Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GRANNIE, -Y, n., v. Also graunie (Ayr. 1786 Burns Add. to Deil vi.), -y; grunnie (Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cried on Sunday 8), -y, and reduced form gran (ne. and em.Sc. (a), wm. and s.Sc. 1955). Sc. usages:

I. n. †1. A child's name for a grandfather (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

2. The last sheaf cut at harvest-time (Uls.3 1930, Uls.4 1954). Cf. Cailleach, n., 3. Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
Granny. A small sheaf composed of the last remaining growing stalks of corn on a farm at harvest. The stalks are plaited together, and are cut down by the reapers throwing their reaping-hooks at it from a little distance. It is then carried home in triumph, and the person who has cut it down puts it round the neck of the oldest woman of the farmer's family. It is sometimes hung up against the “chimney brace,” where it remains till next harvest, when it gives place to the new granny.

3. A hairy caterpillar, the larva of the tiger moth (n.Ir. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.; Kcb.6 1916; Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1955) or of the nettle butterfly, Vanessa urticae (Kcb. 1897 66th Report Brit. Ass. 475). Comb. hairy-grannie, id. (Arg.3 1955).

4. An extra large plaice (Sc. c.1930 Fishery Board Gl.).

5. A chimney cowl (Abd., e., w. and sm.Sc. 1955). Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 15:
He dang ower lums or thrawed them roon, An' furl't the grannies that sit on the croon.
wm.Sc. a.1930 N. Munro Looker-on (1933) 214:
There's a “granny” on a lum up there that's jist hingin' by a wire.
Ags. 1948 Forfar Dispatch (8 Jan.):
The granny on the lum-heid . . . fell throwe the sky-licht ee washin-hoose.

6. Used with poss. pron. in excls. of contempt or derision (Sh., ne., e., w. and m.Sc. 1955). Cf. grandmither, s.v. Grand-. e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 11:
“We might have improvised a sledge and —.” “Improvised yer grannie.”
Ags. 1945 “S. A. Duncan” Chron. Mary Ann 37:
“I'm no' very fond o' things accursed,” I sighs, shuddering. “Accursed yer granny,” snorts she, with justifiable scorn.

7. A score of nil in any game (Ayr., Slk. 1955). Cf. II. 2.

8. Combs. (sometimes with poss.): (1) grannie('s)-bairn, a grandchild (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), esp. one reared by its grandmother and gen. spoilt (Lnk. 1954 Sc. Educ. Jnl. (30 July) 509; Abd., Ags., Rxb. 1955); (2) granny ball, the last ball thrown in one of a series in the game of Jinkers; †(3) granniedey, an old man, a grandfather (Mry. 1925); cf. grand-dey, id., s.v. Grand-, 5. (1); used as a term of derision (Bch. 1911 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (20 Jan.)); †(4) grannie moil, a falsely-flattering, “smarmy” old woman (Gall. 1824 Gallov. Encycl. 240); (5) grannie preen, a large silver or brass pin used to fasten a shawl (Ayr. 1928; ‡Per., Kcb. 1955); (6) granny's ale, a kind of ginger ale made from fallen apples (Sc. 1951 Hotch-Potch 26); (7) grannie('s) mutch(es), (a) the columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris (ne., e. and wm.Sc. 1955); (b) the snapdragon, Antirrhinum majus (Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1955); (c) monkshood, Aconitum napellus (Dmf. 1955); (d) wild avens, Geum urbanum or arvale (Fif. 1955, grannie-); (e) = 6. above (Abd., Fif., Arg. 1955); (8) grannie's sooker, (a) a peppermint-flavoured sweet, a Pan-drop (ne. and em.Sc.(a) 1955); (b) a white-clover flower (Kcd., wm.Sc.(a) 1955); (9) grannie's thimmles, the foxglove (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 245); (10) grannie's tuith, — teeth, a router plane (Abd., Ags., Per. 1955); †(11) grannie's wing, in curling: cover, in phr. to get under —, “to get under cover, i.e. to angle off a stone, so as to hide yourself behind another” (Dmf. 1830 R. Broun Mem. Curl. Mab. 107). (2) Gsw. 1928 Spectator (24 Nov.):
If it is caught this time, the unsuccessful “jinker” is out of the game. If this last ball, or, as it is quaintly called, the “Granny” ball, is not caught, then the player is free to resume the game.
(7) (a) Fif. 1898 K. D. Wiggin Penelope in Scot. 201:
Her white columbines she calls “granny's mutches”; and indeed they are not unlike those fresh white caps.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 135:
But, ah! nae season's name can touch The he'rt like that when Granny's Mutch, An' daisies say it's simmer.
(8) (e) Sc. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 26:
The gaffers swore in Greek an' Dutch; The men replied: “Yer granny's mutch! We canna un'erstaun' yer flytin'”.
(11) Dmf. 1937 T. Henderson Lockerbie 59:
Just play for my cow; come creepin' by, and curl into the wing o' your grannie.

II. v. 1. With at: to address (someone) as “granny.” Gen.Sc.; 2. in a game: to inflict a crushing defeat on (someone), often implying that the opponent has failed to score (em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Slk. 1955). Cf. n. 7. 1. Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (May) 149:
“Jeck,” she said; “what gars ye granny at me like that?”

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"Grannie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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