Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DESS, DES, DIS(S), Dass, n., v. [dɛs, dæs, dʌs Sh., ds Ork.]

1. n. A stack of hay, corn, heather, etc. (Sh.11 1949); a small stack of sheaves set up in a field (Sh.11 1949; Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. (1922) 150, diss, 1929 Marw., dis); “a haystack flat on the top as distinguished from a kol, which is conical” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., dess). Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
The mown heather, to be used for thatching purposes, is dried in small, oblong stacks, called riggins, and then stacked up in a larger one, the so-called des.
Sh. 1932  J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 131:
He took the “yards” into his care; and often yarfasted the screws of corn and desses of hay against a storm.
Ork. 1767  P. Fea MS. Diary (3 Jan.):
Was oblidg'd to take in a Diss of Otts . . . as I could not cast a Stack.
Ork. c.1912  J. Omond Orkney 80 Years Ago 21:
Before carts came into use the sheaves were carried and all screwed together on a grassy knowe. Latterly big houses screwed three rigs together on the field. It stood perhaps a month in the screws or dasses, and was then built.

2. v. To build up sheaves into a stack (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Ork. 1924  P. Ork. A. S. II. 82:
“Dissing” of oat-sheaves in 25's.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
It's time we were dissan that stuff (grain).

[O.N. des, haystack. The form dass is irreg.]

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"Dess n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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