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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLASH, Blashac, n. [blɑʃ, blɑʃək]

1. A splash of liquid or semi-liquid matter falling on a surface. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
She cuist a great blash of water into the pot.
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger, etc. (1916) 13:
When he lav'd a blash o' water — a nievefu' — frae the bowl On the wee bit girnin' bairnies an' started them to yowl.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems (1876) 94:
It blatter't wi' a blash I' the burn that day.

2. A heavy or drenching shower of rain, sleet, etc. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1923 R. Macrailt Hoolachan 19:
It's an awfu' blash o' weet the nicht.
Abd. 1924 A. M. Williams in Scots Mag. (April) 35–36:
Up bye i' the Cabrach, it dang on for sax ouks (weeks), blash in an' blash oot, an nayther uppled nor devaled.
Ags. 1830 A. Balfour Weeds and Wildflowers 128; Fif.1 1934:
We've naething like that now; just blinks of sunshine, an' blashes o' weet.
Ayr. 1924 M. B. Robertson in Swatches o' Hamespun 65:
An' sma reid bird, when the blash smurs by, Whaur do ye snuggle yer head?

3. “A weak mixture to drink or sup” (Bnff.2 1934). Gen.Sc.Abd. 1884–1903 Jeems Sim in North. Figaro 36:
An' div ye think I'm gyaun tae pey for a blash o' sowda water or ginger ale tae you?
Ags. 1870 Kirriemuir Observer (3 June) 3/3:
Nae thin, feckless blash was Tibbie Horton's ale.
Lnk. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money 73:
I hope it's decent broth ye're giving us to-night, Nell, and no that cockieleekie blash ye served me wi' the ither day.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
That tea's perfec' blash.

4. “A mass of semi-liquid or soft slimy matter, a disgusting mixture, a dirty mess” (Bnff.2 1934).Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) ii.:
[Old Bailie Bogie's] best black coat . . . was totally spoiled, on their way home in the dark from his lordship's, by a tremendous blash, that my unfortunate uncle happened, in the course of nature, to let free in the frenzy of a deadly upthrowing.

Also, with Gael. ending, blashac, “a soft mass or mess” (Mry.1 1925).

5. “A copious draught, gen. contemptuously” (Bnff.2 1934).Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 98:
I agree wi' you in detestin a blash o' cauld speerits-and-water wi' broon sugar — aneuch to gar you grue, scunner and bock.
Sc. 1928 L. Spence in Scots Mag. (May) 142; Abd.9, Ags.2 1934:
The denner wis the usual thae Indian Caledonian Societies gets up — cock-a-leekie, haggis and a' that, wi' a guid blash o' the Auld Kirk.
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull (1930) 79:
I wis born on Hogmanay. Ye may be sure Peter and my faither had a guid blash o' toddy that nicht.

6. Extended use to signify (1) “a torrent of words” (Bnff.2, Ags.2 1934); (2) “a blow with a wet cloth” (Bnff.2 1934).(1) Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick iii.; Lnk.3 1934:
As for Broun, his maitter was juist a blash o' words, an' his deleevery no' muckle better nor play-actin.
(2) Uls. 1924 A.E. in North. Whig and Belfast Post (12 Jan.):
Blash. A slap with a wet cloth.

[See etym. note to Blash,v.]

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"Blash n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Mar 2023 <>



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