Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LITTLIN, n. Also litlin, lit(t)lan, -en; littlean(e), -in, littl'un; luttlin (Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lanwart Loon 9). A young child, gen. up to its early school years, an infant (n.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1961). Also attrib. and fig. Rarely of animals. Dim. little(a)nie (Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 67; ne.Sc. 1961). [′lɪtlən] Abd. 1746  W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1765) 29:
Neglecting for to watch and pray, And teach the little anes A, B, C.
Abd. 1778  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 12:
And fu soon as the jimp three raiths was gane, The daintiest littleane bonny Jean fuish hame.
Ags. 1783  V. Jacob Lairds of Dun (1931) 274:
What a proficient in history my eldest littlean is.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 268:
Littlin's afore their coaties be cuttit.
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums xi.:
They found some queer things, too, but never nae sign o' a murdered litlin'.
Slg. 1898  J. M. Slimmon Dead Planet 109:
Thy helpless yaupin' littlins cry Their hunger to the wild and die.
Ags. 1918  J. Inglis The Laird 14:
Oh, John o' Frost, great frosty one! … . . . gar yer littlin' frosties gie's Upo' the rink a wee bit freeze.
Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 181:
God pity the littl'un, the father it had.
Bnff. 1960  Banffshire Advert. (14 July) 8:
I dinna pey for the littlens surely — them aneth five.

[Orig. somewhat ambiguous. The word may be a survival of O.E. lytling, a little child, or, more prob., a later development from Little + Ane. Cf. Eng. little 'un. It occurs also in n.Eng. dial. O.Sc. littell ayne, 1587.]

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"Littlin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2018 <>



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