Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPEECH, n. Sc. usages:

1. Combs. †(1) speech-crier, a street vendor of speeches, one who hawked ‘last dying speeches' of criminals; (2) speechman, id. (1) Edb. 1856  J. Ballantine Poems 68:
Ilk haltin' hirplin' blindit fiddler, Ilk wee speech-crier, Ilk lazy ballant singin' idler.
Edb. 1870  H. Lonsdale Life R. Knox 109:
Speech-criers of the last horrid doings of Burke and the doctors.
(2) Clc. 1852  G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 1:
Wi' speechmen cryin', beggars singin', Loud was Aged Reekie ringin'.

2. Phrs. (1) to get in speeches with (someone), to get into conversation with someone; (2) to pit speech upo' (someone), to address someone, speak to someone. See Pit, v., B.2. (24) (ii); (3) to tak speech in hand, to make a speech, to hold forth; (4) within speech of the land, within hailing distance of land, near enough the shore to communicate by voice with those on land. Cf. Cryreck. (1) Sh. 1899  Shetland News (8 July):
Man, Loard bliss dee, an' dünna get dysel' in speeches wi' her.
(3) Ayr. 1818  Kilmarnock Mirror 111:
Ane o' the elders o' the kirk teuk speech in han'.
Per. 1824  Harp Per. (Ford 1893) 248:
Donald he took speech in hand.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 20:
They were sure to tak' speech in han' an no let him away.
(4) Ork. 1775  J. Fea Method of Fishing (1884) 160:
It is well known, that there have been instances of Cod being fished here, to great purpose, within speech of the Land.

3. = Speak, n., 5. Slk. 1875  Border Treasury (13 Feb.) 334:
‘I wad really learn to command mysel',' said my uncle, verra gravely, ‘ye'll make us a country speech.'

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



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