Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MINCH, n., v. Also minsh (Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 85); dim. minchick, double dim. minchickie (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 114). Sc. forms of Eng. mince (Ayr. 1726 Dailly Kirk Sess. Rec. MSS., Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 136; Ayr. 1788 J. Lapraik Poems 172, Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1813) 8, Kcd. 1849 W. Jamie Stray Effusions 147, Abd. 1929 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 128; Abd., Ags., wm.Sc. 1963). The Eng. form is now largely displacing the Sc. even in Sc. usages. [mɪnʃ]

I. n. 1. Minced meat, meat cut up very small, now esp. meat put through a mincing-machine. Now obs. in Eng. but the regular meaning in Sc. The chopped-up fruit now called mince in Eng. is usu. distinguished in Sc. as sweet mince. Combs. ‡mince-collops, slices of beef finely minced (Per. 1916 Wilson L. Strathearn 258). See Collop; mince-meat, id.; mince-pie, a pie filled with finely chopped meat. Gen.Sc. What are now called mince-pies in Eng. formerly contained a mixture of fruit and meat. Ayr. 1821 Galt Legatees viii.:
A steam-ingine, that minches minch-collops as natural as life.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 415:
Supping in a back land in the Trongate . . . on mince collops, black puddings, and whisky toddy.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 63:
Better minsh never cam' oot o' the flesher's.
Fif. 1898 S. Tytler Mrs. Carmichael's Goddesses ix.:
He had ceased . . . to be aware that the Finnan haddies or mince collops were cooked for his special benefit.
Sc. 1902 E. W. Kirk Tried Favourites Cookery Bk. 55:
Entrees — Mince Pie. Half cook mince and season it with salt and pepper.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie i. ix.:
Poor Nan just works hersel' tae the bone for him tae gie him his minch collops an' his tobacca.
Abd. 1961 Buchan Observer (12 Dec.):
“Minch!” was the order of the day.

2. A crumb, a very small fragment (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 114, minchick(ie), minshie; Sc. 1880 Jam., minch; Abd., Ags. 1963, minchie).

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to chop into small fragments (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 114, minchick; Sc. 1880 Jam.). Vbl.n. mincing, the meat used for mince; in ppl.adj. in combs.: (1) minced collops = n., 1., a dish of minced steak suitably cooked and seasoned (see 1929 quot.); (2) minced pie, a pie full of finely chopped meat. The form minched-, minsht-pie is also used for Eng. mince-pie, a pie made with currants, raisins, etc., esp. one made at Christmas (Sc. 1715 Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 282, 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii., 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 67). Abd. 1961 People's Jnl. (16 Sept.) 3:
Four thousand pounds of mincing is used every week for mince, sausages and sausage meat.
(1) Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 41.:
There were some minch'd collops dress'd with butter for him in a large sawce pan.
Sc. c.1760 Mem. W. Smellie (Kerr 1811) I. 174:
Lamb-legs, fat geese, minced collops, pork, trouts, pease, &c.
Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 81:
Plumb-pudding, cod shoulders, minched collops, and indeed every species of food that requires little or no carving.
Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck I. vii.:
I cookit ye up some nice hot minched collups that might supper a lord.
Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 135:
Minced Collops (an everyday Scottish dish). Minced steak, bread-crumbs or oatmeal or barley, dripping, onion, mushroom ketchup, stock, a pinch of nutmeg (optional), pepper and salt.
(2) Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 185:
We'll hae, forbye, a gude minch'd pie.

2. To cut short, to curtail, to remove the latter portion; to diminish (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Sc. 1718 Scotland's Present Circumstances 71:
They minch their Rest, and sear their Dawning to be at him.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 53:
Now sun's decline th' approach o' winter tells, . . . And in his course still mincing frae the day, Till days to gloamings maist were clipped away.

[For the form cf. O.Sc. minch, from a.1585, Mid.Eng. mynsh, and Ashet, Mishanter, Offish, Veshel.]

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"Minch n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 May 2021 <>



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