Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

WANCHANCY, adj. Also -cie (Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 214; Bwk. 1801 “Bwk. Sandie” Poems 26; Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 68; w.Lth. 1890 A. M. Bisset Spring Blossoms 17), -sie, ¶-chauncie, ¶-chancey (Fif. 1846 W. Tennant Muckomachy 62), and misprint -chchancie (Inv. 1865 J. Horne Poems 101); -shancy, -shansi; wunchancy (Watson), ¶winchancie (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.). Unlucky, inauspicious, ill-omened, ill-fated; dangerous, unreliable, treacherous, unsafe to meddle with, of persons and things (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., -shansi, Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 193; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 31, wanchancy, 32, wun-, obsol.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., ‡Cai. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial. See Chancy, Unchancy, Wan-. Adv. wanchancy-like, in an unsafe manner. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 143:
A mutchkin of linseed I'd i' the yerd fling, For a' the wanchansie beginning o't.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 123:
My travellers are fley'd to deid Wi' creels wanchancy, heap'd wi' bread.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Puir Mailie viii.:
Wae worth that man wha first did shape That vile, wanchancie thing — a raep!
Kcb. 1806  J. Train Poet. Reveries 17:
That whirlwind upon a road, Did some wanchansie thing forebode.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
He was wanchancie aneugh to abuse Lapraik's doctrine as weel as the man.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
By some wanchancie dispensation o' Providence, my head had come in violent contact wi' the ice.
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Merry Men ii.:
It's an unco life to be a sailor — a cauld, wanchancy life.
Cai. 1909  D. Houston 'E Silkie Man 8:
'E creeter geed 'em a wanshancy glower.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 12:
A'd lippent on o that wanchancy motor.
Sc. 1928  J. C. Horne Lan'wart Loon 14:
Noo he'd lint his houchs an' banes Wanchancy-like on shiftin' stanes.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Wanchancy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down