Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEAN, v., n. Also len (Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 5; Cai. 1929 John o' Groat Jnl. (13 Sept.)); lain (Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert 14); lene, leen; †lein (Sc. 1724 Ramsay Ever Green I. 213). Pa.t. leaned, leant. [lin, len. See P.L.D. §§ 88, 93.3, 120, 130, 142.]

I. v. ‡1. To recline, lie down, rest, to take a seat. Freq. used refl. and occas. absol. (Bnff., Lnk., Kcb. 1960). Obs. in Eng. Cf. also Lin. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 51:
Between Hands now and then we'll lean, And sport upo' the Velvet Fog.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 97:
Upon the green they lean'd them down all three, And tears for fainness ran frae ilka eye.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Lament for Glencairn ii.:
He lean'd him to an ancient aik.
Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 877:
The language of the working classes is distinguished by some peculiar pronunciations and phrases, such as … lean ye for sit you down or rest yourselves.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
Once into the house, Meg “leant her doon” for a crack.
Uls.2 1929:
She asked her to come in and lain down awhile.

2. To cease, desist, pause. Cf. Lin. Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iv. i.:
Let gang your grips; fy, Madge! howt, Bauldy, leen!
Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake (1874) 34:
She never lened, nor stood in awe.

II. n. A rest, a resting-place, a seat (Ags., Fif., Lth. 1960). Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 139:
A warm and canny lean for weary banes O' lab'rers doil'd upo' the wintry leas.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xix.:
I got a lean, by squeezing her a wee, between me and the wall.

[In sense I. 2. O.Sc. has lin, 1644, lein, a.1689. See Lin, v.]

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"Lean v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <>



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