Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BENSE, Bence, n., v. and adv. [bɛns]

1. n. A violent movement, a spring. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D.Bnff. 10:
He fell aff o's chair wee a great bense.
He geed into the hoose wee a bense, an' fleggit the littlin.

fig. Vigour, energy.   Ib.:
He hiz a bense wee's wark.

2. v.

(1) intr. To walk or move with great energy or violence; to bounce (Bnff.9 c.1927; w.Sc. 1910 Metcalfe). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D.Bnff. 10:
He came bensin' ben the fleer, his een stan'in' in's hehd like twa coals.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 200:
Wi' pow now rid o' carking cares, He for the tavern benses, O'erjoyed this night.

(2) tr. With adv. down, meaning to shake or knock down. Abd. c.1803  D. Anderson Sawney and John Bull 23:
We like strong bulls down did it bence. vbl.n. bensan. The act of showing great vigour, in walking or working.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D.Bnff. 10:
He hauds an aul' bensan but an' ben the trance.

ppl.adj. bensin'. Bouncing, vigorous. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D.Bnff. 11:
The aul' mannie hiz gotten a big bensin' bessie o' a wife: she'll haud 'im in order. [Also Bnff.2, Bnff.4, Bnff.7]

3. adv. Violently. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D.Bnff. 11:
He came bense against the wa'.

[Not in D.O.S.T. Our earliest quot. is 1803 and the word does not appear in St. or dial. Eng. J. F. Bense would connect it with Flem. bense, a stick, but it is more prob. a back formation from bensel, influenced perhaps by bounce.]

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"Bense n., v., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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