Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STANE, n., v. Also †stanne; stain(e) (Cai. 1929 John o' Groat Jnl. (20 Dec.)), †stean (Sc. 1702 T. Morer Acct. Scot. 14, 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs I. 26), staen (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 65), stehn (Bnff. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 18), sten (Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Poems 118; Sh. 1901 T. P. Ollason Mareel 81); stein (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 147); and I. and n.Sc. forms steen (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 12; Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 10; Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 11; Ork., n.Sc. 1971), ‡stene (Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 149, 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 9), dims. steinie (Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 71), steenockie (Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xiii.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. stone. Adj. stanie, stan(e)y (Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 128; Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 152; Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 112), steenie, -y (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 17; Abd. 1914 N. Maclean Life North. Univ. 16; Ags. 1932 A. Gray Arrows 52; n.Sc. 1971), ¶stiennie-. [sten; n.Sc. stin]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Phr. stane and lime, masonry, masoned stone. See Lime. For other phrs. see Stone, I. 1.

2. Combs., in some of which stane has an intensive force as in Eng., e.g. stane-blin(d), -deef, -deid, -still: (1) black stone, see Black Stone; (2) stane-auld, very old, as old as the hills; (3) stane-bark, ‘liverwort' (Rxb. 1825 Jam.), “this should be Marchantia polymorpha, but more likely some lichen, perhaps Parmelia saxatilis, is meant” (Rxb. 1886 Britten and Holland Plant-Names 450); (4) stane-bing, a heap or pile of stones (Fif., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1971). See Bing, n.1; (5) stane-biter, ste(i)n-, the catfish, Anarrhichas lupus (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., sten-), ad. Norw. stenbider, id.; also given as the lump-sucker, Cyclopterus lumpus, prob. erron. (Ork. 1825 Jam.), though stenbider is also so used in Dan. The fish is said to be so called from its strong sharp teeth; (6) ston-break, the saxifrage, so called because it was thought to break up stones with its roots, and hence, by transference, calculi in the bladder. Also in Eng., now obs. Cf. Lat. saxifraga; (7) stane-cast, a stone's throw (Sh., Bnff., Per., Fif. 1971). Rare or obs. in Eng.; (8) stane-cha(c)ker, -chucker, -checker, sten-shakker, stanie-shakker (Per.); steen-chackert, -shekker (Sh.), stane-chack, -check, shik, stenshak, the stonechat, Saxicola torquata (Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 326, -checker; Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 44; Lnk. 1897 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. 204, -chucker; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ags., Peb., wm. and s.Sc. 1971); the wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1856 Zoologist XIV. 5264, stean-chackert; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., stane-chack; Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 36; Cai. 1907 J. Horne County of Cai. 369; ne.Sc. 1950 Scotsman (18 Feb.) -check; Sh. 1951 Sh. Folk Bk. II. 33); the whin-chat, Saxicola rubetra (Ayr. 1909 Science Gossip (Aug.) 227). The definition “stone-chat”, found in Sh. glossaries, pretty certainly applies to the wheatear (cf. Stinkle), and there is a sim. confusion of names also in Eng. and other Teutonic langs. The name stane-checker is also applied to the spotted gunnel or blenny, Pholis gunnellus (Lth. 1837 Wernerian Soc. Mem. VII. 235); (9) stane-chapper, (i) the stone-chat, Saxicola torquata, “from the impatient movement of the tail, which it is in the habit of continually jerking as if endeavouring to strike the stones on which it perches” (Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 12). See Chap, v.1; ¶(ii) a jocular term for a geologist; (10) stane-chipper, the wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 76; Lnk., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1971); (11) stane-clod, a stone's throw. Cf. (7) and Clod, v.1, 2.; (12) stone-couple, a stone arch in a house (see quots.); (13) stone-crib, a lock-up or jail. Crib is sim. used in local Eng.; (14) stane-dumb, completely silent (Sh. 1971, steen-). Also in n. Eng dial.; (15) stane-dunder, a volley of firearms, an explosion, “lit., the thundering noise made by a heap of stones falling to the ground” (Cld. 1825 Jam.); (16) stane-dyke, a (dry-) stone wall. Gen.Sc. See Dry, 27., Dyke. Also used attrib. and as a v. = to build a wall. Hence stane-dyker, one who builds (dry-stone) walls. Gen.Sc.; (17) stone-fire, see quot. and Fire, III. 1.; (18) stone-fish, the gunnel Pholis gunnellus (Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife 50; Ags. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XI. 256); (19) stane-graze, a bruise from a stone thrown at one (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 436); (20) steen-griper, the cat-fish, Anarrhichas lupus (Abd. c.1890 Gregor MSS.); (21) stane-heid, the top of a stone, esp. of a boulder or rock deeply embedded in the soil: ¶(22) stone-kist, see quot. and Kist; (23) stane-knapper, -napper, one who breaks stones (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne., m., s.Sc. 1971). See Knap, v., 3.; (24) stane-knot, a very tight-knot, “what is commonly called a run-knot in Fife; from the difficulty of unloosing a knot of this description it is probably compared to the hardness of a stone” (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 295); †(25) stone-land, a large tenement or block of flats. See Land, n., 5.; (26) stane-loppen, -in, st(a)en-, steen-, -lup(p)en, -loppin, bruised, contused, crushed as if by a stone (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1971); (27) stane-mine, stone-, in Mining: “a roadway from underground workings which cuts across the strata” (Sc. 1937 Econ. Geol. Cent. Coalfield I. 159; Fif., Lnk., Ayr. 1971); (28) stane-napper, see (23); (29) stein-net, an old-fashioned type of herring-net which was kept perpendicular in the water by being weighted by large stones along the foot; (30) stane-pecker, -pekker, -pikker (Jak.), = (8) (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). This appears to be an error, based on Dan. stenpikker, the wheatear; the turnstone, Arenaria interpres (Sh. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 187, 1951 Sh. Folk Bk. II. 33, Sh. 1971); the purple sandpiper, Erolia maritima (Sh. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 194, 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 199); (31) stane-putter, also steenie-pouter, the turnstone, Arenaria interpres (Ork. 1891 Buckley and Harvie-Brown Fauna Ork. 204, 1929 Marw.); the sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9). For the second element see Powt, v.1, Putt, v.; (32) staneraw, stein-, stan(n)erie, the lichen, Parmelia saxatilis, formerly used in dyeing wool (s.Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scot. II. 816; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 436; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 155, stannerie; sm.Sc. 1971) [′stenrɑ, -re]. Also in forms stani(e)raw (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), staney-rag (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 265). Also used attrib. = dyed with lichen. -raw is from O.E. raȝu, lichen; ¶(33) stanethraw, a stone's throw; (34) stane-tir't, -tired, very tired, also ironically, lazy, bone-idle (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; s.Sc. 1971); (35) stane-wod, stark mad (Cld. 1825 Jam.). See Wuid; (36) in dim. or adj. forms: (i) stanie-whilbert, -whulbert, the stone-chat or wheatear (see (8)); also fig. (see quot.). Whilbert may be a corrupt form of Wheybeard; ‡(ii) stiennie-warrag, a boil, imposthume (Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C.), appar. so-called because of its hardness. For the second element see Wirrock. (2) Sc. 1828  Johnnie Cock in
Child Ballads (1889) III. 9:
What news, what news, ye stane-auld man?
(4) Knr. 1891  H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 160:
And stone-bings; and bees.
(5) Ork. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 314:
Two of the best kinds of fish we have are the tusk and the stein-biter.
Sh. 1822  S. Hibbert Description 511:
That formidable-looking fish, the stone-biter (Anarchicus Lupus), is also esteemed good eating.
(6) Ork. 1716  in H. Marwick Merchant Lairds (1936) I. 61:
Ane Hungary botle full of the double spirit of Ston-break of which ye may take one ordinary dram when ye are troubled with the gravil.
(7) Sc. 1730  T. Boston Memoirs 280:
A little more than a stone-cast from the church.
Per. 1761  Session Papers, Spalding v. Rattray (5 Feb.) 8:
They formerly had a Sheal within a Stone-cast of the Defender's Marches.
Lnk. 1865  J. Hamilton Poems 89:
A stane-cast down the gowany brae.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 184:
St Aubrey's lands, a stane-cast aff.
(8) Sc. a.1730  A. Buchan St Kilda in Misc. Scot. (1818) II. 16:
Crows, Wrens, Stone-chaker.
Slg. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XV. 326:
The stonechecker arrives about the first of May; disappears about the middle of August.
m.Lth. 1810  Scots Mag. (April) 285:
April 3. The Wheat-ear, or stanechacker, appeared in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 435:
The tade clocks the stane-chacker's eggs.
Gall. 1847  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 160:
Stane Chack! Deevil tak'! They who harry my nest will never rest.
Bwk. 1911  A. H. Evans Fauna of Tweed 55:
Wheatear . . . This species is confounded by the natives with the Stonechat, either bird being called indifferently “Stanechack,” or “Stanechacker.”
Abd. 1920  C. Murray Country Places 2:
When loupin' the dyke a steen-chackert flew oot.
Sh. 1949  New Shetlander (Mar.–Apr.) 10:
The non-resident Wheatear, or Shetland stinklin, which is sometimes erroneously called da stenshak.
Edb. 1965  J. K. Annand Sing it Aince 14:
Stane-chack, haste ye back.
(9) (ii) ne.Sc. 1894  A. Gordon Northward Ho! 200:
The ministers, and the ‘stane-chapper' frae Edinboro'.
(11) Slk. 1817  Hogg Tales (1874) 155:
Tam would never come within a stane-clod o' him.
s.Sc. 1897  E. Hamilton Mawkin xi.:
When we were a stone-clod or so beyond Irvine.
(12) Peb. 1815  A. Pennecuik Works 58:
Many cottages have a row of rugged arches [of stone] about 18 inches thick, by 20 deep, springing from the walls, and meeting in a point, at the distance of 6 or 7 feet from each other, from gable to gable, called Stone-Couples, instead of timbers, across which to lay the rough spars and support the thatch.
Abd. 1865  R. Dinnie Birse 15:
The width of the house seldom exceeded twelve feet within walls; but the length often varied from 30 to 60 feet, especially the farm house, and were frequently divided with a stone wall which went under the name of a stone couple — being a support to the roof.
(13) wm.Sc. 1837  Laird of Logan 159:
Twenty shillings for each pound, or you go up to the stone-crib at the Cross.
(14) Rxb. 1806  J. Hogg Poems 72:
To sit stane-dumb.
Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 50:
We've e'en stood lang thegither now stane-dumb.
(15) Edb. 1711  Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 227:
The said house be inclosed with a stone dyk.
Sc. 1842  J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 123:
Stone-dike enclosures are generally of dry stone.
Sc. 1870  J. Brown Letters (1909) 201:
They had been stone-dyking since October.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 106:
Oot crawled a lang spindle-legged dry stanedyker, yin Geordie Ferguson.
(17) Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 109:
Down in the Rhinns when anybody takes a farm or a house over another body's head, it is the custom to put a stone fire in every fire-place in the house, and to put a spell on it, to prevent the incomer from doing any good in it. . . . They carefully biggit a fire on every hearth in the house, . . . then a good layer of broken bottles or flints; then a layer of little stones, and above them a layer of big stones; heaping them right up into the lum, and then jawing a bucketful of sand over each; praying as they finished them, that the Ayrshireman might never prosper till these fires burned.
(21) Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 103:
Up comes three-four lads, Loupin atween stane-heads as light as bawds.
Cai. 1916  J. Mowat Cai. Proverbs 4:
As bare as a stane-heid.
(22) Sc. 1819  R. Southey Tour (1929) 254:
By the road side are magazines of broken stone for its repair, laid aside by the cubic yard, in walled recesses of three sides, the two ends toward the road being sloped, so that the stones may form an inclined plane. These receptacles were named by R. Stonekists. . . . It was near Glasgow that the practise of breaking stones to the right size and thus filing them, began.
(23) Hdg. 1876  J. Teenan Song 3:
It ne'er puts aboot the stane-napper Tam.
Fif. 1886  A. Stewart Dunfermline 127:
The poor stone-nappers on the road-side used to get him to measure the cubic contents of their work.
Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Verses 98:
Stane-nappers noo may hing their head.
(24) Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 142:
I ties a gude hard stane knot on the strings o' my toy.
Ayr. 1895  H. Ochiltree Redburn xvi.:
Warped and fankled, ravelled and tied into a hard stane-knot.
(25) Edb. 1720  D. Murray York Building Co. (1883) 50:
The first stone-land above the Bank Closs of Edinburgh.
Edb. 1739  Caled. Mercury (6 Feb.):
The first Story above the Shops to the Fore-street of the great Stone-land called Home's Land.
(26) Sh. 1897  Shetland News (11 Sept.):
He's as brüs'd an' blue as iver doo saw a stane-loppen tae or finger.
Sh. 1908  Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 230:
When a man was “stone-broke” he was referred to as a “stane-loppen image,” one bruised and disfigured by a fall of stones, yet not beyond the possibility of renewal.
(27) Rnf. 1920  Memoirs Geol. Survey (1920) 26:
An old “waste” was found close to the pit bottom. Through this a stone mine was driven N.N.E.
Fif. 1952  R. Holman Behind the Diamond Panes 33:
To drive a stane mine through a hill.
(29) Bnff. 1957  Banffshire Jnl. Xmas Annual:
The term “stein-net” fishing, requires some explanation. Smooth, oval-shaped stones were fastened with a piece of strong cord at regular intervals to the foot-rope of each net to keep the nets in an upright position.
(32) Sc. 1764  Caled. Mercury (29 Sept.):
Arrived . . . the Two Brothers of Dundee, Webster, from ditto, with wine, bale goods. and stone-raw.
Sc. 1802  Scott Minstrelsy II. 215:
In weeds dyed with stoneraw, or lichen.
Ork. 1806  P. Neill Tour 50:
Lichen saxatilis. Throughout the North of Scotland called Steinraw.
Slk. 1820  Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 316:
The staniraw stockings and red garters.
Sc. 1861  H. MacMillan Footnotes Page Nature 118:
Still collected abundantly by the Scottish peasantry, under the name of staneraw, to dye woollen stuff of a dirty purple or reddish-brown colour.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 309:
The maist use't wus the indigo an the staneraw.
(33) Ags. 1915  V. Jacob Songs Ags. 32:
A stanethraw frae the Kirk.
(36) (i) Rnf. c.1850  Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) S. 141:
This bird is considered a worthless or hurtful bird, because it is said to be hatched by the tade. Therefore a worthless fellow is called a stanie-whulbert.

2. Short for stane wa, stone wall. Sc. 1827  W. Motherwell Minstrelsy 389:
He turned his face to the stock, And she hers to the stane.

3. The round polished stone fitted with a handle for throwing which is used in the game of Curling. Gen.Sc. Hence stone-house, the building in which these are kept, a curling club-house. For channel-stane see Channel Stane. Sc. 1739  J. Kerr Hist. Curling (1890) 117:
Every residing Member of the Society . . . shall provide himself in a curling stone.
Sc. 1771  Weekly Mag. (Feb.) 180:
When wand'ring wide the stone neglects the rank.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 167:
His stane being glib, to the loch-en', Close by the witter past.
Ayr. 1816  A. Boswell Poet. Wks. (1871) 196:
Just lie ahint our stane a yard.
Sc. a.1872  D. Macleod Memoir N. Macleod II. 223:
Wi' brooms in their hauns, an' a stane near the ‘T'.
Ags. 1897  Bards Ags. (Reid) 169:
Noo, lad, ye'll lay a bonnie steen.
Sc. 1940  Royal Caled. Curling Club Ann. xxvii.:
No Stone, including handle and bolt, shall be of greater weight than 44 lbs.
Gall. 1955  Gall. Gazette (19 Nov.) 1:
Several curling stones lying in the Stone-house at Whauphill old Rink.

4. In dim. forms stanie, -ey, steenie: (1) a small coloured marble (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268; ne.Sc., Fif., wm., sm.Sc. 1971); (2) a large hammer for breaking stones (Bwk. 1950); (3) some kind of game. (1) Lth. 1885  J. Strathesk Blinkbonny ii.:
The bools played with were called ‘taas', and consisted of “marbles, stanies, frenchies,” etc.
Abd. 1901  Sc. N. & Q. (2nd Series) III. 15:
Probably the first marbles were of the kind called “stonies,” which are made by grinding small nuts of an impure carbonate of lime, a kind of marble, between two iron plates.
Lnk. 1910  W. Wingate Poems (1919) 74:
Reddies and stanies for “mooshie” or “ring”.
Abd. 1965  Press and Jnl. (13 April):
A good “staney”, a hard stone boolie which could be hurled against the school wall without breaking.
(3) Abd. 1837  Abd. Shaver (Aug.) 371:
Bailie Simpson just elected “it” at steenie.

5. A measure of weight, consisting of 16 pounds of one or other of two standards, Troy or Dutch, used gen. for meal, meat and metal, or Tron, for butter, cheese and wool and many other local products (Sc. 1825 Jam.). The standard of the troy stone was kept at Lanark, q.v., and was given as 121743.195 Imperial grains (Sc. 1830 W. Shiress Tables 211) or about 17 lbs. 6 ozs.; the tron stone varied much more considerably between districts and specific commodities from 28 to 32 lbs. avoirdupois. See Pund, n.1 The Sc. stone became officially obs. with the establishment of Imperial measures by statute in 1824. Abd. 1713  Powis Papers (S.C.) 208:
It ordinarly takes Twenty Three Sten weight of old Green Fish to make a Barrell, and Twenty four Sten weight of young Green Fish or Grilses to make a Barrell.
Lnk. 1769  R. Frame Interest Lnk. 14:
The butter of a tolerable Cow will amount to five stone Scots, or about one hundred weight English per annum.
Per. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 354:
Cheese is sold by the country people (22 lb. English avoirpois to the stone) at 4s. 6d. and is retailed by the merchants at 16 of these pounds to the stone.
sm.Sc. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XV. 91:
In Dumfries, or in that part of this county that lies upon the other side of the river Urr, a Scotch stone of any commodity is 24 libs; in New Galloway, which is in the same county, it is 26 lb, and in all this part of the country round Kirkcudbright, it is 28 libs. ditto [avoirdupois]: In other places, only 22 libs. make the stone.
Ayr. 1807  Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 321:
Fattening cows . . . when fat weigh from 12 to 24 stones, Ayrshire weight (24 lib. to the stone).
Inv. 1830  Perthshire Advert. (24 June):
Cross wool, washed and unsmeared, from 8/- to 8/6, with a reference of 3d. per stone of 24 lb.

6. As in Eng., now obs. or low: a testicle (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Hence stane-naig, a male horse, stallion. Cf. stone-horse, s.v. Stone. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 387:
I hate stane naigs but waur I hate them wha lead them.

7. The stump of a willow tree cut for osiers. Lth. 1803  J. Girvin Address to Landholders 24:
The cutters should be carefully watched, and care taken, that they be cut within an inch of the stock, or stane, as it is vulgarly called [of a willow].

II. v. 1. To press (the whey out of) a cheese by putting a large box of stones on top of the cheese vat (Abd., Ayr. 1971). Gen. in proverbial phrs. below. Sc. 1812  The Scotchman 9:
To se some pridefu brats sae far forget the chisset they wur staint in.
Ayr. 1895  H. Ochiltree Redburn vi.:
Mrs. Waugh was considered by some to be “too big for the cheswell she was staned in.”

2. To toast (oatcakes, etc.) by placing them on the hearthstone of an open fire (Abd. 1971). Abd. 1933 4 :
“See an' steen the breid richt” (advice on baking day for the toasting of the oat-cakes for the ploughboys).

3. In ppl.adj. steened, of a herring-net: weighted down in the water with stone sinkers. See I. 2. (29). Abd. 1943  W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 8:
Steen'd nets, skummer loons.

[O.Sc. stane-cast, 1375, -dyik, 1481, stain-fisch, 1512.]

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"Stane n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Dec 2017 <>



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