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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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S(c)hank, n. Also: schanck, schanke, sank; s(c)haink, schiank; schaunk. [ME and e.m.E. shannk (Orm), schank (Cursor M.), sank (1531), OE sc(e)anca, LG schanke leg, thigh.]

1. The lower part of a person's leg, between the knee and the ankle; the shin-bone or tibia; the leg as a whole. Also, an artistic representation of the lower leg.Edward with the lang schankis, etc., Edward I of England. See also 10 c below.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1590.
Halt men als thar gettis bute, That seknes has in schank or fut
Ib. xl 1371.
The worme … wrocht sa in his schank & kne, That bath war thai lyk tynt to be
?1438 Alex. i 1303.
Fare schankis, leggis and feit Weil maid all to his body meit
a1500 Henr. Orph. 100.
This lady … Barfute with schankis quhytar than the snawe
c1515 Asl. MS I 167/26.
Sum [supra mischapen men] has schankis of xiiij fut lang, and all thair body bot four fut lang
1513 Doug. i vi 57.
With rede botynys on thar schankis hie
Ib. v viii 21.
Bot hys faynt schankis gan for eild schaik
1535 Stewart 15426.
Full mony schank and schulder than wes schorne
1540 Lynd. Sat. 469.
I haif wreistit my schank
c1550 Id. Meldrum 949.
Hir schankis quhyte withouttin hois
Ib. 1349.
Ȝit quhen his schankis wer schorne in sunder, Upon his kneis he wrocht greit wounder
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 441/129.
The women als that on hir [sc. a mare] ryddis … Thay luift thair goune abone thair schank
c1600 Medical Recipes 97b.
Aquarius … hes in a manis bodie the sankis vnto the end of the hancleth
1611 Reg. Panmure I xcv.
The thee bone … ves neir als longue as bothe the schank and the thee bone of any ressonable man
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii 2401.
Wyth the lang schankis this Edwardt, Kyng off Ingland
c1515 Asl. MS I 208/13.
Efter this Eduard with the lang schankis was crowned
1535 Stewart 47014. a1538 Abell 101a.
Hes did his gudschir with the lang schankis
Ib. 4*a.
Kyng Edwart with the lang schankys
(3) 1581-1623 James VI Poems I 68/39.
Seing him find falt with the shankis of the image of Venus

b. To sched (a woman's) schankis, see S(c)hed v. I 1 b.

c. The leg of an animal or insect. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2779.
Ane lyttill mous … micht nocht waid hir schankis wer sa schort
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 62 (M).
Off meige schankis … Thair teddir staikis war maid

2. pl. A kind of fur obtained from the legs of goats or sheep, and used as trimming for garments. 1503 Treas. Acc. II 220.
Ane riding goun to the quene … For schankis of furring to the bordouring of the samyn
1513 Ib. IV 426.
Schankis of pampilȝone

3. A stocking, worn either as one of a pair of separate stockings, or (see e.g. (3) below) as part of the whole hose; a leg-stocking.In the period covered, chiefly tailored rather than knitted.For numerous further examples, see the indexes to Treas. Acc. VI ff.(1) 1535–6 Treas. Acc. VI 277.
For half elne ryslis blak to be schankis to ane pair of hois of mailȝe
1537 Ib. 339.
For schankis to ane pair of hois of stemmyng of Millane
1540–1 Ib. VII 432.
For claith of Mauchlynis blak to be schankis to thame
1546 Ib. VIII 449.
Ane elne and ane quarter of uterfyne to be him hois with dubill schankis
1565 Misc. Maitl. C. I 263.
Send me sum mo schankis, for them that I haiue vill be schoine doine
1575–6 Dumfries B. Ct. 20 Jan.
Best pair of breiks with buffingis & schankis
1576 Digest Justiciary Proc. I 23.
He had … quhit schankis gairtanit abone the knee
1584 Laing MSS 51.
Your lordship will cawse remember my silk schankis and to by my wyif ane Bybill
1591 Reg. Privy C. IV 682.
Quhairin thair wes ane grite quantitie of fyne Lundone claith, with sum Lundone shankis and uther mercheandice
1603 Philotus 237. 1606 Tailor's Acc. Bk. A 40.
Payit … for silk & making of ȝour dul schankis
1608 Ib. 60.
Payit for lustring & scouring his silk schankis
1618–19 Misc. Spald. C. V 143.
Reid Inglis flanning … to be ane joip and schankis to Williame Murcure, officiar
1619 Fam. Innes 210.
As for schankis and garteris and hatt band I leuk that ye will honor me for that day vith the best ye have
1631 Tailor's Acc. Bk. B 11b.
1650 Brechin Presb. 27.
When Elspit Graye's husband was dieing shee [sc. a suspected witch] desired her father … and the said Elspit [Erskyn] to rug off her shanks
1652 Will in Paterson Ayr & Wigton III 350.
[Fifty marks] with his weiring cloithes, with cloake, net boots, schanks and bands
1656–7 Fam. Rose 368.
For … sarge to be shanks to Hewe
(b) 1620 Tailor's Acc. Bk. A 100b.
For the making of ȝour vystcot and shainkis xxiiij s.
c1632 Ib. B 26.
Schainkis of menum claith
(2) 1534 Treas. Acc. VI 197.
To be the king ane pair shankis v quarteris lymmistar blak
1540 Ib. VII 316.
To be thame twa pair of hois, ilk pair witht twa pair of schankis
1575 Dumfries B. Ct. 25 Oct.
Ane pair of greine schanks
1585 Perth B. Ct. 27 April.
Ane pair Frensche gray breikis with ane pair schankis of the same
1586 Acc. in Moray Mun. (Darnaway) Box 3, No. 104.
Ane pair of reid cramossie silk schankis
1587 St. A. Test. II 76b.
Ane pair of blew brekis with ane pair of blew schankis
1588–9 Cal. Sc. P. IX 671.
iiij pair worsat schankis cost xv l.
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 263.
Sax pair of bonnatmaker schankis
1597 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 389.
Pair tarton schanks, 3 s. 4 d.
1600 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 374.
Williame McBirnie to pey to Andro Pawling ane pair of sky schankis for cureing him quhen he ves seik
1613 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 113.
To … Andro Wilson, drummer, … ane jup and pare of schanks of sick culler as the magistrats thynkis maist expedient
1640 Household Bk. M. Stewart 39.
For litting twa pare shankis to Lady Elizabeth Erskine
1644–5 Misc. Spald. C. V 164.
Two pair wovin whyt shankis … at threttie shillings the pair
1651 Edinb. Test. LXV 190b.
Ane pair of schanks for women
1659 Melrose Reg. Rec. I 260, etc.(b) 1603 Montgomery Mem. II 247.
For ane par of worsit schianks to my pag
(3) 1538–9 Treas. Acc. VII 128.
To be shankis of hois to the kingis grace
1541 Ib. VIII 38.
Twa pair of schankis of hois
1544 Ib. 303.
For schering of the saidis schankis of hois, and sylk to sew the guscheattis of thame
1547 Ib. IX 101. 1569 Ib. XII 175.
Reid skarletting serge to be his grace schankis of hois
(4) 1609 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 10 Nov.
The council … dischargeis all the inhabitants thar bairnis to ony vther to leirne, quhill thai be xiij or xiiij ȝeiris of age, & that to be onlie to leirne to weif shank, cast buttonis or siclyk
?a1640 Copie of a Baron's Court 33.
To … knit shanks
1643 Rec. Old Aberd. I 74.
The said Jeane Mwkart sall learne the said Elspet Gilcryst to wyff schankis
1644–5 Misc. Spald. C. V 164.
Two pair wovin whyt shankis to him at threttie shillings the pair

4. a. The shaft or stem of an anchor. 1494 Treas. Acc. I 248.
For the menden of ane ankyr schank
1549 Compl. 40/25.
Than thai maid fast the schank of the ankyr

b. The straight part of a nail, between the head and point; ? a piece of metal cut to the length or shape of a nail, without head or point; ? a headless nail. 1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 83.
For iiiic planschoir schank and ixc … dure naill schank
Ib. 85.
For iiic sylour naill of planschoir naill schank
Ib. 86.
For iiiic planschoir naill schank for syling, … for iic windo naill schank
Ib. 88.
iiic windok naill schank for sylour naill … ii s.
1552 Edinb. Hammermen 191b.
Ane hundreth planchour naill schank xxx d. Item jc windo nayll schank xiij d.
1553–4 Edinb. Old Acc. II 26.
Ane hundreith dur naill, … and twa hundreith of dure naill schank
1560 Ib. 98.
jc blynd nail garron nall schank to the saittis
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 26.
For 5 c. dore naill schank and i c. dore naill

5. The trunk of a tree. 1513 Doug. iv viii 70, 76.
Quhen the ancyant aik tre With hys byg schank by north wynd … Is ombeset … So that the hyast branchys … Thar croppys bowis towart the erth … Quhen with the dynt the maister schank is smyte
Ib. xiii iv 72.
The treis schank
1565 Reg. Privy C. I 413.
Ane penny … havand on the one syde ane palmetre crownit, ane schell padocke crepand up the schank of the samyn

6. The shaft of a column or pillar. a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 35.
Torris of tymber … ilk ane twa cubite of hicht haveand tua knoppis on the heid … overgilt with gold and the schankis thairof paintit with dyuers hewis of oylie colouris

7. A downward projection, or spur, of a hill; a descending ridge. 1602 Reg. Great S. 485/2.
The south schank of ane hill callit the peithill
1618 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 371.
Ascending to the standen wtherwayis steipping steanis on the wast syde of the shank

8. The vertical shaft of a mine; a ‘pit’. 1648 Glasgow B. Rec. II 155.
The putting downe ane shank in the commoune for ane coall heuche
1666 Ib. III 69.
That coalles may be win and gottin … to give … monye to sett doune … twa shankis
1686 Irvine Mun. II 308.
Given to the coalyieris … the day of their entring to the second shank for the heuch
1723 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 178.
To digg and set doun pitts or shanks

9. comb. In shank-weaver, one who knits or weaves stockings. 1648 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 88.
Libertie to build ane close dyk … for avoiding the meiting of whoores, shankwyuers, and horssis
1652 Edinb. Marr. 84.
Cuthbert Brown, shank-weaver

10. a. As a place-name element, ? in the sense of 7 above. c1320 Liber Calchou 199.
A parte boreali syketi qui vocatur Schanke
1507 Rentale Dunkeld. 245.
Cammo Schaunkis
1536–7 Ayr B. Acc. 6.
For the few of the Dogland Schankis
1690 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 447.
The Shankfot croft

b. As a personal name. Also proverb. 1337 Rot. Sc. I 493/1.
Adam Shankes [in Berwick]
1358–9 Ib. 835/1.
Andreas Shank mercator de partibus Scotie
1478 Acta Aud. 75/1.
Laurence Schankis, … Robert Schankis
1479 Ib. 88/2.
Laurence Schankis
1480 Acta Conc. I 56/1.
Cristiane Schankis
1491 Ib. 214/1.
Jonet Schankis
1546 Treas. Acc. VIII 473.
To ane bayrd husse callit Jonet Schankis … to be hir ane kirtill
Ib. IX 13.
Compositionis remissionis Willelmi Schankis … pro dicto crimine
Ib. 25.
To ane baird callit Schankes iij s.
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1711.
Ye are fairdie, ye bread of Henrie Shanks meirs

c. As part of a nickname. 1334 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 59.
Ac pro salute anime quondam Christini Crukschank
a1384 Fordun I 402.
Rex Edwardus Langschankis, pater istius Edwardi
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 410.
Edward Langschankis
1561–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I 434.
Baire schankis, his boy

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"Shank n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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