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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEISH, adj. Also liesh, leash, leesh; lish (Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 140). Active, nimble, strong and muscular, athletic, supple (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 314; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, lish; sm. and s.Sc. 1961). Also used adv. Common in n.Eng. dial. [liʃ]Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
Twa lang liesh chaps lying sleeping at ither's sides.
Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 160:
He was a leash lad and a leal.
Dmf. 1835 Carlyle Letters (Norton) II. 261:
Charles is becoming a notable in that department; a liesh fellow, were he not so loose in the hinges.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 118:
He cam' a leish and hardy blade.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin v.:
Surely it's better to be a liesh, lightfooted lassie running about the moors than a great wamie, fruesome wife.
Kcb. 1912 G. M. Gordon Clay Biggin' 29:
Aff she went, John followin', his een fair devourin' her leish figure.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 12:
A pairteet threh the leesh, swank-leike fallih ('at A'd been followin eis lead) at the whusht road-end at Jedfit.
s.Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 386:
Ye'll no sclim leish frae the Kirk-yaird clei.

[Orig. doubtful. The word is relatively recent and is phs. a semantic development of Leash, n., v.2, e.g. a back formation of leishin.]

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"Leish adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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