from which I anticipated 
loss. — Kelly. 

HAE muckle to do, and few to do for me. 

HAE seen as fou' a haggis toom'd on the midden. 

Or as good an article thrown away; applied disparagingly to any 
article in question. — Hislop. 

HAE seen as light a green. — Fergusson. 

HAE seen mair snaw on ae dike than now on seven. 

HAE seen mair than I hae eaten, else ye wadna be here. 

A sharp retort to them that doubt a statement of which the narrator 
has had ocular demonstration. — Hislop, 

All the bread that I have eaten was not baked in one oven. — E. 

HAE seen mony a smaller madam. 

Either in bulk or station, used in former times by ordinary women to 
those who call them mistress. — Kelly, 

HAE the Bible, an' there's no a better book in a' your aught. 

HAE tint the staff I herded wi'. 

I have lost the support I depended on. — Hislop, 

HAE twa holes in my head an' as mony windows. 

HATE " bent gates " quo' the wife when she haurled her man 
through the ingle. 

i.e.^ she approves of straightforward conduct. Kelly says the second 
part is added only to make it comical. 

I HAUD blench of him. 

An allusion to the different tenures by which lairds hold their lands, 


some ward, some black ward, some blench. This last pays no service. 

I HEARD you lately commended. — Kelly, 
I HEIGHT you a hire. 

A promise. — Kelly, 

I KEN by my cog how my cow's milked. 

1.^., by the appearance if a thing is properly done. 

I KEN by your hauf tale what your hale tale means. 

Applied to those who come to borrow money. 

I KEN it as weel as fill Bayer (a cow's name) kens her stake. 

I know him as well as the beggar knows his dish. — E. 

I LIKE ill to come in ahint them, and oot afore them. 

*' Rob Roy," ch. 36. f.^., I do not care to take an advants^e of 

I MADE the carles Lords, but wha the deil made the carlines 
Ladies ? 

** Redgauntlet," Note O. James V. thus disposed of the claim made 
by the wives of the Scottish judges to share their husband's titles. 

I MAUN do as the beggars do, when my wame's fu' gang awa*. 

Spoken jocularly when a person who has been partaking of a meal 
with another rises to go away. — Hislop, 

I MET a man wha speer'd at me, 
Grow there berries in the sea ? 
I answered him by speering again, 
Is there skate on Clocknaben ? 

Clocknaben is a mountain in Aberdeenshire. An answer to an 
impertinent question. So, in England it is said — 

A man in the wilderness asked me 
How many strawberries grow in the sea ? 
I answered him as I thought good. 
As many red herrings as grow in the wood. 

I MIGHT bring a better speaker frae hame than you. 
I ne'er cast aff me before I lie doun. 

Le.y I will not give my goods away before my death. — Kelly, 
He'll not put off his doublet before he goes to bed. — E. 

I ne'er heard it waur told. 

An answer to one who disparages you. — Kelly, 

I ne'er let on. 

».e., I said nothing about the matter. Dean Ramsay calls this "a 
peculiar Scottish phrase," and adds that it " now seems to have passed 


away." In this, however, he is mistaken, as the saying is still in 
common use. 

I ne'er lo'ed meat that craw'd in my crappie. 

ue,, I do not care about meddling with matters that may injure me. 

I ne'er lo'ed water in my shoon, and my wame's made o' better 

Spoken by a drouthy neighbour when offered a drink of water. 

I ne'er saw a foul thing cleanly. 

Spoken when they who used to be dirty enough, pretend to cleanli- 
ness. — Kelly, 

I ne'er sit on your coat tail. 

i.e,^ I never interfere with you in any way. 

I NEITHER got Stock nor hoch. 

i.e,, neither money nor interest. — Kelly. 
Sors, cum usura perit. — L. 

I OWE you a day's wark in hairst. 

"Redgauntlet,'* Narrative, ch. i8. This is a threat, meaning I owe 
you a bad turn, I will pay you out yet. In " Rob Roy," ch. 23, Ut is 
used in the opposite sense, i.^., I owe you a good turn. 

I PRICKED nae louse since I darned your hose, and then I might 
hae pricked a thousand. 

An answer of a tailor to him that calls him pricklouse. — Kelly, 

I SAT upon my houtie croutie (hams), 
I lookit owre my rumple routie (the haunch), 
And I saw John Heezlum Peezlum 
Playing on Jerusalem pipes. 

Refers to the man in the moon. 

The term Jerusalem is often applied in folk-lore to supernatural 
things. — Chambers, 

I SOUGHT nae gude and got nane, like Michael Scott's man. 

** The Antiquary,'* ch. 38. It is said that Michael Scott's man, on 
being churlishly received at a farm-house, threw his bonnet on the floor 
with the words — 

" Master Michael Scott's man 
Sought nae bread, and got nane." 

At this the churlish wife and her whole household danced round the 
enchanted bonnet. Applied when people are refused what they don't 
ask for ; as the farmer's wife fell out on the wizard's man before he had 
an opportunity of making his request. 

I SPOKE but one word, give me but one knock. 


I STOOD upon Eyemouth Fort, | And guess ye what I saw, 
Femeyside and Flemington, | Newhouses and Cocklaw ; 
The fairy folk o* Fosterland, | The witches o' Edencraw, 
And the bogle in the Billy-myre, 
Wha kills our bairns a\ — Berwickshire. 

A fort was erected at Eyemouth in 1557, and its site is now a green 
mound. Ferneyside, Flemington, and Cocklaw are farm places in the 
parish of Ayton. Newhouses is now St, John's, a farm place in the 
parish of Foulden. Fosterland was in Buncle parish. — Dr, Henderson, 

Chambers has a variation on the last two lines as — 

The rye rigs o' Reston, 
But Dunse dings a'. 

I THINK mair o' the sight than the ferlie. 

* * I was better pleased that I had my eyes to see it, than any pleasure 
I had in seeing of it. — Kelly, 

I THINK mair o' your kindness than its worth. 
I THINK you ha'e ta'en the grumple face. 

Applied to persons in a pet. You are sick of the mulligrubs with 
eating chopped hay. — E. 

I WAS temptit at Pittempton, | Draiglit at Baldragon, 

Stricken at Strike-Martin, 

And killed at Martin's-Stane. — Forfarshire. 

This rhyme is founded on a tradition that a dragon killed and 
devoured the nine daughters of a peasant residing at Pittempton, about 
three miles from Dundee, as they went one after the other to the well. 
A pursuit was organized, and led by a youth named Martin, the lover 
of one of the unfortunate maidens. The dragon was first attacked at 
Baldragon, about half a mile from Pittempton, and draiglit or wetted 
in the moss of that place. Two miles to the north, Martin felled the 
beast with his club, and the scene of this achievement was thence called 
Strike-Martin. Haifa mile further on Martin killed the monster, at a 
place called Martin's-Stane, where a stone bearing a figure of a serpent 
and the above lines stands at the present day. — Chambers, 

I WILL add a stone to his cairn. — Highland. 

To add a stone seems to imply that a person will bear testimony to 
the good qualities of the departed. — Hislop, 

I WILL be your servant when you have least to do and most to 

The true meaning of that common phrase "your humble servant." — 

I WILL do my good will, as he said that threshed in his cloak. 

This was some Scotchman, for I have been told that they are wont to 
do so, myself have seen them hold plough in their cloaks. — Ray, 


I WILL put a nick in my stick. 

i.e,^ make a note of it ; remember it. The phrase originated from 
the nick sticks used by bakers as a sort of tally in settling with their 
customers. Each family had its own nick stick, and as each loaf of 
bread was delivered a nick was made in the stick. Accounts in Ex- 
chequer were also kept by the same sort of check. In Prior's time the 
English bakers had the same method of reckoning, for he says : — 

Have you not seen a baker's maid 
Between two equal panniers sway'd ? 
Her tallies useless lie and idle, 
If placed exactly in the middle. 

—"The Antiquary," note B. 

In the nick of time, has probably the same origin, as time was for- 
merly calculated by means of these notches. 

I WILL sooner walk to the grave o' Sir Patrick Spence and the 
Scottish lords, wha lie between Leith and Aberdeen. 

i.e., I will rather drown myself than do what you wish. 

I WILL speak to my lord about your business. 

A senseless answer when we see a thing past remedy. — Kelly, 

I, Willie Wastle, | Stand firm in my castle, 

And a' the dougs in your toun | Can no ding Willie Wastle doun. 

This rhyme was said to have been sent by John Cockburn, Governor 
of Hume Castle, as an answer to a summons of surrender by Colonel 
George Fenwick, under the Protectorate of Cromwell, 1650. Willie 
Wastle was pulled down for all his boasting. — Henderson. 

Boys repeat these words in a game, and Burns makes Willie Wastle 
the hero of one of his humorous songs. 

I wiNNA lie in my ain dish. 

i.e.^ say I have got meat when I have not. 

" I WINNA mak' a toil o' a pleasure/' quo' the man when he 
buried his wife. 

A man going under his wife's head to the grave was bid go faster, 
because the way was long and the day short, answered — **I will not 
make a toil of a pleasure. ' — Kelly, 

I WISH he and I had a peck of gold to deal, there should be 

scarted backs o' hands, and hinging by the wicks (jaws) o' the 


Spoken when one is said to be stronger than us, intimating that upon 
a good occasion we would not yield to him. — Kelly. 

I WISH I could put my finger where you can put your whole 
hand. — Kelly, 

I WISH I had a string in his lug. 


WISH it may be the first sight ye'U see. 

The answer to a person who tells you he expects something which 
you are doubtful if he will obtain. — Hislop, 

WISH you had brose to lay the hair o' your beard. 

A disdainful answer of a girl to her sweetheart. — Kelly, 

WISH you had drunk water when you drank that soup drink. 

Spoken to a person who is speaking indiscreetly, suggesting that he 
would have been more prudent had he been sober. — Kelly, 

WISH you had wist what you said. 

I wish you had never said that word. — E. 

WISH you may ha'e as muckle Scotch as tak' you to your bed. 

Spoken when our companions, beginning to take with the drink, 
begin to speak Latin, . . . believing that by and by they will b« 
at that pass that they will be able to speak no language. — Kelly, 

WISH you may lamb in your lair, as mony a gude ewe has 

Or, I wish your early rising may do you no harm. 

WISH you the gude o*t that dogs get o' grass. 

WISH you was neither adest her (on this side) nor ayont her 
(on the other side). 

Spoken to them who jeer you with some woman you have an aversion 
isi.— Kelly. 

WISH you were able, e'en though ye didna do't. 

WISH you were laird o' yer word. 

WOULD as soon see your nose cheese, and the cat get the first 
bite o't. 

A disdainful answer of a girl to her sweetheart. — Kelly, 

WOULD be out o' my ain kins maister. 

Comparet I would not call the King my cousin. 

WOULD gie a plack and a bawbee for that. 

Gal^s **Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 21. ue,^ it is something I value. 
I would give a trifle for it. — E. 
Compare, I would nae lose thee, etc. 

WOULD hae my ee fu\ 

WOULD hae something to look at on Sunday. 

This is the answer of a man who is asked of what use a wife would 
be to him. 


I wouLDNA ca' the King my cousin. 
Indicates extreme contentment. 

I WOULDNA fodder you for a' your muck ; and, 

I WOULDNA fodder you for a' your wark. 

I would not have your cackling for all your eggs. — E. 

I WOULDNA hae kent ye if I had met ye in my parritch. 

Spoken to a friend who is much altered in appearance. 
I shouldn't know him if I met him in my gruel. — Gaelic. 

I WOULDNA lose thee for twa and a plack. 

** Quentin Durward," ch. 37. Compare^ I would gie a plack, etc, 

I WOULDNA tak' a bite o' his bed straw for the love o' his person. 

A saucy answer of a girl when told of a sweetheart she pretends to 
contemn. — Kelly, 

I WOULDNA that my fit war in your shoon. 

I WOULD rather be your Bible than your horse. 

i,e,i Because you neglect the one and overwork the other. 

I WOULD rather gae by his door than ower his grave. 
A wish that our sick friend may recover. — Kelly, 

I WOULD rather hae a groat than a grip o' your coat. 

Spoken by young fellows when girls run away from them, as if they 
were careless. — Kelly, 

" I WOULD rather see than hear tell o't," as blind Pate said. 

Better have it than hear of it. — E. 

I'll be Daddy's bairn and Minnie's bairn. 

Spoken by them who decline to enter into a dispute. — Kelly, 

I'll big nae sandy mills wi' you. 

This refers to the custom of children building houses in the sand for 
sport. —Jamieson, 

i.e.t I'll have nothing to do with you. Another version is. We'll 
ne'er big sandy bourocks thegither. 

I'll break yer back and send ye tae the skinner's trade. 

Commonly used in jest. — Kelly, 

I'll bring him doun on his marrow banes. 

i.e.y make him submit. Originally, bend his knees as he does to the 
Virgin Mary. 

I'll bring the screw to the neb o' the mire snipe. 

i,e,, bring matters to a crisis, put the screw on. — The Ettrick Shep- 
herd, **The Brownie of Bodsbeck," ch. 3. 


I'll bring Yule belt to the Beltane belt. 

i.e^y I will stint my diet. 

Meat is plentiful at Christmas and scarce in May. — Kelly, 

I'll dee't in coorse, as Carrie gaed through the glen. 

In the l)eginning of this century Alexander Scorgie ran a public 
conveyance V^tween Aberdeen and Huntly, and in 1807 extended his 
journey to Keith. On a very stormy day, when Scorgie with his 
"Caravan" had arrived at Pitmachie — long a well-known coaching 
stage — some one put to him the question, **Foo'll ye win through the 
glens in sic a nicht?" to which he replied, **ril gae through in coorse," 
and the saying became a local byeword. 

I'll do as M*Kissock's cow did, I'll think mair than I'll say. 

1.^., I will nurse my wrath.— AW/y. 

I'll do as the man did when he selt his land. 

I will not do it again, for selling of an estate is a fault that few are 
twice guilty of. — Kelly. 

I'll draw the belt nearer the ribs ; and, 

I'll gar him draw his belt to his ribs. 

The first means I will retrench my expenses, and the second I will 
compel him to defend himself. 

I'll gae as peaceably on you as on the house floor. 

A threat. — Kelly, 

I'll gar day licht shine through you. 

** The Black Dwarf," ch. 7. Sc— 

I'll make a black cock of you. Make bird's food of you. Double 
you up like a bagpipe. — Gaelic. i.e,^ kill you. 

I'll gar him plew the floor wi' his nose., knock him down. — The Ettrick Shepherd^ **The Brownie of 
Bodsl)eck," ch. 3. 

I'll gar his ain garters bind his ain hose. 

That is, what expense his business requires I will take it out of his 
own money. — Kelly. 

I'll gar ye blirt (cry) with baith yer een. 
A threat, — Kelly, 

I'll gar ye claw where it's no yeuky. 

Gait's " Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 96. 

It would make a man scratch where it doth not itch. 
To see a man live poor to die rich. — E, 

Est furor baud dubius simul et manifesta phrenesis. 
Ut locuples moriaris egenti vivere izXo,— -Juvenal, — L. 

The Scottish saying is a threat to give one a beating. 


I'll gar ye ken the dog frae the door bar. 

i.e.t make you keep your distance. — Kelly, 
Compare^ He kens nae the door, etc. 

I'll gar ye laugh water. 

ue.<i make you weep. — Kelly, 

I'll gar ye mak twa o' that. 

i,e., eat your words. — Kelly, 

I'll gar ye run like a sheep frae the shears. — Kelly, 
I'll gar ye sing Port yowl (howl). 

What the English call a catch, the Scottish call a port, as Carnegie's 
Port, Port Arlington, Port Athol, etc. — Kelly, 

I'll gar yer harns gape (clatter). 

i.e.^ I'll box your ears. 

** harns gape," brains clatter. — Kelly. 

I'll get a better forespeaker than you for nought. 

You are good to help a lame dog over a stile. — E» 

I'll gie ye a bane to pike that will haud yer teeth gaun. 

Or, that will stick in yer hause. 

i.e.^ work which will keep you busy for a time. 

Something you will not easily digest. — Kelly, 

I'll gie ye a fluet on the cheek blade till the fire flee frae yer 
een holes. 

I will box your ears soundly. — Kelly, 

I'll gie ye a gob slake. 

A blow on the chafts. — Kelly, 

I'll gie ye a meeting, as Mortimer gave his mother. 

Used as a threat. — Kelly. 

I'll gie ye let-a-bee for let-a-bee like the bairns o' Kelty. 

i.e.^ I will give you as good as I get. Compare^ I'll mak' Cathkin's 
covenant, etc., which is the converse of this saying. 

I'll gie ye on the one cheek, and kep you on the other. 

A threat. — Kelly, 

I'll gie ye one and lend ye another. 

A threat. — Kelly, 
I'll gie ye the back o' the door to keep. 

i,e.^ turn you out of the house. — The Ettrick Shepherd, 

I'll gie ye the thing that winna mool in yer pouch. 

"Mool," ** crumble." A promise. — Kelly, 


I'll gie ye the thing that yer seeking. 

A threat. — Kelly, 

I'll gie ye yer fairing. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 17. 1.^., I will give you a thrashing — ^your 
deserts. A shirtfull of sore bones. — £. 

O Tam, O Tam, ye*ll get yer fairing, 
In hell they'll roast ye like a herring. 

**Tam o* Shanter," Burns. See^ You'll get your fairing. 

I'll hae neither hand nor foot in't. 

** Black Dwarf," ch. 3. I will have nothing to do with it. 

I'll hae nae simmering or wintering about it. 

GaWs ** Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 98. I will have no delay. 
" To simmer and winter," to spend much time in forming a plan, to 
ponder, to ruminate.— ya/wjVj^«. 

I'll haud the grip I've got. 

(7a//'x "The Entail." 

I'll kame your wig for you. 

f.^., give you a good talking to. 

I'll keep my mind to mysel, and tell my tale to the wind. 

I'll keep nae reckoning wi' him that keeps nae reckoning wi' 
me. — Highland. 

"Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 34, 

I'll kiss ye behind the lug, and that winna break the blood in 
yer face. — Kelly, 

I'll kiss ye when ye're sleeping, and that'll hinder ye to dream 
o' me when yer dead. — Kelly, 

I'LL lay in a leaf of my Bible. 

This custom of making a mark by folding a leaf in the party's Bible 
when a solemn resolution is formed, is still held to be, in some sense, 
an appeal to heaven for his or her sincerity. — "Heart of Midlothian," 
ch. 10, and footnote. 

I'll learn ye better manners than to bite folk in yer sleep. 

I'll learn ye to lick, for suppin' is dear. 

I'll mak' a rope o' draff haud you. 

Signifying that he has no great mind to go away. — KeUy, 

I'll mak' a shift, as Macwhid did wi' the preachin'. 

Macwhid was a knowing countryman, and a great stickler for the 
King and the Church. At the Restoration, clergymen being scarce, he 


was asked if he thought he could preach ; he answered that he could 
make a shift, upon which he was ordained and got a living. — Kelly, 

I'll mak' Cathkins. covenant with you : let-a-bee for let-a-bee. 

On one occasion the laird of Cathkins (near Glasgow), when returning 
home drunk, was accosted by a neighbour dressed up to personate the 
deil, in which character he claimed to carry off the laird as his rightful 
property. But Cathkins showed fight, and was about to commence the 
onslaught, when a parley was proposed, and the issue was the covenant 
here given. — Ramsay's ** Reminiscences." 

Compare^ I'll gie ye let-a-bee, etc. 

I'll mak' the mantle meet for the man. 

That is, I'll pay you according as you serve me. — Kelly, 

I'll mak' you sing on the wrong side o' your mouth. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 37. 

I'll ne'er brew drink to treat drinkers. 

That is to say, I will not press you to drink against your wilL 

I'lt, ne'er dirty the bannet I'm gaun to put on. 
I'll ne'er lout sae laigh an' lift sae little. 

It's not worth while making any exertion, the reward is so poor. 
I will never stoop low to take up nothing. — E. 

I'll ne'er pit the rogue aboon the gentleman. 
I'll no mak' stepbairns o' them. 

i.e,^ I will treat them all alike. 

I'll no stir a foot. 

I'll no tell a lee for scant o' news. 

I'll pay you and put naething in your pouch. 
That is to say, I will give you a flogging. 

I'll pit daur ahint the door and do't. 

i.e.^ carry out my threat. Spoken when a person **daurs" another 
to do such a thing. 

I'll rather strive wi' the lang rigg than the ill neighbour. 

Rather have trouble of the business myself than be burdened with a 
disagreeable partner. 

I'll ride my ain horse wi' my ain ha'ding. 

Do my business in my own way.— Galfs "Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 25. 

I'll say naething, but I'll yerk at the thinking. 

I will keep my sorrows to myself, yet when I think of them I will 
** yerk " (writhe) with mental agony. 


I'll scum yer jaws. 

Box your ears. — Kelly, 

I'll see day about wi' ye. 

Compare^ 1*11 gie ye let-a-bee, etc. 
I'll see the stars gang withershins first. 

Bid Iceshogels hammer red gauds on the studdy, 
And fair simmer mornings nae mair appear ruddy : 
Leave thee, leave thee. Til never leave thee, 
The stars shall gang withershins ere I deceive thee. 

• — " The Table Miscellany." 

" I'll sell my lad," quoth Livistone. " I'll buy't," quoth Bal- 

If a man has a good pennyworth to sell, he will find a buyer. — Kelly. 

I'll serve you a' wi' ae vessel. 

1.^., all alike, or give nothing to any of you. — Kelly, 

I'll serve ye when ye hae least to do. 

I'll sort him. 

A threat. — "Guy Mannering," ch. 33. 

I'll supple him. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 55. Similar to 1*11 sort him. 

I'll tak a mote frae yer lug. — Kelly, 

Give you a blow on the cheek. 
I'll tak a rung and rizle yer rigging wi't 

A threat. — Kelly. 

I'll tak nae mair o' your counsel than I think fit. 
I'll tak the best first, as the priest did o' the plooms. 
I'll tell the bourd, but no the body. 

i.e,^ I will tell the jest but mention no names. 

I'll wad ye a plack. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 36. 

I'll watch yer watergate. 

i.e,^ for an advantage over you. — Kelly. 

I'm as auld as you're ancient ; and, 

I'm as far North as you're South. 

The two preceding sayings mean that clever as you are, or think you 
are, you won't get the better of me. 

I'm as bad as Willie Craw, | I can neither see toun, tilt, nor ha'. 


William Crow or Craw, a Chirnside character of the last century, got 
lost in Edinburgh, and went about the streets exclaiming that tie 
''could neither see toun or tilt." — Dr, Henderson, 

I'm at my bind. 

i.e,^ I've got my full measure of liquor. 

" Tm but beginning yet," quo' the wife when she ran wud. 
An answer to them that ask us if we are done. — Kelly, 

I'm flytin' free wi' you. 

Out of the reach of your tongue. — Kelly, 

I'm forejidged, forfoughten, and forejeskit. 

Simply means I am very fatigued. 

I'm going the enand you could not go for me. — Kelly, 
I am going to my Uncle John's house. — E. 

I'm like the dogs o' Rawburn, | I've got my back to the wa*, 
An' if I dinna slip I'll no fa\ 

Rawburn is a large pastoral farm in the Lammermoor district of Ber* 
wick*shire. Compare Ye're like the dogs o' Dunragget, etc. 

I'm like the piper's cow, gie me a pickle pea-strae and sell your 
wind for siller. 

Galt*s " Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 34. A bird in the hand, etc. 
A small gift is to be preferred to many promises. 

I'm muckle at a loss. 

I'm neither sma' drink thirsty, nor grey bread hungry. 
Spoken when people do not get the treatment they expect. 

I'm next the wa' wi' ye. 

i.e., it is my turn to stand treat. — Wilson^ s ** Tales of the fJordcrs." 

" I'm no a novice," as the Renfrew doctor said. 

Gala's *♦ Entail." ch. 74. 

I'm no a pirn the waur o't. 

I'm no sae blind as I'm blear-e'ed. 
i.e., I could see if I chose, 

I'M no sae scant o' clean pipes as to blaw wi' a burnt cutty. 

Spoken by a woman, meaning I neH nM tAke ft widowtr wh«a I OHI 
get a bachelor. — Ke/ly. " Catty," ft nhort pipe, 

I'm no sae young a cat but I ken a mount hf % feftthtr. 

Tke Ef trick Shepherd, "The Wool Oatherer/' 

I'm no that fu' but I'm gayly yet. 

Nearly hut not quite nfltisfied. 



'm ower auld a dog to learn new tricks. 
\m used wi't, like Wull Spear wi' the tacket. 
'm wae for your skaith, there's so little o't 

A mock condolence. — Kelly, 

Ve made a vow, and TU keep it true, 
That I'll never stang man through gude sheep's woo'. 

This is called the Adder's Aith, and refers to the supposed inability 
of the adder to sting through woollen cloth. — Chambers, 

DLE dogs worry sheep. 
DLE young, needy auld. 
DLENESS is the deil's langsettle. 

Because it is conducive to mischief. — The Ettrick Shepherd, 

DLESET and wastry are near friends. 

DLESET is the mither o' mickle ill. 

DLESET seldom heeds aboot being clean. 

F a gude man thrives, a' thrive wi' him. 

F a lee could hae worried you, you had been dead langsyne. 

If a lie could have choked him that would have done it. — £. 

F a' be weel, I'll be wyteless. 

Spoken with a suspicion that all will not be well, and if so, I have 
no hand in it. — Kelly, 

F a' bowls row right. 

f.^., if all goes well. — ** Rob Roy," ch. 20. 

F a' heights hitt. — Kelly, 

That is, if all promises be kept. 

F a' thing's true, that's nae lee. 
An expression of incredulity. 

F a' your hums and haws were hams and haggises, the parish 
needna fear a dearth. 

To " hum and haw," to dally or trifle with one about any business by 
indefinite and unintelligible language.— ;/a/wi«<7». 

" If " an' " an' " spoil many a gude charter. 

If ane winna anither will — the morn's the market day. 

If Auchindownie cock disna craw, 

And Balmain horn disna blaw, 

I'll tell ye where the gowd mine is in Largo Law. 


A ghost who possessed the secret of a treasure buried in Largo Law, 
Fifeshire, promised to disclose it to a shepherd on the conditions 
mentioned in the rhyme. Unfortunately, just as the spirit was about 
to divulge the secret, the cowherd of Balmain "blew a blast both loud 
and dread," upon which the ghost vanished, after exclaiming — 

Woe to the man that blew the horn 

For out of the spot he shall ne'er be borne. 

So Tammas Norrie, the luckless horn-blower, was struck dead on the 
spot, and so firmly pinned to the earth that his body could not be re- 
moved. A cairn of stones was raised over it, vfhich, now grown into 
a green hillock, is still called Norrie's Law. — Chambers, 

If Candlemas is fair and clear, 
There'll be twa winters in the year ; and 

If Candlemas day be dry and fair, 
The half o' winter's to come and mair ] 
If Candlemas day be wet and foul, 
The half o' winter's gane at Yule. 

The English versions are as follows — 

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight ; 
If on Candlemas day it be shower and rain, ill winter is gone, and 
will not come again. Also — 

The hind had as lief see 
His wife on a bier, 
As that Candlemas day 
Should be pleasant and clear. 

Hazlitt says — This is a translation or metaphrase of that old Latin 
distich — 

Si sol splendescat Maria purificante. 

Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante. 

If e'er I be rich and ye puir, I ken what ye'U get. 
A promise. — Kelly, 

If e'er ye mak' a lucky puddin* I'll eat the prick. 
That^is, I am much mistaken if ever you do good. 

If grass grow green in Janaveer, 
It will be the waur for't a' the year. 

With reference to this saying, which is also current in England, Ray 
points out that in the year 1^7, though the weather in January was 
very mild, and the grass green, yet in the following summer the hay 
was not abundant. 

If he be nae a souter he's a gude shoe clouter. 
If he be old he has the mair wit. 

An excuse for marrying an old man, but a lame one. — Kelly * 

If he binds his pock she'll sit doun on't. 



Spoken when a niggardly man is married to a more niggardly 
woman. — Kelly. 

If he does not fear, he shall feel. 

** Legend of Montrose," ch. i6. 

If he gies a duck he expects a goose. 

If he has one^ buy him ; 

If he has tiuo^ try him ; 

If he has three^ look about him \ 

If he has/7wr, come without him. 

A horse with one white foot was always reckoned a good beast, 
whilst four white feet were uniformly reprobated, as in the above pro- 
verbial rule, in buying a horse. — Robertson^ s ** Rural Recollections." 

If he*s biggit in the moss, he maun gang into the mire. 
As you make your bed, so you must lie on it. — E. 

If I can get his cart at a water, I shall lend it a put. — Fergusson. 
If ever I catch his cart overthrowing, I'll give it one shove. — E. 

If I canna keep my tongue I can keep my siller. 
If I canna keep geese, I can keep gaislins. 

If I cannot work my revenge upon the principal author of my injury, 
I will upon his children, relations, or friends. — Kelly, 
As I cannot touch the big goose, I'll pound the goslings. — Gaelic. 

If I canna sew I can yerk. 

A Liddesdale cobbler, who also did a little reiving at an odd time, 
was on one occasion, when returning home from a foray, sorely pressed 
by an English pursuer, who, as the pair laboured through the marshy 
ground of the ** Debateable Land," twitted the cobbler with the loose 
stitches for which his work was notorious. At this point the English- 
man's horse became immersed in the bog, and was brought to a stand- 
still, on which the cobbler turning round, and seeing how matters 
stood, let fly an arrow at his pursuer with such a true aim that he 
pinned his thigh to the saddle, following up the exploit with the taunt- 
ing remark, '*If I canna sew, I can yerk." To yerk is the quick 
movement with which cobblers draw the waxed thread through the 
leather. Metaphorically, to start, to writhe with pain. 

Applied so as to mean. Whatever I may, or may not be able to do, 
I'm a match for you at any rate. 

If I come I maun bring my stool wi' me. 

For, He that comes unbidden sits unserved, so no place will be pre- 
pared for me. 

If I do not well, do you better. 

An answer to the question — How do you do ? — Kelly. 

If I had a dog as daft I would shoot him. 


If my dog were as ill bred as you, the first thing I should do would 
be to hang him. —Gaelic. 

If I had you at Maggy Mill's house I would get word about wi' 


It took its rise from a country fellow who, hearing his minister in the 
pulpit say something that he thought reflected on him, bawled out this 
proverb, thinking that if he was at the alehouse with him he would 
tell him his own. — Kelly. 

If I hae done amiss Til male' amends. 

If I live another year FU call this tarn (last) year. 

That is to say, I will change my way of life. — Kelly, 

If I was at my ain barn yett. 

i.e.^ at home among my friends I would not submit to such treatment. 

If I'm no kind I'm no cumbersome. 
If I'm spared. 

A reverent expression in referring to the future. 

If " ifs " an' ^* ans " were kettles and pans there would be no 

use for tinklers. 

Were it not for ** if" and ** but," we should all be rich for ever. — F. 
But for ** were it not," no man would be alive. — Gaelic. 

If it be a faut it's nae ferlie. 

Nothing remarkable, but what might have been expected. 

If it be ill, it's as ill rused. 

Spoken of them who discommend what we have. — Kelly. 

If it be not Bran, it is Bran's brother. 

** Waverley," ch. 45. A Highland proverb. Bran, the dog of Fin- 
gal, is often the theme of Highland proverb as well as song. 

If it can be nae better it's weel it's nae waur.' 
If it does nae gude, it can do nae ill. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 25. 

If it sair me to wear it may sair you to look at. 

If it serve me to wear, it may gain you to look to. — E. 

If it winna be a gude shoe we'll mak' a bauchel o't. 

* * A bauchel " is an old shoe. If a certain thing wont do for this 
purpose, we'll put it to some inferior use. 

If it winna sell it winna sour. 

It is good, and wont spoil by keeping. 



If marriages were made in heaven, you twa hae few friends 

If naebody but wise folk were to marry the warld wad be ill 


If New Year's eve night wind blows south, 

It betokenelh warmth and growth ; 

If west, much milk, and fish in the sea ; 

If north, much cold and storms there will be ; 

If east, the trees will bear much fruit ; 

If north-east, flee it man and brute. 

The Gaelic version — 

South wind, meat and plenty ; 

West wind, fish and milk ; 

North wind, cold and tempest ; 

East wind, fruit on branches. — Nicolson. 

If she was my wife I would make a queen o' her. 

Desert her, leave her the kingdom to herself. — Kelly, 

If Skidaw hath a cap, 

Scruffel wots full weel o' that. 

Disraeli says in regard to this proverb : — ** There are two hills, one 
in Scotland and one in England, so near that what happens to the one 
will not be long ere it reach the other. If a fog lodges on the one, it 
is sure to rain on the other ; the natural sympathies of the two nations 
were hence deduced in a copious dissertation by Oswald Dyke on what 
was called '* The Union Proverb." This was a favourite proverb with 
the Hanoverian parly at the time of the French expedition to Scotland 
in the interests of the Stuarts.'* 

If that God gie the deil daurna reive. 

If that had been the first lie you had told I could have 

charmed you. 

It is said that when people take the falling sickness for the first time, 
they may be cured by a charm. So, I could have cured you of lying 
had I taken you in hand in time. — Kelly, 

If that you will France win, then with Scotland first begin. 

See^ He that would England win, etc. 

If the badger leaves his hole the tod will creep into it. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 28. 

If the day be foul | That the bride gangs hame, 
Alack and alace | But she'd lived her lane ! 
If the day be fair That the bride gangs hame, 
Baith pleasure and peace | Afore her are gane. 
Happy the bride that the sun shines on. — E. 


If the deil be laird ye'U be tenant. 

If the devil be a vicar, thou wilt be his clerk. — E. 

If the deil find ye idle, he'll set ye to wark. 

An idle brain is the devil's workshop. — E. 

If the deil's mill has ceased to grind, and the Rumbling Brig 
rumbles no more, there will be sorrow in the Vale of Devon. 

If the doctor cures the sun sees it, but if he kills the earth hides 
\\.,— Kelly, 

If the laird slight the leddy, sae will the stable laddie. 

If the lift fa* the laverocks will be smoored. 

If the sky falls the pots will be broken. — E. 

If the oak's before the ash, | Then you'll only get a splash ; 
If the ash precedes the oak, | Then you may expect a soak. 

This saying is current both in England and Scotland. Many country 
people believe that as the oak or the ash comes into leaf first, so will 
the summer be dry or wet. 

If the Scot likes a small pot he pays a sure penny. 

An English saying, implying that the Scots, though frugal, were 
accounted honest. 

If there's rain in the Mass, 

'Twill rain through the week either mair or less. 

A Fifeshire saying, meaning that the weather of Sunday will deter- 
mine that of the rest of the week. 

If they come, they come not, and if they come not, they come. 
— Ray, 

A Border saying, meaning that if the reivers came, the cattle would 
not come home at night from the pasture, while if they were let alone 
they would. 

If they wad drink nettles in March, | And eat muggins in May, 
Sae mony braw maidens | Wadna gang to the clay. 

Nettles and southernwood, or muggins, are held to be good for the 
cure of consumption. This rhyme, it is said, was uttered by a mermaid 
who rose out of the Clyde, near Port-Glasgow, and addressed the party 
attending the funeral of a young woman in those admonitory words. 

If this be a feast I ha'e been at mony. 

An expression of dissatisfaction. 

If the right had been maintained, 

King George had not in London reigned. — Jacobite. 

If we canna preach in the kirk we can sing mass in the quire. 

19'"^ PROVERBS. 

** This intimates where something is alleged to be too much, that you 
need take no more than you have need for. I heard the proverb used 
in this sense by Sir Waller Scott at his own table. His son had com- 
plained of some quaighs, which Sir Walter had produced for a dram 
after dinner, that they were too large. His answer was * Well, Walter, 
as my go(Kl mother used to say, if the " Kirk is ower big, jist sipg mass 
in the quire." * " — Ramsay's ** Reminiscences." 

Compare^ The kirk's muckle, etc. 

If we haena the warld's wealth we hae the warld's ease. 

If wooly fleeces strew the heavenly way, 
Be sure no rain disturbs the summer's day. 

If ye be angry claw yer wame, an' cool i* the skin ye het in. 
Spoken to those whose anger we value not. — Kelly, 

I F ye be angry, sit laigh and mease you. 
** Mease," to settle. 

If yc be hasty, ye'll never be lasty. 

Spoken ironically to lazy people. — Kelly. 

If ye be na gall'd ye needna fling. 
If the cap fits, wear it. — E. 

If ye dinna baud him he'll do't a'. 

Spoken tauntingly to lazy people. 

If ye dinna like the sermon, ye'll no like the pireliecue. 

That is, if you don't like the first part of the story, you will not wish 
the subject to l)e further dwelt upon. Sce^ Pireliqueying the preacher. 

If ye dinna like what I gie ye, tak' what ye brought wi* ye. 

If ye dinna mend yer pace ye'll come short at meal times. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 45. An exhortation to greater diligence. 

If ye dinna see the bottom dinna wade. 

Discreiion is the better part of valour. — E. 

If ye do nae ill dinna be ill like ; if ye steal na my kail, breakna 
my dike. 

He that would no evil do, must do nought that's like thereto. E. 

The first part appears in Gaelic. So — 
Abstain from all appearance of evil. — St, Paul. 

If ye follow the deil ye'll gang to the deil. 

If ye gang a year wi' a cripple, ye'll limp at the end o't. 

For, Evil communications corrupt good manners. 

If ye had a' the wit in the warld, fools wad sell ye. 



If ye had been anither I wad hae denied ye the first word. 

i.e.^ you have got more indulgence than anyone else would have 

If ye had gi'en a sixpence for that word, ye wadna hae spoken 

Because it is to no purpose, and can do you no good. — Kelly, 

If ye had stuck a knife in my heart it wadna hae bled. 

An expression of surprise. 

If ye hae little gear ye hae less care. 

Misera est magni custodia census. — L. 
If ye laugh at yer ain sport the company will laugh at you. 
If ye like the nut crack it. 
If ye loe me let it kythe (appear). 

He is my friend who grinds at my mill. — E. 

When one proposes kindness to another, he will answer — What says 
the bird ? alleging that there is a bird whose note is kythe that. — Kelly, 

If ye look low ye'll lift little. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, 

If ye pass ower the Comysyke, 

The corbies will get your banes to pyke. 

The Comysyke was the passage of a small stream between Langton 
and Dunse, Berwickshire, over which the Chevalier de la Beautie — 
who was slaughtered by the Homes at Broomhouse in September, 1517 
— was warned not to pass, else he would fall into some evil. Compare^ 
Lochirmacus, Dunse, and Langton, etc. — Henderson, 

If ye sell yer purse to yer wife, gie her yer breeks to the bargain. 

For if your wife command your purse, she will certainly have the 
mastery in everything else. — Kelly, 

If ye spend muckle, put mair to the fore. 

1.^., save more than you spend. 

If ye tak' my fair daughter, tak' her foul tail. 
You must take the bad with the good. — Kelly, 

If ye wanted me and your meat ye would want one gude friend. 

i,e,^ his meat. — Kelly, 

If ye wi' Montrose gae, ye'll get sick and wae eneugh, 
If ye wi* Lord Lewis gae, ye'll get rob and reive eneugh. 

Contrasts the character of the Marquis of Montrose and a son of the 
Marquis of Huntly, one of his associates. — Chambers, 


If ye will tell your secret to your servant, ye ha'e made hin 
yoiir maister. 

Ife ilint tells n secret is another's servant.— E. 
If' yc win at that, yc'il lose at naelhing. 

S|"ikcn lo them that ace about an ill thing which will undoubledl 
jinive Ki thi'ir liimaijc. — KiUy. 

" If yo winna come ye'll bide," quo' Rory to his bride. 

i.r.. ii was a matter of supreme indifference to Rory whether si 

If yi; winna st.nnd it, ye may sit it. 
If ye would be a merchant fine, 
Beware o' auld horses, herring, and wine. 

llecause the lirBt will die, the second will stink, and the third sour. 
If ye're .in unce, ye're twenty stane quarry wecht, and a'bod 

kens that's no scrimpit. 
If your errand conies my gate, ye shall be as weel served. 

Either i promise or a threat. — Killy. 
If your lale was as ready as your tongue, you would shame a 
your kin. 

A teprimand to scolds and talkative women. — KtUy. 
Ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew. 
Ilka land has its ain land law. 

"Hea.lof Midl,ithian,"ch. l8. 

So many countries, so many customs. — E. 

Ilka man as he like, I'm for the cook. 

Another form given by Kelly 15— Every m 
to the cook. i.i., let every mm choi 

Ilka man buckles his belt his ain gate. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch, 35. 
Ilka man maun baud bis ain gate. 
Ilka man thinks his ain craw blackest. 
Ill bairns are aye best heard at hame. 
Ill comes upon waur's back. 

It never rains but il pours; and Mi slorlunes seldom come singly. ] 

When anything comes on a man everything comes. — Gaelic. 

And in Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish. 

Ill counsel will gar a man stick his ain mear. 


III deemed hauf hanged. — Kelly, ^' 

He that has an ill name is half hanged. — E. 
Also Spanish and Italian. 

Ill doers are ill dreaders. V 

III flesh ne'er made a gude broo. 

Bad boys are called ** ill flesh."— A'^//;/. 
Of evil seed no good grain can come. — E. 

Ill fortune ever follows them that are married in May. 

Sheriff Barclay says the Scottish prejudice against marriages being 
celebrated in the month of May arose from the fact that Queen Mary 
was married to Bothwell in that month. So, it is said — 

Marry in May, 
You'll rue the day ; and — 
To marry in May is to wed poverty. 
The girls are all stark naught that wed in May. 

So of another season it is said — 
Who marries between the sickle and the scythe will never thrive. — E. 
It was also considered unlucky to marry in Lent, for- - 

Marry in Lent, 

And you'll live to repent. — E. 

The prejudice against May marriages is older than the time of Ovid, 
for he says — 

Let maid or widow that would turn to wife, 
Avoid this season dangerous to life ; 
If you regard old saws, mind this they say, 
*Tis bad to marry in the month of May. 

Ill hearing maks wrang rehearsing. 
Ill herds mak' fat tods. 

Careless shepherds make many a feast for the wolf. — E. 

Ill is ever a coward thing. 

Ill laying up maks mony thieves. 

Compare A careless watch invites the thief. 

How can the cat help it if the maid be a fool. — E. ; and 

Opportunity makes the thief — E. 

Ill luck to the graning corse o' thee. 

♦♦Old Mortality," ch. 8. 

Ill news are aye ower true. 

Ill payers are aye gude cravers. 

Ill showers mak' the low bush better than nae bield. 

Any port in a storm. — E. 

Ill to-day and waur to-morrow. — Kelly, 

Qui non est hodie eras minus aptus erit. — L. 


Ill to tak' and eith to tire. 

Applied to horses who are difficult to catch. — Kelly, 

III won, ill wairt. 

Ill gotten, ill spent. — E. Male parta, male dilabuntur. — L. 

Ill workers are aye gude onlookers. 

In a post a nail is worth a horse. 

A trifle is sometimes of the highest importance. 

In a funk. 

/ ^., in a foolish perplexity. 

In a gude time I say it, in a better I leave it — Fergusson. 

In harvest time lairds are labourers. 

They must hunger in winter who will not work in harvest. — E. 

In Inverkip the witches ride thick, | And in Dunrod they dwell ; 
The grittest loon amang them a' | Is auld Dunrod himsel'; 

Inverkip, in Renfrewshire, was famous for witches. 

In Littlecoats a bow o' groats. 
In Luckenhouses gude flesh boats ; 
Nine lasses in Carsewell, 
And not a lad among them all. 

Farms on the south side of the Pentlands, about nine miles from 
Edinburgh. Tradition says the nine lasses of Carsewell belonged to 
one farmer's family named Henry. — Chambers, 

In summer time be cheerful, chaste, | And early out of bed ; 
In winter be well capped, well shod, | And well on porridge fed. 

A Highland health maxim attributed to Dr. John Beaton of Mull, 
who died in 1657. 

In the dead thraw. 

Literally, death throes, last agonies. 

In the dead thraw between the tyneing and tha winning. — ** Red- 
gauntlet," ch. 20. 

Neither hot nor cold. Hogg says that the Border shepherds use this 
phrase to indicate weather which is neither frosty nor fresh. 

In the haill countryside. 

The " Antiquary," ch. 29. 

In the round. 

Within the warning. — Cumberland. 
i.e.y in the whole surrounding district. 

In the howe hole o' the Merse 

A' the folk are bannock fed. 

That sends them f fou* to bed. 


Refers to the time when barley bannocks were the staple article of 
food in Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson, 

In the skimming o' a bowie (a small milk pail). 

**Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 32, and footnote. 

One of the sweetest couplets in the ** Gentle Shepherd " is — 

To bear the milk bowie no pain was to me, 
When I at the buchting forgathered wi* thee. 

The expression is a promise to do something with the least possible 
delay. I will do it in the skimming of a bowie. 

i.e., at once; or, in the English phrase, Before you can say Jack 
Robinson ; or, in the language of sailors, Before you could look round. 

Industry maks a braw man, and breaks ill fortune. 
Into the boot. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 45. 

** Boot," buit, a balance of value in barter— Into the boot. 
i.e.^ in addition to such and such a thing, I will give something 
specified into the boot. 

Inverugie by the sea, | Lordless shall thy lands be, 

And underneath thy hearthstane 

The tod shall bring her birds hame. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

Curiously enough the lands of Inverugie, near Peterhead, formerly 
the property of the Earls Marischal, and forfeited in 1715, are still lord- 
less or lairdless, as they belong to the Merchant Company of Edinburgh. 

Ireland will be your hinder end. 

i.e., you will steal, and escape to Ireland. — Kelly, and in Gaelic. 
It comes to the hand like the bowl o' a pint stoup. 

i.e., very readily. ** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. II. 

It cowes the cuddy, and the cuddy cowes a'. 

"The Life and Recollections of Dr. Duguid of Kilwinning." 

It cowes the gowan. 

i.e., it beats all. 

It doesnae become your faither*s son to speak in that manner to 
his faither's son. 

** Redgauntlet," Letter i. A caution against low company. 

It gangs as muckle into my heart as into my heel. 

It gangs in at ae end, and oot o' the ither. — Fergusson. 
In at one ear and out at the other. — E., and in Italian. 

It has nae been cried at the cross. 

It has nae other faither but you. 

Spoken when people commend what they are selling. — JCelly, 



It is not here, it is not here, 

That ye shall build the church of Deer ; 

But on Taptillery, | Where mony a corpse shall lie. 

When the workmen were engaged in building the church of Old Deer 
in Buchan upon a small hill called Bissau, they were surprised to find 
that the work was impeded by supernatural obstacles. At length the 
spirit of the river designated the site in the above terms, and the super- 
natural command was obeyed. 

It lies weel into my ain plaid neuk. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8. There it means it lies convenient to 
my land ; generally something desirable. 

It may be that swine may flee, but its no an ilka day's bird. 

An expression of incredulity, at an improbable statement. 

V It rains auld wives and pipe stapples ; and — 

It rains Jeddart staffs. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 33, and footnote. 

The old fashioned weapon called a Jeddart staff, was a species of 
battle axe. Of a very great tempest it is said in the South of Scotland 
It rains Jeddart staffs or auld wives, as in England, the common people 
say It rains cats and dogs. 

v" It serves naething to strive wi' cripples. 

** Black Dwarf." 

It sets a haggis to be roasted, for burning o* the bag. — Kelly, 

The higher the ape goes, the more he shows his tail. — E. 

It sets the like o' ye indeed. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 24. 

It sets ye not to speak o' him, till ye wash yer mouth with wine, 
and wipe it with a lawn towel. 

A haughty vindication of our friend when we hear him ill spoken 
of, by mean persons. — Kelly. 

It sets ye weel to gab wi' yer bannet on. 

It sets ye weel to slaver, ye let sic gaadys fa*. 

**Gaadys," hanks.— iT^/Zj^. 

The five preceding proverbs are expressions of contempt applied to a 
presumptuous person. 

It shall never ride and I gang. 

!.(?., I will not let it. — Kelly, 

It sticks in my stomach. 

An expression of disinclination to follow a particular line of action. 

It sticks like roset. 


It stinks like brock. 

** Brock," a badger, from its white or spotted face. 
It stinks like a polecat. — E. 

It warms me like a yaird o' .Welsh flannel. 
** Tales of the Borders." 

It was as teuch as the grannie o' the cock that craw't to Peter. 
Gait's " Entail," ch. 80. 

It was but their clothes that cast oot. 

/.<?., Their quarrel was not real, but designed to carry out some pur- 
pose. — Kelly, 

It was gaen like Louren fair. — Aberdeenshire. 
i,e.<i Going like a house on fire. — E. 

It was my luck my leddy, and I canna get by it. 
It was nae for naething that the cat lickit the stane. 

It was ne'er a gude aiver that flung at the broose. 

i.e.. She is not likely to be a good wife who complains on her wed- 
ding day. 

To run the broose, or bruise was an old custom at marriages, ac- 
cording to which, the younger male guests rode a race for a basin of 
broth, hence the name. This race was sometimes called "winning the 

The custom is still kept up on the Borders, though the race is now 
on foot, instead of horseback, as formerly, while the prize is usually a 
silk handkerchief, the gift of the bride. 

It was neither by Civil Law, nor by Canon Law, but by Dunse 
Law, that the bishops were expelled from Scotland. 

Refers to the assembling of the army of the Covenant on Dunse Law, 
under General Leslie, 

It was said to be ominous for a Graham to wear green, a Bruce 
to kill a spider, or a St. Clair to cross the Ord on a Monday. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," chap. 5. The St. Clairs crossed the Ord 
on a Monday on their way to Floddcn, from whence only one man re- 
turned. They also had a prejudice against green, as the clan were 
dressed in tartan of that colour at Flodden. 

It were a pity to put a foul hand on't 

It were a pity to refuse, ye, ye seek sae little. 

It were better to hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," chap. 30. 

" This proverb of the Douglasses was adopted bv erenr Bov^bv 
to express what King Robert Bruce meant when ne poukted 
the woods and hills of their native ootmtiy 



instead of the fortified places, which the English surpassed their neigh- 
bours in the art of assauhing or defending." — Disraeli, 

Scott quotes this proverb very frequently, applying it to express the 
superiority of a free open air life, to that passed by those who reside in 
cities. Compare, The Douglas Larder. 

It were telling your kin, your craig were broken, that you was 

like me. 

" It were telling," it was to the advantage of. 

Spoken with indignation to them that disparage your friend. — Kelly. 

It will aye be a dirty dub between them. 

" Dirty dub," foul pool of water. A cause of contention. 
It will be a het day gars you startle. ^ 

It will be baith seen and heard tell o' yet. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

It will be lang ere ye wear to the knee lids. 

It will be the last word o' his testament. 
i.e.. He will delay as long as possible. 

It will be waur afore its better. 

It will come out yet like hommel corn. 

** Hommel corn," grain that has no beard. 

On account of particular circumstances a certain result may be ex- 
pected in due time. — Hislop. 

It will haud out an honest man, but naething '11 baud out a 

It will mak' a braw show in a landward kirk. 

Referring to an article of dress, indicating that it will look well in a 
country church, but only there. 

It winna potty. 

i.e.. That story won't tell. It won't wash. — E. 

It would be a hard task to follow a black dockit sow through a 
burnt muir this night. 

It would melt the heart o' a stane. 

** Roy's Generalship," Part 2. 

It would be a pity to spoil twa houses wi' them. 

Spoken when two ill-natured people are married. — Kelly. 
Better one house filled than two spilled. — E. 

It would do a blind man gude to see't. 


Its a bare moor that ye gang through, an' no get a heather cow. 

" A heather cow," a tuft of heather. 
It's a long lane that has no turning. — E. 

Its a bare moor that ye'U gang o'er, and no get prick to your 

That is, a pin to fasten your dress with. — Kelly, 

** Its a bauld moon," quo* Bennygask. " Anither pint," quo' 

** Roy Roy," ch. 29. Indicates the reluctance of a drinking party to 
break up. 

Its a braw thing to be honest. 

Often used ironically. — Kelly. 

Its a cauld stomach that naething gets het on. 

It's a cold stomach that drink wont warm. — Gaelic. 

Its a dry tale that disna end in a drink. 

Its a far cry to Lochaw. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 29. Lochaw and the adjacent districts formed the 
original seat of the Campbells, and the proverb arose from the fact that 
the natives believed the remoteness of their residence warranted their 

Ear's the cry from Loch Awe, and help from the race of Duine. — 

The Campbells claim descent from Diarmad, grandson of Duine, the 
Lancelot of the Fingalian tragedy. The above saying is supposed to 
have originated at the time of a great defeat of the Campbells, under 
the Earl of Argyll, by the Gordons, under the Earl of Huntly, at Allt 
Chuailleachain, in Glenlivet, in 1594, where Campbell of Lochnell 
proved signally treacherous to his chief. — Nicolson. 

As we use it the saying is exactly transposed. 

Its a feeble hand that canna do gude when the heart is willing. 

Its a fine place, for a* the folk there are jist like mysel'. 

Galt^s ** Steamboat," ch. 6. Said by a daft Glasgow laddie with re- 
ference to Greenock. The saying seems to have stuck to Greenock. 

Its a fool's pairt to ruse ainsel. 

Its a friend that misses you. 

Its a friend that ruses you. 

Its a gude goose that draps aye. 

Its a gude maut that comes wi' will. 

i,e,i a cheerfully given refreshment is most appreciated. 


Its a gude poor man's blade, it will bend ere it break. 

Spoken of an ill-tempered knife, that will stand as it is bent, or the 
like. — Kelly. 

Its a gude tongue that says nae ill, but*a better ane that thinks 


Its a .2;ude tree that will neither knap nor gaw. 

That is, without any defect. 

Its a gude enough warld if it haud. 

This is a good life if it would last. — Gaelic. 

Its a gude warld, but its ill divided. 

It's hardly in a body's power 
To keep at times frae being sour, 

To see how things are shar*d, — 
How best o* chiels are whiles in want, 
While coofs on countless thousands rant, 

And kenna how to wair*t. — Bums, 

Its a gude warld but they're ill that are in't. 

Its a gude wood that hath ne'er a withered branch in't. 

It is a strange wood that has never a withered bough in it. — E. 
Its a hard task to be puir, and leal. 
Its a kittle cast to play. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 23. 

Its a lamb at the up-takin', but an auld sheep or ye get it aff. 

Light burthen, far heavy. — E. 

Its a mean mouse that has but ae hole. 

The mouse that hath but one hole is easily taken. — E. So, French, 
Italian, Spanish, Latin — Originally from Plautus, 

Its a pity fair weather should e'er do harm. 

Its a poor tongue that canna tell its ain name. 

Its a rare thing for siller to lack a maister. 

Its a sair dung (ill used) bairn that mayna greet. 

The child is sadly hurt that doesn't tell his illness. — Gaelic. 

Its a sair field when a's dung doun. 

Its a sair thing to see a stunkard coo kick doun the pail when 
its reeming fou*. 

** Redgauntlet," ch. 2. 

Its a sair time when the mouse looks out o' the meal barrel wi' 
a tear in his e'e. 


Its a sairy brewing that's no gude in newing. 

Spoken when people are much taken with new projects. — Kelly, 

Its a sairy collop that's ta'en aff a chicken. 

Its a shame to eat the cow, and worry on the tail 

Much the same as one who swallows a camel, and strains at a gnat. 

Its a silly hen that canna scrape for ae bird. 

Its a poor scraping that wont fill the cup. — Gaelic. 
Its a silly pack that may not pay the customs. — Fergusson. 
Its a sin to lee on the deil. 
Its a sin to put foul hands on it. 

Said in jest of something boastfully clean. — Kelly, 

Its a sma sheil that gies nae shelter. 

Its a sooth (true) dream that's seen waking. 

It is easy to guess what appears plain and evident. — Kelly, 

Its a sour reek when the gudewife dings the gudeman. \ 

A man in my country coming out of his house with tears on his 
cheeks was asked the occasion, he said. ** There was a sour reek in the 
house," but upon further inquiry, it was found that his wife had beaten 
him. — Kelly, 

Its a staunch home that there's never a drap in. '' 

Where everything is thoroughly right. — Kelly, 

Its a thrashing of water and raising of bells. 

i.e.. Quite useless. Repeatedly quoted by Gait, 

Its a thrawn-faced wean that's gotten against the faither's will. 

Its a weary warld. 

Its a world that will not give men a bit and a brat. 

Its a' chaff and stoor. 

i.e.. All nonsense. 

Its a' oots and ins like Willie Wood's wife's name. 
Its a' tint that's done to auld folks and bairns. 

For the old men will die, and the children forget. — Kelly. ' 

Good done to an old man, good done to a worthless man, good done 
to a little child, three things thrown away. — Gaelic. 

Its an ill bird that files its ain nest ; and 

That bird is not honest that fileth his own nest. The proverb seems 
to be rather Scotch than English. It occurs in Skelton 1529, and is 
quoted in ** Rob Roy," ch. 23. In the North of Ireland they say, Sic 
a word out of a Crawford's mouth. 



X Its an ill cause that the lawyer thinks shame o*. 

Its a bad cause that none dare speak in.-ȣ. 

y Its an ill fight when he that wins has the warst o't. 

**The Antiquary," ch, 20. 

Its an ill kitchen that keeps the bread awa*. 

t,e,t A bad master that starves his servants. 

Its an ill servant's nae worth's meat. 

Its an ill thow (thaw) that comes frae the north. 

Its an ill turn that patience winna overcome. 


Its an ugly lass that's never kissed, and a silly body that's never 

Its as easy to get siller from a lawyer as butter frae a black dog's 
hause (throat). 

Both are proverbially impossible. 

As irrecoverable as a lump of butter in a greyhound's mouth. — E. 

For the latter part of the saying see **The Antiquary," ch. 38. 

Its as plain as Peter Pasley's pikfe staff. 

•• Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

Its as true as Biglam's cat crew, and the cock rock'd the cradle. 

i,e,f It is entirely untrue. 

Its as true as the deil's in Dublin city. 

There is a street named " Hell " in the neighbourhood of Trinity 
College, Dublin, and not long ago this advertisement appeared in the 
Dublin papers : ** Comfortable lodgings for a lawyer in Hell — Apply," 

Burns says — But this that I am gaun to tell. 
Which lately on a night befell, 
Is just as true's the deil's in hell. 

Or Dublin city. — " Death and Doctor Hornbook." 

" Its aye gude to be ceevil," quo* the auld wife when she beckit 
to the deevil. 

Courtesy never broke man's crown. — Gaelic. 

Its aye gude to keep up a hardy heart. 

** Old Mortality," ch. 14. 

Its best to let saut water tak its ain gate, luck never came o* 
crossing it ; and 

They are wise folk that let wave and withy baud their ain. — Also 
Luck never came of a hauf drouned man, or a hauf hanged ane either. 


These three sayings refer to a superstition, at one time universally 
prevalent in Shetland, that it was most unlucky to save a drowning 
man, as it was believed that the man who was restored would surely do 
some capital injury to his preserver. As this superstition agreed so well 
with the wrecking propensities of the Shetlanders ; it was hard to kill, 
but now, and for a long time past, this inhuman belief has entirely dis- 
appeared. See "The Pirate," chs. 7 and 11. 

Its best to sit next the chumley when the lum reeks. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 51. i.^.. The apparently most danger- 
ous position is often the safest. 

Its best traveUing wi' a horse in your hand. 

i.e.i On horseback rather than on foot. — Also E. and Fr. 

Its better nae to slip ae knot till anither be tied 

i.e.t Keep what you have, till you see your way to something better. 

Its better sheltering under an auld hedge, than under a new 
planted wood. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 46. 

Better to creep under an old hedge, than under a new furze bush. — E. 

Its better to flyte than to fret. 

Its better to sup wi' a cutty than want a spune. 

** Cutty," a small horn spoon. 

Its but a true jest at best. 

Spoken when people discommend themselves on purpose to be 
praised . — Kelly, 

Its but a year sooner to the begging. 

Facetiously spoken when we design to be at a little more expense 
than we thought. — Kelly, 

Its but kindly that the pock savour of the herring. 

This is also a French, and Gaelic proverb. 

Its by the mouth o* the cow that the milk comes. 

Another form is. As the cow feeds, so she bleeds. The cow little 
giveth, that hardly liveth. — E. Whether in strath, or in glen, 'tis from 
her head the cow's milk comes. — Gaelic. Also in Irish, Welsh, and 

Its clean about the wren's door when there's nought within. 
Its come to muckle, but its no come to that yet. 

i,e,i We are not quite so low down as that yet. 

Its dear cost honey that's licked aff a thorn. 

Sweet meat has a sour sauce ; and — If you steal the honey, take a 
care of the sting. — E. 


Its drink will you, but no drink shall you. 

A lukewarm oflfer of refreshments. 

Its easier to big lums than to keep them reeking. 

Its easy to learn you a good use. — Kelly, 

Its easy to put a fair face on anything. 
** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 7. 

Its fa en through the bows. 

The project has miscarried, often, the marriage is broken off. 

Its far to seek an' ill to find. 
n/ Its folly to live poor to dee rich. 

Its gane awa' like a handfu' o' ingan peelins on a windy day. 
Its gane the thing I lo'ed you for. 

Its God that feeds the craws, that neither till, harrow, nor saw. 
Its gowd that glistens in the lasses e'e. 

Girls are attracted by wealthy suitors. 

Its growing to the ground like a stirk's tail. 

The affair or person is not getting on well. 

Its gude baking beside the meal. 

Its easy to bake near meal. — Gaelic. Hard to bake without flour. — 

Its gude fighting under a buckler. 
Its gude fishing in drumly waters. 
Its gude fish when its gripped. 

All the craft is in the catching. — E. 

Its gude gear that pleases the merchant. 
Its gude that mends. 

Spoken when we hear that a person or thing is better, or does better. 

Its gude to be gude in your time, ye kenna how lang it may 

We should not abuse our prosperity. — Kelly, 

^*Its gude to be merry and wise,'' quo* the miller when he 
mouter'd twice. 

"To mouter twice," to take the fees twice over. 

Its gude to be out o' harm's gate. 



Its gude to dread the warst, the best will be the welcomer. 

Expect the worst, hcpe for the best, and bear whatever happens; and 
— It is good to fear the worst, the best can save itself. — E. 

Its gude to hae friends baith in heaven and hell. ^7 

i.e., friends everywhere. 

Its gude to hae your cog out when it rains kail. t^- 

Make hay while the sun shines ; and When it rains pottage you must 
hold up your dish. — E. 

Its hard baith to hae and want. 

The rich poor man's emphatically poor. — Cowley. 

Its hard for a greedy e'e to hae a leal heart. 

Its hard to gar an auld mear leave aff flinging ; and 

Its hard to gar a wicked cout leave aff flinging. — The Ettrick 

It is hard to break an old hog of an ill custom. — E. 

Its hard to keep flax frae the lowe. 
Its hard to please a' parties. 

He that would please all, and himself too, ^ 

Takes more in hand than he can do. — E. 
Durum est omnibus placere. — L. 

He that all men will please, x / 

Will never find ease. — E. 

Its hard to sing at the brod (goad), or kick at the prick. — 

Its idle to spur a hamshackled horse. 

That is a horse with its head fastened to one of its forelegs. — ** Fair 
Maid of Perth, "ch. 33. 

Its ill baith to pay and pray. 

Its ill bocht, but that's no their ben. 

What is offered is net much worth, but it is not their best. In the 
familiar cottage arrangements of a " but" and a "ben," the but con- 
tained only what was for ordinary consumption, while the ben held the 
luxuries and savings ! so as the English proverb says : You can't both 
eat your cake and have it. 

Its ill bringing, but what's no ken. 

You can't produce what you have not got. 

Its ill coming atween a fasting man and his meat. 

Its ill dealing wi' fractious folk. 
" Old Mortality," ch. 30. 


Its ill done to teach the cat the way to the kirn. 
Its ill gieing the fox the geese to keep. 

You give the wolf the wether to keep. — E. 
Its ill gieing vice the pity and praise that are due only to virtue. 
Its ill halting when the race is doun the brae. 

Facilis descensus Averni. — Virgil, 

Its ill jesting wi' a King. 

Its ill jesting wi* a saddened heart. 

Its ill jesting wi' the rock ye may split on. 

Its ill making, a blawing horn out o' a tod's tail. 

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear ; and Every block will 
not be a bedstead. — E: 

Its ill making a deadly enemy out of a gude friend. 

Its ill meddling between the bark and the rind. 

We should not concern ourselves with the quarrels of near relations. 

Its ill praising green barley. 

Because you can't tell how the crop may turn out. 

Its ill sitting at Rome and striving wi' the Pope. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 7. 

Its ill speaking between a fou* man and a fastin'. 

These words were said by the Earl of Douglas to keep Sir Patrick 
Grey, the King's messenger, in hand while M*LeIlan, Tutor of Bombie, 
nephew of Sir Patrick, was beheaded by order of the cruel Earl. 

The full man understands not (or considers not) the empty ; ill for 
him who is the slave of his belly. — Gaelic. 

Also in Irish, Manx, Italian, and modern Greek. 

Its ill speaking o' halters. 

** Waverley," ch. 71. This was a favourite phrase of the Jacobites, 
with whom the subject of halters was an exceedingly delicate matter. 

Its ill speaking o' Hielandmen sae near the line. 

i,e,f the Highland line. 

Its ill taking corn frae geese. 

Its ill to be ca'ed a thief, an' aye found picking. 

It is ill to have a bad name and to be often found in a suspicious 
place or posture. — Kelly, 

Its ill to belittle what comes frae the bounteous hand o' Provi- 

Its ill to despair when there's ony out-gate. 



Its ill to ken whaur a blister may licht. 

Its ill to mak' an unlawful oath, but waur to keep it. 

Its ill to put a blythe face on a black heart. 

Its ill to quarrel wi' a misrid warld. 
** Misrid," confused, entangled. 

Its ill to say its wrang when my lord says its right. 

It is dangerous to speak against our superiors, especially against 
those upon whom we are dependent. 

He that quarrels with the gentry is a miserable man ; and An alder 
lord will twist an oak tenant. — Gaelic. 

Its ill to tak' the breeks afF a Hielandraan. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 5. 
Compare Its idle to spur a hamshackled horse. 
Ex nihilo nihil fit. — L. You can't get blood from a stone. — E. 

You can't flay a stone. — E. 

One can't comb a thing that has no hair. — French. 
Its ill to take the trews off a bare buttock. — Gaelic, and in Irish. 
The Gaelic seems to be the original version, as it is so given in all 
the older Scottish collections, though in a coarser form ; so also— 
It is hard to take the horns off a hornless cow. — Gaelic. 

Its ill waiting for dead men's shoon. V 

" Guy Mannering, " ch. 37. 

He that waits for dead men's shoes shall long go barefoot. — £. 

Its ill waur'd that wasters want gear. 

«>., but just ; and It's no sin to see wasters want. — Kelly. 

Its ill your kyte's common. 

i.e., I have deserved better of you, as I have often filled your belly. 

Its just like Duncan MacGirdie*s mare, he wanted to use her by 
degrees to live without food, and she died, just when he put 
her on a straw a day. 

" Waverley," ch. 54. 

A man may live upon a little, but cannot live upon nothing. — £. 

Its kittle for the cheeks when the hurlbarrow gaes ower the brig 
o' the nose. 

Its lang ere ye saddle a foal. 

Its lang or four bare legs gather heat in a bed ; and, There be- 
langs mair to a bed than four bare legs. 

More belongs to a marriage than four legs in a bed. — E. 

Ye speak right weel, gudeman, 
But ye maun mend your hand, 


And think o' modesty, 

Gin ye'll no* quat your land. 

We are but young, ye ken, 

And now we're gaun thegither, 

A house is butt and ben, 

And crummie will want her fother ; 

The bairns are coming on, 

And they'll cry, O their mither ? 

"We have neither pat nor pan. 

But four bare legs thegither. 

— "Maggie's Tocher," a song, 1803. 

These sayings refer to improvident marriages. 
Its lang or like to dee fills the kirkyaird. 

Like to dee mends not the kirkyaird. — Fergusson. 
A sneer at those who are always complaining of ill-health, but who, 
after all, live as long as other people. 

Its lang or the deil dees at the dike side. 

** Old Mortality," ch. 41. 
Seldom lies the devil dead by the gate.— E, 
The devil was never found dead behind a dyke. — Gaelic. 
i.e., a troublesome person is not easily got rid of. 
To indicate that a difficulty has been overcome, the French and 
Italians say — The devil is dead. 

Its lang or ye need cry " schew " to an egg. 

i,e., there is no hurry, it will be some time before the egg is a chicken. 

** To schew-shoo," to cry to poultry. 

He cannot say shoo to a goose. — E. ue., he is such a coward. 

Its lang to Lammas. 

Spoken in jest when we forget to lay down bread at table, as if we 
had done it designedly, because it will be long ere new bread come. — 
Kelly. So, in Gaelic — 

The Lammas went far into you. ue,, you are hard up, far gone. 

IifS like Cranshaw's kirk — there's as mony dogs as folk, and 
neither room for reel nor rock. 

Cranshaw is a remote Berwickshire parish, situated in the Lammer- 
moors, on the borders of East Lothian. So — Its a rough road to Cran- 
shaws, is a common expression and a true one. It is applied to any 
rough road. — Dr. Henderson. 

Its like Tam Edington's leg — ay the langer the nae better. 

Applied to the weather, to a person's circumstances in life, and to the 
state of the health of individual men and brutes. 

Thomas Edington, a joiner in Chirnside about eighty years ago, was 
afflicted with a diseased leg, and when asked how it was getting on 
replied — Its aye the langer the nae better. — Dr, Henderson (1856). 


Its like the bairn o' Blythe, | Its i' the house amang ye. 

A young women of Blythe, in Lauderdale, found herself pregnant to 
some one of the household ; her lover, however, denied the charge, as 
did all the other young men of the place. ** Weel, weel," she replied, 
" ye may deny it as ye like, but I ken its i* the house amang ye." 

Applied when a number of persons in a house are suspected of some 
misdemeanour. — Dr. Henderson, 

Its like Luffs courtship, short but pithy. 

Its little o' God's might that maks a poor man a knight. 

Its marrow to my banes. 

Pleases me well. 
Its muckle gars tailors laugh, but souters girn aye. 

A ridicule upon shoemakers, who, at every stitch, grin with the force 
of drawing through the thread. — Kelly. 

Its nae better than its ca^ed. 

Spoken when in necessity we take what we have use for ; they say 
also, Want is the worst of it. — Kelly, 

Its nae laughing to girn in a widdy. 

i.e,^ with the rope round our neck ; in any disagreeable situation. 

Its nae play when ane laughs and anither greets. 

Its nae shift to want. 

Its nae sic mote but what ane might see it in their parritch. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 23. 
Its naething to mak' a sang aboot. 

Its nae use putting thatch on an empty barn. 

Its nae use to be put aboot for the death ye'U never dee. 

Its nae wonder wasters want and lathrons lag behind. 
** A lathron," a lazy, idle person. 

Its needless pouring water on a drowned mouse. 

Its needless to gar a wud man run. 

Spoken when people urge us to hasten, though we are doing all we 
can. — Kelly, 

Its no a generation to wait till ane's worth discovered. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 6. 

Its no aye gude i' the maw what's sweet i' the mouth. 
Its no aye the fattest foddering that maks the fu'est aumry. 

i,e.^ you may get handsome treatment where you least e:«pect it. — The 
Ettrick Shepherd^ "The Shepherd's Calendar," "The Prodigal Son." 


Its no easy to straucht in the oak the crook that grew in the 

v^' Its no every day we get Shakspeare to read. 

The minister's man to Mr. Thomson of Duddington — the celebrated 
landscape painter — was of a decidedly literary turn, and when he had a 
little spare time, or, as a reward for any extra exertion, his master used 
to send to him for perusal his own copy of Shakspeare, an author of 
whom the servant was fond to enthusiasm. The circumstance passed 
with him into a proverb, so that on the occurrence of any piece of rare 
good fortune, he was wont to say ** Its no every day we get Shakspeare 
to read."— .S"^^ "Reminiscences of Yarrow" by Rev. Dr. Russell, 1st 
ed., p. 126. 

Its no for nought that the gled whistles. 

In ** Old Mortality," ch. 25, hawk is used instead of gled. Also in 

Its no for your ease and honour both. — Kelly, 

■^ Honour and ease lie not in one sack. — E. 

Its no lang since louse bore langett, no wonder she fell and 
broke her neck. 

** Langett," a rope or chain to bind a horse's fore foot to his hind one. 
Spoken when one has suddenly started up to a high station, and be- 
haves himself saucily in it. — Kelly, 

Its no lost what a friend gets. 

** Roy's Generalship," Part 13, And in Gaelic. 

Its no safe wading in unco waters. 

** Unco," strange, unknown. 

Its no sonsie to meet a bare fit i' the mornin*. 

An old superstition, — Kelly, 

Its no the burden, but the ower burden, that kills the beast. 
Its no the rumblin' cart that fa's first ower the brae. 

i,e.<, it is not the oldest or most likely person that dies first. 

Its no weel mow'd? its no weel mow'd? 

Then its ne'er be mow'd by me again, 

I'll scatter it ower the Raven Stane, 

And they'll hae some work e'er its mow'd again. 

The Brownie of Cranshaws both winnowed and thrashed the crop for 
several successive seasons, but after one harvest a complaint was made 
as to the way he mowed the corn — piled it in the barn. At this the 
spirit was so offended that he threw the entire crop over the Raven 
Craig, a precipice about two miles off, giving the people the trouble of 
a second harvest to gather it up. 


Its no what we hae, but what we do wi' what we hae, that '7 

counts in heaven. 

Its no worth a plack. 

Its not worth a rap. — E. The plack was an old Scottish coin, worth 
the third of an English penny. 
Not worth an H. — Italian. The letter H has no meaning in Italian. 

Its no worth an auld sang ; and 

I got it for an auld sang. — ** Waverley,'* ch. 71. 

Its not the pick o' the swine that the beggar gets. 

In seasons of dearth people went foraging amongst their friends. — 
See * * ih\g," yamzeson. 

People about to marry also followed the same practice. 

Its only the likeness o' a ghaist caukit on the door. 

i.e., a mare's nest, an imaginary trouble. — Gala's ** Sir Andrew 
Wylie," ch. 47. 

Its ower far between the kitchen and the ha*. 
Its ower gude news to be true. 

Too good to be true.--E. 

Its ower late to lout when the head's got a clout ; and ■- 

Its nae time to stoop when the head's aff. — Fergusson, 

It is too late to throw water on the cinders when the house is burned 
down. — Danish. 

Too late to grieve when the chance is past ; and When the steed is 
stolen shut the stable door. — E. 

When the corn is eaten the silly body builds the dyke. — Gaelic. 

Its ower weel hoardet that canna be found. "^ 

Its past joking when the head's aff. 

Its plot hot, like Jock Vertue's tea. — Berwickshire. 
Applied to any food that ii very hot. — />, Henderson, 

Its reekin' like the kilogie o' the little mill o' Hume. — Berwick- 

Applied to a tobacco pii)e newly llifhted, or to a smithy fire when it 
begins to smoke. Hume Mill U huM io have been a very small one, 
but whose kilogie vented a conHiilarttblp Miiioko,— /M Henderson, 

Its some strong o' the apple,— Abcnlrctrmhirc, 

A common country ex|)ress|t»n for l>c'«r wlilch Is rnlhcr tart or sharp, 
— Ramsay s **Reminl8cenccii," 

Its stinking praise comes oot o* \xwx\\ ain mouth, 
Self praise is no honour,— CJ em mn unit Ku^liHh. 


Its the barley pickle breaks the naig's back. 

** Redgauntlet," ch. 20. Its the last straw that breaks the earners 
back. — E. ; and 
A little more breaks the horse's back. — E., also in Span, and Port. 

Its the laird's commands, an' the loon maun rin. 
**RobRoy,"ch. 26. 

Its the life o' an auld hat to be weel cockit. 

i.e.f we should make the best of a bad job. 

Its the loose spoke in the wheel that rattles most 

The worst wheel of a cart creaks most. — E. 

The worst cow in the fold lows the loudest. — Gaelic 

Its the poor man's office to look, and the rich man cannot 
forbear it. 

Answer to them who ask what we are looking at. — Kelly, 

Its the wanton steed that scaurs at the windlestrae. 

**St. Ronan's Well," ch. 28. "Windlestrae," crested dog's tail 

Its the waur o' the wear. 

Its time enough to make my bed when I'm gaun to lie doun. 

I should not part with my property in my lifetime. 

Its up i' the buckle, like Willie Dippie's bellows. 

This is a popular saying in Chirnside and its neighbourhood. It 
originated thus. Some boys cleeked up a few links of the chain at the 
breech of the bellows in the smithy at Chirnside. Willie Dippie, the 
smith, on returning to his work, could not of course get the bellows to 
act properly, and after examination, having ascertained the cause, he 
exclaimed, ** Ow, I see now what ails them ; they're up i* the buckle." 

Applied when things are not going ** fair and square," or when one 
is in a pirr about things which do not go well. 

Dippie was blacksmith at Chirnside about the commencement of the 
present century. — Dr, Henderson, 

Its waste thread and thrums. 

i,e,y all moonshine in the water, — ** Rob Roy," ch, 26. 

Its weak i' the wow, like Barr's cat. 

Its weel hain'd that's hain'd aflf the belly. 

Its weel that our faults are no written on our faces. 

Its weel to ken whilk side yer bread's buttered on. 

Its within a cat's loup. 

i.e.f a short distance or time. 


Its worth all you have offered for it. 

Because you have offered nothing. —Kelly, 

Its written, like John Thomson's wallet, frae end to end. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 1$. 

Ither folk are weel faur'd, but ye're no sae very. 

A reflection on a man's personal appearance. 



A sovereign or twenty shillings, from Jacobus, the James II. guinea. 
James with the fiery face. 

James Second of Scotland was so called from a red mark on his face. 

Jeddart or Jedburgh justice ; first hang a man, and syne try 
him ; or 

Hang in haste and try at leisure. — " Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 32. 

According to Crawford va his ** Memoirs," the phrase originated in 
1574, when the Regent Morton visited Jedburgh, and tried and executed 
with undue haste a large number of his political opponents, as well as 
many ordinary criminals. Another explanation of the phrase is that on 
the occasion of a trial, in which nearly twenty persons were implicated, 
the jury were equally divided, when the remaining juryman, who had 
slept soundly during the whole proceedings, suddenly awoke, and being 
asked his opinion, exclaimed ** Hang them a\" 

First hang and draw. 

Then hear the cause by Lydford law. 

The authorities of Lid ford, Devonshire, like those of Jedburgh, have 
become proverbial for their curious system of criminal administration. 
So — Abingdon law, that is, with needless or impetuous haste. — HazlitL 

Jeddart's here. 

The ancient war-cry of the Jedburgh burghers. 

Then rose the slogan with a shout, 
To it Tynedale ! Jeddart's here. 
—Battle of Reedswair (1596), Scott's •• Border Antiquities." 

Jingle Kirk bell, | Rings now and ever shall. — Berwickshire. 

Jingle Kirk is the local name for the parish of Channelkirk. — Dr, 

Jingling Geordie. 

"Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 5. This was the nickname applied by 
James VL to George Heriot, the Court jeweller, and the founder of 
Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh. 

t ^ 


Jock's a mislear'd imp, but ye're a run deil. 

i.e.t Jock, though far from what he should be, is yet a model char- 
acter compared to you. 


In the time of James VI. was used as a general appellation of the 
Scottish nation, as Sawney was at a later period. — ** Fortunes of 
Nigel," ch. 5. So— 

John Bull is the French nickname for the English, while the English 
call the French Johnny Crapaud — frogeater ; and Paddy is the generic 
name for the Irish. As sausage-eaters is the Russian description of the 
Germans, while the Americans are called Brother Jonathan and Yankees, 
though the latter term is only properly applicable to the New-Eng- 


i.e.f a clasp knife, from the name of John of Leige, a famous cutler 
of the Middle Ages. 

** John, John, pit your neck in the nick to please the laird." 

A wife is said to have addressed her husband, who was resisting his 
laird's efforts to hang him, in those terms. 

Applied to any one who is unduly complaisant to the wishes of his 

John Tamson's man — Couch Carle. 

**01d Mortality," ch. 38. 

John Tamson's man is one whose wife rules the roost. The phrase 
is used by Dunbar, who died about 1515. In a petition for preferment 
to James IV. he wishes the king might be John Tamson*s man for once, 
the queen being favourable to the poet's suit. The Highlanders say a 
woman who Wears the breeches is " Like M'Cormack's wives, very 
strong in the neck," and declare in such a household **The cock's 
comb is on the hen." M'Cormack's man is the Highland equivalent 
for the Lowland John Tamson's man. — Nicolson, 

So the English say of a henpecked man — He lives under the sign of 
the cat's foot, i.e.y his wife scratches him. — Ray, 

John upon land. 

Le,y the farmer. 

John upon land been glad, I trow. 
Because the rush bush keeps the cow. 

— Sir David Linasay in the ** Complaint." 

Joke at leisure ; ye kenna wha may jibe yoursel. 

They laugh best who laugh last. — Fr. 

Jests, like sweetmeats, have often sour sauce. — E. 

JouK and let the jaw gang by. 

That is. Prudently yield to a present torrent. — Kelly, 
Is sapiens, qui se ad casus accommodat omnes. — L. 


Joy gae wi' ye, an' a drum, an* if ye want meat, ye*ll no want 

Compare^ He that will to Cupar, etc. 

Jumping the broomstick. 

One of the methods of contracting an irregular marriage. 

" Just as it fa's,*' quo' the wooer to the maid. 

A courtier went to woo a maid ; she was dressing supper with a drop 
at her nose. She asked him if he would stay all night. He answered, 
"Just as it falls,** meaning if the drop fell among the meat he would be 
off, if it fell by he would stay. — Kelly. 

Just as it a' fa's oot. i.e.^ just as it happens. 

Just be fair gude e'en, and fair gude day. 

zv., treat them as you did before. — GalCs ** Entail," ch. 46. 

Just choppin on. 

Answer to one who asks — How are you ? 1.^., pretty well. 

Just enough and nae mair, like Janet Howie's shearer's meat. 

Just, father, just; three hauf croons make ^v^ shillings; gi'e 
me the money and I'll pay the man. 

She took care to err on the safe side ; her bad arithmetic was 
decidedly in her own favour, and her ideas of justice peculiar. 

Justice wrangs nae man. 


Kail hains (saves) bread. 

Kame seldom, kaim sair. 

Literally, comb seldom, comb sore. 

Kamesters are aye creeshy. 

Woolcombers are always greasy. People are like their work. 

Katie Sweerock, frae where she sat, cried " Reik me this and 
reik me that." 

Applied to lazy people who ask others to do this or that for them 
which they ought to do for themselves. — Kelly, 

Keek in the stoup was ne'er a gude fellow. 

Spoken when one peeps into the pot to see if the liquor be out, 
whereas a jolly good fellow should drink about, and when the pot's 
empty call for more. — Kelly, 

Keep a calm sough. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 27. 1.^., keep your own counsel. 


Keep a thing seven years and yell find a use for't. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 21. 

Lay things by, they may come to use. — E. 

Naught was laid by that was not needed. — Gaelic. 

Keep aff, and gie fair words. 

Keep Mormond Hill a handspike high, 
And Rattray Briggs ye'll no come nigh. 

Mormond Hill is about four miles from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. 
Rattray Briggs are a reef of dangerous rocks on the coast half-way 
between Fraserburgh and Peterhead. Mormond Hill is a most con- 
spicuous object from the sea, especially as it stands in a flat country 
where trees are few in number and small in size. By steering for this 
landmark the perils of Rattray reefs were evaded, and the comparative 
security of the Moray Firth gained. 

Keep out o' his company that cracks o' his cheatery. 
Keep something for a sair fit. 

For a rainy day. — E. 

Keep something for him that rides on the white horse. — E., and in 

Keep the feast till the feast day. 

Keep the fair on its day. — Gaelic. 

Keep the puddin' het. 

A phrase used by sliders as they follow each other on the ice. 
Keep the staff in your ain hand. 
Keep woo and it will be dirt, | Keep lint and it will be silk. 

Lint mellows and improves by keeping, but wool rots. — Kelly. 
You may keep wool till it is dirt, and flax till it is silk. — E. 

Keep your ain fish guts for your ain sea maws. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 15. Charity begins at home. 

This was a favourite proveib of Sir Walter Scott when he meant to 
express the policy of first considering the interests that lie nearest home. 
The saying savours of the fishing population of the east coast. — Ram- 
say^ 5 '* Reminiscences." 

It is also found in Gaelic. So of similar meaning is the proverb — 

Keep your ain grease for your ain cart wheels. 
Keep your ain side o' the wa'. 

That is, keep your place, particularly with regard to women of in- 
ferior station. 

Keep your breath to cool your parritch. 

Keep your gab steekit when ye kenna your company. 
Be cautious in speaking before strangers. 


Keep your halter fou', and ride in the middle. 

Advice to young women to have as many strings to their bow as 
possible, and to keep their admirers well in hand. 

Keep your kiln-dried taunts for your mouldy hair'd maidens. 

A disdainful answer to those who are too liberal with their taunts. — 

Keep your mocks till yeVe married. 
Keep your mouth shut and your een open. 
Keep your thoom upon that. 

That is, conceal it carefully.— ^<2ww^«. 

Keep your tongue a prisoner, and your body will go free. 
Keep your tongue within your teeth. 
Keeping Cliack. 

The Aberdeenshire phrase for celebrating the termination of harvest. 

Keeping up the bondage. 

** Tales of the Borders." That is, providing a woman to work on 
the farm ; a duty which was and is to a certain extent still incumbent 
on the hinds of Roxburghshire and Berwickshire, The hind pays the 
bondager a half-yearly wage, and boards her in his cottage, while th6 
farmer pays him a daily wage — usually now is. 6d. in summer and is. 
in winter — for the occasions on which the woman is actually employed 
on the farm. The hinds dislike this custom exceedingly. 

Ken when to spend and when to spare, and ye needna be busy, 
and ye'll ne'er be bare. 

Ken ye the Gordon's Gramacie ? 

To curse and swear, and and lie, 

And that's the Gordon's Gramacie. 

Rob Sinclair, gravedigger at New Galloway about 1774, when he 
took an extra glass, used to amuse Gordon, Lord Kenmure, by reciting 
this rhyme. He also repeated this other rhyme about the same family, 
foretelling its extinction — 

The next that comes is Lord Williame, 
He sail hae neither wife nor hame ; 
After him comes auld Lord John, 
And then comes Adam bird alone, 
And after him there will be none. 

William died abroad unmarried ; John died in 1840 ; and when Adam 
died in 1847, without heirs, the peerage became dormant. 

Ken yoursel', and your neighbour winna misken you. 
Ken'd folks nae company. 


Kenning a widow to her terce. 

This refers to an old Scottish law-process by which the widow was 
established in her right to every third acre from east to west. — Skenis 
"Celtic Scotland." 
Applied generally to confirming a widow in her rights. 

Kind gallows of Crieff. 

The gibbet of this town on the Highland border was jocularly so 
called, because the Highlanders when passing by paid it great respect, 
as it had assisted at the last moments of many of their friends and 
relatives, and was likely to do so for themselves. — " Waverley," ch. 
17, and Note P. 

^ Kindle a candle at baith ends, and it'll sune be done. 

Kindness comes o' will it canna be coft (bought). 
Kindness is like cress-seed, it grows fast. 
Kindness lies not ay in ae side o' the house. 
V^' Kindness will creep where it canna gang. 

Kindred to twenty, fosterage to a hundred. 

Highland. 1.^., to twenty, and a hundred degrees of relationship. 
Compare^ A kinsman, etc. 

King, King Capper, | Fill my happer. 

And I'll gie ye cheese and bread | When I come owre the water. 

Or — Fill a pot, fill a pan. 

Fill a blind man's hand ; 
He that has, and winna gie, 
An ill death may he dee. 
And be buried in the sea. 

** Capper," a piece of bread and butter, with cheese upon it. These 
are requests to a boy who has got something good to share it with a 
companion, and are spoken with shut eyes and open palm. — Chambers, 

Kings and bears aft worry their keepers. 

Witness the tragical end of many courtiers. — Kelly, 

\i Kings are kittle cattle to shoe behint. 

Not to be depended OTi,—Jamieson, " Heart of Midlothian," ch. 38. 

Kings' cheese gangs half away in parings. 

Kings hae lang hands. 

Kiss a slate stane and that winna slaver you. 

Kiss and be kind, the fiddler's blind. 

That is to say, when the fiddler gives the signal, take the hint, and 
never mind his presence, he wont notice you. In Scotland when at a 
dance the fiddler causes his instrument to emit a squeak, somewhat re- 
sembling a kiss, the gentlemen forthwith kiss their partners. 


Kissing is cried down since the shaking o' hands. 

Kelly says, 1721 — There is a proclamation that nobody should kiss 
hereafter, but only shake hands. A form of refusal by a woman when 
asked for a kiss. 

Kiss my foot, there's mair flesh on*t. 

A sharp reply to those who obsequiously ask to kiss the hand. — 


Kiss ye me till I be white, an' that'll be an ill web to bleach. 

Kiss your luckie, she lives in Leith. 

Made use of when one thinks it not worth while to give a direct 
answer, or thinks himself foolishly accused. — Allan Ramsay, 
Ramsay in one of his poems thus introduces the phrase — 

Gin ony sour mou*d girning bucky, 
Ca* me conceity, keckling chucky, 
That we, like nags whase necks are yeuky, 

Hae used our teeth, 
I'll answer fine — Gae kiss your lucky. 

She dwalls i' Leith. 

"Lucky," sometimes used to designate an old woman, sometimes a 
wife, sometimes a woman of any sort. 

Kiss your sister. 

Cold veal is called by this name both in England and Scotland, from 
its insipidity. Hood calls kisses between near relatives — 

Insipid things, 
Like sandwiches of veal. 

Knock a carle, and ding a carle, | That's the way to win a carle; 
Kiss a carle, and clap a carle, | That's the way to tine a carle. 

People of mean breeding are rather to be won by harsh treatment 
than civil. — Kelly, 

Stroke the churl, and he will scratch you. 
Strike him, and he will come to your hand. — Gaelic. 
He that handles a nettle tenderly is soonest stung. — E. 

If you genty touch a nettle. 

It will sting you for your pains ; 
Grasp it like a man of mettle, i. 

It as soft as silk remains. 

Knock, Ferghaun ! 

The slogan of the district of Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. 

Knowledge is eith borne about — Fergusson, 

Knowledge is no burden. — E. 

Knowledge is most excellent 

To win the lands that's gone and spent 

In *' Guy Mannering," ch. 35, this saying is put into the month of 
Glossin the lawyer, who calls it an old rhyme. It there means flwf 


the knowledge of the law enables agents ultimately to get possession of 
the estates of embarrassed clients. The rhyme referred to by Glossin 
is probably the following — 

John Merton aught this book, 

God give grace therein to look ; 

Not only to look, but to understand, 

For learning is better than houses and lands, 

For when houses and land all is spent 

Then learning is most excellent, 

though he misquotes and misapplies his quotation. A number of 
rhymes used as book inscriptions are given by Chambers, pages 393-4 ; 
such inscriptions are very numerous and exceedingly popular among 
boys and girls. They are not worth quoting, l^ing generally the 
merest doggerel, like the one given above. 

Kythe in your ain colours, that folk may ken you. 


Lack a day ! 

An exclamation denoting grief. **The Antiquary,'* ch. i. 

Lacking breeds laziness, but praise breeds pith. 

Discommend a boy, and you discourage him ; but commend him, and 
it will spur him on. — Kelly. 

Laddedie, Radernie, Lathockar, and Lathone, 
Ye may saw wi' gloves off, and shear wi' gloves on. 

These places are high-l3nng farms in Fife where seedtime is so late 
that it runs into summer, while harvest is protracted until winter sets 
in. — Chambers, 

Lady, Lady Landers, | Lady, Lady Landers, 

Take up your coats about your head | And fly away to Flanders. 

Or as in Kincardineshire — 

King, King Gallowa, 

Up your wings and fly awa*. 

Over land and over sea. 

Tell me where my love can be ? 

Refers to the lady bird — Coccinella septem punctata. 
In England the version is — 

Lady bird, lady bird, fly away home. 
Your house is a- fire, your children's at home, 
All but one that lies under a stone ; 
Fly thee home, lady bird, ere it be gone. 

So in Austria — 

Little birdie, little birdie, 

Fly to Marybrunn, 

And bring us home a fine sun. 


These rhymes are repeated by boys as they throw the insect into the 
air. It is believed by many that the lady bird is associated with fine 
weather. — Chambers, 

Lady, Lady Lilburn | Hunts in the Gilburn. 

It is said that the ghost of a lady named Ailie (Alice), who lived with 
the Duke of Hamilton at Kinneil House, Linlithgowshire, and ended 
her existence by throwing herself from the walls of the castle into the 
deep ravine below, through which the Gilbum descends, haunts that 
glen, and it is customary for the children in the neighbourhood to 
repeat this rhyme on dark and stormy nights. Chambers suggests that 
the lady may have been the wife of a celebrated Cromwellian colonel, 
who for a time occupied Kinneil House. 

Laird o' Co' | Rise and go. 

The proprietors of Colzean, in Ayrshire, were called ** Lairds o* Co' " 
from some co's or coves in the rock underneath the castle. One of these 
lairds gave permission to a little boy to get a canful of beer from the 
castle butler for his sick mother. The boy's can seemed to have a mira- 
culous capacity, as it absorbed a barrel of ale, and was only filled on a 
second cask being broached. Some years later the laird was taken 
prisoner in Flanders, and sentenced to death, but the night before his 
execution the boy entered his dungeon repeating the above lines. The 
boy then mounted the laird on his shoulders, and soon set him down at 
his own gate, sa3ring — 

Ae gude turn deserves anither, 
Tak* ye that for being sae kind to my auld mither. 
— Chambers. 

Or for Colean the route is ta'en, 
Beneath the moon's pale beams, 
There up the cove to stray and rove 
Amang the tocks and streams. 

To sport that night." —Burns's " Halloween." 

A noted cavern near Colean House, called the Cove of Colean, which 
is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies. — Bums. 

Laith to drink, laith frae it. 

Lang and sma* gude for naething ava. 

Lang beards heartless, | Painted hoods witless, 
Gay coats graceless, | Mak' England thriftless. 

A Scottish taunt at the English. The saying is as old as the 14th 
century, and arose during the wars between the two nations during the 
reign of Edward III. — Siowe*s "Chronicle." 

Lang fasting gathers wind. 

Lang fasting hains nae meat. 

Lang leal, lang poor. 

The converse of honesty is the best policy. 



Lang lean maks hamald cattle. 

That is, poorly kept cattle makes hamely, domestic, or common 
meat. — His lop, 

Lang nebbit words. 

t.^., big, out of the way words. 

Lang or you cut Falkland wood wi' a penknife. 

Long ere you cut down an oak with a penknife. — £. 

Lang skelps o' metre. 

i.e,t homely rhymes. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

Lang sport turns aft to earnest. 

** Lang straes are nae motes," quo' the wife when she haul'd the 
cat out o' the kirn. 

Lang tarrowing taks a the thanks away. 

Bis dat qui cito dat. — L. 

He loses his thanks that promises, but delays ; and. One to-day is 
worth two to-morrow. — E. Also, Delay hath often wrought scathe. — E. 
Better the half yesterday than the whole to-day. — Gaelic. 
The best generosity is the quickest. — Arab. 
Also, Greek, Dan., Ital., and Span. 

Lang tongued wives gang lang wi' bairn. 

Applied to those who discover their projects, designs, and intentions 
long before they are put in execution. — Kelly, 

Langest at the fire soonest finds cauld. 
Langton's coat of mail. 

That is to say, a presumptuous, though brave security. This saying 
originated in the circumstance of the laird of Langton — in Berwick- 
shire — who, being unarmed in a skirmish with the English, turned his 
coat inside out in order to make the enemy believe he had on a coat of 
mail. — Dr. Henderson. 

Larikie, Larikie, lee ! 
Wha'll gang up to heaven wi' me ? 
No the lout that lies in his bed. 
No the doolfu' that dreeps his head. 
The lark's song. 

Lasses and glasses are bruckle ware. 

Lassies are like lamb-legs, they'll neither saut nor keep. 

Lassies now-a-days ort nae God's creatures. 

** Ort," to reject. The proverbial reflection of an old woman, as sig- 
nifying that in our times young women are by no means nice in their 
choice of husbands.— ;/fl»?i«^«. 



Laugh and lay't doun again. — Fergusson, 

Laugh at your ain toom pouches. 
** St. Ronan's Well," ch. 14. 

Law licks up a' ; or — 
Law is a lickpenny. 

"St. Ronan's Well," ch. 28. 

Law's a deadly distemper among friends. 
Law's costly ; tak' a pint and gree. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 36. 

How easy can the barley bree 

Cement the quarrel t 
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee 

To taste the barrel. — Bums, 

Agree, for the law is costly. — E. 

Concord (or comprgmise) that bereaves the law. — Gaelic. 
Also in Welsh, Ital., Fr., Sp., Ger., Dut., and Dan. The reference 
to arranging the quarrel over a glass seems to be peculiarly Scottish. 

Lay by the book. 

I believe you, you need not take oath. — Kelly, 

Lay it on thick, and ne'er mind expense. 

That is to say, don't spare your flattery. 

Lay the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice (pig). 

**RobRoy,"ch. 24. 

Set the hare's head against the goose's giblets. — E. 
Set the sow's head to the little pig's tail. — Gaelic. 
Place the profit against the loss. 

Lay the sweet side o' your tongue till't. 

An answer to them that ask what they will get to their hasty pudding ; 
and if a boy ask what he will get to his bread they will say, ** Slaver 
and sharp teeth." That is, your teeth to bruise it, and your spit to 
moisten it. — Kelly, 

Lay up like a laird and seek like a lad. 

i.e. J be as penurious as a rich man, and as diligent as a poor one. 

Lay your wame to your winning. 

That is, don't live above your income. Eat less and buy it. — Gaelic. 

Lazy beds. 

The popular name to indicate a primitive method of potatoe cultiva- 
tion at one time prevalent in Scotland. The potatoes were laid on a 
bed of turf, and covered with inverted turf dug from the trenches 
around it, and such earth as the trenches supplied. 

Lazy youth mak's lousy age. 


Leal folk ne'er wanted gear. 
Leal heart never bled. 

Lean on the brose ye got in the morning. 

Spoken facetiously to a person who leans heavily on another. — His- 
lop, Kelly says — 

Lean to your dinner. 

V Leap year was never a gude sheep year. 

«.^., because the less we have of February the better. 

Learn the cat the road to the kirn, and she'll ay be lickin'. 

Learn young, learn fair ; learn auld, learn main 

The early learning is the pretty learning. — Gaelic. 

Learn your gudewife to mak' milk kail. 

Teach your grandame to grope her duck, to spin, to suck eggs, or to 
sup sour milk. — E. 

Teach your granny to make gruel, and to sup porridge. — Gaelic. 

To milk ducks. — Irish. 

So the Welsh say, You can't teach a pace to an old horse ; while the 
French declare it is impossible to teach an old monkey tricks. 

Learn you to an ill habit, and ye'll ca't custom. 
Leave welcome aye behint you. 

i,e,y don't outstay your welcome. 

Lee for him, and he'll swear for you. 

Leese me that bonny mouth that never told a fool tale. — Kelly, 

" Leese me," blessings on. 

Les Ecossais sont lions dans la bataille, et agneaux dans la 

\f The Scots are lions in the field of battle and lambs in the house. 

This proverbial compliment was applied by the people of Brussels to 
the Highland soldiers at the time of the Waterloo campaign. — ** Simp- 
son's Visit to Flanders." 

Leslie for the Kirk, | And Middleton for the King, 

But deil a man can gie a knock | But Ross and Augustine. 

Refers to David Leslie, the general who fought for the King and 
Covenant against Cromwell ; Middleton was afterwards infamous as a 
persecutor under Charles II. ; Ross was a captain of horse under Leslie, 
as was Augustine, a High German by birth. 

Less o' your jaw and mair o' your legs. 

** Redgauntlet," Narrative, ch. 15. 
f.^., cease you impertinence and be off. 


/ Less o' your jaw and mair o' your siller. 

Le.j I prefer pajrment to promises. 

Less of yonr courtesy and more of your parse. — E. 

Less wadna serve him. 

Let a friend go with a foe. — Kelly. 

Let ae deil ding anither. 

An expression of indifference at two persons quarrelling. 

Let alane maks mony lurden (a worthless fellow). 

Want of correction makes many a bad boy. — JCelly, 

'* Let all trades live," quo' the wife when she burnt her besom. 
Let aye the bell'd wether break the snaw. 

The belled wether is the leading sheep of the flock. The proverb 
means that a difficult or dangerous undertaking should be led by the 
old and experienced. 

Let byganes be byganes. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 51. 

Suppose all byegones as ye se. 

Ye are nae prophet worth a plak, 

>lor I bund to believe. — ** Cherrie and Slae." 

Let death spare the green com and take the ripe. 
" The Antiquary," ch. 7. 

Let folk bode weel and do their best. 

Let him come again to himseP. 

t,e,t recover his temper at leisure ; or — 

Let him cool in the skin he het in. 

Let him gang his ain gate. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 42. 

Let him baud the bairn that's aught the bairn. 
Let him tak' a spring on his ain fiddle. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 29. 

Let him tak' his fling, and he'll find out his ain weight. 

Let him that's cauld blaw the ingle. 

Let him that pays the lawin' choose the lodging. 

For, He that pays the piper has a right to call the tune. 

Let him that did the deed yield the remeid. 
Let his ain wand ding him. 


Let ilka ane ruse the ford as he finds it. 

*'Rob Roy," ch. 27. That is, we should speak about anything or 
anybody as we find them from our own experience. The sa3ring is also 
found in Gaelic, Irish, Manx, and Welsh. 

Let ilka ane soop afore his ain door. 
Let ilka cock fight his ain battle. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 27. 

Let ilka head wear its ain bannet. 

"Rob Roy,"ch. 32. 

Let ilka herring hang by its ain tail. 

Let ilka man soop the ice wi* his ain besom. 
This is clearly an allusion to the game of curling. 

Let ilka man stand on his ain bottom. 

'* Rob Roy," ch. 26. 
Let ilka sheep hang by its ain shanks. 

**RobRoy,"ch. 26. 
Let ilka tub stand on its ain bottom. 

Let ne'er sorrow come sae near your heart, except for sin. 

Spoken heartily when we have made our friend drunk. — Kelly, 

Let ne'er your gear owergang ye. 

Let not your riches make you proud, and forgetful of humble friends. 

Let spades and shools do what they may, 
Dryfe shall tak' Dryfesdale Kirk away. 

Owing to the encroachments of the River Dryfe, the parish church of 
Dryfesdale has had to be removed to the town of Lockerbie. There is 
a saying in that part of Dumfries-shire that " A Dryfesdale man once 
buried a wife and married a wife in ae day." The fact being that when 
he was on his way to the church to be married, the coffin of his late 
wife, having been carried off by the stream, " came houdin' doun the 
water," so that it met him full in the face. The bridegroom promptly 
re interred his former spouse, and immediately afterwards got married. 

Let that flee stick to the wa'. 

**Hout tout, man! Met that flee stick in the wa,*" answered his 
kinsman ; " when the dirt*s dry it will rub oot." — "Rob Roy," ch. 23. 

Let the eird bear the dike. 

" Eird and dike " are earth and stone wall. 

Let the kirk stand i' the kirkyard. 

There's a place for everything, everything should be in its place. 

Let the morn come, and the meat wi't. 


Let the muckle horse get the muckle windlin. 

The largest horse should get the biggest truss of hay. 

Let the tow gang wi' the bucket. 

Let the tail go with the hide. — Gaelic. and Scottish. 

Let the horns go with the hide. — English, Scottish, and Manx. 

Fling the helve after the hatchet. — E. 

Let them care that come behint. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 7. 

Let them that scorn the tartan fear the dirk. 

**The Antiquary," ch. 33. 

Let us kill the cock, the laird's coming ; weel I wot he's 

Spoken by servants when they see their master coming. — Kelly* 

Let us stable our nags thegither. 
Let us take the Pettie step to it. 

At funerals it was the custom — peculiar to this parish — to run as fast 
as possible, so that persons often fell in carrying the body to the grave. 
Pettie or Petty is a parish in the neighbourhood of Inverness. 

Let wha likes be king, I'll be subject. 

No change of government will help me much. 

Liar, liar lickspit, | In behind the candlestick ! 
Whaf s gude for liars ? | Brimstone and fires. 

Liars should ha'e gude memories. 

Liberton's luck. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, The luck of an uninvited guest to go away 
as hungry as he came. 

Lick and lay down. 

Means that a man can pay his way. 

Lick your loof and lay't in mine, dry leather jigs aye. 

"Jigs," cracks. This signifies no more but kiss your hand and give 
it. Spoken facetiously upon some good fortune unexpected. — Kelly, 

Lie in your bed and lippen to that. 
Life's life onygate. 

**01d Mortality," ch. 8. 

Life's too short to be spent in playing mumchance. 
"The Abbot," ch. 15. 


Lift me up and I'll tell you more, 
Lay me down as I was before. 

In some parts of the country the first part of the rhyme is cut upon a 
stone, so as to induce strangers to lift it up, when the second line, cut 
on the lower part of the stone, stares them in the face, and shows that 
the whole affair is a practical joke. 

Light burdens break nae banes. 
Light lades mak willing horses. 
Light maidens mak langing lads. 
Light meals procure light slumbers. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 9. 

Light suppers make clean sheets. — E. ; and 

Light suppers mak lang days. 
'Light, thieves a\ 

The slogan of the Johnstons. The clan are said to have adopted this 
as a war-cry, because their chief when acting as Warden of the Western 
Marches used to summon offenders to descend from horseback and sub- 
mit to the law. — Chambers, 

" Light's heartsorae/' quo' the thief to the Lammas mune. 
Lightsome sangs mak' merry gate. 
Like a beggar at a bridal. 

** Legend of Montrose," ch. 2. 

At penny weddings certain of the guests gave nothing but good 
advice ; so those who are sparing of their gifts, taking all and giving 
nothing, are said to be ** Like beggars at a bridal." 

Like a borrowed body. 

That is, one who is out of his element, unwelcome. 

Like a Corsehill shop, a' in the window. 

**The Life and Recollections of Dr. Duguid of Kilwinning." 

Like a cried fair. 

Anything notoriously public was said to be ** Like a cried fair," from 
the custom, common in the last century, of announcing fairs outside the 
church doors after service on Sunday, with a comprehensive summary 
of the more important articles that were to be exposed to sale. 

Like a flood through a broken dyke. 
Like a light bung in a gutter. 
Like a sandbed. 

Applied to one who can absorb a great quantity of liquor without 
getting drunk. 


^/* Like a sow playing on a trump. 

"Trump," a Jew's harp. Typical of extreme awkwardness. 
As trews become a sow. — Gaelic. 
Did you ever before hear an ass play upon a lute. — E. 
I A sow to a fiddle. — E. 

Asinas ad lyram. — L. And in Greek and Spanish. 

Like a tynt creature. 

" Sir Andrew Wylie," by Ga/t, ch. 4. One who has lost his wits. 

Like a wight oot o' anitber warld. 

Said of one whose appearance is pale and delicate. 

Like an auld trogger who has missed his market at BelFs day 

That is to say, he is restless, ill at ease. Like a hen on a het girdle. 

Like draws aye to like, like an auld horse to a fell dyke. 

Like will to like, a scabbed horse and a sandy dike. — Danish. 
"Like will to like," as the devil said to the coal burner. — German. 
" Like will to like," quoth the devil to the collier. — E. 
" Like will to like," as the scabbed squire said to the mangy knight, 
when they both met over a dish of buttered fish. — E. 
Similis similem delectat. — L. Like pleases like. 

Like hens ye rin aye to the heap. 

Spoken jocularly to those who help themselves to what there is most 
of on the table. — Kelly. 

Like Laird Hacket, that bann't a' the oik an' dePt dockens on 

Laird Hacket swore all the week, and dug dockens on Sunday. 
Charles Hacket, an old Jacobite laird, acquired the estate of Inveram- 
say, Aberdeenshire, by marriage. He was a keen, shrewd, and enter- 
prising farmer, and effected many improvements on his property. The 
sapng arose from his notorious habit of swearing and disregard of 
Sabbath observance. 

Like Lamington's mare, ye break brawly off, but sune set up. 
Like March gowans, | Rare but rich. — Chambers. 
Like Moses' breeks, neither shape, form, nor fashion. 
Like Orkney butter, neither gude to eat nor creesh woo\ 

A minister having in these words compared the Covenant, made it a 
proverb. Applied to a thing that is useful no way. — Kelly* 

Like Royal Charlie, lang o* comin'. 

Like the dam o' Devon, lang gathered and sune gane^ 

^ Like the Hielandman's gun that needed A new \ 
stock, and a new barrel 


Like the laird o' Castlemilk's foals, born beauties. 

LiKK the laird o' Macfarlane's geese, that liked their play better 
"V than their meat. 

"The Monastery," ch. 13, and note E. King James VI., while 
being entertained by the chief of the Macfarlanes on Inch Tavve, an 
island in Loch Lomond, was much amused by the spectacle of a flock 
of geese pursuing each other up and down the loch. However, when 
one of the geese appeared at dinner and proved to be tough and ill fed, 
the King oljserved that * * Macfarlane's geese liked their play better than 
their meat," a proverb which has been current ever since, and the ap- 
plication of which is obvious. 

Like the lasses o* Bayordie, ye learn by the lug. 

Like the man who met the devil, if they have nothing to say to 
me, I have nothing to say to them. 
"Redgauntlet," Narrative, chap. 12. 

Like the man wi' the sair guts, nae getting quat o't. 

. Like the man's horse, very ill to catch and no worth a penny 

^ when caught. 

Like the wabster stealing through the warld. 

The reply of a person who is asked how he is getting on. 

Like water aff a duck's back. 
Liked gear is hauf bought. 

Pleasing ware is half sold. — E., and in Fr. and Ital. 

Like's an ill mark ; and, 

Like's an ill mark amang ither folks* sheep. 

This saying is attributed to King James VI. One day while walking 
about the grounds of Falkland Palace, the King observed Alexander 
Ruthven, brother of Lord Gowrie, asleep on one of the grassy banks, 
and looking at the lad closely noticed in his bosom a knot of ribbons of 
a peculiar sort, which James recognised as his own gift to Queen Anne. 
The King, who suspected his wile, immediately rushed off to tax her 
with falsehood, but fortunately one of the pages, guessing his intention, 
managed to restore her the tell-tale ribbon before his arrival. Accord- 
ingly, when James demanded that his gift should be produced, she im- 
mediately complied with his request. At this, the King scratched his 
head, and his face expanded into a broad grin of satisfaction. **Eh ! " 
said he, '* like's an ill mark." And so the proverb has come down to 
us with all the authority of the Scottish Solomon. 

LiPPEN to me, but look to yoursel*. 

Trust me, but look to thyself. — E. This is generally admitted to be 
a Scottish proverb. 


Lips gae, lips gae, drink and pay. 

If you put your lips to the cup to drink, put your hand to your lap to 
take out your purse. — Kelly. 

List to meat's gude kitchen. 

i.e,^ Quick at meat, etc. 

Listen to the wind upon the hill till the waters abate. 

" Waverley," ch. 59. 

The Highlanders retired when in danger to their mountain fastnesses 
until the storm blew over. Compare, Bide amongst the mist, etc. 

LiTHGOW for wells, | Glasgow for bells, 
And Falkirk for beans and peas. 

Little Billy, Billy Mill, | Billy Mains, and Billy Hill, 
Ashfield and Auchencraw, | BuUerhead and Pefferlaw, 
There's bonny lasses in them a' — or, 
There's silly gowks in them a'. 

The first five places enumerated are in the parish of Buncle, Berwick* 
shire ; the last two in that of Chimside. None of them exUt now, 
except Billy Mains and Auchencraw. — Henders^m^ 

'/^ Little can a lang tongue hide. 

Little dogs hae lang tails. 

^ Little folk are soon angry. 

For their heart goes soon to their mouth. 

Little gude cam' o' a' Percy's hunting frae Chevy Chase till now. 

"The Monastery." 

Indicates the dislike to, and suspicion of, all undertakings projected 
by the Percys entertained by the Scottish borderers. It is said by some 
that Chevy Chase, the battle of ballad and tradition, is identical with 
the historic battle of Otterburn, fought in August, 1388. 

Little intermittin* maks gude friends. 

LiTTLE Jock gets the little dish, and that bauds him lang little. 

Poor people are poorly serv'd, which prolongs their poverty. — /Celly. 

Little kens the auld wife, as she sits by the fire, 
What the wind is doing on Hurley-Burley-Swire. 

Hurle-Burle- Swire is a passage through a ridge of mountains that 
separate Nithsdale from Tweeddale and Clydesdale, where the moun- 
tains are so indented one with another that there is a perpetual blowing. 
The meaning is, that they who are at ease know little of the trouble 
that others are exposed to. — /Celly. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 6. 

Little kent, the less cared for. 


Little may an auld horse do if he maunna nicher. 

An old horse may neigh. — Gaelic. 

Little meddling maks fair pairting. 

Little troubles the e'e, but less the soul. 

Little wats the ill-willy wife what a dinner may baud in. 

A handsome treat may secure good friends and great interest — Kelly. 

Little winning maks a light purse. 

Fergusson says, ** A heavy purse." 

Little wit in the pow that lights the candle at the low. 

Little wit maks muckle travel. — Fergusson, 

Little wit in the head makes much work for the feet. — E. 

Little's the light will be seen far in a mirk night 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 26. 

Live upon love, as laverocks do on leeks. 
Living, and life thinking. 

An answer to the question, How are you ? — Keily. 

Living at heck and manger. 

At rack and manger. — E. Fairing sumptuously. 

Loch Eleven. 

A popular name for Loch Leven. Because it is eleven miles round ; 
is surrounded by eleven hills ; is fed or drained by eleven streams ; has 
eleven islands ; is tenanted by eleven kinds of fish ; and Queen Mary 
resided eleven months as a prisoner in the castle. 

Loch Sloy. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 32. 

The war cry of the Macfarlanes, from a loch in their country. 

LocHiRMACUS, Dunse, and Langton, 
Pouterlynie and Pishwanton, 
Kittlenakit and Cornysyke, 
In Elf-hole is the devil's byke. 

All the places mentioned are in the vicinity of Dunse, except Long- 
formacus, which is 7 or 8 miles distant among the hills. A variation is-~ 

Lochirmacus, Dunse, and Langton, 
Poulterlaine and Pish Wanton, 
Auld Craes and New Craes, 
LadyRat and Redbraes: Also — 

Recket Ryselaw, fustin Fogo, 

Black Bogend 

And clashin Cairns Mill. 


These last four are in the parish of Fogo. A variation of the last is — 

Little-Swinton, Swinton-Mill, 
Govet-Bank, and Harcarse Hill, 
Reekit Ryselaw, Black Bogend, 
Fustin Fogo, East Road End. 

Compare, If ye pass ower the Cornysyke, etc. 

LocHORNiE and Lochornie Moss, 
The Loutenstane and Dodgell's Cross, 
Craigencat and Craigencrow, 
Craigaveril, King's Seat, and Drumglow. 

Places in Kinross-shire. All but the last on the Blair- Adam estate. 
The rhyme was a great favourite with Sir Walter Scott. 

LocHTiE, Lothrie, Leven and Ore, 
Rin a' through Cameron Brig bore. 
Four rivers in Fife. 

Lock your door that you may keep your neighbour honest. 


i.e.t the hangman ; so called from the small quantity of meal which 
he was entitled to take out of every boll exposed to market in the city. 
Lock is a Scottish expression for a small quantity of any readily divisible 
dry substance, as corn, meal, flax, or the like.— rNote L, *' Heart of 


The slogan of the Clan Forbes. Lonachin is a hilly ridge in Strath- 
don, Aberdeenshire, and was the rendezvous of this clan. — Chambers, 

Look to the heart within a breast and not to the coat that 
covers it. 

Loose and living, and bound to no man. 

An answer to the question. How are you ? — Kelly, 

Lord Derwentwater's Lights. 

See^ The pretty dancers. 

Lordships change manners. — Fergusson, 


The slogan of the burghers of Dumfries. 

LoRNTiE, Lorntie, | Were it na your man, 

I had gart your heart's bluid | Shirk in my pan. 

The young laird of Lorntie, in Forfarshire, on returning home one 
evening, heard the shrieks of an apparently drowning woman proceeding 
from a pond in an adjacent wood. As he was about to pull her out of 
the water by her golden tresses, he was prevented by his servant, who 
warned him that the damsel in distress was a mermaid. Upon per- 
ceiving the failure of her snare, she sang the above lines. 



Loud coos the doo when the hawk's no whistling, 
\^ Loud cheeps the mouse when the cat's no rustling. 

When the cat's away the mice will play. — E. 

Loud i' the loan was ne'er a gude milk coo. 

Kelly says this is a reprimand to noisy girls. 

Loudon louts, | Merse brutes, 

Lauderdale scoots, | Lammermoor whaups. — Berwickshire. 

Loup the dyke and kill the carter. 

Bad whiskey. 

Loupin' awa' like a flea in a blanket. 

**Redgauntlet " Narrative, ch. i. 

Loupin' on stane. 

A stone or erection of masonry which stood at the churchyard gates, 
for the purpose of enabling the parishioners to mount their horses or 
get into their carts quickly and easily. It was particularly useful when 
women came to church mounted behind their husbands on pillions. A 
Berwickshire rhyme thus celebrates an amusing accident which befell a 
stout old fellow who was showing off his agility to the bystanders, when 
using one of these erections : — 

** A loupin' on stane is a very good thing 

For a man that is stiff, for a man that is auld. 
For a man that is lame o' the leg or the spauld, 
Or short o' the houghs, to loup on his naggie : " 
So said Tam o' Crumstane, umbousome and baggie. 
And mountin' the stane at Gibbie's house-end. 
Like a man o' great pith, wi' a grane and a stend, 
He flew owre his yaud, and fell i' the midden. 

Love and jealousy are sindle sin dry. 
Love and lairdships like nae marrows. 

"Marrows," equals, rivals. 

Love and light winna hide. 

Love gangs where it is sent. 

Love has nae lack | Be the dame e'er sae black. 

Love has nae law. 

Love has nae suspicions, and whaur there are suspicions there 
is nae love. 

Love is as warm amang cottars as courtiers. 

Love lives in cottages as well as in courts. — E. 

Love maks clever hands. 


Love most, least thought of. — Kelly. 
Love thinks nae ill ; envy speaks nae gude. 
Love's darts | Cleave hearts | Through mail shirts. 

'♦Fair Maid of Perth." 

Luck can maist in the melee. 

** Waverley " ch. 46. ue.^ chance regulates the battle. As Tacitus 
says, In rebus bellicis maxima dominatur fortuna. 

Luck never came of a half drowned man or a half hanged one 

Compare^ It is best to let salt water, etc. 


Macfarlane's Lantern. 

The clan of the MacFarlanes, occupying the fastnesses of the western 
side of Loch Lomond, were great depradators on the Low Country ; 
and as their excursions were made usually by night, the moon was pro- 
verbially called their lantern. Their celebrated pibroch of Hoggil nam 
Bo, which is the name of their gathering tune, intimates similar prac- 
tices, the same being — 

We are bound to drive the bullocks, 
All by hollows, hirsts and hillocks, 

Through the sleet, and through the rain. 
When the moon is beaming low 
On frozen lake and hills ot snow, 
Bold and heartily we go ; 

And all for little gain.— Note Z to "Waverley." 

Maidens' bairns are weel guided. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 31. 

Bachelors' wives and maids* children be well taught. — E. 

Maidens should be mim till the/re married, and then they may 
burn kirks. 

Spoken often by way of reflection, when we say that such a one is a 
good humour'd girl, as if you would say, Observe how she'll prove when 
she's married. — Kelly, 

Maidens' tochers and ministers' stipends are aye less than ca'd. 
Mair be token. 

**RobRoy,"ch. 31. 

Mair by luck than gude guiding. 

His success is the result of luck, not of merit. 


Mair hamely than welcome. 

" Mair haste the waur speed,*' quo' the wee tailor to the lang 

Great haste is not best. — Gaelic. 

The first part is found in E., L.. Fr., Ital., Span, and Dutch. 

Mair, in a mair dish. 

** Mair dish,"— bigger dish. 

An answer when you are asked if you will have more. — Kelly, 

Mair nice than wise. 

Mair pride than pith. 

Mair show than substance. — Kelly, 

Mair than enough is ower muckle. 

More than enough breaks the cover. — E. 

" Mair whistle than woV' quo' the souter when he sheared the 

''Great cry and little wool/' as the fellow said when he shore his 
hogs. — E. ** Great cry and little wool," quoth the devil when he 
sheared his hogs. — E. Great cry and little wool, is a universal proverb. 

Loud cackle, little egg. — Gaelic. 

Grand venteur, petit faiseur. — Fr. 

Compare^ Muckle whistlin*, etc. 

Maist things hae a sma' beginnin'. 

Maister's will is gude wark. 

For the master himself is sure to be pleased with it. — Hislop. 

Maistry maws the meadows doun. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 45. 

Mak' a kiln o't, and creep in at the logie. 

"A killogie" is a vacuity before the fire-place in a kiln for drawing 
air. —Jamieson. 

Mak' a kirk or a mill o't. 

The preceding two proverbs indicate that a certain article is at your 
absolute disposal, and that you may do with it as you please. 
Make a hog or a dog of it. — E. And in Gaelic. 

Mak' ae wrang step and doun ye gae. 

Mak' fair weather wi' him. 

That is, to come to terms with him. 

Mak' friends o' fremit folk (strangers). 



Mak' him pay the kane. 

"Kane" was duty paid by a Scotch farmer to his landlord in kind, 
eggs, fowls, etc. The phrase **to make him pay the kane," is equi- 
valent to, as we say, making him pay smartly.^ 

Mak' nae bauks in gude bear land. 

Make no balk in good plough land. — Gaelic. 
Make not balks of good ground. — E. 

Mak' nae toom ruse. 

Idle boast. — Kelly. 

Mak' not muckle o' little. — Fergusson. 
A mountain of a mole-hill. 

Mak' not twa mews o' ae daughter. — Kelly, 

** A mew " is a son-in-law. Eadem filiae duos generos parare. — L. 
I won't make two sons-in-law of my one daughter. — Gaelic and Irish. 
To stop two mouths with one morsel. — E. ; and in Fr. 

Mak' twa pair o' legs worth ae pair o' hands. 

That is, ride away. Discretion is the better part of valour. — E. 

One pair of legs is worth two pair of hands. — E. 

Mak' up for lost time, as the piper o' Sligo did when he ate a 
haill side o' mutton. 

. Mak' your wife a gowdspink, and 'she'll turn a water wagtail. 
Give him an inch, and he'll take an ell. 

Making a phrase. 

This Sir Walter Scott describes as "amplification of words, and ex- 
aggeration of manner." — "Pirate," ch. 32. 
Inkhorn terms.— E. 

Making a rope of sand. 

And in Gaelic. Ex arena funiculum nectis. — L. 

According to a tradition, this was the task imposed by Michael Scott 
on his familiar spirit, the result of which is still to be seen on the sands 
between Leith and Portobello. The other tasks prescribed to the spirit 
were to build a dam across the Tweed at Kelso, and to split the Eildons 
into three parts. These he performed, but failed to make ropes of sand. 
It is said that the fairies imposed the task of making sand ropes upon 
Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy — Black Duncan of the Cowl. — 

Making servants walk the carpet. 

Reprimanding them.— Ca/z'j " The Entail," ch. 99. 

Malice is aye mindful. 


Malisons, malisons, mair than ten, 
Wha harries the queen of heaven's wren. 

In Ireland too, the wren was believed to be peculiarly under the care 
of the Virgin Mary, for it is called — 

The little wrenne, 
Our Lady's henne. 

According to an old English saying — 

The robin and the wren 

Are God Almighty's cock and hen ; 

whilst another English rhyme declares that — 

Whoso kills a robin or a wren 
Shall never prosper boy nor man. 

In the Isle of Man, however, the wren is annually sacrificed on St. 
Stephen's day, to an old custom supposed to have originated in a com- 
mand given by the early Christian missionaries, the wren being called 
in Manx the *'dreain," or Druid's bird. The wren is regarded in many 
countries as the king of birds, a title perpetuated by iis name in Latin, 
French, Dutch, and several other languages. On St. Stephen's day the 
Manx youths go about singing and carrying tiny biers, decorated with 
ribbons, flowers, and evergreens, with a wren in the centre. A great 
pretence of exertion is made in bearing the biers, doubtless from the 
idea that the wren is king of the birds. 

Malleus Scotorum. 

The hammer of the Scots — Edward I., ** Longshanks." — "Castle 
Dangerous," ch. 9. 

Man was made to mourn. — Burns, 

Man's twal is no sae gude as the deil's dizzen. 

Because the latter is thirteen. 

March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. 

March yeans the lammie 

And buds the thorn. 
But blows through the flint 

Of an ox's horn. — Northumberland. 

March dust, an' March wun. 

Bleach as weel as summer's sun. — Clydesdale. 

March dust and May sun 

Mak' corn white and maidens dun. — Perthshire. 

March water and May sun 

Mak' claes clean and maidens dun. — Mearns. 

March whisquer | Was ne'er a gude fisher. 

A windy March is token of a bad fish year. — Kelly, 

Marriage is a creel | Where ye can catch an adder or an eel. 

GaWs ** Entail," ch. 25. 


Married ! ruined ! and undone ! 

A silly exclamation upon some ridiculous accident. —Kelly, 

Marry abune your match, and get your maister. 
Si qua voles apte nubere nube pari. — L. 

Marry for love and work for siller. 

Roy's " Generalship," part 13. 

Marry, maidens, marry, maidens ! | Marry, maidens, now ; 
For sticket is your Cardinal, | And sauted like a sow. 

A Fifeshire rhyme referring to Cardinal Beaton. The meaning is 
plain. The body of the Cardinal was preserved in salt by the conspira- 
tors during the time they held St. Andrew's Castle against the Govern- 
ment forces. — Chambers, 

The rhyme is still popular in Fife, and the country people believe the 
insinuation it contains against Beaton to be true. 

Marrying by meal. 

In 1867 two persons left Dalkeith for Galashiels to be married, which 
they legally accomplished in the following manner. They knelt down, 
facing each other, each with a handful of meal, and with a basin between 
them. They placed their hands full of meal in the basin and mixed it, 
in token that they would not sever till death did them part. After 
swearing on a bible to this effect, they rose up from their kneeling posi- 
tion and declared themselves man and wife. This was one of the old 
methods of contracting marriage in Scotland. 

Mary Conn in a coach. — Ayrshire. 

GaWs **Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 12. An expression of surprise or 

Mastiffs are a faithfu' race. 
Maun do is a fell fellow. 

i,e,i necessity is a hard taskmaster. 

MAY-be your pat may need my clips. 

i.e.^ you may be glad of my help yet. 

MAY-be's are no aye honey bees. 

An answer to them that say ** May be it will fall out so or so." — Kelly, 

MAY-be's flee na at this time o' the year. 

May-be'js don't fly this month. — E. 

May birds are aye cheepin'., the children of those who are married in May are supposed to be 
weakly. Compare^ O' the marriages in May, etc. 

May he that turns the clod ne'er want a bannock. 


May I never chew cheese again. 

** Tales of the Borders." i>., if I do what I say I won't do. 
May is a trying month. 

May the mouse never come oot o' the meal girnel wi' the tear 
in its e'e. 

May the open hand be filled the fullest. — Highland. 

*• Waver ley," ch. 20. 

May you have a cairn for your burial place. 

An ancient British malediction. As a testimony of abhorrence each 
passenger threw a stone on the cairn over Nichol Muschat's grave in the 
King's Park, Edinburgh. This man, after first endeavouring to corrupt 
his wife, through the instrumentality of one of his friends, so that he 
might obtain a divorce, when he failed in this, took her under cover of 
the night to the King's Park, adjacent to the Duke's walk near Holy- 
rood Palace, and there, on 17th October, 1720, murdered her, for which 
he was executed ; and in memory of the popular execration entertained 
for the crime, a cairn of stones long marked the scene of the tragedy. 
— ** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 15, and note K. 

May your heels keep the spur o' your head. 

That is, may you be able to carry 0ut your projects. 

Meal Monday. 

The second Monday in February, which is a holiday In the University 
of Edinburgh, is called ** Meal Monday," because the day was originally 
held as a holiday, in order to allow the students to go to their country 
homes, to procure a supply of oatmeal to last them until the end of the 

Mealy mou d maidens stand lang at the mill. 

Meat and measure mak' a* men wise. 

Meat feeds, claith deeds, but breeding maks the man. 

Meat is much, but manners is more. — E. 
Manners often make fortunes. — E. 

Meddle wi' your horse sheets, and let shawls alane. 

*'St. Ronan*s Well," ch. 22 

Meddle wi' your match. — Kelly. 

Meer's milk, and deer's milk. 
And every beast that bears milk 
Between St. Johnston and Dundee 
Come a' to me, come a' to me. 

Witches were said to be able to procure a supply of milk in this way. 
They obtained a small quantity of hair from the tail of a cow, tied a 
knot on it, and were then enabled by simply tugging the hair to milk 
the cow. 


Men fight best in a narrow ring. 

Because they can't help themselves. — **The Antiquary," ch. 6. 

Men's no mice. 

An encouragement to act bravely. — Kelly. 

Mends is worth misdeeds. 
Merrily well if my mouth was wet. 

Answer to the question, How are you ? — Kelly, 

Michaelmas mune, | Rises nine nichts alike sune. 

The yellow moon of Michaelmas. — Gaelic. The harvest moon. — 
English and Scottish. 

Mind me to a' that ask for me, but blad me in naebody's teeth. 
Mind thysel', the world will mind the lave. 
Minnows are better than nae fish. 
Mint before you strike. 

That is, give warning. — Kelly. 

Minting gets nae bairns. 

i.e.., offering to do a thing, accomplishes nothing. — Kelly. 

Mishap has fallen on the Douglas. — Gaelic. 

Misterfu' folk maunna be mensefu*. 

Those who are in need, must and will importune.— A7r//j/. 
Bashfulness is an enemy to poverty. — E. 
Quid prodest egenti pudor. — Latin. 

Mist in May, and heat in June, | Make the harvest richt sune. 

Also current in England. 

Mistress before folk, gude wife behint backs, whaur lies the 
dishclout ? 

A jocular manner of addressing those who are very particular in their 
manner of speaking. — Hislop. 

Monday's bairn is fair of face ; 
Tuesday's bairn is full of grace ; 
Wednesday's bairn is a child of woe ; 
Thursday's bairn has far to go ; 
Friday's bairn is loving and giving ; 
Saturday's bairn works hard for a living ; 
But the bairn that is born on the Sabbath day. 
Is lively, and bonnie, and wise and gay. 

So runs the Scottish version. The English rhyme as to luck in 
birthdays is as follows : 


Bom of t Ntondaj. fail io fxce ; 
Bora ul I ToCMlay, full of God's gncc ; 
Bi 'm ()( a ^Vedneaday, mcri; and £1x1 ; 
Born of a Thurular, sour and sad ; 
Born of a Fridar. Godlj given ; 
lt<rin of a ijaturday, work lor joat livii^ ; 
Born ofa Sunday, never shall we want. 
As til luck in matiiage <',ijs there is an English and Scottish ihyine 
which says : 

Monday for weajib, 
Tu.:A<lay for health, 

Wednesday hest of all ; 
Thursday for cresses, 
Kri'lay for losses, 
fialurJay no luck at all. 

Mo.NEV is flat, and meant to be piled up. — Scottish and Nonnan. 

Money is round, an'i meant lo roll. — E. 
Mo.vEy maks a man free ilka where. 
M'iNEv wared on naething travels a bad road. 
MoNEV would be gotten, if there was money to get it wi'. — Kelly. 

He that Uckeih a stock, his gain's not worth a chip. — E. ; and. 
Money is often lost fur the want of money. — E. ; also, Money miikes 
money. -E. 
MONY a dog will dee ere you fa' heir. 

Many a head will go into a cap (die) before that happens. — Gaelic. 
MuNV a fair thing's fu' false. — Ftrgusson. 
MoNV a frost, and mony a thowe. 
Soon maks mony a rotten yone. 

Also current in England. 
MONV a glide tale is spoilt in the telling. 

Applieil often when a good sermon is ill deliTered lo mj certain 
knowledKC-Ai/y ^^ 

A good ta!e ill told in the letting i& marred. — E. ^^^H 

" Mony a thing's made for the penny," as the auld wife sali 
when she saw the plack man. 

Things made for the penny are what in the English 
Mony a wise man sits in a fool's seat, and many s twA in., 

"The Antiquary," ch. 43. 
Mony ane brings the rake, hut few the shovel.- 

Many seek, but few give. 

le called I 



MoNY ane kens the gude fellow that disna ken the gude fellow's 

Because he is a " good fellow " in company, but not al home. One 
who hangs up his fiddle at his ain door cheek. 

MoNV ane lacks what they would fain hae in their pack. 
Many discommend what they have a great mind to. — Kelly. 
MoNY ane maks an errand to the ha' to bid my leddy good-day. 

Refers to tiiflers. 
MoNY ane opens his pack and sells nae wares. 

Compare, Ne'er open yoar pack, etc. 
MoNY ane ser's a thankless maJster. 

MoNY ane tines the half merk whinger for the ha'penny whang. 
Means thai a sixpenny dagger may be lost for want of a hairpenijy 
Ihong. Penny wise and pound foolish. — E. 

Hard about the penny, soft about the merk.— Gaelic. 
Spoken when people lose a consideiable thing for not being at an in- 
considerable expense.— Ai/Zj-. 

The whinger was a sort of da^er or hanger, which seems to have 
been used both at meals as a knile, and in broils. So — 
And whingeis now in friendship bare, 
The social meal to pari and share, 
Had found a bloody sheath. 
— " Lay of the Last Minstrel." 
MoNY ane's coat saves their doublet. 

in deference lo their 

MoNV ane's deen ill wi' vreet. — Aberdeenshire, 

Many persons in Aberdeenshire excused themselves Iroin leaching 
their children writing on the grounii that it was a dangerous accom- 
plishraent. Even yet Ihe canny natives of the granite country have a 
wholesome respect for and fear of the compromising character of a 
written document. 

MoNY ane's gear is mony ane's death. 

MoNV ane's gotten an ainshach at the spar. 

That is, many a one has got a fall from the millstone overluming 
and thiou'ing down those who were gllidit^g it by holding the spar. 

Compare, As gude to ye lake a millsline oot o' Pennan. 
MoNY aunts, mony ernes, mony kin, but few friends, 

MoNV care for meal that ha'e bjiknil i. . " 1 ■! l. 

Spoken against whining, coraylnr , nfiiigh. and 

yet arc tlwayi making a monti.— A'.. 


MoNY cooks ne'er made gude kaiL 

MoNY fair promises at the marriage making, but few at the 
tocher paying. 

The English say Between promising and performing a man may 
marry his daughter ; and He promises like a merchant , but pays like a 
man of war. 

MoNY gude nights is laith away. 

He shakes hands often who is loath to go, — French. 

MoNY hands mak slight work. — Kdly. 

Many hands make light work. — E. 

MoNY haws, I Mony snaws. 

Many haws, many sloes, 
Many cold toes. — E. 

When the hawthorn has its early haws. 
We shall have many snaws. — German. 

MoNY hounds may soon worry ae hare. 

Many dogs soon eat up a horse. — E. 

Two to one is odds at football. — E. 

Ne Hercules ipse contra duas. — L. 

Multibus ictibus degicitur quercus. — L. 

Fair play one to one ; and Fingalian fair play. — Gaelic. 

MoNY paiks mak healthy weans. 

MoNY purses haud friends lang thegither. 

MoNY rains, mony rowans ; mony rowans, mony yewns. 

Rowans are the fruit of the mountain ash, yewns are the refuse of grain 
blown away by the fanners. A good crop of rowans usually followed 
a wet season, and was held to be significant of a defective harvest. 

Mony say " weel *' when it ne'er was waur. 

Spoken to them that say *' well '* by way of resentment. — Kelly, 
Well, well, is a word of malice. — E. 

Mony think mair o' wha says a thing than o* what the thing's 
that said. 

"Rob Roy,"ch. 26. 

MoNY time I hae got a wipe wi' a towel, but ne'er a daub wi' a 
dishclout before. 

This is spoken by saucy girls when one jeers them with an unwoithj 
sweetheart. — Kelly, 

MoNY words dinna fill the firlot. 

** A firlot " is the fourth part of a boll. 
Many words will not fill a bushel. — E. 
Many words go to a sackful. — Dutch. 


MoNY words mickle drouth. 

" St. Ronan's Well," ch. 32. Another versLoQ is, Mony words wad 
hae muckle diink. 

MoNV wyte their wife for their ain thriftless life. 

I nevei saw a Scottish woman who had not this at her finger's end. — 

MoKAV has fifteen days more summer than its neighbours. 

This saying took its rise from the peculiarly mild and genial climate 
of Morayshire. On account of its fertility the " Laigh o' Moray " ts 
called the granary of Scotland, while from its liae climate it has received 
the name of the Devonshire of Scotland. 

More folk than King Duncan change the course of their voyage. 
More land is won by the lawyer with the ramskin, than by the 
Andrea Fenara with his sheepskin handle. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 32. 

CovtfaTi, Knowledge is most excellent, etc 

More plain than pleasant. 
MoRLAN* Netties. 

Highland women who came to the Lowlands to barter " small articles 

of dress and of domestic import for wool," were so called. — 7'he Eurick 


Mother Macniven. 

"The Abbot," ch. 26. This was the name given to the grand 
mother witch, the very Hecate of Scottish popular superstition. 

Mother yer ain tnither, man, till ye're a faither. 

That is, don't try to get over me by soft words. 
Mountain Dew. 

The poetical name for whiskey, as " Cream of the valley " is for gin. 
Mountalban for a haggis, 
Lamington for tea, 
Greenhead for bannocks Steve, 
Their better canna be, 
And gusty cheese upon the latts 
To eat the bannocks wi' ; 
There's sour milk in Handieslandi 
When I gang there to din*, 
But Brockhoks is the hole I likej 
For Its curds and cream sae fine. 

All the places mentioned in tbis ihyrnc SM ^MmM'I^ Af" parisb ol 
Coldingham, Berwickshire. Id 1S07 01 ifloS the gudewife Ol Mount- 
alban prepared for the "kim" Buppcr a ha^^ pn^icd from the 


stomach of .in ox, so heavy that it was all the two strongest men of the 
place could do to lift it. — Dr. Henderson. 

MousiE, mousie, come to me, 

The cat's awa' frae hame, 

Mousie^ mousie, come to me, 

ni use you kind, and make you tame. 

A promise by children to mice, not always faithfully kept. 

Mouths are nae measure, unless the throat was stopped. 

Spoken when we choose to drink out of a glass rather than out of a 
pot, or, as they say, by word of mouth. — Kelly. 

Mows may come to earnest. 

" To mow," to speak in mocVtry. ^/amieson. 
Jokes have often come to earnest. — Gaelic. 

MoYEN does muckle, but money does main 

i.e.^ influence does much, but money will do more. 
Money will do more than my lord's letter. — E. 

Muck is the mither o* the meal kist. 

Also in Gaelic. 

Muckle but no manfu'. — Kelly. 

i.e., big but not brave. 

Muckle corn, muckle care. 

Much coin, much care. — E. 

Muckle crack fills nae sack. , 

Also in Gaelic. 

Fair words fill not the belly.- -E. 

Many words will not fill the bushel, or the firlot. — English and Scot. 

Fair words butter no parsnips. — E. 

Fine talk won't fill the fool. — Gaelic. 

Also German, Italian, Irish, and Dutch. 

" Muckle din about ane," quo' the deil, when he ran aflf wi' the 

MucKLEDOM is nae virtue. 

i.e., size of body. — Kelly — or head. 
A j][reat head and a little wit. — E. 

The Gaelic has the opposite— i,^., big head on wise man, hen's head 
on fool. 

MucKLE fails that fools think. 

Muckle gude may it do you, and merry go doun every lump 
as big as my thoom. 

A bad wish that every bite may choke you. — Hislop^ 


MucKLE maun a gude heart thole. 

A clean heart will suffer much ere it break. — Gaelic. 
Were na my heart licht I wad dee. — Burns, 

MucKLE may be done by timeing ane's turn. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 47. 

/ MucKLE meat tak's muckle weet. 

Spoken to one who asks for a drink of water at dinner, implying that 
if you eat less you will not be so thirsty. 

Muckle mou'd folk hae hap to their meat. 

Spoken by or to them who come opportunely to eat with \XB,—ICelly. 
Large mouth is often lucky. — Gaelic. 

Muckle mou'd Meg. 

William Scott, Younger, of Harden, son of the notorious ** Auld 
Wat" of Harden, was, in 161 1, taken prisoner during a fray by Sir 
Gideon Murray of Elibank, and offered the alternative of immediately 
marrying the daughter of his captor, or being hanged forthwith. Scott, 
after some hesitation, agreed to marry Agnes Murray, who, from the 
conspicuous character of that feature, was called ** muckle mou'd Meg." 
In ancient times, in certain circumstances, a condemned criminal might 
be pardoned if any woman offered to marry him. According to a 
French tradition, such a proposal was actually made at an execution in 
Normandy. The doomed man looked at the lady, and then turning to 
the hangman, said — 

" A pointed nose, a bitter tongue. 
Proceed, Td rather far be hung." 

Muckle musing mars the memory. 
Muckle on the north side o' friendly. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 34. 

Muckle pleasure, some pain. 
Muckle power maks mony faes. 

Necesse est ut multos timeat quem multi timent. — L. 

Muckle skaith comes to the shae, before the heat comes to the 

While the leg warmeth, the boot harmelh. — E. 

Muckle spoken, part spilt. 

Talk much, err much. — English, from the Spanish. 

Muckle to mak' a wark aboot, a dead cat in your parritch. 

Spoken ironically to those who are bragging of very little. 

Muckle water rins by the mill that the miller wats na o* when 
he sleeps. — Kelly, 




The miller asleep, and the water running by. — Gaelic. 
The miller sees not all the water that goes by his mill. — £. 

MucKLE whistlin' for little red Ian'. 

A variation of the proverb, Mair whistle than wo\ etc. 

Compare^ There's mair whistling wi* ye than gude red land. 

The saying arose from the gaudsman whistling to his oxen in order 
to encourage them, often with little result, in the shape of red or 
ploughed land. — Aberdeenshire. 

Great noise and little hurt ; and The cow is greater than the milking. 
— Gaelic. 

MucKLE wi' thrift may aye be mair. 

Multiplication is a vexation, | Division is as bad, 

The rule of three it vexes me, | And practice drives me niad. 

School-boy rhyme. 

Musselburgh was a burgh when Edinburgh was nane, 
Musselburgh shall be a burgh when Edinburgh's gane. 

Chambers gives another version, thus — 

Musselbrogh was a brogh 
When Edinbrogh was nane, 
And Musselbrogh '11 be a brogh 
When Edinbrogh is gane. 

** This," he says ** is a pun or quibble. Brogh is a term for a mussel- 
bed, one of which exists at the mouth of the Esk, and gives name to 
the burgh." So— 

Kerdon was a market town 

When Exter was a buzzy down ; and — 

When Plymouth was a buggy down, 

Plympton was a borough town. — See Hazlitt, 

My back is up. 

** St. Ronan's Well," ch. 3. His birse is up, he is angry. 

My bolt is shot. 

That is, I have said my say. 

My dancing days are done. — Kelly, 

My faith is neither in word nor writ, but in barley bread and 
brown ale. 

** Redgauntlet," Letter 4. 

My foot is on my native heath, and my name is Macgregor. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 34. 

My head was buzzing like a bee's skep. 

My loaf in my lap, my penny in my purse, 

Thou art ne'er the better, and Tm ne'er the worse. 


" Bride of Lammermoor," ch. J4 and footnote. 

Reginald Scott tells of an old woman who performed so many cures 
by means ol a charm that she was suspected of wilchciaft. Her mode 
of practice being inquired into, it was found that the only fee she would 
accept of was a loal of bread and a silver penny, and that the poleot 
charm with which she wrought so many cures was the above doggerel 

■ My Minie has the lease o't. 

Spoken jocosely when we dori't wish to finish a sloiy or song. — Kelly. 
Mv mither gied me butter and bread, my father gied me claes, 
To sit about the fireside and knap folks taes. 

This couplet usually accompanies some practical joke. 

My next neighbour's skailhe is my perfect peril, 
Mv tongue's no under your belt. 

My tongue is not under your belt, worse for me if it were ; and .My 
tail is not under his foot. — Gaelic. 

That is, I am not a) his mercy. 
My wheelie goes round, 
My wheelie goes sound. 
And my wheelie she casts the band, 
It's no the wheelie that has the wyte, 
It's my uncanny hand. 

Compart, An ill shearer, etc 


Naebody can tell what's in the shaup till its shelt. 
Gall'i "Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 25, 
The proof of a pudding it in the euing. — E. 

Naebody daur say strae to him. j^^l»._ 

Naebody is riving your claes to get you. 

That is, nobody is so anxious to get you— applied especially to young 
girls.— Ai//f. 

Naebody said hae ye a moolh. 

That ii, 110 one oBered him any refreshnlenl. 
Naebody should drink but them that can diink. 
Naebody speired her price. 

That it, she never hod a ptopOMl nf mairisen 


Naebody will come after you that will set a langer term. 

Never is a long term. — E. 

Naebody will tak you for a conjurer. — Kelly, 

Naebody^s nails can reach the length of Lunnon. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 4. This sa3nng arose after the Union of 
the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1707. It means that the powers 
of bribery and cajolery which had often proved influential with the 
Edinburgh authorities, could be employed with little effect on the 
Executive in the distant metropolis. 

Compare^ Show me the man, etc. 

Nae counsellor like the pound in purse. 

** St. Ronan's Well," ch. 28. No fee, no law.— E. 

Nae cows, nae care. 

Nae curb will tame love. 

Nae deaf nuts. 

That is, no trifle, something substantial. 

Nae equal to you but our dog Sorkie, and he's dead, so ye're 

Applied to boasters, meaning sarcastically that in their own peculiar 
faculty they are unequalled. — Hislop. 

Nae faut, but she sets her bannet ower weel. 

i.e.^ she is too good looking. 

Nae faut that the cat has a clean band — she sets a bannet sae 

Ironically spoken to them who pretend to do, have, or wear, what 
does not become them. — Kelly. 

Nae fleeing frae fate. 

Nae fleeing without wings. 

Nae friend like a bosom friend, nae enemy like a bosom enemy. 

**No friend like a bosom friend," as the man said when he pulled 
out a louse. — E. 

Nae friend like the penny. 

There is no companion like the penny. — E. 

Nae gardener ever lichtlied his ane leeks; or, He's a silly 
gardener, etc. 

"Tales of the Borders,"— * The Fair.* 

Nae- haste but of well-fair. — Kelly, 

Let us take our own time that we may be the sooner done. — E. • 
Festina lente. — L. 


Nae haufs and quarters — hale o' mine ain, and nane o' my 

"The Antiquary," ch. 23. Exclamation of s Scoltish schoolboy 
when he finds anything, 

N.\E hawk flees sae high but he will fall to some lure. 
Nae huny wi' your corns ; | Nae hurry wi' your harrows ; 
Snaw lies ahint the dike, | Mair may come and fill the furrows. 

Caution in seed time.— Chambers. 
Nae lass proves thrifty that is married in May. 
Nae luck till the second tumbler, and nae peace after the fourth. 

A tumbler of tuddy. 
Nae mair haste than gude speed. 
Nae mair to dae, but ha'se, and go to Gody. 

" Ha'se," come in atms; "Gody," godmother. 

Spoken when people become all ol a Sudden very friendly. Taken 
from the fondling of children by their nurses. — Kelly. 

Nae man can mak' his ain hap. 

Arrange his own destiny. 
Nae man can seek his marrow i' the kirn sae weel as him that's 
been in't himsel'. 

Spoken lo those who suspect us guilty of a thing in which they take 
measure of us by their practices and inclinations. — Kelly. 

The good wife would not seek her daughter in the oven, unless she 
had been there herself. — E. 
Nae man has a tack o' his life. 
Nae man is wise at a' times, nor on a' things. 
Nae man was safe in that country unless he was either a 
Douglas or a Douglas man. 

" Border Memoriei,'' W, S, Carrt, p. aa, footnote. 
Nae muckle buckit. 

Thai is, nol of much sue. 
Nae plea is the best plea. 
Nae profit without pains. 

No paios, no gains. — E, 

Nae reply is best. 

Thai is to an angry man. — KtUy. 
Nae rule sae gude as rule 0' ttioom, if it hit. 

But it seldom dues.— AW/j-, 


Nae service nae siller. 

Nae waur. 

Among the Scottish peasantry it is very unusual to admit that a 
]iatient is doing better. The closest approach to recovery which thev 
can \ye brought to allow is that the party enquired after is " Nae waur. 
— Footnote to **The Antiquary," ch. 22. 

Nae waur happen you than your ain prayers. 

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost. — E. 

Curses won't fall on a stock or stone. — Gaelic. 

The curse causeless shall not come. —Proverbs, xxvi. 2. 

Curses, like processions, return whence they came. — Italian. 

Nae weather is ill, an' the wind be still. 

And in Gaelic and E. 

Nae wonder ye say " so '* to me, ye said " so " many times to 
ver mother. 

** Spoken to one using abusive language." — Kelly, 

Nae wonder yeVe auld like, ilka thing fashes you. 

Vou worry yourself about trifles. 

Nap:thing but fill and fetch mair. 

licar up against misfortunes ; if you lose try again. 

Naething comes fairer to light than what's been lang hidden. 

Naething comes oot o' a close hand. 

Naething enters into a close hand — Kelly, 

Naething freer than a gift. 

Naething is got without pains, but an ill name and lang nails. 

Nothing to be gotten without pains but poverty. — E. 

Naething is ill to be dune when will's at hame. 

Nothing is difficult to a willing mind. — E. 

Naething is sae difficult but we may overcome it by persever- 

Naething like being stark dead. 

**A vile malicious proverb, first used by Captain James Stewart 
against the noble Earl of Morton, and afterwards applied to the Eiarl 
of Strafford and Archbishop Laud." — Kelly, 

If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well. 

Naething sae bauld as a blind mean 

What so bold as blind Bayard ? — E. 
Dulce bellum inexpertis. — L. 


Naething sae crouse as a new washed louse. 

** Spoken of them who have been ragged and dirty, and are proud 
and fond of new or clean clothes." — Kelly, 

Naething sooner maks a man auld like than sitting ill to his 

** To sit ill to one's meat, to be ill itd"—Jamieson, 

Naething to be done in haste but gripping fleas. 

Motherwell, in his introduction to ** Henderson's Collection," relates 
an anecdote in connection with this proverb. A collector of ** rusty 
sayed saws," was in the habit of jotting down any phrase new to him on 
the back of letters, cards, etc., which he then thrust into his pocket. 
On one occasion the collector quarrelled with a chance acquaintance, 
and promptly handed him, as he thought, his card as a challenge to 
mortal combat. But when the gentleman to whom the card had been 
given came to examine it he found in place of his adversary's name the 
words, "Naething should be done in haste but gripping fleas." So 
what might have been a tragedy ended in a comedy after all, for the 
humour of the situation was so irresistible that a reconciliation was im- 
mediately eflfected. 

Naething to be done but draw in your chair and sit down. 

Applied to a man who is courting a woman fortunately possessed of 
a house furnished, and ready for immediate occupation. 

Naething to do but draw out and loup on. 

"Applied to those who think a thing's easy when it is difficult." — 

Naething's a bare man. 

**A jocose answer to children when they say they have gotten 
nothing. " — Kelly, 

Naething's a man's truly, but what he comes by duly. 

Nane are sae weel but they hope to be better. 

Nane but a fool is always right. 

Nane but fools and knaves lay wagers. 

Nane can play the fool sae weel as a wise man. 

Nane o' your fluk-raa-hoys. 

" St. Roman's Well," ch. 28. . That is, none of your nonsense. 

Nature has put her tether on him. . 

That is, nature has not been lavish in her gifts to him. 

Nature hates all sudden changes. — Kelly. 


Near the lug o' the law. 

Favourably situated for obtaining sound legal tMatm 


Nf.arkr t'cn the mair beggars. 

KncDuraRe the sornct anti you'll have a night of him ; and The heggax 
ta\n:s cnrc in call at evening. — Gaelic. 

Ni.AKEH (lod's blessing that) Carlisle fair. 

" \ou need but to go to yaui closet for the one, hut yon must go out 
of the kingilom lot the other." — AV/Zf. 

NiAKKR the rock the sweeter the grass. 

Nearkst the heart nearest the mow. 

e person, by mislalte 

Nkakf;st the king, nearest the widdy. 

Nkahi.v a huckle. 

'■'■. neatly eijual. 
NkI' I) gais naked men run, and sorrow gars wabsters spin. 
J luncei ilrivcs the wnit out of the wood. — Italian. 
Need makes the naked man run. Need makes the naked queen spin. 
Need makes the old wife trot. TheM are used both in Ei^land and 
Scotland. Need wilt find means of moving. — Gaelic. 

Nked maks a man o' craft. 

Necessity is the mother of invention.— E. 

Necessity denies ; and Want bieeds ingenuity. — Gaelic 

Nkkii maks greed. 

Nk'er an Knglishman loved a dry lipped bargi 

NE'iiR bite unless you make your teeth meet. 

If you cannot bile, never shew yout teelh, — E. and Gaelic. 
Ne'er break oot o' kind to gar your friends ferlie at you. 

Do not do eccentric things meiely to aatonith your friends. 
Ne'er compare a docken to a tansie. 

Ga/l's " The EnUil," ch. 65. 
Ne'er count the lawin' wi' a toom quaich. 

CoHifiare, Fair fa' Ihe wile, etc. 
Ne'er draw your dirk when a dunt will do. 

Compart, Ne'et use the tawse, etc 
Ne'er fash your.beard. 

" ]itide of Lammecmoor," ch, 13. 


Ne'er fash your thoom. 

"Heart ofMidloihian,"ch. 16. 

The preceding two sayings mean, do not trouble Tounielf in the 
matter, " Said of anything supposed to be a vain attempt.— ^flmi'ei.i«. 

Ne'er find faut wi' my shoon, unless you pay my souter. 

Another form is, I ne'er lo'ed them that found fault wi' my shoon 
and gied me no leather. — Kelly. 

Say nothing of my debts unless you mean to pay them. — E. 

Ne'er friar forgot feud. 

Ne'er gang to the deil wi' the dishclout on your bead. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 14. 

If she went 10 the burn it was not with the dishclout.— Gaelic. 

Used as an apology for a woman going astray with a gentleman. — 

Mr, M'Ailam in his note on the Irish version says it is applied to 
such women when they make a good marriage unexpectedly. 

If you will be a knave, be not in a trifle, but in something of value. 

A Presbyterian minister had a son who was made Archdeacon of 
Ossory ; when this was told to his father, be said, " My son will be a 
knave, I am glad that he will be an archknave. This has the same 
sense " As good be hanged for an old sheep as a young Umb." — Kelly. 

Ne'er gie me my death in a loom dish. 

Ne'er gude egg nor bird. 

Ne'er kiss a man's wife, or dicht his knife, for he'll dae baith 
after ye. 

To kiss a man's wife, or wipe his knife, is but a thankless office. — E. 
Ne'er let on but laugh in your sleeve. 
Ne'er let the nose blush for the sins o' the mouth. 

As the dmnkurd E(>e*i he ii known by his uose. — £. 
Ne'er let yer feet rin faaler than yer shoon. 
Ne'er look for a wife till 70a have a house and fire to put 
her in. 

" The jest is in 'a fire tu put her in.' What is required is, a house 
to put her in, and a lire to set her by." — KtUy. 
Before thou marry, be sure of a hcuie wb«re to tarry. — E. 
Get the doocot before you Iftili fni the doo. 

Ns'kr luck when a priest is on board. 

This is ilill a nuperililion witli Sarttldi milort— rioliaWy niicinated 
from the story ot Jaaob. 
Ne'er marry a penniles.i maiden that's prvod 0' bei i.t.Jii;n.-. 


Ne'kk marry a widow unless her first husband was hanged. 
Nk*er meet, ne'er pay. 

Spoken when we cheerfully help a friend. — Kelly. 

Nk*er misca a (Jordon in the raws o* Stra'bogie. 

The (lordons were the principal clan in that district. We should not 
speak ill of a man among his friends. 

Nk'er open your pack, and sell nae wares. 

Don't offer your Mrvices where they are not likely to be accepted. — 

NeV.r pot boiled but the scum was cast uppermost. 

Ne'er put your arm out farther than ye can draw it easily back 

** Rob Roy,** ch. 22. Put your hand no farther than your sleeve 
will reach. — E. ; and. Stretch your legs according to your coverlet. — E. 
also, Span., (Jerm., Dutch. 

A man will stretch his foot no farther than his clothes allow. — Gaelic. 

According to the blanket must the feet stretch. — Modem Greek. 

Ne'er rax abune your reach. 

"Rax," stretch. 

Ne'er say gae, but gang. 

If you would have your errand done, send your servant ; 
If you would have it well done, go yourself. — E. 

Ne'er say " ill fallow " to him you deal wi'. 
Ne'er shew me the meat but the man. 

If a man be fat, plump, and in good liking I shall not ask what 
keeping he has had. — Kelly. 

Show me the white-faced yellow calf, not what he is fed on. — Gaelic, 
also, Irish. Show the calf, and not the milk. — Welsh. 

Ne'er speak ill o' the deil. 

Its a sin to belie the devil. — E. 

Ne'er speak ill o' them whase bread ye eat. 
Ne'er spend gude siller looking for bad. 

Roy's ** Generalship," Part 2. 

Ne'er tak' a stane to break an ^g%^ when ye can dae't wi* the 
back o' yer knife. — Kelly. 

Send not for a hatchet to break open an egg with. — E. ; and. Take 
not a musket to kill a butterfly. — E. 

Ne'er throve Convent without woman's counsel. 

"The Abbot," ch. 14. 


Ne'er throw the bridle of your horse ower a fooFs arm. 
Ne'er use the tawse when a gloom will do. 

Compare^ Ne'er draw your dirk, etc. 

Ne'er was a wife weel pleased coming frae the mill but ane, and 
she brak her back bane. 

Were they displeased because the miller had cheated them ? 

Ne'er waste a candle to chase a will-o'-the-wisp. 

Neevie, neevie, neck nack, | Which hand will you tak' ? 
Tak' the right, tak' the wrang, | I'll beguile ye if I can. 

A lottery rhyme used among boys while whirling the two closed fists 
round each other, one containing the prize, the other empty. Another 
boyish challenge to a guess is — 

Claw, claw, bawbee a* 
Guess what's in my pouch, and I'll gi'e ye't a'. 

Neither buff nor stye. 

That is, neither one thing nor another. 

Neither far away nor foul gate. / 

Neither a long distance nor a bad road. 

Neither fair gude e'en nor fair gude day. 
He won't say anything one way or the other. 

Neither here nor there. 

A matter of no consequence. 

Neither sae sinfu' as to sink, nor sae holy as to soom. 

Refers to the ancient method of testing a 'suspected witch. 

Neque dives, neque fortis, sed nee sapiens Scotus, praedomin- 
anta invidia dui durabit in terra. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 15. This saying is quoted by Fordoun 
as an ancient proverb, and refers to the constant agitation and frequent 
changes in the political condition of Scotland. 

New Corn. 

**The Antiquary," ch. 15. Fresh information. 

Newha* he is a weel-faur'd spark, 

The Spittal he*s a silly body, 
Penicuik he is an Earl's son, 

Greenlaw he is a fisher's oye. 

Young Glencorse he lo'es guid ale, 

Woodhouselea he winna be the treater, 
Auchindinny he bears the gree 

O' a' the lairds o' Nor' Esk water. 


Young Gourton he's a rude, rude youth, 

Young Hawthornden is little better ; 
Polton stands on the knowe head, 

But Melville low down on the water. 

Mavisbank they're bonny yards, 

The house within is muckle better ; 
Roslin for a glass of wine, 

But Dryden for a glass of water. 

Refers to the lairds of the North Esk district of Midlothian about 
1740. Sir John Clerk of Penicuik was an Earl's son-in-law, having 
married a daughter of the Earl of Galloway. Caddill was laird of 
Greenlaw; Buchan, of Glencorse ; Inglis, of Auchindinny ; Preston, of 
Gourton ; Drummond, of Hawthornden ; Durham, of Polton ; Rennie, 
of Melville ; Clerk, of Mavisbank ; Sinclair, of Roslin ; and Lockhart, 
of Dryden. — Chambers, 

New moon, new moon, tell me if you can, 
Gif I have a hair like the hair of my gudeman. 

In Galloway, girls gathered a handful of grass at the new moon, and 
if a hair was found amongst it, the colour of the hair determined that of 
the future husband. So — 

New mune, true mune, 

Tell unto me 

If (naming her favourite lover) my true love. 

He will marry me. 

If he marry me in haste, 

Let me see his bonnie face ; 

If he marry me betide, 

Let me see his bonnie side ; 

(jin he marry na me ava. 

Turn his back and gae awa*. 

Girls repeat this rhyme on first seeing the new moon, and expect that 
their lover will appear to them in their dreams that night. In Berk- 
shire maidens say — 

New moon, new moon, I hail thee ! 
By all the virtue in thy body. 
Grant this night that 1 may see 
He who my true love is to be. 

NiFFER for niffer. 
See^ Giffgaff. 

Nineteen naesays o' a maiden is half a grant 
Nipping and scarting's Scotch folks wooing. 

By biting and scratching cats come together.- -E. 

No a pirn the waur. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 25. 


No a prin the waur. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 36. 

Nobility without ability is like a pudding without suet. v 

None of any other country can prosper within the kenning of a 
Scot. — Irish. 

Not Falkland bred. 

See, Falkland manners. 

Nought's to be had o' woman's hand unless you gie her all the 

Old Scottish song. "What a woman wills, God wills. — Fr. 

Their will to all men,. and all their will to the women. — Gaelic. 

Now-A-DAYS truth's news. 

Nows and thens. 

That is, occasionally. 

Now's now, and Yule's in winter. 

A return to them that say "now" by way of resentment, a particle 
common in Scotland. — Kelly, 


O Alva's woods are bonnie, 

Tillycoultrie hills are fair ; 
But when I think o' the bonnie braes o' Menstrie, 

It maks my heart right sair. Or — 

There's Alva and Dollar and Tillycoultrie, 

But the bonnie woods o* Menstrie bear awa' the gree. 

These rhymes refer to places in Clackmannanshire, of which Menstrie 
excels all the rest. 

The first of these two rhymes was sung by a miller's wife, in the pre- 
sence of her husband, after she had been carried away by the fairies.— 

O Pearlin' Jean, O Pearlin' Jean, 

She haunts the house, she haunts the green. 

And glowers on us a' wi' her wullcat e'en. 

A traditional catch in Berwickshire, said to have been *** 
ghost of a French mistress of one of the Stewarts of A 
was accidentally killed by the wheel of her lover's ou 
leaving Paris. See Dr, Henderson^ 


O wEKi/s me noo, Tve gotten a name, 
They ca* me short hoggers o* Whittinghame. 

The ijhosi of an unl)aptised infant, murdered by an unnatural mother, 
long haunted the neighlx>urhood of Whittinghame, East Lothian, being 
unable to rest in the grave without a name. One morning a drunkard 
reeling home encountered the spirit, and under the influence of Dutch 
courage addressed it saying, " How's a wi' ye this morning, short hog- 
gers ? *' when the ghost immediately ran away repeating the words of 
the alx)ve rhyme. The term ** short hoggers " denotes that the ghost 
wore short stockings without feet. — Chambers, 

O' A little tak* a little, whaur there*s nought tak' a*. 

O' AE ill comes mony. 

O' A* fish i' the sea herring is king. 

O* a' ills the least is the best. — Kelly. 

E malis minimum eligendum. — L. 

O' A* sorrows a fu' sorrow is the best. 

"Waverley," ch. 42. 

Spoken when friends die, and leave good legacies. — Kelly. 
Fat sorrow is better than lean sorrrow. — E. ; and in Spanish. 
Kay says it is spoken to encourage a maid to marry a rich man though 

O' a' the months o' the year, | Curse a fair Februar. 

All the months in the year, 
Curse a fair Februeer. — E. 

Seven bolls of February snow. 
Through an auger hole to go. — Gaelic. 

This is considered seasonable weather. Better foray coming to the 
land than mild morning in the cold month of storms. — Gaelic. 

February cold and keen, 

Welcome hath it ever been ; 

Sheep and cattle running hot, 

Sorrow that will bring I wot. And — 

February, cows in heat, 

Sorrow will the season greet ; 

February, cows in wood. 

Welcome is the weather good. — Gaelic. 

The Welshman would rather see his dam on her bier, 
Than see a fair Februeer. — Welsh. 

When February gives snows. 

It fine weather foreshews. — Norman. 

Matthew's day breaks the ice, if he find none he will make it. — 
German. ** St. Matthew's Day," 24th February. 

O' a' the Pows that e'er I saw, | The Pow o' Lennel beats them a . 


This rhyme is a play upon the word **pow," — head, and also upon 
the name of a minister of Lennel, Berwickshire, at the beginning of last 
century. Lennel is now united with the parish of Coldstream. — Dr, 

(y a' wars peace is the end. 

The end of war is peace. — Gaelic. 

O' ARD Choille ! 

The slogan of the Clan Macgregor. Place of rendezvous — signifying 
from the woody height. 

O' AS great knowledge as the Bishop of Dunkeld. 

George Webbe's " God's Controversie with England." 1609, p. 78, 

O' bairn's gifts ne'er be fain ! nay sooner they gie than they 
tak' it again. 

The little children's gift given, and soon asked back. — Gaelic. 
O'Neill's gift, and his two eyes after it. — Irish. 

O' ENOUGH men leave. 

When no scraps are left we can hardly be said to have enough. — 

There's never enough when nought leaves. — Italian. 

O' ILL debtors men get aiths (promises). 

O' LITTLE meddling comes muckle care 

O' THAT ilk. 

That is of the same name— as Anstruther of Anstruther. 

O' THE marriages in May, | The bairns die o' a decay. 

. Compare, 111 fortune ever follows, etc. 

Oh ! for a drap o' gentle bluid that I may wear black abune my 

In Scotland no woman is suffered to wear a silk hood unless she be a 
gentlewoman, that is, a gentleman's daughter, or married to a gentle- 
man. A rich maid, having the offer of a wealthy yeoman or a bare 
gentleman, wished for the last, to qualify her to wear a black hood. It 
is since spoken to such wealthy maidens upon the like occasion. — Kelly, 

Oh wad some power the giftie gi'e us, 

To see ourselves as others see us ! — Burns, 

Old men will die, and children will soon forget. — Hazlitt. 

This proverb occurs in an old ballad called ** Ane Complaint upon 
Fortoun," by Robert Sempill, printed about 1567 at Edinburgh. 

Bot as the proverbe speikis, it plaine appeiris, 
Auld men will die, and bairns will sune forget. 

Old Sma' Back. 

** Quentin Durward," ch. 37. A cant Scottish expression for death. 


Omne malum ab aquilone. 

Compare^ Out of the North, etc. 

On Cockburn's elm, on Henderland lee, 
A Cockburn laird shall hangit be. — Merlin, 

Cockburn of Henderland, in Selkirkshire, a notorious border reiver 
was hanged from a buttress of his own castle by order of James V. It 
is said the King used the buttress as a gallows instead of the large elm 
tree which stood in front of the castle, fearing that if the prophecy of 
Merlin was literally fulfilled, encouragement might be given to the 
su])erstitious l)eliefs of the people. — '* Tales of the Borders," *The 
Royal Raid.' Another tradition asserts that Cockburn was beheaded 
at Edinburgh on the 1 8th May, 1530. 

On the first of March | The craws begin to search, 

By the first of April | They are sitting still ; 

By the first of May | They're a' flown away, 

Croupin' greedy back again | In October's wind and rain. 

So — On the first of March 

The crows begin to search. — E. 

On the fourteenth of October, | Was ne'er a souter sober. 

St. Crispin's day falls on the fourteenth of October, old style. There 
is an old Scottish tune called ** Fourteenth of October," which, doubt- 
less, was intended to celebrate the conviviality of the souters on the day 
of their patron Saint. 

On Tintock tap there is a mist, 
And in that mist there is a kist. 
And in the kist there is a caup, 
And in the caup there is a drap ; 
Tak' up the caup, drink aff the drap, 
And set the caup on Tintock tap. 

This rhyme seems to be intended as a mockery of human strength. 
On the top of Tintock hill, in Lanarkshire, there is a cairn containing 
one particularly large stone, with a hole in the upper side, which, in 
wet weather, is filled with water. It is impossible for any man to lift 
this stone, much less to drink the water it contains. — Chambers^ 

Onca work. 

An Orkney expression, meaning personal service rendered by a tenant 
to his landlord. 

One magpie's joy, | Two's grief. 
Three's a marriage, | Four's death. 

Or — One for money, 

Two for health, 
Three for love. 
And four for wealth. 


Or — One's sorrow, two's mirth, 

Three's a wedding, four's death, 
Five a blessing, six hell, 
Seven the deil's ainsel'. 

So in England they say — 

One for sorrow. 

Two for mirth, 

Three for a wedding, 

Four for a birth. 

Five for silver, 

Six for gold, 

Seven for a secret. 

Not to be told. 

Eight for heaven. 

Nine for hell, 

And ten for the deil's own sel*. 

Also — One magpie for sorrow. 

Two for joy, 
Three for a wedding, 
Four for a boy. — E. 

In the Teesdale glossary, 1849, p. 95, is the following version — 

One's sorrow. 
Two's good luck, 
Three's a wedding, 
Four's death. 

And Mr. Couch, in his folk-lore of a Cornish village, also substitutes 
death for birth in the fourth line. It is a common superstition that to 
spit three times averts the ill luck attendant on the sight of a single 
bird. — Hazlitt. 

It will be observed that in Scotland one magpie is regarded as omin- 
ous of joy, while two bring sorrow. In England, on the other hand, a 
single bird is dreaded, and mirth comes with the second. The second 
of the three Scottish rhymes is entirely favourable to the appearance of 
the bird, but I doubt if it was as fully accepted as the other two. At 
any rate, the appearance of this bird was regarded as ominous both in 
England and Scotland. 

One man is enough to right his own wrong. 
** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 6. 

One, two, three, what a lot o' fishwives I see. 

When a group of fisher folk are gathered together, they have a par- 
ticular dislike to being numbered. So rude boys, to annoy the women, 
salute them with this cry. 

Onything for ye aboot an honest man's house, but a day's 

Onything is better than the yell kail. 

/.^., broth without meat. — Kelly, 


Onything is naething. 

** Rob Roy," ch. i8. i.e.^ a promise to give anything is worthless, 

*' Onything sets a gude face," quo' the monkey wi' the mutch 

Q. Oo*? Wool? 
/ A ns. Ay, oo\ Yes, wool. 

Q. A' 00'? All wool? 
Ans. Ay, a' oo\ Yes, all wool. 
Q. A' a'e oo' ? All one sort of wool ? 
Ans. Ay, a' a'e oo'. Yes, all one sort of wool. 

This imaginary conversation between a draper and his customer is 
regarded as the proverbial type of the peculiarities of the Scottish dialect. 

Ordwell's a bonny place, | It stands upon the water ; 
Drakemyre's a scaw'd place, | Rotten tripes and butter. 

These places are farms in the Lammermoor district of Berwickshire, 
and the former is situated on the banks of the Whitadder. — Dr. 

Our ain reek's better than ither folk's fire. 

Patriae fumus igne alieno luculentior. — L. 

All your eggs have two yolks I warrant you. — E. ; and, All your 
geese are swans. — E. 

Our sowens are ill sour'd, ill seil'd, ill sodden, thin, an' little o' 
them. Ye may stay a' night, but ye may gang hame if ye 
like. It's weel kenn'd your faither's son was ne'er a scambler. 

This proverb arose from a speech made by a Scotswoman to a guest 
that she would gladly have shaken off, and is repeated when we think 
our friend does not entertain us heartily. — Kelly. 

Eat, and welcome, fast, and more welcome. — E. 

Out in the " '45." 

This was the delicate way in which the Jacobites referred to their 
friends who took part in the rebellion of that year. So, in Ireland, 
those who participated in similar undertakings were said ** To be up." 
'• Waverley," ch. 39, and Note 2, B. 

Out o' bread. 

That is, out of work. 

Out o' Davy Lindsay into Wallace. 

*' Davy Lindsay," and " Wallace," were two books formerly used in 
schools ; and the proverb is used when a person changes, or more 
properly advances from one thing to another. — Hislop. 

Out o' sight, out o' langour. 

Out of sight out of mind. Far from the eye, far from the heart; and. 
Long absent, soon forgotten, are parallel English sayings. 


Qui pTucul a.b oculis, procul est a limlte cordis, — L. 

The dead, and those gone awny have no friends.— Spanish. 

Alea in Gaelic, Irish, Welsh, French, German. Danish, and Dutch. 

Out of the North [ All ill comes forth ; and — 

Omne malum ab aquilome — are English sayings refiecling on ibe 
Scots. The Utter proverb is quoted as an old English adage in a letter 
from James Kilter of Hare wood to Lord Burleigh in 15S8, Wrights 
" Elizabeth and her Times," Vol. II., p. 377. They also used to say 
in England — Cold weather, and knaves come out of the North. 

Out o' the peat-pot into the gutter. 

Out of the frying-pan into the fire. — E. 

Out of the mire into the brook.— Italian. 

On! of the smoke into the flame. — L. 

Also in French, Port., Greek, and Span. 
Out o' the warld atid into Kippen, 

The feudal lord oi this remote Stirlingshire parish was called " King 

Out of the world and into Bodmin ; and. Out of the world and into 
Sloqursay — Sloke Courcey in the County of Somerset. — E. 

Out on the highgate is aye fair play. 

He that walks uprightly walks surely. — Solovmn. 

Honesty is the best policy.— E. 
OwEE braw a purse to put a plack in. 

Spoken when one builds a magniticei 

OwER far north for you. 

i.e.. Too clever for you. According to a Russian proverb — Only a 
Jew can cheat a gipsy, only a Gieek a Jew, and only the devil a Greek. 
— It is said that once, upon a time, a party of Jews visited Aberdeen, 
hut on finding the hard-headed inhabitants of the Granite City, fully a 
match for them in their own line, they departed saying that Aberdeen 
was "too far north," and this we iKlieve is the origin of the familiar 
phrase— In any case the Scots, and especially the Aberdonians are pro- 
verbially said to be as cute as the Jews, an honour which as we nave 
seen they shore with Ihe Greeks. Si>— Aberdeenshire, Yorkshire, and 
Tuscany are provertuallj the dutp (tistricts of their respective countries. 
He's Yorkshire — equinUent to the Italiaa, i.t., Spoletmo. So, 
From a Tuscan would you buy P 
Go not with a purhlind cye.^Italian. 
OwER gude for banning, and ower gude for blessing. 
OwtR haly was hang'd, but rough and sonsie (lucky) wan awa'. 

OwER highi ower laigh ; ower hei, ower caultl. 
(.(., From one extreme to anotlier. 

t house, upon a small ii 


OwKR mony grieves hinder the wark ; so — 

OwKR muckle cook'ry spills the bruise. — Kdly, 

A ri<;ht Englishman ! He knows not when a thing is well done ; 
and, Tfj<) much of one thing is not good. — E. 

OwKK muckle hameliness spoils gude courtesy. 

O'er great familiarity genders despite. — Old Scottish form. 
T<K) much familiarity l)reeds contempt ; and, Play with your servant 
at home. an<l he'll |)lay with you abroad. — E. 
Nimia familiaritas c()ntcm|)tum perit. — L. 
iJoldness Icails t«> l>ad manners. — Gaelic. So Span., and Port. 

OwKR narrow counting culyes nae kindness. 

** To culyo," is to gain, to draw forth. When people deal in rigour 
with us we think ourselves but little obliged to them. — Kelly, 

OwKR near ncibours to be gude friends. 

An<l in French. 

OwKR reckless may repent. 

OwER sicker, ower loose. 

That is, he is cither too harsh, or too lenient. 

OwER strong meat for your weak stamach. 
Ower sunc- is easy mended. 
Own debt and crave days. 


Packing and peeling. 

That is, associating with, trading with. It is generally used in the 
sense of dealing with outlaws or other doubtful characters. Scott quotes 
it frccjuentiy in this connection. 


A fairy messenger. — ** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 29, 
Pancakk day. 

SeCf Brose day. 

Pass breath, come death. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 55. An old incantation used by those 'who 
are watching the dying. In "Guy Mannering, "ch. 27, Meg 
on entering a house where a man is in the last agonies, sa3r8 — 

** Open lock, end strife, 
Come death, and pass life. " 



Paterson's meat aye goes foremost. 

StroUes on the hand with the lawse, from " pa.nde manum." "Red- 
gauntlei,"Lelier i. 

Pav-before*hand's never well serv'd. 

There are two kind of bad customers : those who pa^ in advance, and 
those who never paj' at all. The proverb is quoted in the " Bride of 
Lammermoor," ch. 3. 
He that payelh beforehand shall have his work ill done. — EX 

Pay plack and bawbee. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 31. That is, pay all you owe. A plack is 
an old Scottish coin worth about the third of a penny. 

Pedlar's drouth. 

Peebles for pleasure. 

In contradistinctio 

quiet as the grave or 

Peer IE Sea. 

This is the local n: 

; of the inlet on which Kirlcwall is buill. 

Peer IE summer. 

An Orkney opression for autumn fine weather, corresponding to the 
Indian summer of America. So in England the term, "A blackberry 
summer," is applied to a few fine days in the end of September and be- 
ginning of October, when the fruit of the bramble ripens; In England 
generally the good weather which not unfrequently sets in about Mar- 
tinmas, is known as "St. Martin's little summer," and in Cornwall as 
" Merchant May's little summer ; " while the fine weather about St. 
Luke's day, October i8th, is called "St. Luke's little summer." 

A pick-me-up ; brandy and soda ; also a shilling. Given in the 
" Slang Dictionary " as a Scottish er -~ 

Peg Walker. — Border. 

That is, skim milk cheese. From the pectiUu cohailn dantetti of 

its particles. ^ 

Penny wheep's gude enough for muslin kail. 

Jaraieson says that "penny wheep " is the weakest kind of small beer 
sold at a penny per botUe. " Muslin kail " is poor soup or brolh, 
Poor service merits poor lev/aid.—His/o/. 


That it, dlkxAa.— Tit EllritiSiefiAirJ, "Wat 


Perth is gone, the bridge is down. — Highland. 

Spoken on the occasion of some great catastrophe. 

The l>ri(lge of Terth, newly completed, was destroyed by the swelling 
of the Tay on the I4lh October, 1621. — CcUderwood, 

Another version is, When the bridge of Perth falls, it will make a 
noise. — Nicohon . 

Petir Plug, | The snail gatherer. — Ayrshire. 

An impudent answer to the question, ** What is your name? " 

Pickle till him in Path-head ; | Ilka bailie burns another ! 

Tathhcad is a village in Fife, adjoining Kirkcaldy. This rhyme is 
rejjardcd l)y the people of the as a reproach, and when uttered by 
a stranger, bitterly rcsente<l. In a tract entitled, ** Voyage of the Priqce 
of Tariaria to Cowpcr." 1661, Pathhead is said to be "more renowned 
l»y the nainc<> Ilirplc-till-ein or Pickle-till-em." — Chambers. 

Pigs may whistle, hut they have an ill mouth for'L 

A sneer at a person who is attempting something entirely above his 

Pint stoups hae lang lugs. 

Because drinking leads to talking. — ** Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

Piper\s news. 

Old information ; no news at all. Hogg, in the ** Siege of Roxburgh," 
ch. 2, gives the following version, Piper's news which the fiddler had 
told before. 

PiRELEQUKViNG the preacher. 

That is, giving a summary of the sermon. The phrase refers to an 
old custom at sacramental occasions, Fast days, Saturdays and Mon- 
days, when the parish minister summarised the discourses of the brethren 
who had l)een assisting him, after they had left the pulpit. It is said 
that the exjiression comes from the French parla^queuct to take by the 
tail or handle. 

Pit mirk ; or, Pick mirk. 

As dark as pitch. — E. 

Pith's gude at a' play but threading o' needles. 

PiTTENWEKM '11 sink wi* sin, | But neither sword nor pestilence 
Sail enter therein. — Fifeshire. 

Pittenweem escaped two visitations of cholera which caused many 
deaths in the neighbouring towns of Anstruther and St. Monance* 

Plack aboot's fair play. 

That is, each man should pay his fair share of the reckoning. 

Placks and bawbees grow pounds. 

Penny and penny, laid up will be many. — E. 


Plaister thick and some will stick. 
Play carle again wi' me if ye daur. 

Don't dare to offer to contest wilh me, spoken by pitenls to stubborn 
children.— Ai//f. 

Plav wi' your play feers (fellows). 

That is, don't plaj Iricks on your elders. 
Play's gude, but daifin' dow not. 

That is, play is gnde, but folly is useless.— jt«//f. 
Play's gude while it lasts. 
Play's gude while it's play. 
Playing Jeddart ; and, Playing Paisley, 

These eipressions are used in the south and west of Scotland, 

Pleaing at the law's hke fighting through a whin bush — the 
harder the blows the sairer the scarts. 

"Whin bash," furze. 
Please your kimmer, and ye'll easy guide your gossip. 

A kimmer is a gossip, just let her speak away, she'll soon be done. 
Please yoursel', and you'll no dee o' the pet. 
Plenty is oae plague. 
Plenty maks dainty. 

According to Kelly, the English saying — Plenty is no dainty, means 
the same, (hat abundance makes us faslidioas. 


An epithet anciently applied by the Scots to the English, as a sneer 
at their love of good liTing. 

PoLART for sodgers. 

This saying applied satirically to the village of Polwacth in Berwick- 
shire, arose (ibm the fact thai on ooe occasion, when an effort was made 
10 get men to serve their sovereign and country in the army, only one 
patriot could be found in Polwarth. 

Poor Corsrigl Five wheat heads, thirty windle-straes, and a 
cait-lade o' horse gowans on an acre ! Poor Corsrig I 

Crodng, m Corsrig, a fnim in the paii^ of Ilaltoo, Bciwickshiie, 

became At one time, locally pioveibiaf, for lis scauy crops, etmnil; 
weedi, and poor tillage. The land is mucb tide otW ViH In ihv Mei 


but in past times certain wealthy tenants earned by their carelessness a 
bad reputation for the place. — Dr, Henderson, 

Poor folk are fain of lijtle. 

Poor folks must say — Thank ye for a little. — E. 
A |)Oi)r man is glad of a little. — Gaelic. 
Of what he gets. — Irish ; and in Manx. 

Poor folk maun fit their wame to their winning. 

Poor folk maun live. 

Poor folks' friends soon misken them. 

A true proverb, for a poor man is pretty familiar with the **cold 

Poor haiveral Will and lang-skinned Jock, 
They think themselves twa clever folk ; 
They wad fecht a clocking hen and birds, 
They wad kill a man, and gie them swords. 

Taunt for silly boasters. — Chambers, 

Poor living without money, as the Scot of old had. — Gaelic. 
Poor man of mutton. 

The blade bone of a shoulder of mutton is called *' a poor man " in 
Scotland, as in some parts of England it is called *'a poor knight of 
Windsor," in contrast, it must be presumed, to the baronial Sir«Xoin. 
Note E to the ** Bride of Lammermoor." 

Poor sorrow. 

An expression of sympathy, as, poor fellow, applied to a sinner, or 
one who is in any way unfortunate. 

Poorly sits, richly warms. 

Spoken when people sit on a low stool by the fire. — Kelly. 
The poor seat makes the rich warming. — Gaelic. 
The lowest seat is nearest the fire. — Irish. 
Lowly sit, richly warm. — E. 

A mean condition is both more safe and more comfortable than a 
high estate. — Ray, 

Poortith cauld. 

Nothing has a worse smell or stinks more than poverty. — E. 

Poortith taks awa pith. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 35. 

Poortith wi' patience is less painfu*. 
Poortith's better than pride. 
Poortith's pain, but nae disgrace. 

Poverty is no crime. — E. j 


Possession's worth an ill charter. 

I would not give a cottage in possession for a palace in reversion ; 
and, Possession is eleven points in the law, and they say there are but 
twelve. — E. 

Pot luck. 

An invitation to take what dinner happens to be going. 

Pour out. 

The cry of children at marriages, indicating that they expect some 
coppers from the bridal party. 

Poverty is a bad back friend, but ill fame is a waur ane. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 12. 

Poverty parts gude company, and is an enemy to virtue. — 

Poverty parteth fellowship. — E. and in Gaelic. 

Pow, pow ! 

Crawfurdland tower's a' in a low ! — Ayrshire. 

A tradition was current that a great treasure lay concealed in a pool 
beneath a fall of the rivulet underneath Crawfurdland bridge, about 
three miles from Kilmarnock. On one occasion, when the laird of 
Crawfurdland and his servants were searching for the treasure, they 
were interrupted by a brownie, crying the above words out of a bush. 
They found that the warning was a hoax, but on retuining to the pool, 
the water which they had dammed was falling over the linn as usual. 
They gave up the search, and the treasure has never been discovered. 
— Chambers y p. 242. 

PowBATE an' ye break, | Tak the Moorfoot in your gate — 

Moorfoot and Mauldslie, | Huntlycote a' three, 

Five kirks and an abbacie ! 

Powbate hill in Peebles-shire was believed to be full of water, and 
the people in the district used to speculate as to the results if the hill 
should burst. They concluded the deluge would rush down the valley 
towards Dalkeith, destroying in the first place three farms, and finally 
sweeping away the kirks of Temple, Carrington, Borthwick, Cockpen, 
and Dalkeith, together with the abbey which formerly existed at New- 
battle. The reference to the abbey shows the antiquity of the rhyme. 
— Chambers' "History of Peebles-shire." 

Powder me weel, and keep me clean, 
ru carry a ball to Peebles green. 

This refers to Mens Meg, the old cannon preserved in Edinburgh 

Pray to God to help you, and put your hand to work. — KeUy. 
Praise God, and keep your powder diy. — ^EL 


Preach according to your stipend. 

i.e.^ live wiihin your income. 

Preskrvk us a'. 

"The Antiquary," ch. 15. 

Preti'v man, I maun say ; tak a peat and sit doun. 

An ironical expression to a mean boy who would gladly be esteemed. 
Kelly. You're a man among the geese when the gander is away. — E. 

Pride and sweerdness need muckle uphaudin'. 

%,€.^ pride and laziness require much to uphold them. 

Pride never left his maister without a fa\ 

Pride will have a fall. — E. 

Pride prinks her brow for the deil to pouse. 

/>., pride bedecks herself, and the devil despoils. 

Pride without profit wears shoon and goes barefit. 

Spoken when people have something fine about them and the rest 
shabby. — Kelly, Ringed finger and bare buttock. — Gaelic. 

Pride's an ill horse to ride. 

Prosin', Esk, and Carity 

Meet a' at the birken buss o' Inverquharity. 

The Forfarshire streams, Prosin and Carity, join the Esk at the birken 
buss o' Inverquharity, or Inverarity. 

Provision in season maks a bein (comfortable) house. 
Prudence should be winning when thrift is spinning. 
Prush Madam. 

Call to a cow to come forward. Adopted apparently in ridicule of 
the French applying the epithet ** Madam" to a cow. — Ramsay* s 
** Reminiscences. * 

Pu' up your breeks. 

Be a little more alert and diligent. 

Public rooms. 

The living rooms of a Scottish house other than the bedrooms. 
Compare^ The room. 

Put nae force against the flail. 

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Put the matter to your knee and straught it. 

Taken from setting bended sticks straight, and spoken in anger to 
fault finders.— A'<?//>/. Gait's ** Entail," ch. 50. 


Put the pin in. 

i.e.f reform ; and, Put in a greasy pin. i.e,, form a slippery, and 
therefore weak, resolution. 

Put to your hand. 

Lend a hand. — E. 

Put twa pennies' in a purse and they'll creep thegither. 

Also in Gaelic and German. 

Put your hand in the creel, | Tak' oot an adder or an eel. 

Put your hand into the creel and take your choice of flounders. -Gaelic. 
In buying horses and taking a wife, shut your eyes and commend 
yourself to God. — Ital. Compare, Marriage is a creel, etc. 

Quality without quantity is little thought of. 

Et genus et forma, nisi cum re, vilior alg^ est. — L. 

QuARRELLERS do not usually live long. 
**St. Ronan's Well," ch. 8. 

QuEY caufs are dear veal. 

A quey is a female calf of two years old, too valuable as a cow to be 
killed as a calf. 

QuHEN Skirling shall be captain, | The cock shall lose his tail. 

On March 21, 1567, when Edinburgh Castle was surrendered to 
Cockburn of Skirling on behalf of Queen Mary, the weather-cock of 
St. Giles' Church was blown away, and so the ancient prophecy was 
fulfilled.— Birrel's "Diary," 1532- 1605. 


Put your hand twice to your bonnet for ance to your pouch. \ / 

Put your hand quickly to your hat, and slowly to your purse, and you ^ 

will take no harm. — Danish. 

Put your thanks in your shanks, and mak' gude gramashes o' 

ue,j put your thanks in your legs and make good gaiters of them. I 
wish something more substantial than thanks. 
Keep your thanks to feed your chickens. — E. 
Nihil citius perit quam gratia. — L. 

Putting up with him. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 13. t,e., taking up his abode with him. 


QuHARE the hearte heavit in het bluid ower hill and howe, 
There shall the dinke deer droule for the dowe ; 
Two fleet-footed maidens shall tread the green, 
And the mune and the stars shall flash between. 
Quhare the proud high hold and heavy hold beire 
Ane fremauch shall feed on ane father's frene's feire, 
In dinging at the stars the D shall drop doun, 
But the S shall be S when the head S is gone. 

Thomas the Rhymer. Meaning that the arms of the Scots shall 
sui^rsedc those of the Douglas. In endeavouring to exalt himself, the 
Douglas shall fall, but the Scots shall flourish when the Royal Stuarts 
are no more. It was also said by the Rhymer — 

<^uahare the wingit horse at his maister sal wince, 
Let wise men cheat the chevysance. 

i.t'.f let wise men desert Douglas when he opposes the King. The 
.Scots did this, and prospered exceedingly. 

Quick returns male rich merchants. — Ke/fy, 
Many ventures make a full freight. 


Rab Gibh's contract, stark love and kindness. 

An expression used when we drink to a friend. — Kelly, 

Rabbling the curates. 

After the Revolution of 1688, this phrase was used to indicate the 
treatment received by many of the non-juring Episcopal clergy, who 
were mobbed to expiate their political heresies. — Note I to *' Waverley.'* 

Raggit folk and bonny folk are aye ta'en hand o*. 

Spoken jocularly when a person has rent or catlght his clothes upon 
a nail or other projection. — Hislop. 

Rain, rain, | Gang to Spain, | And never come back again. — 

Chambers, So — 

Rain, rain, go away ; 

Come again another day ; 

When I brew, and when I bake, 

I'll gie you a little cake. — Northumberland. 

And — Rain, rain, 
Go to Spain, 

And come again another day ; 
When I brew, when I bake, 
You shall have a figgy cake, 
And a glass of brandy. — Cornwall. 


Rain, rain, rattlestanes, | Dinna rain on me. 

But rain on Johnnie Groat's house, .| Far owre the sea. 

Sung during a hail storm. — Chambers i 

Rainbow, rainbow, haud awa hame, 

A' your bairns are dead but ane, 

And it lies sick at yon grey stane, 

And will be dead ere ye win hame ; 

Gang owre the Drumaw, and yont the lea. 

And doun by the side o' yonder sea, 

Your bairn lies greetin' like to dee, 

And the big tear drap is in his e'e. 

DrumaW is a high hill skirting the sea on the east coast of Berwick- 
shire. — Dr. Henderson. 

So — Rainbow, rainbow, 

Rin away hame, 
Come again at Martimas, 

When a' the corn's in. — Chambers, 

And — Rainbow, rainbow, rin awa' hame, 

The cowe's to calf, the yowe's to lamb. — Chambers, 

The following is current in Ayrshire — 

Rainbow, rainbow, rin awa' hame. 
The kye'll be milked afore ye get hame. 

Raise nae mair deils than ye can lay. 

Raise no more spirits than you can conjure upon. — German and E, 

Rattan and mouse, 

Lea' the puir woman's house ; 

Gang awa' owre by to 'e mill, 

And there ane and a' ye'U get your fill. 

A charm against rats and mice, legibly written and stuck upon the 
wall of the house they infested. — Chambers, 

Raw dauds mak' fat lads. 

The soft dough makes the stiff buttock. — Gaelic. 

Raw lads and bait yauds, | On wi' creels and on wi' pads^ 
And owre Rosshill to Berwick, Johnnie. 

*' Bait yauds " are women who gather bait for the fishermen. Ron 
is a small fishing village in the parish of AytoD, Berwickshlret— ./)*' 

Raw leather raxes weeL 

kaw leather will stretch. — E. 

Read your lesson without a word 
That is, without a mistake. 


Ready, aye ready. 

John Scott, of Thirlestane, Selkirkshire, was the only chief who 
agreed to follow King James V. in his invasion of England, when the 
Scottish nobles, encamped at Falla, refused to accompany their sove- 
reign. For his gallantry and fidelity, James granted Scott an augmen- 
tation of his arms, with the above motto. 

Ready to eat the nails frae their fingers. 

That is, greatly annoyed. 

Reavers shouldna be ruers. 

That is, robbers should not repent. 

Reckless youth maks ruefu' eild. 

\ People who live too fast when they are young will neither have a 

comfortable or a vigorous old age. — Kelly, 

Reckon up your winning at your bed stock. 

Kelly gives another version — Reckon up your winning by your bad 

Count your winning before the play is ended. — E. 

Red brackens bring milk and butter. 

The bracken in autumn is associated with rich pasture. 

Red fish. 

i.e.^ a salmon. A phrase of the fisher-folk, who have a superstitious 
dislike to pronounce the word salmon. 


A nick-name applied to a Highlander in derision of his bare limbs. 
Originally applied to the Highlanders from their buskins of red deer- 
skin with the hair outward. 

Red wood maks gude spindles. 

" Red wood " is the name given to the dark-coloured wood found in 
the heart of trees. 

Redd the roost. 

That is. Settle the dispute in the family. 
Reek comes aye doun again however high it flees. 

Refer my coat and lose ray sleeve. 

Arbitrators make both parties abate of their pretensions. — Kelly, 

" Rejoice, bucks," quo' Brodie, when he shot at the buryin', 
and thought it was a weddin'. 

Remember, man, and keep in mind, a faithfu' friend is hard to 

Remember me to your bed-fellow when you lie alane. — Kelly^ 

^ / 

PROVE.ItBS. 285 

Remember shearers' drouth. 

In various parts of Scotland when a gentleman entered the harvest 
field, he was immediately accosted by a deputation of female shearers 
and requested to " Remember shearers' drouth." If he refused to pay 
his footing he was compelled to ** ride thestang," i.e,^ set astride on a 
pole and carried aloft, or he was thrown up in the air by his stalwait 
tormentors, and only saved from a heavy fall by being received in their 
brawny arms, or again he was cast upon the ground and held there, till 
a gratuity was conceded. 

Renton is its name, | And rent it shall be, 

And the auld lairds o' Renton | Shall rot by the tree. 

Ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer, and applied to the Homes of 
Renton, on account of the cruelty of Sir Alexander Home of Renton, 
who was Sheriff of Berwickshire from 1616 to 1621, and was very harsh 
in the discharge of his duty. In due course the Homes lost the estate. 
Another rhyme about Renton is — 

Renton Barns and Renton Bell, 

Harlelawside and Renton Sel, 

Deil take them a' that in them dwell. — Dr, Henderson, 

Rest us patient. 

*' Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 2. That is, keep us patient. 

Rice for gude luck, and bauchles for bonnie bairns. 

Refers to the custom of throwing rice and old shoes after a newly- 
married couple. 

Riches are got wi' pain, kept wi' care, an' tint wi' grief. 

Rich folk hae routh o' friends. 

Where wealth, there friends — E. ; and. The rich need not beg a wel- 
come. — E. 

Rich folks' wit rives poor folks' jaws. 
Rich mixture maks gude mortar. 
Ride fair and jaup nane. 

Taken from riding through a puddle, but applied to too home jesting. 

Ride the broose. 

** Black Dwarf," ch. 7. See, It was ne'er a gude aiver, etc. 

Riding the Marches. 

It was, and in some places is still customary for the Magistrates and 
Council to ride round the lands comprising ** the common good " of the 
burgh, so as to maintain the rights of the community to their property. 
The custom still holds good at Selkirk and elsewhere. 

Riding the stang ; or — 

Skimmington riding, was a curious Saxon custom prevalent in many 
parts of Great Britain. When a man beat his wife, or sabmitted to be 


henpecked, nnd when a woman scolded or proved unfaithful to her hus- 
band, the (jfTendit)^ prirty was mounted astri<ie on a wooden pole and 
carrie<l ihruujjh the villaj^e amid the jeers of the neighbours. The 
puni>hincnt continued until the tormentors were propitiated by the pay- 
ment of a sum of money by the victims. See, Remember shearers* 

RiNcwoRM I rint^worm red ! 

Never niaycst thou either speed or spread, 

But aye grow less and less, 

And die away among the aise (ashes). 

In Shetland a person afflicted with ringworm takes a' few ashes be- 
tween the thumb and forefinger on three successive mornings before 
breakfast, and applying the ashes to the part affected repeats this 
rhyme, at the same time throwing some ashes into the fire. A similar 
rhyme is current in (i alio way. 

RiNr;iN(i his cla])pc'r. 

That is, using one's tongue freely. 

Rinnin' a draj). 

Smuggling a little spirits, or illicitly distilling whisky. 

RiPK fruit is soonest rotten. 

Karly ripe, early rotten. — E. 

Rise, daughter, and go to your daughter, 

For your daughter's daughter has had a daughter. 

A rebus on four generations. — Chambers, 

Rise when the day daws, bed when the night fa*s. 

(Jo t(j be<l with the lamb, and rise with the lark. — E. 

Ritcfiip: N?:ill was a stubborn deil, 
But the fishers made him his lips unseal. 
And put his senses in a creel. 

This refers to the manner in which some Coldingham fishermen in- 
duced Richanl Neill, a Longformacus man, to acknowledge the pater- 
nity of an illegitimate child, which he had previously stubbornly denied. 
They induced Ritchie to go to sea with them in a boat, and the par^ 
having landed on a rock, the others got into the boat again andldit 
Ncill alone in a perilous position, as the tide was fast neanng the rock. 
This settled the matter, for he cried out to his departing friends, ** Life's 
sweet, the bairn's mine." So he had to pay fbr the child, and do 
penance in Cohlingham Kirk. — Dr, Henderson, 

Rot him awa' wi' ham an' eggs. 

A jocose advice to a young wife to get rid of an old husband. Kelly. 

Royt lads may mak' sober men. 

ue.i dissolute youths may turn out well after all. 



Rough footed Scots. 

This is a very ancient appellation of the Scots. It arose from the 
people wearing shoes of the undressed skin of the deer, with the hair 
still attached, giving to the feet that brush-like appearance from which 
the epithet is derived. — Hugh Miller in the " Tales of the Borders ; " 
* * Thomas of Chartres. " 

Round and round | The unseen hand 
Turns the fate — O' mortal man ; 
A screich at birth, | A grane at e'en, 
The flesh to earth, | The soul to heaven. 

An epitome of man's career. 

Rowan tree and red thread | Mak' the witches tyne their speed. 

The form in the Southern pastoral district is — 

Black luggie, lammer bead, 
Rowan tree, and red thread, 
Put the witches to their speed. 

The rowan tree was regarded as a charm against witches both in 
England and Scotland, and the people of India attribute the virtue of 
overcoming all forms of magic to a similar tree. — Bishop Heber, 

It was at one time common in Scotland to attach a cross of this wood 
to the byre-door with a red thread, as a security to the cattle against 

Rue and thyme grow baith in ae garden. 

Repent and give over an attempt before it is too late, alluding to the 
sound of the two herbs here named. — Kelly, 

Rue in thyme should be a maiden's posie. 

See, Rule youth, etc. 

RuGLEN or Rutherglen marriages. 

Until 1850, and even later, persons were married in this Lanarkshire 
town without proclamation of banns by a peculiar arrangement on the 
part of the authorities. A friend of the parties lodged information with 
the Procurator- Fiscal that they had been married without legal banns. 
The delinquents were then summoned before the Sheriff, who im- 
posed a fine of five shillings. The Fiscal then gave them a printed 
form, duly filled up, which, by discharging the fine, certified the marri- 
age. * * Ruglen or Rutherglen marriages " passed into a proverb. In 
1886 a marriage in this form was celebrated in Edinburgh. The pen- 
alty exigible in the circumstances is imposed in accordance with a 
statute of Charles II. 

Ruined stoop and roop. 

** Black Dwarf," chap. 10. f.^., ruined stump and ramp — altogether 
— stone broke. 

Rule youth weel for eild will rule itsel'. 

As a parallel saying, Kelly gives — 

Rue in thyme should be a maiden's posie (noiegaf )• 


Run rig. 

Under this system of agriculture the rigs in a field were held by 
difTercnt tenants, and were separated by a neutral piece of ground, 
called a bnuk or balk, which was used as a receptacle for stones, weeds, 
etc. In time the balk so increased in width as in some cases to take up 
a third of the area of the 6cld. This custom was once all but universal 
in Scotland, and still lingers in some parts of the Highlands. 

CoM/an; Mak nae bauks in gude bear land. 

Ruse the fairday at e'en. 

Commend not a thing or project till it has had its full effect. — Kelly. 

Traise the good day at night. — Gaelic. 

I'raise <Iay ut night, and lite at the end. — £. So, Manx, Italian, Ger. 

Rustp:i) wi' eild a wcc piece gate seems lang. 

A .short road appears long to an old man. 


Sack and fork. 

i.e.f fosa ct furca — pit and gallows ; hanging and drowning. 

Sakk's the word. 

Taken from the watchword given among soldiers. — Kelly, 
Omnis res est in vado. — L. 

"Saft beddin's gude for sair banes," quo' Howie, when he 

strecked himsel' on the midden head. 
** Saft's your horn, my friend," quo' the man, when he took haud 

o' the cuddy's lug. 

Said the trout to the fluke, | When did your mou' crook ? 
My mou' was never even | Since I came by John's Haven. 

John's Haven is a fishing village in Kincardineshire. The rhyme 
refers to the awry mouth of the flounder. 

Sair back and sair banes 
Drivin' the laird o' Morphie's stanes. 
The laird o' Morphie '11 never thrive 
As lang as the kelpie is alive. 

The family of Graham of Morphie, in Mearns, are popularly said to 
owe their extinction to the action of a water-kelpie, whom one of the 
lairds bridled with a pair of branks, and compelled to carry stones to 
build his castle. The kelpie, on being released, uttered the above 
malediction. — Chambers. 

Sair cravers are aye ill payers. 
Compare, 111 payers, etc. 


Sair forfairn. 

f.^., greatly exhausted. 

Sair putten aboot. 

i,e,j much annoyed. 

Sair strokes and mony o' them. 

A jocose threatening which we design not to execute. — Kelly, 

Sairs shouldna be sair handled. 

ue., delicate subjects should be cautiously alluded to. 

Sairy be your meal pock, and aye your neive i' the neuk o't. 

An uncharitable wish that you may come to want. 

Sairy man, and then he grat. 

An ironical condolence of some slight misfortune. — Kelly, 

Salt water never harmed Zetlander. 

Sathanas and Mammon are near akin. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 34. 

Sanguinary James ; also, Bloody Jemmie, and Mountain 

A raw sheep's head. 

Saturday flit, | Short while sit. 

Saturday's flitting by North, Monday's flitting by South ; had I but 
a lamb to move, 'tis on Monday I would go. — Gaelic 

The Highlanders believe that the Deiseil, south or sunward, is the 
right direction. — Nicolson, Compare^ Friday flit, etc. 

Saturday's change, and Sunday's prime, 
Is enough in seven year's time. So — 

Saturday's new, and Sunday's full, 

Was never fine, and never wool. — Suffolk. 

A Saturday's new and a Sunday's full moon used to be considered 

" Saut," quo' the souter, when he had eaten a cow a' but the 

Spoken to them that flag when they have almost finished a difficult 
task. — Kelly, 

Save us a' I 

An exclamation of surprise and terror. 

Save your breath to say your carritch. 
" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 20, 



Save yoursel' frae the deil and the laird's bairns. 

A caution of poor people to their children how they meddle with their 
superiors, for, if they hurt the laird's bairns, they will be sure to be 
punished, but if hurt by them, they will get no right. — Kelly. 

Also in Gaelic. 

Saving the ladies. 

This phrase refers to an old Scottish custom. After seeing the ladies 
home from balls, the gentlemen returned to the supper room, and each 
naming a lady, drained a glass in her honour. 


See Jockey. 
Saw thin, shear thin. 
Saw wheat in dirt, and rye in dust. 
Saw ye that, and shotna at it, and ye sae gleg a gunner. 

A jeer at a boaster. 

Saying gaes gude cheap. 

Talking pays no toll. — E. 

Says the Shochie to the Ordie, | Where shall we meet ? 
At the Cross of Perth | When a* men are fast asleep. 

These two streams fall into the Tay about five miles above Perth. 
This saying, as well as the Gaelic prophecy — 

Great Tay of the waters 
Shall sweep Perth bare — 

refers to a predicted nocturnal inundation of the town by the Tay, 
similar to what occurred in 1210. 

Scant o' grace hears lang preachings. 
At anyrate they appear long to him. 

Scanty cheeks mak a lang nose. 

ScART the cog wad sup raair. 

That is, he who scrapes the dish is not satisfied. 
Compare^ O'enough men leave. 

ScARTiNG and eating wants but a beginning. — Kelly, 
Scorn comes commonly wi' skaith. 

Also in Gaelic and Manx. 

Scorn not the bush that bields you. 
Scornfu' dogs eat dirty puddings. 

**Redgauntlet," Narrative, ch. 11. 



Temper or passion, from the irascible temperament of the Scotch. 
Oh, what a Scot he was in ! 

i.e. J what a temper he showed. — Slang Dictionary. 

Scotch coffee. — " Slang Dictionary." 

Biscuits toasted and boiled in water. — Sea phrase. 

Scotch fiddle. 

The itch. "To play the Scotch fiddle" is to work the index finger 
of the right hand, like a fiddlestick, between the index and middle , 

finger of the left. This greatly provokes a Scotchman, as it implies he \. ^ 
is afflicted with the itch. The habitual use of oatmeal is supposed to 
be the cause of the liability of Scotsmen to skin diseases. — " Slang 

Scotch Greys. 

Lice. — " Slang Dictionary. " 

Scotch washing. 

Barelegged young women tramping blankets in boins or tubs. 

Scotland is too cold a country for locusts, and too poor a 
country for thieves. 

** Quentin Durward," ch. 7. 

Scotland yet. 

Henry Scott Riddell is the author of a well-known song having this 
proverbial expression as its title. 

" Scots grund," quo' Will o' Phaup. 

** One plash more/' quo' Will o' Phaup. 

Will o' Phaup, one of the genuine Laidlaws of Craik, was born at 
that place in 1691. He was shepherd at Phaup for fifty-five years, and 
for feats of strength and agility he had no equal in his own day. Many 
of his sayings settled into regular proverbs or byewords. On one occa- 
sion, when crossing the Moffat water on horseback, behind a farmer. 
Will and his friend, who were both intoxicated, fell into the water, and 
were carried some distance down the stream. The farmer managed to 
reach the bank, but in dragging out Will, overbalanced himself and 
again fell into the river. Will, whose faculties were completely con- 
fused by the liquor and the ducking, did not know what to do, but 
hearing a great plunge, he made towards the place, calling out — " One 
plash more, sir, I have you." " One plash more," quo* Will o* Phaup. 
** Scots grund," quo' Will o* Phaup. ** A man drouned, and me here." 
Will ran to a stream, and took his station in the middle of the water, 
in hopes of feeling his drowning friend come against his legs, but the 
farmer got safely out by himself. —The Ettrick Shepherd^ " The Shep- 
herd's Calendar," Odd Characters— Will o' Phaup. 

Scotsmen aye reckon frae an ill hour ; and 

Scotsmen aye tak' their mark frae a mischief. 


A Scottish man solicited the Prince of Orange to be made an ensign, 
for he had been a sergeant ever since his highness ran away from 
Grole. — Kelly, 

Scotsmen tak a' they can get, and a little more if they can. 

Quoted as a saying about Scotsmen by Lord Advocate Macdonald in 
the House of Commons, March 6, 1888. 

Scour the duds o' Yetholm. — Roxburghshire. 

A reproach against the dirty habits of the Yetholm gipsies. There 
is also a tune named from this saying, and it is highly dangerous to 
utter the reproach or whistle the tune in any part of Yetholm. — 

Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand, 

Its never good weather when you're on the land. 

Seek muckle, and get something ; seek little, and get naething. 

Compare^ Bode for a silk gown, etc. 

Seek your sa' where you got your ail, and beg your barm where 

you buy your ale. 

The reply of a person who is asked for assistance by one who 
formerly shunned him. 

Seil (happiness) ne'er comes till sorrow be awa'. 

When bale is highest, boot is next. — E. 

Self praise comes aye stinking ben. 

Self praise is no recommendation. — E. 

Sel, sel, has half filled hell. 

** Sel," that is, selfishness. 

Send and fetch. — Kelly, 

' Da, si vis accipere. 

Send your son to Ayr ; if he do weel here, he'll do weel there. 

Send you to the sea, and you'll no get saut water. 

Spoken when people foolishly come short of their errand. — Kelly, 

Ser yoursel and your friends will think the mair o' ye. 

The reply of one who is asked a favour he is not disposed to grant. 

Ser yoursel till your bairns come o' age. 

Set a lass on Tintock tap. 
Gin she hae the penny siller, 
The wind will blaw a man till her ; 
But gin she want the penny siller. 
There'll ne'er a ane be evened till her. 


A Lanarkshire rhyme on marriage. 
Set a stout heart to a stey brae. 

Delay not, and fray not, and thou sail sie it say, 
Sic gets ay, that setts ay, stout stomaks to the biae. 

— ** Cherrie and the Slae." 

Set hard heart against hard hap, — £. 

Set him up and shute him forward. 

Spoken of one who is over pretentious. 

Set of the royalty. 

i.e,, constitution of a Scottish burgh. 

Set on ? 

The slogan of the Setons, Earls of Winton. 

Set roasted beef and pudding on the opposite side o' the pit o' 
Tophet, and an Englishman will make a spang (spring) at it. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 28. 
Compare, Pockpuddings. 

Set us agoing. 

An old Scottish formula used when asking a minister to say grace, 
which conveys the pleasing idea that the blessing is an essential preli- 
minary to the breaking of bread. 

Set yer fit upon that, an' it winna loup in yer face. 

Seven mile sank and seven mile fell, 
Seven mile's stanning yet, and evermair will. 
The Tower of Babel. 

Shake yer lugs and lie doun again. 

GaWs "The Entail," ch. 97. An expression of contemptuous in- 

Shame be in my meal-pock gin I dinna. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 3. 

May I suffer in purse, or otherwise, if I don't ; or Shame be in my 
meal pock gin I do, etc. ; May I suffer, etc. , if I do so and so. 

" Shame fa' the couple," as the cow said to her fore feet. 

Shame fa' the dog that when he hunted you, didna gar you rin 

Shame fa' the gear and the bladry o't (thrumphry o't). 

Tune of an old Scottish song, referring to the marriage of a young 
girl with an old man. — Kelly, 

" Shame fa' the ordiner," quo' the cat to the Cordiner. 
An expression of dissatisfaction with an order given. — Kd^* 


A Scottish man solicited the Prince of Orange to be made an ensign, 
for he had been a sergeant ever since his highness ran away from 
Grole. — Kelly. 

Scotsmen tak a* they can get, and a little more if they can. 

Quoted as a saying about Scotsmen by Lord Advocate Macdonald in 
the House of Commons, March 6, 1888. 

Scour the duds o' Yetholm. — Roxburghshire. 

A reproach against the dirty habits of the Yetholm gipsies. There 
is also a tune named from this saying, and it is highly dangerous to 
utter the reproach or whistle the tune in any part of Yetholm. — 

Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand, 

Its never good weather when youVe on the land. 

Seek muckle, and get something ; seek little, and get naething. 

Compare^ Bode for a silk gown, etc. 

Seek your sa' where you got your ail, and beg your barm where 
you buy your ale. 

The reply of a person who is asked for assistance by one who 
formerly shunned him. 

Seil (happiness) ne'er comes till sorrow be awa\ 

When bale is highest, boot is next. — E. 

Self praise comes aye stinking ben. 

Self praise is no recommendation. — E. 

Sel, sel, has half filled hell. 

** Sel," that is, selfishness. 

Send and fetch. — Kelly, 

' Da, si vis accipere. 

Send your son to Ayr ; if he do weel here, hell do weel there. 

Send you to the sea, and you'll no get saut water. 

Spoken when people foolishly come short of their errand. — Kelly, 

Ser yoursel and your friends will think the mair o' ye. 

The reply of one who is asked a favour he is not disposed to grant. 

Ser yoursel till your bairns come o' age. 

Set a lass on Tintock tap. 
Gin she hae the penny siller, 
The wind will blaw a man till her ; 
But gin she want the penny siller. 
There'll ne'er a ane be evened till her. 


A LaDarkshire rhyme on marriage. 

Set a stout heart to a stey brae. 

Delay not, and fray not, and thou sail sie it say, 
Sic gets ay, that setts ay, stout stomaks to the biae. 

— " Cherrie and the Slae." 
Set hard heart against hard hap, — E. 

Set him up and shute him forward. 

Spoken of one who is over pretentious. 

Set of the royalty. 

t,e,y constitution of a Scottish burgh. 

Set on ? 

The slogan of the Setons, Earls of Winton. 

Set roasted beef and pudding on the opposite side o' the pit o' 

Tophet, and an Englishman will make a spang (spring) at it. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 28. 
Compare^ Pockpuddings. 

Set us agoing. 

An old Scottish formula used when asking a minister to say grace, 
which conveys the pleasing idea that the blessing is an essential preli- 
minary to the breaking of bread. 

Set yer fit upon that, an' it winna loup in yer face. 

Seven mile sank and seven mile fell, 
Seven mile's stanning yet, and evermair will. 
The Tower of Babel. 

Shake yer lugs and lie doun again. 

GaWs "The Entail," ch. 97. An expression of contemptuous in- 

Shame be in my meal-pock gin I dinna. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 3. 

May I suffer in purse, or otherwise, if I don't ; or Shame be in my 
meal pock gin I do, etc. ; May I suffer, etc. , if I do so and so. 

" Shame fa' the couple," as the cow said to her fore feet. 

Shame fa' the dog that when he hunted you, didna gar you rin 

Shame fa' the gear and the bladry o't (thrumphry o't). 

Tune of an old Scottish song, referring to the marriage of a young 
girl with an old man. — Kelly, 

** Shame fa' the ordiner," quo' the cat to the Cordiner. 

An expression of dissatisfaction with an order given. — Kelly\ 


Shame fa' their souple snouts. 

An imprecation on the avaricious. — " Rob Roy," ch. 22. 

Shame fa' them that think shame to do themselves a gude turn. 
Shame's past the shed o' yer hair. 
Shank yersel awa. 

i.g.f Take to your legs — be off. 

Shanks naiggy. 

i.e., your own feet your horse. Walking, in fact. 

Sharp wit aften mends foul feature. 

Sharp sauce gie's a gude taste to sweetmeats. 

She comes and gangs like the Collmill burn, 

A spate the day, and toom the morn. — Berwickshire. 

The Collmill bum flows through the parish of Coldingham. 
The rhyme is applied to the state of a valetudinarian, who is to-day 
ill, and to-morrow a little better. — Henderson, 

She disna aye gang the straight road to the well. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 45. 

She frisks aboot like a cat's tail i' the sun. 
She gaed by hersel and fell ower. 

Iwent over a plant or weed ; and, I went beyond my pith. — Gaelic. 

The Gaelic saying is spoken when a person is seized suddenly with 

Applied, as is the Scottish phrase, to women in an interesting condi- 
tion, when they have curious fancies. — Nicohon. 

She gave him the sack. 

i.e., jilted him. So — 

She has given him turnips. — Devonshire. 

She has a face like a dishclout. 

i.e., pale, terrified. 

She has a tongue like a trumpet. 
She has a tongue like a tinkler. 
She has a tongue that wad clip clouts. 
She has a tongue to deave the miller. 

She has an ill paut wi' her hind foot 

She is stubborn and tricky. 

Taken from cows who kick when they are milked. — Kelly, 


She has as mony wooers as Tibby Fowler. 

GaWs ** Steamboat," ch. 17. 

She has ta'en her sheep to a silly market. 

i.e.f made a poor marriage. It is said of a foolish man, He has 
brought his pack to a braw market. 

She hauds him nae better than the dirt below her feet. 
" Heart of Midlothian," ch. xo. 

She hauds up her gab like an awmous dish. 

She hauds up her head like a hundred pound aver. 

She holds up her head like a hen drinking water. — £. 
The preceding two sayings are applied to persons who behave in an 
impudent or forward manner. 

She lookit at the mune, and lichtit i' the midden. 

Notwithstanding high aspirations, she made a low marriage at last. 
Compare, She wadna hae the walkers, etc. 

She looks like a leddy in a landward kirk. 

Meaning that she would not pass muster in a more fashionable place. 

She pined awa' like Jenkin's hen. 

To die like Jenkin's hen is to die an old maid. —Jamieson, 

She that fa's ower a strae's a tentless taupie. 

She that gangs to the well wi' an ill will, 
Either the pig breaks or the water will spill. 

She that taks a gift, hersel she sells, and she that gies ahe does 
naething else. 

She wadna hae the walkers, and the riders gaed by. 

Dean Ramsay attributes this saying to a celebrated beauty named 
Becky Monteith. 

She won't take the walker, and a rider won't come for her. — Gaelic. 

She was aye as if she had been ta'en oot o' a bandbox. 

Le.^ so trim and neat. 

She was na to seek at a clashing. 

i.e., she is a gossip. 

She'll be a gude sale whisp. 

i.e., not suitable to marry, but admirable as a barmaid. 

She'll keep her side o' the house, and gang up and doun yours. 
She'll wear like a horse shoe, aye the langer the cleaner. 
She's a bad sitter that's aye in a flutter. 


She's a drap o' my dearest blude. 
She's a great unco. 

i.g.f curiosity. Gai/^s "Annals of the Parish," ch. 25. 

She's a hussy that wants a hip, 
And so may you your underlip. 

A senseless return of a woman to him that calls her hussy. — Kelly. 

She's a wise wife that wats her ain weird. 

i.^., knows her own destiny. 

She's as blithe as she's bonny. 

She's as fair as Dowsabell. 

She's as fu' o' maggots as the Bride o' Preston, 

Wha stopt hauf way as she gaed to the kirk. — Berwickshire. 

Applied to young women who are capricious and changeable. It is 
said that a bride going to Buncle Church to be married **took the gee " 
at a place called Buncle West Mains, and refused to proceed any 

The bride took a maggot, it was but a maggot. 
She wadna gang by the West Mains to be married. 

— Dr. Henderson. 

She's as ugly as a starless midnicht. 
She's aye playing hum in my lug. 

i.e., a nagging wife. 

She's baith back and breast. 

Applied to women whose figures are so imperfectly developed that 
the back and breast cannot be distingjuished. — ** Redgauntlet," Letter 5. 

She's better than she's bonny. 

He is better than he looks. — Gaelic. 

A Highlander, in speaking favourably of his wife, is reported to have 
misquoted this saying, and described her as being ** Bonnier than she 
was better." 

She's black, but she has a sweet smack. 

i.e. J she is not beautiful, but she is rich. 

She's grown gatty, that was ance a dawtie. 

i.e.f she has grown ill-tempered, who was once a pet. 

She's her mother ower again. 

Like father like son. — E. 

She hath a mark after her mother. — E. 

She's like Aillie Belchie, | Sinned to the nineteenth degree. 

Said of those who are flagrant offenders. Alice Belchie was a hind's 
daughter at Lintlaw, in the parish of Buncle, Berwickshire, and it was 


said she murdered three of her illegitimate children. At her late wake 
an " honest man " prayed for mercy on Alice, ** who has sinned to the 
nineteenth degree." — Dr, Henderson. 

She's like Geordie Deans' daughter-in-law, nought but a spindle 
shankit devil. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, "The Shepherd's Calendar "—The School of 

She's like the man o' Amperley's cow, 
She's came hame routin', but no very fu', 
Wi' the tow about her horns. 

i,e.j the cow came home unsold, and the rhyme is applied to a young 
woman who returns from a fair or market without a sweetheart. Am- 
perley is now part of the farm of Horseley, parish of Coldingham, 
Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson. 

She's lost her market. 

This saying has a similar meaning to the preceding local rhyme. 

She's little better than she should be. 
She's meat for his maister. 

She is far too good for him. 

She's no fit to sew his buttons on. 

Opposite of the preceding saying. 

She's no to be made a sang about. 

An abatement of a woman's commendation to beauty. — Kelly. 
Also in Gaelic, Welsh, and English. Harp, song, fiddle, are all used 
in the saying. 

She's spinning clues to the midden, and woe to the wabster. 

You must spoil before you spin. — E. 

She's weel enough an she be gude. 

Galfs ** Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 44. A grudging acknowledgment 
of a woman's beauty. 

Shod i' the cradle, and barefit i' the stubble. 

Applied to people who dress out of keeping with their work. — Hislop. 

Shoot o' dead. 

This is an expression ascribed to the witches. It is a curse or denun- 
ciation of evil upon a living creature, that disease or death may speedily 
overtake it. In the description of Cutty Sark in ** Tarn o' Shanter," it 
is said of her — 

For many a beast to dead she shot. 

Shore (threaten) before you strike. 

'* But, like good mithers, shore before ye strike.^— i?«fyi/« 


Shored folk live lang, an' so may him ye ken o'. 

Short folk are sune angry. 

Short folk's breath is sune at their mouth, 

A little pot is soon hot. — E. 

Short i' the trot. 

That is, quick tempered. 

Short rede, gude rede. 

Short counsel, good counsel. — ** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 7. 

Short rents make careless tenants. 
Short sheep had short rents. 

A Border proverb referring to the great increase of the value of land 
in that district through the introduction of a breed of sheep bearing a 
longer and more valuable fleece of wool. — ** The Black Dwarf," ch. i, 

Shouther to shouther stands steel and pouther. 

Show me the guest the house is the waur o'. — Fergusson, 

Show me the man, and Til show you the law. 

" Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 2. 
As a man's befriended, so is the law ended. — E. 
Dat veniam corvis, verat censura columbis. — L. 
Previous to the Union, the administration of justice in Scotland was 
very partial. Compare, Deil mean them, etc. 

Sic a man as thou wad be, draw thee to sic companie. 

Tell me with whom thou goest, and I'll tell thee what thou doest ; 
and Birds of a feather flock together. — E. 

Sic as a Friday, | Sic is a Sunday. 

Refers to a general superstition as to the state of the weather. 

As the Friday, so the Sunday ; 
As the Sunday, so the week.— E. 

Compare, If there's rain in the Mass, etc. 

Sic as ye gie, sic will ye get. 

Ut fementum faceris ita metes. — L. 

Sic fuit, est, erit. 

The motto of the Royal Stuarts. 

Sic mannie, sic horsie. — Aberdeenshire. 
Sic reek as is therein comes oot o' the lum. 
Sic things maun be if ye sell ale. 

This was the good woman's reply to her husband when he complained 
of the exciseman's too demonstrative gallantry. — Kelly, 


Side for side's neibour like. 
Silence and thought hurt nae man. 
Silence grips the mouse. 
Siller males a' easy. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 21. 

Silly bairns are eith to lear. 

i,e.f children who are weakly in body take kindly to their lessons. 

Simmer is a seemly time. — Kelly, 
Since less winna serve. 

A reluctant consent. 

Since word is thrall, and thought is free, 
Keep well thy tongue I counsel thee. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 25. 

Singing e'en. 

See Hogmanay trollolay, etc. 

Sinning my mercies. 

A peculiar Scottish phrase, expressive of ingratitude for the favours 
of providence. — "Redgauntlet," Letter i. 

Sir John Latin-less. 

i.e.y an illiterate person. — Sir David Lindsay. 

Sit doun and rest you, and tell us how they drest you, and how 
you wan awa'. 

A jocular way of asking a person about people whom he has been to 
see. — His lop. 

Sit still a little longer, we are all sober enough to get over 
Deacon Dickson's wall. 

This used to be a common expression at jovial parties in Edinburgh, 
and took its rise from an adventure that happened to a certain Deacon 
Dickson as he was wending his way up the High Street to his home in 
the Castle Hill, after partaking rather freely of the Corporation liquor. 
The Deacon, and the Treasurer of his craft, who accompanied him, 
took it into their muddled heads that since their passage down the 
street earlier in the evening, a wall had been built across the street 
between St. Giles and the Royal Exchange. At any rate the two 
worthies stuck at the supposed barrier, and got home to the Castlehill 
by way of the Cowgate and the West Bow. The Deacon related his 
difficulty to his wife, and next morning she and her gossips went to look 
for the wonderful wall, and so the story got about. 

Skin and birn. 

Full account of a sheep, by bringing the skin with the tar mark, and 
the head with the brand on the nose ; the whole of anything. 


Skreigh o' day. 

i.e.f peep of day ; dawn. 

Skye and the bush aboon Traquair for that. 

" Redgauntlet," Narrative, ch. 1 1. Refers to Macdonald of Sleat 
and some other Jacobites who did not come out in the '45. 

Slacks will be sleek, a hog for the howking ; we'll a' get horns 
to tout on the morn. 

Literally, the hollows between the hills will become level, sheep will 
be obtained by digging for them, and ram's horns will be so plentiful 
that we will all get one to play on. 

This saying originated from the circumstance of a band of young men 
and women returning from Yarrow Church, on a fine March evening, 
towards the close of the seventeenth century, chaffing an old shepherd, 
named Walter Blacke, because he had gathered his flock into the 
shelter of a wood. Walter anticipated a severe snow storm, and to 
their incredulous laughter, predicted that on the morrow ** Slacks will 
be sleek," etc. lie proved a true prophet, as a terrible storm broke 
out on the Monday morning, which, though it lasted only one forenoon, 
is said to have destroyed upwards of a thousand score of sheep, as well 
as several shepherds. So the saying, Slack will be sleek, etc., became 
proverbial. — The Ettrick Shepherd^ ** Storms." 

Slander leaves a slur. — Fergusson, 

Slander leaves a score behind it. — E. 

Slip-shod's no for a frozen road. 
Slip the girths. 

i.e., tumble down, like a pack horses's burden when the girth gives 
way. Metaphorically, come to grief. — ** Rob Roy," ch. 19. 

Sly and sleekit. 

i.e., fair in manner, but false. 

Sma' barrels hae big bungs. 

Sma' fish are better than nane. 

Better are small fish than an empty dish. — E., and in Gaelic, 
Compare, Minnows, etc. 

Sma' is the kin that canna spare to fill baith sack and widdie. 
It is a poor family that hath neither a thief nor a whore in it. — E. 

Sma' winnings mak' a heavy purse. 

So far, so gude. — Kelly. 

So many, so good, as of Douglas blood have been, 
Of one surname, in one kingrick, never yet were seen. 


Sober, neighbour ! the night's but young yet. 

A remonstrance with a person who is doing a thing too hurriedly, 
signifying that there is plenty of time to spare for the purpose. — Hislop, 

Spoken by one toper to another as an incitement to prolonged con- 

SoK and seil is best. 

The plough and happiness the best lot, the happiest life the country 
one. — Dean Ramsay. 

Another explanation suggested to the Dean is that the ploughshare, 
or country life, accompanied with good luck or fortune (good seasons 
and the like), was most to be desired. Seil, in Anglo-Saxon, as a 
noun, means opportunity, and then good luck, happiness, etc. 

SoLWAY waters. 

1.^., smuggled brandy. 

Some ane has tauld her she was bonny. 
Some are gey drouthy, but ye're aye moistified. 

That is, you are a sot. " Moistify," a low word, generally used iii a 
ludicrous sense in regard to io^Qxs.—Jamieson. 

Some are no sooner weel than they're ill again. 

i.e., always complaining. 

Some are only daft, but ye're red-wud raving. 

i.e,, very mad. 

Somebody has told him of it. 

He knows his gude points, and is proud enough of them. — Kelly. 

Somebody may come to kame your hair wi* a cutty stool. 

Spoken by mothers to stubborn daughters, intimating that they will 
come under the hands of a stepmother who, it is likely, will not deal 
too tenderly with them. — Kelly. 

Another version of the saying is, Somebody will kame yer head back- 
ward yet. 

Some can stand the sword better than the pint-stoup. 
Some folk look up, and ithers look doun. 

Some fork low, but ye fork ower the mune. 

i.e.f some folk do not do their work sufficiently, but you overdo it. — 

Some gaed east, and some gaed west, 
And some gaed to the craw's nest. 

A child's rhyme. — '* Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 26. 
Used to indicate that certain persons or things are scattered i& •& 


Some hae a hantel o' fauts, ye're only a ne'er-do-weel. 

Some, though very batl. still have some redeeming features ; the 
party addressed has none. --//t's/o/f. 

SoMK hae little sense, but ye're aye havering. 

Some hae meat that canna eat, 
And some wad eat that want it ; 
But we hae meat, and we can eat, 
For which the Lord be thankit. 

These lines, repeated by Burns when he dined with the Earl of Sel- 
kirk at St. Mary's Isle, and generally considered his own, were, accord- 
ing to Chaml)ers. current in the south-west of Scotland before the poet's 
time, and were always called the Covenanters' grace. 

Some show a gliff o' the gowk, but ye're aye goavin. 

Some behave rather foolishly, but you are always very foolish. 
" Goavin," staring as a fool does. 

Some strake the measure o' justice, but ye gie*t heapit. 

Some tak a*, but ye leave naething. 

Some that hae least to dree, are loudest wi* "waes me.'' 

Those who are least hurt cry loudest. — E. 
" So on and accordingly," quo' Willie Baird's doggie. 
Soon enough if weel enough. 

Good and quickly seldom meet. — E. 
Sat cito, si sat bene. — L. 

Soon enough to cry chuck when it's oot o* the shell. 

Also Gaelic and Italian. Comjiare, Dinna gut yer fist, etc. 

Sorrow an' ill-weather come unca'd. 

Sorrow comes unscnt for. — E. 

Mala ultro adsunt.— L. ' 

Sorrow be in their een that first saw him, that didna cast him 
in the fire, and say sorrow have it they had. 

A malicious answer to them that ask us if we saw such a man, mean- 
ing one that had done us harm. — Kelly. 

Sorrow be in their hands that held so weel to your head. 

Spoken to drunken men when they are ill-natured. — Kelly. 
Hislop gives another form, as — 

Sorrow be on your hands that held sae weel to your head. 
An imprecation on a person who has surpassed another in an under- 
taking. — Hislop. 

Sorrow be in your thrapple. 

An imprecation on a too talkative person. — " Guy Mannering," ch. i. 


Sorrow fa' them. 

**RobRob,"ch. 26. 

Sorrow in them or they get the better o' me. 

Sorrow is soon enough when it comes. 

Sorrow shake you oot o' the wabster's handimark. . 

i.e.y shake you out of your clothes. 

SouTERS and tailors count hours. 

i.e.f are aware of the value of time. 

SouTERs ane, souters twa, 

Souters in the back raw. 

As it is said — 

In Selkirk, famed in days of yore 
For souters, but for heroes more. 

The ancient burgh of Selkirk was at one time so closely associated 
with the shoemaking craft that a practice was instituted — which still 
prevails — by which every candidate for the freedom of the town was 
compelled to go through the ceremony of licking the birse, so as to be 
free of the gjuild of souters. In old times the souters of Selkirk were 
celebrated for their bravery in battle, and especially distinguished them- 
selves on Flodden Field. The above rhyme, which the boys of the 
town are very fond of shouting, is regarded as a term of reproach by the 
sons of St. Crispin. 

Speak gude o' pipers, your faither was a fiddler. 
Speak o* the deil, and hell appear. 

Talk of the devil, and see his horns — or, he'll either come or send. — 
English. Evil comes by talking of it. — Gaelic. 

Speak of the devil, and you hear his bones rattle. — Dutch. 
When you speak of the wolf you prepare the stick for him. — Arab. 
Also in French and German. 

Speak weel o' the Hielands, but dwell in the Laigh. 

An old Morayshire proverb, implying that while it was wise to ** keep 
a calm sough " with reference to their turbulent Highland neighbours, 
and the country in which they resided, the fertile Laigh — low country 
of Moray — was the more desirable plzfce of abode. 

The proverb is still in use, and has a pregnant and well understood 
meaning in the ears of ** Moray loons." — ^heriff^ Rampini, 

Speak when ye're spoken to, do what ye're bidden, 
Come when ye're ca'd, an' ye'll no be chidden. 

A rebuke to those who intrude themselves into the conversation of 

Speak when ye're spoken to, 
Drink when ye're drucken to. 


Gang to the kirk when the bell rings, 
And ye'll aye be sure o* a seat. 

A cuntemptuoiis answer to anwelcome advice. 

Speak while the play is good. 

*«01(1 Mortality," ch. 36. 

Speir at Jock thief if 1 be a leal man. 

*• Varriation," a liar. 

The thiefs assent to the liar, and the liar's to the thief. — Gaelic 
Ask my comrade, who is as great a liar as myself. — French, and in 

Compare^ Ask the tapster, etc. 

Speir nae questions, an Til tell ye nae lees. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 18. 

Spells may be broken by true men. 

«* Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 6. 

Spit on a stane^ and it will be wet at last. 

Little strokes fell great oaks. — E. 
Gutta cavat lapidem. — L. 

Spraickle up the brae. 

*• Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 31. 
f.^., set a stout heart to a stey brae. 

Spunky, spunky, ye're jumpin' light. 

Ye ne'er tak hame the school weans right ; 

But through the rough moss, and owre the hag pen, 

Ye droun the ill anes in your watery den. 

A child's rhyme on the Will of the Wisp, current in Ayrshire. — 


St. Abb, St. Helen, and St. Bey, 

They a' built kirks whilk to be nearest the sea — 

St. Abb*s upon the nabs, 

St. Helen's on the lea, 

St. Bey's upon Dunbar's sands 

Stands nearest to the sea. 

Three Northumberland princesses, who preferred piety to a courtly 
life, built chapels at St. Abb's Head, Berwickshire, Beadnel point, 
Northumberland, and at Dunbar, in East Lothian. 

St. Andrew. 

The royal slogan of Scotland. 

St. Andrew's day won't come to us for another year. 

Christmas cometh but once a year. — E, 


St. Boswell's flood. 

As the ancient fair annually held at St. Boswell's Green, Roxburgh- 
shire, on the 1 8th of July, was generally the occasion of a heavy down- 
pour of rain, the inhabitants of the district came to look for wet 
weather at that time, and the phrase, St. Boswell's flood passed into a 
local proverb. 

St. Johnston ere long in the Highlands will be, 

And the salt water scarcely will reach to Dundee ; 

Sea-covered Drumly will then be dry land, 

And the Bell Rock as high as the Aisla will stand. 

Drumly is a sand bank pear the opening of the Firth of Tay. The 
rhyme was probably suggested by the appearances which exist of the 
Carse of Gowrie once having been an estuary, giving rise to the idea 
that the sea had receded. A still greater recession would have the 
effect stated in the rhyme. This theory of the sea's recessions is not 
sanctioned by geologists. — See Chambers, 257. 

St. Johnston's hunt is up. 

The slogan of the burghers of Perth.—" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 18, 
and Note P. 

St. Swithin's day, if it does rain. 

For forty days it will remain ; 

St. Swithin's day, if it be fair, 

For forty days 'twill rain nae main ; 

There is a pretty general belief, both in England and Scotland, that 
the state of the weather for six weeks after St. Swithin's day, July 15, 
is determined by the condition of that day. 

Stable the steed and put your wife to bed when there's night 
wark to do. 

**Redgauntlet," Letter 10. 

Stand fast, Craigellachie ! 

The slogan of the clan Grant. Craigellachie is a wooded hillock in 

Stane chack ! | Deevil tak ! 

They wha harry my nest | Will never rest, 

Will meet the pest ! | De'il brack their lang back 

Wha my eggs wad tak, tak ! 

The stone chat's malison against those who harry its nest. — Gallo- 
way version. — Chambers^ 

Stay and drink o' your ane broust. 

i,e., take a share of the mischief you have occasioned. — Kelly* 

Stay nae langer in a friend's house than ye're welcome. 



Stay till your betters be serv't. 

Colt's "Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 70. 

Stick us a* in Aberlady. — East-Lothian. 

A man in Aberlady having discovered that his wife was anfaithful, 
was about to stab her, when he was prevented by the neighbours, one 
woman saying, ** Faith, if that's to be the way o't, ye might stick us a' 
in Aberlady." The saying is regarded as a bitter reproach by the 
villagers. On one occasion an English gentleman, a guest of the E^l 
of Haddington at Tynninghame, was incited by some wags to shout 
this phrase at the top of his voice in the principal street of the village, 
with the result that he was nearly stoned to death by the enraged in- 
habitants. — Chambers. 

Stick weel to the skink an' dinna trust to the castock. 

It used to be customary for hospitable housewives to warn their 
guests to partake heartily of the skink — strong broth or soup — and not 
rely on the second part of the entertainment, the castock — stems of the 
cabbage — and the joint which accompanied them. Take the bird in the 

Stickin' gangsna by strength, but by the right use o' the gully. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 21. 

Sticks and stanes may break my banes, 
But names will never hurt me. 

Words are but wind, but blows unkind. — E. 

Sting and ling. 

** Old Mortality," ch. 14. Vi et armis— L. 

By hook or by crook. — E. 

Stolen joys are sweetest. 

"Undoubtedly a Border aphorism," says Arthur Leighton in his 
story, ** Lord Durie and Christie's Mill."— "Tales of the Borders." 

This origin, however, is doubtful, as we find in Carpenter's 
"Hebrew Proverbs," 1826, No. 6, the saying, Stolen waters are sweet. 
The English forms are — Stolen sweets are sweet ; and Forbidden fruit 
is sweet. 

Stookie Sunday. 

The Sunday on which most stooks are standing in the fields is called 
by this name. The date, of course, varies according to the season, but 
the most common day is the second Sunday of September. 

Stretching and gaunting bodes sleep to be wanting. 

Stretching and yawning leadeth to bed. — E. 

Strike as ye feed, and that's but soberly. 

A reproof to them that correct those over whom they have no power. 


Stuffing bauds oot storms. 

Advising men to take some good thing before they travel in a bad 
day. — Kelly. 

Sturt follows b! extremes. 

** Sturt," trouble. 

Moderata probamus, excessus vituperamus. — L. 

Spurt pays nae debt. 

** Sturt " here means anger. 

Spoken with resentment to them who storm when we crave of them 
our just debts. — Kelly, 

Sudden rise, sudden fa*. 

He goes up like a rocket, and comes down like a stick. 

Sunday seldom comes aboon the pass o* Bally-Brough. 

** Waverley," ch. 29. Implies that in the good old times there was 
little Sabbath observance beyond the Highland line. 

Sunday wooin' draws to ruin. 

Sundrum shall sink, | Auchincruive shall fa', 

And the name o' Cathcart | Shall in time wear awa* ! — Ayrshire. 

Refers to the ancient family represented by Earl Cathcart. The 
Cathcarts long ago parted with Sundrum and Auchincruive. 

Sunny, sunny shower, | Come in for half an hour, 

Gar a' the hens cour, | Gar a' the hares clap, 

Gar ilka wife o' Lammermoor, | Put on her kail pat. 

A Berwickshire rhyme used by children. — Dr, Henderson, 

Sup wi' yer head, the horner's dead, he's dead that made munns. 

** Munns," spoons without handles. 

Spoken to children who ask for a spoon. — Kelly. 

Lap it up, don't sup it. 

Supped out wort ne'er made gude ale. 

Spoken when one asks for a drink of our wort, for what is drunk in 
wort will never be ale good or bad. — Kelly, 

Suppers kill mair than doctors cure. 

If you be ill, sup, and then go to sleep. — Portugese. 

Surfeits slay mair than swords. 
Surely he hadst Jamie Keddie's ring. 

A Perthshire expression applied to one who comes and goes without 
attracting much attention. It arose from a tradition that in ancient 
days, one Keddie found a ring in a cavern of the hill of Kinnoul, near 
Perth, which possessed magical properties, enabling its owner to walk 
invisible. — Set footnote to ch. 5, ** Fair Maid of Perth." 


Swallow, swallow, sail the water, 
Ye'U get brose, and ye*ll get butter. 

S|K)kcn by boys as they throw stones at swallows skimming over a 
pool in search of flies. — Chambers, 

Swearing by the salmon. 

**Cluy Mannering," ch. 34. The inviolable oath of the gipsies and 
wandering tribes. 

SwLKr at the on-taking, but soor in the aff-putting. 

Refers to the contraction of debts and other liabilities. 

Sweet i' the bed, and sweir up i' the morning, was ne'er a gude 

A jocose reproof to young maids when they lie long a-bed. — Kelly. 

Sweet milk, sour milk, | Thick milk, thin. 
Biased milk, bladded milk, | Milk new come in ; 
Milk milket aff milk, | Milk in a pig. 
New-calved kye's milk, | Sour kirnie whig. 

Different kinds of milk. — Chambers, 


Tak' a drink and gae to bed. 

•• Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 33. 

An expression of contempt addressed to a boaster. 

Tak' a fool's advice. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 7. 

Tak* a lass wi' the tear i' her ee. 

i.e.y the most favourable time to court a girl who has not previously 
encouraged your suit is when she has been disappointed in love herself. 
— ** The Surgeon's Daughter," ch. 4. 

Tak' a piece ; your teeth's langer than your beard. 

Spoken to children who are diffident in accepting a piece. 

Tak' a spring on your ane fiddle; ye'U dance till't afore its 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 36. 

But sen ye think it easy thing to mount aboif the mune. 
Of our awin fiddle tak a spring, and dance quhen ye haif done. 

— ** Cherrie and the Slae." 
Compare^ He that will to Cupar, etc. 

Tak' a staup oot o' their bicker. 



Tak' an order o* the auld smith an' ye like. 

"John Gibb of Gussetneuk." The meaning is much the same as 
Tak* a spring, etc. Go to the devil if you like. 

Tak' as you come. 

A proverb debarring choice. — Kelly, 
Hobson's choice. — E. 

Tak' awa' Aberdeen, and twal miles round, and faar are ye ? 
Tak' folks on the right side. 

i,e,i humour them. — "Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 12. 

Tak' help at your elbows. 

This is the Scottish form of the sayings — God helps those who help 
themselves. — E. ; and Help yourself, and heaven will help you. — 
French. Also in Gaelic, Irish, German, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, 
Italian, and modern Greek. 

Tak' him up there wi' his five eggs, and four o' them rotten. 

Tak' keltie's mends. 

" Kelty," the fine of a bumper. That is, don't drink fair cup out in 
order to be fined in a bumper. 

Tak' nae mair on yer back than ye're able to bear. 
Tak' pairt o' the pelf when the pack's dealing. 

Catch that catch can. — E. 

Tak' some to yersel as ye sell the rest. 

Spoken facetiously. Take some personal satisfaction from your 
good. — Kelly. 

Tak' the bit and the buffet wi't. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 21. Don't object to the kicks if the 
halfpennies are plentiful. 

Tak' up the ewe and yoke her. 

A senseless saying when a thing falls out ill. — Kelly, 

Tak' up the next you find. 

Spoken jocosely when people say they have lost such a thing. — Kelly, 

Tak' up the steik in your stocking. 
J. 6., reform. 

Tak' us as ye find us. 
Tak' wit in your anger. 

Tak' your ain tale hame. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 27. 

i.e.. Take your advice to yoarself. At the time of the Ullloi^ I707» 


Lord Seafield, the Chancellor, objected to his brother, Colonel Ogilvie, 
dealing in cattle, as being derogatory to his rank. " Take your ain 
tale hame, my lord," said the Colonel, ** I sell nowt, but ye sell 

Tak' your ain will, and ye'U no dee o' the pet 

Tak' your ain will o't, as the cat did o' the haggis ; just ate it, 
and then creepit into the bag. 

This and the preceding proverb Kelly sajs — Are spoken to them who 
obstinately persist in an unreasonable design. 

Tak' your meal wi* ye, an' your brose will be the thicker. 

Spoken sarcastically by those who take a good meal befofe they go 
to partake of one with a friend, implying that they do not expect to be 
well treated. — Hislop, 

Tak' your pick, and say your pleasure. 
Tak' your thanks to feed your cat 
Tak* your will, ye*re wise enough. 

Taking his word back again. 

Known as the Aberdeen man's privilege ; what we now call "second 

The Aberdonians declare that a Dantzic merchant found them so 
honest that he said he would take their word again. — Kelly, 

Tale for tale is fellow traveller's justice. 

'*The Abl)ot,"ch. ii. 

Tam o' the Cowgate. 

The nickname given by James VI. to the first Earl of Haddington, 

Tam tell truth's nae courtier. 

Truth has a good face, but ragged clothes. — E. 
Veritas odium parit. — L. 

Tammie Norrie o' the Bass, | Canna kiss a bonnie lass. 

** The Tammie Norrie " or puffin has a peculiar beak. The rhjrme is a 
hit at bashful lovers. — ** The Antiquary, ch. 7. So — 
" A Tammie Norrie " is a stupid-looking, bashful man. 

Tandem triumphans. 

At the battle of Prestonpans the Pretender's standard was white, with 
a red cross, and the above motto. — ** Waverley," ch. 7, 

Tape to tape. 

t.^., to make a little go a long way ; to use sparingly. 
Tappit hens, like cock crowing. 
Taste and try before you buy. 

Try before you trust. — E. 


Taury breeks pays nae freight. 

Pipers don't pay fiddlers. — E. 

One barber shaves another. — French. 

Compare^ Hawks shouldna pike out hawks' een. 

Tears ready, tail ready. 

A jocose reflection on a woman who is ready to cry. — Kelly, 

Tears drown sorrow. 

Those who make the loudest lamentations often get over their grief 

Tecum habita et novis, quam sit tibi curta supellex. 

Live with thyself, and thou shalt know how scanty is thy household 
stuff. From the fourth satire of Persias, the satirist of the white life. 
The words ** Tecum habita," were inscribed on the lintel of the eastern 
doorway of Sir Thomas Hope's house, — in the Cowgate of Edinburgh, 
— which was removed in 1887, to make room for the Free Library. 
By themselves the words " Tecum habita " have been variously para- 
phrased as **Be self-contained," "Stay at home," and even ** Hold 
your tongue." The house referred to was built in 1616. Sir Thomas 
Hope was a distinguished lawyer, and for a time held the office of Lord 

Tell me whaur the flea may bite ? 
And ril tell you whaur love may light. 

Tell your auld gly*d giddim that. 

** Gly'd " squinting, ** giddim^' grandmother. 

Spoken to those who tell us something we do not like. — Kelly, 

Tennis for my sport, and battle for my earnest. 

** Bride of Lammermoor, " ch. 8. This saying expresses the disgust 
of one who preferred the old Scottish amusements, and methods of 
settling disputes, to the not over pure legal forms in which pettifogging 
chicanery was at once play, and stern reality. Many proverbs are 
current in various countries reflecting on the partial administration of 
the laws. To the judges of Gallicia go with feet in hand. — Spanish ; the 
reference being to a bribe of poultry. In England it was said of a cer- 
tain class of justices that for half-a-dozen chickens they would dispense 
with a dozen of penal statutes. So the Russians say, Truth is straight, 
but judges are crooked. 

Compare^ Shew me the Man, etc. 

Terri-bus and Terri-oden. 

The slogan of the burghers of Hawick, and the title, and nftiiii of ft 
song very popular in that town. 

Thanks winna feed the cat 

That at auld St. Andrews foir, I A' the souters mr 
A'thesouters and scoters' seed: ( Anda'themthatl 
Souters out o' Mar, | Souters twice as iafi . 


Souters out o' Gorty, | Souters five and forty, 

Souters out o' Peterhead, | Wi' deil a tooth in a' their head, 

Riving at the auld bend leather. 

Rhyme on St. Andrews Fair. — Chambers, 

That beats prent. 

That gied him sagged teeth. 

/.^., set his teeth on edge. 

That was langsyne, when geese were swine. 
And turkeys chewed tobacco. 
And sparrows biggit in auld men*s beards, 
And moudies delv't potatoes. — Chambers, 

** Moudies " moles. The rhyme indicates incredulity. 

That which is fairly won, and freely given is neither reft nor 

"The Abbot, "ch. 17. 

That which the Lord gies, the deil canna reive. 

Spoken when we have attained our end in spite of opposition. — 

God's aboon the deil. — Cumberland. 

That winna be a mote in your marriage. 
That'll be a sair wish to some folk. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 26. 

That'll be a sap oot o' my bicker. 

A loss to me. 

That'll be when puddocks grow chucky stanes. 

Gait's *' The Entail," ch. 40. 

Compare, Before the deil gaes blind, etc. 

That's a piece a stepmither never gied. 

Because it is so good, and large. A stepmother's bit — a small piece. 
— Cumberland. 

That's a tale o' twa drinks. 
That's a tee'd ba'. 
That's aboon your thoom. 

i,e,i above your capacity. 

That's as ill as the ewes in the yaird, and nae dogs to hunt 

That is, the matter referred to is all right, for nowhere could the 
ewes be so safe as in the yard. 


That's but ae doctor^s opinion. 

That's Castle-Law graith, strae belly rapes, tow fit-rapes, and 
break nineteen times in a yokin'. 

Said of any useless, rotten harness, etc. Castle-law is in the neigh- 
bourhood of Coldstream, Berwickshire. This place is also mentioned 
in the following rhyme : — 

Wylie Cleugh, and Castle-Law, 
Haud the devil by the paw ! 
Eccles-Tafts, and Harpertoun, 
Haud the devil weel doun. 

We never heard any explanation of this. — Dr, Henderson* 

That's equal aqual. • 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8. 

That's for that as butter's for fish. 
That's for the father, and no for the son. 

Spoken when a thing is done with slight materials, and so will not 
be lasting. — Kelly, 

That's gee luged drink. — Scoto-Irish. 

When a thing does not please us we wag our head, but when we are 
pleased we give a nod on one side ; spoken when we get excellent drink. 

Wine of one ear, is an exactly parallel expression current in Spain. 

That's Halkerston's cow a' the ither way. 

Halkerston, a lawyer and landed proprietor, gave permission to one 
of his tenants to feed an ox. The tenant's ox was gored to death by a 
heifer belonging to the lawyer. The tenant went to Halkerston and 
told the story the reverse of what had occurred. ** Why then," said the 
lawyer, **your ox must go for my heifer, the law provides that. **No,*' 
said the man, "your heifer killed my ox." ** Oh," said Halkerston, 
" the case alters there," and forthwith reversed his tactics. — Kelly, 

" The case is altered," quoth Plowden, is a parallel English saying. 
One reputed origin is much like the Scotch version, i.e,^ a case of hogs 
trespassing being told the reverse way. Another tradition is that a 
sham mass was performed in Plowden's presence by a layman attired as 
a priest. When Plowden, a lawyer of Queen Elizabeth's time, and a 
Roman Catholic, was accused of hearing mass he asked the celebrant if 
he was a priest, the fellow replied **No." ** Why then," said Plow- 
den, **no priest, no mass," which came to be a proverb, and continues 
still in Shropshire ; thus **The case is altered, quoth Plowden. No 
priest, no mass. — Ray, 

That's hame as weel as true. 

i.e,^ true and convincing. — "Bride of Lammermoor, ch. 7. 

That's ill paid maut siller. 

Metaphorically, a benefit ill xtf^\\X<t^,—Jamie5on, 


That's Jock's news. 

i,e., piper's news; q.v. 

That's ray tale, whaur's your's. 

'* Spoken by a person who has forestalled another, by telling the 
same news, or story, which the other was about to do." — Hislop, 

That's the third and last o' Ayton Fair, 
Think muckle o't for you'll get nae mair ; 
This is the last o' Ayton Fair. 

When a housewife brings forth the last of her store of meal, potatoes, 
etc., she says, ** that's the third and last of Ayton Fair," etc 
Ayton Fair has been discontinued since 1852. — Dr, Henderson, 

That's the way to marry me if ere you should hap to do it. 

A sharp reply to those who presume to be too familiar. — Hislop, 

That's waur, and mair o't. 

That's your Mak'um (Malcolm, a man's name,) fatherless, that 
has let many a man die in his bed. 

A jest upon a man when he shows his sword. — Kelly. 

The aik, the ash, the elm tree, | They are hanging a' three. 

i.e.^ it was a capital crime to mutilate these trees; or 

The aik, the ash, the elm tree. 

Hang a man for a' three, 

And ae branch will set him free ; or 

Oak, ash, or elm tree, 

The laird can hang lor a' three ; 

But fir, saugh, and bitter weed. 

The laird may flyte, and make naething by't ; or 

The oak, the ash, and the ivy tree. 

Flourish best at hame in the north countrie. — Chambers. 

The ass that's no used to the sunks bites his crupper. 

** Sunks," a sort of saddle made of cloth, and stuffed with straw, on 
which two persons can sit at oncQ. —^/amieson. 

The aucht an' forty dauch — 

Was the old popular name of Strathbogie. The district was divided 
into forty-eight davochs — dauchs. Each davoch contained as much 
land as four ploughs could till in a year. A ploughgate consisted of 
104 acres, so a davoch contained 416 acres. — See ** Antiquities of the 
Shires," Vol. IV., by Cosmo Innes. 

The auld eight. 

In a northern Scottish town, the municipal government had fellen 
into the hands of a body known by this name. One of the members of 
this select clique had been a Councillor for upwards of half a century. 


The phrase is applied to any body of men who have long monopolised 
power and place. 

The auld fisher's rule — every man for his ain hand. 

The Etirick Shepherd—*'' Window Wat's Courtship." 

The auld grey toun. 

i.e.^ Dunfermline. 

The auld kirk. 

i,e.^ Whiskey. 

The auld round O. 

i.e,y Arbroath. 

The back and the belly bauds ilka ane busy. 

The belly will bare the breast. — Gaelic. 

Your belly will never let your back be warm. — E. So in Welsh. 
Better a good dinner than a fine coat. — Fr. Referring to the Bur- 

The back o' ane's the face o' twa. 

"John Gibb of Gussetneuk." — A reply of a man who is chaffed 
about a sweetheart. Better see their back than their face. Their room 
is better than their company. 

The bag to the auld stent, and the belt to the Yule hole. 

i.e.f we eat as heartily as we did at Christmas. — Kelly, 

The bait maun be gathered when the tide's out. 

And in Gaelic. 

The banes bear the beef ha me. 

The banes o' a great estate are worth the picking. 

The bat, the bee, the butterfly, | The cuckoo, and the swallow. 
The heather fleet, and corncraik, | Sleep a' in a little holie. 

** Heather fleet,*' snipe. These birds are called the seven sleepers. 

The bauld Frasers. 

The baulder the bonnier. — Liddesdale. 

The more danger the more honour, — E. 
The more cost the more honour. — E. and S. 
The more Moors the better victory. — Spanish. 

The beautiful order. 

The arrangement by which a candidate for municipal honours, agreed 
to support the majority in the Council as a condition of election. 

The beggars o' Benshie — The Cairds o' Lour, 
The souters o' Forfar, | The weavers o' Kirriemuir. 
Places in Forfarshire. — Chambers. 


The best fruits are slowest in ripening. 

♦* Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 21. 

The best laid schemes o* mice and men, 
Gang aft agley. — Burns. 

The best o' wabs are rough at the roons. 

** Roons," edges. 

The best revenge is the most speedy, and most safe. 

Highland.— "Waverley,"ch. 58. 

The best that can happen a poor man is that ae bairn dee and 
the rest follow. 

A cursed distrustful proverb. God is able to maintain the poor man's 
child as well as young master or young miss, and often in a more 
healthy and plump condition. — Kelly, 

The better you do weel. 

Answer to the question — How do you do ? — Kelly, 

The bigger the rant, the better the fun. 

Compare^ The mair mischief, etc 

The bird maun flicher that has but ae wing. 

** Flicher," flutter. Spoken by them who have interest only in one 
side of the house. — Kelly. 

The black Macraes o' Kintail. — Chambers, 
The black ox ne'er trod on his foot. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 2. 

Mr. Georee Vera Irving in " Notes and Queries," 3rd Series, Vol. 
XII., p. 488, remarks that the expression "is at this day frequently 
applied in Scotland to an unfeeling person, and means that he has 
never experienced misfortune." 

The black ox is said to tramp on one who has lost a near relative by 
death, or met with some severe calamity. — Note to "The Antiquary.** 

Tusser, in his dialogue of " Wooing and Thriving — Points of Hus- 
bandry," seems to apply this phrase to one who has not experienced 
the troubles of a married life. He asks — 

Why then do folks this proverb put, 
The black oxe neere trod on thy foot. 
If that way (marrying) were to thrive ? 

The blind man's peck should be weel measured. 
The blind mear's first i' the mire. 

The bluidy Mackenzie. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 12. A Lord Advocate in the time o 
Charles II., so called from his cruelty to the Covenanters. 


The body. 

Applied to 2 man disparagii^lj. It is also customary for the mem- 
bets €^ certain <:t=ffimTing churches to designate their denomination as 
*^ The Body.'' 

The Bold Baccleugh. 

This title was gained by Sir Walter Scott, the first peer of his family, 
who died in 161 1. On being asked by Queen Elizabeth of England 
how he dared to rescue Kinmont Willie firom Carlisle Castle, he replied 
that ** there was nothing a man dared not do.'' 

The book o' maybes is very braid. 

Answer to them that say. May be it will fall out, or so. — Kelly, 

The bow' o' meal Gordons. 

This name is applied to the elder branch of the family, now repre- 
sented by the Marquis of Huntly, and arose from the fact that when a 
Highlander was admitted into the clan, and received the name of Gor- 
don, a fee of a bowl of meal was charged the aspirant. Other offshoots 
from the family stem were known respectively as the Jock and Tarn 
Gordons, from two popular heroes, of whom it is said — 

lock and Tam's gane owre the sea, 
Joy be in their companie. 

The braes o' Feltermore | Hae been a gude ship's shore. 

The earlier name of Barry, in Forfarshire, was Fothmuref — well 
wooded. Corrupted irfto Fettermore. 

The brave Macdonalds. 

The Gaelic rhyme — 

Mac^regor as the rock, 
Macdonald as the heather, 
is not so flattering. 

The brave toun o' Aberdeen. 

Spalding, the Annalist, speaks often of the ** brave toun " of Aber- 
deen. Aberdeen is also popularly called **The Granite City," and 
♦* Bon Accord." 

The breath o' a fause friend's waur than the fuff o' a weasle. 

The Broch. 

Form we thing of burgh. Popular name of Fraserburgh. 

The burn of Breid | Sail rin fu' reid. — Thainas the Rhymer, 

This is clearly a reference to the blood that was to be shed at Ban- 
nockburn — bannocks being in the rhymer's time the chief bread of the 
Scottish people. 

The buttered peas o' Lauderdale, 
Are better than the best o' kail, 
When Tamraie's pith begins to fail 


Buttered peas, that is, peas fried or boiled with batter, have been 
recommended as a specific in a certain decay of the bodily powers. — 
Dr. Henderson, 

The cadger's dizzen. 

i.e.^ thirteen. A baker's dozen, thirteen. — E. A publisher's dozen 
is the same. 

The cannie folk o' Aberdeen. 

*• Cannie " shrewd. Canny Newcastle, — E. 

The carles and the cart avers mak' it a', and the carles and the 
cart avers eat it a\ 

**The Pirate," ch. 4. The ploughmen and their horses consume 
what they produce. 

The carles o' Dysart, | The lads o' Buckhaven, 
The kimmers o' Largo, | And the lasses o' Leven. 

This rhyme, which is introduced by Burns into his song, "The Carles 
o* Dysart," refer to fishing communities in Fifeshire. 

The carles o' the Carse. 

The churls of the Carse of Cowrie — Lithgow on his journey through 
Scotland, 1628. 

The cart doesna lose its errand when it comesna hame toom- 

*' Toom-tail," empty. Applied to those who accomplish more than 
their errand. — Kelly. 

The cause is gude, and the word's fa' tae. 

A profane grace of hungry persons who sit down to a good meal. — 


The chained dog maun snatch at the nearest bane. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 13. 

The chappie of Houndwood. 

This was a ghost which haunted the mansion house of Houndwood, 
near Coldingham, Berwickshire, and received the name of ** Chappie" 
from the frequent knockings it made during the night. Its favourite 
abode was a room known as ** the chappie's room," where an atrocious 
murder had been committed, on account of which it was said the 
Houndwood estate was not to have a male heir for five generations. 
An old rhyme says : 

For the cruel and bloody deed 

That was done within the dome, 

Shall haunted be the forest home 
O* Houndwood, till away shall speed 
Generations many a ane ; 

And no son shall heir that ha' 

Till Chappie leave baith wood and wa'. 
And a' our kings and queens are gane. — Dr, Henderson, 


The Charing Cross of the Highlands. 

Oban is popularly so called. 

The clartier the cosier. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 26. 

That is, the dirtier the more comfortable. In **The Antiquary" this 
saying is put into the mouth of a fishwife, and even yet the fisherfolk 
seem to act upon the principle taught in the proverb. 

The Cock o' the North. 

The head of the Gordon clan. 

The cocks will craw, the hens will lay, 
The morn's Cobberspath Fair day. 

** Cobberspath," Cockburnspath, Berwickshire. A children's rhyme. 
— Dr. Henderson. 

The complaint of the monks of Arbroath against the rapacity of 

The complaint of the monks of Arbroath, as to the too great honour, 
Douglas, Earl of Arran, paid them in becoming their guest with a re- 
tinue of a thousand followers, passed into a proverb, and was never 
forgotten when the old Scottish churchmen railed at the nobility. — 
Footnote to ** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 10. 

The coo has calved. 

A smuggler's phrase, meaning the ship has successfully landed her 
cargo. Generally applied to any species of good fortune. 

The coo may dee ere the grass grow. 

While the grass groweth, the seely horse starveth.— E. 
The sheep may die waiting for the new grass. — Gaelic. 
Live ass till the clover sprout. — Arabic. 

Live, my donkey, till you eat trefoil. — Modem Greek. Also Irish, 
Italian, German, and French. 

The coo may want her tail yet. 

You may want my kindness hereafter, though you may deny me 
yours just now. — Kelly, 

The coo that's first up gets the first o' the dew. 

The early bird catches the worm. — E. 

The copper-nosed Kers. 

The corbie says unto the craw, | "Johnnie, fling your plaid awa'," 

The craw says unto the corbie | "Johnnie, fling your plaid about 


That is, if the raven cries first in the morning it will be a good day, 
if the rook, the reverse. — Chamber i. 


The corbies in the corbie heugh, 

Are crouping like to dee, 

But our laird will gie them meat eneugh, 

And that you'll soon see ; 

When Houldie, and his reivers rude, 

Hang on the gjillows tree. 

Corbie Ileugh, a great hreedinf; place for ravens, is in the neighbour- 
hood of Ayton, Berwickshire, and in this district a family named 
Houldie were small proprietors, and great reivers. The crouping of a 
corbie is held to be a bad omen. — Dr, Henderson, 

Thk cost owergangs the profit. 
The covin tree. 

The large tree in front of a Scottish Castle was sometimes so-called. 
It is ditficult to trace the derivation, but at that distance from the castle 
the laird received guests of rank, and thither he conducted them on 
their departure. — Footnote to ch. 3 of *' Quentin Durward." 

The crabs of Harray. 

The nickname given to the people of Harray, Orkney. 

The craws are eating the beare the year, 
We'll no get ony to shear the year. 

Spoken when a number of crows are seen in a field of barley. — 

The cuckoo's a bonny bird, | He sings as he flies ; 
He brings us good tidings, | He tells us no lies. 
He drinks the cold water, | To keep the voice clear ; 
And he*ll come again, | In the Spring of the year. 

In an English version : ** He sucks little birds' eggs," is the first line 
of the second verse. English boys say of the cuckoo : 

In April, 

The cuckoo shews his bill ; 

In May, 

He sings all day ; 

In June, 

He alters his tune ; 

In July, 

Away he'll fly ; 

In August, 

Away he must. 

The cutty stool. 

The stool of repentance on which offenders against church discipline 
sat, in presence of the congregation, and were publicly rebuked by the 
minister for their sins. 

The daft circuit. 

A celebrated circuit where Lord Hermand was Judge, and Clephane 


Advocate Depute. The party got drunk at Ayr, and so continued till 
the business was finished at Jedburgh. — ** Ramsay's Reminiscences." 

The daft days. 

The festive season of winter, especially Yuletide. 

The damsel of the wood. 

The silver birch. 

The dead claes need nae pouches. 
The dead room. 

The best bedroom, used only upon occasion of death and marriage, 
was called, from the former of these occupations, the dead room. — 
'* Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8, and footnote. 

The death o' ae bairn winna skail a house. 

The deil and the dean begin wi' ae letter, 
When the deil gets the dean the kirk will be the better. 
This is probably a saying of the ** killing times." 

The deil aye drives his hogs to an ill market. 
The deil bides his time. 

Taken from a supposition that the deil, when he enters into a cove- 
nant with a witch, sets her a date of her life, which he stands to. 
Spoken when people demand a debt or wages before it is due. — Kelly, 

First observe, and then desire. — E. 

The deil waits his day. — Gaelic. 

The deil clink down wi*t. 

O, first they eated the white puddings. 

And then they eated the black, O ; 
And thought the gudeman unto himsel'. 

The deil clink down wi* that, O l—Old Song, 

The deil doesna aye show his cloven cloots. 

The deil gae wi' him, and peace abide wi' us. 
**The Abbot," ch. 19. 

The deil gaes ower Jock Wabster. 

The deil gaes ower Jock Wabster, hame grows hell, 
And Pate misca's ye mair nor tongue can tell. 

— Ramsay's ** Gentle Shepherd." Also 

See **Rob Roy,"ch. 14. 

The deil made souters sailors that can neither steer nor row. 
i.e., the work is beyond their capacity. 

The deil ne'er sent a wind out o' hell but he wad sail wi*t. 



The deil needs baith a syde cloak and a wary step to hide his 
cloven feet. 

Gait's ** The Entail," ch. 51. Wrongdoers must be careful to con- 
ceal their true character. 

The deil rook him. 

The deil rules the roast. 

The deil tak* him who has the beddin' o' us. 

Spoken by men who are drinking. — "Tales of the Borders " — ** Kate 

The deil tak' them who have the least pint stoup. 

•* Waverley," ch. 18, and footnote. Also, " Redgauntlet," ch. 13, 
and footnote. The Scots were liberal in computing their land and their 
liquor, the old Scottish pint being equal to two English quarts. As 
for their coin, the couplet says — 

How can the rogues pretend to sense ? 
Their pound is only twenty pence. 

The deil will hae the tartan. 
The deil will tak' little or he want a'. 
The deirs aye gude to beginners. 
The deil's aye gude to his ain. 

The devil is good to some. — E. 

The deil's boots don't creak. 

i.e., temptations are insidious. 

The deil's coo calves twice in ae year. 
The deil's dead, and buried in Kirkcaldy. 

Some say the deil's dead, and buried in Kirkcaldy, 
Some say he'll rise again, and dance the Hieland laddie. 

— ^Jacobite Rhyme. 

The deil's greedy, but ye're mislear'd. 

** Misleared," wild. You are exceedingly greedy. 

The deil's greedy, sae are ye. 

The deil's maist to be feared when he preaches. 

Beware the geese when the fox preaches. — E. 

The deil's nae sae ill as hcr's ca'd. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 32. 

The deil's nae waur than he's ca'd. 

The deil's ower grit wi' you. 
" Ower grit," too familiar. 


The deirs pet lambs loe Claverse's lads. 

A sa3ring of the Covenanters, implying that the troopers of Graham 
of Claverhouse were on good terms with the favourites of the devil. 

The devil's picture beuks. 

i,e.<t playing cards. Bums, ** The Twa Dogs." 

The devil's own. 

Thomas Erskine, afterwards Lord Chancellor, at one time com- 
manded a law corps of volunteers. At a review in Hyde Park, King 
George III. asked him the name of his command, and Erskine replied, 
** The devil's own." A phrase which is sometimes applied to lawyers. 

The Devonshire of Scotland. 

i.e., the Laigh of Moray. Compare, Moray has fifteen days, etc. 

The dirty Dairy mples. 

So called because the family had acquired a reputation for a certain 
** coarse kind of wit." — Chambers. 

The dirty Dunbars. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

The Doer. 

i.e., law agent, factor. — Ramsay* s "Reminiscences." 
A very suggestive name for a lawyer. 

The dorty dame may fa* in the dirt. 

Dorty is applied to a female who is saucy with her suitors. — famieson. 
Compare, She lookit at the mune, etc. 

The Douglas larder. 

** Castle Dangerous," ch. 4. When Douglas recaptured his castle of 
Douglas from the English during the war of the succession, he destroyed 
all the liquors and provisions he found there, and which he could not 
carry away, so that they might not benefit the enemy. So any reckless 
waste of provisions is called "A Douglas larder." 

The Douglas wars. 

"Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 10, and footnote. The wars waged by 
the barons during the minority of James VI. were so called from the 
Douglas, Earl of Morton. In these wars no quarter was given on 
either side. 

The drunken man gets aye the drunken penny. 

Compare, A drudger gets a 'darg. 

The Englishman greets, 

The Irishman sleeps, 

But the Scotsman gangs till he gets it. 

A pretended account of the behaviour of these three nations when 
they want meat. — Kelly. 


The Englishman is never content but when he is grumbling, 
the Irishman is never at peace but when he is fighting, the 
Scotsman is never at home but when he's abroad. 

THEfEttrick and the Slitterick, | The Leader and the Feeder, 
The Fala and the Gala, | The Ale and the Kale, 
The Yod and the Jed, | The Blackater, the Wittater, 
The Teviot and the Tweed. 

Rivers in the counties of Roxburgh, Berwick, Peebles, and Selkirk. 

The Ettrick Shepherd. 

i.e,, James Hogg. 

The evening brings d! hame. 

Dean Ramsay says this is an interesting proverb, meaning that the 
evening of life, or the approach of death, softens many of our political 
and religious differences. The idea has a high and illustrious antiquity, 
as in the fragment of ** Sappho," 'Ecnrcpt iravra 4>4p€LS tfiipeis oivov — 
<f)^p€is aiya 0epets firjrepi irai^a, which is thus paraphrased by Lord 
Byron in *' Don Juan," III., 107 — 

" O Hesperus, thou bringest all good things — 
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer, 
To the young bird the parents' brooding wings. 
The welcome stall to the o*er-burdened steer, 
Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast." 

Night is a good herdsman ; she brings all creatures home. — Gaelic ; 
and She keeps cattle and sheep and hens. — Gaelic. Nicolson says the 
Scottish version has perhaps a deeper meaning than the Gaelic. 

The eye may change but the heart never. 

•• Heart of Midlothian," ch. 12. 

The Fair City. 
i.e.^ Perth. 

The Fair day of Auld Deer 
Is the warst day in a' the year. — Aberdeenshire. 
i,e,y The third Thursday of February. 

The fairest apple hangs on the highest bough. 
Highland, "Waverley," ch. 21. 

The faithful toun of Linlithgow. 

The motto of which is, " My fruit is fidelity to God, and the King." 

The farther ben the welcomer. 
The fat sow gets a' the draff. 

Grease a fat sow on the tail. — E. 

The fause Monteiths. 

Compare^ The wrang side o' the bannock, etc. 


The feathers carried away the flesh. 

Spoken to fowlers when they come home empty. — Kelly, 

The feet are slow when the head wears snow. 

The Ferry and the Ferry well, | The Camp and the Camp hill, 

Balmossie and Balmossie Mill, | Burnside and Burnhill, 

The thin sowens o' Drumgeith, The fair May o* Monifeith, 

There's Gutterston and Wallackston, | Claypots I'll gie my malison, 

Come I late, or come I air, | Ballemie's board's aye bare. 

This rhyme is ascribed to a brownie who was expelled from the old 
Castle of Claypots near Dundee. It describes places in that neighbour- 

The fiend laughs when ae thief robs anither. 
The fifteen. 

*' Waverley," ch. 39, and footnote. This was the term proverbially 
applied by the common people to the Court of Session, which at one 
time consisted of fifteen judges. 

The first dish is aye best eaten. 

The first dish pleaseth all. — E. 

The first puff o' a haggis is aye the bauldest. 

The first squirt of the haggis is the hottest. — Gaelic. That is, a 
boaster or coward talks tall at first, but soon calms down. 

The first gryce, and the last whalp o' a litter are aye best. 

The first snail going with you, the first lamb meeting you, bodes 
a gude year. — Kelly, 

Refers to an old superstition. 

The first thing a bare gentleman calls for in the morning is a 
needle and thread. — Kelly, 
To sew his rags together. 

The fish that sooms in a dub will aye taste o' mud. 
He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled. — E. 

The flesh is aye fairest that's farthest frae the bane. 

This is the opposite of the English saying. The nearer the bone the 
sweeter is the nesh. 

The foot at the cradle, and the hand at the reel, 
Is a sign that a woman means to do weel. 

The foot on the cradle, and the hand on the distaff. — E., and in 

The Forty-twa*. 

*' The common place of retirement on a well known French plan at 


Edinburgh, so called from its accommodating that namber of persons 
at once, ** Slang Dictionary," Hotten, 

The four great landmarks on the sea 

Are Mount Mar, Lochnagar, Clochnaben, and Bennochie. 

And — There are two landmarks off at sea, 

Clochnaben, and Bennochie. 

View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, 1732. 

The Frenchman. 


The friars of Faill 

Gat never owre hard eggs or owre thin kail, 

For they made their eggs thin wi' butter, 

And their kail thick wi' bread. 

And the friars of Faill, they made gude kail 

On Fridays when they fasted ; 

They never wanted gear eneuch 

As lang as their neighbour's lasted. 

Faill was a small monastery near Mauchline, Ayrshire. 
This rhyme was frequently applied when a complaint was made of 
either hard eggs or thin broth was made. — Chambers, 

The fu' and the empty gang a' ae gate. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 35. ** Ae gate," one way. 
The fu'er my house, the toomer my purse. 
The gallant Grahams, also. The proud Grahams. 
The garden of Tweeddale. 

Rommano, parish of Newlands, Peebleshire, has been so designated. 
The gathering peat, or coal. 

This is the piece of fuel, peat, or coal, left to keep alive the germs of 
fire without much consumption of fuel. " Black Dwarf,*' ch. 3, and 

The gay Gordons. 

The geese is a' on the green, | And the gan'er on the gerse. 

An answer to one who says gie*s, — give me. 

The gentle Johnstons. 

The gibe is nae answer. 

The goat gies a gude milking, but she ca's ower the cog wi' her 

Spoken of useful, but troublesome people. 

The goose pan's aboon the roast. — Fergusson. 


The Gordons hae the guiding o't. 

Refers to the influence of the family. Also the name of a violin tune. 
— Chambers, 

The gown grees ill wi' the petticoat. 

*• Redgauntlet," ch. 23, **gown," advocate's robe. 

The gowk has some reason for singing ance i' the year. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 28. 

The grace cup. 

St. Margaret of Scotland, queen of Malcolm Canmore, insisted that 
none should drink at her table who did not wait the giving of thanks. 
The term "Grace Cup" is usually confounded with the "Poculum 
Charitatis " of the monks, and the "Loving Cup" of civic banquets, 
but the origin of the name seems to be as indicated above. 

The grace o' a grey bannock is in the baking o't. 
The grace o' God is gear enough. 
The granary of Scotland. 

The Laigh o' Moray. Compare^ Moray has fifteen days, etc. 

The grandsire buys, the faither bigs, the son sells, and the 
grandson thigs (begs). 

One hundred years a banner, and one hundred years a barrow, — Fr. 

The granite city — Aberdeen. 

The gravest fish is an oyster ; | The gravest bird's an owl ; 

The gravest beast's an ass ; | An' the gravest man's a fule. 

An ass is the gravest beast, an owl the gravest bird. — E. 

The great beast devours the little beast, and the least fends as 
he can. — Highland. 

"Fends," provides for himself. 

The greater the truth the greater the libel. 

This saying is a misquotation from an epigram by Burns. On one 
occasion while staying at Stirling the poet wrote some verses reflecting 
unfavourably on the reigning house, as compared with the Stuarts. 
Upon being admonished, he said, " Oh but I mean to reprove myself 
for it," and thereupon wrote the lines which follow. 

" Rash mortal, and slanderous poet, thy name 
Shall no longer appear in the records of fame. 
Dost not know that old Mansfield who writes like the Bible, 
Says, ' the more 'tis a truth, sir, the more 'tis a libel.' 

The greedy Campbells. — Chambers. 

The greedy man and the cook are sure friends. 

> »> 


The greedy man and the gileymour (cheat) are soon agreed. 

For the cheat makes a good offer as he does not mean to pay. 
The grimy pots. — The Ettrick Shepherd, 
The grit pule. 

Great pool, slogan of Mercer of Aldie. 

The Grole o* the Geerie (Garioch), | The bowmen o* Mar ; 
Upon the hill o* Bennochie | The Grole wan the war. 

Aberdeenshire. This rhyme refers to some local dispute settled at 
the hill of Bennochie. The meaning of the term •* Grole " is unknown. 

The gude dog doesna aye get the best bane. 
The gude hour is in nae man's choice. 
The gudeman o* Aberdour. 

iu.f the Earl of Morton. 

The gudeman o' Ballengeich. 

1.^., King James V. 

The gudeman o* Drafifan. 

1.^., the Duke of Hamilton. 

Compare^ Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, etc. 

The gudeman o' the Bog. 

i.^., the house of Bog an Gight. Refers to the Duke of Gordon. 
The gudeman's croft. 

This was a small part of the best land near a village, set apart by the 
inhabitants as a propitiatory gift to the deil, and on this property the 
people never presumed to intrude. 

The moss is saft on clootie's craft, 
And benny's the sod o' the gudeman's taft, 
But if ye bide there till the sun is set, 
The gudeman will catch you in his net. 

The following refers to Berwickshire : — 

If you put a spade in the gudeman's craft, 

Mahoun will shoot you wi' his shaft, 

The craft lies bonny by Langton Lees, 

And weel is liked by bairns and bees ; 

Mahoun, Mahoun, will be your dead, 

If ye owre it your pleugh shall lead ; 

He'll take you away to his fiery den, 

And roast you alive like the friar's hen. 

For riving his craft o' the birk and brier. 

And the flowers that flourished there a' the year ; 

Where the fairies liked the sod to tread, 

Mahoun, Mahoun, will be your dead, 

If you touch on his craft a flower or weed ! 

— Dr, Henderson, 


The gu demands mither is aye in the gude wife's gait. 

The husband's mother is the wife's devil. — Dutch. 
The mother-in-law remembers not that she was a daughter-in-law. 
— E. Two that love not one another. 
The son's wife and his mother. — Gaelic. 

The gude neibours. 

i,e,t the fairies. See under Where the scythe cuts and the plough 

The gude toun of Edinburgh. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 8. 

Edinburgh is so termed in an Act of Council, dated 1678. 

Gude means in this connection honourable. — Chambers, . 

The gude's truth. 

i.e., God's truth. A solemn assertion, such as when we say, *'As 
sure as death." q.v. Gait's *' Entail," ch. 80. 

The gule, the Gordon, and the hoodie craw, 
Are the three warst things that Moray ever saw. 

This saying arose at the time of the religious persecutions, as the 
Gordons were warm adherents of the old faith, and the men of Moray 
no less zealous for the new. 

The gule-gool is a sort of darnel weed that infests corn. 

The haill apothek or rick-ma-tick. 
i.e., the whole concern. 

The handsome Hays. — Chambers. 

The happy climate where gin is a groat a bottle, and where 
there is daylight for ever. 

A phrase used by seafaring men in speaking of Shetland, at a time 
when the revenue laws were not very rigorously enforced at Ultima 
Thule. The latter part of the saying refers to the long summer days in 
these regions, where the evening twilight merges into the morning's 

The happy man canna be berried. 

Spoken when a feared misfortune happened for the best. — Kelly. 
The lucky man needs but to be born, the unlucky runs ever bare. — 
The unlucky man never lost his means (because he had none). — Irish. 
Give a man luck, and throw him into the sea. — E. 

The hard headed Olivers. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

The hard rackle Homes. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

The hare shall kittle on my hearth stane, 
And there never will be a Laird Learmont again. — Thomas the 

[i ' 


This refers to the Rhymer's own family. He predicted that there 
should be nine successive lineal male representatives after him, that his 
family would then be lost in a daughter, and that after the extinction 
of the family, a hare should leave her young upon his desolate hearth. 
The people of E^rlston declare that all these prophecies have come to 
pass, the last within the memory of the last generation (1856). — Dr. 

The haughty Hamiltons. — Chambers, 

The haughty hawk winna stoop to carrion. 

The haughty Humes (Homes), | The saucy Scotts, 
The cappit Kers, | The bauld Rutherfords. — Chambers, 

The hawks of Hoy. — Orkney. 

Nickname of the inhabitants of that Orcadian island. 

The heart o' auld Aberdeen. 

i.e.y the jail. 

The heart o' Mid-Lothian. 

Il i.e.y the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. The keeper of the prison was 

i called " the gudeman of the Tolbooth." — Chambers, 

The height atween Tintock Tap and Coulterfell 
Is just three-quarters of an ell. — Lanarkshire. 

Indicates that these two hills are nearly of a height. 

The height o* nonsense is supping soor milk wi' a brogue. 

Or, as some say, Keeping the sea back with a pitchfork. 

The hell o' 2! diseases. 

i.e,^ the toothache, — Bums, 

The hen's egg gaes to the ha' to bring the goose's egg awa\ 

A hen going in quest of a goose ; and The hen egg going to seek the 
goose egg. — Gaelic. 

If the poor man give thee ought, it is that thou shouldst give him 
something better. — E. 

Spoken when poor people give small gifts to be doubly repaid. — Kelly, 

The hen's no far aff when the chicken whistles. 

The herring. loves the merry moonlight, 

The mackerel loves the wind, 

But the oyster loves the dredging sang, 

For they come o' a gentle kind. — " The Antiquary." 

The oyster is a gentle thing, 

And will not come unless you sing. — E. 

The hirsel. 

i,e,i stock of sheep. ** Guy Mannering," ch. 38. 


The honest toun o' Musselburgh. 

As the people of Musselburgh cared tenderly for Randolph, Earl of 
Murray, who died there on the 20th July, 1332, on his way from the 
army at Cockburnspath to Edinburgh, his nephew and successor, the 
Earl of Mar, offered to extend their municipal privileges. The burghers, 
however, told him they desired nothing, and were glad to have had an 
opportunity of doing their duty. ** Sure you are a set of very honest 
people," said Mar, and he then gave them permission to adopt 
** Honesty " as the motto of the burgh. He also granted them a charter 
in 1340 conferring a number of local privileges. — Dr, Motrin the ** New 
Statistical Account of Scotland." 

The hooks and crooks o' Lambden burn 

Fill the bowie and fill the kirn. 

Lambden burn, Berwickshire, is noted for its many sudden turnings 
and windings, and the land on its banks is exceedingly fertile. — Dr. 

The homers o' Hume are as gude as the tinklers o' Gordon. 

Gordon and Hume were the principal Berwickshire resorts of the 

gipsies. — Dr, Henderson, 

The horse that brings grist to the mill is as useful as the water 
that ca's the wheel. 

GaUs " Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 69. 

The hour's come but not the man. 

Heading to Chapter IV. ** Heart of Midlothian." There is a tradi- 
tion that while a little stream was swollen into a torrent by recent 
showers, the discontented voice of the water-sprite was heard to pro- 
nounce these words. At the same moment a man, urged on by his fate, 
or, in Scottish language, fey, arrived at a gallop, and prepared to cross 
the water. No remonstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop 
him, he plunged into the stream and perished. — Note B to " Heart of 

The hurt man writes wi' steel on a marble stane. 
The independence of the Scottish Bar. 

A favourite toast in Whig society at the beginning of this century, 
frequently coupled with the name of Henry Erskine. In those days of 
Tory domination, independence meant professional ruin for an advocate. 
Erskine, Fletcher, Clerk, Jeffrey, Cockburn, Moncriefif, and others, 
dared all and broke the charm. 

Compare^ The virtuous number of thirty-eight. 

The infar cake. 

It was formerly the custom on a bride entering her house after the 
marriage ceremony to break a lucky cake over her head, the bystanders 
meanwhile repeating the following rhyme — 

Welcome to your ain fireside, 
Health and wealth attend the bride ; 
Wanters noo your true weird make, 
Joes are spaed by th' infar cake. 


The young men and women scrambled for the fragments, which, like 
pieces ()( bride's cake, were l>elieved to have a virtue when slept upon 
of di.^losing the name of his or her future spouse to the dreamer, ^paid- 
{'m^'- defines the ** Infar as the entertainment made for the reception of 
the bride in the bridejjriKjm's house." 

The invasion of the Highland host. 

"Mean of Midlothian," ch. 46. During "the killing times" the 
Cjovernment let loose a band of wild Highlanders on the west of Scot- 
land, which attack is known by this phrase. 

The kaim of chanticleer is in the wind's eye ! 

** Tales hf the Border "—** Kate Kennedy." Equivalent to— Sets 
the wind in that quarter. 

The Ken, the Cree, the darling Dee, 
Were seen a' rowing sweet, 
And just below did wimplin' flow, 
The Minnoch and the Fleet. 

A Rhyme on certain streams in Galloway. 

The Kennedy's wi* a' their power, 
Fra' Cassilis to Ardstincher Tower. 

Compare, *Twixt Wigton, etc. 

The killing time. 

This phrase is applied to the period of religious persecutions from the 
Restoration, 1660, to the Revolution, 1688. 

The king lies doun, yet the warld rins round. 

Applied to persons who have an undue idea of their own importance. 

The king may come in the cadger's gait ; or — 

The king's errand may come the cadger's gait yet. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 27. 

A great man may need the services of a very mean one. — Kelly, 

The great and the little have need of one another. — E. 

The king's business may come in the way of the henwife. — Gaelic. 

A lion may be beholden to a mouse. — E. 

The king may come to Kelly yet, and when he comes he'll ride. 

It signifies that the time may come that I may get my revenge upon 
such people, and then I will do it to purpose. — Kelly, 

The king o' the commons. 

James V. was so called from the freedom with which he mixed with 
the lower classes. 

The king o'er the water. 

Jacobites drank the king's health in the usual way, with a mental 
reservation, and the addition, sub rosa^ of ** o'er the water." — "Red- 
gauntlet," Letter 5. 


I'll dance and sing ae ither day, 

The day our king comes o'er the water, — ^Jacobite Song. 

The king's cushion. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 7. Two persons with their hands 
clasped together form a seat, called the king's cushion, and on the 
hands thus clasped a third person may be carried. 

The king's keys. 

** Black Dwarf," ch. 9. i.e., a crowbar and hammer to enter houses 
by force, under legal authority. 

The kingdom of Fife. 

The county of Fife is popularly called ** the kingdom." 

The kirk's aye greedy. 

A true proverb, as most of us know to our cost. 

The kirk's muckle, but ye may say mass i' the end o't. 

Spoken when people say something is too much, intimating that they 
need take no more than they have need for. — Kelly, 
Compare^ If we canna preach in the kirk, etc. 

The kirn. 

The kirn cut o' corn. 

The term "kirn," though now applied exclusively to the entertain- 
ment given by farmers to their servants in the end of harvest, had, in 
the old sickle days, another meaning. On the last day of shearing, the 
lass who had surpassed all the others was presented with ** the kirn cut 
of corn," or, as it was styled in some districts, **the maiden," namely, 
the last patch of corn remaining uncut, and which had been specially 
reserved for the purpose. This parcel of grain was made up into a 
small sheaf, called ** the kirn dollie,'* which was gaily decorated with 
ribbons and hung up in the farmer's parlour until another harvest came 
round, when it was removed, and replaced by a new ** dollie." The 
kirn thus meant the end of harvest. In the Highlands an early termi- 
nation of harvest was called a ** Maiden Cliack," and a late one a 

The knight of Snowdoun. 

This was one of the many epithets popularly applied to King James V. 

The knuckle end of England. 

The English occasionally apply this term to Scotland. 

The lad in the pyoted coat. 

The executioner in livery of black, or dark grey, and silver, likened 
by low wit to a magpie. — Footnote to ** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 27. 

The lads of Ae. 

The Ae is a river in Dumfries-shire, and the men of Glenae got the 
name of the *' lads of Ae " on account of their activity and fighting pro- 
pensities. — Chambers, • 


The laird kens only the ill in the parish, and the minister only 
the gude. 

** Waverley." ch. 32. 

The laird may be laird, and still need the hind's help. 
The laird o* Cool. 

A chap lK>ok with the title, " The Laird of Cool and the Minister of 
Innerwick " was published at the close of last century. " The laird of 
Cool " was a generic term for a ghost. 

The laird of Pittarro, his heart was sae narrow. 
He wadna let the kaes (rooks) pike his corn stack, 
But by there came knaves, and pullit up thraves, 
And what said the laird of Pittarro to that ? 


This rhyme refers to the Earl of Southesk, better known in Mearn- 
shire as Sir Tames Carnegie of Pittarro. He was remembered as a 
griping oppressor of the poor, and also as a proficient in the black art. 
It was said the devil had deprived him of his shadow. — Note to 
"Lament's Diary," 1660. 

The laird's brither's an ill tenant. 

The laird's ha' levels a\ 

** The Ettrick Shepherd "—"The Woolgatherer. " That is, persons 
of different ranks may meet on equal terms in the house of a joint 

The lamb where it's tipped, and the ewe where she's clipped. 

This is an old proverbial rule about tithes, i.e., the lamb pays tithes 
in the place where the ewe took the ram, and the old sheep where they 
are shorn. — Kelly. 

The land o' cakes ; and — 

The land of the mountain and the flood. 

Scotland is popularly so called. 

Land of brown heath and shaggy woods, 
Land of the mountain and the flood. — Scott. 

The land of mountains, glens, and heroes ; and The land of glens, 
and bens, and tartans. — Gaelic. 

The lang Flints o' Whitburn, 

And Tennants i' the Inch, 
John Maccall o' Bathgate 

Sits upon his bench. 
Tarryauban, Tarrybane, 

Tarbane hills and Sca't yauds, 
Easter Whitburn's assy pets. 

And Wester Whitburn's braw lads. 


The Duke i' the Head, 

The Drake o' the Reeve, 

The laird o' Craigmallock and Birnieton Ha', 

Hen-nest and Hare-nest, 

Cockhill and Cripplerest, 

Belstane and the Belstane Byres, 

Bickleton Ha', and the Guttermyres. 

Places in the neighbourhood of Whitburn. — Chambers, 

The lang toun. 

Kirkcaldy is so called from the length of its main street. 

The langer we live we see the mair ferlies. 

•* Ferlies," wonders. 

One may live and learn ; The longer we live we grow the wiser ; 
Those who live longest will see most. — E. 
Seris venit usus ab annis. — L. 

The Lanthorn o' the Lothians. 

The popular name of the Abbey Church of Haddington. 

The lass that lightlies may lament. 

i,e,t the girl who scorns her lovers may regret her sauciness. 

The lasses o* Exmagirdle | May very weel be dun, 

For frae Michaelmas till Whitsunday | They never see the sun. 

Ecclesmagirdle is a small village under the northern slope of the 
Ochil Hills, and for a good part of the year untouched by the solar 
rays. — Chambers, 

The lasses o' Lauder are mim and meek. 
The lasses o' the Fanns smell o' peat reek. 
The lasses o' Gordon canna sew a steek. 
But weel can they sup their crowdie ! 
The lasses o' Earlston are bonny and braw, 
The lasses o' Greenlaw are black as a craw. 
The lasses o' Pol wart are the best o' them a', 
And gie plenty o' wark to the howdie. 

The rhyme characterises the young women of certain villages in Ber- 
wickshire. — Dr, Henderson, 

The last best, like to gude wives' daughters. 

A mother says her unmarried daughter is the best of the family. — 

Like the wife wi' the mony dochters, the best's ane hindmost, is 
another form of the saying. 

The last word has him, speak it wha will. 
** Kedgauntlet," ch. 12. 


The law is king. 

Lex Rex. This was a favourite saying with the Covenanters. ** Lex 
Rex " was the title of a work by Samuel Rutherford, the Reformer. 
The aphorism is Brenton's, whose words are " Lex facit Rex." The 
entire passage is as follows — " Rex non debet esse super legem quia 
Lex facit Rex Nihil enim aliud potest Rex, nisi id quod de Jure potest." 

The lazy lad maks a stark auld man. 

A lazy youth will make a brisk old man. — Gaelic. 

The lean dog is a* fleas. 

The leefu' man is the beggar's brither. 

**Leeful," lending. 

The less debt the mair dainties. 
The less I lee. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 8. That is, I have spoken the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 
A point rather under than over the truth. — Dean Ramsay, 

The less play the better. — Fergusson, 
The Letter Gae. 

i.^., the precentor.— "Guy Mannering," ch. ii. 
The Letter Gae of holy rhyme. — -<4//a« Ramsay, 

The liberal man is the beggar's brither. 

GaWs ** Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 25. Compare^ The leefu' man, etc. 

The life of man, the death of fish, 
The boat, the crook, the plough, 
Horn, corn, lint, and yarn. 
Flax and tarry woo'. 

An old Scottish toast. Taken from " The lost heir of the How« of 
Elphinstone " in the ** Tales of the Borders." The author of the story 
is Mr. Thomson, the original "Dominie Samson," and at one time a 
tutor in the family of Sir Walter Scott. 

The light infantry of Satan. 
i.e.^ the fairies. 

The light will mak' itsel' seen. 

That is, talent will assert itself. Truth will out. 

The light wine of the country. 

A jocular term for whisky. 

The lightsome Lindsays. 

The Lindsays lightsome and gay, is another form. 


The Limpets of Stronsay. 

A nickname applied to the inhabitants of this Orcadian island. 

The Lindsays in green | Should never be seen. 

Refers to the sanguinary battle which the Lindsays fought with the 
royal forces at Brechin in 1452. The Lindsays were on that day 
dressed in green, and as many of them fell, the colour was thereafter 
regarded as unlucky to the clan. 

The lion and the unicorn, | Fighting for the crown, 

Up starts the little dog | And knocked them baith down ; 

Some gat white bread, | And some gat brown, 

But the lion beat the unicorn | Round about the town. 

A rhyme upon the royal coat armorial. The little dog must be the 
lion sejant placed on the top of the crown in the crest. — Chambers, 

The little gentleman in black velvet. 

** Waverley,** ch. 1 1. A toast of the Jacobites to the mole that 
made the mound upon which the horse of William of Orange stumbled 
and fell, thereby causing the king's death. So the Irish Jacobites used 
to drink to "The memory of the chestnut horse." 

The long-coated folk — Luchd nan casag. 

The Highlanders designation of the Lowlanders. 

" The Lord gie us a gude conceit o' oursels," quo* the wife, and 
gaed whistlin' ben the kirk. 

The Lord rade, | And the foal slade. 

He lighted, | And he righted, 

Set joint to joint, | Bone to bone, 

And sinew to sinew, | Heal in the Holy Ghost's name. 

In Shetland it was believed that what was called the wresting thread 
— a legacy from the witches— spun from the wool of a black goat or 
sheep, with its nine knots, was a sovereign remedy for sprains and 
hurts when applied to the wounded part, accompanied by the chanting 
of the above formula. 

The loudest bummer's no the best bee. 

The lower we lie, the mair we are under the wind. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 23. 

The lucky Duffs. 

Duffs' luck is proverbial in Aberdeenshire, from the good fortune 
which seems to have attended the members of this family in the acquisi- 
tion of lands in that district. — Chambers, And the luck still continues. 

The lucky thing gives the penny. 

" Lucky," f.^., bulky. If good, the bigger the better. — Kelly* 

TriE Macintoshes, fiery and quick-tempered. — Chambers. 


The mair fool are ye, as Jock Amos said to the minister. 

Daft Jock Amos is a Character of whom many stories are told. On 
one occasion, l)eing asked by his minister why he never went to church, 
he replied, ** Because you never preach on the text I want you to 
preach on.'' " What text is that," asked the minister. '* On the nine 
and twenty knives that came back from Babylon." ** I never heard of 
them l)efore." ** It's a sign you never read your Bible. Ha, ha, Mr. 
lioston I sic fool, sic minister." After some trouble, Mr. Boston found 
that the fool was right, the passage Ijeing in Ezra. i. 9. So the story 
got aljout, Jock's acuteness being much admired, and the incident 
passed into a proverb. — The Ettrick Shepherd.^ "The Shepherd's 
Calendar." The Mr. Boston here referred to was the minister of 
Ettrick, and author of "The Fourfold State." 

The mair mischief the better sport. 

** P'ortunes of Nigel," ch. 2. 

On the forenoon of the day appointed for the execution of Lord 
Lovat, for his participation in the rebellion of 1745, a scaffolding, 
erected on the route to the place of execution, gave way, and many 

{>ersons were killed and injured. When this accident was reported to 
lis Lordship, he coolly quoted this proverb. — Chambers' " History of 
the Rebellion of 1745." 

The mair noble, the mair humble. — Kelly. 

The mair ye steer, the mair yell sink. 

The maister's foot's the best measure. 

The maister's foot's the best muck. 

The man in the black coat. 

In some fishing villages the people so designate the minister. 

The man o* France. 

i.e,^ the devil. 
The manly Morisons. — Chambers, 

The Mares of Rousay. — Orkney, 

Nickname of the pepple of that Orcadian Island. 

The maut pool. 

The part of the stream from which water for illicit distillation was 

"The meal cheap, and shoon dear,'' quo the souter's wife, "I'd 
like to hear." 

The men o' the East | Are pyking their geese, ! 
And sending their feathers here-away, there-away. 
Boys chorus about snow. — Chambers, 


The men o* the Merse. — Berwickshire, 

So called from their stalwart build and bold disposition. 

The merle and the blackbird, | The laverock and the lark, 

The goudy and the gowdspink, | How many birds be that ? 

The laverock and the lark, | The bawkie and the bat, 

The heather fleet, the mire snipe, | How many birds be that ? 

Answer — Three in the first verse, and two in the second. The 
bawkie or bat does not count as a bird. 

The merry dancers. 

See^ The Pretty dancers. 

The merry men o* the Mearns. — Chambers, 

The miller got never better moulter than he took with his ain 
hands. — Kelly, 

"Moulter," the miller's perquisite for grinding the grain. 

The modern Athens. 

Edinburgh is sometimes so designated. 

The morn's the morn. 

The mother is a matchless beast. — Kelly, 

The mother o' mischief is nae bigger than a midge's wing. 

The mother of dissension is smaller than a gnat. — Gaelic. 

The mother's breath is aye sweet. 

Warm is the mother's breath. — Gaelic. 

The moudiewart feedsna on midges. 

The mouth that lies slays the soul. — Fergusson, 

The muckle mischief confound ye. 

The muckle mou'd Murrays. 

Compare^ Muckle mou'd Meg. 

The muirhen has sworn by her tough skin, 
She sal never eat of the carle's win. 

This bird has a great antipathy to the haunts of men. 

The mune ripens corn. 

The lume o' an honest man's muckle worth. 

The new brig o' Doune, and the auld brig o' Calland 

Four and twenty bows in the auld brig o* Callandar 

In 1530, Robert Spittal, tailor to the Qacen fdSoo 
bridge of Teith near Doane. Bat some « tbe 00a 

340 • PROVERBS. 

the old bridge at Callander, and expressed their admiration in the above 
rhyme. — Chambers, 

The next time ye dance ken wha ye tak' by the hand. 

Spoken to them who have imprudently engaged with some who have 
been too cunning, or too hard for them. — Kelly. 

The occasion. 

t.^., the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. — "^Ramsay's Reminis- 
cences," 1867 edition, p. 18. 

The oldest cheeses have most mites. 

The one life lost, shall be the means of saving a hundred. 

Tradition says that auld Wat Scott of Harden in one of his predatory 
expeditions, captured the young heir of the Nevilles of Ravensworth, 
and unfortunately dropped the boy, unperceived, from his saddle, while 
crossing the Ettrick to reach his house of Kirkhope Tower. Wat 
bitterly grieved at this mishap, and as a penance, resolved to build a 
bridge at the spot, exclaiming. The one life lost, etc. In this bridge 
was a stone with the Harden coat of arms, i.e., A crescent mooQ with 
the motto Cornua reparabit Phoebe, q, v. 

The orchard of Scotland. 

The neighbourhood of Lanark is so called, from the number and pro- 
ductiveness of its fruit trees. 

The oubliette. 

This name was given to the practice common to the law of France, 
and Scotland, of sequestrating prisoners after their arrest, from all con- 
tact with the outside world, until they were committed for trial. By 
the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1887 prisoners in Scotland are 
now permitted to consult a law agent, as soon after their apprehension 
as they please. 

In ordinary speech, the phrase is used to indicate any enforced re- 

The penny siller slays mair souls than the. naked sword slays 

**Rob Roy,"ch. 30. 

The people o' the Carse o* Gowrie want water in the summer, 
fire in the winter, and the grace o* God a' the year round. — 

The Perth burghers made but a bad bargain in giving six feet o' 

grund for twa inches. 

This is an ancient joke referring to the tradition, that the Earl of 
Kinnoul gave the North and South Inches to the town of Perth in ex- 
change for a burying-place in the Church of St. John's. 

The phrase changes though the custom abides. 

*• Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 30. 

The piper does not play till he knows who pays him. 


The piper wants muckle that wants the nether chafts. 

Spoken when a thing is wanting that is absolutely necessary. — Kelly, 
He can ill pipe that lacketh his upper lip. — E. 
Qu forno calao non pu6 crescer herba. — Italian. 

The plague be in his fingers. 

The Polwart folk winna marry out o* their ain parish. 

1.^., they are so clanish. — Dr, Henderson, 

The poor man is aye put to the warst. 

Pauper ubique jacet. — L. 

The Porteous Roll. 

Preface to ** The Surgeon's Daughter." The list of criminal indict- 
ments in Scotland was so called. 

The post o' honour is the post o* danger. 
The Pretty dancers. 

The Aurora Borealis. 

The Scots among us seem'd delighted 
To see their sou3iern friends so frighted, 
At nature's sporting's that arise 
So frequent in the northern skies, 
And when they brandish in the air. 
Are stil'd thepreiiy dancers there. 

— " British Wonders," 1717, p. 32. 

The Shetlanders call the streamers the ''merry dancers." In the 
lowlands of Scotland the name the phenomenon long went by of '' Lord 
Derwentwater's lights " was given because it suddenly appeared on the 
night before the execution of the rebel lord. The name Aurora Borea- 
lis dates from 1621, and Gassendi is credited with the authorship of the 
epithet. In Ceylon they are called '' Budda lights." 

The priest christens his ain bairn first 

An apology for serving ourselves before our neighbours. — Kelly, So 
— Irish and Gaelic. Charity begins at home. — E. 

Sibi quisque proximus. — L. I will christen my own child first. — E. 

The prophet's chamber. 

ue.^ the minister's study, or the room reserved in a manse for a 
stranger minister or probationer. 

The proud MacNeils. — Chambers, 

The proud Pringles. 

The proudest nettle grows on a midden. 

The red weed from the dunghill lifts its head the highest.— Gaelic. 
Men of lowly origin, when they rise in the world, often assume airs. 

The pudding Somervilles. 

James IV. gave the nickname of " Lord Puddings " to the Lord 


Somervill of that time because of the great preparations made for the 
monarch's coming at Cowthally, and also because the king persuaded 
Somervill to carry a black and white pudding in his arms to the table. 
— MS. Memoirs of the Somervilles — quoted by Chambers. 

The queen of the South. 

Dumfries is popularly so called. 
The rain comes scouth when the wind's in the south. 

"Scouth," heavily. 

The real peat reek. 

Genuine Highland whisky. 

The red cock has craw'd. 

" Guy Mannering," ch. 3. That is to say, there has been a case of 
wilful fire-raising. 

The red Douglas put down the black. 

'* The Angus branch of the Douglas family assisted so greatly to over- 
throw the parent house that it became a proverb, in allusion to the com- 
plexion of the two houses, that *'the red Douglas had put down the 
black." — "Border Memories," W, R, Carrey p. 22, footnote. 

The red wud Ridderfords — Rutherfords. 
Also called The bauld-bold Rutherfords. 

The road to the kirk o' Riven, 
Where gang mair dead than living. 

Refers to Rathven, in Banfifshire, 

The robin and the lintie, | The laverock and the wren, 
Them that berries their nest | Will never thrive again. 
Compare^ Malisons, malisons, etc. 

The robin redbreast and the wran 
Coost out about the parritch pan, 
And ere the robin got a spune, 
The wran she had the parritch dune. 

Describes a squabble between husband and wife. 

The room. 

i.e*, the parlour, used when guests are entertained ; the kitchen being 
the ordinary family sitting-room in small houses where there is only a 

The rough-riding Riddles. 

The rye kail o* Reston | Gar'd a* the dougs dee, 
The browster gie'd us a' a gliff | Wi* his barley bree, 
And gar'd Meg o' the Gurl-Hole | Away wi' Bawtie flee. 

The dogs were probably poisoned by supping rye kail, made with rye 


infected with the spur, and Meg may have shared their fate by partak- 
ing of barley broth which had been poisoned. There still stands at 
Reston an old thatched house known as **The Gurle," and there was 
formerly a small loch near the same place called the Gurle Hole. In 
winter, when it was covered with ice, the children used to chant to one 
another thus — 

We'll go curl 

Doun i' the Gurle. — Dr. Henderson. 

The sailor's life is a heartsome life. 
The saut lairds o' Dunscore. 

During the period of the heavy duty on salt, certain poor lairds in the 
parish of Dunscore, Dumfries-shire, purchased a stone or peck of salt, 
which they carefully distributed by means of a horn spoon to those who 
had a share in the speculation. 

The phrase "saut lairds " came to be regarded as a taunt against the 
whole parish, while to designate a man a ''Dunscore laird," implies 
that he is a very small propnetor indeed. 

The scabbit head loes na the kame. 

A galled horse will not endure the comb. — £. 

The scholar may waur the maister. 

" Waur," get the better of. Meliorem prxsto discipulum. — L. 

The Scot will not fight till he sees hijs own blood. 

A North of England proverb. — ** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. i. 
Another form is — The Scots fight best when they are hungry, or 
when they see their own blood. — E. 
The hungry birds fight best. — Gaelic. 

The^ Scotch ordinary. 

The home of office. — Ray» 

The Scots wear short patience and long daggers. 

The Scottish race shall flourish free, 

Unless false the prophecie ; 

Where the sacred stone is found, 

There shall sovereignty have ground. — Gaelic, And 

The Scots shall brook that realm as native ground, 
If weirds fail not, where'er this stone is found. — Boece, 
Translated by Nicolson. The saying refers to the Coronation Stone 
of Scone, carried to England by Eklward I., and deposited in West- 
minster Abbey, in the Coronation Chair, where every British sovereign 
has been crowned ever since. — Nicolson, 

The Scottish Solomon. 

King James VI. was ironically so called. 

The scourging of a nine gallon tree. 

The Ochtertyre MS. — Broaching a barrel of ale and never quitting it 
till it was drunk. 


The scout, the scart, the cattiwake, 

The Solan goose sits on the laik, | Yearly in the spring. — Ray, 
Refers to birds which frequented the Bass in Ray's time. 

The sea's a kittle cast. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 30. 

The Seals of North Ronaldshay. 

Nickname applied to the people of that Orcadian island. 

The Second City of the Empire. 

Name sometimes given to Glasgow. Glasgow is also popularly called 
St. Mungo's. 

The secret hid from true love is aften tauld to the king. 

i.e.^ what we fear to tell our nearest and dearest, is exposed, when, 
as prisoners, our life is brought to light. 

The Setons, tall and proud. — Chambers, 

The seven sleepers. 

See^ The bat, the bee, etc. 

The seven spears of Wedderburn. 

Were the sons of Sir David Home of Wedderburn, Berwickshire, by 
his wife Isabel, daughter of Hoppringle of Galashiels, now Pringle of 
Whitebank. Sir David was slain in the fatal field of Flodden. The 
seven spears fought in many a gallant battle for Scotland's rights in 
conjunction with the Douglas family. 

The Sheep of Shapinshay. 

Nickname given to the inhabitants of that Orcadian island. A story 
is told of some Shapinshay men who, hearing the sound of baa, baa, 
from a passing boat, and thinking the sound was meant for them, and in- 
tended as an insult, pursued the boat containing the offenders for some 
miles, only to find that the baaing proceeded from genuine blackfaces. 

The shortest follies are the best. 

The shortest road's the nearest. 

The shortest road's where the company's gude. 

The shots o'er gang the auld swine. — Fergusson, 

The silliest strake has the loudest hech. 

The greatest boasters are not the greatest doers. — E. 
Much cry and little wool. 

The simple man's the beggar's brither. 

The skirl at the tail o' a guffa. 

•' The Antiquary," ch. 35. Hysterics, weeping following on laughter. 

The skrae shankit Laidlaws. 


The Sloke, Milnwharcher, and Craigneen, 
The Breska and the Sligna ; 
They are the five best Crocklet hills, 
The auld wives ever saw. 

Hills near Loch Doon, Ayrshire. 

The slothful man is the beggar's brither. 

The lazy man is the beggar's brother. — E. 

The smith is fiery when the iron is hot. 

" Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 33. 

The snail is as soon at its rest as the swallow. 

The snail slides up the tower at last, though the swallow mounteth it 
not.— E. 


The sons of the rock. 

i,e,, natives of Stirling. 

The sooth bourd is nae bourd. 

" Redgauntlet " narrative, ch. 11. 
The true jest is no jest. — E. 

The soor milk Jocks. 

i.e,, the Yeomanry. 

The souter gae the sow a kiss, " grumph," quo' she, " it's for a 

Spoken of those whose service we suppose to be mercenary. — ITelly, 

The Southron. 

The old Scottish name for the English. 

The Starlings of Kirkwall. — Orkney. 
Nickname of the people of that town. 

The stoutest head bears langest oot. 
The Stove school. 

The advocates who were divided into three coteries named respec- 
tively "the clique," "the set," and "the gang,'* established themselves 
in three separate parts of the Parliament House Hall, and as near the 
fireplaces as possible, and there evolved ingenious dogmas in Imperial 
and local pohtics. This custom in the earlier part of the present cen- 
tury, gave rise to the epithet Stove School being applied to this informal 
series of Parliaments. The long hall was well adapted for this purpose. 

Along its sides displa}^ 

Charms well adapted for dull winter da3rs, 

A well heaped furnace here, and there where flames 

Mild warmth diffuse through all the lieges frames ; 

Each hearth encircled with short grated wire. 

Lest new fledged hiwyers set their ddrU od m- 


** The twelfth of November," former date of Court of Session opening, 
from " Peter's letters to his kinsfolk."— iT^ "Life of Henry Erskine," 
by Lieut. -Col. Fergusson. 

The Strait-laced Somervilles. — The Ettrick Shepherd. 

Compare^ The pudding Somervilles. 

The strong and the hearty get a'thing in this world. 

The strongest horse loups the dike. 

Spoken often when we are playing at tables, and past the danger of 
blotting, meaning that he that throws best will win the game. — Kelly, 

The Stuarts the race of Kings, and of tinkers. — Gaelic. 
Stuart was a favourite name with the tinkers. 

The stuf!ie. 

So Aberdonians designate whisky. 

The sturdy Armstrongs. 

The sturdy wooing. 

I.e., Scotch wooing. 

The subject's love is the king's life guard. 

The sun and the moon may go wrong, but the clock o' St 
Johnston (Perth) never goes wrong. — Chambers, 

The sun will be on our side of the hedge yet. 

** Old Mortality," ch. 37, t.^., our party will get the upper hand yet. 

The surest promisers are aye the slackest payers. — The Ettrick 

The sweer corner. 

ue.y the corner of the street in small towns where the loafers delight 
to congregate. The lazy corner. — E. 

The swine's gane through it. 

Spoken when an intended marriage is gone back, out of a superstitious 
conceit, that if a swine come between a man and his mistress, they will 
never be married. — Kelly, 

ii J The tae hauf the warld thinks the tither daft. 

The teeth of the sheep shall lay the plough on the shel£ — 
Thomas the Rhymer, 

The sheep's jaw will put the plough on the hen roost. — Gaelic. 

Does not the present condition of the Highlands — the great deer 
forests, and large sheep farms — bear out this prophecy, and confirm the 
Gaelic saying ? 




The ten talents. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. i8, i.e,^ the ten fingers. 
The ten commandments. — E. 

The thatcher said unto his man, " Let's raise this ladder if we 
can.'' "But first let's drink maister." 

Spoken when one proposes something to be done, and another pro- 
poses a drink before we begin. — Kelly, 

The thiefer like the better sodger. 

The thing that lies na in your gate breaks na your shins. 

The stone that lieth not in your way need not offend you. — E. And 
in Gaelic. 

The thing that's deen the day, winna be adee the mom. 

** John Gibb of Gussetneuk." 

The things that wives hain cats eat. 

What is too niggardly spared is often as widely squandered. — Kelly, 
Cats eat what hussies spare. — E. 

The third time's lucky. 

The third is a charm. — Kelly, 

The third pays for all. — Shakespeare, So 

There is three things of all things. — Kelly, 

The three P.'s o* Glasgow. Packages, Puncheons, and Pigtail 

Gait's ** Entail, "ch. lOO. 

The thrift o' you, and the woo' o' a dog, wad mak' a braw web. 

The wit of you, and the wool of a blue dog, will make a good 
medley. — E. 

The thrift o' you will be the death o' your gude dame. 

The tiger Earl. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 21, and footnote. 

This name was given to Sir David Lindsay, first E^rl of Crawford, 
and brother-in-law of King Robert III. Compare^ Earl Beardie. 

The time ye're pu'in runts ye're no setting kail. 
The tod keeps aye his ain hole clean. 

Compare^ Its an ill bird, etc. 

Even the sow will keep her own stye clean. — Gaelic. 

The tod ne'er fares better than when he's bann'd. 

Spoken when we are told that such people curse us, which we think 
is the effect of envy, the companion of felicity. The fox is cursed when 
he takes our poultry. — Kelly, 

A fox and a false knave have all one luck — the better for banning. 
— E. 


The tod ne'er kills the lamb except at a distance firae his ain 

Foxes prey farthest from their earths. — £. 

The tod ne'er sped better than when he gaed his ain errand. 

Every man is most zealous for his own interest Spoken to advise a 
man to go about such a business himself. — Kelly. 

The tod's whalps are ill to tame. 

The todler tyke has a very gude byke, 

And sae has the gairy bee ; 
But leese me on the little red-doup, 

Wha bears awa' the gree. 

A Forfarshire rhyme on bees. — Chambers. 

The tongue of a tale-bearer breaketh bones as well as a Jeddart 

" The Abbot," ch. 4. *' A Jeddart staff," a species of battleaxe. 
The tousy TurnbuUs. 
The trusty Boyds. 
The twa and twae toun o' Aberdeen awa*. 

Gait's *' The Entail," ch. 86. Is a hit at the Aberdonian accent. 
The unco gude. — Burns. 
The vassal o' the kirk is seldom found with his basket bare. 

For the monks were proverbially celebrated as the best of landlords. 
"The Monastery." 

The virtuous number of thirty-eight. 

This phrase refers to the thirty-eight advocates who supported Henry 
Erskine for the ofRce of Dean of Faculty, when he was opposed on 
account of his political action, in presiding at a meeting, held in Edin- 
burgh, for the purpose of protesting and petitioning against the con> 
tinuance of the war with France. The election took place on the 12th 
January, 1796, when 123 advocates supported Lord Advocate Dundas 
of Armiston, and 38 voted for Mr. Erskine. The phrase was intro- 
duced into a toast in honour of the 38 given at a dinner held in Edin- 
burgh, in 1820, for the purpose of welcoming Lord Erskine on his re- 
turn to Scotland, after an absence of fifty years. Burns celebrates this 
election in his ballad **The Dean of Faculty." 

The visible kirk. 

Markinch in Fifeshire. The visible church (Harrow-on-the-Hill). — E. 

The ware evening is long and tough, 

The harvest evening runs soon o' the heugh. 

In spring-ware the days are lengthening, in harvest decaying, which 
makes the one seem long, and the other short. — JCelly. 


The warld is bound to nae man. 

The warld's like the tod*s whalp, aye the aulder the waur. 

(7fl/i{V*' The Entail," ch. 4. 
The warst be her ain. 

The warst may be tholed when it's kenn'd. 
** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 20. 

The warst warld that ever was, some man won. 

The warst warld that ever was, the malt-man got his sack again. 

It is hard when people get no satisfaction for what they have sold, 
no, not so much as the bag that carried it. — Kelly, 

The water o' Aven runs so clear, 

'T would beguile a man of a hundred years. 

This Aberdeenshire rhyme refers to the clearness of the Aven, which 
deceives people as to its depth, and thus causes fatal accidents. — Ful- 
larton's ** Gazetteer." 

The water will ne'er waur the widdie. 

He that's born to be hanged will never be drowned. — E. 
Also in Gaelic, Italian, German, Dutch, and Danish. 

The waters shall wax, the woods shall wane, 

Moss, moor, and mountain will a' be ta'en in, 

But the bannock will ne'er be the braider. — Thomas the Rhymer. 

This rhyme refers to the draining of swamps, the destruction of 
forests, and the reclamation of waste land, and predicts that when all 
this is done food will not be more abundant. It is a question if the 
necessaries of life are not, in many cases, more difficult of attainment in 
a highly civilized than in a ruder yet more natural age. 

The waur o' the wear. 

"The Abbot," ch. 18. 

The way of those you live with is that you must follow. 

**Waverley,"ch. 17. 

When at Rome you must do as the Romans do.— E. 
The manners of the folk one lives among will be followed. — Gaelic. 
Thy neighbour is thy teacher. Live with one who prays, and thou 
prayest. Live with the singer, and thou singest — Arab. 
He who herds with the wolves will howl. — French. 
So, Italian, Spanish, German, Danish. 

The way to catch a bird is no to fling your bannet at her. 

**RobRoy,"ch. 29. 

Drumming is not the way to catch a hare ; and* He that will take ft 
bird, must not scare it. — E. 
Compare, Fleying a bird's, etc 



The weetin' o' the stoups. 

The water-stoups were a portion of the marriage providing, invariably 
purchased l)y the bridegroom, and ** the weetin' o' the stoups " was the 
popular name for the supper which he partook off in company with his 
old cronies, as a jovial farewell to his bachelor life, before entering 
upon the responsibilities of matrimony. 

The weird is dreed. 

i.e.^ the ill fortune is suffered, the destiny is fulfilled. 

The West Country for ministers, 

And the Merse for nowt and rye. 

An Anti-burgher saying. The west country referred to was the dis- 
trict about Jedburgh and ilawick. — Dr, Henderson, 

The white rose. 

The emblem of the Jacobites. So an allusion to the flower was 
understood as referring to the cause of the Pretender. 

The wife's ae dochter an' the cottar's ae cow, the taen's ne'er 
weel and the tither's ne'er fu'. 

The wife's aye welcome that come's wi' a crooked oxter. 

A person who comes with a bent armpit is one who is bringing a 
present, and is therefore welcome. 
Allatoris adventus semper est gratus. — L. 
They are welcome that bring. — E. 

The wild Macraws. — Chatnbers, 

The willing horse is aye wrought to death. 

All lay the load on the willing horse. — E. 
The horse that draws is most whipped. — Gaelic. 

The windy Murrays. — Chambers, 
The wizard of the North. 

Sir Walter Scott. 

The wode Laird of Laristone 
Slew the worm of Worme's Glen, 
And wan all Linton Parochine. 

This refers to a tradition that William de Somerville,*the third of the 
family, after its settlement in Scotland, obtained the lands of Linton 
(Roxburghshire) in 1174 from King William the Lion as a reward for 
killing a serpent which infested the district. — Chambers, 

The wolf may lose his teeth, but never his nature. 

The wolf must die in his own skin. — E. 

The woo's no worth the skirling. 
The word o' a honest man's enough. 

The worthy Watsons, 
The jingling Jardines, 


The words cam' rinnin' oot o' their mouth like a burn at Bel- 

Gait's ** Steamboat," ch. 12. 

The gentle Neilsons, 
The muckle-backit Hendersons, 
The fause Dicksons ; | Ae Brown is enow in a toun, 
Ae Paterson in a parochine, a parochine, | They brak a*. 
Refers to a spot in Lanarkshire. — Chambers, 

The wrang side o' the bannock to a Monteith. 

Compare, — The fause Monteiths. So great was the horror in Scot- 
land at the treachery of Sir John Monteith to his friend Wallace that 
for many centuries it was common in Scotland when presenting a ban- 
nock to a Monteith to give it with the wrong side uppermost. Hence 
the saying. — Chambers, 

The wrinkled skin easily conceals a scar. 

The wun's in that airt. 

i,e,i matters are tending in that direction. 

Their father's fathers were never fellows. — Kelly, 

They are not to be named in a day. — E. 
Compare^ It doesna become your faither's son, etc. 

Them that canna get a peck must put up wi' a stimpart 

" A stimpart " is the fourth part of a peck. The meaning is that we 
must just rest content with what we can get. 

Them that canna ride maun shank it. 
" Shank it," walk. 

Them that likesna water brose will scunner at cauld steerie. 

" Cauld steerie," sour milk and meal stirred together in a cold state. 
—Jamuson, Used as a taunt to those who are over-nice about their 

Them that sells the gudes guide the purse, them that guide the 
purse rule the house. 

*' The Antiquary," ch. 26. This is the principle on which the women 
in fishing communities manage all the affairs of the household, com- 
mercial and domestic. 

Them that's brocht up like beggar's aye warst to please. 
Them that's ill fleyed (frightenec)) are seldom sair hurt 
Them that's slack in gude are eydent in ilL 
Them wha gae jumpin' awa' aft come limpin' back. 
Them wha maun be weal cled canna aye be wed fed. 


Them wha stand on a knowe's sure to be noticed 

Compariy Ha' binks are sliddeiy. 

Them't sets to coortin' the lasses maun temper their nose to the 
east win' as weel's the south. — Aberdonian. " John Gibb of 

There are as mony Shiels i' the Lammermoors, as there are 

Riggs in the Merse. 

f .^., as many places having the name of Rig, Whitrig, Fogorig, etc., 
as there are places with the name of Shiel in Lammermoor. — Dr, 

There are mair knaves in my kin than honest men in yours. 
There are mair maidens than maukins. 

i.e,, more girls than young hares, — As good fish in the sea as ever 
came out of it. 

There are more maids than Malkin, i,e., little Mai or Mary. — /^ay. 

There are mair married than gude house hauders. 

i,e,, more in the capacity of householders than are competent for the 
position . — Hislop, 

There are mair wark days than life days. 

Spoken to dissuade people from constant toil. — Kelly, 

There are nane sae weel shod but may slip. 

Compare i he has a steady fit, etc. 

There are tricks in ither trades by selling muslins. 
** Redgauntlet," Narrative, ch. 23. 

There belangs mair to a bed than four bare legs. 
Compare, Its lang or four bare legs, etc. 

There cam' ne'er sic a glilT to a daw's heart. 

Spoken when people are suddenly wet with, or plunged into cold 
water. — KeUy, 

There lies one who neither feared nor flattered flesh. 

The brief but striking and true eulogium pronounced by the Regent 
Morton over the grave of John Knox. This is the version of the epitaph 
given in James Melville's Diary, and is most likely the correct form of 
the expression used by Lord Morton, though frequently another version 
is given, ** There lies one who never feared the face of man.** 

This famous epitaph is frequently applied — sometimes with little 
reason — to the memory of those who are believed to have been distin- 
guished by those qualities which characterised Knox. 

There maun be nae patience when God says haste. 
There ne'er cam' ill frae a gude advice. 


There ne'er was a bad, but there micht be a waur. 
There ne'er was a fair word in flyting. 

He that has bitter in his mouth spits not all sweet. — E. 

There ne'er was a five pound note, but there was a ten pound 
road for't. 

There ne'er was a goose without a gander. 

There's no goose so gray in the lake, 

That cannot find a gander to her make. — E. 

So in French, and Portuguese. Every Jack must have his Jill. — E. 
There ne'er was a poor man in his kin. 

'Tis a good kin, that none do amiss in. — E. 

There ne'er was a rebellion in Scotland without either a Camp- 
bell or a Dalrymple being at the bottom of it. 

This is a saying of Charles II., and indicates the constant attachment 
of these two families to the cause of civil and religious liberty. — 

There ne'er was a slut but had a slit, or a daw but had twa. 

There sail a stane wi' Leader come, 

That'll make a rich -father, but a poor son. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

The Leader rises near the quarry which supplies Lauderdale with 
lime, and the prophecy probably means, that as the application of lime 
to land, usually enriches the farmer, so, the expensive habits arising 
from prosperity, frequently bring about the ruin of the luxurious suc- 
cessors of the frugal improvers. 

Many estates are lost in the getting. 
Since woman, for tea forsook spinning and knitting. 
And men, for their punch, forsook hewing and splitting. — E. 

So another English proverb says — Industry is Fortune's right hand, 
and Frugality her left. So, After a great getter comes a great spender. -E: 

Prodigus est natus 

De parco patre creatus. — Medieval Latin, 

There stands three mills on Manor water, 
A fourth at Posso cleugh, 
If heather bells were corn and bear. 
There would be grist eneugh. 

The present population of the parish of Manor is only 249, but at one 
time it must have been much larger. Chambers^ ** History of Peebles- 

There twa fools met. 

This happens when a man says he has refused a good bargain — i,e,^ 
the one is a fool to make such an offer, and the other was a fool to re 
fuse it. — Kelly, 


There was a haggis in Dunbar, | Andrew-Linkum feedel ; 
Mony better, few waur, | Andrew-Linkum feedel. 

Rhyme on Dunbar in East-Lothian. 

There was an old wife and she had naught. 

The thieves came and they stole naught ; 

The wife went out, and cried naught. 

What should she cry ? she wanted naught. 

Spoken when people complain of injuries unjustly, when they have 
lost little, or nothing. — Kelly. 

There was anither gotten the nicht that you was born. 

If one won't, another will. — E. 

There was little meat and muckle mirth 
At little Bauldy's wedding. — Berwickshire, 

Spoken at a merrymaking where the creature comforts are deficient. 
— Dr. Henderson. 

There was mair lost at Sherramuir whaur the Hielandman lost 
his faither an' his mither, and a gude buff belt worth baith o' 

In ** Waverley," ch. 47, the first clause is quoted. 

Spoken jocularly when a person meets with a trifling loss. Sheriflf- 
muir is the name of the field between Stirling and Dunblane where a 
disastrous battle was fought during the rebellion of 1715 (13th Nov.) 
The result of the battle was uncertain, for as the old song says — 

There's some say that we wan. 

Some say that they wan, 

Some say that nane wan at a', man ; 

But one thing I'm sure, 

That at the Shirra Muir, 

A battle there was, which I saw, man ; 

And we ran, and they ran, and they ran, and we ran. 

And we ran, and they ran awa', man. 

Sometimes the saying is varied as — 

There were greater losses at Culloden ; and, There was mair 
tint on Flodden edge. — ** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 15. 

There was ne'er a gude toun but there was a dub at the end o't. 

No rose without a thorn. 
Every path hath its puddle. 
Every bean hath its black. — E. 
Every grain hath its bran. — Italian. 
Nihil est ab omni parte beatum. — L. 

There was ne'er a height but had a howe at the bottom o't. 
There was ne'er a thrifty wife wi' a clout about her head. 
There will be a hole in the groat to-day, and the supper to seek. 
A saying of laboutets vjVvtii they fear a rainy afternoon. — Kelly, 


There will be news o' that yet. 

There's a braw time coming. 

There's a crook in ilka lot. 

There's a day coming that'll show wha's blackest. 

There's a difference between the piper and his bitch. 

There's a difference between "will you sell?" and " will you 
buy ? " 

There's a dog in the well. 

Compare, A whaup in the rope. 

There's a dub at every door, and before some door there's twa. 

A skeleton in the cupboard. — £. And in Gaelic. 

There's a flea in my hose. 

i.e,, I have some trouble about me that takes up my thought. — Kelly, 
There is a similar phrase in Gaelic. A flea in the ear is the equiva- 
lent English phrase. 

There's a great difference between fen o'er and fair weel. 

i,e,f between those who have only enough to keep them alive, and 
those who have abundance. — JCelly, 

There's a gude and a bad side to everything ; a* the airt is to 
find it out 

There's a het hurry when there's a hen to roast 

There's a hole in my coat. — Kelly, 

There's a hole in the house. 

Said when some unsafe person, before whom it is unwise to speak, is 
present. — ICelly, 

Lupus est in fabula. — L. 

There's a measure in a' things, even in kail supping. 

There is reason in roasting of eggs. — E. 

Measure is a treasure. — E. Est modus in rebus. — L. 

There is a measure for everything, to the drinking of gruel. — Gaelic. 

The equivalent Welsh sa)ring refers to kail. 

When moderately used it does our lives prolong, 
The kail brose of old Scotland. — Song. 

There's a piece wad please a Brownie. 

Spoken to children when you give them something nice to eat. The 
brownies were not permitted to take any wages for the services they 
performed for man, but knuckled cakes, sweetened with honey, were 
supposed to be their favourite food, and these were carefully placed 
where they could accidentally find them. 


There's a reason for ye, an' a rag about the foot o't 

Used satirically, i.e.t that is a very lame excuse. 

There's a sliddery stane afore the ha* door. 

Signifying the uncertainty of court favour and the promises of great 
men. — Kelly, 

• Slippery is the flagstone of the mansion-house door. — Gaelic. And 
in Irish. Compare^ Ha' binks are sliddery. 

There's a storm in somebody's nose, licht whaur it like. 

Spoken when we see a })erson angry and about to break into a pas- 
sion. — I/is lop. 

There's a time to gley, and a time to look straught. 
There's a tough sinew m an auld wife's heel. 
There's a word in my wame, but it's ower far doun. 

Spoken by a person who is at a loss for a word to express himself. 

There's ae day o' reckoning, and anither day o' payment. 

There's an act in the Laird o' Grant's court that no abune 
eleven speak at ance. 

A jocular remark when too many speak at once ; that it is founded 
on fact is questionable. — Hislop. 

Dover Court, all speakers and no hearers. — E. 

Allusive to the uproar which takes place annually at Dover Court, 
near Harwich, where a court is still held. — Hazlitt, 

'^JThere's an unco splutter," quo' the sow i' the gutter. 
There's Ane abune a'. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 47. 

There's as gude cheese in Choicelee 

As ever was chow'd wi' chafts. 

And the cheese o' Cheshire 

Is nae mair like the cheese o' Choicelee 

Than chalk's like cheese. 

Choicelee is in the parish of Langton, Berwickshire, and it is said 
Cromwell's soldiers, natives of Cheshire, gave this character to the 
cheese of Choicelee. 

There's as many Johnstones as Jardines. 

t.^., as many on the one as on the other, so that the chances axe 
equal. The Johnstones and Jardines were two famous Dumfries-shire 

There's as muckle atween the craig and the wuddy, as there is 
atween the cup and the lip. 

t.^., the throat and the withy. Twigs of willow, such as bind fiigots, 


were often used for halters in Scotland and Ireland, being a sage 
economy of hemp.— Footnote to ch. 34 of ** Rob Roy." 
All are not hanged that are condemned. — £. 

There's aye a glum look where there's cauld crowdy. 
There's aye a wimple (twist) in a lawyer's clue. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 24. 

There's aye ill will amang cadgers. 

Two of a trade seldom agree. — French. 

There's aye life for a living man. 

i.e,t vfc can manage, notwithstanding the disappointment. — /iTelly. 

There's aye some clock i' the broth. 

"Clock," a beetle. 
There's aye some water whaur the stirkie drouns. 

No smoke without fire. — E. ; and in Gaelic. 

There's aye sorrow at somebody's door. 

" There's baith meat and music here," quo* the dog, when he 
ate the piper's bag. 

There's beild beneath an auld man's beard. 

** Beild," shelter, protection. 

There's but a'e gude wife in the warld, and ilka ane thinks he 
has her. 

This rule admits large exceptions, for some are fully apprised of the 
contrary. — UTe/fy, 

There's connies (rabbits) i' the hole. 

There's day enough to Bowden. — Roxburghshire, 

Applied when one observes a trick taking effect, or intended. A 
stranger once hired a horse at Kelso to convey him to Bowden. As the 
day was getting on the ostler remarked that he would scarcely complete 
his journey before night-fall — "Oh! there's day enough to Bowden," 
replied the stranger. As he never returned the horse his words became 
proverbial in the above sense. — Chambers, 

There's evil for the house of Bower, 
When the bride goes round the Castle tower. 

This rhyme refers to the house of BellVtower, Perthshire. It was 
said when, "the wraith bride o' the peel" appeared, calamity was 
certainly impending over the famUj. Acconuiis to tradition the 
apparition appeared to a lady of the famttv; nanifid uabeL on the night 
before her marriage ; in consequenoe '^ '^'velf by 

one of the ropes of the bells in toe f' ne. 

The Bowers were a veiy aadeiif 
Kincaldmm, in Angus. 


There's fey blood in your head. 

That is, you are risking your life. — Kelly, 

There's first gude ale, and syne glide ale, 
And second ale, and some, 
Hink-skink, and ploughman's drink. 
And scour-the-gate, and trim. 

Different kinds of malt liquor. 

THERE'sJkail in put's wame. 

** Put," a dog*s name. Spoken when we see a boy hearty and merry, 
intimating that he has got his belly full. — Kelly, 

There's life for honest folk in this bad warld yet. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. lo. A saying of the Jacobites when 
they thought the prospects of " honest men," as they called themselves 
were improving. 

There's life in a mussel as lang as it can cheep. 

We may succeed yet. — Kelly. 

There's little for the rake after the shool. 

There is little to be gotten of such a thing when covetous people 
have had their will of it. — Kelly, 

" There's little to reck," quo' the knave to his neck. 

There's mair gates than ane to a stack-yard. 

There's mair knavery amang kirkmen than honesty amang 

A facetious bull upon mentioning of some knavery. — Kelly, 

There's mair knavery on sea and land than a' the warld beside. 

Has a similar meaning to the preceding proverb. 

There's mair room without than within. 

Said by one who thinks his company is not wanted. 

There's mair ways than ane o* keeping craws frae the stack. 

There's mair whistling wi' you than good red land. 

** Red land," — land turned up with the plough. Compare^ Muckle 
whistling, etc. 

There's mirth amang the kin when the howdie (midwife) cries 
a son. 

There's mony a tod hunted that's no killed. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 20. 

There's mony chances baith o' gude an' ill befa' folk in this 


There's muckle ado when dominies ride. 
There's muckle ado when muirland folk ride, 
Boots, and spurs, and a' to provide. — Peebles-shire. 

The preceding two sayings mean that people will not go out o/ thei 
ocdinnty way except under pressure of urgent necessity. 

There's muckle between the word and the deed. 
There's rouckle hid meat in a goose's e'e. 

Good meat men may pick from a goose's eye. — E. 
There's muckle love in bands and bags. 
There's my thoom I'll ne'er beguile thee. 

cotland when lovers plighted their troth, t 

''s"ei ^-' ■■ " 

There's nae best ale in Bervie, 

Because it is all \aA. 
There's nae birds this year in last year's nest. 
There's nae breard like midden breard. 

The grains of c( 
people of mean bii 

There's nae deils Uke the sea deils. 
There's nae fey folks' meat in ray pat. 

U., I aro lifelike enoagh. 
There's nae gude o' speakin' ill o' the laird within his ain 

" Rob Roy," ch. i8. Originally applied to the devil in places 
supposed to be haunted. 

There's nae help for them that will gang wrang. 

" There's nae ill in a merry mind," quo' the wife when she 

whistled through the kirk. 
There's nae iron sae hard but rust will fret it ; there's nae 

cloth sae fine but moths will eat it. 
There's nae law again a man looking al^er bis ain. 

" Rob Roy,"ch. ag. 
There's nae reek but there's some heat. 

The lire is never without heat.— E. 
There's nae remede for fear but cut afT the head. 


There's nae sel sae dear as our ainsel. 
There's nae sic a word in Wallace. 

•* Wallace," a book of the actions of Sir William Wallace. 
A jocose denial. — A'e/fy, 

There's nae sport whaur there's neither auld folk nor bairns. 

There's nae woo sae coorse but it'll tak* some colour. 

There's naething between a poor man and a rich but a piece 
of an ill year. 

Many things may happen in that time to make a rich manfpoor. — 

There's naething but mends for misdeeds. 
There's naething dune on earth but what is seen. 
There's naething gude in Port-Glasgow. 

Ga/i's *• Steamboat." 

There's naething in him but what he puts in wi' the spoon. 

There's naething mair precious than time. — Fergusson, 

There's naething sae gude on this side o' time but it micht hae 
been better. 

There's nane without a fault. — Fergttsson. 

There's neither ruth nor favour to be found wi' him. 

**01d Mortality," Spoken of a miserly, ill-conditioned person. 

There's ower mony nicks in your horn. 

i,e.y you know too much. 

There's ower muckle saut water there. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 38. His grief is unreal. 

There's ower muckle singin' in your head to-night, we'll hae a 
shower afore bedtime. 

If you sing before breakfast, you'll cry before night. — E. 

They that laugh in the morning will greet ere night. — E. and Scot. 

There's plenty o' raible when drink's on the table. 

To "raible," to speak in a riotous manner. 

" There's sma' sorrow at our pairting," as the auld mear said 
to the broken cart. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 27. 

Spoken when a husband or wife dies who do not love one another, 
as if the surviving party was not sorry for the loss. They will say on 
such occasions, " It is not a death but a lousance " (freedom from bond- 
age). —Kelly, 


There's steel in the needle point, though little o't. 

i.e., the qoalitj is good, bul the quantity is small. 
There's the chapman's drouth, and his hunger baith. 

Said of one wh? plasms an nnosnally good knife and fork, at Che same 
time not forgettinu to do justice lo the liquor. The saying atose hom 
the hatuts of the tiavellii^ packmen, who, when they gul the chance of 
a good meaJ gratis, took ample advantage of sach a favourable oppoi- 
tnnily for feasting at another s expense. 

There's the end o' an auld sang. 

When the Scoltisb Pailiament pasted the resolution agreeing (o the 
Union, Lend Belliaven remarked, "There's the end o' an ^uld sang." — 

There's three o' a' things. — Kelly. 

There's tricks in a' trades but honest horse couping. 

There's twa enoughs, and ye hae gotten ane o' them. 

That is. big enough and liltle enough, meaning thai he hat soiien 

tittle enough. An answer to Ihem who, out of mudeiiy, uy Ibey have 

enough. — Ktlly. 

There's twa things in my mind, and Chat's the least o' them. 

Spoken by a person who declines to pve a reason Tot what he doea 
not wish lo do.^Hislep. 

They are all alive whom you slew. 

Applied to a foolish boaster. 
They are as wise as speir not. — Fergusson. 
They are eith hindered that are no furdersome. 

" Furderaome," industrious. 
They are sad rents that come in wi' tears. 

An answer to them who, seeing your clothes ragged, say your rents 
are coming in. Taken from the double signification of the two words, 
rents and tears. — Kelly. 

They are speaking o' you where there are ill-licked dishes. 

Tbe Scots hai-c ■^ fancy ihat \\ their ears glow, tingle, ot itch, somi; 
persons are gpeaking of them, ami when any says this, the proverb is 
an answer as if peoplE were only saying that if jrm Wm there you 
would lick them cleaner, —AV/f. 

They are wise folk that let wave and withy baud their ato. 

Cemfare, It's Ijc&I to let tall water, etc. 
They buy gudes cheap that bring noethiOf IwiBi^ 
They can do ill that canna do gudc 

Spoken irtien children hiealc aiiyllu«(.- 


They could not say. 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 12. Answer by the Scottish peasantry 
when questioned on a subject about which they are unwilling to give 

They craw crouse that craw last. 

He bughs best that laughs last. — French. 

They dinna gree best wha never cast oot. 
They draw the cat harrow. 

That is, thwart one another. — Kelly. 

They fill corn sacks. 

Spoken to children when they say they are full. — Kelly, 

They gae far aboot that dinna meet ae day. 
They got nothing o' the mare except the halter. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 19. It is a bad business for you ; or originally, The 
thief who stole the horse will be hanged with the halter. 

They gree like butter and mells (mauls). — Kelly, 

They hae been as poor as you who came to a pouch fu' o' green 
peas e'er they died. 

Spoken to poor boys whom we think hopeful. — Kelly, 

They hae it by kind like the Blainslie aits, 

A wheen bonny, winsome, auld farant Pets. 

The oats grown on the farm of Blainslie, in Berwickshire, were 
famous, and the proverb is applied to a fine family of daughters. — Dr, 

They hae need o' a canny cook that hae but ae egg to their 

They had ne'er an ill day that had a gude even. — Fergusson, 

They hang thegether like bats in a steeple. 

They may dunsh that gie the lunch. 

** Dunsh," to jog or thrust, ** to push as a mad bull." — /amieson. 
We must take the buffet from those who give us the bit 

They may ken by your beard what has been on your board. 
They may lift the cattle that feed upon the grass of their enemy. 

The Highlanders believed that they were justified in stealing cattle 
from the lands of those with whom their clan was at feud. 

They mense little the mouth that bite off the nose. 

** Mense," honour. Spoken when those who profess friendship for 
us traduce our relatives and friends. — Kelly, 
They ne'er baked a gude cake but may bake an ill ane. 


They ne'er gie wi' the spit but they gat wi' the ladle. 

That is, they take the hen's egg to the hall to bring the goose's egg 
away, bestow a small gift expecting something more valuable in return. 

They ne'er saw great dainties that thought haggis a treat. 
They sin fast that deils and lasses drive. 
They say ! — what say they ? — let them say. 

This was the motto of the Keiths, Earl Marischal, one of whom 
founded Marischal College, in the University of Aberdeen. The saying 
is ascribed to an Abbot. 

They should hae light hands that strike ither folks' bairns. 

They should kiss the gudewife that wad win the gudeman. 

They speak o* my drinking but ne'er think o' my drouth. 

They censure my doing such a thing, who neither consider my occa- 
sions of doing it, or what provocations I have had. — Kelly, 

They that are born on Hallowe'en ken mair than ither folk. 

Refers to an old superstition that the fairies imparted special know- 
ledge to children born on the eve of All Saints. 

They that are nearest sib should tak* maist risk. 

He that owns the cow should come nearest the tail. — E. and Scottish. 

They that bourd (jest) wi' cats may count upon scarts. 

They that come wi' a gift dinna need to stand lang at the door. 

They that drink langest live langest. 

They that get the neist best are no ill aff. 
" St. Ronan's Well," ch. 2. 

They that hae maist need o' credit seldom get muckle. 
They that like the midden see nae motes in't. 

He doats on his midden, and thinks it the moon. — Irish. 

They that love maist speak least. 

They that marry in green their sorrow is soon seen. 

Even at the present day few young women would be bold enough to 
dress in green on their wedding-day. 

They that mourn for strangers or trifles may soon hae mair to 
grieve them. 

They that never filled a cradle shouldna sit in ane. 

Because such will not consider whether there may be a child in it, 
whereas those who have had children will be more cautious. — Kelly, 


They that rise wi' the sun hae their work weel begun. 
They that see but your head dinna see all your height 

Spoken to men of low stature and high spirits. — Kelly, 

They that speak in the dark may miss their mark. 

They that wash on Monanday, 

Hae a* the week to dry, 

They that wash on Tuesday 

Are no far by ; 

They that wash on Wednesday 

Are no sair to mean (are well enough off) ; 

They that wash on Thursday 

May wash their claes clean ; 

They that wash on Friday 

Hae gey muckle need ; 

They that wash on Saturday 

Are dirty daws indeed. 

The English version as given by Hazlitt is as follows — 

They that wash on Monday, 

Have all the week to dry ; 

They that wash on Tuesday, 

Are not so much awry ; 

They that wash on Wednesday, 

Are not so much to blame ; 

They that wash on Thursday, 

Wash for shame ; 

They that wash on Friday, 

Wash in need ; 

And they that wash on Saturday, 

Oh ! they're sluts indeed. 

They wad be fonder o' cock birds than me who wad gie tippence 
for the stite o* a howlet (owl). 

Reply of a woman who is chaffed about a sweetheart. 

They wad gar ye trow that a'e thing's twa, an' yer lug hauf a 

The Et trick Shepherd ^ '* The Hunt of Eildon." 

They were never fain that fidg'd, nor fu' that lickit dishes. 

Spoken when people shrug their shoulders, as if it was a sign that 
they were not content. — Kelly, 

They were never first at the wark who bade God speed the wark. 
They were scant o' bairns that brought you up. 

Applied to rude unmannerly persons. 


They wha are early up and hae nae business hae either an ill 
wife, an ill bed, or an ill conscience. 

They wha break a head are the best to find a plaster. 

They wha hae a gude Scotch tongue in their head are fit to 
gang ower the warld. 

GaWs ''The Steamboat," ch. 2. 

They wha live in glass houses should not throw stones. 

During the reign of James VI., Buckingham and other courtiers 
indulged i;i the frolic of blowing pebbles through a glass tube, to break 
the windows of the King's Scottish followers. 

The enraged Scotsmen took revenge by attacking the windows of ihe 
favourite's house (in St. Martin's field) which were unusually numerous. 
— When Buckingham complained to the King the ** Scottish Solomon " 
warned him that "They wha live in glass houses should not throw 
stones." So — 

Barefooted men should not walk on thorns (or plant thorns). — E. 

They wha pay the piper hae a richt to ca' the tune. 

They wha put plough into new land must look to have it hank 
on a stane now and then. 

They wha use the gad like to see the plunge. 

They wha will break rude jests maun put up wi' rude answers. 

"The Surgeon's Daughter," ch. 4. 

They will know by a half-penny if the priest will take an offering. 

i,e,, A small experiment will discover a covetous inclination. — Kelly* 

They wist as weel that didna speir. 

A short answer to an impertinent question, if you had not asked you 
would have known as well. — Kelly, 

They wyte you and you no wyteless. 

They wyte you, and they wyte you wrang, and they gie you less 

wyte than you deserve. 

A jocose jargon when we make people believe we are condoling them, 
when we are really accusing them. — Kelly, 

They'll break me oot o' house an' ha*. 

i.e,^ they will ruin me. " St. Ronan's Well,'* ch. 2. 

They'll gree better when they gang in by different kirk doors. 

f.^., persons who are not on good terms with each other are better 

** They're a bonny pair," as the craw said o' his legs. 
That's a pair as the crow said to her feet. — Gaelic 


" They're a bonny pair," as the deil said o' his cloots. 
They're a' ae sow's pick. 

i.e.f all one kind, all bad alike. 

They're a' gude that gies. 
They're a* gude that's far awa*. 
They're a* tarr'd wi* ae stick. 

Compare J They*re a' ae sou's pick. This proverb is probably derived 
from the practice of marking sheep, so that the owner may know them. 

" They're curly and crookit," as the deil said o' his horns. 
They're fremit friends that canna be fash'd. 

** Fremit," strange ; ** fash'd," troubled about their relations. 

They're gustin' their gabs. 

Eating heartily, ** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 12. 

They're keen o* company that taks the dog on their back. 

They're lightly harried that hae a' their ain. 

They're like the grices, if ye kittle their wame they'll fa' on 
their back. 

** Grices," pigs. Give him an inch, and he'll take an ell. — E. 

They're no a' saints that get the name o't. 
They're no to be named on the same day. 

There is no room for comparison. 

They're terrible grit thegither. 
They're unco thick. 

The preceding two sayings mean that the persons referred to are very 

They're warst when they're warst guided. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 24. 

They're weel guided that God guides. 
They've ill will to ca' that lets the gad fa'. 

Those who throw aside their tools have clearly the design of shirking 
their work. The duty of the goadsman was simply to urge forward the 
oxen, while the ploughman guided the plough in the furrow. Burns, 
in the enumeration of his servants for the Surveyor of taxes wrote as 
follows to the astonished official — 

** For men, I've three mischievous boys, 
Run deils for rantin' an' for noise, 
A gaudsman ane, a thresher t' other. 
Wee Davie bauds the nowte in fother." 


Trigging and sorning. 

This was a sort of genteel begging, or rather something between 
begging and robbery, by means of which the needy in Scotland extorted 
cattle or the means of subsistence from those who had any to give. — 
"Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

Think mair than ye say. 
Thirled to the landlords. 

A phrase which arose when agricultural prices were high, implying 
that the farmer was at the mercy of the landlord, because while vacant 
farms were few, would-be tenants were numerous. 

Thirteen o' you may gang to the dizzen. 

Thirty days hath September, 
April, June, and November, 
February eight and twenty all alone. 
And all the rest have thirty-one, 
Unless that leap year doth combine 
To give to February twenty-nine. 

"This beats a' oot an' in,'' as the wife said when she couldna 
find an end to the puddin'. 

" Tales of the Borders "— " Rattling, Roaring Willie." 

This is a gude meat house. 

Spoken when we wish drink at dinner. — Kelly, 

This is like a Blainslie lawin', 

There's mair for meat than for drink. 

And that'll no mak the gear to clink. — Berwickshire. 

Blainslie is a farm place near Lauder, and it would appear that at 
one time there had been a change house at the place. 

How the saying had its origin we have never heard. — Dr, Henderson, 

This is like Hilton Kirk, 

Its baith narrow and mirk. 

And can only baud its ain parish folk. 

Applied when many persons assemble in a small house. Hilton 
Church is in ruins, and the parish has been united to Whitsome since 
1735. — Dr, Henderson, 

This is like the fiddler o' Chirnside's breakfast, 

A* pennyworth's together. 

Applied to persons who buy very small quantities of any article. 
The nddler of Chirnside one morning sent his boy to a neighbouring 
shop to purchase the materials for breakfast. The order was thus given 
to the shopkeeper — 


A pennyworth o* tea, 

A pennyworth o* sugar, 

Three penny loaves. 

And a pennyworth o* butter, 

And a pennyworth o* he-herrin'. 

For my faither likes milts ! — Dr. Henderson, 

This is siller Saturday, | The morn's the resting day, 
Monanday up and till t again, | And Tyesday push away. 

— Chambers, 

A working man's week. 

This is the tree that never grew, 
This is the bird that never flew, 
This is the bell that never rang, 
And this the fish that never swam. 

Describes the armorial bearings of the City of Glasgow. The motto 
is — Let Glasgow flourish ; originally, Let Glasgow flourish by the 
preaching of the Word. 

This is the way to heaven. 

Sic itur ad astra. — L. 

Preface to "The Surgeon's Daughter," and "Chronicles of the 
Canongate," ch. I. This phrase is the motto of the old Burgh of 
Canongate, now a part of Edinburgh. 

This thorn tree, as lang as it stands, 

Ercildoune sail possess a' her lands. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

The thorn tree referred to stood near the east end of Earlston village, 
and was blown down in the spring of 1 821, The common lands have 
nearly all been alienated. At the time the tree fell, the greater part of 
the Earlston shopkeei>ers were in a state of bankruptcy. — Dr, Henderson, 

This warld will not last ay. — Fergusson, 
This warld*s a widdie as weel as a riddle. 

**A widdie," a wriggling motion; metaphorically, a struggle or 

Tho' Thomas the Lyar thou call'st me, 

A sooth tale I shall tell to thee : 

By Aikyside 

Thy horse shall ride, 

He shall stumble, and thou shalt fa'. 

Thy neck bane shall break in twa, 

And dogs shall thy banes gnaw, 

And, maugre all thy kin and thee, 

Thy own belt thy bier shall be. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

One of the Cummins, Earls of Buchan, who lived in the reign of 
Alexander IIL, called Thomas the Rhymer by the name of Thomas the 
Lyar, upon which the seer denounced him in the words of this rhyme. 


On Aiky brae, in the parish of Old Deer, Aberdeenshire, are certain 
stones called Cummin's Craig, where 'tis said one of the Earls of 
Buchan, by a fall from his horse at hunting, dashed out his brains. — 
** A View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, 1732.'* 

Thole and think. 

The motto of the ancient family of Tweedie of Drummelzier, Peeble- 

Thole weel is gude for burning. 

Patience and posset drink cure all maladies. — E. 

Those dressed in blue | Have lovers true, 
In green and white, [ Forsaken quite. 

Green, as sacred to the fairies', was always accounted a most unlucky 
colour. According to an old superstition, nothing green must appear 
at a Scottish wedding, not even vegetables. Another form is — 


Is love true, 


Is love deen (done). 

Though Cheviot's top be frosty, yet 
He's green below the knee. 

The Cheviots are grassy, not heathery hills. 

Though the deil mars muckle he maks naething. 

Though the Merse should sink and its men decay, 

The Miller o' Billy Mill will hae his ain way. 

Billy Mill was a lonely place in the parish of Buncle, Berwickshire. 
It was taken down in December, 1849. When a person is particularly 
headstrong, and self-willed, he is said to be ** like the Miller o' Billy 
Mill." — Dr. Henderson, 

Though you say it, that should not say it, and must say it if it 
be said. 

A ridicule upon them that commend themselves. — Kelly » 

Though you tether time and tide. 
Love and light ye canna hide. 

Thought can kill and thought can cure. 

Thoughts beguile maidens. 

Three failures and a fire make a Scotsman's fortune. 

Three great evils come out of the North, 
A cold wind, a cunning knave, and a shrinking cloth. 
E,—Hazlitt, Probably a hit at the Scotch and Scotland. 

Through storm and wind, | sunshine and shower, 
Still will ye find | Groundsel in flower. — Chambers. 



Till other tinklars, ill may you agree, 

The one in a peat pot, and the other in the sea. 

Plight dog, fight bear. — E. Crescant lites. — L. 

TiLLiELOOT, Tillieloot, Tillieloot o' Bowden, 
Our cat's kittled in Archie's wig ; 
Tillieloot, Tillieloot, Tillieloot o' Bowden, 
Three o' them naked and three o* them clad. 

Chambers. — "Tillieloot" is an old Scottish term for coward, or 
chicken heart, and this rhyme, sung to the tune of the '* Hen's March " 
in the village of Bowden, Roxburghshire, is regarded by the inhabitants 
as a challenge and insult. 

Time oot o' mind. 
Time tries a' as winter tries the kail. 
Time tries whinestanes. 
TiMEOUS hours. 

Compare^ Elder's hours. 

Tine book, tine grace. 

Spoken to school boys, when they have lost their book. — Kelly, 

Tine cat, tine game. 

An allusion to a game called cat i' the hole, and the English kit, kat. 
Spoken when men at law have lost their principal evidence. — Kelly, 

Tine heart, tine a*. 

" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 50. 

Tine needle, tine darg. 

** Darg," a day's work. Spoken to young girls when they lose their 
needle. — Kelly, 

Tine thimble, tine thrift. 

Tip when you like, you shall lamb wi' the lave. — Kdly, 

All in a company, must pay an equal share of the reckoning 
irrespective of the time of their arrival 

To answer like a Scot. 

To answer like a Norman. This is to give an ambiguous answer, 
neither yes nor no. 

To argol bargol. 

That is, to bandy words. 

To as muckle purpose as to wag your hand in the water. 
To as much purpose as the geese slur upon the ice. — Cheshire. 


To back speir. 

Introduction to ** The Betrothed." Go to the bottom of the matter, 

To be ca'd hame. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 26. and— 

To be ca'd to the lang account. 

**The Antiquary," ch. 27. 1.^., To die. 

To be chop-fallen. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 23. 

To be ill seen. 

i.e., to bear a bad reputation. 

To be in the mirglygoes. 
To see indistinctly. 

To be in twa minds. 
To be undecided. 

To be mealy-mouthed. 

i.e., plausible of speech. Butter would not melt in his mouth. 

To be put upon the Gad. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 57, and footnote. In Scotland when a 
criminal was sentenced to death, he was put upon the Gad, as it was 
called, that is, chained to a bar of iron which crossed the cell from side 
to side, about six inches from the ground, the extremities being firmly 
built into the wall at either end. To say to anyone, ** You'll come to 
the Gad," was regarded as equivalent to saying that you expected he 
would come to the gallows. 

To be raked i' the mools. 
To be buried. 

To be under Bowmaker's purgative. 

Said of one who makes an inadequate excuse. After the battle of 
Kelloe, Berwickshire, June 1497, a man named Bowmaker having 
fallen into the hands of the English, pretended that he had not fought 
there, as he was that day under physic, and confined to the house. — 
Dr. Henderson, 

To be upon nettles. 

i.e., impatient. • 

To bring far ben. 

To treat with great respect and hospitality. 

To burke. 

Originally, to strangle — from Burke, the West Port murderer — now 
means to smother any disagreeable subject. 


To busk your cockernonie. 

"Cockeraonie," the gathering of a young woman's hair under the 
snood or Hllet. This phrase is parallel to the English expression, **To 
bridle," i.e,^ to put on airs. 

To cast a leglingirth. 

"Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 32. Applied to a woman who loves not 
wisely but too well. *' A leglingirth is the lowest hoop upon a leglin 
or milk pail. 

Or bairns can read they first maun spell, 

I learn 'd this frae my mammy. 
And cast a leglingirth mysell 

Lang ere I married Tammie. — Allan Ramsay. 

He has cast the bottom hoop. — Gaelic, f.^., thrown off all restraint. 

To cast up. 

To revive old grievances. 

To chew the cud. 

To consider the matter. 

To cleik the cunzie. 

** Waverley," ch. 18. To obtain possession of the money. 

To come from far and near. 

** St. Ronan's Well," ch. 7. ue.^ from all quarters, from every direc- 

To come in clipping time. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 21. j.^., to come as opportunely as he who 
visits a farmer at sheep-shearing time, when there is always mirth and 
good cheer. 

To cowe them. 

i.e., frighten them. 

To craw crouse. 

** Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 3. To boast courageously. 

To creish a loof. 

f.^., to bribe. To grease one's hand. — E. 

To crown the causey. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 36. To keep the middle or higher part of 
the street in defiance of all comers. This was regarded as a challenge, 
and frequently occasioned broils which sometimes ended in bloodshed. 

To cry. 

ue,i to proclaim the bands of marriage. 

To^cry the cormach. — Highland. 

** Cormach," the dirge for the dead ; to lament. 


To dance his or her lane. 

Applied to one who is greatly excited either by joy or rage. 

To draw a strae before. 

That is, to deceive, impose upon. 

To drive a prey. 

Equivalent to— To lift a plunder — so, To drive a spreagh. — High- 
land, ** Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

To eat beef. 

ue,j to dine. An invitation was given in this form to a dinner, while 
to supper the guest was asked — To eat a haddock. 

To eat each other, like Towy's hawks. 
Like the Kilkenny cats. — Irish. 

To err on the bow hand. 

"Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 4. i.e.^ to err in the opposite direction. 
The ** bow hand " is the left hand. Wide at the bow hand, i.^., wide 
of the mark. — E. ; Hazlitt, 

To fa' upon ane like a thousand o' divots. 
Like a hundredweight of bricks. — E. 

To fazarts hard hazards are death ere they come nigh. 

Then feir nocht nor heir nocht, 

Dreid, danger^ or despair. 
To fazarts hard hazards 

Is deid or they cum thair. — *' Cherrie and the Slae." 

** Fazarts," cowards. 

To fling the glaiks in folks' een. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 12. To throw dust in people's eyes, 
" Give the glaiks " — befool, and then leave in the lurch. 

To gae owre the bows, 
t.^., go wrong. 

To gang gyte. 

*' Heart of Midlothian," ch. 24. t.^., act foolishly. 

To gie ane a hat. 

i,e,<t lift your hat to him. 

To gie ane Highland bail. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 29. That is^ to free a friend by force. 

To go a guisarding. 

« Guy Mannering," ch. 36. Su Hogmanay, ete. 

To go out 

See " Out in the '45." 


To go out like the snufT o' a candle. 

i,e.t to die suddenly. 

To go to the stones. 

An expression current in Lanarkshire, meaning to go to church. To 
the village or clachan, where the remains of the Druidical stones stood, 
and where the church was situated. 

To hae nae broo o\ 

<* Old Mortality," ch. 7. i.e., not a good opinion of him. 

To bain is to hae. 

To baud a racket wi*. 

•* St. Ronan*8 Well," ch. 7. So— 

To baud an unco wark wi'. 

*' Guy Mannering," ch. 11. The preceding two sajrings mean to 
make much of one. 

To baud up tbe bairn. 

i,e., to present the child for baptism. 

To haul over the coals. 

To find fault with, to call to account. 
Probably from the ordeal by ^xt.—Jamuson. 

To horse, and fear not for your quarters, 
They thrive in law that trust in Charters. 

** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 25. Put into the mouth of Sir Patrick 
Charteris, and is a pun on his name. The present head of the Charteris 
family is the Earl of Wemyss. 

To kirn. 

f.f.. Make a confused mass of. To make hay. — E. 

To kirk. 

ue,i to go to church after the wedding or birth of a child. 

To lay up my mittens. 

ue,i kill me, beat out my brains. 

To learn you to speir. 

A short answer to them that ask if you did or said such a thing. — 

To lift. 

t,e,, begin the funeral procession from the house to the graveyard. — 
** Black Dwarf," ch. 13, and footnote. 

To lift a plunder. 

** Waverley," ch. 18. A Highland phrase for cattle-stealing. 
Compare J To drive a prey. 


In these days men acted upon — 

The simple rule, 

The good old plan, 
That they should take who have the power, 

And they should keep who can. — Wordsworth, 

To lift a young lady. 

i.e,t ask her to dance. At a ball in the South Country an old Scot- 
tish judge was heard to say, in his quaint way, "Boys, are nane o' ye 
gaen to lift the Miss Macfarlanes ? " — ladies weighing respectively four- 
teen and fifteen stone. 

To look at the needle point o' things. 

t.^., hair-splitting. 
To mak' a lang tale short. 

"Old Mortality," ch. 14. 

To mak' siller like hay. 

To mak' siller like sclate stanes. 

To march with. 

The estate marches with mine — ue,, is bounded by mine. — "Bride 
of Lammermoor," ch. 17. 

To misca' like kail wives. 

Like fishwives. — Modem. 
To pay dearly for his whistle. 
To pegg aflf. 

i.e,f run away. 

To play his pliskies. 

ue,i to play tricks. Also, To play cards. 

To play the ba' wi' fortune. 
Galfs "The Entail," ch. 4. 

To pluck a hen. 

f.^., mob a political opponent. — "Tales of the Borders." 

To promise is ae thing, to keep it's anither. 

To put adders in the creel wi' the eggs. 

t.^., to make mischief. — Galt*s "The Entail," ch. 12. 

To put ane's head in a bees' byke. 
To put one's finger in the fire. — E. 

To rin atween a man and his wits. 

To rin hirdie girdie. 

t.^., topsy turvy — in reckless confusion. 


To rowte like a Hielan* stot. 
" fortunes of Nigel," ch. 5. 

To scour the cramp ring. 

Is used metaphorically for being put in irons, or generally into prison. 
— **Guy Mannering," ch. 23, and footnote. 

To set the heather on fire. 

'* Rob Roy," ch. 35. i.e.^ to raise the Highlands. 
Now means to make a noise in the world ; as the English say, To set 
the Thames on fire, or to make a great commotion ; stir up stnfe. 

To send round the fiery peat. 

The Ik)rder equivalent of the Highland fiery cross — Crean Toigh, 
cross of shame. In the latter case a goat was killed, the cross partially 
burned, and the fire put out in the goat's blood. Anyone who declined 
the invititiun to rise at the summons was regarded as dishonoured, and 
liable to the penalty of fire and sword. Hence the phrase, Cross of 

To sing Gilderoy. 

Indicates defiance. See As high as Gilderoy. 

To slip on the edge of the foot. 

Le., to sneak. 

To snore like the bars o* Ayr. 
Gait's " Entail," ch. 77. 

To spunk oot. 

f .^., the cat is out of the bag. 

To steek my e'e. 

i,e.t to sleep. 

To stick like a burr. 

They cleave together Jike burrs. — E. 

To strike a bargain wi' the fou' hand. 

That is, to make a bargain when we have a hold on, or the whip 
hand of the person with whom we are negotiating. — "Tales of the 
Borders "— " The Maiden Feast of Cairnkibbie. " 

To tak' a blast. 

I.e., a smoke. 
To tak' ane aflf. 

ue,y chaff, make a fool of one. 

To tak' Hector's cloak. — Border. 

That is, to deceive a friend who confideth in his faithfulness. When 
Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, anno 1569, was routed in the 


rebellion he had raised against Queen Elizabeth, he hid himself in the 
house of one Hector Armstrong, of Harlaw, having confidence he would 
be true to him, who, notwithstanding for money, betrayed him to the 
Regent of Scotland. It was observable that this Hector, being before 
a rich man, fell poor of a sudden, and so hated generally that he never 
durst go abroad, insomuch that the proverb. To take Hector's cloak, is 
continued to this day in the sense above mentioned. — Ray, 

To tak' her a yuillin. 

Taking a girl to a public-house for baps and ale. — "The Life and 
Recollections of Dr. Duguid of Kilwinning," p. 206. 

To tak' my hand frae yer haffit. 
f.^., box your ears. — Kelly, 

To tak' the gate. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 22. 1.^., go on a journey. 

To tak' the gee. 

ue.^ become unmanageable. 

To talk of the weather it's nothing but folly, 
For when it's rain on the hills, it may be sun in the valley. 

— Chambers, 
Rhyme on the absurdity of weather prophecies. 

To the fore. 

Said of a person, implies that he is still living ; of a thing, that it is 
still in existence. 

To the squeezing of the rotten orange. 
A Jacobite toast. 

To thrive as a cow does on wet clover. 

t.«., not at all. 

To tie with St Mary's knot. 

To hamstring horses. — *< Tales of the Border, 'Lord Durie, and 
Christie's Mill.*^" 

To twirl like a teetotum. 


Applied to one who has no fixed opinions, who is always changing 
his mind. 

To wag his head in a pu'pit 

f./., preach.—" Guy Manoefing," cb. 3. 

To wait on. 

Those who attend a death-bid; aw Mid ^ 


To wander like a Nortbem 8hi|^ 


To wap and wan. 

i.e.i strike against the shore, and ebb. <* Wan waters," pale, dark, 
dusky as in autumn. 

On they gade, and on they rade, 

And a' by the licht o' the moon. 

Until they cam* to yon wan water. 

And there they lichted doun. — " The Douglas Tragedy." 


To warm his haffits. 

i.e,, box his ears. — ** Fair Maid of Perth," ch. 29. 

To weary for his dinner. 

It was an old custom in Scotland, for a host to take his guest to the 
top of the tower of his house, and if such a convenience did not exist, 
to the nearest rising ground, in order that he might admire the view, 
and by means of the keen air gain a sharp appe'tite, and so, ** Weary 
for his dinner." — " Bride of Lammermoor, * ch. ii. 

To weather one. 

f.^., get the better of. 

To wet one's whistle. 

t,e,, take a drink. 

To whip the cat. 

The phrase is used to indicate the practice of tailors going to work at 
the houses of their customers. It was used by the tailors of Crieff for, 
to work against time, f.^., urge the time. 

In England the phrase means " to be drunk." — Heywoocts " Philo- 
conothista," 1635, p. 60. 

To win the mell. 

The last runner at the Brouse got a wooden mallet. So to '* win the 
mell " is to be last in any undertaking. 

To work for naething mak's folk dead sweir. 

** Dead sweir," extremely averse to Qxertion,—yamieson, 
Great pains, and little gains make men soon weary. — E. 

Tod Lowrie's clinks. 

i.e., mighty blows. — **John Gibb of Gussetneuk." 

ToLLiE Barclay of the glen. 

Happy to the maids, but never to the men. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

Refers to an ancient weird which was said to follow the family of 
Barclay of Towie Barclay in Aberdeenshire. In this ancjient house the 
heir male scarcely ever succeeded his father, but the females generally 
made good marriages. The Barclays sold the estate in 1753 to Lord 
Tweedale for his second son, who did not long survive, thus confirming 
the gloomy prediction. Lord Findlater was the next owner, but as he 
firmly believed in the weird, he sold the estate in 1792 to the Trustees 
of Robert Gordon's Hospital, Aberdeen. 


Too great a handful. 

t,e,, responsibility. 

TooM bags rattle. 

Empty vessels sound most. — E. 

Empty bladders make a great noise. — Gaelic. 

TooM pokes will strive. 

A poor married couple are apt to quarrel. — Kelly, 

TooM Stalls mak' biting horses. 

Traitor's word ne'er yet hurt honest cause. 

"Rob Roy,"ch. 35. 

Tread on my foot again, and a boll of meal on my back. 
Spoken when we tread on the foot of anything. — Kdly, 

Trot faither, trot mither ; how can the foal amble ? 

It is hard for those who have had a bad parentage, and consequently 
an ill education, to be good." — Kelly, 

How can the foal amble, when the horse and mare trot ? — E. 

Also, in England they say — 

If the mare have a bald face, the filly will have a blaze. 

Trow take thee. — Orkney, 

Though now only a boggy phrase intended to frighten children, this 
expression is derived from the old superstitious belief in a malignant 
race of Trows, Fairies, or Dwarfs. See^ Yule Rhymes. 

True blue will never stain, | But dirty red will dye again. 
True enough, false liar. 

An ironical consent to them whom we hear telling lies. — Kelly, 

True love is aye blate. 

True love kythes in time of need. 

i,e,y shows itself. 

Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed. — E. Also in Spanish. 

True love's the waft o' life, but it whiles comes through a 
sorrowfu' shuttle. 

Truth and honesty keep the crown o' the causey. 

Compare^ To crown the causey. 

Truth and oil are ever above. — E. And — 

Truth may be blamed, 

But shall never be shamed. — E. 

Truth can neither be bought nor sold. 

" Black Dwarf," ch. 5. 


Truth tells best. 

Truth will aye stand without a prop. 

A lie stands on but one leg. — Gaelic. 

Lies have short legs. —German. 

A lie has no legs, but a scandal has wings. — E. 

The Welsh, on the contrary, say — The best traveller is a lie. 


The slogan of the Clan Mackenzie. Tullich-ard is a hill in Kintail 
u|x>n which a burning tar barrel was placed to summon the clansmen to 
assemble at the castle of St. Donan. 

Turning the riddle. 

By St. Peter and St. Paul, 

By the virtues of them all. 

If it was Rob that stealed the plaid, 

Turn, riddle, turn. 

The charm of turning the riddle was practised in the following 
manner. A pair of scissors was stuck in the rim of the riddle, with a 
string through their eyes, in which two persons put each his forefinger, 
and suspended the riddle between them, and after spitting east, west, 
north, and south, repeated the above lines. If Rob was the thief, the 
riddle turned at the mention of his name, and thus the delinquent was 

Tush swims best that's bred in the sea. 

i.e., the best sailors are bred to the sea from infancy. — Kelly, 

TwA gudes seldom meet, 

What's gude for the plant is ill for the peat. 

That which is good for the back is bad for the head. — E. 
Omnis commoditas sua fert incommoda secum. — L. 

TwA hands may do in ae dish, but ne'er in ae purse. 

TwA hangings on ae widdy mak's twa pair o' shoon to the hang- 
man, but only ae ploy to the people. 

A warning to an evil-doer that his punishment is certain, as it will 
ensure extra profit, without further trouble, expense, or commotion. 

" TwA heads are better than ane," as the wife said when she and 
her dog gaed to the market. 

Twa heads are better than ane, though they're but sheep's anes. 
The English simply say — Two heads are better than one. 

TwA heads may lie upon ae cod, and nane ken whaur the luck 

Spoken when either husband or wife is dead, and the sorrowing party 
goes back in the world after. — Kelly, 


TwA to flight and ane to redd. 

Three is said to be an ideal number of children in a family, two to 
fight, and one to settle the dispute. 

TwA wolves may worry ae sheep. — Fergusson, 
TwA words maun gang to that bargain. 

More words than one go to a bargain. — E. 

Tweed rins between Crook and Hearthstane. 

Crook is a lonely inn, in the parish of Tweedsmuir, Peebles-shire, 
and is the halfway house between Dumfries and Edinburgh. Hearth- 
stane is a landmark, on the opposite side of the Tweed, which is here 
but a mountain streamlet. The joke is in the play upon the words 
Crook and Hearthstane. 

Tweed said to Till, | What gars ye rin sae still ? 
Till said to Tweed, | Though ye rin wi' speed, 
And I rin slaw, | Yet whaur ye drown ae man 
I drown twa. 

The Till flows through the northern part of Northumberland, and 
joins the Tweed between Coldstream and Norham, not far from Flodden 
field. It is a sluggish, deep river. 

'TwEEN Martinmas and Yule, | Water's wine in every pool. 
Refers to the value of rain in the latter part of the year. 

TwEEN the Isle o' May, | And the links o' Tay, 
Mony a ship's been cast away. 

TwEEN Rae Hill and Lorieburnshaw, 
There ye'U find Cowdaily wa\ 
And the foundations laid on ern. 

It is said that when the first of the noble family of Somerville came 
from France, and secured possession of Cowthally Castle, near Carn- 
wath, Lanarkshire, the outer walls as well as a considerable part of the 
main building were destroyed during the siege. Somerville therefore 
decided to erect a castle on a different site. This dcsig^n, however, was 
frustrated by the Evil one, aided by several active assistants, who, 
during the night undid the work of the preceding day. One night 
Somerville watched himself, and the destroyers advised him in the 
words of this rhyme, to build on the old foundations, a recommendation 
with which he complied. — Chambers. 

TwEEN Wigton and the toun o' Ayr, 

Portpatrick and the Cruives o' Cree, 
No man need think for to bide there, 

Unless he court Saint Kennedie. 

Compare^ The Kennedies wi* a* their power, etc. 
These sayings refer to the predominating influence of the Kennedy — 
Cassillis — family in Ayr and Galloway. 


Twine tow, your mother was a gude spinner. 

Spoken to those who curse you or rail upon you, as if you would say, 
take what you say to yourself. — Kelly, 


Unco folk's no to mird wi*. 


Under snaw, bread, | Under water, dearth. 

Under water, famine ; under snow, bread. — E. 
It is firmly believed among farmers that a winter of frost and snow 
makes the best possible seed bed, while a rainy season sours the land. 

Unseen, unrued. 

!>., buy a pig in a poke on both sides. 

" Unsicker, unstable," quo' the wave to the cable. 

" Unsicker," not secure, unsteady. 
Untimeous spurring spoils the steed. 
Up to the nines. 

An expression of high approval. Excellent, first-rate, A I at Lloyds. 
— E. " Roy's Generdship," part 7. 

There paints aula nature to the nines. — Bums, 
i.e.f exactly. 

Up wi' the whuppers o' Ayton. — Berwickshire. 

This is a saying common in the district. The whuppers were a family 
of excellent dancers who attended all the frolics of the countryside. — 
Dr. Henderson. 

Upon my ain expense, as the man built the dyke. 

Taken from an inscription in the churchyard of Foot Dee — Fitty — 
St. Clement's Parish, Aberdeen — 
I, John Moody, cives Abredonensis, 
Builded this kerk yerd o' fitty upon my ain expenses. — Kelly, 

Use of hand is father of lear. — Kelly. 
Usus adjuvat artem. — L. 


Vengeance ! Vengeance ! when ? and where ? 
Upon the house o' Cowdenknowes, now and evermair. 

Thomas the Rhymer. This is said to refer to some former proprietor 
of Cowdenknowes, Berwickshire, who is variously represented as a per- 
secutor, a cruel feudal baron, or a wicked laird. 


Very weel ; thanks to you that speers. 

An answer to the question, How do you do ? — Kelly, 

Virtue is abune value. 


Wad he, or wad he no. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 23. 1.^., with his will, or without his will. 

Wad ye gar me trow that the mune's made o' green cheese, or 
that spade shafts bear plooms ? 

Indicates incredulity. What you suggest is absurd. 

Wad ye let the bonnie May die i' your hand, 
And the Mugwort flowering i' the land ? 

This was the advice given by a mermaid in Galloway to a young man 
as to how he should cure his sweetheart, whom consumption had 
brought to the brink of the grave. 

Compare^ If they would drink nettles in March, etc. 

Wae to him that lippens to ithers for tippence. 

Wae to the coward that ever he was born. 

Who did not draw the sword before he blew the horn. 

ue.y it is foolish to awaken danger before we have arms in our hands 
to resist it. This saying is derived from a tradition that a certain horse 
^couper, in order to receive a dram from a mysterious customer, was 
induced to enter the stranger's dwelling, situated in the heart of the 
Eildon Hills. Here he was invited either to draw a sword or blow a 
horn, both of which lay on an antique table at the upper end of the 
hall. ** Canonbie Dick," as he was called, chose the latter alternative, 
with the result that he was caught up by a whirlwind of irresistible fury 
and thrown out of the cavern on to a heap of loose stones, where he 
was found next morning by some shepherds so near . death that, after 
telling his frightful tale, he expired. — See a fragment by Sir Walter 
Scott entitled " Thomas the Rhymer." 

Wae to the wame that has a wilfu' maister. 

" Wae worth ill company,'* quo' the daw o' Camnethan. 

Spoken when we have been drawn by ill company into an ill thing. 
A jackdaw in Camnethan (Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire), learned this 
from a guest in the house, when he was upon his penitentials after hard 
drinking. — Kelly, 

Waes the wife that wants the tongue, but weel's the man that 
gets her. 

Waes them that hae the cat's dish, and she aye mewting (mew- 

Spoken when people owe a thing to, or detain a thing from, needy 
people who are always calling for it. — Kelly, 


Waes unite faes. 
Wage will get a page. 

i.e.y servants can always be got for hire. — Kelly, 
A good paymaster never wants workmen. — E. 

Wait till your b)etters are served, or else eat wi* your equals. 

** Redgaunllet," ch. 20. 

Wait's a wersh dish. 

Wallace wight, upon a night, | Coost in a stack o' here, 
And ere the mom at fair daylight, | Twas a' draff to his meer. 

A rhyme on Sir William Wallace, quoted by Leyden in his ** Notes 
to the Complaynt of Scotland." 

Wallace's straiks. 

** The Antiquary." Lusty blows, after the manner of Sir William 

Walter of Guiyock's curse. 

Walter Cuming of Guiyock, a great feudal oppressor, when riding on 
some cruel errand through the forest of GuiyocK, was thrown from his 
horse, and his foot being caught in the stirrup, was dragged along by 
the frightened animal till he was torn to pieces. The expression, 
Walter of Guiyock's curse, became proverbial. — ** Rob Roy, ch. 30, 
and Note I. 

Waly, waly ! bairns are bonny ; ane's enough, and twa's ower 

Pity those who have them, pity more those who haven't. — Gaelic. 

Want is the warst o't. 

Spoken when we must take a mean thing or lose all. — KeUy, 
Hobson's choice. — E. 

Want o' warld's gear aft sunders fond hearts. 

It's for the want o' pocket money, 

And for the want o' cash, 
Mak's mony a bonnie laddie 

Lose his bonnie lass. — Old Song. 

Want o* wit is waur than want o' gear. 

Wark a God's name and sae does no witches. — Kelly, 

Go in God's name, so ride no witches. — E. 

Wark bears witness wha does weel. 

The proof o' the pudding is in the eating. — E. 

Was ne'er ane droun'd in Tarras, nor yet in doubt, 
For ere the head can win doun, the harns are out. 

The Tarras is a small stream which flows into the Border Esk, and 


is commemorated in this rhyme with reference to its rocky bed and pre- 
cipitous falls. — ** Border Memories," IV, jR. Carre^ p. 64, footnote. 

Water stoups baud nae ale. 

An excuse for not drinking, because we have not been accustomed to 
h,— Kelly, 

Wattie Ross o' the Crawbutt 
Never took a supper, 
But just a chack o' cheese and breed, 
And a lang waught o' porter. 

Crawbutt was once a small farm in the parish of Chirnside, Berwick- 
shire. Wattie Ross was tenant there about the beginning of the present 
century ; he was also a cow couper. The following rhyme refers to the 
same person — 

O, Wattie Ross, pu' up your breeks, 
Nor let your kite shine through the steeks, 
Your shop door hangs sae low, man. 

Wattie wore no braces, so there was generally an open space between 
his lower and upper habiliments. — Dr, Henderson. 

Waur and mair o't. 

Spoken when a fresh misfortune occurs. — Kelly, 
Compare^ 111 comes upon waur's back. 

We can be wise enough on our neighbour's weaknesses. 
We can poind for debt, but no for unkindness. 

Unkindness has no remedy at law. — £• 

We can shape their wylie-coat, but no their weird., we can shape a person's clothing, but cannot foretell his destiny. 
We canna restrain our heart or our stamach. 

We know not which way to turn us. 

This saying is very ancient. Before the Romans had evacuated 
Britain (426 or 7 a.d.) they and the Britons were sorely harassed by 
the Picts and Scots, especially in the north. The Britons, in asking 
the aid of Artius, the Roman General, said, ** We know not which way 
to turn us. The barbarians drive us to the sea, and the sea forces us 
back to the barbarians." Or — 

The weary Roman and the Britain lay 

Unnerved, exhausted, spiritless, and sunk, 

Great proof ! how men enfeebled into slaves. 

The sword behind him flash *d, before him roared, 

Deaf to his woes, the deep. — Thomson^ s poem, "Liberty." 

We maun a' dee when our day comes. 

"St. Ronan's Well." ch. 7. 

Death comes not till the time comes. — E. The English also say — 
Death's day is doomsday, and — Death when it comes will have no denial. 

A I 


Death keeps no almanac. — Dutch. 

Vou can*t kill an unfey man. — Icelandic. 

We maun a' gang ae gate. 

•*St. Ronan's Well," ch. 2. 

We maun keep the banes green. 

**St. Ronan's Well," ch. lo. Live as comfortably as our means 
will permit. 

We maun male' a baik and a bow. 

** Rob Roy," ch. 26. That is, we must be courteous and conciliatory. 

We maun tak* the crap as it grows. 

We maunna fa' that. 

1.^., We must not hope to get that. 

We may ae day play at change seats, the King's coming. 

A Jacobite phrase. ** Rob Roy," ch. 32. 

We may ken your age by the wrinkles on your horn. 

Spoken to old maids when they pretend to be younp;. They need 
not look in your mouth to know your age. — Kelly. 
Facies tua coroputat annos. — Latin. 

We may ken your meaning by your mumping. 

**To mump," to hint, to aim zX,—Jamieson, 
One may know your meaning by your gaping. — E. 

We scream when we're born, | We groan when we're dying, 
And all that's between | Is but laughing and crying. 

We will not lose a Scot. 

1.^., Anything, how inconsiderable however, that we can save or 
retain. During the enmity between the two nations, they had little 
esteem of, and less respect for, a Scotchman in the English Border. 
— Ray, 

We'll bark oursels ere we buy dogs sae dear. 

Spoken when too dear a rate is asked for what we are buying. — Kelly » 

We'll be as right and tight as thack and rape can mak' us. 

**Guy Mannering," ch. 50. When a farmer's crop is got safe into 
the barnyard it is said to be made fast with thack and rape. Applied 
generally it means in the circumstances stated we will be perfectly secure. 

We'll gang a' together like the folk o' the Shiels, 
And defy the bogles, the ghaists and the deils. 

Lammerton, or Ladykirk-Shiels, Berwickshire, is probably referred 
to. The folk of the Shiels must have been very sociable, and the sajring 
is used by the peasantry when any party of them wish to accompany 
another from kirns and other social meetings.— Z?r. Henderson, ■ 


We'll blaw a blast | O' cauldrife cast, 
The wind's in Lumsden Hole. 

Lumsden lies on the north-east coast of the County of Berwick, and 
when the wind blows from that quarter, it is generally cold and stormy. 
Howick Hole is equally notorious in some parts of Northumberland. — 
Dr, Henderson, 

We'll lay our heads thegither. 
We'll meet ere hills meet. 

Men may meet, but mountains never ; and, Friends may meet, but 
mountains never. — E. 

Sooner will two men meet than two banks. — Welsh. 

Mountain doesn't meet mountain. — Modern Greek. 

Two men may meet, but not two mountains. — Fr. And in Gaelic 

We'll ne'er big sandy bowrocks thegither. 
See^ I'll big nae sandy mills wi' you. 

We'll ne'er ken the worth o' water till the well gang dry. 

We'll wet thooms on that. 

1.^., shake hands on the bargain. 

Compare^ There's my thoom, I'll no beguile thee. 

We're no sae far ahint but what we may follow. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 26. 

We're to learn while we live. 

Ars longa, vita brevis. — L. 

Wealth in the widow's house, kail, but salt. 

A jocose exclamation when we have gotten something better than we 
expected. — Kelly, 

Wealth like want ruins many. 
Wealth makes wit waver. 

"St. Ronan's Well," ch. 15. Inopem me copia fecit. — L. 

Wearing the jacket. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 38. A phrase used to indicate the assump- 
tion of a position to which one has no legitimate title. It refers to an 
obsolete custom, b^ which anyone of inferior rank, by pa3dng a fee or 
otherwise making interest with the huntsman of the Caledonian Hunt, 
obtained the field privileges of that exclusive society, and, among 
others, was permitted to wear the jacket of the order. 

Weary fa' the Trot o' Turry ! 

The village of Turriff, Aberdeenshire, was the scene of a skirmish 
between the Loyalists and Covenanters, May 14, 1639, in which the 
latter came off second best. The affair got a nickname, and ''Weary 
fa' the Trot o* Turry I " was long a proverbial saying. — Chambers, 


Wee things fley cowards. 
Weel a wat no. 

i.e.f certainly not. 

Weel done, soon done. — Fergussan. 
Weel enough, but nothing too wanton. 

An answer to the question, How do you do ? — Kelly. 

Weel is that weel does. 

Bona, bonis contingunt. — L. 

Weel kens the mouse that the cat's out o' the house. 

When the cat's away the mice will play. — E. 
Absente fele saliunt mures. — L. Compare, A blate cat, etc. 

Were the cat at home it were worse for you. — Welsh and Irish. 
And in Fr., Ital., Span., German, Dutch and Danish. 

" Weel minded, Marion, to thy life's end." 

Spoken to them that call a thing to mind opportunely. — Kelly. 

" Weel," quo' Wallace, and then he leugh, 
" The King o' France has gold eneugh. 
And you'll get it a' for the winning." 

i.e., nothing to be got without labour. — Kelly. 

" Weel,'' quo' Willie, when his wife dang him. 

She took up a rape, and she swore she wo'd hang him. 

An expression of indifference. — Hislop. A senseless rhyme. — Kelly. 

Weel saipet is hauf shaven. 

Weel begun is hauf <ione. Dimidium facti qui caepit habet. — Horace, 

Qui bene cepit dimidium facti fecit. — Old Latin Aphorism. 

Begun is two-thirds done. — Gaelic. 

Beginning is half of the whole. — Hesiod. 

So Irish, Fr., Ital., Span., Port., German, Dutch and Danish. 

It is said that the late Dr. Hill of St. Andrews translated this old 
saying by the humorous Scottish rendering, ** Weel saipet is hauf 
shaven." — ** Ramsay's Reminiscences." 

WEEL-timed daffin'. 

Dr. Adam, Rector of the High School of Edinburgh, translated the 
Horatian expression, ** Desipere in loco," by this Scottish phrase. — 
** Ramsay's Reminiscences, 1867," p. 89. 

Weel to breuke (enjoy), and many mo, 
Weel to breuke, and me the old. 

A good wish to him who has got some new thing ; the last from an 
inferior. — Kelly. 

Weel won corn (dried corn) should be housed ere the mom. 


Weel worth 2l that gars the plough draw. 

».^., good luck to everything by which we can earn money. — Hislop. 

Weel worth aw, it makes the plough draw. 

Spoken when people are overawed to do a thing which otherwise 
they would not do. — Kelly, 

Weel's him and waes him that has a bishop in his kin. 

Because such may be advanced, and perhaps disappointed. — Kielly, 

Wersh parritch, neither gude to fry, boil, or sup cauld. 

" Old Mortality," ch. 9. 

Wet your wizen or else it '11 gizen. 

Spoken to a person who is telling a story. It may be kindly meant, 
or a hint that the story is too long-winded. — Hislop, 

Wha burns rags will want a winding sheet. 

Wha can help misluck ? 

Wha canna gie will little get. 

Poverty destroys lending. — Gaelic. 

Wha comes oftener and brings you less. 

Spoken when we come frequently to our neighbour's house. — Kelly, 

Wha daur bell the cat ? 

The proverb is used in reference to a proposal for accomplishing a 
dangerous and difficult task, and alludes to the fable of the poor mice 
proposing to put a bell about the cat's neck, that they might be apprised 
of his coming. 

The national application is well known. When the nobles of Scot- 
land proposed to seize and hang Cochrane the detested favourite of 
James III., the Lord Gray asked, ** It is well said, but who will bell 
the cat." The Earl of Angus accepted the challenge, and carried out 
his threat by arresting Cochrane, and other minions of the King at 
Lauder, where they were hung as the song says ** On Lauder's dreary 

** I mean that Douglas, fifth of yore. 
Who coronet of Angus bore, 
And when his blood and heart were high 
Did the third James in Couf t defy, 
And all his minions led to die 
On Lauder's dreary flat." 

Having hung Cochrane and his companions over Lauder bridge, Angus 
received and retained to his dying day the nickname of Archibald Bell 
the Cat. 

Wha invited you to the roast ? 

Spoken when people uninvited put their hand to what is not theirs. 


Wha may woo without cost ? 

Wha wats wha may keep sheep anither day. 

Perhaps your cow may come to my fold yet. — Gaelic. 

Wha will pay the piper ? 

i,e,f bear the expense, take the consequences. 
What better is the house whaur the daw rises soon ? 

Spoken often by mistresses to their maids, when they have been early 
up and done little work. — Kelly, 
Early up and never the nearer. — E. 

What ? can the deil speak truth ? 

**Waverley,"ch. 59. 

What comes by wreck comes by death. 

A reflection on the infamous practice of wrecking. 

What fizzes in the mou' winna fill the wame. 

Tasty food is not always satisfying. 

What ? if the lift fa', you may gather laverocks. 

Spoken when people make silly frivolous excuses and objections. — 

What maks you sae rumgunshach, and me sae curcuddoch ? 

** Rumgunshach," rude. "Curcuddoch," kind. 

What puts that in your head that didna put the sturdy wi't ? 

Spoken to them that speak foolishly, or tell a story that you thought 
they had not known. — Kelly, 

What rake (signifies) the fead (enmity) where the friendship 

dow not. 

Signif)dng our contempt of mean persons, whose hatred we defy, and 
whose friendship we despise. — Kelly, 

What said Pluck ? " The greater knave the better luck." 

Knaves and fools divide the world. — E. 

What serves dirt for if it does not stink ? 

Spoken when mean, bare born people, speak proudly or behave 
saucily. —Kelly, 

What we first learn we best ken. 

What will ye get frae an oily pat but stink ? 

What will you say if this should come to hand, 
Perth's Provost's London's Mayor shall command. 

When the Earl of Gowrie, Provost of Perth, was killed in connection 
with what is known as the Gowrie Conspiracy, King James VI. offered 


himself for the office in order to allay the irritation of the citizens, and 
was sworn in with much ceremony. As King of England he afterwards 
commanded the Lord Mayor of London, hence the allusion. 

What ye do when ye're drunk, ye may pay for when ye're dry. 

For — Drunken mirth brings sober sorrow. 

What ye gie shines aye, what ye get smells next day. 
What ye want up and doun, ye hae hither and yont. 

** Hither and yont," io^sy-inxyy.—Jamieson. Spoken to them who 
are low of stature, but broad and squat. — Kelly, 

What ye win at that ye may lick aff a het girdle. 

i.e.f he. has little prospect of success. 

What your ee sees your heart greens for. 

"To green," to covet. 

What's a tongue for if its never to wag ? 
What's doomed is doomed. 

** The Antiquary," ch. 20. Used intensitively. i,e,, d d bad. 

What's fristed (put off) for a time is no forgiven. 

" Redgauntlet," Letter 11. Forbearance (or suffering) is no quit- 
tance. — E. Quod defertur, non aufertur. — L. 

What's gairly gathered is roundly spent. 

What is gotten over the devil's back is spent under his belly ; and, 
111 gotten ill spent. — E. Male partum, male disperit. — Plautus. 

What is got at the devil's head will be lost at his tail. — Gaelic ; and, 
in Fr., Ital., and Danish. 

What's in your wame's no in your testament. 

Fat housekeepers make lean executors. — E. 
Also in Gaelic, French, German, and Italian. 

What's like a dorty (saucy) maiden when she's auld ? 

What's my case the day may be yours the morn. 

" What's no i' the bag '11 be i' the broo," quo' the Hielandman 
when he dirked the haggis. 

What's waur than ill luck ? 

When a fool finds a horse shoe, | He thinks aye the like to do. 
And in English. 

When a hundred sheep rin, how many cloots clatter? 

When a' freets (charms) fail, fire's gude for the fiercy. 

Spoken when, after ordinary attempts, we betake ourselves to extra- 
ordinary. — Kelly, 


When a' men speak, nae man hears. 
When ane winna, twa canna cast oot. 

It takes two to make a quarrel. — £. 

When a's in, and the slap dit, rise herd, and let the dog sit. 

** Slap dit," gate shut. Jocosely s)X)ken to herd boys after harvest, 
as if there was no further use for them. — Kelly, 

When Cheviot ye see put on his cap, 
Of rain ye'll hae a wee bit drap. 

The mountain has a cap on, that's the rain coming. — Gaelic. 

When clouds appear like rocks and towers, 
The earth's refreshed with frequent showers. 

When cloudy Cairnsmuir hath a hat, 
Palmour and Skairs laugh at that. 

Cairnsmuir is a hill in the county of Kirkcudbright, Palmour and 
Skairs are two mountain burns in its vicinity, and when Cairnsmuir hill 
is covered with mist, these streams are suddenly flooded. 

Compare, A Skairs burn warning. 

When corpse light | Dances bright, 
Be it by day or night, | Be it by light or dark. 
Then shall corpse be stiff and stark. 
Refers to an old Scottish superstition. 

When Craigowl puts on his cowl, | The Collie-law his hood, 
Then a* the Lundy lads | Ken there will be a flood. 

Craigowl and Collie-law are two eminences in the Sidlaw range. 

When death lifts the curtain, it's time to be startin'. 

When Dee and Don shall run in one, 

And Tweed shall run in Tay, 

The bonnie water o* Urie | Shall bear the Bass away. 

Another form is — 

Dee and Don they shall run on, 

And Tweed shall run, and Tay, 
And the bonnie water o* Urie 

Shall bear the Bass away. 

This rhyme is ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer. The Bass is a green 
mound adjoining the village of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. This mound 
was anciently believed to contain the ruins of a castle, which had been 
destroyed and covered with earth because the inhabitants were infected 
with the plague. The people of Inverurie believed that when the Urie 
bore away the Bass the plague would be released, and to guard against 
this calamity, they raised barriers to resist the encroachments of the 


When Falkland Hill puts on his cap, 
The Howe o' Fife will get a drap, 
And when the Bishop draws his cowl, 
Look out for wind and weather foul. 

Falkland Hill and Bishop Hill are two conical eminences in the 
Lomond range. 

When Finhaven Castle rins to sand, 

The world's end is near at hand. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

The rhyme refers to the original strength of Finhaven Castle, Kin- 
cardineshire, the ancient seat of the Earls of Crawford. 

When folk canna get the gowden gown, they should be thank- 
ful when they get the sleeve. 

(7fl//'5 "The Entail." 

When folk's missed then they're moaned. 

"Guy Mannering," ch. 9. 

When folk's ready to buy, ye can want to sell. 

When frae Leslie ye wad gae. 

Ye maun cross a brig and doun a brae. — Fifeshire. 

The peculiar and high situation of this village, with water on all 
sides, is indicated in the rhyme. — Chambers, 

When heather bells grow cockle shells. 

The miller and the priest will forget themsels. 

That is, then and not till then, the miller and priest will forget their 
own interests. 

When lairds break carls get land. 

When the tree falls everyone gathers sticks. — Danish. 

When love cools fauts are seen. 

When March comes in with an adder's head, it goes out with a 

peacock's tail ; 
When it comes in with a peacock's tail, it goes out with an 

adder's head. 

March comes in with an adder's head, and goes out with a peacock's 
tail.— E. 
Spring with a serpent's head, and a peacock's tail. — Gaelic. 

When my head's doun my house is theekit. 

Spoken by those who are free from debts, concerns, or future pros- 
pects, as common tradesmen, day labourers, and servants who work 
their work and eet their wages, and commonly are the happiest part of 
mankind. — Kelly ; and in Gaelic. 


When petticoats woo breeks come speed. 

It is time to marry when the maid woos the man. — E. 
It is time to yoke when the cart comes to the caples (horses) — 
Cheshire. — Kay, 
'Tis time to set when the oven comes to the dough. — Danish. 

When pride's in the van begging's in the rear. 

When Ruberslaw puts on his cowl, | The Dunion on his hood, 
Then a' the wives o* Teviotside, | Ken there will be a flood. 

Ruberslaw and the Dunion are two hills in Roxburghshire, between 
Jedburgh and Hawick. 

When she doesna scold she shores. 

She is a nagging shrew who is always either scolding or threatening to 
do so. 

When the bag's fu' the dron gets up. 

When the barn's fu' ye may thresh afore the door. 

When the burn doesna babble its either ower toom or ower fu'. 

When the carry gaes west, | Gude weather is past, 
When the carry gaes east, | Gude weather comes niest. 

This ihymc is applicable to the east coast. The "carry" is the 
current of the clouds. 

When the Castle of Stirling gets a hat, 

The carse of Corntoun pays for that 

1.^., when the clouds descend so low as to envelop Stirling Castle, a 
deluge of rain may be expected in the adjacent country. 

When the cow's in the clout, | She soon runs out. 

Also current in Ireland. The price of a cow, wrapped, as is usual, 
in a piece of rag, is easily lost or spent. 
Ready money will away. — E. 

When the deil gets in, the fire maun flee out. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, ** The Woolgatherer." 

When the deil gets in the joint o' his little finger, he will soon 
have in his whole hand. 

The Ettrick Shepherd, ** The Brownie of the Black Haggs." 

When the gudeman's awa' the board claith's tint, when the 
gudewife's awa' the keys are tint. 

If the man is absent the commons will be short, if the wife is from 
home you will get no drink. — Kelly, 

When the goodman is from home the good wife's table is soon spread. 
— E. 


When the hand of the chief ceases to bestow, the breath of the 
bard is frozen in the utterance. 

Highland — ** Waverley," ch. 22. 

When the heart's fu' o' lust, the mou's fu' o' leasing. 

When the heart's fu' the tongue canna speak. 

When the heart's fu' the tongue will speak. — Kelly. 
Glowing coals will sparkle. — E. 

When the hen gaes to the cock, the birds may get a knock. 

Spoken when widows, who design a second marriage, prove harsh to 
their children. — Kelly, 

When the horse is at the gallop the bride's ower late. 

When the Marr Burn ran | Where never man saw. 

The House o' the Hassock | Was near a fa'. — Dumfries-shire. 

Drumlanrig Castle was built nearly on the site of an old castle called 
the Hassock, and to improve the grounds round the new mansion a 
rivulet, called the Marr Burn, was diverted from its course and made to 
run in the valley in front of the castle. — Chambers, 

When the mind is free the body's delicate. 

''Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 24. 

When the moon is on her back, 
Gae mend yer shoon and soit yer thack. 
When round the moon there is a brugh, 
The weather will be cauld and rough. 

*' Brugh " is the halo seen round the moon, and betokens wet 
weather. Brugh is the early Teutonic word for a circle. 

When the pat's fu' it will boil ower. 

The ra^ng of the little pot. — Gaelic. 
When the pot boils over it cooleth itself. — E. 

When the pea's in bloom | The mussel's toom. 

f.^., the mussel is not in season during summer. 

When the saut gaes abune the meal, 

Believe nae mair o' Tammie's tale. —Thomas the Rhymer. 

i.e., it is as impossible for the price of the salt in porridge to exceed 
the cost of the meal as for his prophecies to fail. 

When the tod preaches, tak' tent o' the lambs. 

The English say ** of the geese." 
Compare, The deil is most to be feared, etc. 

When the tod wins to the wood, he caresna how many keek at 
his tail. 


When the wame's fu' the banes wad be at rest. 

When the well's fu' it will run ower. — Kelly. 

When the white ox comes to the corse, 
Every man may take his horse. — Thomas the Rhymer. 
Expresses the gloomy fear of coming evil. 

When the wind is in the North | Hail comes forth, 

When the wind is in the Wast, | Look for a wat blast ; 

When the wind's in the Soud 

The weather willl be fresh and good, 

When the wind is in the East, | Cauld and snaw comes niest. 

Current in Selkirkshire and Peebles-shire. — Chambers, 

When the wind's in the West | The weather's at the best, 
When the wind's in the East, 
It is neither good for man nor beast, 
When the wind's in the South | Rain will be fouth. 
•*Fouth," in abundance. 

When the wind's still the shower fa's soft. 

1.^., calm, equable natures endure trials best. — ** Waverley," oh. 24. 

When the Yowes o' Gowrie come to land. 
The day of judgment's near at hand. 

The Ewes of Gowrie are two large blocks of stone in the sea, off the 
shore of the Firth of Tay, at the small village of Invergowri^ about two 
miles from Dundee. In consequence of the deposition of silt on the 
shore, the stones are gradually approaching the land. Many people in 
Dundee and its neighbourhood are much concerned about the predic- 
tion. — Chambers, 

When Traprain puts on his hat, 

The Lothian Lads may look to that. — East Lothian, 

When Turing's Tower falls to the land, 

Gladsmuir then is near at hand ; 

When Turing's Tower falls to the sea, 

Gladsmuir the next year shall be. — Thomas the Rhymer, 

Refers to the fate of Foveran Castle, Aberdeenshire, long ago the 
seat of a family named Turing. The Gladsmuir mentioned does not 
appear to be the place of that house in East Lothian, for — 

It shall not be Gladsmoor by the sea. 
But Gladsmoor wherever it be. 

i.e.y A number of corpses will make it a resort of birds of prey, and so 
Gled's-muir. — Chambers. 

When TWeed and Pausayl meet at Merlin's grave, 
Scotland and England will one monarch have. 


The famous prophet Merlin is said to be buried at the side of the 
Pausayl burn, a little below the churchyard of Drummelzier, Peebles- 
shire ; and on the same day that James VI. was crowned King of Eng- 
land, the river Tweed, by an extraordinary flood, so overflowed its 
banks, that it met and joined with Pausayl at Merlin's grave, which 
has never been observed to occur before or since. — Chambers^ " History 
of Peeblesshire." 

When we go to the hills we like the deer that bears the horns. 

When we enter upon an undertaking we like to secure our object, 
and to be rewarded for our pains. 

When we want, friends are scant. 

When ye are poor naebody kens ye, when ye are rich a' body 
kens ye. 

When ye are weel, haud yersel sae. 

When ye can suit your shanks to my shoon ye may speak. 

2.^., When in my circumstances, ye can speak on the subject. 

When ye christen the bairn ye should ken what to ca't. 

Applied to a person who hesitates about the price of an article he is 

When yeVe gaun and comin' the gate's no toom. 

Spoken to them who we think to be going a needless errand, as if 
they would only employ the way. — Kelly, 

When ye*re served a' the geese are watered. 

When yer neibour's house is in danger tak tent o' yer ain. 

When thy neighbour's house doth burn, be careful of thine own. — E. 
Tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet. — Latin, 

When Yule comes, dule comes, | Cauld feet and legs ; 

When Pasch comes grace comes, | Butter, milk, and eggs. 

— Chambers, 
Where drums beat laws are dumb. — Kelly, 

Inter arma, silent leges. — L. 

Where it was, and not where it grew ; and. Where leal folk get 

Answer to an enquiry, Where you got such and such a thing — Kelly, 
Where the devil got the friar. — E. 

Where stands your great horse ? — Fergusson. 
Where the buck's bound there he may bleat. 

Men must bear these hardships to which they are bound either by 
force or compact. — Kelly, They that are bound must obey. — E. 


Where the head gaes the tail will follow. 

Where the pig's broken let the sherds lie. — Fergusson. 

Where the scythe cuts, and the sock rives, 
Hae done wi' fairies and bee bykes ? 

Meaning that the ploughing or even mowing of the ground tends to 
extirpate alike the earth bee and the fairy. — Chambers, 

The Fairies, it is said, had a great dislike to any interference with 
their rings. According to an old rhyme — 

He wha tills the fairy green 

Nae luck again shall hae ; 
An' he wha spills the fairy ring, 

Betide him want and wae ; 
For weirdless days and weary nights 

Are his till his deein' day ! 

The protector of the ring, on the other hand, was suitably rewarded, for 

He wha gaes by the fairy green 

Nae dule nor pains sail see ; 
An' he wha cleans the fairy ring 

An easy death sail dee. 

It was thought better to keep on the right side of the ** light infantry 
of Satan " as they were called, for — 

Middle an' mell 

Wi' the fiends o' hell, 
An' a weirdless wicht ye'll be. 

But tak' an' len 

Wi' the fairy men, 
Ye'll thrive until ye dee. 

The fairies considered the term "fairy" disreputable, and pointed 
out their feelings with reference to the other terms applied to them in 
the following verses — 

Gin ye ca' me imp or elf, 

I rede ye look weel to yourself ; 

Gin ye ca' me fairy, 

I'll work ye muckle tarrie (trouble) ; 

Gin guid neibour ye ca' me, 

Then guid neibour I will be ; 

But gin ye ca me seelie wicht, 

I'll be your freend baith day and nicht. — Chambers, 

Compare^ Fairy, fairy, come bake me a scone, etc. 

Where there are gentles there are aye aff-fa'ings. 

An allusion to the failings of the aristocracy. 
Compare, The oldest cheeses, etc. . 

Where there are no boys in arms there will be no armed men. 
— Highland. 

Where there are no bushes there can be no nuts. 

** Waverley," ch. 17. 


Where there's ane better there's ten waur. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 43. 

Where there's ane better afF there's ten waur. 
Where there's muckle courtesy there's little kindness. 

Less of your courtesy and more of your purse ; and. Full of courtesy, 
full of craft.— E. 

Where there's naething, the king tines his right. 

Where no cattle are, the king will lose his due. — Gaelic. 

Where there's no fools there's no foxes. 
Where there's stock there maun be broch (loss). 

No good oats were ever without refuse. — Gaelic. 

Where they clip there needs nae kame. 

" The Antiquary," ch. 41. 

Where will you get a park to put your yell kye in ? 

Spoken to those who without any reason boast of their good manage- 
ment. — Kelly ^ 

Which is the fairest view in all Scotland ? Answer — The road 
which leads out of it, or the road which leads to England. 

An old proverbial riddle. Compare — England is fat feeding ground, 
etc. ^ 

While ae gab's teething, anither's growing teethless. 

While there is a green leaf in the forest, there will be guile in 
a Comyne. 

** Waverley," ch. 20. This saying refers to the proverbial treachery 
of the family of Comyne or Cummin, once a power in the land, but 
whose family was completely destroyed by King Robert the Bruce. 

Whiles you and whiles me, sae gaes the bailierie. 

Spoken when persons and parties get authority by turns. — Kelly, 
To-day me, to-morrow thee. — E. Hodie mihi, eras tibi. — L. 

Whistle on your thoom. 

"Heart of Midlothian," ch. 18. /.^., take your own way, please 

Whistling amang the tenantry. 

'*Guy Mannering," ch. 50, and footnote. This is when one tenant 
gives such information to the laird or factor about a neighbour, that the 
rent of the latter is raised. This unfriendly action, always most un- 
popular, was peculiarly detested at the time when leases were uncom- 
mon, and farmers held their land from year to year, so that the rent 
could be raised whenever the landlord pleased. Leases for nineteen 
years originated about the year 1730, when George Ormiston of Cock* 

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A: -ii'.iufrn: :i ru- iJcenuJ :arxi.. 

Ati- :.r::.*.i — ii»t ITiusfi&iL c^ lbs HHk." 

Vi'v:7i ;.-;:• irad zyt itt rsM^d. 

\\ - -T L • V • r. - i:^ 2Lre 2. \ t tender. 

T: i.r: •': ri. '.'•:: rr.ii. '.••.•seTvs.iiar:. in:: si>c*l:en 10 people ol aS ooxn- 

Wk, ;/ G'.'d w.;; he!:j. none cam hinder. 

V» r-L! Ov: hav : r.-ni^tf. mta cazLDot lanlk. — Gaelic 

Wfit-r^ •\r'. : htjj'f, rijugr.: Lanrrs ; ani, What God will, no post can 

Mir. pr '.>-./!<:?., bu! G'»i iisp-ji**. — EL And in French, Spanish, and 

\S'}fOSE barn hast thou broken ? 

**Thc Al/rr^t/'ch. 17. 

Wc will hae nae barns' breaking here. — ** Fortunes of Nigel, " ch. 32, 
i.e.^ Hhat tricks have you been up to; and. We will have no tricks 

Ww.u geese, wild geese, ganging to the sea, 
Ooori weather it will be, 
Wild geese, wild geese, ganging to the hill, 
The weather it will spill. 

Morayshire. — Chambers. 

WibKS help weak folk. 

Ingcnio pollet cui vim natura negavit. — L. 

Wilful will do it. 

•* Waverley,"ch. 28. 

Will and wit strive wi' you. 

Will dod's blessing mak' my pat boil or my spit gae ? 

A landlord, when neople offered him all they could get, and bid him 
tdkc it with (lod's blessing, replied sneeringly. Will God's blessing, 
etc. -KtUy. 


Will is a word for a man, must is no word for a lady. 

** The Abbot," ch. 3. 

" Willie Burd ! Willie Burd ! | Here's a bumbee ! '' 
Quo' the miser o' Reston | To his little Willie. 

John Home, the miser of Reston, Berwickshire, died about 1802. 
When his son asked him for a bawbee, he used to skip about the floor 
repeating the above rhyme so as to direct the boy*s attention from his 
request. — Dr, Henderson. 

Willie, my buck, shoot out your horn, 
And you'll get milk and bread the morn. 

A salutation of the boys of Forfarshire to the snail. Again, in 
other districts, the boys say — 

Snailie, snailie, shoot out your horn, 

And tell us if it will be a bonny day the morn. 

So in England it is said — 

Snail, snail, come out of your hole, 

Or else I will beat you as black as a coal. 

Winter thunder bodes summer hunger. 

Early thunder, late hunger ; and. Winter thunder, rich man's food 
and poor man*s hunger. — E. 

Wipe wi' the water and wash wi' the towel. 

Spoken to our children when they wash their hands slightly. — Ktlly, 

Wise folk buy and sell, and fools are bought and sold. 

" Rob Roy," ch. 4. 

Wiser men than you are caught by wiles. 
Wit bought maks folks wise. 

Bought wit is best. — E. and Gaelic. 

Better one wisdom bought, than two (or a dozen) got for nought. — 
Gaelic. Bought wit is best if not bought too dear. — Manx. 

An ounce of wit that's bought is worth a pound that's taught. — E. 
Kathemata, Mathemata. — Heroditus, 
Nocumenta, Documenta. — L. 

Wit is better than wealth. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 23. 

Wit is worth a weel turned leg. 

Witches in the Watergate, | Fairies in the Mill, 
Brosy taids 0' Niviston | Can never get their fill. 
Sma' drink in the Punful, | Crowdie in the Kirk, 
Gray meal in Boreland, | Waur than ony dirt ; 
Bread and cheese in the Easter Mains, 
Cauld sowens in the Waster Mains, 

B 2 


Hard heads in Hardiston, Quakers in the Pow, 
The braw lasses o' A'die | Canna spin their ain tow. 

Farms in the west of Fife. — Chambers. 

Without crack or flaw. 

Taken from sound timber, applied to upright, honest men. — Kelly, 

Wives and wind are necessary evils. — Kelly, 

Wives maun hae their wills while they live, for they mak nane 
when they dee. 

Women and bairns layne what they ken not. 

** Layne," conceal. «.^., they tell all they do know. 
What the women don't know they'll conceal. — Gaelic. 
Women conceal all they know not. — E. 

I will l)elieve 
Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know, 
And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate. 

—••Henry IV.," Part I. 

Women and horned nowte are muckle the same a' the warld 

Women are kittle cattle, and the mair ye rin after them the mair 
they flee awa'. 

Women are wilfu', and downa bide a slight. 

•* Heart of Midlothian," ch. i6. 

Women's wark is never dune. 

Wonder at your auld shoon when you hae gotten your new. 

An answer to them that say they wonder at you, or what you do. — 

Wonder lasts but nine nichts in a toun. — Fergusson, 

A nine days* wonder. — E. 

A wonder lasteth but nine days, and then the puppy's eyes are 
o|>ened. — E. 

Wonder is the daughter of ignorance. — Italian. 

Wood in a wilderness, moss in a mountain, and wit in a poor 
man's pow, are little thought o'. 

Wood in wilderness and strength in a fool.^E. 

Woo' sellers ken aye woo' buyers. 

Roguish people know their own consorts. — Kelly. 

Words go with the wind, but dunts are the devil. 

Words go with the wind, but strokes are out of play. — Kelly^ 
Words are but Nvmd, \iu\. \Aovj^ \«^K\tA.— ^, 


Work legs and win legs, hain legs and tine legs. 

Studium general studium, ignavia ignaviam. — L. 

Worth may be blamed, but ne'er be shamed. 

Worth may be blamed, 

But never shall be shamed. — English and Spanish. 

Wrang count is nae payment. 

Misreckoning is no payment. — E. 

Wrang has nae warrant. 
WuDDiE baud thine ain. — Kelly, 
Wyte your teeth if your tail be sma*. 

Spoken to them who have good meat at their will. — Kelly, 


Ye aye mak' boggles o' windlestraes. 

1.^., mountains out of molehills ; you are easily frightened. 

Ye breed o' auld maids, ye look high. 

"To breed," to resemble, to take after. 
The high look of the old maid. — Gaelic. 

Ye breed o' gude maut, ye're lang o' comin'. 

Ye breed o' Leddy Mary, when ye're gude ye're ower gude. 

A drunken man begged Lady Mary to help him on his horse, and 
having made many attempts, to no purpose, he always reiterated the 
same petition; at length he jumped right over. **0, Lady Mary," 
said he, ** when thou art good, thou art ower gude." — Kelly, 

Ye breed o' nettle kail and cock lairds, ye need muckle service. 

Used by servants where employers are mean and arrogant as well as 
exacting. **Cock lairds "were small landed proprietors who farmed 
their own land. They were also called ** bonnet lairds," from the 
broad, blue Kilmarnock bonnet which they wore. 

Ye breed o' our laird, ye'll no do right and ye*ll tak' nae wrang. 
Ye breed o* Saughton swine, ye're neb's never oot o' an ill turn. 

Kelly says ** Kilpike*s swine." 

Like Goodyer*s pig, never well but when you are doing mischief. — E. 

Ye breed o' the baxters, ye loe yer neighbour's browst better 
than yer ain batch. 

Ye breed o' the chapman, ye're aye to handsel. 

Spoken to those who ask us hansel (that is, the first bit in tKe. ^gcw^t^- 


in(;, the first money for their parcels of wares, or the like). Taken 
from |>ciilars who, coming into a house, will say, ** Give us hansel.*' — 

Ye breed o* the chapman, ye're never oot o' your gate. 

Spoken to those who do business wherever they go. — Hislop, 

Yk breed o' the craw's tail, ye grow backwards. 

Spoken to lH>ys who do not improve at school. 

He mends like sour ale in summer. — English and Scottish. 

Ye breed o* the gudeman's niither, ye're aye in the way. 

Ye breed o* the herd's wife, ye busk at e*en. 

Ye breed o* the leek, ye hae a white head and a green tail. 

spoken to ol«l, j^raccless, profane persons. — Kelly, 
Vou have a ct)li'.s ttH)ili in your head. — E. 
(Jrcy and ^reen make the worst medley. — E. 
Turpc senex miles, lurpe senilis amor. — (yvid. 

Ye breed o* the miller's dochter, that speired what tree groats 
grew on. 

Spoken when saucy fellows, bred of mean parentage, pretend ignor- 
ance of what they were bred with. — Kelly. 

Ye breed o' the tod's bairns, if ane be gude they're a* gude. 

You are all one swine's pigs. — E. 

Ye breed o' the witches, ye can do nae gude to yoursel. 

Ye ca' hardest at the nail that drives fastest. 

Meaning that a person pretends to work much harder than is really 
required. — Hislop, 

Ye can neither mak' tap, tail, nor mane o't. 

Neither heads nor tails ; you can't understand what he says. 

Ye cangle about uncoft kids. 

f.^., quarrel about unbought goods. 

Ye canna do but ye ower-do. 

Ye canna gather berries aff a whinbush. 

Ye canna get leave to thrive for thrang. 

Too much haste spoils your business. — Kelly, 

Ye canna hae mair o' a sow than a grumph. 

What would you expect from a cow but a low (or groan) ? — Gaelic. 
A crab-tree can bear but crabs after all. — E. 
What can you expecl oi 2l Yvo^bui his bristles ? — E. 


Ye canna preach oot o' your ain pu*pit. 

Applied to persons who are diffident in the house of a stranger, or 
who are backward in describing an article out of their usual way of 
business. — Kelly, 

You cannot say mass but at your own altar.— E. 

Like the Parson of Saddleworth, that could read no book but his 
own. — E. 

Ye canna put an auld head upon young shouthers. 

Ye canna see the wood for trees. 

Ye come o' the M*Taks but no o' the M'Gies. 

Give me, but let me not give ; the Macdonald fashion. — Gaelic. 

Ye come to the gait's house to thig woo'. 

" Gaits," goats. You beg of him who is ready to steal. — E. 
An old wife's loan without ears of corn, the easiest loan to get. — 
Gaelic. ue.y a loan from one who has nothing to give. 

.Ye could tie the toun wi' a strae. 
Indicates extreme surprise. 

Ye crack crousely wi* yer bannet on. 
uct you are too familiar. 

Ye cut lang whangs aff ither folks' leather. 

He is free with his horse that never had one. — E. 

Also in Gaelic, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch. 

Ye daur weel, but ye downa. 

1.^., try to do well, but cannot. 

Ye didna draw sae weel when my mear was in the mire. 

Spoken to them who take a long draught of liquor. — Kelly, 
You did not assist me in my difficulty so much as I now assist you. 
— Hislop, 

Ye fand it whaur the Hielandman fand the tangs. 

i.e.^ in their proper place at the fireside. In other words, you stole 
them. You have found what was never lost. — E. 

You have found it where the fireman found the tongs. — E. 

Ye fike it awa' like auld wives baking. 

"To fike," to dally about a hyx&m^ss.—Jamieson. 

Ye gang round by Lanark for fear Linton dogs bite ye. 

Ye glower like a cat oot o' a whin bush. 

Ye got ower muckle o* yer ain will, and ye're tiie waur o't. 
Deteriores omnes fumas licentiS. — L. 


Ye got yer will in yer first wife's time, and ye shanna want it 

Spoken jocosely to a self-willed man. — Kelly, 

Ye had aye a gude whittle at yer belt. 

j.^., a ready answer. — Kelly. 

Ye hae a constant hunger and a perpetual drouth. 

You have lost your stomach and found a dog's. — E. 
Spoken to great eaters. — Kelly, 

Ye hae a head, and so has a nail. 
Ye hae a streak o' carl hemp in ye. 

i,e,y strength or firmness of mind. 

Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van, 
Thou stalk o' carl hemp in man. — Bums, 

Ye hae a tongue, and sae has a bell. 

Ye hae as mony dogs as ye hae banes to pike. 

Ye hae as muckle chance o' that as ye can see through a whin- 

t.^., no chance at all. 

Ye hae aye a fit oot o' the langel. 

** Langel," a chain or rope to tie a horse's hind foot to his fore foot. 
Spoken to them that perversely oppose everything. — Kelly, 

Ye hae been eating sourrocks instead o' lang kail. 

Le.^ you are out of temper. — GaWs "The Entail," ch. 34. 

Ye hae been lang on little eird (earth). 
Ye hae been smelling the bunghole. 

1.^., tippling. 

Ye hae brought the pack to the pins. 

He has brought his pack to a foot speed. — E. 
Dwindled away your stock. — Kelly, 

Ye hae come in time to tine a darg. 

i.e.y you have come too late. 

Ye hae come to a peeled egg. 

Attained a ready made, excellent position. *'Cut and dry," as the 
English say. — Kelly. 

Ye hae fasted lang and worried on a midge. 

Yn hae found a meat's nesl, atv^X^'^^ ^l tV\e e^gs. 


Ye hae gi'en the sair knock and the loud cry. 

Spoken to those who do the greatest injury and yet make the loudest 
complaints. — Kelly. 

Ye hae got a piece o' Kitty Sleitchock's bannock. 

Spoken when young ones flatter us for something. — Kelly, 

Ye hae got a stipend ; get a kirk when ye like. 

Ye hae got butter in a burd (when you were a chicken). 

Spoken to one who sings, speaks, or calls with a loud voice. Scot- 
tish wives give butter to those chickens they design to rear for house 
cocks, so that they may crow the clearer. — Kelly, 

Ye hae got the bitch in the wheel band. 

i.e.t a thing you can't keep long. — Kelly, 
Aquinis lactibus alligas canem. — L. 

Ye hae got the first seat on the midden to-day. 

You have risen on your wrong side. — E. 

Ye hae gotten to your English. 

*' Rob Roy," ch. 35. A taunting reply to a fluent and insolent 

Ye hae hit it, if ye had a stick. 

You have hit the nail on the head. — E. Rem acu tetigesti. — L. 

Ye hae hurt yer hand wi't. 

Spoken ironically when people give but little. — Kelly, 

Ye hae little need o' the Campsie wife's prayer, "That she 
might aye be able to think enough o' hersel'." 

Ye hae mickle to speak o' a chapin o' ale among four folk, and 
my share the least o't. 

Spoken when people make much ado about little. — Kelly, 

Ye hae mind o' yer meat, though ye hae little o't 

Ye hae missed this, as ye did yer mither's blessing. 

Ye hae nae been longsome and foul farren baith. 

** Foul farren," dirty rough. 

Spoken to them that have done a thing in great haste. — Kelly, 

Ye hae nae mair heart than a cat. 
** Guy Manncring," ch. 48. 

Ye hae nae mair need for't than a cart has for a third wheel. 
Ye hae nae the pith o' a cat. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 26. 


Ye hae nae the stamach o* a cat. 

Said to a poor eater. — The Et trick Shepherd — "The Shepherd's 
Calendar— The Prodigal Son." 

Ye hae ower foul feet to come sae far ben. 

You are too mean to pretend to such a courtship. — Kelly. 

Ye hae ower muckle loose leather about your chafts. 

Spoken to them that say the thing they should not. — Kelly, 
Your tongue is made of very loose leather. — E. 

Ye hae put a toom spoon in my mouth. 

A country farmer complained of having been fed with a ** toom 
spoon " when he had listened to the exhortations of a very poor 
preacher. — Hislop, 

Ye hae seen nine houses. 

Eat with us, for you have gone so far as to pass nine houses since you 
ate last. — Kelly, 

Ye hae sitten yer time, as mony a gude hen has done. 

Ye hae skill o' man and beast, and dogs that tak' the sturdy. 
A ridicule on them that pretend to skill. — Kelly, 

Ye hae skill o* man and beast, ye was bom between the Bel- 

».^., between the first and eighth of May. — Kelly, 

Ye hae stayed lang, and brought little wi' ye. 

Ye hae ta'en't upon you, as the wife did the dancin*. 

Ye hae tint the tongue o' the trump. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 32 ; " Bride of Lammermoor," ch, 25. 

ue.y you have lost the main thing. — Kelly, 

A trump without a tongue. — Gaelic. 

A Jew's harp or trump without its tongue is of course useless. 

Ye hae wrought a yokin, and loused in time. 

Worked to little purpose. — Kelly, 

Ye ken naething but milk and bread when it's mool'd into ye. 

i,e,i you know and care about nothing but your meat. 

Ye kenna what may cool your kail yet. 
Ye live beside ill neebors. 

Spoken when people commend themselves, for if they deserved com- 
mendation their neighbours would commend them. — Kelly, 
Gloria si taceas plus tibi laudis erit. — L. 
He dwells far from neighbours who is fain to praise himself. — E, 


Ye loe a' ye see, like Rab Roole when he's ree. 

Applied to greedy persons. ** Ree," half-drunk, tipsy. 

Ye look as bauld as a black-faced wedder. 

Ye look like a bazed (at a loss) waker (tucker) seeking wash. — 

Ye look like a Murray man melting brass. — Kelly, 

" Ve look like a rinner,'* quo* the deil to the lobster. 

Also in English. 

Seal is swifter than mackerel, lobster swifter than seal ; and, Rush of 
lobster, mackerel, and seal, the three swiftest in the great ocean. — 

Ye look like let me be. 

ue,i in a sullen mood. — Kelly. 

Ye look like the deil in daylight. 

Ye look liker a deil than a bishop. 

Ye look liker a thief than a horse. 

Ye mak mony errands to the ha', to bid the laird gude day. 

Spoken to them who pretend errands where they have a mind to go. 

Ye maun be auld ere ye pay sic a gude wad. 

Literally, You will be very old ere you can perform such a promise ; 
proverbially, of course, that you look upon such a promise as of no 
value. — Hislop. 

Ye maun thole or flit mony a hole. — Kelly, 
What can't be cured must be endured. — E. 

Ye may as weel try to lift the milkin' stane o' Dumbarton. 

The name of "milkin' stane " is given to an enormous mass of rock 
which, according to local tradition, fell from the castle rock of Dum- 
barton into the cow park beneath, smothering in its fall a number of 
women who were milking their cows in the park. The saying is applied 
to indicate an impossibility. — "Bits from Blinkbonny," tenth edition, 
1886, p. 193. 

Ye may bite on yer bridle. 

i.e,^ vex yourself and get no amends. — Kelly, 

Ye may be greedy, but ye're no greening. 

"To green," long for, covet, desire. 

An excuse for denying what one asks of us, because the want of it 
will not make them miscarry. — Kelly. 

Ye may dight yer neb and flee up. 

Taken from pullets who always wipe their bills upon the ground 


before they go to roost. You have ruined and undone your business, 
and now you may give over. — Kelly, 

Ilislop says it is an expression of indifference addressed to a person 
whose opinion we consider of no value. 

Ye may drive the deil into a wife, but ye'll ne'er ding him oot 
o* her. 

Ye may gae through a' Egypt without a pass. 

Spoken to persons of swarthy complexion. — Kelly. * 

Ye may gang further and fare waur. 

Ye may hde a gude memory, but ye hae a confounded judgment. 

Spoken to them that call to mind a thing unseasonably. — Kelly, 

Ye may hew doun the tree but ye canna change its bend. 

** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 20. 

Ye may live and no pree the tangs. 

Ye may tak* a drink oot o' the burn, when ye canna tak* a bit 
oot o' the brae. 

Spoken when people are in want of food ; cold water is usually avail- 
able. — Kelly. 

Ye may thank God that yer friends were born afore ye. 

Happy is he whose friends were born before him. — E, 
Who hath, — Rem non labore parandam sed relictam. — Ray, 

Ye may think on your cradle, 1*11 think on my stane ; 
And there'll never be an heir to Knockdolion again. 

The old house of Knockdolion stood near the water of Girvan, with 
a black stone at the end of it. A mermaid used to come from the water 
at night, and, taking her seat upon the stone, would sing for hours, at 
the same time combing her long yellow hair. The lady of Knockdolion 
found that this singing disturbed her baby, and so she ordered the stone 
to be broken up. The mermaid coming the next night, and finding her 
favourite seat destroyed, sang the above rhyme. Soon after this the 
cradle was found overturned, and the baby dead. It is alleged that ere 
long the family became extinct. — Chambers. 

Ye may tine the faither looking for the son. 
Ye may wash aff dirt but never dun hide. 

Refers to a muddy complexion. 

Ye needna wyte God if the deil ding ye ower. 

Spoken to them that have great big legs. — Kelly. 

Ye ne'er bought salt to the cat. 

i,e.^ you do not know >NV\a.\. \\. \^ to provide for a family. — Kelly. 


Ye ne'er heard a fisher cry stinking fish. — Kelly, 

Laudat venales qui vult exturdere merces. — L. 
No man cries stinking fish. — E. 

Ye ne'er see green cheese but yer een reels. 

You see no green cheese but your mouth must water. — E. 

Ye putt at the cart that's aye ganging. 

The more we help, the more is expected from us. — Kdly, 
All lay load on the willing horse. — E. 
Compare^ Ye ca* hardest at the nail, etc. 

Ye rave unrocked, I wish yer head was knocked. 

Spoken to them that speak unreasonable things, as if they raved. — 

Ye ride sae near the rump, ye'U let nane loup on ahint ye. 

No one will get the better of you. — AV//y. . 

Ye rin for the spurtle when the pat's boiling ower. 

1.^., You lock the stable door when the steed is stolen. — E. 
When the corn is stolen, the silly body builds the dyke. — Gaelic. 

Ye seek grace o' a graceless face. 

You seek hot water under the ice. — E. 

Ye ser'd me as the wife did the cat — coost me into the kirn, 
and syne harl'd me out again. 

Spoken to them that tell us they relieved us in such a case, alleging 
that they brought us into it. — Kelly. 

Nicolson gives as a parallel Gaelic saying — Who knows how to take 
the cat out of the churn but he that put her in ? 

Ye shall be my dear till day. 

A promise. — Kelly, 

Ye shanna be niffered but for a better. — Kelly, 

Ye shanna want as lang as I hae, but look weel to your ain. 

Compare^ Lippen to me but look to yoursel. 

Ye shape shune by your ain shauchled feet. 

i,e,y you judge others by yourself. 

Ye shine like a white gird about a shairney cog. 
Ye shine like the sunny side o' a shairney wecht. 

The fan that they winnow corn with bedaubed with cow-dung. A 
ridicule upon people when they appear fine. — Kelly. 

Ye should be a king o* yer word. — Fergusson, 



Ye should be gude, if a's gude that's upcome. 

1.^., if your character and ability correspond with your personal 
appearance. ** Quentin Durward," footnote to ch. 7. 

Ye should hae steekit yer neive upo' that. 

i,e,, closed with the offer; shaken hands on the bargain. — Ramsay* s 
** Reminiscences.'* 

Ye sleep like a dog in a mill. 

i.e.^ with one eye open. 

Ye sleep like a dog when the wife's baking. 

He sleeps as dogs do when wives sift meal. — E. 

Ye speak weel wi* yer bannet on. 
i.e.t you talk saucily. — ICelly, 

Ye strive about uncoft gaits — (unbought goats). 

A man told his neighbour he was going to buy goats ; he asked him 
which way he would drive them. He answered, That way ; the other 
said he should not ; and so they fell out, and beat one another ; but in 
jj the struggle the buyer lost his money, and so the goats were never 

J bought. — Kelly. 

U Noise about nothing. — E, 

Pugna est de land caprina. — L. 

Ye sune fash o' a gude office — or, of doing weel. 

Spoken to boys who are soon weary of what we bid them do. — Kelly, 

3 Ye tak a bit oot o' yer ain buttock. 

f.^., foul your own nest. 

You spit on your own blanket. — E. and S. 

Ye tak but a foal's share o' the harrow. 

Ye tak the first word o' flyting. 

Gait's **Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 44. 

Ye think yersel everywhere. 

Spoken to those who object to us what they are guilty of themselves. 

Ye wad be a gude Borrowstone sow — ye smell weel. 

Spoken when people pretend to feel the smell of something we would 
conceal. — Kelly. 

Ye wad be a gude piper's bitch, ye smell oot the weddings. 

Ye wad clatter a cat to death. 

•• To clatter " — to prattle, to act as a tell-tale.— /awfVj^u. 

Ye wad dae little for God an' the deil was dead. 

They who worship God only for fear 

Would wotshiip the devil should he appear. — E. 


Ye wad fain ride the fore horse an' ye wist how. 
"Rob Roy,"ch. 17. 

Ye wad ferlie mair if the craws bigg'd in yer cleaving an* flew 
awa' wi' the nest. 

i,e,y you are surprised at a trifling matter. 

Ye wad gar me trow my head's cowed, though there's no a 
hair o't wanting yet. 

ue,t You would make me believe what I know to be quite false. — 

Ye wad kiss ony man's dirty shune for leave to bake in his oven. 
Ye wad mak a gude mid-wife, ye haud the grip ye get. 

Spoken to them that detain something of ours, and will not give it 
again. — Kelly, 

Ye wad mak muckle o' me if I was yours. 
Ye wad say that abak o' the Hirsel Law. 

This is said of one who takes credit for some bold courageous saying 
when it is suspected that the danger attending its utterance is past. 

One of the Earl of Home*s servants being interrogated as to the cir- 
cumstances of a reported conversation, in which he played the hero, 
confessed that he was silent till the Law was between him and his lord- 
ship. — Berwickshire. — Dr, Heftderson. 

Ye wad wheedle a laverock frae the lift. 

Ye was bred aboot the mill, ye hae mooped a' yer manners. 

Spoken to inferiors when they show themselves rude in their speech 
or behaviour. — Kelly. 

Ye was ill-hunted. — Kelly, 

Compare^ Shame fa' the dogs, etc. 

Ye was ne'er bom at that time o' the year. 

Spoken to them that expect such a place, station, or condition which 
we think above their ** birth." — Kelly, 

Ye was ne'er far frae yer mother's hip. 

Spoken to those who are harsh to strangers. — Kelly, 

Ye was put oot o' the oven for nipping the pies. 
Ye watna what's behint your hand. 

Spoken to those who push at you with a drawn sword or present a 
charged gun in jest, as if they would say. You know not but the devil 
may be ^hind your hand pushing you on to mischief. — Kelly, 

Sub omnia lapide scorpius dormit. — L. 

Ye watna what wife's ladle may cog your kail ; and 

Ye watna what wife's ladle your dish may come under yet. — Kelly » 


Ye should be gude, if a*s gudc that's upcome. 

1.^., if your character and ability correspond with your personal 
ap{>carance. ** Qucniin Durward," footnote to ch. 7. 

Ye should hac steekit yer neive upo' that. 

i.t., closed with the offer; shaken hands on the bargain. — Ramsay*s 
** Reminiscences." 

Ye sleep like a dog in a mill. 

i,e.i with one eye open. 

Ye sleep like a dog when the wife's baking. 

He sleeps as dogs do when wives sift meal. — E. 

Ye speak weel wi' yer bannet on. 
i.e.y you talk saucily. — Kelly, 

Ye strive about uncoft gaits — (unbought goats). 

A man told his nei^hl)our he was going to buy goats ; he asked him 
which way he would drive them. He answered, That way ; the other 
said he should not ; and so they fell out, and beat one another ; but in 
the struggle the buyer lost his money, and so the goats were never 
bought. — Kelly, 

Noise about nothing. — E, 

Pugna est de land caprina. — L. 

Ye sune fash o' a gude office — or, of doing weel. 

Spoken to boys who are soon weary of what we bid them do. — Kelly, 
Ye tak a bit oot o' yer ain buttock. 

f.^., foul your own nest. 

You spit on your own blanket. — E. and S. 

Ye tak but a foal's share o' the harrow. 

Ye tak the first word o' flyting. 

Gait's **8ir Andrew Wylie," ch. 44. 

Ye think yersel everywhere. 

Spoken to those who object to us what they are guilty of themselves. 

Ye wad be a gude Borrowstone sow — ye smell weel. 

Spoken when people pretend to feel the smell of something we would 
conceal. — Kelly. 

Ye wad be a gude piper's bitch, ye smell oot the weddings. 

Ye wad clatter a cat to death. 

*• To clatter "—to prattle, to act as a tell-tale.— /a»«Vj(7«. 

Ye wad dae little for God an' the deil was dead. 

They who worship God only for fear 

Would worship the devil should he appear. — E. 


Ye wad fain ride the fore horse an' ye wist how. 

"Rob Roy," ch. 17. 

Ye wad ferlie mair if the craws bigg'd in yer cleaving an' flew 
awa' wi' the nest. 

1.^., you are surprised at a trifling matter. 

Ye wad gar me trow my head's cowed, though there's no a 
hair o't wanting yet. 

i.e.. You would make me believe what I know to be quite false. — 

Ye wad kiss ony man's dirty shune for leave to bake in his oven. 
Ye wad mak a gude mid-wife, ye haud the grip ye get. 

Spoken to them that detain something of ours, and will not give it 
again. — Kelly. 

Ye wad mak muckle o' me if I was yours. 
Ye wad say that abak o* the Hirsel Law. 

This is said of one who takes credit for some bold courageous saying 
when it is suspected that the danger attending its utterance is past. 

One of the Earl of Home's servants being interrogated as to the cir- 
cumstances of a reported conversation, in which he played the hero, 
confessed that he was silent till the Law was between him and his lord- 
ship. — Berwickshire. — Dr. Henderson, 

Ye wad wheedle a laverock frae the lift. 

Ye was bred aboot the mill, ye hae mooped a' yer manners. 

Spoken to inferiors when they show themselves rude in their speech 
or behaviour. — Kelly. 

Ye was ill-hunted. — Kelly, 

Compare, Shame fa' the dogs, etc. 

Ye was ne'er bom at that time o' the year. 

Spoken to them that expect such a place, station, or condition which 
we think above their ** birth." — Kelly, 

Ye was ne'er far frae yer mother's hip. 

Spoken to those who are harsh to strangers. — Kelly, 

Ye was put oot o' the oven for nipping the pies. 
Ye watna what's behint your hand. 

Spoken to those who push at you with a drawn sword or present a 
charged gun in jest, as if they would say, You know not but the devil 
may be behind your hand pushing you on to mischief. — Kelly, 

Sub omnia lapide scorpius dormit. — L. 

Ye watna what wife's ladle may cog your kail ; and 

Ye watna what wife's ladle your dish may come under yet. — Kelly, 


You know not what ladle your dish may come under. — E^ 
Spoken by mothers to their children when they find fault with the 
kind or quantity of their meat. — Kelly, 

Ye winna believe that a bannock's hardened unless ye knock 
on't wi' yer nail. 

You'll not believe he*s bald till you see his brains. — E. 

Ye winna craw trade. 

f.^., you won't admit that trade is good. — Hisiop, 

Ye winna crow tread. 

Spoken when people fall in, or near, the fire. We allege that rooks 
will not tread those hens which smell of the fire. — Kelly, 

Ye winna die this year. 

Spoken when our friends enter of whom we were talking. — Kelly, 

Ye winna get gude honey for hurson (whoreson) frae me. 

If you scold me, I will not flatter you. — Kelly, 

Ye winna say that black's the fite (white) o' her ee. — Aberdeen- 

**John Gibb of Gussetneuk." i,e,^ She is sharp, capable of giving a 
sound opinion. 

Ye winna sleep, and the beetle without. 

Spoken to one who is importunate to get back a loan. — Kelly. 

Ye wist no so weel when day break. 

Spoken when a thing comes suddenly and with surprise. — Kelly. 

Ye yirr and yowl, ye bark but daurna bite. 

** Yirr and yowl," snarl and howl. 

Ye*ll be a man afore yer mither yet. 
Ye'll be hanged and FU be harried. 

Spoken to roguish boys who jest upon us. — Kelly. 

Ye'll be kissed and I'll be kissed, | We'll a' be kissed the morn, 
The braw lads o' Jethart | Will kiss us a' the morn. 

The ** Braw Lads " of Jedburgh. — Chambers, 

Ye'll be made up at the sign o' the wind. 

i,e.^ The promises made you will not be performed. — Kelly, 
Ye'll be the better o' findin' the grund o' yer stamach. 

An answer to an inopportune demand for food. 

Ye'll break yer neck as sune as yer fast in his house. — Fergusson, 


Ye'll cool and come to yersel, like MacGibbon's crowdy when 
he set it oot at the window-bole. 

"Crowdy," gruel, thin brose. 

Ye'll dance yet by the crook frae a widdie. 

** Tales of the Borders, — Archy Armstrong." 1.^., you will assuredly 
come to the gallows. 

Ye'll dee like a trooper's horse wi' yer shoon on. 

i,e,, you will be hanged. 

Ye'll dee without amends o't. 

Ye'll do anything but work and rin errands. 

Ye'll drink afore me. 

i,e,j you have said just what I was going to say, which is a token 
that you'll get the first drink. — Kelly, Good wits jump. — E. 

Ye'll gang a gray gate yet ; and, 
Ye'll gang up the car gate yet. 

i,e,, you will come to an ill end. — Kelly. 

To kick the wind ; and, You'll go up the ladder to bed. — E. 

Ye'll gang up the Lawn market yet. 

t.^., you will come to be hanged. 

In Edinburgh the procession of criminals to the gallows of old took 
that direction, moving, as the schoolboy rhyme had it — 

Up the Lawnmarket, 
Doun the West Bow, 
. Up the lang ladder 

And doun the little tow. 

"Guy Mannering," footnote to ch. 32. 
Ye'll gar him claw a sairy man's haffet. 

* * Sairy man," poor man ; ** hafiet," side of the head. 
i,e.f you will bring him to poverty.— Kelly, 

^ Ye'll gar me seek the needle where I didna stick it. 

i.e., send me begging. 

Spoken to thriftless wives and spending children. — Kelly, 

Ye'll gather nae gowd aff windlestraes. 

Ye*ll get as muckle for ae wish this year as for twa fern-year 
(last year). 

i.e., nothing ; for wishing begets nothing. 

Ye'll get him whaur ye left him. 

Spoken of even-tempered persons. — Kelly, 


Ye'll get the cat wi' the twa tails. 

A jest upon persons of large expectations. -^Kelly, 

Ye*ll get waur bodes ere Beltane. 

*• Beltane," i.e.^ the first of May. 

Addressed to a person who refuses the price offered for an article, 
meaning that as worse offers will be made, the seller will be sorry he 
did not accept the present one. — Hislop, 

Ye'll get yer gear again, and theyll get the wuddy that stole't ; 
and — 

Ye'll get yer gear again, and they'll get the wuddy that should 
have kept it 

The one spoken with resentment and the other jocosely. — Kelly, 

Ye'll hae anither Lord Soulis mistake. 

** Guy Mannering," ch. 36. 

When some complaints were made to King Robert Bruce about Lord 
Soulis, he thoughtlessly told the aggrieved parties to boil the offender if 
they pleased. So. taking the king at his word, they seized Soulis and 
boiled him in a sheet of lead. 

The phrase is used when rash advice is given to persons who may too 
probably overdo the wishes of the responsible party who has spoken the 
counsel or issued the commands. 

Ye'll hae the hauf o' the gate and a' the glaur. 

Spoken facetiously when- we take a friend to the outside of the foot- 
path. — Hislop, 

Ye'll hang a* but the head yet. 

Ye'll hear it on the deafest side o' yer lug. 

You'll hear it on your deafest ear. — Gaelic. 

Ye'll let little gae by ye, but speedy lads, ye canna get gripped. 

Spoken to those who grasp at everything. — Kelly, So — 

Ye'll let naething tine for want o' seeking (or craving). 

Lose nothing for the asking. 

Ye'll mend when ye grow better. 

Ye'll ne'er be auld wi' sae muckle honesty. — Hislop, 

Ye'll ne'er craw in my cavie. , 

i,e,y he will never be welcomed in my house. 

Ye'll ne'er get twa breads of ae cake. 

?.€., you will not be so obliging as to be twice served out of the same 
parcel. — Kelly, 

Ye'll ne'er grow bowbackit bearing your friends. 

i,e,y he does not trouble himself about his friends. 


Ye'll ne'er harry yoursel' wi' yer ain hands. 

Ye'll ne'er learn younger. 

** Old Mortality," ch. 6. And in Gaelic. 

Ye'll ne'er mak' a mark in yer testament by that bargain. 

i.e.^ you will lose money by the transaction. 

Ye'll ne'er rowte in my tether. 

Compare, Ye'U ne'er craw in my cavie. "To rowte," to low. 

Ye'll neither dee for yer wit, nor be drowned for a warlock. 

i,e,i he is neither very wise nor very clever. — Hislop. 

Ye'll no mend a broken nest by dabbin' at it. 

Gait's '*Sir Andrew Wylie," ch. 38. 
Compare^ It's an ill bird that flyles, etc. 

Ye'll play sma' game afore ye stand oot. — Kelly. 
Ye'll sit till ye sweat, and work till ye freeze. 

He'll eat till he sweats, and work till he freezes. — E. 

Ye'll spin and wind yoursel' a bonny pirn. 

"Rob Roy,"ch. 23. 

Ye'll tak' mair in yer mou' than yer cheeks will baud. 

ue,y you take more business in hand than you can well manage. 
All covet, all lose. — E. 

Ye'll win ower this trouble, and be better aff, 
Ye'll worry in the band, like MacEwen's cauf. 

In plain English you will be hanged. — Kelly, 

Ye're a deil, and nae cow, like the man's bull. 

" Ye're a fine sword," quo' the fool to the wheat braird. 

Ye're a foot behint the foremost. 

" Ye're a liar," said the dummy. 

** I see, I see," said the blind man. — Gaelic and French. 

Ye're a maiden marrowless. 

Applied satirically to girls who have a high opinion of themselves. 

Ye're a wuddiefu' gin hangin' time. 

Spoken to tricky young boys whom they commonly call ''wuddie- 

Ye're a' blawin' like a burstin' haggis. 
Ye're a' grease, but I'm only grushie. 

"Grushie," thick, flabby, flousy. 



Ye*re a* honest eneugh, but Lilly's awa\ 

Spoken when things are stolen in a house, and the servants deny it. 
It took its rise from a lady who privately dressed her lap dog Lilly, 
which the servants stole and ate." — Kelly, 

Ye're a' made o' butter an' sew'd wi' sour milk. 
Ye're a' out o't, and into strae. 

t.^., you are quite mistaken. 

Ye're ane o* Cow Meek's breed, yell stand without a bonoch. 

**Bonoch," a binding to tie a cow*s legs with while she is being 
milked., you are not very fierce. — Kelly. 

Ye're ane o' the house o' Harletillum (a house in Scotland). 

Spoken to those who are catching at and taking away what they can 
get. The point is the play on the -word Harletillum. i.^., Harle-to 
him — draw to himself. 

Ye're ane o' the tender Gordons — ye daurna be hang'd for gaw 
on your neck. 

**Togaw,"f>., to gall. 

Ye're as bad as Willie Ha', | Wha forgot his weddin' day. 

Applied to forgetful and absent-minded persons. The person who 
forgot his wedding day was said to be William Hall, Esq., of White- 
hall, in the parish of Chirnside, Berwickshire. Mr. Hall never married, 
and died in London shortly after the beginning of the present century. 
— Dr. Henderson, 

Ye're as big a liar as Tam Pepper. 

This saying is common in Berwickshire, and Hazlitt gives it in his 
collection as of Leeds origin, I have not met with it elsewhere. The 
devil is said to have given Tam up in despair. 

Ye're as braw as Bink's wife when she beckit to the minister 
wi' the dishclout on her head. 

Ye're as daft as ye're days auld. 

Ye're as lang in tuning your pipes as anither wad play a spring. 

Some would play a tune before you can tune your fiddle. — E.; and 
in Gaelic. 

Ye're as muckle as hauf a witch. 

You are either a witch or a fortune-teller. — E. 

Ye're as sma' as the twitter o' a twined rusky. 

A " twitter " is that part of a thread that is spun too small. " Rusky," 
a sort of vessel made of straw to hold meal in. 

A taunt to a maid that would gladly be esteemed neat and small. — 


Ye're as souple sark alane as some are mither naked. 
Ye're as stiff as a stappit saster (a crammed pudding). 
Ve're as weel on yer purchase as some are on their set rent. 

Often applied to them who have as many bastards as others have 
lawful children. — Kelly. 

Ye*re as white as a loan soup (milk given to strangers who 
come at milking time). 

Spoken to flatterers whom the Scots call " white ioW."— Kelly, 

Ye're aye gude, and ye'll grow fair — Kelly, 


Ye're aye in anger's room. 

Spoken to children when they are in the way and get hurt. — Kelly, 

Ye're best when ye're sleeping. 

Ye're black about the mou' for want o' kissing. 

A jest upon a young maid when she has a spot about her mouth, as 
if it was for want of being kissed. — Kelly. 

Ye're bonny eneugh to them that lo'e ye, and ower bonny to 
them that lo'e ye and canna get ye. 

Spoken as a comfort to people of an ordinary beauty. — Kelly. 

Ye're busy to clear yoursel' when naebody files ye. 

Ye're buttoned up the back like Achmahoy's dogs. 

Spoken to lean people whose backbones stand out, — Kelly. 

Ye're but young cocks, your craw's roupy (hoarse). 

Ye're cawking the claith ere the wab be in the loom. 

i.e., gutting your fish before you get them. 

Ye're come to fetch fire. 

Spoken to them who make short visits. — Kelly. 

Ye're Davy-do-a'-thing. 

i.e., you think nothing can be done without you. — JCelly, 

Ye're Davy-do-little, and gude for naething. 
Ye're done wi't if ye had a drink. 

Spoken of a thing past recovery. — Kelly. 

Ye're either ower het or ower cauld, like the miller o' Marshach 

Ye're feared for the day ye never saw. 

You are afraid of far enough. — E. 


Ye*re feared for the death ye'U never dee. 

Roy's ** Generalship," Part 9. 

Ye'rejAI for coorse country wark, yeVe rather strong than 

Ye're gude eneugh, but ye're no bra-new (quite new). 

Spoken to them that commend themselves, intimating that they want 
not their faults. — Kelly, 

Ye're gude to be sent for sorrow, 

Ye*re gude to carry a present, ye can mak' muckle o' little. 

Spoken when people overvalue a small service, or complain too much 
of a slight trouble. — Kelly, 

Ye're here yet, and yer belt heal. 

Spoken when people say they will go to such a place, and there do 
thrive and prosper. — Kelly. 

Ye're like a hen on a het girdle. 

** Waverley," ch. 71. All of a motion, like a Mulpa toad on a hot 
shovel. — E. ; Cornwall. 

Ye're like a Lauderdale bawbee, | As bad as bad can be. 

A halfpenny coined under the direction of the persecuting Duke of 
Lauderdale soon became base money. — Dr, Henderson* 

Ye're like a rotten nit, no worth cracking for the kernel. 

Ye're like a sow, ye'll neither lead nor drive. 

Ye're like Adam Black's pony, 

Flisky and pranky, and no very canny ; 

Naething but marriage will tame ye ava. 

And marriage will tame a hare or a craw. 

Adam Black, a cadger, who lived at West Reston, Berwickshire, 
towards the close of the last century, was much troubled with a tricky 
pony. One day, as the beast gave unmistakeable signs of playing its 
usual pranks, the cadger laid firm hold of the bridle, exclaiming, 

**Swallye for a b . I wish I could only get you married, for I 

daresay naething else on earth will tame ye." The saying passed into 
a local proverb, and is applied to a forward, pert, romping girl, who is 
going on her high jinks, as a warning of what is awaiting her. — Dr. 

Ye're like an ill shilling — ye'U come back again. 

** Redgauntlet," Narrative, ch. 2. 

Spoken jocularly to a person who is about to go away. — Hislop, 

Ye're like Brackley's tup, ye follow the lave. 

Ye're like Gutty Shaw [ In Edencraw, 
There's nae filling ye. 


Mr. Adam Home of Stoneshiel one day gave James Shaw, a poor 
man from Auchencraw, as much bread and butter as he could eat. 
James ate so much that at last Home said, ** Deil get you, for you have 
eaten as muckle as ten men could have eaten ! " and ever after he was 
called Gutty Shaw o' Edencraw. 

Applied to a great eater. — Z>r. Henderson. 

Ye're like laird Moodie's greyhounds, unco hungry like aboot 
the pouch lids. 

Ye're like Mawly's mear, ye broke fairly aff. 

Spoken to them who begin well, and afterwards fall behind." — Kelly. 

Ye're like me, and I'm like sma' drink. 

i.e,y you are little worth. — Kelly. And the converse — 

Ye*re like me, and I'm nae sma' drink. 

Ye're like Piper Bennet's bitch, ye lick till ye burst 

Ye're like the cooper o* Fogo, ye drive aff better girds than ye 
ca' on. 

Spoken of those who attempt to reform anything, but instead of that 
make matters worse. — Dr. Henderson. 

Compare^ He's his father's better, like the cooper o' Fogo. 

Ye're like the cow couper o' Swinton, your drouth's unquench- 

John Henderson, a cow couper in Swinton, Berwickshire, towards 
the close of the last century, was very fond of a dram. He accounted 
for this taste by declaring that on the day of his birth the midwife had 
given him such a dose of salt and water that nothing on earth ever since 
could quench his thirst. 

The saying is applied to hard drinkers, and also to one who is always 
asking a drink of water. Salt water was given to newly-born infants 
in Scotland and elsewhere, some say to clear the phlegm from their 
throats and stomachs, others declare to defend the children from^the 
power of the devil. — Dr. Henderson. 

Ye're like the dead folk o' Arseltoun, no to lippen to. 

An Earlstoun man returning home one night the worse of drink, 
wandered into the village churchyard and fell asleep there. When he 
awoke, he felt his way across the graves ; but taking every hollow inter- 
val for an open grave, he was heard by a neighbour saying to himself, 
** Up and away ? Eh, this ane up and away too ? Was there ever 
the like o' that ? I trow the dead folk o' Arseltoun are no to lippen 
to ! " — Dr. Henderson. 

Ye're like the dogs o' Dodha, | Baith double and twae faced. 

i.e.t fawn on me to-day, and to-morrow bite my heels. 
Dodha is now Nethermains, in the parish of Chirnside, Berwick- 
shi re. — Dr. Henderson. 


Ye're like the dogs o' Dunraggit, ye winna bark unless ye hae 
your hinder end to the wa*. 

Spiken to those who are for peace at any price, unless they see they 
are sure to succeed in a controversy. — Hishp, 

The barking of the lap dog with his back to the wall. — Gaelic. 
Compartt I m like the dogs o' Rawburn, etc. 

Ye're like the dreigh drinker o* Sisterpath Mill, 
Ye'll no flit as lang*s a stoup ye can fill. 

Applied to topers who will drink so long as they can get drink by 
any means. 

Sisterpath Mill is on the Blackadder, in the parish of Fogo, Berwick- 
shire. Tradition records that at one time there were no fewer than 
five public-houses at this place. 

It is said that a jovial party entered one of these inns as the landlady 
was setting a hen, and did not rise to depart till the chickens were run- 
ning about the house. — Dr. Henderson^ 

Ye're like the folk o' Kennetside Head, 
Ye hae it a' afore ye in ae screed. 

An individual passing this farm in the parish of Eccles, Berwickshire, 
on an afternoon, about the end of harvest, found a band of reapers 
taking their ease by the roadside. He asked why they were not work- 
ing when so much corn remained uncut. One of the band replied : 
"It's our kirn day, and we ha'e it a* before us" — or, under our com- 
mand — *'ere the sun isdoun." When, however, he passed the field 
in th^ evening he found the folk of Kennetside Head still shearing by 

Applied by labourers during harvest, ironically, to indicate that they 
need not work too hard as they have it all before them. — Or, Henderson, 

Ye're like the gudeman o' Kilpalet, 
Owre simple for this world. 
And has nae broo o' the next. 

Applied to one of a simple character, easily imposed on, and with 
little ambition for this world, or aspirations after another. 

Kilpalet is a Lammermoor farm about five miles north-west of Long- 
form acus. — Dr, Henderson, 

Ye're like the Kilbarchan calves — like best to drink wi' the 
wisp in yer mou'. 

Ye're like the lady o' Bemerside, ye'll no sell your hen in a 
rainy day. 

Never offer your hen for sale in a rainy day. — E. 
Ye*ll no sell your hen on a rainy day. — Scottish. 
A prudent advice as on a rainy day a hen presents a draggled, woe- 
begone appearance. 

Ye're like the lady o' Luss's kain eggs, every one of which fell 
through the ring into the tub, and didn't count. 


** Kain eggs " were a part of the rent paid in kind, and only eggs of 
a certain size were received, those which were so small as to fall through 
a ring of a standard size being rejected. The saying is applied as 
meaning that the person indicated is not up to the mark ; that he can't 
pass muster. 

Ye're like the laird o' Blanerne — feared for a taed. 

Applied to a very timid person. Blanerne is an estate in the parish 
of Buncle, Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson, 

Ye're like the lambs, ye do naething but sook and wag your 

Ye're like the man that sought his horse, and him on its back. 

Ye're like the miller's dog, ye lick your lips ere the pock be 

** Bride of Lammermoor," ch. 5. Spoken to covetous people who 
are eagerly expecting a thing and ready to receive it before it is pro- 
ferred. — Kelly, 

Ye're like the minister o' Balie, preaching for selie. 

Ye're hke the swine's bairns, the aulder ye grow ye're aye the 
thiefer like. 

Ye're like the tod's whalp, aye a day aulder a day waur. 

Ye're like Towy's hawks, ye eat ane anither. 

Ye're looking ower the nest like the young craws. 

Ye're mistaken o' the stuff; its half silk. 

Jocosely spoken to them that undervalue a person or thing which we 
think indeed not very valuable, yet better than they repute it. — Kelly. 

Ye're muckle unmanly, like Tam Taylor's tyke. 
Ye're nae blate. 

" Fortunes of Nigel," ch. 32. 1.^., you are forward, impudent. 

Ye're nae chicken for a' ye're cheepin'. 

Applied to an elderly young lady who puts on youthful airs. 

Ye're nae fey yet., not near your death. — Kelly, 

Ye're nae flae-bitten about the gab. 

The Ettrick Shepherd^ **The Shepherd's Calendar." f.<f., you are 
evidently not kissed much. Compare^ Ye're black about the mou*, etc. 

Ye're nae smyth. 

In the reign of James III., after a battle between the royal troops 
and the forces of Lord Douglas, in which the latter were victorious, one 
of the king's men took refuge in a convenient smithy. The smith 


dressed him as a hammerman, and set him to work. While thus 
engaged, a party of the enemy entered the smithy, and their appear- 
ance so alarmed the soldier that he struck a false blow with the sledge- 
hammer, which broke the shaft in two. Upon this one of the Douglas 
men rushed upon him, exclaiming, •* Ye're nae smyth." A fight then 
followed, and the hammerman having rallied a part of the royal forces, 
changed a defeat into a victory. He received a grant of land for this 
service, and assumed the name of Naesmyth, and as arms, a hand dexter, 
with a dagger between two broken hammer-shafts, with the motto, 
** Non arte sed niarte " — not by art but by war, or, in the old Scottish 
form, Not by knaverie but by braverie. James Naesmyth, the great 
engineer, reversed the motto. 

Ye're never aff my tap. 

Ye're new come ower, yer heart's nipping (grieved). 
, Ye're no fed on deaf nuts. 

i.e.f you are plump, like your meat. 

Ye're no light whaur ye lean on. 

Ye're no sae poor as ye peep (pretend). — Kelly, 

Ye're no worth calng oot o' a kail yaird. 

Ye're o' sae mony minds, ye'U never be married. 

Ye're obliged to yer goodam (grandmother), she left you the 
tune of her tail. 

Spoken jocosely to them that do not sing well. — Kelly, 

Ye're out and in, like a dog at a fair. 

Ye're ower auld farrant to be fley'd wi' bogles. 

Ye're ower burd mou'd. 

i.e.f too modest, and so left unsaid what should have been spoken. — 

Ye're ower early thanking. 

It is not good to praise the ford till a man be over, — E. 

Ye're ower het, and ower fu', sib to some o' the laird's tenants. 

Ye're ower near the water Ee, 
Through the mist ye canna see, 
Your heart's ay at your mouth. 

Applied to those who are too much given to the ** melting mood." 
The local reference is to the river Eye in Berwickshire. — Dr, Henderson, 

Ye're queer folk no to be Falkland folk. 
Ye're sae keen o' clockin', ye'll dee on the ^ggs. 

Spoken to those who are fond of any new place, condition, business, 
or employment. — Kelly, 


Ye're sae weel o* yer wooing, ye watna whaur to wed. 

i,e,, you have so much choice. — Kelly, 

Ye're sair fashed hauding naething thegither. — Kelly. 
Who so busy as they who have least to do. — E. 

Ye're seeking the thing that's no lost. 

Spoken to them that are taking up the thing they should not. — Kelly, 

Ye're sib to ill, may you hear. 

Spoken to them that do not distinctly hear you, — Kelly, 

Ye're sick but no sair handled. 

Spoken to them that pretend sickness. — Kelly, 

Ye're sorrowfu' strait shod. 

ue,^ too nice and scrupulous. — Kelly, 

Ye're sturted (troubled) — I wish I had your tail to draw. 

Spoken ironically when people have done little, and think much of 

Ye're thankfu' for sma' mercies. 
** Heart of Midlothian," ch. 24. 

Ye're the greatest liar o' yer kin, except yer chief that wan his 
meat by it. — Kelly, 

Ye're the weight o' Jock's cog, brose and a'. 

Ye're the wit o' the townhead, that called the haddock's head 
a thing. 

Nothing but a taunt to them that say a foolish thing. --Kelly, 

Ye're thrifty and thro' thriving. 
When your head gangs doun your bottom's rising. 
Spoken ironically to thriftless people. — Kelly, 

Ye're trying like the millers o' Dryden's mills which o' ye is 
best at twisting hemp. 

i,e.<, you are acting as if you wished to try which of you could ruin 
himself soonest. 

Ye're unco gude an' ye grow fair. 
Ye're up to the buckle, like John Barr's cat. 
Ye're very foresighted, like Forsyth's cat. 
Ye're very short to be sae lang. 

i,e,y your power is not equal to your pretensions. 
" Heart of Midlothian," ch. 50. 


Ye're weel awa' if ye bide, an' we're weel quat. 

Ye're welcome, but ye'll no win ben. 
A civil denial of what we ask. — Kelly, 

Ye're welcome to go, and ye're welcome to stay; and, 
Ye're welcome though ye never come again. 

May be taken either in a good or bad sense. — Kelly. 
Come and welcome, go by, and no quarrel. — £. 
You are welcome to stay, but you had better go ; and, You can see 
your own door from mine. — Gaelic. 

Ye're worn frae an arful (armful) to a horse car full. 

Applied to those who are become very big and fat — Kelly. 

Ye'se get yer brose oot o' the lee side o' the pat. 

i,e,t you will get the best the pot contains. 

Ye've a lang nose, and yet ye're cut lugget 

In appearance you have an advantage in one way, but not in another. 

Ye've gient the Bartlehill steek. 

The laird of Bartlehill, parish of Eccles, Berwickshire, was notorious 
as a dilatory payer of accounts, so the tailors, shoemakers, and saddlers 
whom he employed, spent as little time as possible on the work which 
they executed to his order. — Dr. Henderson. 

The lazy tailors* long stitch ; and, Long stitch and soon done. — 
Gaelic. Also in Irish. Bad seamstress' thread a fathom long. — Span. 

YeVe got yer health into the barnyard again. 

t.^., your health is restored. 

Ye've grown proud since ye quatted the begging. 

Applied satirically to persons who pass their acquaintances in a proud 
manner. — Hislop, 

Ye've wared yer siller, no spent it 

i.e., you have made a good bargain. 

Years bring fears. 

Yellow's forsaken, and green's forsworn. 
But blue and red ought to be worn. 

Yellow was a despised colour in the Middle Ages, and formed th6 
dress of slaves and bankrupts. 

Yet and but are words for fools. 

Yonder dark grey man. 

It is said of the Douglas family that, so far as historical records go, 
it has always been noble, and its origin cannot be traced. The Doug- 
lasses used to say : '* You may see us in the tree, you cannot discover 


us in the twig ; you may see us in the stream, you cannot trace us to 
the fountain. —^(?<? '* Castle Dangerous," ch. 4. By an ancient though 
improbable tradition, the Douglasses are said to have derived their 
name from a champion who had greatly distinguished himself in an 
action. When the king demanded by whom the battle had been won, 
the attendants are said to have answered, "Sholto Dhu Glas,'* which 
means, Yonder dark gray man. But says Scott, in Note N. to "The 
Abbot," the name is undoubtedly territorial, and taken from Douglas 
river and vale. 

York was, London is, and Edinburgh will be 

The biggest o' the three. — Thomas the Rhymer. 

According to an English saying — 

Lincoln was, London is, and York shall be, 
The fairest city of the three. 

Young ducks may be auld geese. 

Young wives seldom like auld gudemithers. 

Your bread's baked, ye may hing up yer girdle. 

His bread is buttered on both sides. — E. 
«.f., he is well provided for. 

Your een's no marrows. 

Spoken when people mistake what they look at. — Kelly ^ . 

Your een's your merchant. 

Who buys. 

Hath need of a hundred eyes ; 

Wbo sells. 

Hath enough of one. — E. 

Let the buyer look to himself, the seller knows both the worth and 
price of the commodity. — Ray^ and in Italian. 
To thine eye, O merchant. — Arab. 
Caveat emptor. — L. ; and in Gaelic. 

Your fit to my fit, 

And we'll meet i' the middle o' S win ton yet. 

John Henderson and Robert For man were, about the beginning of 
the present century, denominated the *' kings o' Swinton " (Berwick- 
shire), and consulted by their neighbours in all sorts of affairs. When 
in drink, the one used to address the other in the above lines, which at 
length came to be a popular saying in the countryside. Both lost their 
property, and died in poverty. — Dr. Henderson. 

Your gear will ne'er ower gang ye. 

Spoken to thriftless persons. — Kelly. 

Your hand canna get up but your stamach follows. 

Refers to those who are purse ^^xovA.-^— Kelly. 


Your head will ne'er fill your faither's bannet. 

You'll never fill your father's shoes. —E. 
You arc no son like the father. — Gaelic. 

Your luckie's mutch, and lingle's at it, 
Doun the back and buckles at it. 

PecMes-shire — Chambers. **Your luckie's mutch !" is an exclama- 
tion of petulant contempt, or impatience under reproof. '*Luckie," a 
wife, an elderly woman. 

Compare^ Kiss your luckie, etc. 

Your lugs might hae yowked. 

f . e, , t ingled . — Kelly, 

Your meat will make you bonny, and when you're bonny youll 
be weel lo'ed, when you*re weel lo*ed you'll be light hearted, 
and when youVe light hearted you'll loup far. 

A senseless bauble to induce young children to eat. — Kelly, 

Your mind's aye chasing mice. 

Your wts are a-wool gathering. — E.; and, 
You are dreaming of a dry summer. — E. 

Your neck is yowking. 

Taken from a senseless opinion of my countrymen, that when their 
nose itches someone is speaking ill of them ; when their mouth itches, 
they will get some novelty ; when their ear, somebody is speaking of 
them. The meaning is that you are doing or saying something that 
will bring you to the gallows. — Kelly. 

Your thrift gaes by the profit o' a yeld hen. 

A taunt upon them who boast of what they have wrought. — Kelly, 
Your tongue gaes like a lamb's tail. 

A woman's tongue wags like a lamb's tail. — E. 

Your will's my pleasure. 

** Roy's Generalship," part 12. 

Your wind shakes nae corn. 

Spoken to boasting, pretending people, whom the Scots call "windy 
people. "— KtUy. 

All this wind shakes no corn. — E. ; and in Gaelic. 

Your winning is not in my tinsel (loss). — Kelly, 

Your wit will ne'er worry you.. — Kelly, 

You are as wise as Waltham's calf, that ran nine miles to suck a bull. 
— E. 

Youth and age will never agree. — Kelly, 


Yule is young on Yule even, and auld on Saint Steven. 

Spoken when people are much taken with novelties, and as soon 
weary of them. — Kelly, 

Yule Rhymes. —Shetland. 

The very babe unborn, 

Cries, O dul ! dul ! 

For the breaking o' Thammasmas nicht, 

Five nichts afore Yule. 

Thammasmas e'en was five nights before Yule day. No work was 
to be done after day set, the evening was regarded as peculiarly holy, 
and unlike all the other evenings of Yule tide, no amusements were 
allowed. The smallest divergence from this superstition was believed 
to bring misfortune, as indicated in the rhyme. 

No sort of work was done during Yule, for the old rhyme said — 

Nedder bake nor brew, 
Shape nor shew, 
Upon gude Yiile, 
Else muckle diill 
Will be dy share 
Dis year and mair. 

Some fishermen who went to sea on the fourth day of Yule, brought 
upon their lines a hideous monster, half fish, half horse. This creature 
told them that — 

Man who fished in Yule week. 
Fortune never mair did seek. 

Work was resumed on New Year's day, and from that time until 
twenty-fourth night, work and play went hand and hand. The festivi- 
ties were concluded by a ball on twenty-fourth night. An old rhyme 
warned the young men to — 

Make the maist o' ony chance, 
Yiile is time to drink and dance, 
Newrsmas lucky lines should bring 
Twenty-fourth night, get the ring, 
Gi'e the lass a kiss, and mind 
Time and tide are easily tined. 

The Yules began with Tul-ya's e'en, which was seven days before 
Yule tide. On that day the trows received permission to leave their 
homes in the heart of the earth, and to dwell for a while above ground. 
It was believed that the ** grey folk," as they were called, would injure 
life and property unless due care was taken to sain — guard by spells — 
the people and their gear from the malign influence of those trouble- 
some visitors. To guard a child from danger, the following rhyme was 
said over the cradle on Helya's night, which came immediately after 
Tul-ya's e'en — 

Mary midder baud de haund 
Ower aboot for sleeping baund, 
Had da lass and had da wife. 
Had da bairn a' its life ; 
Mary midder haud de haund 
Round da infants o' oor land. 




The sleeping band was a broad belt with which the baby was tied into 
the cradle. 

On Yule morning the gudeman went round to all his household with 
a dram, saying — 

Yule gude, and yule gear, 
Follow de trew da year. 

As the trows cannot abide the sight of iron, so some article made of 
this metal was always displayed in a prominent position in every dwell- 
ing during the Yule season as a charm against the ** grey folk." On 
twenty-fourth night the trow's holiday came to an end for the season. 

Yule's come, and Yule's gane, | And we hae feasted weel ; 
Sae Jock maun to his flail again, | And Jenny to her wheel. 

A Fifeshire rhyme. In allusion to the festive character of Christmas, 
boys use this rhyme — 

On Christmas night I turned the spit, 
I burnt my fingers — I find it yet. 


Zeal catches fire at a slight spark as fast as a brunstane match. 

** Heart of Midlothian,?' ch. 18. 

110, 180, 188, 203. 204, 206, 219, 2 
225, 237, 261, 268, 26*, 273. 298, 31 
310, 3H, 317, 318, 32^,326,327,3! 
330, 3ie, 348, 349, 352, 3fl3, 368, 3'. 
362,337,392,396, 414. 

Ailbii Craia. 43. 

April. 8, 41, 176. 270. 

Ai^leshire, sayings relating to, 2( 


a Boiealis, 339, 341. 

" Children's rjivmes, 63, 84, 62, 87, 93, 
' 100, 128, 166, 107, 178, 181, 226, 228, 
' I 230, 254, 256, 269, 286. 270, 282, 333, 

301, 304, 307, 308, 312, 338, 401. 
' I Clackminanshire, saying relating lo, 
' 267. 
I Comparisons, 42-50, 160. 161, 191, 204, 

W6, 216, 217, 236. 237, 238, 294, 296, 
' 296, 297, 403, 404, 409, 412, 420, 121, 

422, 423, 435. 

BanfTshire, sayings relating lo, 33, 60, 
74, 83, 127, 342. 

Beatrice, Princess, 127. 

Beltnne, 166, 186, 408,416. 

Berwickshire, sivinga relating In, 13, 
19, 43, 60. 62, "54, 55, 68. 71. 72, 7S, 
90, 91, «7, 99, 101, 102, 106, 107, 
110, ]il, 113. 119, 120,121,127,131. 
157, 169.180,163,164,168,169, 174, 
176, 176, 182. 183, 190, 199, 202, 316, 
217, 'JlEt. 220. 321, 230, 239. 210, 242. 
253, -KV, ■iil.^, ^72. 277, 283, 285, 281, 
391, -IW. 297, M4, 307, 313, 314, 317, 
318, -I!*!, ;i-JO, ,^24,328,329,331,335. 
339, ;lll, ;nj,aj4,350,353,S63,354, 
356, 'J ..,, .i;>, :i69,371,382.3RS, 
3351, . 1., -101, 413,418,420, 

421, IJl. 426,127, 

r!«r.l,r . l\ 13, 29. 65, SI, 

100, ■:■:. ].;, 174.202,225.276.298, 
806, 33H; 3i'.a. 375, 876, 377, 392. 

Borrowing days 65, 90. 155. 

Branfield, Lord. Justice Clerk, 126. 

Brownies, 21, 71, 114, 124, 143, 218, 


Cnledoni-in Hunt. 387. 
Cametonlnn. a, )6S. 
Candlemas, 3, 46, 104, ] 
Carlisle, 262. 

Dublin, 210. 

91, 409, 422. 
Dumbeck, 14a 

liaster, 50, 3 

saymns relating lo, 
62,70, in, 120,123, 
!33, 340, 341, 366, 334, 


Ecclesiastical, 6, 7, 27, 39, 36. 39, 63, 
79. 96, 135, 163, 188. 195, 198, 239, 
243, 247, 263, 276, 282, 319, 320, 331, 
326. 310. 341, 343. 352, 356. 374. 377, 
389, 393, 4U5, 407, 40S, 418. 423. 

[Edinburgh, savings relating to tlie city 
of. 26. 43, 5i, 93, 97, 102, 115, 107, 
173, 218, 256. 279, 281, 299. 311. 335. 
329, 330, 339, 368, 371, 888. 4 15, 427. 

Edinburghshire, sayings relating lo, 
202, 256, 266, 331. 403. 

England tnd the English, sayings re- 
Ltiing to, 95, 96, 149, 329, 262, 273, 
277, 293, 323, 324, 333, 346, S99, 407. 

Fairies, 100, 101, 174, 271, 336, 379, 

Families of distinction, sayings relating 

to. 10. 14, 46. 61. 77, 79, 80, 90, 91, 

92, 93, 98, 107, 109. 110. 117. 118. 

123, 124, 131, 137, 142, 144, 194, U*, 

178. ISO, 2or., :.m iu.-2-r:; 2-:ii. a 
239, 2*9. ■!:■:., -i:--?, ■i-'ij. -m. 'j.-j, 2( 
»«,30i>.Mu :Ul,:il.-..::ii:,;jl7.31 
313, S24,:i'i^ :v : :'.■:.- :!■:■.* ;i.v^ 3! 
337, 33H. ;i.:;i. :Mri :til iiij, SH 3i 
:(*i, 347, M'i, 35i(, 361. SS3, 3fi7, 3( 
SeS, 374, ail, 3S4. 398, 31K1. 41il, 41 
423, 424, 4-itl. 

Kinpine and rurmein. savin^i rrlnti 
lo, IS, 42, 102, 105, ffi2, 231, 2. 
'284, -^8, 2iKl, ■J9<, 2»», 801, 30ii, 3h 
349, 3CH!. 307, 372, 3S6, 339, 392, 31 

Fasien'i e'en. 50, 68. 104, 2(4. 

Frbnury. 14, 103, 231, 208. 

Firethirc, sayings reUting io, I, 4. 
16, 42. 46, 63, 73, 78, 89, 90, 91, 1( 
104, 149. 192, 193, 197, 228, 230, 2- 
247. 267, 276, 311, 315,318, 322. 8! 
338, 343, 381. 893. 401. 402.. 424, 4: 

Forfareliire, sayincs r'^lating to. 41, I 
34, 65, 68. 86, 99, 123. 182, 211. 2 
280, 315, 317, 319, 820. 32S, S3*. 3' 
357,390, 401. 

Forth, the, 5. 108. 

France, 139, 196, 338. 

Friday, 109, 298. 

Invemess-ihire, sajing relatirg lo, 235. 
Ireland and Ihe Irish, sayings lehlins 
to, 203, 328. 

Jacobite phrases, reUtinc to, 21, 197, 

214, 272, 277, 300, 310. 322, 332, 337, 

850, 858, 373, S77, 386. 
(anuary, 14, 193. 
ledbureh, IE, 204, 221, 414. 

Kelso, 16. 

Kincardineshire, sayings relating to, 

32, 63, 93, 112, 288. 
Kinross-shire, sayings relating lo, 237, 

Kirkcudbrightahire. sayings relating lo. 

26, 32, 72, 91, 104, 118,196, 332, 392. 

Lammas, 8, 36, 216. 

Lanarkshire, sayings relating Io, E5, 61 , 
74. 81, 112, 116, 188. 239, 270, 292. 
330, 340, 351, 374, 383, 405. 

Law and Lawyers, sayings relating to, 
7, IB, 31, 84, 42, 84, 86, B6, 97, 147, 
210, 226, 231, 253, 261, 277, 279, 29S, 
311, 313. 320. 823, 327, 331, 333, 3.%, 
312.344.345,318, 356,357, 369,371, 
-■76. 3B7. 

Lei.h, 227. 
'229, 239, 324,' £ 

Mnddington5liire. s.ivings relating Ui, 
61. 73, 124. I'jr., 2aS, 306, 310, 831, 
335, 3t4, 3.14, IWti. 

Hallow I'air, 12. 

H ilLiWuen, ItfS, 363. 

H.irrest, sivinys reUlinglo, 11, 32, 88. 
HO. 83. IU4. 17S, 131, 202, 223, 23:., 

Hawick, 13. 

Highlaodcra, sayinRS reliitini; to, 13, 47. 
M, 117, 127, 142, 167. 182, l(-8, 20-J 
214, 215, 237, 213, 253, 276. 284, 303 
307, 316, 827, 332, 337, 340, 362, 372, 
373. 374, 876. 391, 395, 398, 406. 

Hogmaniiy, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 

Holyrood, 178. 

412. ""^ '°' 
to, 8, 34, 197, 


March, 197, 237, 24fl, 270, 393. 

Mavriiige, sayings relating to, 6, 12, 18, 
21. 23, 58, G7. 69, 74, ToTSLSD, 1*5, 
162, 166, 173, 17S, 19d, 200, 201, 2C5, 
206, 215, 3'Jl', 3;[G. 243. 250, 252, 2(13. 
ail, 2S5, 2w:i, 20;t, 295, 290, 297, 33!, 
330, 353, 378, 391. 

.Vlarriages, irtegular, 4, 126, 223, 247, 

May, 20, 41, 73, 78, 150, 197, 201, 248, 

249, 269, 270. 
Meals, sayings relating to, 81, 108, 

279, 306, 373, 378. 

Medical sayings, 3, 6. 24, 53, GO, 103, 

145, 197. 
Michaelmas, 249. 
Milk, rhyme about, MS. 
Months, rhyme on, 367. 
Moon, sayings rolatins to, 266, 289, 

Momyshire.Bayingsreliitingto, 20, 128, 

253, 303, 323, 327, 329, 400. 
Municipal sayings, 39, 40, 293, 314, 

Newbaven fishwives, 134. 

Nicknames 221. 246. 2S^ 310, 31fl, 
316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 323, 324, 326, 
327, 32S, 329, 330, 332, 333, 334, 335, 
336, 337, 333, 339, 340, 341. 342, 343, 
344, 345, 34G, 347, 343. 35a 

October, 270. 

Orkney, sayings rclaiing to, 23, 62, 68, 

82, 104, 120, 154, 237, 270, 275, 320, 

337, 338, 344, 345, 379. 

Paisley, 116, 277- 

Peeblesshire, sayings relating to, 64, 93, 
116, 123. 239, 273, 279, 300, 324, 326, 
353, 359, 331, S9C, 405, 42S. 

Penlland Finh, 48. 

Perlhshire. sayings relating to, 21, 26, 
33, 41, 61. 82, 91, 97, 120, 226, 276, 
290, 305, 307, 318, 324, 339, 340, 34(1, 

PiperJ, 70," 276, 303, 340. 341, 357, 365, 

390, 412, 418. 
Poliiical sayinfts, 47, 78, 83. 85, 87, 9.', 

124, 126. 146, 155, 205, 232, 258, 282, 

309, 310, 311, :M0, 341, 352, 353, 354, 

3fiJ,3(ji, 375. US.';, 339. 

Rainbow, 23, 283. 

KenlVewshire. s;iylngs relitiiig to, 77, 

191, 3G0, 422. 
Rivers, Scottish, 41, 133.290, 32(, 381, 

Rovaliv, savings nil.iiing to, 1, 19, 3J, 

221. 238, 246, 298, 3!it>. 311, ;124. 327. 

323, 3.32, 333, 337, 339. 343, 346. 
Rome, 214. ■ 
Roxburghshire, sayings relating to, 13, 

15. 27. 49. 62, 78, 84, 94, 100, 104, 

130. 19J, 20j, 292, 350, 357, 370, 3f 3, 

394, 414. 

Saturday, 289. 

Scott, Michael, 181, 245. 

Scott, Sir Waller, 138, 350. 

Scottisii and Scotland, sayings relating 

to, 11, 24, 25, 42, 43, 4fi, 47, K. 83, 

99, 1«9. 111. lit, 118. 149. 158, 178. 

196, 197, 222, 232, 2IM, 266, 2117, 270, 

273, 278, 2ff. 2B0, 291, 292, 323, 323, 

343. 346, 365, 369, 370, 377, 386, 399. 
Selkirkshire, sayings relating to, 40. 50. 

95, 106, 121, 123, 270, 285, 291, 300, 

303, 324, 338, 3D6, 
Session, Court of, 126. 
Session, Lords o^ 17, 130, 325. 
Shakspeare, 218, 
Shetland, sayings rel.iiing tc, 79, 89, 

132, 210, 286, 289, 329, 337, 390, 429, 

llogans of th-' Clans, 1, 6, 13, 36, 52, 

eS, 64. 71, 76, 81, lOS). 112, 119, lUil, 

177, 227, 236, 240, 241, 269, 293, 304, 

Sports, sayings relating to, 70. 84, 167, 

192, 387. 
Stirlingshire sayings relating to, 63, 59, 

101, 239, 273, 317, 346, .394, 407. 
;ummer, 7. 299, 401. 
;unday, 107, 298, 306, 307. 

Threats, ISr^ 186, 187, 188, IS9, 190, 

2;'.>, 397, 398, SO.'i, 394. 
Tocher, 28. 29, 130. 243, 252. 
Trees, 10, 21, 25, iO, 62,105, 314, 341. 

Wakefield, ];15. 

Wallace, Sir, 384, 338. 

WaUs, a, 20.\ 

Weather sayillgl relating to, 29, 35, 
37, 41, 43, 61, B3, 68. 73, 78, 92, 9;(, 
110, 193, 196, 197, 198, 249, 362, 260, 
292, 302,305, 340, 34S, 369, 377, 382. 
392, 393, 304, 395, 396, 307, 400, 401. 

Weirds, 35, 53, 100, 104, 252, 253, 402. 

WifL-, 6, 12. 23, 23, 29. 38, 61, 63, 54, 
67, 100, lOB, 112, 124, 145, 146, 160, 
183, 253, 354, 885, 388, 402, 410. 

Wiglonshlre, sayings relating to, 45, 72, 
104, 196, 225. 332, 331, 422. 

Winter, 8, SO, 37, 401. 



Witches, savings relating to, 37, 248, I York, 427. 
iWJ, 2.V,, -Jm;, 207,337. 384, 401, 404. ' Yule, sayings lelating to, 10, 11, 31, 42, 
41H. 44, 60, 166. 167, 186, 267, 316, 321, 

Wuddic, 3. 61. 380, 403, 415, 416. 381, 397, 429, 430. 


\cAT, New, iri5, 1<H>.