Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SANSHACH, adj. Also -(a)uch, -agh, -e(u)ch, -schach, -ich, -sach, -seuch, saunchich, sansyach, sunshack, -ick, senshach, and altered form (metri causa) ¶saunsom. [′sɑnʃəx]

1. Wily, crafty (Bch. 1808 Jam.); shrewd, pawkie (Bnff. 1969); “sarcastically clever” (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Bnff. 1920). Bnff. 1899  W. Geddes Mem. J. Geddes 10, 45:
The elder John Geddes . . . was a plain man of simple common-sense, shrewd and “sanschach”, but probably schooled by hard experience to canny and cautious ways of life. . . . Some floating sayings were credited to him of the kind called sansehach (or knowing) and pawky.
Bnff. 1918  J. Mitchell Bydand 28:
An he's a siccar sanseuch chiel, rale couthie, Kin', an' croose.

2. Disdainful, haughty, saucy, surly, “snooty”, snappish (Abd. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1969). Mry. 1851  D. Paul Poems 109:
Yer wives like ladies go Wi pride they are sae saunsom.
Abd. 1898  J. R. Imray Sandy Todd xi.:
Od be here, Meggie, yer unco sanshech wi's the day.
Abd. 1916  G. Abel Wylins 114:
What will I dee to the sanshach skunk Wha refeeses me respeck?
Abd. 1956  People's Jnl. (5 May):
There's ey folk wha think us Scots are sunshick an' stan'affish.

3. Precise, pettish, crotchetty (Kcd. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1969). Abd. 1882  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 179:
Jean Futtrit was aye a pernickitty, sansheuch kin' o' deemie in 'er nain wye.

4. Pleasant, agreeable, genial (Mry., Bnff., Abd. 1969); of children: sage, sensible, well-behaved (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., senshach).

[Of somewhat doubtful orig. Presumably the same word as Sonsie, q.v., Gael. sonasach, happy, fortunate, but in meanings 2. and 3. the semantic change is not obviously explained. There may have been confusion with Gael. sònasach, easily annoyed, pettish.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Sanshach adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down