Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SEED, n., v. Sc. usages. For other forms see Sid.

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Combs. and derivs.: (1) seedack, the hedge-sparrow, Accentor modularis, seeds being its chief food (Mry. 1948); (2) seed-bake, a biscuit or bun flavoured with caraway seeds (Slg., Ayr. 1969); (3) seed-bed, see quot.; (4) seed-bird, (i) the wagtail, Motacilla, applied both to the pied (white) or grey (yellow) varieties (Bwk. 1881 Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Gsw. 136; Slk. 1969), from their appearance about the time of seed-sowing; (ii) any sea-bird which appears inland at this time (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). This may have originated in a misunderstanding of (i); (5) seed-faerdy, of grain: fit for use as seed, sowable (Sh. 1969); (6) Seed Fair, a fair formerly held at Fortingall in Perthshire (see quot.); (7) seed-fiddler, see quot.; (8) seed-foullie, = (4) (i) (Sc. 1808 Jam.). See Fool; (9) seed-fur, the furrow into which grain is to be sown and harrowed (n.Sc. 1969); specif. a special furrow, as in 1955 quot. (Ork. 1969); (10) seed-lady, the pied wagtail, Motacilla flava rayi (Peb. 1881 Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Gsw. 136; Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 41, Ayr. 1969). Cf. (4) (i); (11) seed-laverock, id. (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); (12) seed-like, of soil: appearing fit to receive seed, ready for sowing (Cai., Bnff. 1969); (13) seedsman, a sower of seed. Now only dial. in Eng. Chiefly in poet. usage. (3) Kcd. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XI. 273:
Beds of red clay, with and without nodules of concretionary limestone, calledby the lime-workers the seed-bed.
(4) (i) Rxb. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 76:
The birds of passage are, the King's-fisher, water crow, white and yellow seed birds.
Lnk. 1865  Zoologist XXIII. 9680:
This species [grey wagtail] is here a summer migrant, leaving late in autumn and returning about the sowing time, whence probably its local name of “seed-bird”.
(ii) Rxb. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 I. 67:
Sea fowls appear here in great numbers in the spring, about seed time; they follow the plough, and are thence called seed-birds.
(5) Sh. 1898  Shetland News (9 April):
I haena a shaef parteenin' tu me 'at's seed faerdy.
(6) Per. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 X. 557:
There is another fair held at Kirkton, about the end of April, called the “Seed Fair,” because the tenants and others resort to it for their lintseed, clover-seed, &c.
(7) Rxb. a.1838  Jam. MSS. XI. 160:
Seed-fiddler. The designation given to a sort of minstrel, who, in the spring-season, used to migrate from one farm to another, supplying the family with mirth and music for which they expected in return a supply of grain; continuing their circuit, they obtained as much as would sow their small portion of land.
(9) Sc. 1743  R. Maxwell Select. Trans. 83:
In the Spring give a Steering-fur, as it is called; then the seed-fur; then sow Barley or Bear, with Grass-seeds.
Gall. 1955  :
In the days of hand-sowing the ploughman made every 15th fur a seed-fur — a shallow scratch only, which served as a marker to the sower to prevent overlapping. 15 furs was what he sowed at one time.
(12) Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 230:
The laan's growin' real seed-like within the last ook.
(13) Ayr. 1787  Burns Again rejoicing Nature iii.:
Wi' joy the tentie seedsman stalks.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 152:
The seedsman's slow hum as he scatters his oats.
Clc. 1882  J. Walker Poems 24:
The seedsman had scatterer'd the handfu's abroad.

2. The time of sowing, seed-time, spring, gen. prefixed by the name of the particular grain to be sown (see Ait, 3., Bear, 2., Oat, 7.). Sc. 1746  D. Warrand More Culloden Papers V. 77:
Should my Son's Company be called out till Bear seed is over.
Sc. 1760  Faculty Decisions II. 484:
As soon as the bear-seed is over, which is scarce before the end of June.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 87, 128:
Before the seed I sell'd my ferra cow. . . . Whistle to the plough and harrows At barley seed.

3. An ancestor, progenitor, forebear (Cai. 1969). Also in Ir. dial. Cai. 1932  John o' Groat Jnl. (18 Nov.):
Hid's me 'at kens every seed o' ye on yir faither's side.

4. Gen. in pl.: the husks of grain, esp. oats, separated by grinding, a bran particle (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Ags., em.Sc. (b), Gall. 1969), gen. used to make Sowans. For n. Sc. form see Sid. Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. a seed in one's teeth, or throat, something that irritates or annoys one, “a flea in one's ear” (Sc. 1799 H. Mitchell Scotticisms 73, -throat). Combs. seed-fire, a fire made with oat-husks in a corn-kiln; seed-hill, a rising piece of ground on which corn was formerly threshed and winnowed, a sheelin hill s.v. Sheel. Found in place-names, cf. Seedhill in Paisley. Gsw. 1754  Glasgow Past & Present (1884) II. 533:
A peck of good bran, or new sowan seeds.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 36:
Your groat meal, and gray meal, sand dust and seeds.
Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XII. 288 note:
The circular redoubt on the S.E. acclivity of the seed-hill of Auchaber.
Kcd. 1813  G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 431:
Sowens or sweens, or flummery. . . . Here it is made from the seeds or husks that are sifted from the oat meal at the mill.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 87:
An hollow tube made of Boretree used by kill-men to blow through, and rouse their seed fires, or fires fed by the husks of corn.
Sc. a.1838  Jam. MSS. XI. 160:
“He gaed hame wi' a seed in his teeth,” i.e. He went off or left the company under a painful feeling or in an irritated state of mind, like one who, after eating, cannot rest till he free his teeth from a vexatious seed that has made a lodgement between two of them.
Hdg. 1848  A. Somerville Autobiog. Working Man 44:
The duty being to sift the fragments of inner skin or “seeds” from the meal as it passed through the mill.
Abd. 1877  W. Alexander Rural Life 148:
Even the seeds sifted from the bannock are sometimes paid.
Dmf. 1937  T. Henderson Lockerbie 61:
That's a seed in their teeth.

Hence seedie, -y, seda-, sedi-, full of oat-husks. Combs. seedy-broo, (i) Sowens in their first state of preparation while the husks are still floating on the top of the liquid (wm. Sc. 1880 Jam.); (ii) the second brewing of home-made ale (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.); seda-soop, sedi-, = (i) above (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 195), also the sediment of buttermilk (Sh. c.1825 Jak. (1928)). Gall. 1735  Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 244:
The said Margaret had got a plateful of seedy meal from the said Christian.
Sc. 1759  Session Papers, Coutts Bros. v. Wilson (28 July) 47:
He bought two Bolls of the Pursuers Meal and it was very seedy.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 298:
His seedie ingle finely warms, Whanere he steers't.
Dmb. 1844  W. Cross Disruption xviii.:
The meal ye sent me wasna according to sample — seedy, auld-tasted dirt!
Rxb. 1845  T. Aird Old Bachelor 243:
[To] lie half an hour in the seedy killogie with the fire-feeding kilnman.

5. A small particle or grain of anything (Ags. 1969). Ags. 1897  F. Mackenzie North. Pine 34, 47:
No' a seed o' tobacco within the door . . . Here am I left withoot the seed o' siller.

6. In pl. in Mining: see quot. Slg. 1937  Econ. Geol. Central Coalfield I. 136:
The bituminous blaes immediately above the roof stone of the Cooking Coal is finely sheared and crushed, producing a loose, slippery material locally called ‘seeds'.

7. Fig. a hot-tempered person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 152).

II. v. 1. Of a cow or mare: to swell in the udder as an indication of advanced pregnancy (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Rxb. 1825  Jam.:
She'll no be lang o' caavin now, for I see she's seedin'.

2. To weave a pattern of spots, resembling seeds, in a piece of muslin or linen. Hence seeding-frame, an arrangement of the loom by which this is done. Vbl.n. seedin, a fault in weaving which unintentionally produces this effect (Ayr. 1951). Sc. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. II. 319:
Spidered, seeded, and numerous species of drawloom and other work.
Rnf. 1872  M. Blair Paisley Shawl (1904) 19:
The lappet wheel, the seeding frame, the sewing frame.

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"Seed n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2017 <>



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