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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KNAB, n.1 Also dim. knablach, -li(e)ch, -(b)lick, -lock. [(k)nɑb]

1. A knot or root of fir, specif. one used as a torch (Bnff. 1960, knablick). Also attrib.Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 85:
But sair he miss'd the hauflin boots, Mid cracklin' whins and knabblick roots.
Bnff. 1883 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 113:
The Spealg chrois — on which knappocks or knablocks — that is, splinters, chips, or knots of fir — were burned.
Bnff. 1920 J. Taylor Cabrach Feerings 63:
Light [for poaching salmon] was given by a “cruisie”, an iron basket in which “knabs”, resinous fir roots dug out of the moss, were burned.

2. A large or unevenly shaped stone, a boulder (ne.Sc. 1960). Hence knabby, stony, rough, lumpy. Cf. knappy s.v. Knap, n.1 The dim. form is freq. used attrib. and has come to be treated as an adj. = irregularly-shaped, knotty, rough (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡ne.Sc. 1960). Hence knablichy, id.Abd. 1739 Caled. Mag. (1788) 500:
And o'er a knabliech stane, He rumbled down a rammage glyde.
Abd. c.1820 in W. Walker Bards of Bon-Accord (1887) 374:
O'er ilk knablick, knap, an' tern Poor Willie fell.
Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 106:
The roads they were rocky and knabby, The mountains were baith strait and stay.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Through hillocks of slippery ware and “knablick stanes”.
Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 74:
There's a mairdle o' fix't knablichs o' steens in't.
Abd.1 1929:
The roadie wis a bit knablichy.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
They'll aye come for ye, loupin oot their kists
Een bleezin as het coals,
Corbies wi knablick nebs ...

[Sc. form of Eng. knob. See P.L.D. § 54, and cf. Knab, n.2]

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"Knab n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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