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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

IRON, n., adj. Also †i(o)rn. See Airn, Ire, for other Sc. forms. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. Golf: a golf-club with an iron or steel head, its face being inclined at an angle to hit a ball out of a bunker or other hazard; formerly freq. with some epithet to denote its size or purpose, as mid-iron, sand-, driving-, lofting-, now distinguished by numbers, as No. 1 iron, etc. Gen.Sc.; rarely a shot played with such a club.Fif. 1807 J. Grierson St Andrews 234:
The common club is used when the ball lies fair on the ground, the spoon, when in a hollow, the iron when among sand or gravel, and the putter when near the hole.
Sc. 1815 C. Smith Abd. Golfers (1909) 26:
If a ball lies in water, it may be taken out and dropped behind, . . . and played with an Iron.
Fif. 1857 H. B. Farnie Golfer's Manual 19:
Irons, so named from their heads being formed of that metal, are obviously intended to achieve the roughest of the golfing in trying ground.
Sc. 1886 R. Forgan and Son Price-List:
Sand Irons, Driving Irons, Lofting Irons, with Hickory Shafts, 5s. 6d. each.
Sc. 1891 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 179:
The ditch before the fourth hole sucks down many an iron that is not lofted far and high, perhaps ambitiously played from an indifferent lie from the tee shot.
Fif. 1933 J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 84:
He gies it a skelp up till the green wi' his mid-iron.

Hence iron putter, a double-faced iron-headed golf-club (see quot.).Fif. 1897 R. Forgan Golfer's Manual 15:
The “Iron Putter” differs from the “Putting Cleek” in being double-facedi.e., in having one face to the front and another to the back, each of which is perpendicular, not sloped backwards, or spooned.

2. An iron tool used for cutting peats in the Hebrides; hence, the amount of peat which can be cut by such a tool in one day (Heb. 1952).Harris 1795 Stat. Acc.1 X. 366:
A gentleman, according to the number of fires his farm requires him to keep up, cuts of peats from 30 to 50 irons, and the cutting of an iron employs four men.
Inv. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evid. I. 74:
What do you mean by an iron? — 120 yards in length, 2 peats in depth, and 6 peats broad in the lower and 7 in the upper row.

3. A flat iron plate or grill with a curved handle suspended over or placed on a fire for baking oatcakes, scones, etc., a Girdle (Sh. 1902 E.D.D., irn, Sh. 1958).

4. In pl.: surgical instruments (Bnff. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 221; m.Lth., Bwk. 1958).

5. Combs.: (1) Irn-Bru, Proprietary name for a flavoured fizzy soft drink manufactured by A.G. Barr plc, popular in Scotland; (2)iron fit, a shoemaker's last (n. and em.Sc.(a), Lnk. 1958); (3) iron heater, an iron rack hung on the bars of a grate on which oatcakes are dried off after baking (ne.Sc. 1958). See Heater; †(4) iron-house, a room in a prison where prisoners were kept in irons; (5) iron-mail, iron-mould, rust marks on linen (m.Sc., Slk. 1958). See Mail; ‡(6) iron man, (a) a hand winch used on fishing boats to haul in the nets (I. and e.Sc. 1958); (b) a coal-cutting machine. In Sc. and Eng. mining areas; (7) iron room, = (4); (8) white iron, see White.(1)m.Sc. 1996 Christopher Brookmyre Quite Ugly One Morning (1997) 14:
Parlabane sat back in his chair, hugging himself with the over-long sleeves of his jaggy jumper. His hangover had not abated through his new predicament, and he felt that large quantities of Irn-Bru, fried food and sleep were the only things that could save him.
Sc. 2002 Edinburgh Evening News 25 Sep 3:
Irn-bru maker A. G. Barr today announced an 8.8 per cent rise in first-half profits, with the improved weather in recent weeks helping boost sales further, ...
Sc. 2002 Sunday Mail 29 Sep 9:
The Guide, compiled with data from the Ethical Consumer Research Association, says Irn Bru has a better social and environmental record than other leading brands.
Sc. 2004 Aberdeen Evening Express 28 Aug 8:
"But we sent him lots of goodies for his birthday - including a bottle of Irn Bru because he's not allowed the other national drink.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 14 Sep 17:
With 300 bottles of champagne consumed, guests received the perfect hangover cure - a packet of Resolve and a bottle of Irn Bru.
Gsw. 2004 Herald 17 Sep 22:
A teacher in a Glasgow secondary with a great number of asylum-seekers was asking them their impressions of the country, and what they thought was instantly recognisable as Scottish. All the expected answers were given - lochs, haggis, Irn-Bru.
(2) Abd. 1843 Edb. Ev. Courant (19 Oct.):
The latter grasped hold of a shoemaker's “iron foot.”
(3) Peb. 1815 in A. Pennecuik Works 85:
When the [oat] cake is so hardened as to stand on edge, it is placed upon an iron-heater, linked upon a bar of the grate, where it toasts leisurely, till it is perfectly dry.
(4) Gall. 1711 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 281:
They were sentenced to have one of their ears cutt off and ten years banishment, and then were putt into the ironhouse.
Sc. 1722 R. Wodrow Sufferings II. 451:
He was . . . committed to the Irons, which were so strait, that his Flesh swelled out above them. In the Iron-house he was robbed of all his Money sent him by his Friends.
Fif. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 142:
Very different is the state of the prison under it, known by the name of “the Iron-house,” in which persons suspected of theft, &c. are confined.
(6) (a) Sc. 1884 R. Hogarth Herring Fishery 9:
There is an improved winch, or, as fishermen call it, “iron man,” which can be used without a spring-back, thus saving both labour and expense.
(b) Lnl. 1925 H. M. Cadell Rocks w.Lth. 346:
The “iron man” as the first coal-cutting machine was styled.
(7) Edb. 1788 Trial Deacon Brodie (Roughead 1906) 270:
Edinr Tolbooth in the Iron Room and in Chains, 17th Sept.

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"Iron n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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