Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SIX, num. adj., n. Also Sc. form †sex (Bnff. 1715 W. Cramond Annals Bnff. (S.C.) I. 116; Lth. 1723 J. Clerk Memoirs (S.H.S.) 101). Ordinal form †sext (Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xlix.); sixt (Gen.Sc.). See also Sax.

Sc. usages in combs. and derivs.: 1. sixpence, a position in the game of marbles when the player puts one toe on the firing line and has the other leg fully drawn back (Bnff. 1970); 2. sixpenny, the school class using the sixpenny reader. See Penny, n., 4.(2); 3. six-quarter, used attrib. of cattle: from eighteen months to two years old (Fif. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 725; Ork. 1970); 4. sixsie, a move in the game of chuckstones in which the stones are thrown up, caught on the back of the hand, tossed into the other palm, and if one drops, it has to be thrown up repeatedly until all are in the palm (ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc., Dmf. 1970); 5. sixsome, sixum, a group of six people, esp. in a dance. Hence sixsome reel (Sh. 1888 J. M. Saxby Lads of Lunda 216). See -Some, suff.; 6. sixteen, with def. art.: the sixteen representatives of the pre-Union peerage of Scotland who are elected from their own number after each general election and have seats in the House of Lords in terms of the Act of Union of 1707, Article XXII; 7. sixteensome, a group of sixteen people, esp. forming a figure in a reel (Sc. 1964 J. & T. Flett Trad. Dancing 18). 2. Kcb. 1895  Crockett Bog Myrtle 185:
Walter had gone to school and had been placed in the “sixpenny”.
5. n.Sc. 1823  W. G. Stewart Pop. Superstitions 274:
The bridal pair and their retinue then dance a sixsome reel.
Sh. 1885  Chambers's Jnl. (25 April):
The ball began with what is termed a “sixum reel.” which is made up of three couples. This is always the most common and popular dance among Shetlanders.
Sc. 1954  H. A. Thurston Scotland's Dances 35:
A sixsome reel is described in Smythe's Pocket companion, 1830.
Sc. 1964  J. & T. Flett Trad. Dancing 50:
Of the three Reels the Sixsome and Eightsome Reels are peculiar to Orkney. Like the Foursome Reel, these Sixsome and Eightsome Reels are true Reels, that is to say they consist of setting steps danced on the spot, alternated with a travelling figure. They are danced by three and four couples respectively.
6. Sc. 1779  H. Arnot Hist. Edb. 307:
To accommodate the Scottish peerage, as the election of the sixteen was held in that apartment.
7. Sc. 1938  St Andrews Cit. (13 Aug.) 9:
He is much in request to teach foursomes, eightsomes, sixteensomes, and thirty-two-somes.
Sc. 1954  H. A. Thurston Scotland's Dances 51:
Any quadrille could be turned into a double quadrille, in which sixteen dancers take part, two couples forming each side of a square. The same process can be applied to the eightsome reel: the result is the double eightsome or sixteensome reel.

[O.Sc. sexsum, a group of six, six in all, 1375. See -Some, suff., 2.]

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"Six num. adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2018 <>



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