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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

PEASE, n. Also pese (Ags. 1868 St. Andrews Gazette (19 Dec.)), piese (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 42); peis-, peez-; paise, peys (Wgt. 1719 G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 78); pis (Abd. 1829 A. Cruickshank Poems 87), piz(z) (Bwk. 1814 Monthly Mag. 1. 31; Abd. 1928 Weekly Jnl. (4 Oct.)). Sc. forms and usages. [piz; n. Sc. pɪz]

1. As in ‡Eng., the pea-plant or its seed(s). Also fig. of something small and round; a very small person (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Hence (1) peaser, peezer, pizzer, (i) a small marble (Ags., Fif. 1965). Also peesil (Fif. 1965); (ii) in pl., used somewhat jocularly: pease-pudding, pease brose (see quot.) (n., wm. and s.Sc. 1965); (2) peasie, -y, pacey, paisy, pizzie, peisie (Sc. 1829 Sc. Haggis 135), (i) adj., made of pea-flour, of peasemeal (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 259), as in combs. peasy-bannock, -bannie (Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 157; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Lth. 1965), -fadge, etc., for which see the second element; having the appearance of or texture of peas or peasemeal, in n.comb. peasie whin, -fun, a type of stone, usu. granite, with a marled granular surface, “the greenstone” (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Abd.16 1960. Also pasy whin, paisey whin; (ii) n. dim., a small marble (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 259). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Cf. (1) (i). Also fig. of a small child, a mite. Comb. peasie-knuckle, a way of playing a marble with the knuckle (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). See Knuckle, II. 2.Cai. 1939:
Of what is too small and so worthless. “The tatties are fair pizz the year.”
(1) (i) Fif. 1909 J. C. Craig Sangs 6:
Seven bools, twa glessies, some peesils.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 10:
I wad play at the bools wi' my broon roughie taw, Clap my peezers a' doon in the ring.
(ii) Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts 207:
I'm awfu' parshall to — I may say I ackwally railish the “peasers.”
(2) (i) Abd. 1776 Fraserburgh Town Council Minutes MS 16 Feb :
Either the Memsy ston or pasy whin from the hill.
Abd. 1776 Fraserburgh Town Council Minutes MS 9 Apr :
Paisey Whin Stone of the above Dimensions.
Sc. 1789 J. Williams Nat. Hist. Miner. Kingdom II. 19.Abd. 1794 J. Anderson Agric. Abd. 28:
Pacey whin. A name for granite or some other stone in Aberdeenshire.
Bnff. 1812 D. Souter Agric. Bnff 57:
In many parts of the district, a granite, called peasywhin, is found in large blocks near the surface of the moors.
Kcd. 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 4:
The whole hard stone in this country goes under the name of whinstone, only the Granite by way of distinction is called the peasy-whin.
Abd. 1832 A. Beattie Poems 136:
The gudeman stared, — amaist grew blin' — Stood like a rock o' paizy whin.
Abd. 1929 Abd. Press and Jnl. (28 Nov.):
The granite industry has for long been a staple one in Aberdeenshire. The dialect name for granite in those days was “pacey whin.”
(ii) Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willie Waly 123:
Ye've tried my patience lang, ye geet, Ye fashious little pizzie!
Abd. 1904 Weekly Free Press (9 April):
Any very small marble is called a “pizie”, though they are mostly “stoners” made of a close-grained hard slate.
Mry. 1908 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 104:
“In wi' yer mites.” “Nae peasies, Bulkie.” “Hi! Waddie, are ye gyan tae play?”
Abd. 1931 Abd. Press & Jnl. (31 Jan.):
“Pizzie”, a small painted marble which, if one could use it aright, was invaluable for “runting” the capitalist proprietor of the “fan-dan.”

2. Combs. and phrs.: (1) birdie's pease, the purple vetch, Vicia sativa (Abd. 1965); (2) dog's paise, see Dog, III. 2. (21); (3) piz-an-ait, a mixture of pea flour and oatmeal with boiling water or milk, taken as a supper dish; (4) pease bannock, -bonnock, a round flat cake or scone made of pea flour and baked on a girdle (Sc. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XX. 137). See Bannock and cf. (15); (5) pease-bogle, a scarecrow. Cf. tattie-bogle s.v. Bogle; (6) pease-bread year, “a year toward the close of the 18th century, when peasemeal was used as a substitute for oatmeal and barleymeal” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (7) pease-brose, a dish made by adding boiling water to pea flour and stirring the mixture into a paste (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Gen.Sc. See 1. (1) (ii) above, (15) below and Brose. Phr. as plain as peasebrose, obvious, “as plain as a pikestaff”; (8) pease-bruizle, peas roasted in their pods in hot ashes (Sc. 1825 Jam.). See Birsle, and (12) below; (9) pease-cap, a wooden bowl used as a measure of capacity. See also Cap; (10) pease-clod, a loaf or roll baked with pea flour. See Clod, n.2; (11) pease cod, a pea pod (Cai. 1965). Arch. or dial. in Eng. Comb. peasecod tree, the laburnum, Cytisus laburnum or alpinus (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 140). Cf. pea-tree, id., s.v. Pea; also as typical of something worthless; (12) pease-kill, (i) = (8) (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.), fig., a source of enjoyment or gain, in phr. to mak a pease kill o', to use for one's own advantage, make the most of, get what one can out of, “cash in on”; (ii) fig. a state of confusion, a wild scramble, a hurly-burly (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); (13) pease-leave, ground after having been cropped by pease. For the second element see Aitliff Crap, Bear, 2. (13), Oat, 1. (6); (14) pease lilts, see quot. and Lilt, I. 2. (3), II. 6.; (15) pease-meal, a flour made of ground pease, used for a wide variety of dishes, esp. in the agricultural areas of Scot. Gen.Sc.; used fig. = a hotch-potch, confusion, mess, as in 1820 quot., and freq. attrib. in combs. such as pease-meal bannock, -brose, -scone, etc., or with the sense of commonplace, cheap, worthless, as in 1877 quot. Special combs.: (i) peasemeal marriage!, a derisive call used by children after a wedding at which the customary shower of pennies to be scrambled for has been omitted, from the notion that peasemeal was associated with indigence; (ii) pease meal pock, a variety of pear, from its colour and shape (Fif. 1831 Fife Herald (21 July)); (iii) pizz-meal waddin, = (i) (Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C. 20); (iv) pease-meal warrior, a term of contempt for a person whose actions do not live up to his boasts, a “blow-hard”, one who is more skilful with his spoon than with the sword (Bnff. 1930); (16) pease-mum, see Peace, I. 1. (6); (17) pease-newl, = (4). See Knool, v., 1. (2); (18) pease-pistils, = (7) (wm.Sc. 1921 T.S.D.C. 16; Ayr. 1930), pistil being appar. a corruption of Bruizle. Cf. 1. (1) (ii) above and (14); (19) pease-scone, a scone made of pea flour; (20) pease-shod, appar. the same word as pea-shod s.v. Pea, a pea-pod, but the meaning is not applicable in the quot. below; (21) pease strae, the withered stalks and foliage of the pea plant after the pods have been removed, used as cheap fodder or bedding for animals (Kcb. 1965). Phr. (Clean) Pease Strae, the name of a Scottish country dance tune. Cf. Pea, 1. (21); (22) pease wisp, piz-, -wusp, a bundle or wisp of pea-straw. Hence fig., an inextricable tangle, “a small bundle of anything tossed roughly together like a wisp of pea straw” (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh., ne.Sc.. Lnk., s.Sc., Uls. 1965); (23) pizwunlin, a rough bundle of pea-straw (Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C.). See Windlin; fig., one of a group of small isolated clouds foreshadowing unsettled weather; (24) plain as pease, perfectly plain or obvious; (25) sma' peas, the ripened ears of the maize or Indian corn plant, sweet corn.(3) Fif. 1873 J. Wood Ceres Races 2:
For health and strength are in their kail, Their piz-an'-ait and barley scones.
(4) Sc. 1722 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 369:
A neighbour of his, who has much ploughing, has fed his horses with pease-bonnocks.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 228:
His mither was baking pease bannocks, up he gets a lump of her leaven into his mouth.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian viii.:
The tenants, therefore, were not actually turned out of doors among the snow-wreaths, and were allowed wherewith to procure butter-milk and pease-bannocks.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie ix.:
He ne'er carries awa frae ony house either siller or skran, farther than maybe a daud o' peas-bannock.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 191:
Afore lang ye'll try tae gaur me believe the meen's made o' green cheese, an' my lugs are twa paise bannocks.
m.Sc. 1928 O. Douglas Eliza for Common viii.:
“What would you do”, he asked, “if your kail was ower warm?” . . . “Line ma mooth weel wi' pease-bannock an' sup awa!”
(5) Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v.:
A ragged rascal . . . with a coat and hat that would have served a pease-bogle.
Edb. 1827 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 66:
The misleer't scoundrels, that show nae mair respect to their ain prince than if he was a pease-bogle.
Edb. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxvi.:
The coats hung about me like rags on a pease-bogle.
(7) Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 271:
A few [late peas] are thrown in among the beans when sown broadcast. They are . . . made into meal for a species of pottage called “pease-brose.”
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle P. McQuillan 23:
Pease brose, ye ken that's Glesco goold in a refined state.
Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw xxxix.:
Ye'll hae to bide here the nicht, at ony rate, that's as plain as peas brose.
Ayr. 1896 G. Umber Idylls 218:
Ye'll no need to pick your teeth after ane o' their meals, onymair than after a dinner o' peasbrose.
Sc. c.1925 R. Thomas S. McWhustler's Waddin' 52:
He was sittin' in his sark sleeves an' suppin' his pease-brose.
Abd. 1960 People's Jnl. (13 Feb.):
[He] mak's a richt bicker o' pizz brose.
Gsw. 1965 Rebels Ceilidh Song Bk. No. 2. 15:
It'll be pease brose again.
wm.Sc. 1965 Alan Sharp A Green Tree in Gedde (1985) 40: 
His sister-in-law had grown to resent him for his prolonged stay and his eccentric manner. He lived on pease brose made in cabbage water and ate the cabbage between dry bread.
(9) Edb. 1769 Session Papers, Marshall v. Paxton (8 Dec.) 6:
When he measures with the pease-cap, or fourth part of a peck, he only charges 2d. therefor. The difference betwixt a pease-cap and a corn-cap is about a third part, the boll of corn being equal to six firlots of beans.
(10) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 184:
Wha thro' the week, till Sunday's speal, Toil for pease-clods an' gude lang kail.
(11) Sc. 1748 Caled. Mercury (11 Oct.):
A considerable Number of very fine large Laburnums or Peasecod Tree.
Sc. 1755 Smollett Don Quixote (1792) IV. xv.:
A post that will not afford victuals, is not worth a pease-cod.
Sc. 1759 J. Justice Gardener's Cal. 386:
The Laburnum or Pease-Cod Tree . . . their flowers are produced in May in very long yellow coloured spikes, which are succeeded by long cods like Pease, which include their seeds.
(12) (i) Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 180:
And rant and crack, like a pease-kill Spending his cash.
s.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Pease-kill. A quantity of field-pease broiled in their pods till they are fit for eating. They are then gathered out from the ashes. The allusion is obviously to roasting or drying grain in a kiln. . . . Where a man's affairs go wrong, and interested persons get the management of his property, it is commonly said, “They're makin' a bonny pease-kill o't”, in allusion to the rapidity with which this treat is consumed by young people. Thus a law-suit is said to be “a pease-kill for the lawyers.”
s.Sc. 1833 Border Mag. II. 335:
D'ye think the national debt . . . is naething but a pease-kill for auld hens to cackle about?
(13) Rnf. 1765 Session Papers, MacRae v. MacFarlane State of Process 17:
There is about 4 acres in bear-leave and pease-leave lying lea.
(14) wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.:
Pease-Lilts. A vulgar name for pease-brose; prob. so called because in hard times the poorer classes live almost entirely on this article of food; and frequent partaking of the same dish is lilting, taking a lilt.
(15) Fif. 1722 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 368:
The labouring people there live much on pease-meal, and generally it's in their agreements with their servants that they shall have pease-meal.
Sc. c.1760 J. Maidment Sc. Ballads (1859) 38:
Her pouches fou o' peasemeal daighe, A' hinging down her spare.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 227:
A fint hate ye gie them but wee pickles o' pease-meal.
Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 469:
Nothing but a peasemeal of clishmaclavers.
Sc. 1857 J. Aiton Domest. Econ. 235:
Give barley-meal or pease-meal, but not bean-meal.
Rnf. 1877 J. M. Neilson Poems 93:
They daichy peasmeal trash [of marbles] Ne'er his pooches line.
Abd. 1878 The Academic 121:
I couldna' see my finger afore me for pis-meal an' torn rags — a clean waste o' gude vittle, an' conachin o' dear claith [at the Rectorial fight at Aberdeen University].
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie xv.:
It was the day of the Rectorial Election. and the dust of far-flung pease-meal — favourite missile of the student — filled the air all over the classic slopes of Gilmorehill.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 27:
Scalded scons, tattie scons, druggit scons, barley scones, and pease-meal bannocks.
ne.Sc. 1914 G. Greig Folk-Song cxxxvi.:
Amo' saft soap, piz-meal, corn floor, an' yirnin'.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 45:
Last we fed, as ye maun awn, On a sma' troot and pease-meal scone.
Abd. 1988 Jack Webster Another Grain of Truth (1989) 29:
That and piz-meal brose were two doubtful delicacies to which he failed to convert me in my childhood days, ...
(i) Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 31:
The cab rattled aff, followed by shouts o' “Peasemeal marriage! peasemeal marriage!” frae the bairns.
(17) Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C. 20:
Gie the laddie a bit piz-newl; he maun be hungry.
(18) Ayr. 1911 Scotsman (28 Dec.):
Pease-pistils hot, Pease-pistils cauld, Pease-pistils in a pot Nine days auld.
(19) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 12.:
Sae brawly did a Pease-scon Toast Biz i' the Queff, and flie the Frost.
Sc. c.1760 Mem. W. Smellie (Kerr 1811) I. 144:
Give them nothing but pease-scones to their guts.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 102:
Whiles only but a dry peas scone.
Fif. 1866 St. Andrews Gazette (24 Feb.):
Mr. Buist supplied an excellent dinner, including the time-honoured beef and greens and pease scones [for curlers].
(20) Fif. 1848 Feast Liter. Crumbs (1891) 45:
Afore the hairst, while pease were growin', Wha catched me in the pease-shod rowin'?
(21) Mry. 1700 E. D. Dunbar Documents (1895) 15:
The horses have been fed upon draff and pease strae or boyled chafe.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
A' in a bleeze, as if they were nae mair than sae mony peats, or as muckle peas-strae.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xiii.:
We got a pickle pease-strae to Tammie's horse.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 64:
“Clean pease strae” was the selection made [music at a dinner].
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Book of Farm II. 375:
An ox will eat pease-straw as greedily as he will hay.
Abd. 1897 Banffshire Jnl. (2 Feb.) 6:
There were two old-fashioned and popular dances seldom forgotten, viz. Bob-at-the-Bolster and Pease straw.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 7:
The bawd cam' loupin' through the corn To “Clean Pease Strae.”
(22) Bch. 1921 T.S.D.C. 20:
Ye've a heid like a piz-wusp.
Abd. 1957:
Ye've got the cover [of an armchair] in a piz-wisp.
(23) Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C. 20:
“Is'd gaun to rack up, John?” “Na, na, owre mony piz-wunlins aboot.”
(24) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch i.:
It was as plain as pease that she was with calf.
(25) Ayr. 1801 Three Banks Review (Dec. 1960) 42:
Our Muirkirk savages will not eat of sma' peas of which we can get plenty cheap.

[O.Sc. pease-bonnock, 1690, peasecod tree, 1667, pease-maill, a.1605.]

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"Pease n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jun 2022 <>



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