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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).

RIDER, n. Also †ryder. Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., in proverbial phr. in quot. about a woman who is too ambitious in looking for a husband.Wgt. 1881 Good Words 405:
The anxious parent, as others in other spheres before her, had “looked at the riders, while the walkers passed by”.

2. One who rode on Border forays, a moss-trooper, Reiver. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1805 Scott Last Minstrel iv. xi.:
To Eskdale soon he spurr'd amain, And with him five hundred riders has ta'en.
Sc. 1806 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) I. 330:
Repeated and severe executions . . . thind or dispersed the rest of the Border Riders who had subsisted by depredation.

3. A gold coin struck about 1473 in the reign of James III., having a figure of the King on horseback on the obverse. There were also half- and quarter-riders. Hist. Cf. Du. rijder, a gold coin of the 15th-c.Sc. 1702 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 302:
To my good douchter Jennie to help to buy a bedmantle a scots ryder in gold is . . . £8 2s.
Sc. 1887 E. Burns Coinage Scot. II. 145–6:
The riders, as struck in the proportion of six to the Scottish ounce [of gold] were rated at twenty-three shillings each. . . . Towards the end of 1511 we find these pieces entered at twenty-six shillings each.
Sc. 1955 I. H. Stewart Sc. Coinage 141:
James III (1460–1488). Gold: Rider, Half-rider, Quarter-Rider, Unicorn, Half-Unicorn.

4. A bar of wood used to fasten two or more harrows together as one unit (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 186). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Ride, I. 8.Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. Per. 97:
In some places of the Carse of Gowrie and Stormont the harrows have what are called riders. The far-bar of the near harrow, (when more than one are yoked together) has three timber-pins fixed in the upper side, which are about six inches long and stand perpendicular. On these three pins is fixed a piece of wood which prevents the far-harrow from riding on the other. Wherever the double coupling iron is used there is no need of these riders, because it makes all the harrows to rise and fall together, and keeps them from ever starting upon one another.

5. Sc. Law: a creditor who has a riding claim or interest; a claim of this nature. See Ride, v., 2. (1).Sc. 1826 T. Beveridge Forms of Process I. 384:
As much of the sum . . . as will pay the debt and claim of the rider. . . . A competition may ensue among these riders.
Sc. 1930 Encycl. Laws Scot. X. 131:
In respect of the claim for the riding claimant as a rider on the claim of the original claimant.

6. A curling shot in which the stone is played with considerable force in order to dislodge an opponent's stone obstructing the passage to the tee; also a similar bowling shot. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie xix.:
This shot, . . . in curling phrase, was a “rider”, for it cannoned on two of the enemy's stones, and drew in softly to the tee.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems & Sk. 175:
He plays his first a “Rider”, And dings “Kitty” in the ditch.

7. Gardening: a standard fruit tree used as a temporary means of utilising space on a high wall until the smaller permanent trees reach a suitable height.Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 187:
The trees in Scotch orchards are not pruned up in the stems like those of many English orchards, where tall standards (called riders in Scotland) are preferred, it being necessary that the stems and branches should be high, and out of the reach of cattle.
Sc. 1816 J. C. Loudon Encycl. Gard. 479:
Against low walls, currants, gooseberries, and raspberries may be placed instead of riders.
Sc. 1830 Edinburgh Encycl. XI. 195:
Riders are wall trees grafted or bedded on tall stocks, and are generally meant for the temporary purpose of filling the wall till the dwarfs get forward. The term riders is of Scottish origin, English gardeners having no appropriate name for wall trees trained in this manner, but merely calling them standards.
Sc. 1860 N. Paterson Manse Garden 65:
Let the whole be interspersed with riders, if your wall be eight feet high or upwards.

8. In building with undressed stone: a stone which completely covers a smaller stone beneath and partly overlaps the two adjacent to it (Fif., Lnk. 1968).

[O.Sc. ridar, rider, Sc. gold coin, 1467, border raider, 1549.]

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"Rider n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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