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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MUNE, n. Also müne (Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 73), muin (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 258; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); meun; mön (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Navember) 22), mon (Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 52); min (Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 185, 1928 A. D. Mackie Two Tongues 50); meen (ne.Sc.). Dims. moonie, meenie. Sc. forms of Eng. moon. See P.L.D. § 35. Hence deriv. and combs. munebeam, müneless, meenless (ne.Sc.), moonless, munelit, muneshine, meensheen, moonshine, meenwirt, the fern moonwort (Abd. c.1930). [møn, myn, mɪn; ne.Sc. min]

1. As in Eng. Freq. in proverbial expressions, etc.Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Mone:
It is considered an almost infallible presage of bad weather, if the new moon lies sair on her back, or when her horns are pointed towards the zenith.
Bnff. 1867 Banffshire Jnl. (12 Feb.) 5:
That meen deen, the neist meen fou, The first Sunday after that's Pasch true.
Abd. 1868 J. Riddell Aberdeen & its Folk 12:
“When that fa's oot, we'll see twa meens i' the lift, an' anither i' the aiss midden.” Said to express most forcibly the improbability of better conduct for the future.
ne.Sc. 1910 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 21:
The bonny meen is on her back, Mend your sheen and sort your thack.
Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (April) 35:
An Aberdeen farm hand went into Forfar-shire to “tak a hairst”, and as he went out early in the morning, the young moon was in the sky . . . “A see ye've a bit meenie here tee.”
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 28:
Aul' meen mist bodes new meen drift, ye ken.
s.Sc. 1936 Border Mag. (Sept.) 141:
“Were ye no feared to come a' that way in the dark?” said the herd's wife to a wee lassie. . . . “No,” she replied. “the min cam' wi' me.”
Kcb.1 1937:
A servant girl (from Ayrshire) when discovered sewing on a button on Sunday, said “I'll be gettin' ma face in the mune.” [The man in the moon is popularly supposed to have been banished there for gathering sticks on Sunday.]
Per., Ayr., Kcb. 1963:
When both horns are pointing up, “the mune is haudin in”, and the weather will be dry.
Sc. 1979 Sydney Goodsir Smith in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 34:
Sun, for a day a month adopt,
Mune, sheen a nichtlang year
That hert alane his luve can hain
And finis never fear.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 33:
Man i the muin he's staunan an chauvan
wi a graipfu o breers he's warslan awa.
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 20:
We socht for bait on the bay sands, braid
ahint the far-oot sea, whiles at nicht-fa
and the mune up.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen Seventeen Poems 9:
The staurs are bricht in a daurk black sky
and the mune castin lang hidin shadows.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
The peelie mune blintin ower cauld stane, ...
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 2:
Chooks sunken like the craters o the meen;
A stibble growth; ringed nichtmares roon his een,
A wastit druggie hyters doun the street:
Sic hurts thon beeny shadda's kent - an gien.

2. (1) Special Combs.: (i) moon-bow, meen-, = (ii) (Abd. c.1890 Gregor MSS.; Sh., wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1963); (ii) munebroch, a halo round the moon, believed to indicate an approaching storm (Kcb. 1903 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. See Broch, n.1, 3.; (iii) münebrunt, moonstruck (Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 32). Arch.; (iv) munescraper, a chimney cowl.(i) Abd. 1871 G. Macdonald Poet. Wks. (1893) I. 276:
All the colours . . . In rainbow, moon-bow, or in opal gem.
(ii) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 115:
Halo round the sun or moon (called sun or moon brochs) were unwelcome sights.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (24 March):
Saw ye da müne brough 'at he wis da last ook?
(iv) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 143:
Everyestreen they staw the munescraper aff the lumheid, that John put on for the reek.

(2) Phrs.: (i) a month o' munes, an impossibly long time, an eternity (Sh., Ags. Uls. 1963); (ii) at the back o the mune, at a very great distance (Sh., em.Sc. (a), Uls. 1963); (iii) in the auld o' the mune (meen), during the moon's last quarter (Abd.15 c.1930; Kcb. 1963); (iv) in the mune or the midden, see Midden, n., 3. (1); (v) the auld mune in the airm(s) o' the new, the disc of the full moon faintly illumined within the crescent moon. This is considered to be a sign of approaching storm (Sc. 1781 J. Pinkerton Ballads I. 112). Gen.Sc.; (vi) the moon is in the midden, see Midden, n., 3. (2); (vii) till the moon-come-never, for ever; (viii) to howl the meen, of a dog: to bay to the moon. Nonce.(i) Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 166:
Ye wad be a month o' meens in takin, an inveter o' yer stock, Provost.
(ii) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 42:
I wiss' me hand been at the back o' the meun, the day I gaed it tae sic an ill-descended randy-tongued chield as th'u.
(v) Sc. 1765 Sir Patrick Spens in Child Ballads No. 58 A. vii.:
Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone, Wi the auld moone in hir arme, And I feir, I feir, my deir master, That we will cum to harme.
(vii) Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption vii.:
Auld Migummery may stand between you and the young leddy till the moon-come-never if ye send word to her through the post.
(viii) Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 39:
The dogs do howl the meen.

3. A lunar month, a calendar month (Rxb. 1963). Also fig. of a very long period of time, an eternity. Comb. Heilan mune, id.Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 136:
Indeed I maist coud sit a moon To hear the fiddle.
Gsw. 1838 A. Rodger Poems 319:
Ilk day's a moon to me Sae sair I lang for Mary Beeton.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 160:
He (or she) would talk for a Hielan' mune.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He wad sit a muin.
Edb. 1989:
Dae nine moon.

4.? A circular-shaped carriage window.Sc. 1773 Caled. Mercury (27 Feb.):
An Elegant Post Chaise . . . best plate glasses, spring curtains, mahogany blinds, a large moon, covered trunks, boxes, harness.

5.? The crescent-shaped part of the bridle of a plough through which the draught-bolt passes to adjust the depth of the cut (Fif. 1957).

6. A Rxb. name for the goldcrest, Regulus regulus (Rxb. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 25, moon(ie), muin, 1923 Watson W.-B., muin, Rxb. 1963), from the yellow crescent on its head.Bwk. 1874 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club 289:
As long back as I can remember, the “Moon” has been the local name for the Goldcrest, and still is amongst schoolboys in this district (Kelso and Ednam).

[O.Sc. moyn, mone, the moon, from 1375; monebrunt, moonstruck, c.1560.]

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"Mune n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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