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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

EASIN(S), EASING, n. Also aisens; ais(h)ins; aesin(s); eashens, esins; eezins; aezhens; aizins (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. & Dwn.); aeshin(s) (Sh.11 1949). Chiefly in pl. [′i:z(ə)n(z), ′e:zɪn(z) Sc., but I.Sc. + ′eʒɪnz, ′eʃɪnz]

1. The eaves of a building (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. & Dwn.); Gen.Sc. Also used attrib.Mearns 1699 Black Book Kcd. (1843) 92:
Balmakewan's victual house was broken in the second story in the easings or the gable.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin x.:
I scrambled up a trap that was leanin' forgainst the easin', an' mountit up to the riggin'.
Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark North. Gleams 56:
Robbie . . . climms up ipo da aishins, an' crawls alang till he wins ipo da rüf o' da hoose.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 7:
Upon the easin' sods a fou [saxifrage] Thick-leaved an' sappy yearly grew.
Ork. 1909 Old-Lore Misc. II. i. 29:
Bit he towt hid wid be aisy [to fly] fae the tap o' de pate stak or de eashens o' the barn.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxvi.:
His eyebrows, someway, seemed to jut extraordinarily, like easings of a house, above his glance.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 25:
Snaa-bree loups,
Ice-tangles fae the eezins dreep, ...

2. The corresponding part of a stack where the thatch projects (Lth. 1783 A. Wight Present State Husbandry IV. 667; Sc. 1825 Jam.2); Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Also used attrib.Per. 1857 D. Gorrie Ploughboy 50:
The stack was thirty feet high to the easin'.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 121:
The builders of these stacks took great pride in building them “straucht tae th' easin' an' headin' fair.” . . . “Draw in yer easin' shaves a bit, min; they luik like a puckle huddery breem coows.”
w.Sc. 1924 Gsw. Herald (25 Nov.):
The West of Scotland stack is a slim structure without any boss. It is usually founded on large stones and thorn branches, rins straucht up tae the easins, and tapers neatly to its apex.

3. The angular space between the top of the side wall and the roof inside the house (Ork. 1929 Marw., aisins); “in Stenness applied to the open space . . . between the top of the wall and the under-side of the slates in an open-timbered roof” (Ork. 1908 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 327; Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Arg. 1950); also attrib. (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 18). Cf. Aisywaas; Easwas.Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 39:
Weel dan ane o the speerits rakid in his hand . . . an' pu'd oot the auld shearin' heuk 'at Black Jock hed sticked i' the aesin's.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Things, kept on the top of the broad stone wall in the angular space formed by the upper part of the wall and the lower part of the roof, are said to lie “under de esins,” perhaps really “under the roof-beams and the rafters.” .
Arg.1 1929:
The hen's layin up in the easin.

4. (See quot.). Known to Ork.1 1949.Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 14:
They [the cupples of the roof] rested on the slightly sloping wall head, and were secured there by the aisens or wa' plates — flagstones fitted to the foot of each cupple and projecting over the outside wall about three or four inches.

5. Fig.: the edge of the sky, the horizon (Abd. 1900, Kcd. 1948 (per Abd.27)).

6. Combs and Phr.: (1) easing butt, a rain-water barrel placed to catch drips from the eaves (Sh. 1900 E.D.D.); (2) easing drap, — drop, (a) that part of the roof of a house which juts over the wall, and carries off the drop (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (b) an eavesdrop (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.); (c) Sc. law: see Eavesdrop; (3) easin-gang, “a course of sheaves projecting a little at the easin to keep the rain from getting in” (Cld. 1825 Jam.2; Bnff.2, Abd.9 1942; Abd.27, m.Lth.1 1948); cf. Eng. dial. easing-sheaf, id.; (4) aezhenhead, esin-, (a) the level top of the side wall of a house inside the roof (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., aezhen-; Sh.10 1949); (b) = 4 (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), esin-); (5) easing water, water collected from the eaves; (6) to spring the easing, to put the easing sheaves out a little (m.Lth.1 1949; Ayr. 1928 (per Ayr.4)).(1) Sh. 1897 Shet. News (13 July):
I cam back wi' a bit o' clift 'at I fan stickin' abüne da aisen butt.
(2) (a) Sc. 1703 Fountainhall Decisions II. 199:
It appeared by the probation, that these void pieces of ground under the forestairs, and below the easing drop, are reputed a part of the high-street.
Sc. 1803 Session Papers, Robertson v. Douglas (24 May 1805) 4:
Remits to the Dean of Guild of Glasgow to visit and inspect the subjects in questions, and to report his opinion as to the easing-drop in dispute.
(b) Sc. 1752 Morison Decisions 14528:
It is regulated by the policy of all burghs of Scotland, that every proprietor who builds a tenement shall leave a certain space of his own property free, for receiving the easing-drop.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 392:
The easing gang, or an outside circular row of sheaves, having the butts projecting a few inches beyond the body of the rick.
(5) Sh. 1898 Shet. News (24 Sept.):
Shü wis in wan green ludder frae da fore knee an' aeft, no ta speak o' aesin' watter.

7. A projection, overhang, in transf. sense. Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 149:
I leave it to the judgement of any ten taylors in town, if 30 pairs of men's breeches may not be cut, from a little above the easing of Bessy's bum.

[O.Sc. eisin, 1553, easing, 1602, eaves. North.Mid.Eng. esying, reduced form of evesing, O.E. efesung, from efes. eaves.]

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



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