Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

from 2005 supplement

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BLACKENING, n. Add: 2. Traditional smearing of a bridegroom and/or a bride with boot polish etc. the night before the wedding. Also attrib. Sc. 1998  Aberdeen Evening Express 27 Mar 16:
Part of Stonehaven's Market Square was awash in treacle and flour following a recent groom's 'blackening'.
Ork. 2000  Orcadian 11 May 3:
"I am not against blackening but if a blackening wants to use it they can pay for the extra cleaning up of the premises," he said. "It takes a hell of a lot extra to clean up after a blackening. If folk are caught, that blackening will be charged for the cleaning up of it.
"It is just atrocious — everything inside covered in treacle, feathers and flour. It is a disgrace."
Ork. 2000  Orcadian 11 May 4:
... (once I even had to wade through treacle, flour and feathers plastered everywhere after a "blackening" group had chosen to leave their mess in there before visiting the nearby pubs!)
Sc. 2002  Press and Journal 16 Oct 3:
Procurator fiscal David Dickson said that on the evening of July 1 the couple — who had planned to marry on July 6 — had accompanied friends to a Hopeman hotel for a joint, pre-marital blackening party before returning to their Harbour Street home in the early hours of the next morning.
Sc. 2003  Mirror 18 Jan 26:
For, despite never having been to a hen night, 21-year-old Lindsey, from Keith, in Moray, knows she will be subjected to a "blackening" — a tradition of the North East.
"It's really, really, bad luck not to have a blackening before you get married", says Lindsey ...
Sc. 2003  Press and Journal 15 Nov 21:
Entertainment was something you made yourself, and that included feet-washing, or blackening the bride and groom, with the occasional Ensa concert as a diversion.
Sc. 2004  Aberdeen Evening Express 3 May 2:
Every bride feels a bit stressed as her wedding day approaches. But Angela Aitken had good reason to panic before she said "I do". For bridegroom Jim McWilliam broke his thigh bone in three places trying to avoid the pre-wedding "blackening" his friends had organised for him.

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"Blackening n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2019 <>



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