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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BUN, BUND, BUNT, BOUN', ppl.adj.1 Sc. forms of Eng. bound, pa.p. of bind. Phrs. and combs. peculiar to Sc. are illustrated below. [bʌn(d), bun]

1. Phrs.: (1) a bunt cut, a place in a piece of knitting where the yarn has been cut and knotted again; (2) a bun(d) sack (and set by), “a person of either sex who is engaged, or under a promise of marriage; a low phrase, and only borrowed from the idea of a sack being bound and tied up” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, s.v. bund-sack; Bch. 1928 (per Abd.15)); (3) a bun' shafe, idem; also — sheff (Bch. 1928 (per Abd.15)).(1)Sh. 1790 A. C. O'Dell Hist. Geog. Sh. (1939) 157:
[Stockings] knit of one sort of wool, free from left loops, hanging hairs, bunt cuts or mended holes.
(3) Abd. 1923 P. Giles in Bnffsh. Jnl. (8 May) 10; Abd.22 1937:
“She's a bun' shafe” or “she's a well-wyed seck an' laid by” are two expressions for a young woman engaged to be married.

2. Combs.: (1) bun bed, boun' —, a box-bed, from the fact of the panels being “bound” or beaded (Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.1, Fif.10 1937). Also bun-in bed (Bnff.2 1937) [bʌn′ɪn — ], bun-in-bed (Bnff. 2000s).  Also binnan bed (Abd 1980s);  (2) bun breest, — breisht, a box-bed having a cupboard or cupboards with panelled doors at the end of it (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1937); (3) bun' door, (a) a door with beading and panels, as opposed to one which is plain; (b) “a mortised and tenoned door (not necessarily panelled), as distinguished from a batten door made with bars on the back, perhaps from the fact of the panels or cleading being ‘bound' in by the stiles, etc.” (Kcb.9 1937).(1)Abd. 1778 Abd. Jnl. (23 Feb.):
Four large Rooms, several Closets, Bound Beds, and a large Garret.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb iii.:
[He] opened the doors of the “bun” bed in which Johnny Gibb's servant-maid slept.
Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. xxii.:
To put him out of harm's way . . . he was set up on the top of the “boun' bed,” with a blazing “fir” in his hand, to give light for the operations about to commence on the floor below him.
Bch. 1929 W. Littlejohn Bch. Cottar Stories iii.:
Both rooms had “bun-in beds,” a “deece,” with dresser and rack for the dishes.
Ags. 1889 Brechin Advertiser (15 Jan.) 3/5:
[It] was resting on two chairs in front of the wooden bedstead — an auld bun' bed.
(2) ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Echo of Olden Time 18:
It contained a few chairs and a table, an eight-day clock, a chest of drawers, a looking-glass, and a bun breest, that is, a wooden bed, and a cupboard or two with panelled doors.
Abd.13 1910:
There was always a press or wardrobe fitted in at the end of the bed and it too had panelled doors and the whole was called a “bun breest.”
Abd.1 1929:
She got a new bun' breisht intae the but en', and she cast mony a prood look at it an' rubbit it up ilka Setterday.
(3) (a)Sc. 1826 Carlyle Letters (Norton) II. 347:
The people also are to repair the house effectually; to floor it anew, put bun-doors on it.
Lnk.3 1937:
There's nae less than seven bun' doors in the hoose!

3. Also used subst. as the name of a game of marbles.Ayr. 1895 J. Walker Old Kilmarnock 66:
At marbles we played at "bun, (i.e. bound)" and "loose" and at "nipen ten."

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"Bun ppl. adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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