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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

MAID, n. Sc. usages:

1. In combs., phrs. and deriv.: (1) auld maid's bairn, -wean, a hypothetical well-behaved child which a spinster has in mind when criticising the children of others, gen. in proverbial expressions. Gen.Sc.; (2) auld maid's comfort, southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum (Abd. 1900–62); (3) best maid, a bridesmaid at a wedding; (4) maid-in-the-mist, the navelwort, Cotyledon umbilicus (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Kcb., s.Sc. 1962); (5) maid of the mill, an opening series of moves in the game of draughts (see quot.); (6) maidship, maidenhood; (7) maids-o'-mist, drifting wisps of mist, believed to be supernatural beings (see quot.).(1) Fif. 1899 J. Colville Vernacular 55:
Auld maid's bairns are never misleared.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 25:
'Twas true, as aft his granny said, That auld maids' weans were aye weel-bred.
(3) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxviii.:
Andro Sooter was to be best-man, an' my sister Chirstie best-maid.
Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 34:
I wis ta be best man, an' a cüshin o' Ibbie's best maid.
(4) s.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Maid-in-the-Mist. Skinner supposes that it receives its botanical and E. names from its having some resemblance to the navel. Perhaps it has the S. name for a similar reason; as well as that of Jack-i'-the-Bush.
(5) Sc. 1905 A. Anderson Draughts xvii.:
The “Maid of the Mill” is formed by the first five moves: — 11–15, 22 17, 8–11, 17 13, 15–18. It was so named in compliment to a miller's daughter in Lanarkshire, who was an excellent player, and partial to this opening.
(6) Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 103:
Tib ne'er had ance been married, But ticht an' square her maidship carried.
(7) Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 188:
When mist came off the sea . . . it drifted over the hillocks and swamps like women enveloped in heavy mantles . . . It was believed that those misty shapes were girls who had been bewitched . . . They were called “Maids-o'-Mist”.

2. = Maiden, n., 2. Specif. the Maid of Lorn(e), the eldest daughter of MacDougall of Lorne.Sc. 1814 Scott Lord of the Isles i. i.:
“Wake, Maid of Lorn!” the Minstrels sung.
Sc. p.1826 Child Ballads (1956) IV. 200:
I am na the maid o the Cowdenknows, . . . But I am ane o her best maids.
Sc. 1949 Scotsman (26 April) 4:
The Maid of Lorn, Miss Coline MacDougall of MacDougall, was married yesterday at Oban.

3. The last bunch of corn cut in harvest time. See also Maiden, n., 3.m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) cxlii.:
And, sad mischance! the Maid was shorn After sunset!
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 238:
By the maid or maiden is understood the last handful of corn cut down, and should it be after sunset, is accounted an uncanny witch, or exceedingly unlucky.

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"Maid n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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