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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.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

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.), rain gjüs, 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.); 7. rainy bird, the golden plover, Charadrius apricarius (Cai. 1972 D. Omand Cai. Book 95).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.”
Sh. 1988 Sunday Times 26 Jun F3:
In the days that followed, Tulloch introduced us to the rain-goose and the bonxie Shetland names for the red-throated diver and the great skua.
Sh. 1992 Bobby Tulloch A Guide to Shetland's Breeding Birds 21:
(Gavia stellata)
shet: Rain Gjüs ... The name 'Rain Gjüs' is universal in Shetland nowadays, ...
Sh. 1999 Laughton Johnston in Myra Sanderson Heritage Scotland Vol. 16 No. 2 22:
The largest part of the property lies close by the spectacular coastal cliffs of Herma Ness National Nature Reserve with its huge seabird colonies, notably its solans (gannets) and tammy nories (puffins) by the thousands, ... On the hill are also scatterings of peaty lochans where that other bird with the voice of the wilderness, the raingoose (red-throated diver), builds its nest.
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 25 Apr 2024 <>



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