Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ENSE, adv. Also ens, enze, anse, anze. Else, otherwise (Ags. 1808 Jam., anse, anze, ense; (e.)Sc., Lth. 1825 Jam.2, ens(e), enze, Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 240, Bnff. (anse), Fif., Slg. 1943; Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Bwk., Slk. 1950). [ɛns(z), ɑns] Kcb. 1889  “Gall. Herd” About Gall. Folk 90:
But wi' huz puir folk, ye see, it's ayther hunger or ense a burst!
Slg. 1896  W. Harvey Kennethcrook vii.:
Ye'd better gang yer gate, an' bide in yer ain toon-end, ense fire'll come doon frae heaven and burn us up.
Fif. 1897  W. Beatty Secretar iv.:
We maun win in or anse we'll get our heid in oor hands.
Sc. 1920  D. Rorie Auld Doctor 44:
Ense ye'll be like the auld carle An' en' waur aff than iver!
L.Bnff. 1939  J. M. Caie 'Twixt Hills and Sea 23:
Or anse, gin it's frosty, the grieve 'll mak' certain.

Phr.: or ens(e) no, used ironically with neg. emphasis = or is it not? (Ags.19, m.Lth.1 1950); equivalent to Eng. slang “I don't think”; cf. or else no s.v. Else. Sc. 1818  S. E. Ferrier Marriage II. xi.:
What ken ye about impruvements, bairn? A bony impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and sclaters leavin, whar I mind Jewks and Yerls. . . . Impruvements indeed!

[A conflation of An, adv., q.v., and -se from Else.]

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"Ense adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Mar 2019 <>



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