Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GRAVE, n., v. For Sc. forms, see Graff, and cf. Graft. Sc. usages:

I. n. In combs.: 1. grave-digger, a kind of spinning-top (Sc. 1951 Sunday Post (1 July); m.Lth.1 1955); 2. grave-howker, a grave-digger; †3. grave-merels, a skin eruption superstitiously thought to be caused by treading on the grave of a still-born child; cf. Merls; 4. grave-mool, -mould, the soil of a grave (Ags.19 1955); 5. graveyaird, a graveyard, used attrib. in (1) graveyairdchorus, -cough (Ayr. 1955), a “churchyard” cough, (2) graveyaird deserter, a sickly-looking person, one who looks as if he should be in his grave (ne.Sc. 1955). Cf. Kirkyaird. 2. Fif. 1844 J. Jack St Monance 18:
I ne'er had meikle fauver either for the howdie or the grave-howker.
3. s.Sc. c.1880 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club XXIII. 66:
The skin feels as if heated iron was applied to it; which is followed by the breaking out of blotches, which are called the grave-merels (merled is variegated), or grave-scabs.
4. Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remark. Passages 104:
The swearing Ministers have heartily and willingly, . . . shooled on the Grave-moulds.
Sc. 1923 R. Taylor End of Fiammetta 29:
I ken I smell o' cauld grave-mool That washed in lavender.
5. (1) Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw 38:
That host o' yours . . . jist like a graveyaird chorus.
(2) Ib. 112:
“John, puir man,” abroad. and “graveyaird deserter” at hame.

II. v. 1. To place a corpse in a grave, to inter, bury (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Obs. since 17th c. in Eng. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 411:
O! never melt awa thou wride o' snaw, That's sae kind in graving me.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 85:
Some purposed in the sea to grave him.
Sc. 1875 J. Grant Six Hundred I. ix.:
They told you that I was dead, too, and graved in yonder kirk.

2. “To dig in the ground” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), also common in n.Eng. dial. Specif.; to dig for shellfish in the sand at ebb-tide (Sh. 1866 Edn. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.).

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"Grave n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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