Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LINN, n.1, v. Also lin, lyn(n). [lɪn]

I. 1. A waterfall, cataract, cascade of water (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; w.Sc. 1741 A. Macdonald Galick Vocab. 6; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 252; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Freq. in place-names, as Corra Linn, Linn o Dee. Comb. linn-spoot, id. (Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 236). Sc. 1710  Descr. Lnk. and Rnf. (M.C.) 67:
An old house situate upon a great linn or fall of the river Clyde.
Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. ii.:
Between twa birks out o'er a little lin The water fa's.
Bwk. 1757  G. Ridpath Diary (S.H.S.) 158:
Had a walk with him in the afternoon to the Linn.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Elegy on Capt. Henderson iv.:
Ye burnies, wimplin down your glens, … Or foaming strang, wi' hasty stens, Frae lin to lin.
Lth. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 611:
Where the Esk divides it in the middle and forms a linn or leap.
Sc. 1810  Scott Lady of Lake vi. xviii.:
As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep, Receives her roaring linn.
Sc. 1825  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 52:
Over Corra Linn the river rolls exultingly.
Ags. 1864  D. M. Ogilvy Poems (1873) 8:
With scarlet brawlins on the linn Where cat'racts fa' wi' echoing din.
Rxb. 1871  H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. II. 200:
The wee waterfa' or the fifty-feet linn.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xx.:
There hung over the lynn a little mist of spray.
Kcb. 1895  Crockett Men of Moss Hags xxvi.:
So I came down the west side of the water of Ken, by the doachs or roaring linn, where the salmon sulk and leap.
m.Sc. 1917  J. Buchan Poems 69:
Except the sang o' Tweed in spate, Or Talla loupin' ower its linns.
Abd. 1920  G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 41:
An' I'll dream o' the music o' the linn Whar the rummlin' waters fa'.
Sc. 1928  J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 13:
Noo, frae the scrogs up near a linn That spreed its gray-tail to the sin.

2. A precipice, ravine, a deep and narrow gorge (Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 117; Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.; sm. and s.Sc. 1961); “two opposite contiguous cliffs or heughs covered with brushwood” (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.). Dmf. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 245:
The water has, in the course of ages, hollowed out to itself a strait passage through a hill of red free stone, forming what in Scotland is called a linn, peculiarly romantic. This linn from top to bottom is upwards of 100 feet.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian l.:
If you come here again, I'll pitch you down the linn like a foot-ball.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vi.:
The two principal murderers of the curate are lying concealed in a linn not far hence.
Dmf. 1878  R. W. Thom Jock o' the Knowe 70:
A linnet that sang in a howe in the linn.

3. A pool in a river, specif. under a fall, the pool into which a cascade gen. falls (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Combs. lin(n)-keeper, -lier, -lyar, a large fresh-water trout which haunts a particular pool (Knr. (keeper), Fif. (lyar) 1825 Jam.). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 27:
Out-throw the mist atweesh her an' the sun, That glanc'd and shin'd in ilka pool and lyn.
Sc. 1803  Young Benjie in
Child Ballads No. 86 A. 5:
He took her up in his armis, An threw her in the lynn.
Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize III. xxiv.:
In the clear linn the trouts shuttled from stone and crevice.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 347:
Trouts . . .loupin out the linns in somersets like tumblers frae a spring-brod.
Knr. 1894  H. Haliburton Furth in Field 177:
His successful angler landing the linn-lier.
Sc. 1925  “Domsie” Poems for Children:
Clitter-clatter gaed the wheel Wi' the water rin, Rum'lin, tum'lin heids ower heel Tae the caller lynn.
Per. 1950 4 :
There's a linn further up that's guid for fishin.

II. v. To hollow out the ground by force of water, to form a pool (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

[O.Sc. lyn, a waterfall, a.1500, linne, a pool below a fall, 1563. In meanings 1. and 2. from O. North. hlynn, a torrent, in meaning 3. (mainly from Gaelic border-areas) from Gael. linn, a pool.]

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"Linn n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Dec 2019 <>



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