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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.

AULD, AUL', Aal, AaldAld, Ould, adj. Sc. forms of old. Also absol. See also OLD, OWLD.[ɑld, ɔuld I.Sc.; ɑl n.Sc. but Ags. + ɑld; ǫld em.Sc.; ǫl(d) wm.Sc.; ɒl(d) sm.Sc., s.Sc.; ɔuld I.Sc., Cai., e.Rs., s.Arg.; ɑul Ant. The vowel may be medium or full length.]

1. The following sentences illustrate the various forms of the word with some of the uses common to Sc. and Eng.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xx.:
I am an auld fallow . . . but I am also an auld soldier o' your father's. Ib. xxi.: this auld kirk. Ib.: a bennison frae some o' the auld dead abbots.
Sc. 1823 J. G. Lockhart R. Dalton I. 231–232:
I'm expectin' a very auld acquaintance o' mine . . . to come [etc.].
Sc.1999 Herald 31 Aug 19:
... the superb singing and playing of Maighread and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill and brother Michael made this auld kirk glow.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 76:
We're desendid frae da ould Norsemen.
Ork.(D) 1907 J. T. S. Leask Old-Lore Misc., Ork. Sh., etc. I. ii. 63:
Dey . . . even lifted the lud o' the ald plowt kirn.
Bch.(D) 1926 P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 117:
A like t' hear ye fin ye get on the aul' fernyurs [= past years].
Abd.1995 Flora GarryCollected Poems 20:
'Foo aal's Bennachie? As aal's a man?'
Ags.1988 Raymond VetteseThe Richt Noise 29:
Here's swecht, is't, this place no juist the choice
o the auld, the duin, arthritic wi sentiment?
wm.Sc.1980 Anna BlairThe Rowan on the Ridge 4:
"I wis jist goin' up a step or twa to look better ower to the ridge there, where Mither's to hae her hoose. You're maybe too auld to big it, but when I'm up, I'll dae it mysel'."
Gsw.1984 James KelmanThe Busconductor Hines 122:
What would have been the point, the auld cunt, standing chittering there, a constant drip from the nostrils, in a patch of spare earth, the few thin trees in a kind of formation, waiting for a fucking bus.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter l. 15:
Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonie lasses.
Rxb. 1924 Hawick Express (22 Aug.) 3/7:
Aw've yince or twice risked ma auld banes in a motor-car.
m.Sc.1997Liz NivenPast Presents 17:
Twa wummin, young an auld
Droont ower the heid o releegion
In Covenantin times.

2. A term to indicate degrees of family descent.

(1) Auld-auntie, “the aunt of one's father or mother,” Jam.2 1825, for Clydesdale.

(2)Auld boy, One's father.Edb.1993:
Ma auld boy's a scaffie.
Edb.1993Irvine WelshTrainspotting (1994) 125:
Dode's auld boy pulled intae Leith long enough tae git Na Na up the kite. Then it was back tae the seven seas.
Uls.2002Belfast News Letter 30 Mar 6:
One of them shot my auld boy [father] and they were responsible for attacks like Kingsmills and Tullyvannen.

(3) Auld brither, oldest brither (Ork. 1975). Sc. 1874 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 245:
'Yonder we maun be this night,' quo' the bull; 'for my auld brither lives yonder.'

(4) Auld Daddy, grandfather.Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xi.:
Mither, mitherl Meg Draiks winna gie me a bit of auld daddy's burial bread.

(5) Auld doll, A grandmother.Edb.1994Irivne WelshAcid House 93:
No. This is the first time I've been to see the auld doll since she moved into the Sheltered Housing Scheme.

(6) Auld-father, “grandfather; a term used by some in the West of S[cot],” Jam. 1808.

(7) Auld gran'faither, great-grandfather.Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) i.:
Farther back than auld granfaither, that I mind of when a laddie.

(8) Aul' laddie, oldest son (Mry., Abd., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1975). Lnk. 1885 J. Hamilton Poems 229:
Their aul' laddie, wee Tam.

(9) Auld-mither, grandmother (S.D.D. 1911). m.Sc.1988William NeillMaking Tracks 33:
ye're daft, said ma auld-mither,
he'll spend it on the drink. But I couldna jist gae bye him.

(10) Auld son, oldest son. (See also Per. quot.)Sc. a.1825 Lamkin in Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 93 b vi.:
O where is his auld son?
Per. 1898 G. W. in E.D.D.:
In these parts an oldest son, daughter, brother, or sister is usually spoken of as my auld son, daughter, brother, or sister: the “auld son” may be a child.
m.Sc. a.1846 A. Rodger Poems, etc. (1897) 149:
So they made his auld son — a queer billie — Half factor, half laird in his stead.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xviii.:
And so ye hae gotten your auld son married?

(11) Auld-uncle, “the uncle of one's father or mother,” Jam.2 1825 for Clydesdale. [Cf. O.E. eald fæder, grandfather.]

(12) Auld wife, also old wife,oul wife, auld wifie.
(i) One's mother.Gsw.1957J. F. Hendry in Moira Burgess and Hamish WhyteStreets of Stone (1985) 63:
He knew his mother, the auld wife, was hard, but only now was he beginning to realise just how hard. She seemed to have no affection for him left. 'Ye'll pack your things and away this very night!' she said. He looked at the auld wife to see if she meant it.
Gsw.1962Bill McGheeCut and Run 25:
He got off the tram, and I went home to leave my kit in the old wife's. ... I hadn't let her know I was coming home. ... 'Hello, son,' she greeted me effusively ...
If Ah dinna get hame fir ma tea at 5 the auld wife'll hiv a fit.
wm.Sc.1974Roddy McMillanThe Bevellers 15:
BOB ... She'll wid have been quite young, your mother? When she died? ... This boy here's been tellin me aboot his oul'-wife dyin, an he's no greetin. No much wrang wi a boy that can dae that, eh? ROUGER: Eh, whit's that, who's dyin? Who's deid? BOB: Norrie's oul'-lady. He wis jist at school at the time.
Gsw.1985Michael MunroThe Patter 76:
wifeor wifie A woman, usually of mature years: 'Away an tell that aul wifie she's forgot her change.' Your old wife is your mother.
Gsw.1991John BurrowesMother Glasgow 214:
' ... He's also building up a dossier on Riley's auld wifie's moneylending racket.'

(ii) One's wife.wm.Sc.1984Agnes OwensGentlemen of the West 89:
If ye pay me aff the auld wife will get broo money. Dae us that favour.

(13) Auld yin, One's father or mother. Cf. (12).Gsw.1978James Kelman in Moira Burgess and Hamish WhyteStreets of Stone (1985) 75:
In comes the lassie. Eywis comes roon fir a blethir wi the maw in that whin the auld yins oot it his work.
Gsw.1992Jeff TorringtonSwing Hammer Swing! (1993) 69:
I did what I could for the auld yin but she stubbornly refused to update my image, so that I remained the snottery-nosed tyke of my early days.

3. Used as designations of the Devil, prob. regarded as something primeval, but in general with a humorous intention, playful or ironical. (1) Auld a' Ill Thing. (2) The Auld Ane, — Yin. (3) The Auld Boy. (4) The Auld Carle. (5) The Auld Chap.  (6) The Auld Chiel. (7) Auld Clootie, — Cluittie, — Cloven-Clootie, — Cloots. (8) Auld Coomey (see Coom, n.1 and cf. 3. (20)). (9) The Auld Enemy.(10) Auld ever more in a Powk. In phr. like aul' evermore, like the devil, like mischief, with the utmost speed or energy. (11) Auld Hairry (= Old Harry). (12) Auld Hangie. (13) Auld Hornie, — Horny. (14) Auld Mahoun. (15) The Auld Man. (16) Auld Nick, — Nickie, — Nickie-ben, — Nicky Blue-Thooms. (17) Auld Roughy. (18) Auld Saunders, — Sanners, — Sanny, — Sandy.(19) Auld Sautie. (20) Auld Simmie. (21) The Auld Smith. (22) Auld Sooty, — Sittie. (23) Auld Spunkie. (24) Auld Thief. (25) Auld Thrummy. (26) Auld Waghorn, — Waughorn. (27) Auld Whaup-neb, — Whaap-neb.(1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Spaewife II. xxi.:
O! I'm fear't, for I doubt he was the Auld a' Ill Thing.
(2) Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf iv.:
He's ower far in wi' the Auld Ane to have a shadow.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 44:
The auld yin, the devil.
(5)Ags. 1858 People's Journal (19 June) 2:
Nae less than the 'Auld Chap' himsel', in veesible reality.
(6) Sc. 2003 Scotsman 3 Jul 7:
The secrets of the "horse whisperers" were passed from one generation of ploughmen to the next at meetings of the societies. Young farmhands would be taken into a darkened byre to shake hands with the "auld chiel" — the devil — after swearing the oath of secrecy.
(7) Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 166:
'A puckle fools,' I remarked to Ricky as I threw down the paper. 'Everyone in a needless state of terrification of the other. I'm sure that Auld Clootie has been let loose amongst them.'
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 42:
Andrew smiled, as if to plead not to bring Auld Clootie, Hornie, or Nick into it.
(8)Rnf. 1841 R. Skimming Lays 24:
Auld Coomey seized him by the neck.
(10) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 377, 468:
The shools was gaun like aul' evermore. . . . Scrievin up the pule like aul' evermore.
(16) Sc. 1954 Edwin Muir An Autobiography (2000) 3:
When my father told his witch stories we sat up very late; we were afraid to go to bed. The devil himself, as Auld Nick, sometimes came into these tales, and generally in the same way.
Sc. 1998 Daily Record 10 Jul 51:
Surrounded by worldly temptations, Kevin doesn't hear the alarm bells until very late on.
By the time he suspects something's ahoof — he may be too hooked on the bad life to free himself.
Pacino's Auld Nick is wily, lusty and persuasive. His instruments of torture are power, sex and fame.
Sc. 2000 Press and Journal 14 Jun 3:
A specially written score highlights the action, while weavers, witches, pickpockets and Auld Nick jostle for attention while the actors and audience move from one part of the Signal Tower Museum grounds to another.
Sc. 2001 Sunday Herald 4 Feb :
It's like calling the devil by another name so that he does not jump into existence, horns and all; by refusing to mention Auld Nick he might just go away.
Sc. 2003 Aberdeen Evening Express 6 Sep 12:
"Things were looking bad for a while, but I won't give up as easy as that." With a twinkle in his eye, he added: "Auld Nick will need to lead me down the path himself."
Sc. 2004 Herald 26 Feb 3:
The devil "was trying to steal my voice, to destroy Christ's message", he said. For a year, the man known to everyone as Pastor Jack spat hellfire and damnation at Auld Nick and his other mortal enemy, lung cancer.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 26 May 12:
We thought we could save a few stars the bother by submitting some on their behalf. On order at the stonemasons now might be: Gone at last is Simon Cowell, Now hear the Choir of Angels howl. Or perhaps: Here lies the devilish Johnny Rotten, Hoping like hell Auld Nick's forgotten.
Ork. 1972 George Mackay Brown Greenvoe (1976) 114:
Our adversary the devil goeth about his business often at the very threshold of it; this lewd obscene frightful creature that perhaps we Scots do wrong to call by half humorous names, such as Auld Nick, Sneckie, Prince of Darkness, Clootie, etcetera; the argument being that Satan cannot stand up to mockery.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 187:
But does he see a horrible sicht, some twisted, deformed craitur wi green een and slevvers running fae a bloody jaw, some further depth o Hades as black as the Earl o Hell's waistcoat, is Auld Nick there himself hotching on the pipes wi maybe a wee tam o'shanter on his heid atween the twa horns?
Kcd. 1934 Lewis Grassic Gibbon Grey Granite (1995) 84:
And they'd better get on, near the time already, what in Auld Nick's name were they gossiping for?
For examples of (3) to (27) see under Boy, Carle, etc.

4. Used in plant and fish names.

(1) Auld Gibbie, the common cod, Morrhua vulgaris.Sc. 1879 T. Satchell Glossary of Fish Names 8 (E.D.D.). [Gibbie, a familiar form of the name Gilbert.]

(2) Auld Man's Bell (see quot.).ne.Sc. 1886 Britten and Holland Eng. Plant Names, App. 507:
Aul' Man's Bell. Campanula rotundifolia, L. — N.-E. Scotl. (Buchan), where it is “regarded with a sort of dread, and commonly left unpulled” (Gregor's Folklore of North-East of Scotland, 148). [Aul' Man in sense of 3 (13) above.]

(3) Auld Wife. The ballan, a variety of Wrasse (Labrus maculatus) (T. Satchell Glossary of Fish Names (1879)).

(4) ‡Auld-wives' tongues, the leaves of the tremulous-leaved poplar (Watson W.-B. 44; Brotherston “Kelso Plant-Names” in Hardwicke's Science-Gossip 39).

5. Of different styles of dating.

(a) Auld Hansel Monday, “Handsel Monday old style, or the first Monday after the 12th of the month [January],” 1863 Book of Days I. 52/2. See Hansel.Fif. 1812 W. Ranken Poems 94:
For Auld-Handsel-Monday had crowned their disaster, When hope wi' their hero had fled far awa.

(b) Aul-Eel Even, Christmas Eve, Old Style.Bnff.(D) 1924 “Knoweheid” in Swatches o' Hamespun 38:
And that is the Clyack sheaf? — Ay, te be keepit there or Aul-Eel Even.

(c) Auld Yule, in ne.Sc. Aul' Eel, Christmas Day, Old Style (Jan. 6).Sh.(D) 1877 G. Stewart Sh. Fireside Tales (1892) 99:
A merry day wis Auld Yule Day.
Bnff.5 1926:
Aul' eel.
Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 113:
On good Old Yule, at night's drear noon, We hear the symphony.

6. The last in a period of time, day, month, year.

(a) Auld Year, in phr. to wauke the auld year into the new (see quot.).Sc. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains Niths. and Gall. Song 41:
“To wauke the auld year into the new” is a popular and expressive phrase for watching until twelve o'clock announces the new year, when people are ready at their neighbours' houses with het-pints, and buttered cakes, eagerly waiting to be first-foot, as it is termed, and to regale the family yet in bed. Much care is taken that the persons who enter be what are called sonsie folk, for on the admission of the first-foot depends the prosperity or trouble of the year.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 7 Jan 7:
I look forward every New Year to the Naked Radio Annual, which looks back on the auld year in the cruellest way possible, ...
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 68:
Yince mair I scouk up tae the auld year's turnin
an luk back skelly on the twalmonth gane,

(b) Auld Year's Day, the last day of the year.Rxb. c.1885 W. Laidlaw Poetry and P. (1901) 34:
And Jethart bairns, on Auld Year's day, Would get their cakes for Hogmanay.

(c) Auld Year's Nicht, the last night of the year. Hogmanay.Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (5 Jan.) 4/2:
Auld Year's Night (I have never understood why the word Hogmanay was seldom or never used) was a busy as well as a joyous night.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 62:
I've seen thee too on auld year's nicht, Mak' lads' and lassies' hearts beat licht.

(d) Auld New Year's Day, New Year's Day, old style (I.Sc. 1975). e.Rs. 1847 Sc. Farmer (2 July) 594:
Quern-made meal makes the very best bread and porridge. In Easter Ross it is used by way of a rare dainty, principally for "Old New Year's Day."
w.Sc. 1952 Gsw. Herald (14 Jan.):
Older people in Ardnamurchan, Argyll. and the islands of Mull, Coll, and Tiree went first footing for the second time on Saturday, when the old-style New Year's Day was celebrated.

7. = The same, usual, oft-repeated, frequently merely intensive.

(1) Aul' adee. See auld to do (below).

(2) The auld man (in predicate), unchanged in character or ways; the man known as having certain characteristics.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 297:
To Parish Priest he promis'd fair, He ne'er wad drink fou ony mair: But hale and tight, He prov'd the Auld-man to a Hair, Strute ilka Night.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xii.:
Humph — fashious job! — Pate Maxwell will still be the auld man.

(3) Aul(d) or(d)nar, usual state, manner, way.Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches v.:
Did ye notice 'at Jeames Nicol didna sleep a wink the hale time o' the sermon? and that's nae aul' or'nar wi' Jeames.
Dmf. 1830 R. Brown ed. Mem. Curl. Mab. 73:
For gude-sake will ye take advice, And play in your auld ordnar.

(4) Auld pecker, usual courage.wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie The Last Day 5:
You keep up yir auld pecker, Peter.

(5) Auld sooch, — soogh: “When a person or thing retains the same character, temper, or mode, without variation, it is said, — He, or It, has aye the auld soogh yet” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2).

(6) The auld thing (in predicate), unchanged in character or ways = the auld man (v. supra).Ags. 1870 Kirriemuir Observer (7 Jan.) 3/1:
For a' his fair fashions it was soon seen that he was just the auld thing.

(7) Auld to do' aul' adee, (a) a great fuss; (b) great trouble or difficulty. (See also Adae.)(a) Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Auld to do,” a great fuss or pother. This phrase occurs in an E[ng]. form, “So there was old to do about ransoming the bridegroom” (Waverley I. 279).
(b) Abd.(D) 1921 J. Wight in Swatches o' Hamespun 8:
He hid's aul' adee files patchin' breeks.

8. Used in speaking of rents overdue.Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 44 (E.D.D.):
Let oor rents be three days auld, Ye'll quately take the law an' sned it.

9. In various combs. peculiar to Sc.

(1) Auld Ally (see quot. under (6)), — Alliance, A series of treaties and alliances between Scotland and France from 1295 to 1560; also used less formally to refer to the traditional friendship between Scotland and France. Sc. 1964 J. D. Mackie A History of Scotland (1976) 75:
They formed a council of four bishops, four earls, and four barons to whose policy they agreed, and in October 1295, Scotland concluded with France the first formal treaty of the Auld Alliance.
Sc. 1972 G. W. S. Barrow in Gordon Menzies The Scottish Nation 29:
The 40s and 50s were the nadir of "King Davy's" long reign. After the French suffered the crushing defeat of Crecy (August 1346) Philip IV called on the Scots to fulfill the spirit of the Auld Alliance by invading England.
Sc. 1995 Scotsman 19 Oct 13:
Scotland has many such historic ties, of which the Auld Alliance with France is the best known. Centuries of trade with various corners of Europe have forged distinctive associations in Italy, the low countries, Scandinavia, and the Baltic.
Sc. 1996 Ian Donnachie et al. Studying Scottish History, Literature and Culture 4:
Before this, so long as the Duke of Albany was regent (1515-1524) Scotland was Francophil, renewing the 'auld alliance' at Rouen in 1517.
Sc. 1997 Carol P. Shaw Scottish Myths and Customs 127:
The single most obvious outside influence on Scottish cooking came from France, as a result of the cultural ties brought about by the Auld Alliance between the two countries.
Sc. 2001 History Scotland 11/2:
For the French the 'auld alliance' was indeed an antidote, securing Scottish help in their wars against the English.
Sc. 2004 Fife Free Press 4 Jun :
Dave Carstairs, chairman of Cupar Community Council, added: "We have a long history with France, including the Auld Alliance which enthralled me in history at school.
Abd. 1992 Press and Journal 10 Oct 4:
I jist thocht I'd extend the hand o' international friendship. The Auld Alliance an a' that. So I sent her a plum duff.
Uls. 1997 Belfast News Letter 21 Mar 14:
Faced with the great of the culinary world and the resources of continents and huge countries the size of Australia, Canada and South Africa, or the historic culinary experience amassed over centuries by Germany or the Scots Auld Alliance with the legacies of the great French Larousse, this handful of young Ulster cooks beat several other high-class international culinary teams to win their heat.

(2) Aul-back, adj., long past, of long ago.Abd.15 c.1915:
In the aul-back days.

(3) The Auld Buik, the Bible.Sc. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Kirk i' the Clachan 10:
O what bonnie blinks we've had here frae the Auld Buik!

(4) Auld Callant, an old Heriot Hospital boy.Edb. 1898 J. Baillie Walter Crighton Introd. xv.:
But with the end of the monastic system came the end of the romance of “The Wark” and the Auld Callant, as the old Herioter is called, will, within a measurable number of years, be extinct as the dodo.

(5) Aul(d) day. (See quots.)Mry. 1900 J. Spence in Trans. Bch. Field Club V. 230:
Christmas was in Moray . . . the great feast, and it tailed off with New Year's Day, which of course had its “auld day,” that is, the day after, which was a lazy day devoted to recuperating from the exertions, and from the eating and drinking of the great day itself. Why it came to be called “the auld day” I cannot conjecture.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 216:
Aul' day, the day after a marriage, feast, ball, market, or such like occasion when no work is done, and a good deal of strong drink is consumed; as, “A met 'im o' the go; he's haudin' the aul' day.”
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. v.:
The day after the meal and ale we held fat was ca'd an auld day and we did little but lookit after the beasts.
(6) Auld doll, An old woman. Sc. 2002 Sunday Times 3 Feb :
Two ladies had earlier objected to the idea of George Best being honoured by the Queen. "I'll bet you those two auld dolls giving out about George Best were Fenians," he observed.
Uls. 2003 Irish News 24 Oct :
"You heard it on the street, in the shop, the auld dolls [old women] would whisper, " Archie says.

(7) The (Our) Auld Enemy (Enemies), the English or England.Sc. 1896 Mrs Oliphant Hist. of Scot. 148:
The “French party” . . . the “auld ally,” as England was the “auld enemy” of Scotland.
Sc. 1992 Scotsman 16 Apr 12/2:
Our Scottish identity, he suggested, is, at the heart, constructed out of our hatred of England, our profound sense of injustice, our massive chip on the shoulder; take away the Auld Enemy, and there is nothing left.
Sc. 1998 Big Issue Jun 44:
A couple of class players alone were not enough and, as for our barnies with the Auld Enemy, the amount of times we played them we were sure to win occasionally.
Sc. 1999 Herald 21 Sep 11:
In the late 1930s up to 60,000 Scots travelled to Wembley for the confrontation with the "auld enemy".
Sc. 1999 Herald 11 Oct 1:
England have won the last three meetings between the countries, most importantly the 2-0 win in Euro 96. Scotland last beat the Auld Enemy at Hampden 14 years ago.
Sc. 2000 Press and Journal 5 Jun 12:
However, it remains to be seen whether or not those who responded to the survey will be quite so accommodating in the face of endless TV repeats should the auld enemy actually win the championships.
Sc. 2004 Aberdeen Evening Express 9 Jun 8:
He said insiders told him there had been "too many Scottish voices" at previous major competitions.
Ironically his comments came as he called on Scots to make their peace with the Auld Enemy.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 6:
In his heyday Tamas had been a celebrated footballer. From Drumsgart he'd ascended in glory to the great Glasgow Rangers, and thence still upwards to Scotland's team: six times had he fought against the auld enemy England.

(8) Aul(d)-fangle, old-fangled, old-fashioned.Abd. 1928 Abd. Wkly. Jnl. (30 Aug.) 6/3:
Bit we're aul-fangle noo, an' ye wid redder slip awa withoot hiz. [From Eng. old-fangled, which is formed after new-fangled.]

(9) Auld-gabbet. — gabet, (a) speaking an ancient tongue; (b) old-fashioned in appearance, ancient-looking.(a) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 294:
Sae some auld-gabet Poets tell.
(b) Ib. 333:
Auld-gabbet Spec, wha was sae Cunning To be a Dummie ten years running.
[From Gab, n., q.v.]

(10) Auld Geordie, spade guinea.Uls. 1897 A. McIlroy When Lint was in the Bell i.:
“Auld Geordies” . . . being our name for spade guineas.
Uls.2 1932:
The nickname of “Auld Geordies” for guineas probably arose from the impression made on the minds of the people by the long period (1714–1831) during which the head of a George appeared on the coinage.

(11) Auld Glenae, see quot., which is taken from a MS. note by Burns in the interleaved copy of the Sc. Mus. Museum in Edinburgh University Library. Dmf. a.1796 R. Cromek Reliques (1808) 253:
The first stanza of this song, a little altered, is a favourite kind of dramatic interlude at country weddings in the south-west parts of the kingdom. A young fellow is dressed up like an old beggar; a peruke, commonly of carded tow, to represent hoary locks; an old bonnet; a ragged plaid, or surtout, bound with a straw-rope for a girdle; a pair of old shoes, with straw-ropes twisted round his ancles, as is done by shepherds in snowy weather; his face disguised as like wretched old age as they can. In this plight he is brought into the wedding house, frequently to the astonishment of strangers who are not in the secret, and begins to sing:- O' I am a silly auld man, My name it is auld Glenae. &c. He is asked to drink, and by and by to dance, which after some uncouth excuses, he is prevailed on to do, the fiddler, playing the tune, which here is commonly called "Auld Glenae"; in short, he is all the time so plied with liquor that he is understood to be intoxicated, and with all the ridiculous gesticulations of an old drunken beggar, he dances and stagg(ers) untill he falls on the floor, yet still in all his ri(ot), nay in his rolling and tumbling on the floor, with some or other drunken motion of his body, he beats time to the music, till at last he is supposed to be carried out dead-drunk.

(12) auld gray man on the stane, grey lichen growing on stones (Sh. 1975). Also Auld man (Sh. 1975). Cf. Auld Man's Girse below.

(13) Auld Haiks, the name of a fishing ground off the coast of Fife. See also Haiks.Fif. 1894 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin, Swatches o' Hodden-grey xiii. 145:
Ye can gang to the Auld Haiks for ought we care.
(14) Auld Hundredth, The hundredth psalm. Also Auld Hundred. Sc. 1999 Herald 2 Jul 19:
The formal proceedings inside the chamber came to an end with a Scottish psalm and the Auld Hundred was getting laldy until the RSNBO brass decided to give the audience a bit of a hand causing confusion in the ranks.
Sc. 1999 Scotsman 9 Oct 5:
The day Scotland's parliament was reconvened, the crowds at the top of the Royal Mile could hear their elected representatives lustily singing The Old Hundred, ...
Sc. 2000 Herald 19 Oct 1:
After a resounding, sombre rendition of that most presbyterian of hymns, the Auld Hundredth, the mood lightened with a celebration of Mr Dewar's idiosyncrasies and occasional irascibility.
Edb. 2003:
Ah juist hae tae hear the opening chords o the Auld Hundreth tae mind me o every funeral Ah've ever been at.

(15) Auld kirk, n. Used also attrib.

(a) noun. (i) The Established Church of Scotland as distinguished from the Free Church, after the Disruption of 1843.Rxb. 1913 Kelso Chronicle (7 March):
Ye should a' be like me, an' gaun tae th' Auld Kirk or nane at a'.

(ii) fig. Whisky. The common explanation of this synonym for whisky is that the members and ministers of the Established Church were less zealous in the Cause of Temperance and Total Abstinence than the Free Church and other dissenting bodies. The term, however, may owe its origin in part to the fact that the stipends of the ministers of the Established Church depended largely on the price of barley, from which whisky is made.m.Lth. 1884 J. Plenderleith Kittlegairy Vacancy 6:
Now what will you tak. A glass of wine or a wee drappie of the “Auld Kirk”?
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vi.:
Hae a bit tastin o' the Auld Kirk, Archie?

(b) adj. Of the Established Church of Scotland. ne.Sc. 1958 Jessie Kesson The White Bird Passes (1987) 117:
Her that was not only country born but Auld Kirk bred into the bargain.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums ii.:
The manse fowk doesna deal wi' him, except they're wantin' short-bread. He's Auld Kirk.

(16) Aul(d) lass, an old maid.Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 2:
She wus an “aul' lass” aboot 95 or 96, an' wus cross an' cantankerous acause she hadna a man tae rage on.

(17) Auld light, — licht. The term arose as an antithesis to New Light (light in the sense of enlightenment on theological questions), to denote the traditional doctrines impugned by the New Light. Also attrib.; hence as noun to denote a person accepting the old doctrine. Used chiefly in two connections, (a) for the Evangelical party in the Established Church; (b) for the conservative party in the Associate or Burgher Synod, when that body was divided in 1799, and for the party of similar views in the General Associate or Antiburgher Synod when it was divided in 1806; when the remaining members of these two bodies united in 1824 to form the Synod of United Original Seceders, the name Auld Lichts was popularly attached to the body thus formed.(a) Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson xxix.:
Some Auld-Light herds in neebor touns Are mind't [etc.].
(b) Ags. 1888 J. M. Barrie Auld Licht Idylls iii.:
One Sabbath day in the beginning of the century the Auld Licht minister at Thrums walked out of his battered, ramshackle, earthen-floored kirk with a following and never returned.

(18) auld maid mannie, a prim staid old bachelor. Fif. 1898 S. Tytler Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses iii.:
He settled down into 'an auld maid mannie', in local parlance.

(19) auld maid's bridescake, "a tall sponge cake coated first with red jelly, then very thickly with shredded coconut" (Ags. 1960 People's Jnl. (15 Oct.) 7).

(20) auld mairriet man, an expression used of a married man from the day after his marriage (Ork., Abd., Ags. 1975).

(21)auld man's girse, grey lichen (Sh. 1962). Cf. Auld Grey man above.

(22) Auld man's milk, a drink (see quot.).Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Sc. Kitchen 232:
Auld man's milk. (Meg Dods's Recipe.) Cream, rum, whisky, or brandy, eggs, nutmeg or lemon zest. . . . This morning dram is the same as the egg-nogg of America.
Abd. 1887 W. Walker (quoting W. Ingram, poem in MS. c.1812) Bards of Bon-Accord 373:
Happy with a few kindred spirits o'er his “cappie o' auld man's milk.”
(23) Auld Mither, fig. Scotland. Also attrib. Sc. 1997 Herald 20 Jan 14:
Opinionated sources covering the whole spectrum of Scottish cultural life will be engaging with one another in a heated series of debates which may throw an equal amount of light on the artistic identity of auld mither Scotia — or may not throw an equal amount of light, dare we controversially aver in the true spirit of debate.
Cai. 1939 Neil M. Gunn Wild Geese Overhead (1991) 125:
During the ten minutes required to grill the steak, Will sat vaguely dreaming of that very distinctive phenomenon, the Scots mother. Scotland herself, known as The Auld Mither.

(24) Auld-mou'd, “sagacious in discourse; sometimes implying the idea of craft” (Jam. 1808 for n.Sc.).Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1767) 35:
The auld-mou'd wives thus did me taunt.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 83:
She looks ill to ca', An' o'er auld-mou'd, I dread, is for us a'.

(25) Auld Reekie, — Reeky, — Reikie, a nickname of Edinburgh. Also attrib. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 215:
Right mony Gabs wi' them shall gang About Auld Reeky's Ingle.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xi.:
Down the brae hurled I . . . like a barrel down Chalmers's close in Auld Reekie.
Sc. 1825 R. Chambers Trad. of Edin. (1847) 147, footnote on origin of name:
When he observed the smoke increase in density, in consequence of the good folk of the city preparing their supper, he would call all the family into the house, saying, “It's time now, bairns, to tak the beuks, and gang to our beds, for yonder's Auld Reekie, I see, putting on her nicht-cap.” [This saying is assigned to the time of Charles II.]
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 16 Jan 10:
As an innocent Auld Reekie callant 70 years ago I emulated Walter Scott in nest-harrying.
Sc. 2000 Herald 27 Mar 24:
The museum is filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Auld Reekie, and cleverly uses reconstructions, rare artefacts and everyday objects to bring the past to life.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 116:
Gotten, forgotten abune Auld Reekie ...
Ye sud pree Baxter's Cock-a-Leekie.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 70:
... in the days whan Auld Reikie wis Auld Reikie, ye cud aye tell frae our house whan it wis denner-time bi the lum-reik that stertit up in thon muckle toun.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 14:
A wise man cam, fae oot the east,
ti link us wi Auld Reekie.
Edb. 1772 Robert Fergusson The Poems of Robert Fergusson STS (1956) 33:
Auld Reikie! thou'rt the canty hole, A bield for mony caldrife soul,
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems, Auld Reikie (1925) ll. 1, 2:
Auld Reikie, wale o' ilka town That Scotland kens beneath the moon.
Edb. 1923 Edin. Ev. News (5 July) 4/8:
Folks ca' ye “Auld Reekie,” hoo fondly they say it!
Ayr. 1787 Burns Lament for W. Creech ii.:
Auld Reekie ay he keepit tight And trig an' braw. [Note in Cent. Ed. of Burns II. 346: “Auld Reekie” = Edinburgh; not because Edinburgh is abnormally smoky, but because her smoke is visible from many heights.]

(26) Auld Sodger, a dried chew of tobacco.Edb. 1881 (2nd ed.) J. Smith Habbie and Madge 90:
There's the last fill, that's mair like an auld sodger than onything else.

(27) Auld used hand, an experienced person, an “old hand.”Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's Well iii.:
Dick made twa, but he was an auld used hand.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ep. to J. Rankine ix.:
Some auld, us'd hands had taen a note [etc.].

(28) Auld wecht, very clever or intelligent.Ags. 1891 J. M. Barrie The Little Min. viii.:
“What mortal man can do,” Wearyworld said, “we're doing; ay, and mair, but she's auld wecht, and may find bilbie in queer places.”
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) vi.:
He's auld wecht; mind I tell you.

(29) Auld wife, (a) a rotating chimney-cowl (also auld wife's mutch).Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
In ordinary cases the chimney-can or pig has set on it a top or tap: hence the term pig-tap. But where the ventilation is imperfect, the tap is removed and an auld-wife is substituted . . . the severity of a storm . . . came to be represented by the expression, “raining auld-wives and pig-taps.”
Edb. 1913 F. Niven Ellen Adair 73:
The February wind whirled the chimney tops, the upright ones like pepper casters, and the cowled ones, called “auld wives” or “auld wives' mutches,” because of their likeness to such old dames.
(b) a witch supposed to cast a spell over a fishing boat so as to prevent a good catch. Cf. Cyarlin. (24) (b)Abd. 1947 J. Duthie in Letter (29 Jan.):
Fifty years ago when I started fishing, the old man in whose boat I went (he was then about 70) used the expression "That's gotten the aul' wife awa'" when he got the first fish.
(c) An old woman; fig. a fussy, foolish person. Also attrib. Sc. 1995 Scotland on Sunday 30 Jul 9:
Jenny's [Geddes] assault on the prelate, glorified through what an auld wife once called "the mists of iniquity", is seen by some as the first blow in one of the bloodiest conflicts in Scottish history.
Sc. 1995 Herald 14 Dec 16:
As a practical chemist, he was imbued with the truth that a meal was a fuel-intake, therefore, its separation into courses was an auld wife's nicety, and not for climbers.
Sc. 1997 Scotsman 18 Dec 19:
She was quite specific on that point: they would go round the houses in the morning, demanding their Hogmanay — and she recited the rhyme they used to chant: "Get up auld wife and shak' your feathers ..."
Cai. 1939 Neil M. Gunn Wild Geese Overhead (1991) 314:
A touch of the old mocking humour came to his face. "I'd rather have yourself." "Me? An auld wife? Tut! Tut!"
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 76:
wife or wifie A woman, usually of mature years: 'Away an tell that aul wifie she's forgot her change.' Your old wife is your mother.

(30) Auld woman = Auld wife (a), above.Sc. [1829] Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 274:
Auld-women frae chimley-taps are clytin wi' a crash into every area.
(31) auld yin, An old person. Cf. 2. Sc. 2002 Daily Star 17 Aug 56:
"It would be the pinnacle of the auld yin's career" ... GERRY COLLINS on attempts to get Manchester United for John Lambie's testimonial match.
Sc. 2003 Sunday Mail 17 Aug 22:
Billy Connolly has gone from being the Big Yin to becoming the Auld Yin ... and he thinks it's great.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 21 Apr 8, 9:
'He was the father figure of the team, and we affectionately called him 'Auld Yin'.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 18 Jun 54:
As an auld yin that wasn't there in 1944, good on the auld yins that were, and were still there on June 6. But then they fought for a Britain that was worth fighting for.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 47:
All this time she had been sitting listening to their clack, cherishing her own memories and her knowledge by the fireside. "No," she said now.
"You croak like a puddock, old yin," said Wat, who was nearest her.
wm.Sc. 1999 Hamish MacDonald The Gravy Star 27:
A thoughtful look passed over the auldyin's face. He'd taken the meenister's point on board. It was a look that told of many years' experience of negotiation and compromise.
wm.Sc. 2000 Liz Lochhead Medea 4:
MANSERVANT well auld yin my lady's lady
what are you daen dithering here
girning on aboot the griefs of your betters?
they wouldnae greet for you.
Gsw. 1993 Carl MacDougall The Lights Below 3:
'Here.' One of the younger men handed a crumpled pound note. 'That's you in, auld yin.'

Phrases: (1) Auld in the horn, aul' i' the horn, old and less fit, physically or mentally.Sc. 1915 R. W. Campbell Spud Tamson (1924) ii.:
But I'm auld in the horn, bad wi' indigestion, an' have tae wear specs through lookin' doon the trail for a wumin body tae warm my hairt an' bake my scones.
Bnff.(D) 1924 “Knoweheid” in Swatches o' Hamespun 10:
A'm ower aul' i' the horn te learn noo. [From the fact that the horns of certain animals give indications of their age.]

(2) Auld lang syne, gen. used now with substantival force.

(a) “Old long-ago,” bygone times; esp. used in recalling old experiences shared with friends.Sc. 1827 Scott Two Drovers i.:
I am Hugh Morrison from Glenae, come of the Manly Morrisons of auld langsyne.
Hdg. 1885 “S. Mucklebackit” Rural Rhymes, etc. 131:
Dear hallow'd Auld Langsyne.
Arg.1 1929:
Ach, aye, Jimmy, ah'll dae that for ye for aal langsyne.
Ayr. 1788 (publ. 1796) Burns Auld Lang Syne ii.:
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet For auld lang syne.
Rxb. 1889 W. Laidlaw Poetry and P. (1901) 58:
On auld lang syne I'll stand and ponder.

(b) The song, or the tune, of Auld Lang Syne; now esp. Burns's song to the well-known tune.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 72:
[Title] The Kind Reception. To the Tune of Auld lang syne.
wm.Sc. [1835] Laird of Logan (1868) 420:
All the company having formed a circle round the bowl, joined in singing “Auld lang syne.”
[See Lang Syne, Syne.]

(3) auld wife's tuith (teeth), a carpenter's router plane (ne.Sc., Fif., Lnk. 1975). See Tuith.

(4) auld-young, middle-aged, of mature years (Sh. 1975). Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lads' Love xvi.:
A floridly handsome old-young man.
Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 53:
An "auld-young lass" who had been persistently overlooked by the marriageable young men of the parish.

(5) I' the aul = of old. Also o' the auld (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 14, Ags. 1975).Bch. c.1915 Abd.15:
Aw ken ye i' the aul.
 Add quots.: s.Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 176:
I ken the fox, or rather the wolf, i' the auld.
Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 39:
He was kent in the auld as the man kent his mare.
Ags. 1897 G. A. Mackay Where the Heather Grows 170:
I ken ye o' the auld Bell.
Bch. c.1915 Abd.15:
Aw ken ye i' the aul.

[Cf. of the ald in Older Sc. in the sense of formerly. “Ane merch carne made and biggit of the ald; 1555 Coll. Aberd. & B. 383” (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Auld adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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