Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HE, pron., n., adj. Sc. forms and usages:

A. Forms: nom. he; hei (s.Sc.), hie (Rxb. c.1811 in Vagabond Songs (Ford 1904) 312). See also 'E, pron.1; accus. him, unstressed 'im, (h)um. For the poss.adj. see His. [Sc. hi, hɪ, s.Sc. həi, Bwk. he]

B. Sc. usages:

I. pron. 1. Used as in Eng., and also, esp. under Scand. influence in I.Sc. and Cai., and in pseudo-Highl. Sc., to refer to inanimate objects, natural phenomena, etc., where it is the Gen.Sc. usage. Him is often used for he, when conjoined with another subject, esp. in very colloq. or semi-literate speech, as in Eng., e.g. “me an him's no friends” (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 84). Poss.adj. hims, only in pseudo-Highl. Sc. m.Lth. 1786  G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) lxxix.:
Then does auld highland Malcom say, That they shud also mind the strae, To cut him laigh.
Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxxi.:
To coup the ill-faured loon of ta red-coat Captain, and hims corporal Cramp . . . into the loch.
Sh. 1822  S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 512:
Da least tide is rinning, and we'll sail wast by sooth upon him.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan 79:
He wanted ta moon to gang till hims ped.
Sh. 1836  Gentleman's Mag. II. 590:
A gude munt o' deys efter dat, whinn hee wiz draan him weel up ta Jonsmis.
Ork. a.1840  Sc. Antiquary V. 69:
The course of the ship lay right under the moon; and she was sailing fast under a squally wind. Says the captain to the mate, “We won't weather him.” (The moon is masculine in the old dialect).
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 4:
He wus low water whin Ayrie geed i' the geo.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (9 July):
Yon ane is a midder. Huve him by.
Cai. 1909  D. Houston 'E Silkie Man 3:
Weel, he wis a bonny mornan, in barlan.
Sh. 1918  T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 23:
I hae a splendid Faimily Bible wi picters in him.
Sh. 1950  New Shetlander No. 21. 19:
He wis a sair feycht dan in days ta maak a livin.

2. Used by a wife to refer to her husband, or a servant to his master. Gen.Sc. Cf. similar use of Himsel. Sc. 1833  Chamber's Jnl. (Aug.) 233:
I lost him that's away just the Lammas before.
Abd. 1874  W. Scott Dowie Nicht 28:
I hae haen three offers sin' he slippit awa'.

II. n. A man, male person (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Abd. 1956). Now gen. only of animals in Eng. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 11:
Nor was't a fairly, for she well meith be, Gentle or semple a wife to ony he.
Ayr. 1796  Burns Here's to thy Health iii.:
For I'm as free as any he — Sma' siller will relieve me!
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Par. i.:
There was na a he within the bounds of Scotland more willing to watch the fold.

III. adj. Male; having masculine manners or appearance, esp. applied to a woman. Gen.Sc. In Eng. now only of animals. Cld. 1825  Jam.:
She's an unco he wife.
Abd. 1920  :
A great muckle he-deem.

Combs.: 1. he-broom, a name given to laburnum, Laburnum cystisus (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1956); 2. he-heather, see Heather, 6. (5); 3. he-plooin, a tongue or tenon on a board. See Plooin; 4. he-wood, see quot. 4. Nai. 1886  Folk-Lore Journal IV. 10:
Fishermen (Nairn) speak of “he-wood” and “she-wood,” and they say that a boat built of “she-wood” sails faster during night than during day.

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"He pron., n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jan 2020 <>



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