Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AIN, †AWN, †Awin, Ayn, adj. and n. Used gen. as St.Eng. own. (2 (e), (f), (g) are Sc. usages only.) Almost always after possessive adjectives or the possessive case of nouns, with which it is in sense so closely combined that it forms with them virtual compounds. In form it is an adj., but when without it the possessive would be a pronoun used absolutely, ain may be regarded as forming part of a comp. possessive pron. [e:n Sc., exc. ′ɛən Sh.; ein e.Bch., Crm., Cai.] In quots. chron. order observed.

1. †Awn, †awin, adj., or, as in 1st quot., forming part of comp. pron. (Some late examples are archaistic — e.g. Scott Monastery iii.) Sc. ?a.1700  () The Outlaw Murray in Ballads ed.
Child (1904) No. 305a lxxi.:
Fair Philiphaugh, prince, is my awin.
Sc. 1725  W. Hamilton Braes of Yarrow xix.:
His purple vest, 'twas my awn sewing.
Abd. c.1746  W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1767) iii.:
In the play Mass John is slain With his awn knife.
Sc. 1820  Scott Monastery iii.:
“Take your awn way for it then,” said Martin.

2. Ain.

(a) adj. (really part of comp. possessive adj.). Gen.Sc. Dmf. 1810  A. Cunningham in
Cromek Remains, etc. 178:
But he has tint the blythe blink he had In my ain countrie.

(b) Forming part of comp. pron. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems, Wealth 243:
Happy that Man wha has thrawn up a Main, Which makes some Hundred thousands a' his ain.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 38:
An' there's a gown some longer nor your ain.
Sc. [1825]  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 18:
I care for nae man's good word, unless it be your ain, sir.

(c) In phr. o' (ane's) ain (again part of comp. pron.). Gen.Sc. Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes.
Uls. 1900  T. Given Poems from College, etc., Culleybackey ii.:
Whar . . . birds steek their een in wee neucks o' their ain.

(d) With ellipsis of certain nouns, not expr. in context, but understood: “property,” “beloved person,” etc. (Otherwise the same as (b).) Gen.Sc. Ayr. 1790  Burns Carl, an the King come i.:
And every man shall hae his ain, Carl, an the King come!
Abd. 1865  G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. i.:
Lat the Lord luik efter his ain.
Ags. 1915  V. Jacob Songs of Angus 34:
My ain, my dear, your licht shall burn Although my een grow blind.

(e) The form ains is found in some districts, esp. in the phr. o' my (his, etc.) ains; in the Stevenson passage it is prob. intended to mark a vulgar type of speech. Edb. 1879  Stevenson and Henley Deacon Brodie Act II. Tab. iv. Sc. 2:
I've a pride o' my ains.
s.Arg. 1931  (per
Ains is not unusual in s.Kintyre. “A kent fine it wasna wan o' oor ains as soon as A' seed it.”

(f) As a n. in s.Sc. in the phr. the ayn o't. s.Sc. 1873  Murray D.S.C.S. 198:
For hyts-ayn [= its own] is generally used the ayn o't.

(g) Phrase: To hae his (her, etc.) ain to do, to have one's hands full, to have all that one can do. (See also Adae 2 (2).) Ayr. 1868  J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 163:
Onybody wha has a wife and eight weans . . . will just hae his ain to do.

[The form ain may be from the somewhat rare O.E. gen, or from O.N. eiginn; it appears in literary use about the beginning of the 18th cent. Awn, awin, from O.E. āgen (E.M.E. āȝen), are the common forms in O.Sc. In the Abd. municipal records awin does not appear after 1667. O.E. āgen is orig. pa.p. of āgan, v., to possess, and thus awn, ain, primarily = owned. Cogn. Goth. áigan (also a pa.p.) and Ger. eigen.]

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"Ain adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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