Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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EVEN, adj., adv. Sc. usages. Also eyn (Cld. 1825 Jam.2); ein (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 194; Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 146); evin (Sc. 1887 Jam.6); eyvin (Bnff.4 1926); eyven (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 27). See also Eend. [′i:vən, ′e:vən Sc., but Abd. + ′əivən, Cld., Dmf., Gall. + ‡əin]

I. adj. Sometimes used substantively in pl.

1. In the game of marbles: the call made, when two marbles are lying equidistant, to obtain the right of playing first (m.Lth.1 1950). Cf. Even, v., 3, phr. (2).

2. Phrs.: †(1) at evens with, on an equal footing with; †(2) at evens wi' the warld, solvent, able to pay one's way (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); (3) even hands wi', — heads, = (1) (Rxb.4 1944); (4) to be evens (with), to be even with, quits (Ags.19, Fif.10, Knr.1, Slg.3, Edb.1 1944). (1) s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders I. 303:
Wherefore should I speak at evens . . .with the like o' you?
(2) Per. 1802 S. Kerr Sc. Poems 65:
The man wha strives to keep by honest means At evens wi' the warld.
(3) Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man I. xii.:
I's be even hands wi' them an' mair, an' then I'll laugh at the leishest o' them.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 111:
'Nent wha may see May mornin's hue We're even heads.
(4) Sc. 1753 Scots Mag. (July) 339:
[Alan Breck] said, he would be evens with him; and that he would take his opportunity to dispatch or murder either Glenure or Ballieveolan before he left the country.
Ags. 1896 J. M. Barrie Sentimental Tommy vii.:
“Ay, Martha,” muttered Mrs Sandys, “you and Jean Myles is evens now.”
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 365:
Gin A'm no ein wi him neist fair, mind ye, ye can shave my heid an pit a wat clout on't.

3. Combs.: (1) evendoon, see separate article; (2) even-forrit, straightforward; †(3) even in, ? straight; †(4) even-out, downright; (5) even-up, straight, erect; (6) sma' evens, a small allowance of food, “short commons” (Sh. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.). (2) s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders V. 62:
An even-forrit, silly, simple lassie.
wm.Sc. 1903 “S. Macplowter” Mrs McCraw 7:
A'm an evenforrit wumman wi' nae whigmaleeries aboot me.
(3) Fif. 1703 in E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 374:
The magistrates and counsellors . . . discharges . . . all cutting of sheep except an even in score in the shoulder and a fliep in the rumpell.
(4) Ayr. 1826 R. Hetrick Poems 79:
When twa auld bodies near-han done, Wi' even-out wearing.
Per. 1950:
She was aye even oot wi' a' her sayings.
(5) Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 169:
He [a policeman] . . . apparently believed that the haill system o' jurisprudence in the country was in danger if he failed to keep an even-up back on the auchteen shillin's a week allooed him by the authorities.

II. adv. In an even, steady manner or direction.

1. Esp. in comb. with other advs.: (1) evendoon, see separate article; (2) even-en(d)-ways, straight, to rights; continuously; (3) even-foot-forrit = (5) (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.); Sh.10 1950); (4) evenforenent, directly opposite (m.Lth.1 1950); (5) even forrit, straight forward (Abd.2, Ags.2, Fif.17, Rxb.4 1944); (6) even o'er, level, flat, smooth; (7) even on, (a) continuously, without ceasing, straight on; Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (b) head on (Kcb.9 1944); (8) even out, forthrightly, unreservedly, without restraint (Ags.19, Fif.10 1944); (9) even up, straight up (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 22; Sh.10, Ags.19 1950). (2) Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 66:
She skirls even en-ways, and shores a' the house; She gets mickle mends thaten way.
(3) Bwk.3 1950:
I'm ahint wi' ma wark, but now that the visitors are away I'll no be lang getting even-end-ways.
(4) Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. xi.:
I soon saw by them they war' for playin some pliskin, an' in I cowes ahint a rangel o' stanes till they cam' evenforenent me.
(5) Sc. 1736 Crim. Trials illustrative of “H. Midlothian” (1818) 182:
Why did they not fire even forward and clean the street?
Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 29:
Jist keep the Deid Knowe weel on your richt han', Syne even forrit till ye see a cairn.
(6) Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings 40:
For mark nor meith ye wadna ken, The greenswaird how, an' seggy den, Are straiked even-o'er.
(7) (a) Sc. 1834 Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 439:
Pass that door, and gang even on till ye come to three staps.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
When it lay still, it [baby] did naething but mourn even on.
Edb. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge xvii.:
On the road hame he begoud to haver, puir lad, an' he's havered even on since syne.
Gsw. 1904 “H. Foulis” Erchie vi.:
The wife washes even-on, and greets into her washin'-byne till she mak's the water cauld.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 54:
Trauchlin' awa', aye even on, Sin' ever he was born.
s.Sc. 1932 Border Mag. (April) 60:
Ye canna expec' machinery to serve ye even-on if ye dinna respec' it eneuch to pey attention till't.
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 19:
He's a wild man tae taalk, that: he jist taalks even on: ye canna stop him.
(8) Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck I. 50:
The body was like to gar me greet even out.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xi.:
Gin ye see onything wrang wi' my face tell me even oot, an' hae dune wi't.

2. In phr.: †even and eyn, in good earnest. Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 216:
Till even and eyn he took thocht o' a wife To help wi' the warl' an' the fecht o't.

[O.Sc. evin-up, upright, 1552. ]

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"Even adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 May 2021 <>



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