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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LIFT, n.1 Also luft (Arg. 1939 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 372), lyft (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms xix. 1), luift. The sky, the upper air, the firmament, the heavens (Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict., 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial., 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Rarely in pl. Also fig. [lɪft]Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 343:
What if the lift fall, you may gather laverocks. Spoken when People make silly, frivolous Excuses and Objections [or express improbable expectations].
n.Sc. 1737 W. Fraser Chiefs of Grant (1883) II. 350:
He sits abun the lift that guides the gully.
Abd. 1778 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 48:
Whan day came in, the lift began to clear.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Willie Brew'd iv.:
It is the moon, I ken her horn, That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie.
Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 67:
The lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, And gurly grew the sea.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Poems (1874) 14:
Frae the liftis blue casement driv'n.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 211:
A hen picking at a pease-stack, a pea fell on her head, and she thought the lifts were faun.
Dmf. 1877 R. W. Thom Poems (1883) 2:
To each star in the lift, an' to ilka wun' O' the varyin' seasons.
Sh. 1882 Gentleman's Mag. 361:
“A cat gaanin i' da lift,” that is, looking up into the sky, foretells wind.
Lnk. 1883 W. Thomson Leddy May 21:
Faur i' the lift there was haly joy At the words o' the puir man's prayer.
Fif. 1899 S. Tytler Miss Nanse ix.:
The lifts will fall before they begin gibing and spitting venom at me.
Clc., Ayr. 1915:
Ne'er tak yer muck fae the midden while there's a star in the lift.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Thon burnin' Zeppelin made a grand flam' i' the lift.
Sc. 1928 T. T. Alexander Psalms xix. 4:
Frae ae lift's end his gate dis wend, Syne rinks to ither roon'.
Sc. 1953 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 143:
I wadna rest aneath the lift, Amang the hills I cudna lie.
Ork. 1960:
The mune's on bare lift the night, i.e. there is a clear sky.
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas Fraser in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 8:
At mean pursuits, while reek pollutes
The grey, unhailsome lift.
But whiles I see afore my ee
A vision of the glens:
Dundee 1989 W. N. Herbert in Joy Hendry Chapman 55-6 93:
A whidjum oan thi ee maks
thi mune a fou snaaflake
stickit til thi staurliss
taury lift
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 31:
In siccan a dreech ootlin orrie airt
ane wurld an groo but growthieness
that skyles in aa its sairie stanes
or the groo gangs lirt i the luft
sae nane may lippen ont.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 186:
On either side the tunnel walls lower and glower, and he keeks up, but there is no top to the door. It soars up and up, oot o sicht intil the black lift.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 3:
And heicher up the fauldin land
mair trees agin the luift.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 2:
Dreich clouds, a flicht o greylags ben the lift,
Drookit biggins squar on tae the caal

Combs. and phrs.: 1. lift-fire, lightning; 2. liftwa(i)rd(s), heavenward(s), adj. and adv.; 3. to drap or fa frae the lift, to come or happen suddenly and unexpectedly (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Abd., Ags., Fif., m.Lth. 1960); 4. twa munes or sins in the lift, an event which never happens, Nevermass, the Greek Kalends (Uls. 1953 Traynor, moons; Ayr. 1960).1. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 38:
There cam sic a root o thunder … an sic a blase o lift-fire, 'at Andro wus baith stunned an blindered.
2. Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 3:
The liftward lark lea's the dewy seggs.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. v.:
Like a leevin' lowe an' a brennin' flamboy it [love] brecks furth liftwaird.
Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (May) 128:
While laverocks liftwards leap.
3. Abd. 1920 R. H. Calder Gleanings 10:
Did ye drap fae the lift?
4. Abd. a.1835 in W. Walker Bards (1887) 608:
Ere I for thee my love sall tine Twa meens intae the lift sall shine.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 46:
Neist time I gang fortune-huntin' Twa sins i' the lift sall be.

[O.Sc. lift, the sky, from 1375, North. Mid.Eng. lift, O.E. tyft, id.]

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"Lift n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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