Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
BA', BAA, BAW, n.1 Sc. forms of ball, with meanings partly as in St.Eng., partly peculiar to Sc. [bɑ: + a: I.Sc., n.Sc.; b; em.Sc., wm.Sc. but Arg. bɑ:; bɒ: sm.Sc., s.Sc.]
1. Football as in Eng. Gen.Sc.
Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 33:
A's fair at the ba' o' Scone. Refers to the annual game of football on Shrove Tuesday [Fasten's E'en], between the married men and bachelors of Scone, Perthshire. [The “Ba'” was also played at this festival in many Border towns, in the Highlands and in e.Lth.]
2. Sc. uses.
(1) The game of Handball played on certain annual holidays in many of the Border towns and villages, as in Ancrum, Hobkirk, Duns, Jedburgh, Kelso.
Rxb. 1909 Jedburgh Gaz. (5 Feb.) 3/2:
This contest is still known as The Callants' Ba'. Rxb. 1916 Kelso Chron. (15 Feb.) 3/2:
Fastern's E'en Handball at Jedburgh . . . known as the Men's Ba'.
(2) The ball of the leg, the calf.
Sh.(D) 1891 Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 9:
Wha, tinkin it time for ta gie him a seg, Sank his yackles fair inta da baa o his leg. Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 96:
Ane scours the plain, well kilted to the baw.
(3) The coppers thrown to children at a wedding. Orig. the money was for the purchase of a ball.
w.Dmf. 1905 J. L. Waugh Thornhill, etc. iii:
The “baa” was a largesse of copper coins flung among the children on the street.
3. Combs.: (1) Ba' day, the day of the annual Handball or football; (2) ba' spel', -spiel, a single game (of handball, etc.), a “spell” at the ball; see Spiel; (3) ba'-men, bawmen, the players in the game of Ba'in(g).
(1) Sc. 1928 The Times (2 March) 10/5:
So common [in Scotland] was a game of ball [football] on Fastren's Eve that it was known as “Ba' Day” and hailed as a time of riotous sport. Rxb. 1922 Kelso Chron. (3 Mar.) 3:
The annual ba' day was observed on Tuesday. (2) Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf vi.:
I staid away from the Ba'spiel on Fastern's E'en. Abd.(D)  J. Skinner Christmas Ba'ing, Amusements, etc. (1809) xxxii.:
Fy, Sirs, co' he, the ba' spel's [game's] won, And we the ba' ha'e hail'd. (3) Ib. xxxiv.:
Of a' the bawmen there was nane But had twa bleedy shins. Bwk. 1834 T. Brown in Proc. Berw. Nat. Club (1885) I. ii. 44:
Three young men were chosen to conduct them, and were called “ba'-men.”
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Ba' n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/ba_n1>
Try an Advanced Search