Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GREE, n.1 Also †grie (Sc. 1814 Scott Poet. Wks. (1882) 639). [gri:]

1. Degree, social rank. Obs. since 16th c. in Eng. Cai. 1869 M. Maclennan Peasant Life 146:
I'll no be wastin' time wi' the geik-neckit wench, whan I ken a rosie lass o' ma ain 'gree.

2. Pre-eminence, supremacy, the first place; hence, the prize, palm. Gen. in phr. to bear the gree, to hold or win first place (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), sometimes followed by awa or aff, also to carry, get, hae, tak —. Now liter. Sc. 1721 Caldwell Papers (M.C.) I. 243:
He carried the gree, as we say, at a ball at court.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd iii. ii.:
Amang our Lads, he bears the Gree awa', And tells his Tale the cleverest of them a'.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 4:
But Ramsay bears The gree himsel, an' the green laurels wears.
Ayr. 1795 Burns A Man's a Man v.:
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth Shall bear the gree an' a' that!
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxix.:
And they arena that bad at girdles for carcakes neither, though the Cu'ross hammermen have the gree for that.
Dmf. 1822 J. Mayne Siller Gun (1836) 160:
Auld Scotland strives to bear the gree.
Per. a.1837 R. Nicoll Poems (1877) 20:
For, whether be it at wark or play, The gree was wi' our auld Gudeman.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 114:
Sae we their sons wha be, Shall keep the ancient glee, Nor let the gree gang down While Polwart is a town.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 20:
On ilka lea Frae Thurso to the banks o' Tweed He bears the gree.

Phr.: †to gie date and gree, to give precedence (to) (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Ib.:
To gie Date and Gree . . . this phrase may respect the precedency given to one, according to the date of his charter or title, as distinguished from another whose honours are more recent.

[O.Sc. has gre(e), grie, in sense 1. from a.1400, in sense 2. from c.1420, freq. in phr. to bere or win the gre. Ad. O.Fr. gré, a step; favour, power.]

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"Gree n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/gree_n1>

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