Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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RAIN, n. Also rehn (Ags. 1956 D. Phillips Lichty Nichts 35); ren(n) (Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken ii., xiv.) Sc. usages. [re:n; ne.Sc. reɛn; em.Sc.(a) rɛ:n]

Combs.: ¶1. rainbro, -ba (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 180), nonce Sc. forms of Eng. rainbow (Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 47) 2. rain-goose, raingüs (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), the red-throated diver, Colymbus septentrionalis (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Sh., Cai. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 24; I.Sc., Cai. 1967), its appearance being associated with wet weather; ¶3. rain-rot, the circle of rotted dead leaves round the foot of a tree. Cf. quot. under 4.; 4. rain smirr, fine misty rain. See Smirr; 5. rain thraw, -traa (Sh.), a change of wind against the sun, accompanied by rain (Fif. 1911; Sh. 1967); 6. rain tree, (1) a bevelled wooden bar along the foot of a door to deflect rain from the threshold (Sh. 1967); (2) a nonce jocular name for an umbrella (Sh. 1904 E.D.D.). 2. Sh. 1733  T. Gifford Hist. Descr. (1879) 23:
Many sea fowls, as ember geese, rain geese, scarfes or cormorants, gulmawes.
Ork. 1774  G. Low Tour (1879) 9:
In the vallies are several lochs of fresh water on which I observed several pairs of Raingeese, and was informed they hatch on the very brink of these.
Cai. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 VII. 573:
The birds are, eagles, marrots or auks, kingfishers, rain geese, muir fowls.
I.Sc. 1883  J. R. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 664:
Another name for the Red-throated Diver, Colymbus septentrionalis, given, according to Saxby, from its habit of circling round and uttering its weird cry during rain, not before it, as generally supposed.
Sh. 1959  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 360:
The red-throated diver — the “rain goose”, as it is familiarly known in the Hebrides and the Shetlands, though the bird is not a goose . . . In some parts of Shetland the call is interpreted as meaning: “Mair weet, mair weet. Waur wedder, waur wedder.”
3. Arg. 1902  N. Munro Lost Pibroch 112:
Here's the same tide swittering at the full on his foreshore, the rain-rot's spreading round the trees he planted.
4. Arg. 1925  Cadger's Creel (Douglas) 3:
The constant rain-smirr rots the fallen leaf.
6. Sh. 1898  Shetland News (3 Sept.):
He cam' up an' axed me If I'd buy a staff; Na, sir, just a raintree.

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"Rain n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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