Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HIMSEL, pron. Also himsell. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. himself. Cf. Hersel.

1. Prep. phrs.: (1) at himsel, (a) see At, prep., 8.; (b) in a state of mental composure (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1957); (2) by himsel, beside himself, out of his senses (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. See also By, 4. (14); (3) to be like himsel, (a) to be unchanged in appearance, e.g. after death (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc.; (b) to act up to one's reputation. Gen.Sc.; (4) to be on himsell, to transact business on his own account (Abd. 1825 Jam., Abd. 1957). (2) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 179:
Poor Mouldy rins quite by himsel, And bans like ane broke loose frae Hell.

2. Applied to the head or chief person in any body or institution, e.g. a chieftain in a clan, the husband in a household, a minister in a congregation, an employer, the “boss.” Gen.Sc. Mry. c.1850 Lintie o' Mry. (Rampini 1887) 30:
While Meggie took charge o' the cairt an' the beast, An' himsel', being active, aye managed the rest.
Inv. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evid. I. 237:
I am not aware that there is any one paying rent unless to himself.
Ags. 1888 Barrie When a Man's Single 89:
“I winna hae't lyin' aboot here,” Chirsty, the wife of Tammas, said, . . . “ye'll better tak' it on to 'imsel.”
Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 39:
“Is't himsel the day?” says Geordie to the elder, michty consequential, wi' his way o't “Ay,” says the elder, “it's himsel.”
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road ii.:
The clan must stick together and go out upon the old road when Himself required.
Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 24:
When gloamin' has set “Himsel'” free fae the ploo, She shanks by his side an' sings “Hushie-ba-loo.”
Fif. 1929 A. Taylor Bitter Bread 254:
If himsel' is averse to leaving his ain bottle, I'll e'en gang along.
Uls. 1948 D. G. Waring Not Quite so Black 88:
“Captain,” she hissed, in her usual stage whisper. “Himself is back for dinner the day!”

3. An Ork. fishermen's taboo-name for the halibut or turbot (Ork. 1929 Marw.).

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"Himsel pron.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2020 <>



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