Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
HORN, n., v. Sc. usages. See also Whurn. [Sc. horn, ‡Rxb. + ʍʌrn]
I. n. 1. Phrs. in various lit. and fig. uses of horn, the object, the material, a musical instrument, etc.: (1) a' horns to the lift, a game (see quot.); (2) as dry as a horn, thoroughly dry, “bone dry” (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., em.Sc.(a), Dmf. 1957). Cf. 2. (5); (3) as hard as a (the) horn, very hard, “hard as nails”. Gen.Sc.; of persons: hardy, strong. Cf. 2. (8); (4) auld in the horn, advanced in years and hence old in experience, wise, shrewd, from the length and markings on the horn as a means of telling an animal's age. Gen.Sc.; (5) by the tug and the horn, forcibly, as in handling a sheep (Kcb. 1957); (6) doaf i' the horn, empty-headed, simple. Cf. Dowf; (7) horn and spune, food and drink; (8) horn, corn an' woo', the whole stock and produce of a farm. Obs. in Eng.; (9) lang in the horn, = (4) (m.Sc. 1957); (10) nicket in the horn, id. (Ayr., Uls. 1957). Cf. Nick; (11) the fair horn, honest in one's dealings, fair, just, sincere, trustworthy. Cf. fair hornie s.v. Hornie. From the notion of horned animals fighting face on and not butting from the rear; †(12) to bear (carry, win) the horn, to carry off the chief prize, to win a contest, to excel (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 149, 1825 Jam.); (13) to blaw one's (ain) horn, to boast, brag, praise (oneself). Gen.Sc. Rarely applied as in quot. to the praise of others; (14) to blaw (up) the horn, see Blaw, v.1, III.; (15) to get out one's horns, to become assertive, to break free of conventions, to be free to express oneself in action, the opposite of Eng. “to draw in one's horns”. Gen.Sc.; (16) to hae nae gude horn in someone's side, to disapprove of, to bear ill-will towards. Cf. (18); (17) to have (a) nick(s) in one's horn, cf. (10) and Nick; (18) to have one's horn in somebody's hip, to criticise severely, show disapprobation of, be antagonistic towards (Ork., ne.Sc., Arg. 1957). Cf. (16). Hence ilka ane's horn's i' yer hip, you are in everyone's way, at loggerheads with everyone (Abd.4 1929); (19) to make a blow (blawn) horn of, to boast of (something) (Cai. 1902 E.D.D., Cai. 1957). See also Blaw, v.1, III. 9.; (20) to mak a spune or spoil a horn, to make a bold attempt to achieve something whatever the outcome. Gen.Sc.; to turn out either well or ill; (21) to sleep as sound as a horn, to sleep very soundly (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., Dmf. 1957); (22) to stick or thrust one's horn in the bog, to get into an entanglement or fix from which it is not easy to escape; (23) to tak the mune by the horns, to make the most of a moonlight night (for a foray).
(1) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
A' Horns to the Lift, a game of young people. A circle is formed round a table, and all placing their forefingers on the table, one cries, “A' horns to the lift, cats' horns upmost.” If on this any one lifts his finger, he owes a wad, as cats have no horns. In the same manner, the person who does not raise his finger, when a horned animal is named, is subjected to a forfeit. (3) Sc. 1842 Whistle-Binkie III. 114:
Our Sawnies and Maggies, as hard as the horn, At e'en blythe will dance, yet work fell the neist morn. Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 115:
Whaur it was a' clauber yesterday, it's as hard as a horn the day. (4) Ayr. 1836 J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 186:
But, “Kirkie,” auld eneugh's your horn, To ken the Muses saw nae corn. Ags. 1894 Arbroath Guide (11 Aug.) 3:
He's gey auld i' the horn noo to be ca'd a whelp. Abd. 1921 Wkly. Free Press (21 Dec.) 2:
Th' twa o's are growin' fell aul' b' th' horn noo' gin ye coont b' th' scure. Fif. 1926 I. Farquhar Pickletillie 190:
The three Misses Macfarlane is gettin' gey auld i' the horn. (5) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
I wad like ill to wait till Mr Harrison and auld Gudyill cam to pu' us out by the lug and the horn. Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxxii.:
They dragged Robin by the lug and the horn to the tolbooth. Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiii.:
I'se do my endeavour to seize him by the lug an' the horn. (6) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 476:
But hech! am unco' doaf i'e horn, A shauler gow was never born. (7) Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 46:
An' sorn on them for horn an' spune. (8) Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 37:
Man, things are deein' gran' — horn, corn, an' woo'. (9) Ags. 1949 Forfar Dispatch (29 Sept.):
Bein in my eichty-saxth year, I'm ower lang ee horn tae thole things noo. (11) Per. 1871 Per. Constitutional (18 Sept.):
It soon turned oot that his master was the fair horn. (12) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 127:
And wha blaws best the Horn shall win: And wharefore no? Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses' Answer 16:
Ajax gets little wind by that To bear awa' the horn. Ayr. 1789 Burns Five Carlins xx. (Cent. ed. Note):
But the Soger's friends hae blawn the best, Sae he shall bear the horn. Sc. 1824 J. Lee Mem. Bible Soc. 153:
When all printers have an equal liberty to print, and know that he who blows best will carry away the horn, there must arise a certain emulation among them to excel one another. Sc. 1825 Jam.:
To bear awa the horn: This phrase undoubtedly alludes to some ancient custom in Scotland of a contention in blowing, in order to gain a horn as the prize. (13) Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 14:
And, first, because sae mony dawt, And bla' her horn. (15) Fif. 1887 S. Tytler Logie Town III. xiv.:
The young wife “got out her horns.” She wanted more than the obligation of a reflected dignity to tame her. (16) Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 18:
I warn Sibbie hirsel' haes nae gude horn i dy side already. (18) Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 77:
An' in his hip they ha'e their horn, An' push him headlong to the foot, Wi' the brutality o' nowt. Abd. 1829 A. Cruickshank Poems 29:
An' ilka' chiel Wad hae his horn i' my hip. Bnff. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 21:
He aye hid his horn in somebody's hip, an' never gae the dominie or the minaisters ony rist. (20) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxii.:
Mr Osbaldistone is a gude honest gentleman; but I aye said he was ane o' them wad make a spune or spoil a horn. s.Sc. 1834 Hogg Domest. Manners Sir W. Scott (1909) 105:
Charles [Scott] is a queer chap, and will either make a spoon or spoil a good horn. (22) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xviii.:
Sir Hildebrand is gaun to stick his horn in the bog. Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Narr. xi.:
A score more that had thrust their horns ower deep in the bog. (23) Gall. 1825 J. Denniston Legends Gall. 58:
Naething wad sair him, about a week since, but he wad gang o'er the border; sae he drew thegither the auld squad, an' ae fine e'ening, he took the moon by the horns, as we ca't, an' awa they set.
2. Combs., mostly where horn is used attrib.: (1) dowlie-horn, see Dowly; †(2) horn-blind, stone-blind; lit. having a horny film over the eye. Cf. Eng. horn-eyed, id.; (3) horn-daft, quite mad (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai., Ags. 1957), variant of Eng. horn-mad, id.; (4) horn-deaf, quite or stone deaf. Cf. (2); (5) horn-dry, (a) of clothes, etc.: thoroughly dry, bone dry (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., Abd. 1957); †(b) extremely thirsty, anxious for a drink (Twd. 1825 Jam.). Also found in n.Eng. dial.; (6) horn-en(d), -ey(e)n, ‡(a) the head of an animal; (b) the best room in a but-and-ben (Mry.1, Ags.16 1930; Bnff., Abd. 1957). The orig. of this expression is uncertain, ? from the fact that horn spoons and dishes were used in this room in preference to the commoner and coarser wooden articles in the kitchen; (7) horn-gollach, see Hornie, adj., 1. (3); (8) horn-hard, as hard as horn, extremely hard (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1957). Also in n.Eng. dial. Used adv. in phrs. to sleep horn-hard, to sleep soundly, horn-hard asleep, sound asleep (n.Sc. Jam.). Cf. 1. (21) and Hardhorn; (9) horn-head, adv., with full force, impetuously, without a stop (Slk. 1825 Jam.), “this seems to refer to an animal rushing forward to strike with its horns” (Ib.). [Sic Jam. but appar. a mistake for Born Head, id., q.v.]; (10) horn-idle, having nothing to do, completely unemployed (Lth., Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Cai., Lnk., Ayr. 1957), where horn- has developed merely an intensive force on analogy with horn-dry, etc., and Eng. bone-, as in bone-dry, bone-idle, etc.; †(11) horn-order, the name of a fashionable Edinburgh club for ladies and gentlemen of the early 18th c., having a horn-spoon as its badge (Sc. 1856 R. Chambers Trad. Edb. 151). Used attrib. of something select or high-class; †(12) horn-tammie, a butt, a laughing stock (see quot.); (13) horn-tow, a rope secured to the horns of cattle to which the tether is attached (Cai.4 c.1920; Sh., Cai. 1957). Also fig.; (14) horn-waukit, of the hands: hardened, calloused by manual labour. See Wauk and cf. (8).
(2) Bwk. 1801 “Bwk. Sandie” Poems 103:
Some say that Fortune is horn-blind. (3) Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 305:
We wad be horn daft to send for her. Edb. 1872 J. Smith J. Blair's Maunderings (1881) 77:
I think the passion for Dandy Braws is pittin' a'body clean horn daft noo-a-days. Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm lxii.:
It jist drives me horn-daft to think 'at ever he got the breist o' me. Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 253:
Horn daft is he wha greens to gie A liferent to some gipsy. (4) Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 32:
He's horn deaf on that side of the head. (6) (a) Ags. c.1930 16 :
Hornend . . . applied also to the head of an animal . . . “Take it by the hornend” once heard in Arbroath district of a pig. (b) Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 97:
I step'd ben to the horne en', To see the great gude-man. Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 26:
Charles — an' he was aye rael yare an' active — sleepit i' the horn en' neist the stack. Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 4:
An' skirl fae the horn en': — “Fess plates and trenchers ben.” (8) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 56:
For now the lads are sleeping horn hard, The door upo' the dogs is closely barr'd. Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 176:
Ae morning up she gets, and aff she past; And leaves young Kenneth horn-hard asleep. Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 197–8:
And horn-hard was his tawny hand That held his hazel rung. Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
He . . . abandoned his hand . . . to the hearty shake of Mr Girder's horn-hard palm. (10) Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael I. 189:
I fell into a bit gruff sure enough, sittin' horn idle, wi' my hand aneath my haffit. Peb. 1818 J. Affleck Waes o' Whisky 15:
Through the day ye gang horn idle. Dmf. 1903 J. L. Waugh Thornhill 71:
“Horn-idle like Jeems Geddes”, is a common saying. m.Sc. 1920 O. Douglas Penny Plain xix.:
She was sittin' horn-idle, an' I said to her “D'ye niver tak' up a stockin'?” and she says “I dinna need to dae naething.” (11) Sc. 1735 W. Mitchell Occasional Tinclarian to Sir John de Graham 15:
This put me in mind of the Good Horn-Order-Rolls. I have often filled my Panch with Luckie Auchinleck's. Bnff. 1927 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 3) V. 98:
The stock of early Victorian days went by the name of a “horn order nepkin,” the genteel neckware of Peel, Palmerston and the youthful Gladstone. (12) Abd. 1825 Jam.:
Horn-Tammie. A butt, a laughing stock. The term has probably been first employed to denote the person who played the part of the blind man in Blind-man's Buff; as, in an early age, this personage appeared dressed in the skin, and wearing the horns, of a brute animal . . . The chief actor in this sport being shoved and buffeted by the rest, the name might be latterly transferred to any one who was made the butt of others. (13) Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 14:
If Girzzie is no laid suntin' i' mi' horntow da night dan his nae man's bishiness. (14) Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 37:
His horn-waukit neive, held a guid hazel kent.
3. As in Eng., objects made of horn, e.g. a spoon, comb, drinking vessel and, by extension, its contents, a drink of liquor. Phr. to hae a guid horn, to be tipsy (Cai. 1957).
Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Haggis iv.:
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive: Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive. Id. To a Louse iii.:
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle . . . Whare horn nor bane ne'er dare unsettle, Your thick plantations. Sc. 1842 D. Vedder Poems 206:
He . . . ca'd in at the change-house, an' took a gude horn. Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iv. 183:
One old fellow, staggering homewards along a smooth and level road, remarked to a more youthful companion, “Though I ken I hae a guid horn, I wad deu fine if hid wisna for a the tuacks.”
4. A horn used for cupping. Obs. in Eng. since early 17th c. Comb. horn blöd, blood drawn off in this process (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1957); the process itself. Cf. v. 1.
Ork. 1700 J. Wallace Orkney 67:
Instead of a cupping glass they have a Horn with a small thin Skin at the smaller end . . . the surgeon . . . gives three or four small cuts or gashes on the place where he proposes to set the Horn, and having set the broadest end on the Wounds, he sucks the small end a little and then lets it stand till the abundance of Blood it draws makes it fall off. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 159:
For sprains and bruises, and affections of an inflammatory nature, a form of cupping called horn blöd was very frequently employed, and even yet is not quite obsolete. Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 51:
Ta be shüre an' tak da horn wi' her.
5. Anything projecting like a horn: a handle, a spout (I.Sc. 1957). Ppl.adj. horned, in phr. horned nive, see quot.
Abd. 1794 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 2) VI. 184:
A lang grey beard hang down his breist, Twa horn'd nives in length at least. Ib. VII. 27:
The horn'd nive is the hand closed firmly, and having the thumb set up at full length; two of these on end measured the beard. Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 85:
There ye [teapot] sit, wi' lug an' horn, My joy an' comfort, e'en, an' morn. Edb. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 73:
Tea-pots wi' baith lug an' horn. Ork. 1885 Peace's Almanac 127:
The handles of the cogs were called “horns.” Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 57:
Some had every alternate stave made of dark wood, and had instead of “horns” two elaborately carved “lugs” or handles.
6. A corn on the foot, a piece of hard skin, a callosity (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).
Sc. 1725 Culloden Papers (Warrand 1930) V. 231:
Item a Composition for the Horn . . . 0. 3. 0. Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute (1890) 24:
Ne'er hae horns on their taes — nor fashed wi' hums an' hai's.
7. The stem-post of a boat, applied in Sh. esp. to the projections of stem- and stern-posts alike (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1957). See also Forehorn.
Slk. 1723 Caled. Mercury (12 Dec.):
The Water being Top-flood, hereby the People, put into a Fright, rush'd forward to the Horn of the Boat, so it dipp'd down. Sc. 1766 Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine Families IV. 23:
Three more were preserved by holding fast to the horn of the Boat. ne.Sc. 1836 J. Grant Tales 65:
The horn o's boat had hardly touch't the sward on's ain side o' the water. Sh. 1953 Shetland News (4 Aug.):
The forestay led through a hole in the stemhead or “horn”.
†8. A cloud-formation, resembling the shape of a horn.
Cld. 1880 Jam. s.v. Purse-Moo:
Purse-moo . . . a form of cloud shaped like a boat, Horn and skull-gab, are also used as names for the same.
9. The horn-like projection at the side of an anvil (Ork., Cai., Kcb. 1957).
Sc. 1826 Scott Journal (1890) I. 114:
When I was a young man, I was able at times to lift a smith's anvil with one hand, by what is called the horn, or projecting piece of iron on which things are beaten to turn them round. Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xi.:
The smith . . . began blowing again with more energy than before . . . leaned to the horn. Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan II. ix.:
Ye wad sooner hae ta'en the red-hot horn of Sandie Tewairn's study in yere hand.
10. The metal (orig. horn) tag or tip affixed to a lace or thong (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 19; Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 119, 1887 Jam. Suppl.; Ags. 1900; Ork., ‡Ags. 1957).
†11. The body of a bell.
Ayr. 1894 A. Laing Poems 79:
The model bell o' a' the laun', Twal' hunner wecht jist as ye staun', Tongue, lip, an' horn.
12. The trumpet blown three times by the king's messenger or messenger-at-arms to proclaim an outlaw for acts of rebellion, non-payment of debt, etc. (Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxix). Used in such Sc. legal phrs. as: to be at the horn, to be an outlaw; of a debtor: to be on the verge of bankruptcy (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. Add. 266); to put to the horn, to denounce as a rebel (Sc. 1808 Jam.) or bankrupt. Now only hist.
Sc. 1709 Morison Decisions 1062:
Thomas Glassels was at the horn for the debt due to the pursuer. Sc. 1721 R. Wodrow Sufferings I. 477:
They came all to be denounced the King's Rebels, and to be put to the Horn. Sc. 1746 in Laing MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1925) II. 378:
The original peace officer in the constitution is the sherrif within each shire. To him belonged what was called blowing the Kings horn which all the Kings liege men were bound to follow. Sc. 1752 J. Louthian Form of Process 144:
The Lords Justice-Clerk and Commissioners of Justiciary, Decern And Adjudge —, — and — to be Out-laws and Fugitives from his Majesty's Laws, and ordain them to be put to the Horn, and all their moveable Goods and Gear to be escheat, and in-brought to his Majesty's Use. Sc. 1798 Monthly Mag. (Sept.) 176:
If the party does not pay the debt within the limited time, he is put to the Horn — that is to say, A Messenger at Arms, by the ceremony of blowing a horn at the market cross, denounces him a rebel . . . (and formerly this process had literally that effect). Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 78:
His siller's gane, he's drown'd in debt, An' putten to the horn. Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xlv.:
I am a man that has been so long at the horn, that I could not lie happy were I hand in glove wi' King's men. Sc. a.1896 Stevenson St Ives ix.:
I told them there was nothing against you beyond the fact that you were put to the horn (if that is the right word) for debt.
II. v. 1. To cup by means of a horn (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). See n., 4.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 62:
Dey wir as helty an' strong folk afore dis days, Magnus, whin hornin' an' kuppin' wis maistly da cüre for a'.
2. In the game of curling: to take by the handle and remove from the rink a stone that fails to pass over the hog-score, from the horn-like appearance of the handle. Cf. Handle, v., 1., id., and n., 5.
Sc. 1902 E.D.D.:
When the stone has not pith to cross the score, which the sweepers wish — the opposite side cry out in derision “horn him, horn him” — draw it up by the handle, which of course takes it out of play.
¶3. To make hard or horny.
Fif. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar 315:
Toil horns a man's hands.
4. Sc. Law: to put to the horn, proclaim as a rebel or outlaw. Rare exc. in vbl.n. See Horner, n., 2.
Sc. 1705 E. Hickeringill Priest-craft i. 30:
They proclaim you to be Rebels to God, Horn you, as in Scotland. Ib. ii. 36:
In no Nation in the World, but the poor, rigid, horning Scots.
Vbl.n. horning, (the procedure of) declaring to be an outlaw, the declaration thus made, gen. in such phrs. as charge of horning, letters of horning, a warrant in the King's name, issued under the Signet and proceeding from a court decree or other authority, charging a debtor to pay the sum or perform the obligation stated therein or be declared rebel (Sc. 1808 Jam.). This process is now largely superseded but is not obsolete; register of hornings, a register in which are recorded the executions of the charge by the messenger, either in the books of a particular shire or in a general register in Edinburgh. Hornings in Edinburgh were issued from an office called the Horning Chamber.
Sc. 1701 Rec. Sc. Cloth Manuf. (S.H.S.) 234:
Reports alsoe that there is a charge of horning given for the feudeuty of Neumilnes. Sc. 1708 J. Chamberlayne Pres. State Scot. (1711) 165:
Mr John Michaelson, Keeper of the Register of Hornings. Gall. 1712 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 314:
The session appoints the minister to take Craiglaws registrat bond to Clerk Campbell in Wigtoun and desire him to bring home horning upon it. Sc. 1749 Caled. Mercury (7 Aug.):
The Horning Chamber is removed from Gairnlock's Land to the Advocate's Closs. Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute ii. v. § 56:
The messenger must . . . read the letters . . . and . . . blow three blasts with an horn; by which the debtor is understood to be proclaimed rebel to the King . . . Hence the letters of diligence are called letters of horning, and the debtor is said to be denounced at the horn. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 185:
Gi'e o'er, young man, you'll meet your corning, Than caption war, or charge o' horning. Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 457:
One of the principal proprietors never could be compelled to pay his debts. Two messengers were sent from Perth, to give him a charge of horning. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxii.:
Ye'll be for having a horning or a caption after him. Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 275:
My father received letters of horning on bills to a large amount. Ayr. a.1851 A. Aitken Poems (1873) 32:
Nor cruel beagles e'er infest Your doors wi' poinds an' hornings. Sc. 1871 Erskine Institute ii. v. § 56 Note:
The recording of execution of the charge in the General or Particular Register of Hornings, as the case may be, within year and day of the expiry of the charge has . . . the effect of denunciation. Sc. 1931 Green's Encycl. Sc. Law XI. 355:
As the older practice was expressly saved by the Debtors (Scotland) Act, 1838, it is still competent to poind on letters of horning.
5. To drink (liquor) from a horn. Only in vbl.n. hornin', drinking, a supply of drink. Cf. Hornie, adj., 3.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 172:
[He] reels hame . . . An' pours out the effects o' hornin'. Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 71:
Cam' the pedlars wi' their packs, Cam' the drouths to get their hornin'.
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