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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

FRESH, adj., n., v. Sc. usages:

I. adj. 1. Of weather: not frosty, open, in thaw (Sc. 1752 D. Hume Polit. Discourses xiv. 56). Gen.Sc., and in Eng. dial. Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 319:
Our winters . . . have been open and fresh, as it is termed.
Twd. 1824 Farmer's Mag. (Feb.) 94:
The weather having been so fresh, little dung has been carted to the field, unless on such farms as have metalled roads in proper directions.
Ags. 1927 V. Jacob Northern Lights 23:
We'll hae tae want the flesher O! Until the weather's fresher O!
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (20 March):
A hale sax ooks storm i' the moo o' Mairch an' it never cam' fresh.
Peb. 1952:
A fresh wind is a thawing wind.

2. Sober, esp. of an inebriate, “denoting a recovery from intoxication” (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh., Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1953).Gall. 1711 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 291:
Archbald Fullertoun . . . said to him, Ye are going fresh off the town; your neighbour Corsbie was not so who had goten a good drink yesternight.
Edb. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xliii.:
Them that sent him bade him gie the thing to your leddyship's ain hand direct, or to Lord Evandale's, he wots na whilk. But, to say the truth, he's far frae fresh.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 179:
Whare's the chiel that fresh or fou Can compare wi' Donald Blu!

3. Of animals: thriving, fattening (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth., Kcb., Dmf. 1953). Also in Eng. dial.

4. Of grazing: not eaten, untouched by stock.Rxb. c.1792 J. Sinclair Annals Agric. XIX. 406:
Keep your pasture fresh, that is to say, without any stock upon it.

II. n. 1. A period of open weather, a breaking of a spell of frost, a thaw (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Wgt., Rxb. 1953). Abd. 1728 Session PapersLeslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 321: 
A very extraordinary fresh in the water.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
Atween a frost and a fresh = the setting-in of a thaw.
Abd. 1929 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (7 March) 6:
Gin we hid a richt fresh we wid seen get redd o' the snaw.
Abd. 1950 Huntly Express (6 Jan.):
The biggest snowstorm of 1949 is rapidly dissolving, to the accompaniment of heavy rain. This is what is known as a “foul fresh.”
Mry. 1953 Bulletin (13 Jan.) 4:
Snow, thaw, ice, and fresh following one another in bewildering rapidity.

2. The upper or fresh-water part of an estuary or the like. Also in U.S. but obs. in Eng.Crm. 1869 H. Miller Tales and Sk. 223:
Our seafaring men still avoid dropping anchor, if they possibly can, after the sun has set, in what they term the fresh — that is, in those upper parts of the frith where the waters of the river predominate over those of the sea.

III. v. 1. To thaw (ne.Sc., Ags. 1953). Not common.Lnk. 1844 J. Lemon Lays of St Mungo 51:
Hunders, when it freshed, were gat Stark dead upon the trees.

2. To pack (herring) in ice ungutted, for consumption as fresh. Hence fresher, a herring-buyer who does this. Gen.Sc. in all fishing areas.Abd. 1922 Abd. Press and Jnl. (1 July):
Considerable quantities of freshed herring are being exported daily.
Sh. 1939 A. C. O'Dell Hist. Geog. Sh. 136:
Herrings (largely freshed at Lerwick).
Bch. 1949 W. R. Melvin Poems 63:
[We] gross't abeen Four Hunner Poun' Fin Freshers bocht oor haul.

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"Fresh adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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