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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

APEN, APPEN, adj. A common Sc. form of open, adj.; used in the same way as open in St.Eng. (and Sc.). [′ɑp(ə)n]

1. (Of doors, and the like; of what may be closed by doors and the like) open.Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 12:
The lethy bids Paetie Linklid an' Johnnie Brock stand i' the apen yett-wey.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb (2nd ed.) vi.:
I'se keep my een apen fan I gae back.
Gall. 1832 Capt. Denniston Battle of Craignilder 64:
The gates flew apen wi' a bang.

2. In other senses.

(1) Not concealing the thoughts or feelings, not deceitful.Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 71:
You've seen me round the bickers reel Wi' heart as hale as temper'd steel, And face sae apen, free and blyth.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 157:
Sonce fa' yer apen, honest heart, Whar double guile ne'er hauntet.

(2) Undisguised, unconcealed.Ayr. 1816 Sir A. Boswell Poet. Wks. (1871) 164:
[He] then recounted mony a feat O' apen strife and artfu' wile.

(3) Of the weather: an apen winter, one without much frost or snow.Abd.(D) 1928 Mains and Hilly, Abd. Wkly. Jnl. (Sept. 20) 63:
Gin we hae an apen winter an' plenty o' girse tae be gotten [etc.].

(4) An apen quey (see quot.). Obs.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 20:
Apen Queys — Young cows; those who have not had calves.

3. Phr. the apen furth (see quots. and Furth).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Banff. 215:
Apen furth, a phrase used to signify out of doors. Muckle furth has the same meaning. Furth is used as a noun; as, “Gae t' the furth, the muckle furth, the apen furth.”
Abd.2 1932:
Still known.
Cld. 1818 C.T.C.S. in Edin. Mag. (Dec.) III. 503:
The lassie and I bure her to the appen furth, an' had hardly won to the lone, whan down cam the wearifu' milkhouse.

4. Comb.: Apen hannet, adj., open-handed, liberal.Abd.(D) 1928 W. Robbie Mains of Yonderton 83:
She wid a been mair apen hannet than we cood hae weel affoordit.

[The forms apin, appin, occur in Older Sc. (16th cent.). For the change from the orig. opin to apin see P.L.D. §§ 54, 105.2. The o was orig. short. From O.E. open. Common Gmc.]

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"Apen adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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