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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DEATH, n. Sc. usages in Phrs. and Combs. Cf. also the combs. s.v. Deid. See also Daith and Deeth.[de:θ Sc., but deɪθ Ags.]

I. Phrs.: 1. fac (a)s death, see Fac'; †2. to be like death on skytchers, to have a lean and gaunt appearance (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 165); 3. to be the death o' (something), to be the cause of something going amissing; 4. to gang to death wi', to be quite sure of (something); 5. to make a death, to leave a place surreptitiously, make a moonlight flitting; 6. to tak one's death, to get one's death, to die (Abd. 1975).3. Abd.27 1948:
I canna fin' the shears. I doot Jeems his been the death o' them.
4. Sc.(E) 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws 126:
You may gang to death wi' 't that what I tauld you is sooth.
5. Ags. 1831 Perthshire Adv. (6 Jan.):
Resolving, as he homeward trode, not to outlive his defeat, he "packed up his awls" and made a death the same evening, i.e. left the town without consulting his landlady.
6. Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 7, 78:
Tam Nettles took's death in a three months after my faither. . . . After the mither teuk her death, the lasses carried on the business.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 284:
What's to come o' you, gin you tak your death here.

II. Combs.: 1. death-candle = corp-candle, s.v. Corp, n., 3, supposed to presage death; known to Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940; 2. death-chap, a knocking, supposed to forebode death (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1940); 3. death-deal, a board on which a corpse is stretched; 4. death-drop, a drop of water, falling heavily at intervals, believed to be an omen of approaching death; known to Fif.10 1940; 5. death-dwam, a death-like swoon or faint (Abd.2, Abd.9 1940); †6. death-ill, a mortal sickness (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); 7. death ruckle, the death-rattle; †8. death-sough, “the last inspiration of a dying person” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2); 9. death-swap = 2; 10. death-tap, id.; 11. death-thraw, death-throe; also found (in pl.) in n.Lin. dial.; 12. death-wark, id.; 13. death-weed, a shroud; 14. death-yirm, the phlegm which causes the death-rattle.1. Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen IV. ii.:
She had for three nights in succession seen a death-candle flitting from the battlements of the Kaim along the cliffs.
2. Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xvi.:
I dreaded first that it was the death-chap.
3. Arg. 1896 N. Munro Lost Pibroch 109:
She . . . looked at the man with . . . the death-deal under his oxter.
4. ne.Sc. a.1835 J. Grant Tales of the Glens (1836) 254:
The soun' o' a death-drop seem'd to mix Wi' the patterin' o' the rain.
5. Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 9:
Death-dwams he had a wizard airt in.
6. Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie II. viii.:
I doubt his death-ill will lie at your door, Sir Thomas.
7. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxvii.:
That was the death ruckle — he's dead.
8. Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 652:
Heard nae ye the lang drawn death-sough — the death-sough o' the Morisons is as hollow as a groan frae the grave.
9. and 10. Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 27:
The death watch, the death tap, and the death swap, which is a loud sharp stroke, are still current.
11. Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 69:
While the souls that are countit the pillars o' heaven, Thro' nae faut o' their ain, in the death-thraw are stervin'.
12. wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan II. 10:
I'm sure I'm deein' noo, John, I find the death-wark coming up my breast.
13. Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 29:
Guidman, in your next death-weed, Cry hooly an' ye're fairly deed.
14. Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 22:
The death-yirm gethers in my throat, an' bleerit grows my sicht.

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"Death n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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