Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SHILLIN(G), n. Also shillen, shullin. Sc. forms and usages. Coins of the denomination of one shilling (in value, owing to the progressive depreciation of the Sc. currency, equal to one Eng. penny) are rare in Scot., with the exception of issues in the reigns of James VI. and Charles I., but coins of multiples of one shilling, as two, six, ten, twenty, forty, etc. appear freq. from 1582 onwards until the Union of 1707. Cf. Gael. sgillin, a penny. Phrs. and Combs.: 1. protesting shilling, the shilling tabled by a protester in an ecclesiastical court under the procedure of taking Instruments, q.v.; 2. shilling-grass. the common white-rot, Hydrocotyle vulgaris, so called from its small round leaves (Ayr. 1886 B. and H.); 3. shillingland, land of which the annual product was valued at a shilling under the Old Extent, in 1585 fixed at the fortieth part of a Ploughgate, or 2.6 Scots acres. A forty-shilling-land held of the Crown allowed its possessor to elect or be elected a member of Parliament until the Reform Act. See Freeholder. Now only hist. exc. in place-names; 4. Shillin-shakers, shiller-, the quaking-grass, Briza media (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1970), a corruption of siller-shakers, see Siller; 5. to spit shillins, to spit saliva in small frothy quantities like shillings on the ground, from the mouth being dry sc. from a drinking bout; 6. to wantpence or something o' (i') the shilling, to be mentally defective, simple-minded, to be “not all there”, the number of pence varying according to the speaker's assessment of the deficiency (I. and n.Sc., Ayr., Kcb. 1970); 7. twel shilling, one shilling, British money. See definition above. 1. Sc. 1850  Hogg's Instructor (March) 74:
Every fresh book of his [Carlyle's] comes down with the noise and force of a protesting shilling.
3. Dmf. 1718  Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1898–9) 82:
The fourty shilling land of Woolcoats and the fourty shilling land of Albielees.
Lnk. 1764  Caled. Mercury (16 July):
The Nineteen Shilling Land of Knewoble.
Rnf. 1786  Session Papers, Campbell v. Douglas (5 Dec.) App. 2. 4:
The said lands of Cavenlie paid cess after the rate of a twenty shilling land, or a merk and a half.
Sc. 1872  C. Innes Legal Antiq. 270:
The forty-shilling land is the same as a three markland.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters xxvii.:
I'll no gang on the parish — I'm Miss Richmond o' Tenshillingland.
Sc. 1954  P.S.A.S. LXXVIII. 59:
The Norse scale of land denominations in descending order was the ounceland, pennyland, halfpennyland, farthingland, and smaller fractions. It did not include poundlands, merklands, or shillinglands. The latter had a quite different historical origin and belonged to a different order.
5. Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 222:
Wi' his mooth unco dry, an' spittin' shillin's.
6. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 99:
They are all, however, of rather a wild frantic nature, and seem to want ‘some pence of the shilling', a penny or more.
wm.Sc. 1836  Scottish Annual 187:
The body wanted something o' the shilling.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.:
A changelin' an' certainly wantin' tippence i' the shillin'.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (12 Feb.):
He's laek a' 'at wants a tippence o' da shillin'.
7. Sc. 1715  Lochlomond Expedition 50:
Will you give me a shilling for it cood wife, tat is a twel shilling?

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"Shillin(g) n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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