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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.

BEAST, BASTE, BAIST, BAEST, BEIST, BEST, n.1 Having the same meaning gen. as in St.Eng. For exceptions see second quot. It may be used also occasionally as a collective noun. See Ork. quot. [bist, best]

1. “A living creature of any kind, that is not of the human species” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2).Specif. a cow (Sh., ne.Sc., Per. 1975), a sheep. Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 14:
The word beast denotes an animal distinguished from birds, insects, fishes and man. But the Scots often apply it to birds, insects, and fishes; as, the cock is a noisy beast; the spider, a filthy beast; the shark, a terrible beast.
Sc. 1926 Jenny and the Fairies in Sc. Mag. (Sept.) 420:
The sneakit little brute! . . . What could the baste [a mouse] tell?
Sh. 1817 Gentleman's Mag. (1836) II. 589:
Rydin apo Peter o' Hundegird's blessit hoarse, wi' a sheep best afore him.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 52:
An' a'to' the' wur a Eerif [land court] hauden whin the faither dee'd, Backaskeel keepid a' the geud horse baest.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 32:
Wi' onie help, I cud my mither gee At milking beasts an' steering o' the ream.
Abd. c.1780 Ellis E.E.P. V. 771:
Ilkie baist aboot the toon got a rip o' corn.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 39:
Syne he micht hae saved himsel, and gien
The baest the slip,
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
The peelie mune blintin ower cauld stane,
Ower wally een o beast or hoodie craw
Or halie kists o' kings ...
Edb. 1993:
Ah dread ma bairns gettin beasts in their heids.
Arg. 1993:
She wiz sent hame fae school this moarnin wi beasts in her hair.
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 15:
Full-mouth'd, airch-back'd, and full-bell'd mugiency:
Man, beist, and fowl slough off,
Like ferlie princess kiss'd, the ferme denizens'
sleepery trance in winter raw.
Rnf. 1877 Jas. Neilson Poems and Songs 52:
There's nae beasts in my heid this mony a day.
Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (9 July) 4/4:
He found the grayling very plentiful . . . at every cast he had a “beast.”
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
Baste, any animal except a human being. A zealous individual asked a servant-girl, “Are you a Christian?” She replied “Do you think I'm a baste?”

2. A horse. Deriv. beaster, the man on a farm in charge of the odd horse, as opposed to a horseman who has a pair, the odd-job man (Ags. 1947). Comb. e'e beast tree, twa-, the swingle-tree of the Orkney plough according as it served to yoke one (e'e) or two (twa) horses (Ork. 1814 J. Shirreff Agric. Ork. 51).s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Beast. A horse. By way of eminence, a horse is, in Teviotdale, denominated the beast; no other animal receiving this designation. A man is said to have both a cow and a beast when he possesses a cow and a horse.

3. Comb.: beast-loon, a brownie or goblin.Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xxv.:
When the twilight began to gather about the cottages and farmhouses, the very mention of “the beast-loon o' Glashgar” was enough . . . to send many of the children scouring . . . into the house.

4. Phr.: beast-i'-the-lug, a kind of earache.Ags.1 1933:
He had the beast-i'-the-lug a' yesterday.

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"Beast n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Apr 2024 <>



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