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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.

ENSE, adv. Also ens, enze, anse, anze. Else, otherwise (Ags. 1808 Jam., anse, anze, ense; (e.)Sc., Lth. 1825 Jam.2, ens(e), enze, Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 240, Bnff. (anse), Fif., Slg. 1943; Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Bwk., Slk. 1950). [ɛns(z), ɑns]Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 56:
She'll think I am put in the guard, tane wi. the deel, or the doctors, or anse married.
Kcb. 1889 “Gall. Herd” About Gall. Folk 90:
But wi' huz puir folk, ye see, it's ayther hunger or ense a burst!
Slg. 1896 W. Harvey Kennethcrook vii.:
Ye'd better gang yer gate, an' bide in yer ain toon-end, ense fire'll come doon frae heaven and burn us up.
Fif. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar iv.:
We maun win in or anse we'll get our heid in oor hands.
Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 44:
Ense ye'll be like the auld carle An' en' waur aff than iver!
L.Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie 'Twixt Hills and Sea 23:
Or anse, gin it's frosty, the grieve 'll mak' certain.

Phr.: or ens(e) no, used ironically with neg. emphasis = or is it not? (Ags.19, m.Lth.1 1950); equivalent to Eng. slang “I don't think”; cf. or else no s.v. Else.Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage II. xi.:
What ken ye about impruvements, bairn? A bony impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and sclaters leavin, whar I mind Jewks and Yerls. . . . Impruvements indeed!

[A conflation of An, adv., q.v., and -se from Else.]

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"Ense adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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