Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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EAST, adj., adv. Also aest, est (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1914 Angus Gl.); yest. Cf. Aist. [ist, est, ɛst]

I. adj. Used as in Eng. and with comparative easter (see separate art.), superlative eastmost. Sc. 1772  Edb. Ev. Courant (11 Jan.):
The two eastmost houses have cellars below them.
Sc. publ. 1856  Lord Cockburn Memorials 2:
My father purchased the eastmost house on the south side of the Meadows.
Sc. 1948  Scotsman (8 April):
Top flat, east most house at 72 Promenade, Portobello.

II. adv. Only Sc. usages illustrated.

1. Used with prep. force in the following ellipt. phrs.: (1) east the coast, in Fife, along that part of the coast lying between Largo and Crail or in the neighbourhood of Elie (Fif. 1949 (per Abd.29)), in Rs., along the Black Isle coast towards Chanonry; (2) east the gate, east the road, etc., orig. in an easterly direction along the road, etc., but later purely adv.phr. = eastwards, cf. Eastle, adv.; known to Cai., Rs., Ags., Fif., Knr., Slg., Edb., Rxb. correspondents 1945; (3) east (th)e toun, towards the east of the town (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 224; Rs., Ags., Fif., Knr., Slg., Rxb. 1945). (2) Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 52:
Content am I — But east the gate is The sun, wha taks his leave of Thetis.
s.Sc. 1829  Hogg Shepherd's Cal. I. 168:
Thou maun awa yest-the-gate and speak till Mistress Wulsin.
wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 482:
Ye maun excuse him for a wee; he's thrang as I passed, choking some geese east the road a bit, but I hae nae doubt he'll be wi' ye immediately.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays (1908) 94:
Dame Vanity frae morn till nicht Tript east an' west the brae, To say what ilka ane should wear Upo' the weddin' day.
Lth. 1925  C. P. Slater Marget Pow 47:
Down the stair she ran, and lookit east the road and west the road.
Sh. 1949  New Shetlander No. 19. 26:
Dan I medd aest da rodd again as fast as I cood.
(3) Hdg. a.1801  in J. Miller Lamp of Lothian (1844) 509:
O but it was right droll to see, At e'en, come east the town the three.
Per. 1846  Justiciary Reports 203:
The prisoner answered that she did not want to go east the town.
Ags. 1889  J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums v.:
I can assure ye the Earl's son gaed east the toon lauchin' like onything.
Ags. 1942 17 :
“East the toun, an' wast the toun, an' doon the Spoot, an' hame” was a favourite Forfar walk.

2. Indicating direction, in the same way as right and left are employed in St. Eng., or in a vague directional sense = in one or other direction, sometimes implying homewards (Rs., m.Lth.1, Bwk.2 1950). Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act II. Sc. iii. in Poems (1728):
When Mungo's Mear stood still, and swat with Fright, When he brought East the Howdy under Night.
Sc. 1858  in Sc. Haggis 80:
The terms east and west are as common with the country people in the Highlands, and are used in the same manner as right and left are in the south.
e.Sc. 1900  E.D.D.:
My next-door neighbour after calling will leave, saying, “I maun be steppin' east; it's gettin' late.” A husband in bed gave his wife a dig in the ribs bidding her lie east an' gie him mair room. A ploughman went to a tailor and asked him to shift this coat button “a wee east.” This usage prevails all along the Forth basin.
Inv. 1905  E.D.D.:
West and East are used often not so much in the strict sense of the words, but of two opposite directions, one being that half of the heavens where the sun rises, the other being where it sets. Thus east includes north and west south.
Sh. 1914  Angus Gl. 40:
Set it farder est.
Fif. 1942 10 :
Move that ashet a bittie east an ye'll hae mair room for the scones.

Hence east by, east-bye, in an eastward direction (Bch., Ags., Fif., Bwk. 1950). Ags. 1887  A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 71:
Ae ootlyin' cottage that was built in a hollow east by a bittie.
Fif. 1894  A. S. Robertson Provost o' Glendookie 113:
He'll land ye east-bye before an hour.

3. Phrs.: (1) to bring someone east and wast the jaws, to slap someone on both cheeks; (2) to go east and west upon someone, id.; (3) to gie someone east and west, id. (Bwk.2 1949). (1) Ags. 1942 17 :
Ee wis that impident tae me, 'at I jist brocht 'im east an' wast the jaws wi' a floonder.
(2) Fif. 1938  N. A. M. Rowlands in Daily Record (23 June):
The indignant parent may threaten to “gang east an' wast upon her” (child who has soiled her frock).

[Some of these idioms, esp. in Highland districts, have prob. been influenced by the Gael. usage of suas, siòs, up, down, in one direction or another, and so east or west, according to the general direction in which the land slopes. O.Sc. has est, etc., adj. and adv., estmast, 1420, eistmost, 1669, and phrs. for sense 1. of the adv. from 1574.]

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"East adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2019 <>



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