Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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REED, n.2, v.

I. n. 1. The direction of the grain in wood, stone (Uls. a.1908 Traynor (1953); Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; m.Lth., Lnk., Kcb. 1968) or metal. Arg. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 233:
Slow growth makes timber fine in the reed.
Dmf. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 IV. 340:
Place the holes and the wedges parallel with the reed or grain of the stone.
Arg. 1841  T. Agnew Poet Wks. 91:
Ye'll find them most confounded tough Across the reed.
Lnk. 1852  Justiciary Reports (1855) 103:
The principle of construction brings the strain across the reed of the iron, instead of in a line with the reed. . . . The strain is across the rivets, the reed of iron runs longwise, the strain crosses that, which is wrong.
Lnk. 1916  Econ. Geol. Cent. Coalfield V. 129:
The structure — a double set of splitting planes known as “reed” . . . . The whinstone in the quarry 200 yards north-west of Burnhead is said to have more “reed” than the stone in the quarry south-west of this place; it will not readily break across the direction of the “reed”, and is therefore well suited for the manufacture of large kerbstones.
Sc. 1936  St. Andrews Cit. (11 Jan.) 11:
Before a man can be expert in breaking a big stone with a hammer, he must be able to detect which way the actual reed or grain of the stone runs.
Uls. 1953  Traynor:
Larch has four reeds in it, oak has only two — meaning the grain which showed how it should be planed.

2. The line in a coal seam along which the strata of the coal split off, the cleavage plane or parting (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 54; m.Lth. 1968). Also in Eng. mining usage. Lth. 1762  Session Papers, Drummond v. Ferrier (22 Jan.) 29:
In case the Clay Backs and Cutters shall fail, and the Coal turn black and clean in the Reed.
Fif. c.1890  :
The coal that is got on the reed came off in scales. It was small coal and less valuable for commercial purposes.
m.Sc. 1937  Econ. Geol. Central Coalfield I. 104:
One of them is the plane in which the rock splits most easily, and this is called the “reed”.

3. A defect in a lead pipe running longitudinally and caused by faulty moulding (wm.Sc. 1968). Hence reedie, of a lead pipe: liable to split along this defective line (Per., Slg., Lnk. 1968).

II. v. 1. Of the grain of wood: to run in the right direction (Per. 1968); fig. of plants: to be placed in the correct formation (Id.).

2. Of a lead pipe: to split longitudinally (see 3. above) (wm.Sc. 1968).

[Orig. obscure. Phs. an extended usage of Reed, n.1]

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"Reed n.2, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2018 <>



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