Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

GRUND, n., v. Also gr(o)un, greund; groond (Sc. 1707 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 32), and, in sense 2. (2), grunt. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. ground. [grʌn(d)]

I. n. 1. The bottom, the lowest part of anything (Bnff. 1927; Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Dmf. 1955). Obs. in this sense in Eng. since 18th c. Fig.: the bottom, root (of a matter), the basis of a discourse, the text of a sermon (Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Ayr. 1955). Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. ix.:
I ken weel eneugh how a customer looks that's near the grund of the purse.
Sc. 1874  A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 1:
A woman who . . . had not heard the text . . . whispered [to the beadle] — “Whaur's his grund, John, whaur's his grund?” “Grund!” replied John . . . “he has nae grund, woman — he's sooming.” [a pun on (2) below]
Sh. 1879  Shetland Times (22 March):
An' if I'm spared I'se be at da grunds o' it yet.

Specif. uses: (1) The pit of the stomach; phr. to get the grund o' (i') one's stomach, see Fif. quot. (Ags. 1955). Abd. 1794  Tam Thrum Look before ye loup 35:
I began to find the ground o' my stomach.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 2:
I wadna wunner but ye'll fin the grun' i' yer stamack afore ye git tae biggit lan' again.
Arg. 1931 1 :
It was a wil' day yesterday an' I got the grun o' ma stomach coomin' doon in the steamer.
Fif. 1953  :
Ye'll hae gotten the grund o' yer stomach — said to person who has been very sick, and is completely empty, and feeling hungry.

(2) The sea-bottom, esp. the sea-floor of a fishing-ground (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., grun, 1914 Angus Gl.; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Rs. 1911; Ayr.4 1928; Sh., Cai., ne.Sc., Fif., Bwk. 1955); “the bottom or channel in water” (Sc. 1825 Jam., grund); also in naut. Eng. Slk. 1820  Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 183:
The leister didna gang to the grund by an ell.
Bwk. 1839  Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1885) 227:
The nets . . . are set on sandy ground, such as the fish is known to frequent.
Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 104:
Da tow began ta snore heavy upo' da cabe . . . “Ye're shürely i' da grund, Eddie,” says I.

Phr.: ta gang i' da (in 'e), to tak 'e ground, “of fishing-lines, nets, etc.: to become entangled or fixed among rocks, etc., at the bottom of the sea” (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai. 1955).

(3) In pl. Mining: the stratum or seam next the floor in a coal-mine (Edb.6 1955).

2. In pl.: (1) as in Eng., lees, sediment (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam., gruns; Sh., n.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Arg., Kcb., Rxb. 1955), hence grunsie, adj., full of dregs or sediment (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., grunzie; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.); also fig. in sing.: “an inclination to evil” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 70), an evil disposition. Comb. ill-grun, id. (Ib. 87); cf. also ill-grunyie(t) s.v. Grunyie, n.1, 3.; (2) the refuse of flax after dressing (Lth. 1808 Jam., grounds). Also in sing. grunt. Hence grunt-mill, a factory where this is processed to make a poor quality sacking or the like (Ags. c.1900); cf. Backings; (3) a variety of Sowens (Cai. 1955). (1) Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 70:
He hiz a grun in 'im. A widna lippen 'im t' dee ae thing for me.
Abd. 1903  J. Milne Myths 29:
Lizzie . . . professed to see everything that would happen to her clients in pictures formed by the “gruns” of the tea.
(2) Sc. 1734  Caled. Mercury (18 July):
Grounds of all Sorts are likewise given out to be spun. . . . such Persons as buy undress'd Lint . . . may have it heckled, and their Tow and Grounds heckled or carded.
Ags. 1873  J. M. Beatts Municipal Hist. Dundee 139:
On market days frugal and industrious housewives might have been seen at the west end of the High Street exposing for sale bundles of yarns of various descriptions, from the finest flax to “backings” and “grunt.”
(3) Cai. 1915  John o' Groat Jnl. (26 June):
A sowan knoggie stood below i' “gruns” an swats galore, The brochan pot sat far behin', the porridge pan before.
Cai. 1916  Id. (14 April):
Sowans took various forms “gruns,” “gaun 'e gither,” “dochray,” and “swats” being some of them.

3. The earth, the soil of the earth.

(1) Fig. in phr. to be on borrowt grun', to be living beyond the allotted span (Abd.27 1950).

(2) The burial-ground of a person or family, a grave, Lair (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.). Gen.(exc.I.)Sc. Abd. 1819  Abd. Chron. (10 July):
Making out a plan of the lately inclosed ground, and . . . measuring off the different allotments upon liberal principles, both as to extent of ground and rate for ground lair.
Cld. 1880  Jam.:
I've bought grund in the kirk-yard for the bairns.
Rxb. 1902  Hawick News (11 July) 3:
Huz that works for oor bread, let us hansel the Fund, . . . Ootside the kirkyaird we can get a bit grund.
Fif. 1954  St Andrews Citizen (20 Feb.):
The new ground reserved for the Air Force was opposite the Cross of Sacrifice recently erected and the ground on either side of the Cross would be developed for Air Force purposes.

Combs.: (a) ground-lair, id. (see 1819 quot. above); (b) ground-mail, “duty paid for the right of having a corpse interred in a churchyard” (Jam.2). (b) Sc. 1819  Scott Bride of Lamm. xvi.:
“Reasonable charges?” said the sexton, “ou, there's ground-mail, and bell-siller, . . . and the kist.”

(3) (a) Agricultural land, farm-land, a farm (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 243, grun; Ork., n.Sc., Ags., Slg., Arg., sm. and s.Sc., Uls. 1955); dim. grun'ie; †(b) the people belonging to a farm. (a) Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 324:
When a farmer starts in the morning, . . . clambers up one hill and down another, seeing how his cattle are faring, how his labourers are going on, how his crop looks, and how the weather appears — this job is called luiking the grun.
ne.Sc. 1836  J. Grant Tales 67:
As he was daunerin' down the brae till's ain grun', he sees the black man, standin' waitin' him on a ley rig o' the haugh.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxi.:
Gushetneuk's a likeable spot, an' richt weel in hert kin'ly grun'ie.
Abd. 1875  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 131:
It's mervellous fat enfluence 'll dee, espeeshally i' the takin' o' grun'.
Edb. 1897  P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge vii.:
Thae lambs are comin' on real fine; I saw nane better on the grund.
Abd. 1926  E. Dieth Bch. Dial. 89:
A bit grun, a small farm.
(b) Ork. 1772  P. Fea MS. Diary (12 Oct.):
Had all the ground att Shearing.

(4) In Smithing: the downward angle given to the point of a ploughshare so as to enable it to make a deeper furrow in the soil (e.Rs.1 1929, ground; Cai. 1955). Cf. Erd, n., 1. (2), Yird.

4. Combs. A. Gen. combs. and phrs.: (1) ground-annual, see sep. art.; (2) ground-baulk, the rope at the base of a herring net (I.Sc. 1955). See Bauk, n.3; (3) ground chippy, see Chippy, n., 2.; (4) ground coal, in Mining: = n., 1. (3) above (Ayr. 1955); (5) ground crab, in Mining: the windlass used for lowering the hanging pumps in sinking (Edb.6 1955). Also found in Nhb. and Dur. dial; (6) grun-dark, the degree of twilight when objects on the ground cease to be discernible (Ork. 1955); (7) ground-drave, -drove, herring-fishing by means of deep-sunk nets. See Drave, n., II. 1.; (8) grun (ground) ebb, (a) the ebb-tide at its lowest, low water (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., Mry., Abd. 1955); (b) the lower part of the foreshore or ebb (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., Abd. 1955). Cf. Ebb, n., 1.; (9) ground-elding, dried turf used as fuel. Cf. Eldin; (10) grund-grue, see Grue, n.2; (11) grund-heid, in Mining: the stratum above the grunds (see n., 1. (3) above) in coal-mine (Lth., Ayr. 1955), also attrib. in grund-heid holing; (12) ground house, a basement or cellar; (13) grund-king, in a water-mill: “an iron plate, a piece of iron with two or three holes, which is fixed to the ground-sill (sole-tree) and in which the pivot of the axle turns” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.). See Keeng; (14) ground-lair, see 3. (2) above; (15) ground-mail, see 3. (2) above; †(16) greund-mester, landlord; (17) ground-officer, grun'-, an employee who supervises the practical administration of the land and farming on an estate (Ork., n.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Kcb. 1955); (18) ground-rook, “a mist resembling smoke that seems to rise off the surface of the earth” (Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 474). See Rook; (19) ground rope, in Mining: the rope by which the windlass is connected to the hanging pump in a sinking pit (Edb.6 1955). Also in Nhb. and Dur. dial. Cf. (5); (20) grund-sem (one of) the nails that fasten the bottom boards of a boat to the keel (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1955); also used as v. See Sem; (21) grun'-shoor, a prolonged fine rain which thoroughly penetrates the ground, “a slow steady rain of some hours' duration” (Abd. a.1934: Fif. 1955); (22) ground-shot, in Mining: see quot. (Ayr. 1955); also corrupted to grunsher (Ib.). Cf. n., 1. (3); (23) grund-sile, = (13) (Sh. 1886 P.S.A.S. XX. 275, 1914 Angus Gl.); (24) grund spot, “a place, a place previously referred to” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); (25) grund-stane, a foundation-stone; also fig. (Sh. 1955); (26) ground-stead, a building site; (27) ground-wa stane, the ground-level course in a building; (28) ground-wrest, the mould-board of a plough (m.Lth. 1955). See Reest; (29) grounds and warrants, in Sc. Law: the reasons and documentary evidence upon which a decree was based which may be called for in an action of restriction (Sc. 1838 Bell Dict. Law Scot. 458, 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms); (30) to be hurtit frae da grund, of animals: to be made ill from no visible cause; (31) to tak the ground, of salmon: to select a place on the bed of a river for spawning. (2) Crm. 1829  H. Miller Herring Fishing 23:
The lower [edge of the net] is bound with a cord called the ground-baulk, and furnished with loops for sinkers.
(4) Lnk. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 VI. 82:
There is a thin stratum of black stone in the coal, about eight or ten inches above the pavement, on the top of what is called the ground coal. This ground coal . . . is of a clear shining black, of a loose texture, and breaks into small cubes.
(7) Sc. 1733  P. Lindsay Interest Scot. 209:
So soon as a certain Number of Boats rendevouze in the Firth for the Ground-drave the Masters, . . . meet amongst themselves, and chuse, and return a Jury of 15 Persons of their own Number.
Bwk. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 III. 116:
Formerly they caught the herrings at what they called the Ground Drove, which lasts only a few days; but now they also fish for them by a Float Drove.
(9) Dmf. 1822  A. Cunningham Tales II. 319:
Ground-elding (dried turf) is good enough to warm such an old sapless bough as me.
(11) Edb. 1940 6 :
If there be no convenient parting or soft stratum at the base of the coal the holing may be made at some higher point in a grund-heid holing, i.e. one made just above the grunds or bottom leaf of the coal.
(12) Sc. 1748  Caled. Mercury (Feb.) 8:
A Stone Tenement of Land . . . consisting of three Stories, Ground house, a handsome little Garden and Summer-house, well lighted from the North.
(13) Sc. 1886  P.S.A.S. XX. 275:
Sole-tree. — This, termed also the underbalk, is the beam upon which the tirl stands. Its inner end is fixed with a wooden pin, upon the centre of the bolster-head, from which it stretches forward at right angles. Near its centre is fixed the ground-sile or ground-keeng, the iron plate on which the lower end of the spindle revolves.
(14) Ork. 1904  Dennison Sketches 7:
De greund-mester first, an' dan de King, teuk law for share o' the eulie.
(15) Abd. 1713  Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 185:
William Lunan forsaid notar publick, clerk of Court, Moses Morgan, ground officer.
em.Sc. 1794  W. Marshall Agric. Cent. Highl. 25:
In each of these officiaries resides a ground officer, generally a principal tenant; whose office is somewhat similar to that of the bailiff of an English manor, but more extensive and more useful.
Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. vii.:
Their asses were poinded by the ground-officer when left in the plantations.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ix.:
Noo, I'm seer fan Dawvid Hadden, the grun offisher . . . cam' owre to lay aff a bit o' oor ootfeedles last year. . . .
n.Sc. 1887  N. Macleod Lieutenant xxi.:
The situation of “ground officer,” as an inferior kind of land-steward is called in the Highlands.
Bnff. 1929 2 :
If ye canna mak' onything o' the grun' officer, ye needna speak t' the factor for they're a' een in a maitter o' this kin'.
(20) Sh. 1949  New Shetlander No. 19. 44:
Da keel hed . . . been laid, da garboards grundsemd.
(22) Ayr. 1948  per G. A. Shaw:
Where coal is won by hand pick and by nature is too hard to undercut by holing, the miner has a series of shots placed along the bottom of the seam, which are called ground-shots. The local name for a ground shot is a grunsher.
(25) Gsw. 1724  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 203:
These houses most be gouffed, the street falling to be lower then the ground stone.
Bte. 1733  Rothesay T.C. Records (1935) II. 744:
The Lannimores . . . ordained the said Neill Taylor to digg out the foundation and ground stone of the stone dyke belonging to him.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (8 May):
Da grundstane o' dis important science sood be laid at da skule.
(26) Dmf. 1777  Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (Dec.) 16:
A front house presently occupied as a stable, at the south end of the principal Dwelling-house, and a vacant ground-stead at the other end of it.
Kcb. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XI. 312:
The ground steads, of 30 feet in front, 150 back, for a kitchen garden.
(27) Sc. 1755  Captain Car in
Child Ballads App. 665:
Why pow ye out my ground-wa-stane, To me lets in the fire?
(28) Ork. 1814  Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 347:
Three or four oxen or horses are yoked abreast in a plough, with one handle, and without either ground-wrest or earth-board.
(30) Sh. 1897  Shetland News (15 May):
It was no uncommon occurrence for animals, especially cattle and sheep, to be hurtit fae da grund.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 144:
A crofter in a certain parish had a cow supposed to be “hurt frae da grund,” and an old woman called Maron o' Nort'-a-Voe — a famous witch doctor — was sent for.
(31) Sc. 1803  Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 276:
But about the 10th of November they begin, as the fishers call it, to take the ground, or to occupy that place where they intend to spawn.

B. In names of animals: (1) grund blackie, a blackbird that builds its nest on the ground (Clc. 1911; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth. 1955); (2) grund mavie, a thrush that builds its nest on the ground (Clc. 1911; m.Lth. 1955); (3) grund-rotten, the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus (Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (June) 507; m.Lth. 1955); (4) ground wren, the willow warbler or willow wren, Phylloscopus trochilus (Slg. 1885 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. & Arch. Soc. 61).

C. In names of plants: (1) ground-ash, the wild angelica, Angelica sylvestris (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 86). Also in Nhb. dial.; (2) grun(d)(e)-(d)avy, -ie, grand-, groundavey, Sc. forms of Eng. ground-ivy, the herb Nepeta glechoma or Glechoma hederacea (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora of Mry. 19; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 164; Arg. 1882 Argsh. Herald (3 June), 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 8; n.Dmf. 1884–96 Garden Work No. cxiv. 112; e.Rs.1 1929; Ork. 1955); (3) grun-nit, the earth-nut, Bunium tuberosum (Kcb. 1955). Cf. Arnit; (4) ground whin, the rest-harrow, Ononis repens (Abd. c.1900). (2) Peb. 1899  J. Grosart Chronicles 19:
Is that a drap o' grune-davie for ye're stamach ye're taking?

II v. 1. tr. To supply (the stomach) with a foundation (of food). Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 211:
They said the grace as fast as able, . . . While Meg sair'd them first wi' some jabble To groun' their wame.
Kcd. 1880  W. B. Fraser Laurencekirk xl.:
Noo! lathies, grund yersel's weel wi' ate-bread for you wad eat the muckle sorrow o' loaf.

2. tr. To bring to the ground (by shooting), to bring down (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Slk. 1801  Hogg Sc. Pastorals 7:
I oft hae heard him tell wi' pleasure What paetricks at a shot he grundit.

[O.Sc. has grund, n. and v., from c.1420, with the short vowel which developed before -nd in the North c.1200. Ground, with lengthened vowel retained, is found from 1375.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Grund n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2017 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down