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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FRENCH, adj., n. Also Frainch (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

I. Sc. combs. and phr., mainly adj.: 1. French and English, a boys' game (†Ork. 1900; Fif.10, Slg.3 1945), the same as English and Scots, s.v. English, n., 2. Also in Eng. dial.; †2. French butterflee, the common white butterfly (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 212). Also in Eng. dial., a popular name during the war with France when children hunted them as enemies; 3. French cake, a kind of small fancy sponge cake covered with icing and garnishing (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Ayr. 1953); 4. French cheat, some kind of game; 5. French flee (Kcb.1 1935), — flies (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.), the game of Bonnetie, q.v., a variety of leap-frog; 6. French Jackie, a children's game, consisting of a ring of players with another walking round outside the circle. This player touches one in the ring who has to run round the circle in the opposite direction to the toucher to try to regain the position he has vacated. If he fails, he becomes toucher in turn (Bnff. 1894 in A. B. Gomme Games I. 144); 7. French loaf, a kind of fancy loaf, made from a dough containing a little fat and sugar and having a crust on top and higher at one side than the other so as to give a kind of heart-shaped slice. Gen.Sc. A French pan (loaf) is baked in a tin and has crust all round; 8. French paitrick, the red-legged partridge, Alectoris rufa; †9. French plover, the golden plover, Pluvialis apricarius, or phs. the ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula; 10. French puppy, the oriental poppy, Papaver orientale (sw.Sc. 1896 Garden Work XIII. 111); 11. French sourock, the wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella (Per. 1871 Sc. Naturalist I. 54); 12. French wallflower, the purple wallflower, Cheiranthus cheir (sw.Sc. 1896 Garden Work XIII. 111).1. n.Sc. 1852 H. Miller Schools iv.:
The town-links, where they could play at “shinty” and “French and English.”
3. Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde First Bk. McFlannels v.:
I don't want you to give me a showing up eating all the French cakes.
4. Sc. 1936 A. Fleming Christina Strang vi.:
The guile required in “cheat,” the lightness of foot in “French cheat.”
8. Mry. 1952 Scots Mag. (April) 50:
I noticed in that same shed, another time, the red-legged partridge. The keeper called them “French paitrick.”
9. Sth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 220:
The migratory kind are, the swallow, cuckow, and French plover.

II. n. 1. A Frenchman. Obs. in Eng. since 17th cent.Abd. 1708 Abd. Burgh Rec. (B.R.S.) II. 334:
The present threatened invasione of the Frenches.

2. In dim. form Frenchie: a boy's marble, “of a greenish yellow colour, but with strata of lighter colour through it” (Lth. 1900 E.D.D.).Lth. 1885 “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny ii.:
The bools . . . played with were called “taas,” and consisted of “marbles, stanies, frenchies,” etc.

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"French adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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