Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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POLICY, n. Sc. usages:

1. The improvement or development of a town, estate or the like, amenity; the houses and other property improvements involved in this. Sc. 1712  Sc. Courant (12–14 March):
The whole Tenement being near to 100 Yards from East to West, and near to 60 from North to South, capable of many Policies and Improvements.
Bte. 1746  Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) 787:
Highways defective . . . to the great prejudice of the Policy of the Burgh.

2. Now gen. in pl., the enclosed ornamental grounds in which a large country house is situated, the park of an estate, pleasure ground (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 191, 1808 Jam., 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 65). Gen.Sc. Also attrib. in comb. policy ground, id. Sc. 1724  W. MacFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 339:
A large fine new house with a great deall of new policy about it.
Sc. 1737  J. Drummond Memoirs Locheill (1842) 28:
A good dwelling-house, with a hall, kitchine, office-houses, pigeon-house, orchard, garden incloseurs, and other policys, agreeable to the nature of the ground.
Sc. 1764  Caled. Mercury (30 June) 314–5:
He has had a long tract of experience in planning and laying out of gardens, hot-houses for pine apples, hot-walls for forcing grapes, with policies in the modern taste, &c. . . . There is a handsome modern house on the estate, with very good offices. and a great deal of natural wood, planting, and policy.
Rxb. 1778  Session Papers, Memorial W. Dickson (26 Feb.) 31:
155 acres of land or thereby, exclusive of roads, strips of policy , and stances of houses.
Per. 1804  T. Thornton Sporting Tour (1896) 67:
His lordship's policy surrounds the house, which stands in the park, and is one of the few in which fallow-deer are seen.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xxiv.:
I'll just dauner about in the policy till the earl comes in.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter vii.:
Instead of murdering botanical names, I will rather conduct you to the policy, or pleasure-garden.
Fif. 1832  Fife Herald (14 June):
It is highly embellished, and completely sheltered on all sides by thriving clumps and strips of planting, tastefully disposed so as to form policy ground and walks.
Sc. 1871  Trans. Highl. Soc. 425:
Being engaged making extensive improvements in the policies and pleasure-grounds.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xxv.:
He stepped about Balquhidder like a gentleman in his own walled policy.
m.Lth. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xix.:
If ye tak awa the minister's glebe frae him, div ye think the laird wull get leave to keep his gress parks an' his policies?
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
Bye the policies o Ancrum Hoose.
Sc. 1961  Scotsman (19 July):
A dignified and lovely residence, modernised with central heating and finely laid out policies.

[O.Sc. polici, = 1., 1473, polecy, = 2., 1531, mid. Eng. policie, O.Fr. policie, Lat. politia, Gk. πολιτεα, citizenship, constitution. N.E.D. suggests further influence from Late Lat. polities, elegance, polish, but there is no evidence to support this.]

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



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