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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

AIN, †AWN, †Awin, Ayn, adj. and n. Also aine. Used gen. as St.Eng. own. (2 (e), (f), (g) are Sc. usages only.) Almost always after possessive adjectives or the possessive case of nouns, with which it is in sense so closely combined that it forms with them virtual compounds. In form it is an adj., but when without it the possessive would be a pronoun used absolutely, ain may be regarded as forming part of a comp. possessive pron. [e:n Sc., exc. ′ɛən Sh.; ein e.Bch., Crm., Cai.] In quots. chron. order observed.

1. †Awn, †awin, adj., or, as in 1st quot., forming part of comp. pron. (Some late examples are archaistic — e.g. Scott Monastery iii.)Sc. (?a.1700) The Outlaw Murray in Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 305a lxxi.:
Fair Philiphaugh, prince, is my awin.
Sc. 1725 W. Hamilton Braes of Yarrow xix.:
His purple vest, 'twas my awn sewing.
Abd. c.1746 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1767) iii.:
In the play Mass John is slain With his awn knife.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery iii.:
“Take your awn way for it then,” said Martin.

2. Ain.

(a) adj. (really part of comp. possessive adj.). Gen.Sc. Comb. ain-born, born to oneself; hence by extension, native to a certain town, born in the district.Dmf. 1810 A. Cunningham in Cromek Remains, etc. 178:
But he has tint the blythe blink he had In my ain countrie.
Dmf. 1911 Gallovidian XIII. 184:
The late Dr Cunningham was an ain-born bairn, and an ain-born bairn that Dumfriesians were all proud of.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 3:
A wummin needny get all dolled up sae fine
If it's only in her ain man's een she wants to shine.
m.Sc. 1987 Andrew Cowan in Iain Crichton Smith Scottish Short Stories 1987 102:
'They're all away on free holidays tae the Costa del Sol. It's his aine fault. He's a mug. Always wis.'
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
To watch ye is a richt divert,
Ma een as by a lodesteen draan.
Siccar ye grip me, an I'm thraan
To turn to my ain thochts, to pairt
Fae you
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 13:
Wi'oot leavin yer ain lan
Ye can still be an exile.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 6:
Ye glowered frae yer ain hill rise
An I frae mine -
Mair pairt o' the Borderlan'
Nor ony corbie speirin whaur tae dine!

(b) Forming part of comp. pron. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems, Wealth 243:
Happy that Man wha has thrawn up a Main, Which makes some Hundred thousands a' his ain.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 38:
An' there's a gown some longer nor your ain.
Sc. [1825] Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 18:
I care for nae man's good word, unless it be your ain, sir.

(c) In phr. o' (ane's) ain (again part of comp. pron.). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes.
Uls. 1900 T. Given Poems from College, etc., Culleybackey ii.:
Whar . . . birds steek their een in wee neucks o' their ain.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 16:
When me, him and the weans got a hoose o' wur ain
In a four-in-a-block in this scheme.

(d) With ellipsis of certain nouns, not expr. in context, but understood: “property,” “beloved person,” etc. (Otherwise the same as (b).) Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1790 Burns Carl, an the King come i.:
And every man shall hae his ain, Carl, an the King come!
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. i.:
Lat the Lord luik efter his ain.
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 34:
My ain, my dear, your licht shall burn Although my een grow blind.
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 2:
Thank God for ma gift o' life, it goes without sayin'
Lookin' at ma lovely grandweans is like lookin' at ma ain.

(e) The form ains is found in some districts, esp. in the phr. o' my (his, etc.) ains; in the Stevenson passage it is prob. intended to mark a vulgar type of speech.Edb. 1879 Stevenson and Henley Deacon Brodie Act II. Tab. iv. Sc. 2:
I've a pride o' my ains.
s.Arg. 1931 (per Arg.1):
Ains is not unusual in s.Kintyre. “A kent fine it wasna wan o' oor ains as soon as A' seed it.”

(f) As a n. in s.Sc. in the phr. the ayn o't.s.Sc. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 198:
For hyts-ayn [= its own] is generally used the ayn o't.

(g) Phrase: To hae his (her, etc.) ain to do, to have one's hands full, to have all that one can do. (See also Adae 2 (2).)Ayr. 1868 J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 163:
Onybody wha has a wife and eight weans . . . will just hae his ain to do.

[The form ain may be from the somewhat rare O.E. ǣgen, or from O.N. eiginn; it appears in literary use about the beginning of the 18th cent. Awn, awin, from O.E. āgen (E.M.E. āȝen), are the common forms in O.Sc. In the Abd. municipal records awin does not appear after 1667. O.E. āgen is orig. pa.p. of āgan, v., to possess, and thus awn, ain, primarily = owned. Cogn. Goth. áigan (also a pa.p.) and Ger. eigen.]

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"Ain adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2022 <>



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