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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.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AINCEɪ̢, ɪ̢ANCE, ANES, YINCE, Anis, Yinst, Yance, Yence, Eence, Wance, Wanst; Also yeance (Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters IV. viii.), yeans (Dmf. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 271); adv. and conj., also quasi-noun (as in at anes).  Once. [ens mn.Sc.(b), em.Sc.(a); eins Cai., e.Rs.; ins I.Sc., mn.Sc.(a), Mearns, e.Ags.; jɪns + , wm.Sc., Ayr. + jɑns, em.Sc.(b) + jɛns, sm.Sc., s.Sc. + jɛns, Uls.; jɪnst wm.Sc., em.Sc.(b), s.Arg., Wgt., Uls.; wans I.Sc., Cai.; wɑns Gsw., s.Arg., w.Dmf. + jɪns; wɑnst Gsw., s.Arg. z for s may be heard, esp. before voiced cons. and vowels.] The Sc. uses agree almost entirely with those of the St.Eng. form, and are not here shown separately; exceptions will be found in B. Quots. are given in approx. chron. order.

A. 1. Anes. Meanings as in St.Eng.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems, Wealth 240:
But anes a Year their River heaves his Tide.
Abd.(D) c.1750 R. Forbes Journal from London, etc. (1767) 11:
Fan anes it was down your wizen, it had an ugly knaggim.
Abd. c.1760 J. Skinner The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn (1809) 64:
Anes she lay an ouk and langer Furth aneath a wreath o' snaw.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 34:
A' this was good, I anes was won awa' Resolv'd ere I yeed back a' nails to ca'. [This peculiar usage of once = if once, when once, is now very rare in Mod.Eng. and Sc. It is found in O.Sc. See D.O.S.T. anis.]
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson in Dmf. Wkly. Mag. (Sept.) reprinted in Gallovidian Annual (1930) 78:
Nae mair he'd sung to auld Mæcenas, The blinking ein o' bonny Venus, His leave o' them he'd ta'en at anis For Claret here. [The rhyme requires anis to be disyllabic here — no doubt a jocular archaism.]
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xii.:
I downa take muckle siller at anes.

2. Ance. This form was next historically to anys, anis, anes.Sc. c.1756 J. Elliot Flowers of the Forest v. in Scott Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border I. (1803) 277:
The English, for ance, by guile wan the day.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween ii.:
Where Bruce ance rul'd the martial ranks.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems, Ep. to J. Buchanan ll. 47–48:
'Tis also said, our noble prince, Has play'd the wee saul't loon for ance. [Note the rhyme for the pronunciation here.]
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xii.:
Odd, ance I gat a wee soupled yestreen, I was as yauld as an eel.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet i.:
“Hoot, noo,” said Peter, “gudeman, ye were ance young yersel'.”
Sc. 1864 J. C. Shairp The Bush aboon Traquair in Kilmahoe, etc. viii.:
The luve that ance was there.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xliv.:
Fan ance fowk's at oor time o' life they sud be willin' to lat the theets slack a bit.

3. Aince.Ayr. 1787 Burns Halloween iv.:
Their “stocks” maun a' be sought aince. [Ed. 1786: ance.]
Slk. 1822 Hogg Poet. Wks. II. 122:
I aince gat a glisk of thy face.
Sc. 1887 R. L. Stevenson Underwoods, Counterblast xi.:
The shoon ye coft, the life ye lead, Ithers will heir when aince ye're deid.
Ags. 1891 J. M. Barrie Little Min. I. iv.:
Aince you're used to it, writing letters is as easy as skinning moles.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems and Sketches 235:
Doon went . . . Tam McPhail mair nor aince.
Cai. 1929 “Caithness Forum” in John o' Groat Jnl. (13 Dec.):
A wonder will he min' 'e auld man A kent aince.
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 21:
... a clam-shall fossil
brocht tae Edinburgh frae Chesapeake Bay.
one hunder and fifty million years auld. Aince there stirred under this shall - life.
ne.Sc. 1991 Alastair Mackie in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 68:
Youtheid likes itsel best.
Twa laddies cam here aince.
Whit gaupit back at them was an ee o ice.
Cai. 1991 John Manson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 77:
Aince I sat
On a stirk's heid
And if I hadna
Anither w'ud
Wippled wi rope
He'd been thrown
At a year auld.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
Dinna bide in yon chaumer
Wi the wee, clorty winnock
At the tap o the hoose
Up the kypie stair
I tell ye, ye'll no ken yersel
Aince up in yon chaumer
An the door steekit efter ye.

4. Eence.Abd.(D) 1905 W. Watson Glimpses o' Auld Lang Syne 93:
“Have you heard him oftener than once?” “Ou, fie na, jist eence.”
Sh.(D) 1916 Burgess Rasmir's Smaa Murr Iktober 15:
Watter can get braaly dear, if ye eence caa it aqua.
Bnff.2 1931:
Eence Jamie wiz in, we'll begin wir supper.
ne.Sc. 1996 Claire Murray in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 12:
Eence apon a time a deevilock wis lonely an decided tae mak a freen.

5. Yince, yence, yance. Yince is a common spelling south of the Forth, indicating the usual modern pronunciation in that area.Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 1:
Yence I could hear the laverock's shrill-tun'd throat.
Gsw. 1783 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 11:
An yence my father's muck were out, my mither downa wirk at the midden.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 186:
And a' at yance I'll e'en engage To send relief.
Gsw. 1891 N. Dickson Kirk Beadle 47:
It's at yince the maist interestin' an' the maist religious buik I ever read.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 19:
It's no' easy gettin' the Eerish oot if they yince get in.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae 'Tween Clyde and Tweed 5:
I am yince mair within Drumelzier glen.
Rxb.(D) 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 6:
“Bring ben the loch!” yince quo' “Jamie the Poyeter.”
Ayr. 1929 R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 34:
Big Ma-Comb, the tattie prince, Though twenty stane, de'ed a' at yince.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 33:
Yince, pipes ablo his oxter
he heard the rettle
o my aums in his tinnie.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 150:
'I had peyed the minister's man tae let me come ower wi him, tae say I was his sister, but I hadna thocht how I would get tae ye yince we landed. ... '

6. Yinst.Wgt. 1885 G. Fraser Poems 41:
We yinst had a Castle at Wigtown toon.
Uls. 1900 A. McIlroy By Lone Craig-Linnie Burn 131:
He tried tae get merriet mair nor yinst.
Gsw.(D) 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgregor ii.:
A man yinst tell't me the beast wis trampin' on his keepers.
Gsw. 1921 H. Chapin The Philosopher of Butterbiggins 10:
I'm no' sayin' ther's ony harm in it this yinst, faither; but it's no' richt to gae on nicht after nicht wi' never a break.

7. Wance, wanst. Local modifications of St.Eng. once.w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (2nd ed.) 143:
Man, Sanday caa'd him up at wance.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 113:
If a body says a wird ye tak hit ta you at wance.
Tyr. 1929 Mat Mulcaghey Rhymes of a Besom Man 45:
I wance had a boothry gun.
Tyr. 1929 W. F. Marshall Ballads and Verses from Tyrone 43:
I creep to Carmin wanst a month.
Arg.1 1931:
Weel I'll len' ye yer rent this wanst, but min' yer no tae come back again.

B. Phrases: (1) Anes and awa, just for a moment; (2) anes and aye, for ance and ay, from that very moment, for ever; (3) anes and for aye, without more ado; (4) anes (yince) on (in) a day, ance-a-day, once upon a time (ne.Sc. 1975); (5) by yinces, one at a time (Fif., Lth. 1975); (6) the yince, once. Cf. once, wance; (7) till ance, till at length; (8) yince an, when, when once (cf. Aincin).(1) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxi.:
He has a gloaming sight o' what's reasonable — that is anes and awa' — a glisk and nae mair.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan I. 136:
[Of tooth-extraction.] John, just bide still now — it's just ance and awa'.
(2) Ayr. 1795 (publ. 1800) Burns To Collector Mitchell v.:
Then farewell Folly, hide and hair o't, For ance and ay!
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
As for the whistle, it was gaen anes and aye.
(3) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy ix.:
Zounds! that a chield wi' sic a black beard should hae nae mair heart than a hen-partridge! — Come on wi' you, like a frank fallow, anes and for aye.
(4) Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 50:
Wha wad hae thought it anes a Day?
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 147:
Nae kisses sweet, Or hinnied words to cheer her. Like ance a day.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality iv.:
He was a gude customer anes in a day, and wants naething but means to be a gude ane agane.
Abd. 1876 R. Dinnie Songs 31:
Langsyne there lived ance on a day A piper in Lochlee.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Doun i' th' Loudons, etc. 15:
But ance-a-day, it was as popular As auld Broun's kirkings yont at Hedinton.
Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 25:
Yince in a day the maist o this wheit-seem (white-seam: plain needlework) was shewd be hand.
(5) Lth. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 725:
I'll no fecht ye baith at yince, but I'll tak ye by yinces.
(6) Edb. 2003:
Ah dinnae really ken whit yon new restaurant's like - Ah wis only there the yince.
(7) Wgt. 1880 J. F. C. The Kelpie, etc. in G. Fraser Lowland Lore 165:
Frae this I learn'd anither fac', That Kelpies silence never brak Till ance aneath the sand they're doon, An' in their caverns safe an' soun'.
(8) Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Yince an ee change a note, it suin gangs in thae times.
Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 25:
Yince an oo'd the wunter bye, oo'll no be sae ill-off.

[O.Sc. anis, anys, north. Mid.Eng. anes (Mid.Eng. ones), adv. = once, gen. of ān = one, replacing an earlier ǣnes, an adv. gen. = once. Barbour (14th cent.) has anys, anis, so also Dunbar (early 16th cent.), Montgomerie (end of 16th cent.) ainis, ains, anes. In Barbour it is disyllabic in one instance at least (vi. 499); in the Middle Sc. poets usually monosyllabic, as it is later. The form ance is recorded for 1650 (ans is earlier). In modern Sc. the spellings ance and often aince disguise the pronunciation(see phonetics) — e.g. aince is often pronounced as yince. Jam. 1808 says: “Pron. as ainze, or yince, S[cotland], eenze, S.B.” [i.e. northern Scotland]. For the development of the y forms see P.L.D. §§ 84, 97.4. For the t of yinst, wanst (also onc't, oncet), cf. against, amidst, amongst.]

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"Aince adv., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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