Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEED, n.1 Also leid (Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Poems (S.T.S.) 175), lede (Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 363), lead; liet (Per. c.1800 Proud Lady Margaret in Child Ballads I. 430; Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 48); leet. [lid]

1. A language, speech (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai., Per. 1902 E.D.D.; Ork. 1960). Now mainly poet. Hence comb. mither-lied, one's mother tongue. Sc. 1746  E. Erskine Works (1871) III. 305:
Let faith get up its head, and it will speak its own particular leed.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 11:
Speak my ain leed, 'tis gueed auld Scots I mean; Your Southren gnaps, I count not worth a preen.
Ags. 1790  D. Morison Poems 77:
Let Matrons round the ingle meet, An' in a droll auld farran' leet 'Bout fairys crack.
Bnff. 1792  Trans. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 443:
He died; peur saul! and wi' him died The relict-muse o' Mither-Lied.
e.Lth. 1796  R. Gall Poems (1819) 92:
To lend a lift to your ain country leid; That dauted leid, whilk Fame can weel attest, Suits honest Scotia's aefauld bairns the best.
Ags. 1819  J. Burness Plays, etc. 302:
We should stick by our ain Scots leed.
Sc. 1832  D. Vedder Poems 20:
When ye speak o' puin' doon houses, and seekin' new stances, why, I maun just e'en answer you in your ain leed.
Ags. 1894  A. Reid Sangs 81:
Wha will forget his hamely crack — The weel-kent leed sae aft he spak'?
Sc. 1926  H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 85:
Nor cared gin truth frae me ootsprung In ne'er a leed o' ony tongue That ever in a heid was hung.
Sc. 1936  J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 3:
I could for very joy ha'e sung To hear again the lallan leid.

2. A form of speech, a formula, strain, refrain, the way a rhyme or song goes; “ one is said to have a leid of a song, when he knows part of the words” (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Bnff. 1782  Caled. Mercury (14 Aug.):
Wae, dool, an' sorrow, cark, an' care Rings throu the nook, a' here an' there, Wi' dowie leid.
Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 108:
Had I been, ever, likely to come speed, Love, and love only, had been a' my leed.
Ags. 1815  G. Beattie Poems (1882) 171:
Thrice backwards round about she [witch] tutter'd While to hersel' this leed she mutter'd.
Ags. 1841  Whistle-Binkie (3rd Ser.) 40:
This wonderfu' calf has the rare gift o' speech; Has Scripture by heart, as the gowk has its lied.
Abd. 1873  P. Buchan Inglismill 48:
Harpers stood roun'; an', as they harped, they sung Lieds sweetly wild, but in some unco tongue.
Ags. 1894  A. Reid Songs 28:
“We dinna ken the water's worth Until the well rins dry,” Sae says the guid auld farrant leed.

3. A constant or repeated theme, a rigmarole, a long, rambling story, a favourite “line” or topic (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1960). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 103:
He ga's a leed o' a sermon, an, nae bodie kent tap, tail, nor mane o't. He got intil a leed, an' oot o' that he cudna get.
Abd. 1880  G. Webster Crim. Officer 87:
An' a' that the laird cud roar an' thraet'n', he got naething but the same leid owre again.
Ags. 1912  A. Reid Forfar Worthies 84:
[He] electrified her by the remarkable leid of excuses here faithfully recorded.
Abd. 1923  Swatches o' Hamespun 26:
“Jinse, Aw canna wint ye!” Davie herpit, as 'twar's leed like a frettin bairn.
Ags. 1949  Forfar Dispatch (24 March):
Weel, ye've mebbe herd auld fowk on this sonnet yersel, so I'll no' gie ye nae mair o' thatten leid.
Abd. 1959 27 :
She jist has a leed aboot it.

[O.Sc. lede, a language, a.1400, diction, c.1450, Mid.Eng. lede, a reduced form of leden, O.E. lēden, language, esp. the language of books, from lēode, a people, conflated with lden, Latin.]

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"Leed n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2019 <>



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