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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FACE, n., v. Also fess, fiss. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. face.

Sc. forms:Dundee 1989 W. N. Herbert in Joy Hendry Chapman 55-6 94:
Whan thi sel's a taiglit threid that trails
across thi mony-layirt fisses o thi land
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 6:
an intirfaith drug ring
set up shoap
ben in oor cludgie
an the eejit that stuck the heid
on aa the mirrors in the pless
wull no schaa his fess roon heir again
in a hurry

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. The surface of the ground, in phr. to dung, muck on the face, to spread dung on the surface, instead of in drills, to be ploughed in (Abd.27 1952).Abd. 1951 Huntly Express (25 May):
In my young day few farmers dunged on the face and ploughed the dung in during winter. To-day it is exceptional to see a farmer dunging in the drill and happin' in.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (6 Nov.):
It was mostly for the turnip and the potato crop that the “muckin' on the face” applied.

2. Combs. and deriv.: (1) face-caird, -cairt, a court card. Gen.Sc., also in Eng. dial.; (2) face-clout, a face towel. Gen.Sc.; †(3) face-dyke, a wall consisting of stones on one side and earth and turf on the other; see Sunk; (4) face-piece, a scolding; (5) face-plate, slang usage for the face; (6) facer, a buffeting from the weather. Cf. Eng. facer, a blow in the face, and nizzer s.v. Niz, n. 1; (7) face-washin, = (4) (Ork.5 1950); (8) face-wyse, adv., facing, so as to face.(1) Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 302:
No an ace ance in a month, and no that unseldom a haun without a face-caird.
(3) Sc. 1784 A. Wight State of Husbandry III. 645:
He raises the stones, carts them off, and builds the dike from 12d. to 14d. the ell, and 7d. for a faced dike.
Bnff. 1812 D. Souter Agric. Bnff. 140:
The general and most approved construction of what is called sunk, or faced, dykes: — a trench is cast, about two feet below the natural surface, and the excavated mould raised into a bank of four feet three inches in height. . . . After being carried half the proposed height, it is allowed some time to subside then completed, and the stone facing built up from the bottom of the trench.
Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 151:
The face dyke being built against a cut down bank, is a fence only in one direction. It protects a hedge, and costs about 5s. per rood, four feet high.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury 463:
Aw fell aff the tap o' a face-dyke.
(4) Ork.1 1950:
He had the impidence to ask me for money, but I gied him a good face-piece.
(5) Gsw. 1886 A. G. Murdoch Readings I. 26:
"Then tak' that!" said the baker, slapping the sweep's begrimmed "face-plate".
(6) Abd.31 1957:
I got a gey facer comin' ower that hill 'e day.
(8) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 283:
Green slopin' braes, lyin' face-wyse to the sun.

3. Phrs.: (1) a re(i)dface, a blushing face, as a sign of embarrassment or shame, esp. in phrs. to get, gie (someone), tak, a re(i)d face, to make (be made) to blush. Gen.Sc. Rarely, a het face, id.; (2) in a face, one after another, in quick succession (Ork.5 1950); (3) oot o' (the) face, without a break, in orderly sequence, right through from beginning to end (Arg.3, Kcb.10, Uls. 1950); (4) oot o' the face o't, dazed, bewildered; in a muddle (Per. 1950); (5) the face o(f) clay, any human being, any man alive (Bnff.2, Abd.15 1946); (6) to haud (hold) one's face till (to), to vouch for, to give an honest warrant for (Abd.27 1952); (7) to have a face aa roun, to be suave and insincere (Abd.4 1930); (8) to put in a face, — a face in, to put in an appearance, present oneself. Gen.Sc.; (9) to stare (someone) in the face, to resemble closely (Abd.27, Slg.3 1950); (10) to tak by the face, to disconcert, put out of countenance (Gall., Uls. 1952).(1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxiv.:
It would hae gi'en us a' het hearts and red faces.
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xxxix.:
The lad himself had got a red face, and did not lift his e'en to me.
Cai. 1872 M. McLennan Peasant Life 202:
Sic a demure jaud o' a lassie as that shud pit a brave man lik' John Bremner tae shaim, an' gie him a red face.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 41:
Eillen was a wee bit shy at first, an' took a het face when Tam appeared.
Abd. 1950 Huntly Express (6 Oct.):
The only person who is entitled to wear robes, and “without taking a red face”, is the Town Clerk.
(2) Ork.1 1941:
The choir lasses are getting married in a face.
(3) Uls. 1900 E.D.D.:
This last lock o' weeks the weeds has just grown out of the face.
Arg.3 1950:
In fine weather ye can get pittin in yer crop oot o face. The rabbits were that bad the year, they wad hae eaten my turnips richt oot o face.
(4) Per. 1900 E.D.D.:
He gaed fair oot o' the face o't. He knocket him oot o' the face o't. She got frightened an' oot o' the face o't.
(5) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) ix.:
I'll make a pair of breeches with the face of clay.
Sc. 1831 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 730*:
To whom had they the audacity to address . . . that argumentum ad timorem? To Englishmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen, who never yet feared the face of clay.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxxi.:
It defies the face of clay to think how any man could be so wicked!
Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. No. 6. 148:
Meggie boastit she'd never seen the face o' clay she cudna follow [on the harvest field].
(6) Abd. 1726 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 114:
I have wrot nothing but what I can hold my face to.
Bnff. 1811 Banffshire Jnl. (13 May 1952):
He did not choose to sell him [a horse] himself as he could not hold his face to him.
(8) Per. 1903 H. MacGregor Souter's Lamp 27:
If yon beadle body puts a face in here th' nicht.
(9) e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-head 279:
His pap o' a wee mouth is his mither's, a' the rest stares the daddy in the face.
(10) s.Sc. 1843 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 243:
I never was so taen by the face in a' my life! I didna ken where to luk.

II. v. 1. Ppl.adj. faced, fac(e)t, (1) browned on one side, of oatcakes. See 1894 quot.; (2) in combs. (a) facet cairt, a court card (Abd.15 1950). Cf. I. 1. (1); (b) faced iron, a smoothing iron with a polished surface. Cf. Facin, 3. (2); 2. Phr.: †face-the-clarts, n., a low, plausible sneak, a mean grovelling fellow.(1) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 157:
Bread of various kinds, “bannocks,” “soor cakes,” “cream cakes,” “facet cakes,” “soft cakes,” was stored up.
Abd. 1894 Trans. Bnff. Field Club III. 143:
Another kind is baked thinner and on one side only on the “girdle.” It is placed in front of a bright fire and fully baked. It is called “hard bread” or “fact [sic] bread.”
(b) Abd. 1742 Powis Papers (S.C.) 278:
A pair of faced Irons.
2. Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 181:
Hoots! Lat the crawlin' face-the-clarts Howk his ain grave wi' grovelin arts.

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



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