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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).

LEGLIN, n. Also -an, -en, laiglen, -in, leaglin. A wooden pail, esp. one with a projecting stave for a handle, gen. used as a milk-pail (Sc. 1808 Jam.: Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 252; Fif., m.Lth. 1960). [′lɛglən]Rs. 1707 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1911 ) II. 70:
Skellet pan … brewing vessels, two wort leaglins.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
If I but ettle at a Sang, or speak, They dit their Lugs, syne up their Ieglens cleek.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 82:
Wi' twa fu' leglins, froathing o'er an' het.
s.Sc. 1769 D. Herd Sc. Songs 338:
Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her away.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 189:
Wi' Master Laiglen, like a brock He did wi' stink maist smore him.
Hdg. 1796 Session Papers, Petition J. Tait (26 May) Proof 17:
There was also … a copper goblet, a yetlin pot, a leglin for carrying water.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 20:
When she to milk the ewes had gane, He cam an' bure the leglen hame.
Sc. 1822 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) VII. 60:
[Maria Edgeworth] carries her literary reputation as freely and easily as the milk-maid in my country does the leglen which she carries on her head and walks as gracefully with as a Duchess.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace 18:
She flang a leglen at his lug.
Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 51:
An' twirls her empty leglen roon Wi' girds sae bricht.

Phrs. to cast a leglin-girth, to bear an illegitimate child, a mistake for laigen-girth s.v. Laggin, q.v.Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxxiii.:
Did you ever hear of the umquhile Lady Huntinglen … ganging a wee bit gleed in her walk through the world; I mean in the way of slipping a foot, casting a leglen-girth, or the like, ye understand me?

[O.Sc. legalleoun, 1557, laiglon, 1611, id., a reduced form of ladegalon, from Laid + Gallon. Eng. dial. has the form lade-gawn. Cf. Mid.Eng. lad payle, id.]

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"Leglin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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