Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

MAIRRIAGE, n. Also -aige (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.); merr-, -age, -i(d)ge; -itch (Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 76); mairitch (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 70); merriege. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. marriage. See P.L.D. § 48.1. (2). [′merɪdʒ]

Sc. forms of Eng. marriage:Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 4:
"Weel, whit's mairrage bit a gamble onywey?" asked Mrs. Manson cynically.
Abd. 1994 Sheena Blackhall in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 134:
She passed Kirsty's table wi nae devaul - a shargered scrat o' a bride: it nocht merriege an' bairns tae beef her oot a bittie.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 21:
"An ye tail-toddlers and dyke-lowpers,
Aw that befylt the mairrage vow,
An turnt yer nebs frae ma haliness
Tae fornicate an mow; ... "

Sc. usages:

1. The nuptial ceremony and accompanying festivities, a wedding. Gen.Sc. Obs. or arch. in Eng.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 99:
Thy Month, great Queen of Goddesses, make gay, Which gains new Honours frae this Marriage Day.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxxiv.:
The marriage guests . . . were regaled with a banquet of unbounded profusion.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxix.:
Wusnin ye never at a mairriage i' yer life? Nae fusky, nor a pistol nedderin!
Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 70:
Oh, jist a graun merrage. An' if it hidna been for Bumpie Black I wid 'a fair enjoy't masel'.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 167:
Uncle wrote down from Auchterless that he'd think black, burning shame to attend such a marriage.

2. Sc. Law: a payment exacted by a feudal superior from an unmarried heir succeeding to the lands of his vassal, maritage, abolished in 1746. See 1896 quot. and Avail(l), n., 2.Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institutes I. ii. 133:
Marriage is a Casualty, due by the Heir of a Ward-Vassal unmarried at his Predecessors Death, to the Superior, who gets from the Heir two Years Rent of his free Estate, whether he offer him a Match, or not; and suppose the Heir never marry, called, The single avail of the Marriage; and three Years Rent, if the Heir, notwithstanding of a suitable Match offered to him by the Superior, do marry another, called the double Avail of the Marriage.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles ii v. 9:
Marriage could not possibly fall, where the heir was married before the ancestor's death, nor where he had died before puberty. The superior's express consent to the heir's marriage, was considered as a renunciation of the casualty.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. I. 188:
Another casualty peculiar to wardholding, was that of Marriage. It seems first to have been due only in the case of female heirs; afterwards to have been extended to all cases where the heir was past the age of puberty, and unmarried.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 110:
Marriage. — This was the right of the superior to payment from an unmarried heir succeeding to the lands, of the value or avail of what he might reasonably expect as tocher or dowry with his future wife. It had its origin in the interest which a superior had to secure his vassal's marriage into a friendly family.

3. A large gathering of birds, esp. rooks, it being supposed that they are met together for a wedding (ne.Sc., Ags., w.Lth. 1962). See Craw, n.1, IV. D. 25.Ags. 1948 J. C. Rodger Lang Strang 16:
A great flight of crows was called a “Craw's Merriage”. We shouted up to them — Craw, craw, yer mither's awa' For pooder and lead tae shuit ye a'!

4. Sc. combs.: (1) marriage ba', see quot.; (2) mairrage bane, the merrythought of a fowl (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.), used to divine one's chances of marriage. (3) mairriage braws, wedding clothes (ne., em. and wm.Sc. 1962). See Braws; (4) marriage fee, a sum of money payable to church funds on the occasion of a church wedding; (5) marriage lintel, the lintel stone of a door bearing the initials and date of marriage of a couple who have set up house there (Fif., Kcb. 1962). Cf. (9); †(6) marriage pawns, a sum of money given to the church by a betrothed couple as a pledge of chaste conduct between the publication of the banns and the wedding. See Pawn; †(7) marriage plaid, a Paisley shawl, q.v., assumed by women after marriage; (8) marriage shaek, a ticking sound actually made by wood-beetles, believed to foretell a wedding. See Chack; (9) merridge sheen, shoes worn at one's wedding, in phr. to wear one's merridge sheen, to get married; (10) marriage stone, = (4) (Bnff., Fif. 1962); (11) mairrage sweetie, a conversation lozenge.(1) Rxb. 1952 People's Friend (13 Dec.) 17:
After the honeymoon, the bride throws out from her house a gaily-decorated football called the “Marriage Ba'”, and there is a great scramble for it by the young folk.
(3) Sc. 1863 St. Andrews Gazette (20 June):
A hearty farmer, accompanied by a young lady . . . called at an outfitter's warehouse to purchase their marriage “braws”.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 120:
Tam got a pair o' fa's That shook him a bit, but found the cash To pay for the mairriage braws.
(4) Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 204:
The only marriage fee payable to the poors' fund is 2s. when the bride's residence is within the parish.
(5) Fif. 1937 St. Andrews Cit. (3 April) 8:
There is [in an old St. Andrews House] a fine example of an ancient crow-step gable and a “marriage lintel” with the date 1734.
Sc. 1961 Kelsall and Harris Future for Past 8:
An unpretentious cottage with the date 1700 carved on the marriage lintel above the door.
(6) Per. 1818 A. Philip Longforgan (1895) 236:
The Session taking into consideration that their Clerk, from his entry, has had the marriage Pawns allowed him, and for which he taught some poor Scholars.
(7) Fif. 1867 St. Andrews Gazette (23 Nov.):
Marriage Plaids, from 25s upwards — a Fine Choice.
(8) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 163:
A sound like the ticking of a watch was called a “marriage shaek”.
(9) Abd. 1914 Trans. Bch. Field Club XI. 15:
If first they get their teeth abeen, They'll never wear their merridge sheen.
(10) Ags. 1909 A. Reid Kirriemuir 308:
Several of these “marriage stones”, as they were called, or “nuptial stones”, as they are sometimes termed, are to be seen in different parts of the town.
Ags. 1914 W. Reid Old Steeple Dundee 23:
The first two stones on the east wall are known as Marriage Stones. It was customary in Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries when a new married couple set up house to have their initials cut in stone, with the year date of the marriage, and set in the wall over the fireplace of their living room, or in the lintel of the entrance door. Usually the form of a heart or of two hearts conjoined was cut out between the initials on the stone.
(10) Abd. 1961 People's Jnl. (3 June) 8:
A twa three boxies wi' locus' beans, mairrage sweeties an' gless bools.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Mairriage n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Oct 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: