Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SAY, v., n. Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. say; pa.t. said; pa.ppl. weak: said; strong: sain, ‡sayen (Sh., Ork., Abd., Ags. 1969), sen (Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 74). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 88:
They've been but say'n to please a fool like you.
Dmf. 1873  A. Anderson Song of Labour 78:
I never said wrang was the word he had sain.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 110:
Afore ye cudda sain Jeck Robison.
Ork. 1911  Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 184:
Evan ither Birsa fok at sad kent better wad sain at hid was meed late on a Setterdae night. When used as a ppl.adj., said is inflected in the pl. in arch. legal usage till the middle of the 18th c.
Sc. 1700  Acts Gen. Assembly 27:
The Saids Probationers are to be sent on the same Terms and Conditions.
Abd. 1715  Hist. Papers Jacobite Period (S.C.) 56:
They were taken prisoners by the saids parties.
Slg. 1729  Proc. Slg. Arch. Soc. (1925) 137:
A petition or representation given in to the saidis magistrats and councill be James Baird.
Edb. 1736  Edb. Council Reg. (B.R.S.) 207:
The said lord provost, magistrats, and council, with the saids deacons of crafts.

B. Usages: 1. With advs. and preps. (1) say again, to speak against, object to; (2) say awa(y), (i) to say on, hold forth, speak one's mind (Sh., Cai., Abd., Ags., Per. 1969). As a n. sayawa', ¶seawa, loquacity (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); a long, voluble, rambling discourse, a rigmarole (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Ayr., sm. and s.Sc. 1969); a loquacious person (Watson; s.Sc. 1969); (ii) to say grace before a meal (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 204; Ork., Bnff., Abd. 1969); hence to begin to eat, fall to (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 34); (3) say for, to vouch for, warrant (Sc. 1904 E.D. D.; Sh., ne. and em.Sc. (a), Ayr., Slk. 1969); (4) say ower, to recite, repeat from memory. Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng.; (5) say thegither, to agree, concur, to be of one mind or on good terms (ne. and em.Sc. (a) 1969); (6) say til, to speak to, to command. Also in Eng. dial. Phr. to be easy said til, to be of a facile or amenable disposition (Abd., Kcd., Ags. 1969); (7) say wi, to agree with. concur with. Gen.Sc. (1) Ayr. 1889  H. Johnston Glenbuckie 43:
I wouldna say again' a body o' men takin' pikes and guns . . . just to fricht the government.
(2) (i) Abd. 1813  D. Anderson Poems 85:
Twould be owre lang a seawa, To tell a' said and done.
Sc. 1821  Scott Kenilworth viii.:
Say away, therefore, as confidently as if you spoke to your father.
Rnf. 1877  J. M. Neilson Poems 51:
Weel, jist say awa.
Ayr. 1880  J. Tannock Poems 57:
The sayaway of Kirsty Gray, About some famous tea, sir.
Kcd. 1958  Mearns Leader (11 April):
It's my job tae keep my lugs wirkin', an' I hae heard mony queer say-awas.
Abd. 1967  Buchan Observer (10 Jan.):
An various spicy tit-bits o' hooses big an' sma' She'd store ablow her bonnet for a later say-awa'!
(ii) Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings (1813) 17:
Now, say awa', and fa' to it.
Rnf. 1846  W. Finlay Poems 145:
With solemn face, then, ane and aw, Begged Archie just to say awa.
Edb. 1881  J. Smith Habbie and Madge 69:
Say away yersel', ye've far mair need o't [rum], my woman, than me.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr. Duguid 226:
Noo say awa tae yoursels, like guid callans, an' fa' tae.
Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 113:
Say ye awa onywye an' tak' yer denner.
(4) Sc. 1884  W. C. Smith Kildrostan 47:
Doris made a comic rhyme of it, And said it over to me.
m.Lth. 1897  P. H. Hunter J. Armiger xvi.:
He . . . says ower his sermon like a laddie sayin' the multiplication table.
(6) Abd. 1880  G. Webster Crim. Officer 117:
They tormentit the creatur aboot's wife bein' unco easy said till.
(7) Abd. 1926  Abd. Univ. Review (July) 227:
A wull say wi' 'e i' that.
Abd. 1957  People's Jnl. (6 April):
Ah c'u'd dae nae ither than say wi' 'em.

2. Phrs.: (1) I winna say, I wadna say (but (what)), I daresay, I won't or wouldn't deny (that), I agree or admit (that) (Ork., n.Sc., Per., Ayr., Kcb. 1969); (2) said-sae, a report, piece of gossip. Cf. Eng. dial. say-so, a person's word; (3) said wird, a saying, proverb; (4) to say ae wey (wi), to agree, be in harmony (with) (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Ayr. 1969); (5) to saystraw”, to raise an objection; (6) to say (a body) wrang, to speak ill of (someone) (ne.Sc., Ags. 1969). (1) Sc. 1859  C. S. Graham Mystifications (1911) 48:
“Your son is a young thief, and deserves to be hanged”. “I winna say”.
Ags. 1905  A. N. Simpson Bobbie Guthrie 209:
I widna say but we'ill hae a shour.
Abd. 1930  :
I wadna say but fat ye're richt.
(2) Abd. 1875  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 157:
It's nae ca'd aboot clype nor teethless said-sae.
(3) Sh. 1897  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd (1922) 15:
“Dey maun drink da brü, at canna better dü,” as dey say in a auld said wird.
(4) Ags. 1906  Arbroath Guide (21 April) 3:
We hadna been just sayin ae wey.
Abd. 1920  :
Na, I dinna say ae wey wi' ye there.
(5) Fif. 1900  S. Tytler Logan's Loyalty ii.:
You and I will have fine times and grand fun with not a creature to say “straw” to us.
(6) ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays 12:
I maunna say the carlie wrang, He's lost the vital spark.

3. intr. To talk, speak. In somewhat illiterate use. Occas. still in m.Sc. m.Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 291:
The house the shepherd was sayin' aboot.

4. Agent n. sayar, a poet, story-teller. Arch. Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 17:
Ilk comic scene of ilka age, Glean'd out of ilka sayar's page.

II. n. 1. What is said, a remark, a piece of conversation or tittle-tattle, an expression of one's thoughts or opinions (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Lth., Ayr. 1969); a story. Comb. say-say [ < sae], id. Cf. 2. (2) above. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 42:
And fat care I? let fouk say what they please. Gin we heed says, we'll never sit at ease.
Slk. 1811  Hogg Poems (1865) 373:
Ae wee say that chanced to pass 'Tween his auld wife an' only lass.
Ags. 1823  Scots Mag. (June) 685:
What car'd I about their says.
Abd. 1878  J. C. Hutchieson Village Voices 166:
An' muckle say-say hae they printit.
Ags. 1886  A. Willock Rosetty Ends 10:
A' that heard the story had their ain say aboot it, and ilka ane's say was different frae anither.
Sh. 1899  Shetland News (14 Oct.):
Dat was juist a ill-toughtid say.

2. A saying, proverb, a saw, dictum (I. and n.Sc. 1969). Bnff. 1792  Trans. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 444:
Wi' routh of gabby saws, an' says, An' jokes, an' gibes of uther days.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 7:
A'to' hid's an' auld say an' a true say.
Abd. 1923  R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert xii.:
A' the says o' her deid midder wud come back tull her.

3. Talk, converse, speech. Dial. in Eng. Sc. 1786  A. Gib Sacred Contempl. II. 206:
To this Say he was most graciously attentive.
Abd. 1844  W. Thom Rhymes 37:
I kenn'd her meet wi' kindly say, A lov'd, a lowly name.
Dmf. 1875  A. Anderson Two Angels 187:
When I heard them speak lown their bit say.
Abd. 1929  Abd. Uni. Review (March) 129:
Kirks wiz kirks fin I wiz a loon, an' hid nae say wi' lads 'at brook the laws o' God an' man.

[O.Sc. say, = 1., 1571, sayar, poet, 1513.]

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"Say v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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