Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOX, n.1 Used as in St.Eng., but note the following peculiarly Sc. uses.

1. Phr.: (up)on the box, receiving weekly payment from a friendly society or poor's fund, supplied by church collections, fines, etc. Obsol. Edb. [1715]  A. Pennecuik Works (1815) 160 Note:
Fifteen got assistance from the Poor's Fund, or, as it is generally expressed, there were forty-five Linton lairds, fifteen of which were on the box!
Ayr. 1830  Galt Lawrie Todd i. ii.:
Being . . . a Buchanan, as there is society for folk of that name in Glasgow, it came to pass that she applied in her auld days for a recommendation to get her put upon the box.

2. Combs.: (1) box-bed, a bed enclosed on three sides and roofed with wood; the fourth side is closed either with sliding panels, ordinary hinged doors, or curtains. Also used to denote a bed which folds up to resemble a chest of drawers. Now gen. known in Eng.; (2) box-cairt, “a cart made to tilt, as opposed to the lang cairt which could not be tilted without unyoking” (Abd.2 1935 (also Cai.7 1935)); (3) box-ladder, “a straight narrow staircase, like a step-ladder but completely filled in with wood behind, and enclosed on both sides by walls” (Slg.3, Lnl.1 1935); (4) box-master, “the treasurer of a town, society, or corporate body” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, s.v. penny-maister; Abd.19, Ags.1 1935); applied now only to the treasurer of a trade-guild; (5) box-pulpit, an old-fashioned pulpit (see quot.); (6) box-seat, “a square pew in a church” (Ags.2, Lnk.3 1935); cf. bucht-seat s.v. Boucht, n.2 (3). See also Box-day and Box-wrack. (1) Ork. c.1912  J. Omond Orkney 80 Years Ago 9:
The box bed resembles a little wooden house with sliding doors, and when they are shut it is said to be very warm.
Abd.(D) 1900 attrib. C. Murray Hamewith 9:
His cot stob-thackit, wi' twa timmer lums, A box-bed closet 'tween the but an' ben.
(3) Ayr. 1891  H. Johnston Kilmallie xvii.:
A “trance,” or entrance lobby, from which a steep box-ladder led to a bedroom and store above.
(4) Sc. 1768  Scheme for Annuity for Widows of Members of Incorp. Hammermen Canongate 4:
That the Treasurer for the time uplift and receive from the contributors the contributions to be quarterly paid by them, and from the Boxmaster to the Corporation yearly the sums foresaid to be applied to this scheme.
(5) Uls. 1902  A. McIlroy Humour of Druid's Island 50:
Yin o' thae auld-fashioned box-pulpits, wi' a lang stalk that cam' doon tae the precentor's sate, an' a wee do'r ahin, that ye couldna see.
(6) Kcb. 1901  S. R. Crockett Love Idylls 7:
The Millwharchar “box-seat” remained for ever empty and swept.

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"Box n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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