Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ABUNE, ABUIN, ABOON, Abeun, Abön, Abeen, Abin. [ə′byn em.Sc.(a), Bwk., Gall., s.Sc.; ɔ′bøn sn.Sc., I.Sc.; ə′bɪn em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc.; ə′bin mn. and nn.Sc.]

1. adv. (1) of place: above, overhead, in the sky, and (fig.) in heaven; in the upper storey; higher up a valley or river. The adv. freq. becomes attributive. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1925 “Domsie” Scots Poems for Children, Hairstmune:
Sic a chield are ye, auld mune, Smirkin' tae yoursel' aboon.
Bch.(D) 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert 11:
An' there war a fyow bedrooms an' lafties abeen.
Slg. c.1860 D. Taylor Sang o' the Glaur, Stirling Arch. Soc. (1923) 23:
Jawp! jawp! jawp! In owre the mouth o' your shoon; Jawp! jawp! jawp! Till you're clarty aneath an' abune!
w.Lth. 1882 Jos. Leggat in Mod. Sc. Poets ed. Edwards IV. 189:
We'll ne'er miss his dud nor his wee pick o' feedin', His father aboon 'll reward us for a'.
Rnf. 1788 Eben. Picken Poems 75:
They're aye sae weel acquaint aboon They aften hae the conscience To hainch a chield ayont the moon.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) 18:
Oor neibor abune, or on the sooth side o' us, was yin Nancy Grierson.
Rxb. 1820 Edb. Mag. LXXXV. 533–534:
The devil . . . explained to her the duties of a witch . . . and placing her right hand on her head, and her left under her feet, she gave up “a' between them to the powers aneth, renouncing a' aboon.”

(2) Superior to fate, in good cheer, in or into a better condition. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lam. vii.:
Keep your heart abune, for the house sall haud its credit as lang as auld Caleb is to the fore.
Sc. 1775 Shaw Hist. Prov. Moray 151:
A misty May and a dropping June Brings the Bonny Land of Moray aboon.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems 121:
A wee soup drink dis unco weel To had the heart aboon.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson viii.:
Ramsay an' famous Ferguson Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon.

2. prep. (1) above, over, higher than; also fig., of sounds, louder than. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary vii.:
See, yonder's the Ratton's Skerry — he aye held his neb abune the water in my day.
Sh.(D) 1898 “Junda” Echoes from Klingrahool 52:
Der nedder starnlicht or mön, An yet I tink I see a glow Abön da banks.
Ork.(D) 1880 W. T. Dennison Orc. Sk.Bk. 4:
He got the muckle nail i' a peerie hol' 'at wus i' the face o' the rock abeun his heed.
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 115:
The ba' struck me abeen the belt.
Abd.(D) 1928 W. Robbie Mains of Yonderton 33:
Gang up the stair t' the place abeen far we're sittin'.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy vi. 50:
She took a lang breth throo her nose, an' lookit up at the pikter abune the chumla.
Per. 1871 Alex. Maclagan Balmoral, etc. 156:
I do my best to leave aboon The grave's laigh lanely hame A poor man's richest legacy, And that's an “honest name”!
Gsw.(D) 1903 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor 21–22:
Ay, Rubbert's a herty man; but a' the same, John, ye're no' to gar him lauch abin his breith.
Dmf. 1823 Jas. Kennedy Poems 70:
And soars aboon the upper skies.
Rxb.(D) 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 16:
Yin o thae watch-knowe hichts, clean abuin haugh an howe.

(2) Higher up (the hill, valley or stream). Gen.Sc. Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caledonius I. 5:
The Bush aboon Traquair.
Sc. 1796 Johnson (ed.) Scots Musical Museum V. 500:
The auld man's mare's dead A mile aboon Dundee. [The song is commonly assigned to Patrick Birnie of Kinghorn, and dated about the middle of the 17th cent.]
Bnff.(D) 1847 A. Cumming Tales of the North 37:
“They're a' camped abeen Keith, i' the howe o' Bogbain,” she continued.
e.Dmf. 1894 J. Cunningham Broomieburn 107:
Juist abune Tarras brig he saw her stannin' i' the wud.

(3) More than, in number, quantity or degree; over and above. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1824 J. Galt Entail lvi.:
Has na she bed, board, and washing, house-room and chattels, a' clear aboon her jointure?
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 159–160:
She's due the ane at the corner something abeen three poun'.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy v. 43:
I'm shure we hadna abune a moofu' o' tea drucken.
Lnk. 1926 W. Queen We're a' Coortin' 18:
Weel, maybe I love you, Wullie; maybe love ye abune a'buddy else.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 38:
He disna gang ti the kirk abuin fowr Sundays a quarter.

(4) Higher in rank or position than; better in quality than; not stooping to (a fault or weakness); valued more highly than. Sc. 1825 J. Wilson Blackwood's Mag. XVII. 366:
Me and Wordsworth are aboon the age we live in.
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 161:
A mayna gi'e gran' pairties, but A've a speerit abeen daein' things o' that kin'.
m.Lth. 1811 Hector MacNeill Bygane Times 21:
Held himsel up aboon his station, Wi' brag, and shew, and affectation.
Rxb. 1868 D. Anderson Musings 18:
The Ettrick chaps are fu' o' glee, But far aboon them a' to me Are the merry lads o' Liddesdale.

3. The adv. is used ellipt. as a n. in frae abune, from above; from heaven. Abd. 1904 W. A. G. Farquhar The Fyvie Lintie 66:
May best o' blessin's frae abune Attend a' that reside in it.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 11:
The blinkin' lustres frae aboon Shane through the cloudy air.
wm.Sc. 1835 J. D. Carrick The Laird of Logan I. 257:
We pay for ilk starnie that blinks frae aboon; But your kindly light never costs us a rap.
Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 283:
Yon meikle e'e stares frae aboon.

4. Phrases with the prep.: (1) Abune a', especially, above all. Gen.Sc. (2) Abune his fit, above his capacity. (3) Abune my binnd (see below). (4) Abune the blankets, free from illness. (5) Abune the breath, (a) above the nostrils, (b) above the windpipe or lungs. (6) Abune the fire, in the but end of a cottage. (7) Abune the meal (see below). (1) Fif. 1893 Gabriel Setoun Barncraig 60:
He was a simple soul, as I said, an' trusted a'body an' Lizzie aboon a'.
Sh.3 1930:
An exclamation of surprise or disgust. Na! Him abune a' [referring to a man promoted to a post for which he was altogether unfitted]. Dat abune a' [some surprising news almost beyond all belief].
(2) Sc. 1896 And. Cheviot Proverbs 34:
Aboon his fit — i.e. above his capacity.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace in Homespun 59:
The pooers o' Nature, wind an' snaw, Are far abune oor fit.
(3) Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 9:
Abuin ma binnd = beyond my power, strength, ability.
See Bind. (4) wm.Sc. 1835 J. D. Carrick The Laird of Logan I. 91:
You're a' abune the blankets, I hope, meat hale, and workingsome.
(5) (a) ne.Sc. 1929 J. M. McPherson Primitive Beliefs in the North-East of Scotland 221:
“Scoring abune the breath.” This was a step a man might take if he dreaded the action of a particular witch. If he drew blood above her breath — i.e. above her nostrils — she lost all power to injure. The Portmahomack fisherman [whose sweetheart proved to be a witch] drew blood from “above the breath” — i.e. he cut her on the forehead in the form of a cross.
Bwk. 1856 Henderson Pop. Rhymes 59:
Some o' thae hags they burn'd to dead, . . . And some aboon the breath did bleed.
(b) Mry.3 1930:
[In Strathspey, among boys at school a.1900] An inviolable oath: As sure as death, double death: Cut my throat abune (abeen) the breath. At the words “Cut my throat” the inner edge of the right hand was drawn across the throat from left to right. In this oath the seat of the breath was not above but beneath the throat.
(6) Sc. a.1724 in Allan Ramsay T.T. Misc., The Auld Wife beyont the Fire (1762) 100:
The auld wife aboon the fire, She died for lack of snishing.
Ork. 1911 J. Firth in Ork. and Shet. Misc. IV. 21:
The mid-gable, as it was called, was the thick stone wall dividing the ben-end from the but-end or kitchen. This latter room bore also the name of in-by or abune-the-fire.

(7) Abune the meal, in such expr. as when the malt (maut) gets abune the meal = when the guests begin to be tipsy. Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xi.:
“Come, come, Provost,” said the lady, rising, “if the maut gets abune the meal with you, it is time for me to take myself away.”

[The aboon form, although frequently used in rhymes, seems now to be purely literary. The O.Sc. forms have either o, oi, oy, or ou, u, and w. Mod.Sc. abune, abeen imply an earlier ō vowel, and Mod.Sc. aboon an earlier ū. O.E. abŭfan for on-be-ŭfan.]

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"Abune ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Jun 2021 <>



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