Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FAIN, adj.1, v. Also faen (Sh.), fen (Ork.). Sc. usages of Eng. fain. [fe:n Sc., but fæn Sh., fɛn Ork.]

I. adj. 1. Glad, pleased; happy, content. Now only dial. or poet. in Eng. Adv. fainly. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 160:
Wow! that's braw News, quoth he, to make Fools fain.
Sc. 1755  Johnson Dictionary s.v.:
Fain, adj., glad; merry; chearful; fond. It is still retained in Scotland in this sense.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Twa Dogs 137–8:
My heart has been sae fain to see them, That I for joy hae barket wi' them.
Abd. 1787  J. Skinner in Burns and his Rhyming Friends (ed. Ross 1928) xv.:
And mair than that, I'll no be fain Gin ye neglect it.
Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf ii.:
My gude dame's fain to see you.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayr. Legatees v.:
I would fainly have retired.
Rxb. 1826  A. Scott Poems 48:
But whan we meet again, I'll be right fain To hear your mind upo' rail-roads again.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 143:
They were never fain that fidged, nor fou that licket dishes.
Kcb. 1885  A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxiv.:
An' we'll a' be fain to see ye stan' yer trial wi' faith an' fortitude.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 205:
Perhaps he has been in grips with the baldin (halibut), and fainly hoped to feast on its barr cuts.
Ork. 1915  Old-Lore Misc. VIII. i. 43:
Naethin wad deu nor save da puir bothy fae bean hung bit tae gae ower da tettles o 'is hoose, whit 'e waas fen tae deu tae save 'is wazzan.

2. Loving, affectionate (Mry.1 1928; Ags.10, Fif.17 1941); amorous. Adv. fainly. Ayr. 1789  D. Sillar Poems 212:
Young Willy's heart grew wondrous fain.
Dmf. 1808  J. Mayne Siller Gun 62:
She sees, wi' sorrow, on the plain Jock getting fu', and Jenny fain.
Edb. 1856  J. Ballantine Poems 198:
But daunder down to Kelvin Grove, There's routh o' lassies fair an' fain.
Gsw. 1877  A. C. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 192:
Nor cot, nor palace — east or west — Contain'd a fainer pair.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays 72:
When the maids are ripe for courtin', Youths are fain but shy to woo.
em.Sc. 1920  J. Black Airtin' Hame 9:
Yet when the e'enin's droopin' we're fainly airtin' hame.

3. With o': fond of (Sh.12, Ork.2 1952). Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 104:
Featless [sic] folks is any fain of other.
Abd. 1759  F. Douglas Rural Love 20:
Quo John, “I'm sorry That ye sud be sae fain o' gear, To sell your dother like a mare.”
Ayr. 1786  Burns Twa Dogs 37–8:
Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxix.:
Heaven, that ye are sae fain of.
Bnff. 1871  Banffshire Jnl. (10 Jan.):
Sic glories will be flung As gar us aye the fainer be O' Scotlan' an' her tongue.
Abd. 1920  R. H. Calder Gleanings II. 8:
Them 'at's fain o' fair roads 'ill nae gae far wrang.

4. With the inf. = (1) eager, willing; (2) used in expressions conveying a polite command (see quot.). (1) Sc. a.1776  Herd MSS. (ed. Hecht 1904) 148:
“My hinnie, my life, my dearest,” quoth he, “I'll make ye be fain to follow me!”
Lnk. 1882  J. Carmichael Poems 104:
Switherin' lest she should fa', and yet tae rin richt fain.
(2) Ork. 1941 1 :
“Thu'll be fain tae deu so and so”, i.e. go and do it.

5. Used adv. in the various meanings above: gladly, kindly, fondly; pleasantly (see 1812 quot.). Hdg. a.1801  R. Gall Poems (1819) 33:
As gude's her word, she cried fu' fain, That she had lighted on her ain.
Sc. 1812  Scott Rokeby iii. xxviii.:
This morn is merry June, I trow, The rose is budding fain. Footnote: Fain, in old English and Scotch, expresses, I think, a propensity to give and receive pleasurable emotions, a sort of fondness which may, without harshness, I think, be applied to a rose in the act of blooming.
Ags. 1867  G. W. Donald Poems 79:
Their broken taes an' blistered heels She tends fu' fain.
Rnf. 1870  J. Nicholson Idylls 51:
When 'neath my grey plaidie, wi' heart beatin' fain, I speired in a whisper, if she'd be my ain.

II. v. 1. To like, be fond of, gen. used neg. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh.10, Ork.5 1950). Cf. Ill-fain; (2) With aboot (Ib.), ower (Sh.12 1950), gen. of a dog: to fawn over, to show affection demonstratively towards. (1) Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 31:
I wis in a kind o' a perdikament wha ta tak' da side o', for I didna fain ony o' da twa, an' Willa in parteeklar.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
I dunno fain that craig sin I nearly geed afore it.
2. Sh. 1914  Angus Gl. 42:
I kent at I wis welcome, cause when I cam in da dogs began to fain aboot me.
Sh. 1950 13 :
Shü fained aboot da young bairns a lok.

[The v. meanings of fain, obs. in Eng. since c.1600, have been influenced by Norw. dial. fegna, to welcome, O.N. fagna, id., if not directly derived from it.]

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"Fain adj.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/fain_adj1_v>

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