Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ETNACH, adj., n. Also †etnagh, aitn(y)ach. See Aiten, n.2, Eaten. [′etnəx, ′ɛtnəx]

1. adj. Of or belonging to the juniper, made of juniper wood (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.2, etnach, etnagh). Abd. 1778  A. Ross Helenore 64:
And spies beneath a buss of — what-ye-cawt? Ay Etnagh-berries; and yeed down the brae, And there she gets them black as ony slae.
Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 26:
Brave Jessy, wi' an etnach cud, Than gae her Daddie sic a thud.
ne.Sc. 1848  Tait's Mag. (Nov.) 723:
A number of the mountain berry bushes find means of taking root among the stones, and in the autumn season are black with fruit — the etnach berries come closely up to the fountains of the Dee.
Bch. 1932  P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Review (March) 106:
Her midder taucht 'er ta tak the spinnlie Wi' 'er an' spin the taits o' 'oo 'at the sheep hid leeft on the etnach busses.

2. n.

(1) The juniper, Juniper communis, the juniper berry (Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora of Mry. 29, Mry.1 1925, aitnach; Bnff.8 1920, aitnyach; Bnff., Abd. 1944, etnach). Bnff. 1792  A. Geddes in Trans. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 444:
To trim its hearth, and in their turn The elder and the etnach burn.
n.Sc. 1886  B. and H., App. 506:
The [juniper] berries are called aitnachs in N. Scotland.

(2) Applied as an expression of contempt to a diminutive person or child. Abd. 1914 17 :
Gin I had a haud o' ye, ye aitnach o' a creatur, I'll gie y'it.

[Gael. aitionnach, adj., aitionn, n., juniper.]

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"Etnach adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



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