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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Red(e)s(c)hank(e, Reidschank, Reddshank(e, n. Also: reede- and -shanck(e; Ridschank. [e.m.E. redshanck a wading bird (1525), a duck or drake (1567), also (1547) applied to the ‘wylde’ Irish.Usu. as one word. In sense 1, appar. an ‘allusion to the colour of legs reddened by exposure’ (OED).]

1. A highlander. Also attrib. 1542 Misc. Bann. C. I 7.
Johne Eldar, clerk, a Reddshank
Ib. 10.
The Yrische lordes of Scotland, commonly callit the Reddshanckes, and by historiographouris, Pictis
Ib. 13.
We … goynge alwaies bair leggide and bair footide, … the tendir delicatt gentillmen of Scotland call ws Reddshankes
a1578 Pitsc.(1814) xxiii.
Verie rud and homlie kynd of people doeth inhabite [the mountains] which is called the Reidschankis or wyld Scottis
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 797 (T).
Tanny flank, reidschank [H. reedeshank], pyk thank
1638 J. Row Red-Shankes Serm. Title.
The Red-Shankes Sermon, preached at Saint Giles Church … by a Highland Minister
1641 Army of the Covenant I xcvi. c1679 Kirkton Hist. 313.
Our old Redshank, King Achaius
c1680 McWard Serm. 131.
Fall on, red-shanks
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) ii 24.
Red-shanks then did wear no shoes
1682 Irvine Nomenclatura 2.
Aebridani, & Aebridenses: are our west-islesmen, commonly called red-shanks
Ib. 214.
Scoti Hibernenses, & Scoti Ierni are really to be interpret of our Highlanders and red-shanks; and not of the Irish
attrib. a1689 Cleland 10.
A pack of Redshank-squires
Ib. 36.
The swarmings of the Red shank crew

2. The bird, the redshank. 1528 Household Bks. Jas. V 120.
Item empt. … xij redschankis
1541 Reg. Cupar A. II 13.
Quhape, duik, reidschank
1549 Compl. 39/26.
The rede schank cryit my fut my fut, & the oxee cryit tueit
1684 Sibbald Scot. Illustr. iii 19.
Gallinula erythropus major … , the red-shank or pool-snipe

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"Redshank n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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