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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ONDING, n., v. Also ondin'. [′ondɪŋ]

I. n. 1. A heavy, continuous fall of rain or snow, a downpour (Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales (1869) 129; Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 95; ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Ayr., Wgt., s.Sc. 1964). ¶Also attrib. with snaw (Dmf. 1902 A. E. Maxwell Lilts 56). Cf. ding-on s.v. Ding, II. 2.Abd. 1774 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' xix.:
Rain we'll hae, Or on-ding o' some kind at least.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Onding's better than black weet, i.e., Snow is to be preferred to rain.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian viii.:
“Look out, Jock; what kind o' night is't?” “On-ding o' snaw, father.”
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xv.:
If the on-ding still continued, clods of earth toppled from the garden dyke into the ditch.
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy l.:
Snaw, an onding o' snaw.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 47:
Life canna aye be yae onding o' snaw.
Abd. 1958 Abd. Ev. Express (2 Aug.):
The “on-ding” of last week-end and the floods that followed.
m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 79:
There had been some gey ondings o rain in the weeks afore, and the Cluchar Watter wis aa swallt, wi dubby, orra floodwatters.
Ags. 1990s:
A fell onding o renn: a heavy shower.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 110:
Frae muckle warld tae muckle warld, bairnie tae mither,
spicket tae seiver, onding tae quernstane,
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 22:
Aye the onding, aye the clorty dubs.
I' the howe o Ythan wik efter weary wik
The stooks steed tasht an water-loggit.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 3:
... an kent them as friens an neebors throw blin-drift, birsslin het an the on-ding o drookin thunnerplowts, frae bairn tae halflin, tae bodach an back again.

2. Fig. An assault, attack, onset, outburst, of noise, talk, etc.Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders iv.:
The on-ding of their ill tongues.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xvi. 14:
The anger o' a king is like the on-ding o' daith itsel.
Edb. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 7:
At streek o' day, ae canty Spring, Tam wauken'd to the birds' onding.
Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 77:
As he cam' forrit he cried, “What's a' that dreadfu' ondin' in the lum?”
Sc. 1999 J. Derrick McClure in Moira Burgess and Donny O'Rourke New Writing Scotland 17: Friends and Kangaroos 79:
Ye gied a gurly onding
an the stoun o mony a pynin,
wormit tae my spreit
an glory's skaithfu shinin.

II. v. 1. To rain or snow heavily (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 228). Vbl.n., ppl.adj. ondingin(g).Sc. 1825 Jam.:
There'll be a heap o' ondingin.
Abd. 1869 G. Gall MS. Diary (11 Jan.):
Very cold and thick: I am sure we will have ondinging.
Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Heather & Snow xxii.:
Throu the ondingin flauchter o' the snaw.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed Dedic.:
Yestreen, when wild ondingin' O' snaw swept up Tweedsmuir.

2. Fig. As vbl.n., = n., 2.Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 68:
The cauld glaff of that ondinging [of a sermon] has not left my inward parts to this blessed hour.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 58:
Fruid folks are bien, they kenna' the toons ondingin'.

[On-, pref.1, + Ding.]

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"Onding n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Mar 2023 <>



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