Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MAN, n., v. Also Sc. forms: maun; and unstressed forms mun, mon, min in sense 5. Rare pl. (childish or illiterate) mans (Lth. 1857 Anon. Misty Morning 157, 268). Dims.: mannie, -y (Sc. 1823 Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. 193); mannoc(k) (Gsw. 1861 Gsw. Past & Present III. 333; w.Sc. 1865 R. Buchanan Inverburn (1882) 6); manni(c)kie (Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xxxii.; Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (8 May) 10), mannagie (Cai. 1959 John o' Groat Lit. Soc.), manikinie (Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (April) 35); hypocoristic form mansie; ¶pl. form menny. Sc. 1837  Chambers's Jnl. (8 April) 84:
You yourself see two or three old menny — little withered fellows who have dug graves and acted as saulies for forty years back.
Sc. 1883  Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) V. 211:
But faith I doot, my wee bit mansie, To risk ye noo wad be gey chancie.

I. n. 1. Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) black man, (i) a piece of dried mucus in the nose (Ags. 1962). See also 2. (7). Cf. Boakie, Boodie, n.2, Bowsey; (ii) a chocolate ice-cream wafer (Edb. 1962); (2) man bairn, a male child, a young son, a boy (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Sc. 1962); (3) man-big, grown to manhood (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., w.Lth., wm. and s.Sc. 1962); (4) man body, an adult man, a man in gen. as opposed to a woman (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. See Body; (5) man-brow'd, “having hair growing between the eye-brows” (Jam.); sic but phs. a mistake for mar-browed s.v. Mar, v.1, 1. (2); (6) man-door, in mining: “a small trap door on a travelling road” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 44), used for ventilation; (7) man-eater, the lizard, Lacerta vivipara. Cf. man-keeper below, for which this may be orig. a popular mistake; (8) man-grown, mature, grown-up, adult (Sh., em. and wm.Sc., Slk., Uls. 1962). Now only dial. in Eng.; (9) manheid, -heed, manliness, manhood (Bnff. 1962); courage, strength. See -Heid. Phr. a man o one's manhead, a man of true valour, a real manly man; (10) manitoodlie [ < mannie + Toddle], a pet-name for a small boy, a toddler (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 337); (11) man-keeper, the newt or water lizard, Triturus vulgaris (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Arg.1 1931; Kcb., Dmf., Uls. 1962); the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara (Dwn. 1931 North. Whig (5 Dec.) 13); (12) man-length, having reached the age of manhood, adult, mature (em.Sc.(a), Lnk., Kcb. 1962); (13) man-muckle, pl. men-muckle, at the full stature of manhood, fully grown (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 254; Ags., sm. and s.Sc. 1962); (14) man of business, a lawyer, one who transacts a person's legal business. Gen.Sc.; (15) man o' mean, see (18); (16) Man o' Sin, the Pope; (17) man of skill, Sc. law: an expert witness. See Skill; (18) man o' the main, man o' mean, a strong or violent man. See Main, n.1, 4.; (19) manrent, †mann-, in phr., bond of manrent, a bond by which one pledges himself to serve another with personal military help in return for his protection in the feudal manner, a species of homage. The word is orig. from Mid.Eng. manred (see etym. note), the second syllable being early confused with rent and attempts have usually been made to explain the word in that light as a money payment (see quots.). Hist. or fig.; (20) menfowk(s), men in general; the men of a particular family or the male workers on a farm. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; (21) men's ba, the game of Hand-ba played by the adult men of Jedburgh on Fastern's Een and of Hawick on the preceding Monday (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.) and at Kirkwall (see quot.). See also Ba', Callan, n.1, 3. (2); (22) men's house, a building on a farm used by farm servants to cook and eat their meals in (Wgt. 1962); (23) minister's man, see Minister. (2) Rnf. 1876  D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 72:
I, as the next oldest man-bairn, would have to fill father's chair.
Sc. 1926  Scots Mag. (March) 433:
I maun see the lad, ma yae man bairn.
(3) e.Lth. 1886  J. P. Reid Facts & Fancies 201:
I aften wuss'd when I was wee That I were man-big.
Slk. 1912  H. J. C. Clippings from Clayboddie (1921) 42:
I was man-big myself when the truth dawned on me.
(4) Ayr. 1825  A. Crawford Tales of My Grandmother II. 254:
Is it because we have no manbody to take our part, that he should dare to act such an unmanly part?
Sc. 1834  Chambers's Jnl. (June) 153:
“It's pleasant”, she would say, “to hae a man-body about the house”.
Dmb. 1844  W. Cross Disruption xviii.:
Ye havena been muckle the better o' having a man body alang wi' you on this errand.
ne.Sc. 1888  D. Grant Keckleton 47:
I darena gang through the kirkyard withoot some man-bodie wi's.
Sc. 1897  L. Keith Bonnie Lady iv.:
The men bodies are a' alike . . . The Almichty kenned what he was aboot when He garred women be the painbearers.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 69:
I was feart a man body and me wad never agree.
Ags. 1929  Scots Mag. (May) 148:
Here wis some man buddy comin' speirin' efter some o' them.
(5) Rxb. 1825  Jam.:
Man-brow'd. Here it is deemed unlucky to meet a person thus marked, especially if the first one meets in the morning. Elsewhere it is a favourable omen. The term, I should suppose, had been primarily applied to a woman, as by this exuberance indicating something of a masculine character.
(7) Kcb. 1911  G. M. Gordon Auld Clay Biggin' 43:
She fair grat when Rab McCollup breiset a man eater (a lizard, she ca'ed it).
(8) Sc. 1883  Blackwood's Mag. (June) 800:
He was man-grown and in the Scottish service in France between 1420 and 1430.
Fif. 1900  S. Tytler Logan's Loyalty xiv.:
But after he is man-grown, and master at the House.
(9) Sc. 1803  Scott Minstrelsy III. 235:
But if ye be men of your manhead, Ye'll only fight me ane by ane.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
I just fand a stound o' manheid gang through my heart.
Knr. 1891  H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 41:
Thus eats he [time] thro' oor seasons a', Youth, manheid, age!
Abd. 1909  J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray 226:
Whusky and tobacco is aboot a' yer manheed can dee, excep' a wheen tea that hardly coonts.
Abd. 1916  G. Abel Wylins 58:
Till brithers cam' to manheed, an' the lassies a' got wed.
(11) Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 392:
He was fond of drinking filthy fluids, and his belly gave birth to some asks and man-keepers: . . . They are a kind of nimble lizard, and run about quarry-holes in warm weather. It is said, that like the robin-breestie, they are in love with man, hence their name, and like that bird, no man will harm them.
Rxb. 1825 ,
Man-Keeper. A designation given to the newt, or esk, by the inhabitants of Dumfr. and Roxb., because they believe that it waits on the adder to warn man of his danger.
Dmf. 1907  Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 79:
Lizard (Lacerta vivipara), called newts, asks, and mankeepers in the country.
(12) Ags. 1896  A. Blair Rantin Robin 200:
He's noo man length, an' a wyce-like chiel he is.
(13) Sc. 1812  The Scotchman 61:
Till I was man-mukle, I kent naething o the warld.
Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Miller viii.:
Gin e'er I'm man muckle, and puir faither spared, I'll mak ye a leddy, an' father a laird.
Dmf. 1873  A. Anderson Song of Labour 123:
He was nearly man muckle though still at the schule.
Per. 1888  R. Ford Glentoddy 33:
The MacGlashans were baith man-muckle as far awa' as I can mind o' them.
Lth. 1928  S. A. Robertson Double Tongue 51:
Archie grew man-muckle, wi' the down upon his chin.
Abd. 1950  Buchan Observer (11 April):
Her son Bill who was just more than man-muckle.
(14) Sc. 1762  Boswell London Jnl. (1950) 78:
A father much different from me . . . who thought that if I was not a man of business. I was good for nothing.
Sc. 1775  Weekly Mag. (19 Oct.) 100:
Men of the law excepted, who by a strange perversion of ideas peculiar to Scotland, are exclusively called men of business.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xliii.:
Many arrangements were adopted that evening, which were afterwards ripened by correspondence with the Duke of Argyle's man of business.
Sc. 1874  Ramsay Reminiscences 334:
In Scotland it is usual to term the law-agent or man of business of any party his “doer”.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxii.:
When he had first appeared he was the man of business.
(16) Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 6:
And wechtie Calvin in his wallet, Was as it were an iron mallet To break the Man o' Sin to flinders.
(19) Sc. 1710  J. Dundas Summary Feud. Law 135:
Manrent is a kind of bondage, whereby free persons become Bondmen or Followers of those who were their Patrons and Defenders.
Sc. 1750  W. McFarlane Geneal. Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 145:
Alexander Strachan . . . gave to this Sir Thomas and his Heirs his Bond of Manrent . . . and became his Man both in Household and outwith Household on his own Expences.
Sc. 1792  W. Ross Lectures II. 157:
It was also a custom for people unable to defend themselves, to bribe the protection of their powerful neighbours, by giving parts of their lands, or annuities out of them; and these deeds were termed bonds of manrent.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxvii.:
You and me have now a bond of manrent; after this I'm man of yours although it was against the world.
Sc. 1963  Scotsman (26 Jan.) 5 Suppl.:
When people of other names wish to join a Clan society, bonds of manrent are very occasionally given to the Chief, in order to secure admission to the Society.
(20) Sc. 1824  Scott St. Ronan's W. xxxviii.:
This is nae sight for men folk — ye maun rise and gang to another room.
Per. a.1837  R. Nicoll Poems (1842) 52:
The men-folk are crackin' o' owsen an' land.
Bwk. 1856  G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 80:
The more shame to the men-folks!
Abd. 1877  G. Macdonald M. of Lossie III. xvi.:
I cudna thole men-fowk to wait upo' me.
Ayr. 1889  H. Johnston Glenbuckie 243:
I wonder a wheen men-folk o' ye didna rise and leave the kirk.
Fif. 1905  S. Tytler Daughter of the Manse II. ii.:
These, her “men-folk”, did not strike her as shining and doing her credit in any other sphere.
Wgt. 1912  A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 85:
“Brithers”, quo' he, “E'en lat me be, I'll dern sae weel fowks winna see, If ye'll but say ye'll no betray Sud ony men-fowk come this way.”
Rxb. 1923  Kelso Chron. (30 Nov.) 2:
Free tred, Aw think, is that whan they ask for votes oor menfouk are treated tae free drinks.
(21) Ork. 1962 5 :
Men's ba is played at Kirkwall on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Boy's ba is in the morning; men's ba in the afternoon.
(22) Abd. 1811  G. Keith Agric. Abd. 135:
The front contains an apartment for the farm servants on the one side. . . . Next the mens house is an arched entry to the dung yard.

2. Phrs.: (1) a man-o'-mony-morns, a procrastinator (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 111). Cf. Jock, 4. (26); (2) a man o' my, his etc. mind, one who thinks and acts for himself, a self-reliant person (Sc. 1903 E.D.D.; Ags., Ayr. 1962); (3) dear man, an exclamation of surprise (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.; Wgt. 1962). An Irishism; (4) sic mannie sic horsie, = Eng. “like master like man”, birds of a feather (Bnff. 1890 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 62; ne.Sc. 1962). See also Horse, n., 3. (2); (5) the Auld Man, a familiar name for the devil (Ork., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Uls. 1962). See Auld, adj., 3.; (6) the bad man, id. (Uls. 1903 E.D.D., 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.; (7) the black man, id. (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Per., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1962); in fisher taboo usage: a clergyman (Abd. 1900–62); (8) to be man of one's meat, to have a healthy appetite and digestion (Ags., Ayr. 1962). (5) Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 190:
He prov'd the Auld-man to a Hair, Strute ilka Night.
ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 179:
Some left a corner uncultivated altogether for “the aul man”, i.e. the devil, or spirit of evil.
(6) Ayr. 1891  H. Johnston Kilmallie II. 90:
The yite has a drop o' the bad man's bluid in it.
(7) Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 100:
The Black Man would gie her power to . . . kep the butter frae gatherin' in the kirn.
(8) Sc. 1891  R. Ford Thistledown 326:
I liv'd aw my deyes, but sturt or strife Was man o' my meat, and master o' my wife.

3. A husband. Gen.Sc. Now only dial. in Eng. Sc. 1726  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 93:
To make me still a prudent spouse, And let my man command ay.
Slk. 1810  Hogg Poems (1874) 265:
I hae a wee wifie, an' I am her man.
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
Fisher-wives ken better — they keep the man, and keep the house, and keep the siller too, lass.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan I. 264:
He that had been sae gude a son to her was na likely to mak an ill man to me.
Abd. 1881  W. Paul Past & Present 61:
He's as good a “man” as a womun cu'd hae when he's sober.
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums xii.:
Nor would Nanny take it kindly if I called her man names.
Sc. 1928  Scots Mag. (Oct.) 15:
A'm no denyin' but that my man's been yin o' the lucky yins.

4. In dim.: an affectionate term of address to a small boy, or a disparaging or contemptuous one to an adult (Ork., ne. and em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Uls. 1962). Abd. 1882  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 184:
Eh, ye waukrife mannie: are na ye sleepin' yet?
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped ii.:
What'll like be your business, mannie?
Per. 1894  I. Maclaren Bonny Brier Bush 11:
George, ma mannie, tell yir father that I am comin'.
Mry. 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 32:
Weel, mannikie, fat wis't 'at ye wis wantin'?
Rxb. 1923  Kelso Chron. (6 April) 4:
“Ma mannie”, he said, “ye're right. There's no a yaird in the toon better workit than this yin”.

5. Used in the vocative, parenthetically and sometimes in conjunction with the name of the man (occas. also the woman) addressed, either as an exclamation implying surprise, remonstrance or playful irony, or, esp. in the unstressed forms, as a more emphatic or direct form of address. Gen.Sc. Now colloq. or dial. in Eng. Also in reduplic. form man, man! Mry. 1806  J. Cock Simple Strains 128:
Her answer, man, she winna gi'e't To yours, e'now.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter x.:
That's something like it, man. Od, ye are a clever birkie!
Rnf. 1846  W. Finlay Poems 208:
Maun, Will, I'm dumfounert — ye wrocht ear' and late.
Rxb. c.1870  Jethart Worthies 55:
Man Rob, button yer breek knees.
Bnff. 1887  W. M. Philip Covedale x.:
I thocht you was mair fleyt nor hurt, min.
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums v.:
One of the company would express amazement at his gift of words, and the others would add, “Man, man,” or “Ye cow, Tammas”.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxiv.:
“Hey, mon!” he called to Ralph.
Dmf. 1915  D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 41:
Man, ay, . . . I min' a guid yin.
Sh. 1918  T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 130:
Gaird my sowl, min, is du no heard o da Paet Commission?

6. One in authority, e.g. the skipper of a boat or a male school teacher (ne.Sc. 1962). Freq. in dim. Bnff. c.1895  D. G. M'Lean Fordyce Academy (1936) 127:
He asked leave from the “man”, Mr Innes; he put his request so politely, and with such a solemn air, that the dominie always granted the request.
Bnff. 1913  Ib. 77:
Oor mannie isna so bad as Simsin but sometimes he's terrible coorse to me.
Bnff. 1956  J. Wood Seine Fishers viii.:
“No. The mannie there,” — all seinemen from 'Gower call their skippers the “mannie” — “he split them up, half and half in the holds. Safer that way”.

7. In pl. with def. art., the Men, the name given in the Northern Counties of Scotland to a group of men in each parish who were extremely strict in their religious beliefs and practice and held positions of leadership in the spiritual life of their church (see quots.). Hist. Comb.: Men's Day, the Friday preceding the half-yearly Communion service, which the Men used for religious exercises and exhortation (Cai. 1962). See also Day, n., 3. (6). The movement originated in Ross-shire in the days of Cromwell and the Protesters, 1651. Cai. c.1800  C. Rogers Social Life (1884) II. 157:
The Caithness “men” engaged in what was termed Friday fellowship — that is, they met each Friday to hear each other discourse on moral and religious themes. Generally self-educated, their discourses were rhapsodical and fragmentary. Austere and censorious, they dealt harshly with the failings of others.
Inv. 1845  A. Beith Highl. Tour (1874) 241:
I could gather that the Men, and those who were led by their opinion, were not satisfied that so much time was devoted to discussion and deliberation, and that so little, comparatively, was given to holy services.
n.Sc. 1881  A. M. Stoddart J. S. Blackie (1896) 356:
The study of those remarkable products of rigid religiosity and exceptional power called “The Men”, whose habitat is in the northern counties of Scotland, where they wield grim influence, narrowing, depressing, and yet not without dignity and even sacredness. Dr Aird, of the Free Church manse of Creich, helped him to understand their function of seer and public censor combined.
Sth. 1881  C. Macdonald Stratheden 57:
Friday services almost invariably take place in the open air, and on this day those called “the Men” have the field very much to themselves. They do the greater part of the speaking, and Friday is popularly known as “The Men's” day.
n.Sc. 1882  in L. Shaw Hist. Mry. I. 259:
The Men were those who professed to have been brought to a sense of their error by some miraculous means; after which they made it their business to go about and expound the Holy Scriptures to their neighbours. The appellation of the Men of Ross had been long given to laymen of that county who acted in the way indicated.
Sc. 1896  Scots Mag. (Oct.) XVIII. 375:
“The men”, a set of lay catechists or preaching zealots, have long exercised a great deal of influence in the Highland Kirk Sessions, and have in several cases thoroughly cowed and subdued the regular ministers.
Sc. 1960  G. B. Burnet Holy Communion 302:
The Men's Day is largely kept in Lewis, Skye, Harris, and Wester Ross, generally with two services, though the Men are gone.

II. v. tr. To give support or co-operation to a person (Wgt. 1946); specif.: to assist a competitor at a ploughing match (Kcb., Dmf. 1962).

[O.Sc. has manrent, manredyn, 1375, E.Mid.Eng. manred, O.E. mannrden, homage; manhede, 1375.]

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"Man n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 May 2019 <>



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