Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GIZZEN, v., adj. Also giz(e)n, geezen, geizen, -an, g(e)yzen, guizen, ga(i)z(e)n; gjizzen, gis(s)en (Jak.), †gjaesn (Sh.), giezen, †gizzin, -an, †geysen, -an, †gysen, -an, -on, †geisen, -an, -in; †gisan (Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 432), giesen (Dmf. 1910 J. Corrie Glencairn 147), ¶guisan (s.Sc. 1926 “H. McDiarmid” Penny Wheep 27), ¶gizz, ¶geyzing. [Sc. ′gɪzən, ′gəiz-, ′gi:z-, but Ork., Arg., Uls. + ′gez-, Rxb. + ′gɪs-]

I. v. Most commonly used in ppl.adj. Cf. Kizen.

1. Of wood or anything made of wood: to shrink, warp, become leaky owing to dryness. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 221:
The Ships lang gyzen'd at the Peer Now spread their Sails and smoothly steer.
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 3:
My kirnstaff now stands gizzand at the door, My cheese-rack toom that ne'er was toom before.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 112:
After ilk shot he'd tak' a drap, An', bann wi' birr the geezen'd cap.
Sc. 1824  Scott St. Ronan's W. ii.:
Crackit quart-stoups and geisen'd barrels.
Abd. 1827  J. Imlah May Flowers 121:
O! never drouth — my boozin' bowl! Thy girded ribs shall gizzen.
Fif. 1835  R. Gilfillan Songs 229:
Ye've lang had cause to glunch an' gloom, Your quaich's been gyzened sair an' toom.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan 92:
Better . . . sautless than sillerless, and is't no better to hae a sairy sautfat, than a geyzened girnal?
Ork. 1904  Dennison Sketches 1:
Bit sheu [boat] hed lain gaznan' i' the sun.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
An i simmer . . . wud turns geizant and ern lowps abreed.
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 37:
The neeps were fozy, cankert, wizen't, The wallies failed, the bowies gizen't.

2. Extended uses: (1) used lit. and fig. of things or persons in gen.: to be or become dried up, withered and shrivelled (Fif.14 c.1944 (of shoe-leather); Sh.10, Ork.5, ne.Sc. 1954). Edb. 1792  in Scots Mag. (April 1947) 69:
But gie to me a bright nor'-east, And eke a geezen'd sky.
Slk. 1818  Hogg Wool-gatherer (1874) 80:
Deed, Rob, I'll just speak as I think; there sall naething gyzen i' my thrapple that my noddle pits there.
Sc. 1844  Sc. Songs (Whitelaw) 243:
Now winter comes, wi' breath sae snell, And nips wi' frost the gizen'd gowan.
Ags. 1853  W. Blair Chron. Aberbrothock viii.:
She was sair forfochen for lang wi' an ill cauld she teuk, and her speerits, it seems, begood to geizen.
Edb. 1856  J. Ballantine Poems 30:
The soil, a' gizen'd sair before, Is filled wi' moisture to the core.
Lnk. 1895  W. Stewart Lilts and Larks 77:
There's his aunties an' his uncles — Geezent, weezent, auld carbuncles.
Uls. 1901  J. W. Byers Lecture 11 in North. Whig:
A friend of mine, on a very warm sunny day, during a hot summer, meeting an old woman on the road, said, “That's a very warm day.” “Yes, sir,” she replied, “I am beginnin' to gazen.”
Abd. 1942  Scots Mag. (July) 275:
He bocht aul' gizzen't horse an' kye, An' scrimpit muck an' seed.

(2) To be parched with thirst, gen. of the throat and referring to strong drink (Sh., Ork., Abd., Ags. 1954). Also fig. Rarely tr. = to parch, dry up. Edb. 1772  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 16:
And swallow o'er a dainty soup, For fear they gizzen.
Abd. 1778  in A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 5:
May thrist thy thrapple never gizzen!
Sc. 1795  Scots Mag. (Nov.) 720:
My wazen now, I doubt nor fear, Shall be well season't, Wi' plenty o' the best o' chear, For faith it's gyson't!
Ayr. 1816  A. Boswell Poet. Wks. (1871) 150:
Wark, ye ken yersels, brings drouth, Wha can thole a gaizen'd mouth.
Cai. 1829  J. Hay Poems 46:
And if the thirst wad gizz his wizzen.
Per. 1835  J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. 78:
Two days slockened him, — and, as he expressed it, “kept him from geyzenin'” for several months.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlix.:
Yet when one is “gizzen't” for want of news some shift must be made.
Sc. 1923  R. Macrailt Hoolachan 30:
Afore I'd gotten richt upon my feet, and pu'd mysel' thegither, my gizzen'd thrapple — I mean my throat — wad ha'e been soothed.

II. adj. 1. Of wooden vessels: cracked, leaky, in consequence of drought (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.; Abd.4 1929; Sh.10, Ork.5, Ags.19, Per.4, Knr.1, m.Lth.1, Rxb.4 1954). n.Sc. 1825  Jam.:
To gang gizzen, to break out into chinks from want of moisture, a term applied to casks, etc.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xi.:
Here's this bitch of a boat, and she's geyzing like a boyne. I doubt she'll not can stay afloat till we reach the other side.
Abd. 1937  Abd. Press & Jnl. (27 Aug.):
A coggie a wee thrum gizzen at the lyagin.

2. Dry, parched, shrivelled (Sh.10, Rxb.4 1954), lit. and fig. Rs. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 III. 390:
There is a sand bank, called the Gizzin Briggs . . . extending from the Ross to the Sutherland side.
Mry. 1806  J. Cock Simple Strains 82:
My Muse is maistly grown gizzen, But that 'ill sort her.
Sc. 1809  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
Nought cares the polish'd man o' wealth, Tho' wizzen wame and a' gae gizzen.
Bnff. 1844  T. Anderson Poems 51:
I scarcely thought rhymes could be made Whan throats ware gizzen.

[Icel. gisna, to become leaky, gisinn, leaky (of wooden vessels), Norw. gis(s)en, broken out into chinks, leaky, hence Norw. dial. gisna, to become thin, leaky.]

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"Gizzen v., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <>



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