Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WAN, n.3 Also waan, waun; wain, wane. [wɑ:n]

1. Prospect, hope, expectation; a liking for something (Ork. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 96, wain; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw., waan, wane; I.Sc., Cai. 1973). Ork. 1929  Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 77:
Hid's puir waan for folk 'ats behadden tae da Deil [to] traan wi' 'im, is he'll mak' dem swee afore he's deun wi' dem.
Cai. 1934  John o' Groat Jnl. (30 March):
A've good waun o' a good time comin'.
Cai. 1946 9 :
There's geed waan o' better weather. There's nae waan o' anything but rain.

2. Comb. and derivs.: (1) ill-wan, little or slight hope (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973); (2) wanless, hopeless, forlorn (Ib.; Ork. 1973); (3) wanlie, -y, hopeful, likely, promising; agreeable, comfortable (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1973); (4) wansome, likely, probable (Ork. 1964). (2) Sh. 1897  Shetland News (30 Oct.):
We're left as wanless as da widow.
Sh. 1924  J. Hunter Poems 109:
If do cud get him ta gie up da drink du wid get da blissin' o' a puir wanless widow.
Sh. 1951  New Shetlander No. 29. 28:
A fragment of doggerel, which partially sums up her poor restless, wanless and distressed state.
(3) Ork. 1951  H. Marwick Orkney 264:
The sea smooth and the night “waanly” or hopeful.

3. Used adv. in phr. waan an' oonwaan, in likely and unlikely places. Cf. O.N. use of pl. vanir = likely places. Ork. 1907  Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 63:
Dey sowt an' sowt waan an' oonwaan, but an' ben.

[Norw. von, O.N. van, hope, expectation. See Van, n.2 O.Sc. has wane, id., a.1400.]

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"Wan n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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