Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BLAE, adj., n., v. [ble:]

1. adj. Bluish in colour, of a dark colour between blue and grey, livid. Gen.Sc.

(1) (a) Applied to objects in general. Abd. 1827  J. Imlah May Flowers 57:
On Tulla's tap and Banchory's brae, The wild hill-berries, black and blae.

(b) Used sometimes to describe a sinister or dreary aspect. Rxb. 1917  Kelso Chron. (30 Nov.) 2/6:
The weather was bleary and the water blae.

(2) Applied to the discoloration of the skin from the effects of a blow, or of cold, faintness, age. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 36:
Vild Hangy's Taz ye'r Riggings saft Makes black and blae.
Arg. 1932 1 :
Ye'r blae wi' the cowld, lassie: come in tae the fire an' warm yersel.
Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems, etc. 14:
Up to some hilloc tap or brae, He bends his way, baith cauld and blae.
Dmf. 1808  J. Mayne Silter Gun 88:
Sad wights! wi' ribs baith black and blae Were harlit hame.

Hence blaeness, n., lividness. Gen.Sc. Mry. 1934 2,
2 :
The blaeness o' his lips, hands, etc.

(3) fig. Applied to a person to denote the effects of any emotion such as fear, anxiety, sorrow. Edb. 1822  R. Wilson Poems 102:
While ance lov'd vice will e'en be wae, An' a' its votaries look blae.

(4) Used to describe the weather, etc. Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick I. xiv.:
Odsake, my fingers is dinlin aff at the nails wi' that blae win'.
Sc. 1886  R. L. Stevenson Underwoods 170:
There's rowth o' wrang, I'm free to say: The simmer brunt, the winter blae.

2. n.

(1) Contraction for Blaeberry, q.v. The pl. seems to have been regarded as a sing. in Ags. and a dim. formed, viz. blaesie, with a second pl. blaesies. Abd. 1906  J. Christie in Bnffsh. Jnl. (22 May) 10:
There grew the blaes I thocht sae fine.
Ags. 1894  A. Reid Sangs o' the Heatherland 119;
1 :
What gin I sing O' birdies on the lichtsome wing Wha ken the howes whaur “blaesies” hing.

(2) An expanse of greyish, misty blue. w.Sc. 1929  R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 36:
Gie me the hill at dwynin' day; Ae hertsome star in hertless blae.

(3) The colour blue, or blue-grey, leaden blue. Ayr. [1836]  J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 26:
Whether it was the ridin' brought the bluid Into her face, or no, I canna say; Bit every smitch o't was a kin' o' red, Or rather somethin' comin' near a blae.

(4) Marks left by measles, etc.; also marks of bruises, wounds, etc. Rnf. 1809  J. Millar Renfrewshire Witches (1877) 150:
The children were . . . found dead in the morning, with a little blood on their noses and the blaes at the roots of their ears, which were obvious symptoms of strangling.

Combs.: (1) blae-bows, Linum usitatissimum, “blue flax bells; the flowers of flax” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 74); (2) blaefaced, “livid with fear” (Bnff.2 1934); (3) blae-wet, coloured with bluish juice; (4) blae-wing, “an angling term used to denote an artificial fly tied with a ‘blae,' or bluish-grey, wing. Gen.Sc.” (Fif.1 1934). (2) Sc.(E) 1926  H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 21:
Blaefaced afore the throne o' God He'll get his fairin' yet.
(3) Sc. 1930  J. G. Horne in Glasgow Herald (14 Oct.):
A shilpit laddie frae the toon, his mooth blae-wet Wi' brammles aff the green hedge-raw.

3. v. To make blue, hence to benumb. Bnff. 1898  E.D.D.;
2 :
Ye'll blae a' yer han's gehn ye pit them in amo' the frosty water.

[O.Sc. bla, blae, blea, etc., adj., dark blue, livid, black, and n., a livid mark on the skin made by a blow. O.Sc. has also meanings of the n. (1) and (2) (D.O.S.T.); n.Mid.Eng. bla, blaa; O.N. blār, livid, blue; cogn. Sw. blå, Dan. blaa, blue; Ger. blau, whence Fr. bleu, Eng. blue.]

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"Blae adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2019 <>



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