Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GOD, n. Also Goad (Sc. 1896 Stevenson Weir of Hermiston ii.). Sc. usages: 1. In obs. phrs. and combs.: (1) God-bairn gift, a present made to a god-child [in O.Sc. from early 16th c.]; (2) God's bird, a name given to the skylark; also to the robin as in some Eng. dials.; (3) God's body in phr. a good God's body, a silly but good-natured man (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. goddis apis; (4) God('s)-send, a wreck or any other profitable object driven ashore by the waves (Sh., Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl.); found in Ken. and I.W. dial.; see also guidsend s.v. Guid, n., 6. (3) (a);

(5) godspenny, a small coin paid on striking a bargain, earnest-money, Arles; common in n.Eng. dial. (1) Rnf. 1710 Descr. Sheriffdom Lnk. & Rnf. (M.C.) 87:
Commonly said to have been ane god bairn gift.
(2) Lth. 1844 Zoologist II. 558:
The robin and the wren Are God's bird and hen.
Mry. 1889 J. Watson Wild Birds 31:
The skylark is sometimes called “God's bird,” and it was considered a heinous sin to rob its nest.
(4) Ork. 1701 J. Brand Descr. Ork. 37:
The more ignorant People construct this as a favourable Providence to them, therefore they call these wracks, God's send, tho not so favourable to the poor Mariners and others who suffer thereby.
Wgt. 1765 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 614:
On the 30th the vessel was drove on shore in the parish of Mochrum; where it was no sooner known, that a God's send (as they call it) had come in there, than men, women, and children, flocked to the shore, with what vessels they found readiest.
Sh. 1822 Scott Pirate vii.:
It's seldom sic rich Godsends come on our coast.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Sh. 455:
The Shetlander . . . enumerates under the blasphemous title of the “God-sends”, a wreck, a drove of whales, and a boat-fare.
(5) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 78:
“We'll wat thoombs on that bargain!” and he birled his godspenny on the table.

2. In excls. or mild oaths: (1) Godalmidgens, Gollymidgins, corrupted or softened forms of God Almighty; (2) God's cause, = for God's sake. (1) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) vii.:
“O, golly midgins!” says ane o' Dauvid's lassies, wi' her hands up, an' her moo an' her een wide open.
Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (May) 135:
“Godalmidgens!” he exclaimed, “You're no' young Murdoch?”
(2) Ags. 1903 T. Fyfe Leg. Lintrathen vii.:
Rin, Forie — God's cause, Forie, rin.

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"God n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



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