Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GRAB, n. Sc. usages:

1. A thing or things “grabbed,” plunder, booty (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 240; Lth., Rnf. 1825 Jam.; Abd., m.Lth. 1955). Sc. 1777 M. Hunter Jnl. (1894) 27:
Grab was a favourite expression among the Light Infantry, and meant any plunder taken by force.
Per. 1903 H. Dryerre Blairgowrie 314:
Nobody seemed particularly anxious to know how he lived, and his horse was chiefly supported by “grab.”

2. An advantageous bargain, an advantage of any kind, often with the idea of greed or dishonesty implied (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1955). Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 69:
He got a richt grab o' the horse at the roup.

3. A miserly or avaricious person (Sh. rare, Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Ayr., Kcb., Dmf., Rxb. 1955). Cf. Eng. slang grab-all, idem. Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 223:
Ilk muckle grab, ilk little tailor, A' strive to catch ye.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 253:
Hae nocht to do wi' greedy grabs.
Ayr. 1882 A. L. Orr Laigh Flichts 42:
A bare-faced, auld, close-fisted grab.

4. In pl.: grips, holds in wrestling or fighting, clutches (Cai.7 1955). Cai.8 1934:
“If a get ma grabs on ye, a'll learn ye.” Heard from an old man in Keiss to some boys teasing him.

5. In comb. tatie grab, the “grabbing” and eating of potatoes by the company at a social gathering from a pot placed in a central position on the table. Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 167:
The last time that we had a spree, He shared the tatie grab wi' me.

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"Grab n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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