Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AINCE, ANCE, ANES, YINCE, Anis, Yinst, Yance, Yence, Eence, Wance, Wanst, adv. and conj., also quasi-noun (as in at anes). Once. [ens mn.Sc.(b), em.Sc.(a); eins Cai., e.Rs.; ins I.Sc., mn.Sc.(a), Mearns, e.Ags.; jɪns + , wm.Sc., Ayr. + jɑns, em.Sc.(b) + jɛns, sm.Sc., s.Sc. + jɛns, Uls.; jɪnst wm.Sc., em.Sc.(b), s.Arg., Wgt., Uls.; wans I.Sc., Cai.; wɑns Gsw., s.Arg., w.Dmf. + jɪns; wɑnst Gsw., s.Arg. z for s may be heard, esp. before voiced cons. and vowels.] The Sc. uses agree almost entirely with those of the St.Eng. form, and are not here shown separately; exceptions will be found in B. Quots. are given in approx. chron. order.

A. 1. Anes. Meanings as in St.Eng. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems, Wealth 240:
But anes a Year their River heaves his Tide.
Abd.(D) c.1750  R. Forbes Journal from London, etc. (1767) 11:
Fan anes it was down your wizen, it had an ugly knaggim.
Abd. c.1760  J. Skinner The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn (1809) 64:
Anes she lay an ouk and langer Furth aneath a wreath o' snaw.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 34:
A' this was good, I anes was won awa' Resolv'd ere I yeed back a' nails to ca'. [This peculiar usage of once = if once, when once, is now very rare in Mod.Eng. and Sc. It is found in O.Sc. See D.O.S.T. anis.]
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson in Dmf. Wkly. Mag. (Sept.) reprinted in Gallovidian Annual (1930) 78:
Nae mair he'd sung to auld Mæcenas, The blinking ein o' bonny Venus, His leave o' them he'd ta'en at anis For Claret here. [The rhyme requires anis to be disyllabic here — no doubt a jocular archaism.]
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xii.:
I downa take muckle siller at anes.

2. Ance. This form was next historically to anys, anis, anes. Sc. c.1756  J. Elliot Flowers of the Forest v.:
The English for ance by guile wan the day.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Halloween ii.:
Where Bruce ance rul'd the martial ranks.
Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems, Ep. to J. Buchanan ll. 47–48:
'Tis also said, our noble prince, Has play'd the wee saul't loon for ance. [Note the rhyme for the pronunciation here.]
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xii.:
Odd, ance I gat a wee soupled yestreen, I was as yauld as an eel.
Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet i.:
“Hoot, noo,” said Peter, “gudeman, ye were ance young yersel'.”
Sc. 1864  J. C. Shairp The Bush aboon Traquair in Kilmahoe, etc. viii.:
The luve that ance was there.
Abd.(D) 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xliv.:
Fan ance fowk's at oor time o' life they sud be willin' to lat the theets slack a bit.

3. Aince. Ayr. 1787  Burns Halloween iv.:
Their “stocks” maun a' be sought aince. [Ed. 1786: ance.]
Slk. 1822  Hogg Poet. Wks. II. 122:
I aince gat a glisk of thy face.
Sc. 1887  R. L. Stevenson Underwoods, Counterblast xi.:
The shoon ye coft, the life ye lead, Ithers will heir when aince ye're deid.
Ags. 1891  J. M. Barrie Little Min. I. iv.:
Aince you're used to it, writing letters is as easy as skinning moles.
Gsw. 1898  D. Willox Poems and Sketches 235:
Doon went . . . Tam McPhail mair nor aince.
Cai. 1929  “Caithness Forum” in John o' Groat Jnl. (13 Dec.):
A wonder will he min' 'e auld man A kent aince.

4. Eence. Abd.(D) 1905  W. Watson Glimpses o' Auld Lang Syne 93:
“Have you heard him oftener than once?” “Ou, fie na, jist eence.”
Sh.(D) 1916  Burgess Rasmir's Smaa Murr Iktober 15:
Watter can get braaly dear, if ye eence caa it aqua.
Bnff. 1931 2 :
Eence Jamie wiz in, we'll begin wir supper.

5. Yince, yence, yance. Yince is a common spelling south of the Forth, indicating the usual modern pronunciation in that area. Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 1:
Yence I could hear the laverock's shrill-tun'd throat.
Gsw. 1783  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 11:
An yence my father's muck were out, my mither downa wirk at the midden.
Ayr. 1879  J. White Jottings 186:
And a' at yance I'll e'en engage To send relief.
Gsw. 1891  N. Dickson Kirk Beadle 47:
It's at yince the maist interestin' an' the maist religious buik I ever read.
Gall.(D) 1901  Trotter Gall. Gossip 19:
It's no' easy gettin' the Eerish oot if they yince get in.
Lnk. 1919  G. Rae 'Tween Clyde and Tweed 5:
I am yince mair within Drumelzier glen.
Rxb.(D) 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 6:
“Bring ben the loch!” yince quo' “Jamie the Poyeter.”
Ayr. 1929  R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 34:
Big Ma-Comb, the tattie prince, Though twenty stane, de'ed a' at yince.

6. Yinst. Wgt. 1885  G. Fraser Poems 41:
We yinst had a Castle at Wigtown toon.
Uls. 1900  A. McIlroy By Lone Craig-Linnie Burn 131:
He tried tae get merriet mair nor yinst.
Gsw.(D) 1902  J. J. Bell Wee Macgregor ii.:
A man yinst tell't me the beast wis trampin' on his keepers.
Gsw. 1921  H. Chapin The Philosopher of Butterbiggins 10:
I'm no' sayin' ther's ony harm in it this yinst, faither; but it's no' richt to gae on nicht after nicht wi' never a break.

7. Wance, wanst. Local modifications of St.Eng. once. w.Dmf. 1908  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (2nd ed.) 143:
Man, Sanday caa'd him up at wance.
Sh.(D) 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 113:
If a body says a wird ye tak hit ta you at wance.
Tyr. 1929  Mat Mulcaghey Rhymes of a Besom Man 45:
I wance had a boothry gun.
Tyr. 1929  W. F. Marshall Ballads and Verses from Tyrone 43:
I creep to Carmin wanst a month.
Arg. 1931 1 :
Weel I'll len' ye yer rent this wanst, but min' yer no tae come back again.

B. Phrases: (1) Anes and awa, just for a moment; (2) anes and aye, for ance and ay, from that very moment, for ever; (3) anes and for aye, without more ado; (4) anes (yince) on (in) a day, ance-a-day, once upon a time; (5) till ance, till at length; (6) yince an, when, when once (cf. Aincin). (1) Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxi.:
He has a gloaming sight o' what's reasonable — that is anes and awa' — a glisk and nae mair.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan I. 136:
[Of tooth-extraction.] John, just bide still now — it's just ance and awa'.
(2) Ayr. 1795  (publ. 1800) Burns To Collector Mitchell v.:
Then farewell Folly, hide and hair o't, For ance and ay!
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
As for the whistle, it was gaen anes and aye.
(3) Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy ix.:
Zounds! that a chield wi' sic a black beard should hae nae mair heart than a hen-partridge! — Come on wi' you, like a frank fallow, anes and for aye.
(4) Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality iv.:
He was a gude customer anes in a day, and wants naething but means to be a gude ane agane.
Hdg. 1908  J. Lumsden Doun i' th' Loudons, etc. 15:
But ance-a-day, it was as popular As auld Broun's kirkings yont at Hedinton.
Rxb.(D) 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 25:
Yince in a day the maist o this wheit-seem (white-seam: plain needlework) was shewd be hand.
(5) Wgt. 1880  J. F. C. The Kelpie, etc. in G. Fraser Lowland Lore 165:
Frae this I learn'd anither fac', That Kelpies silence never brak Till ance aneath the sand they're doon, An' in their caverns safe an' soun'.
(6) Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
Yince an ee change a note, it suin gangs in thae times.
Rxb.(D) 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 25:
Yince an oo'd the wunter bye, oo'll no be sae ill-off.

[O.Sc. anis, anys, north. Mid.Eng. anes (Mid.Eng. ones), adv. = once, gen. of ān = one, replacing an earlier nes, an adv. gen. = once. Barbour (14th cent.) has anys, anis, so also Dunbar (early 16th cent.), Montgomerie (end of 16th cent.) ainis, ains, anes. In Barbour it is disyllabic in one instance at least (vi. 499); in the Middle Sc. poets usually monosyllabic, as it is later. The form ance is recorded for 1650 (ans is earlier). In modern Sc. the spellings ance and often aince disguise the pronunciation(see phonetics) — e.g. aince is often pronounced as yince. Jam. 1808 says: “Pron. as ainze, or yince, S[cotland], eenze, S.B.” [i.e. northern Scotland]. For the development of the y forms see P.L.D. §§ 84, 97.4. For the t of yinst, wanst (also onc't, oncet), cf. against, amidst, amongst.]

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"Aince adv., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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