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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SAD, adj., v., n., adv. Also saud (Sc. 1887 Jam.), sod (Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. xi.; Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 43; Abd. 1958 Huntly Express (25 July)); irreg. sowd, sudd. Adv. sadly, sodly (Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 223), sadlies, -lys, -lees; sodlies (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147; Abd. 1883 W. Jolly J. Duncan 251; Mry. 1908 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 52). [sɑd; sǫd; Fif. sæd]

I. adj. 1. Of persons: grave, sedate, sober in mien or behaviour. Obs. in Eng.Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mount. Strains 99:
Where a' the wives are sad an' douce.

2. Remarkable, outstanding, in a good or complimentary sense as opposed to colloq. Eng. meaning of “deplorably bad” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 146), phs. an extended sense of 3.; “singular, odd, unaccountable, strange” (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 466). Also sodlike, id. (Gregor).Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 145:
A sad dinner. A hearty dinner.
Abd., Per. 1904 E.D.D.:
We had a sad evening's fun. A very jocular party is called “a sad one”.

3. Solid, consolidated, dense, hard and compact, massive (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 693, 1904 E.D.D.), esp. of bread or pastry: not risen, soggy, heavy (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Ork., ne., m. and s.Sc. 1969); of potatoes towards the end of the keeping season: shrunken, wizening, losing bulk (Ags., Per. 1969). Now only dial. in Eng. Adv. sadly, in a mass, bunched together, of animals. Obs. in Eng. from 15th c. Used adv. in phr. to lie sad, to lie flat or close to the ground, to lie heavy or indigestibly.Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 287:
Beef, pork and mutton was their cheer Meet [sic] firm and sad.
Ags. 1821 D. Shaw Songs 15:
Wi' skelps o' saut ham just for forrage, To mak it ly sad i' my wame.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
My lade is sad, I can scarcely haigle. A road or footpath is said to be sad when it is beaten by the feet of passengers.
Rnf. 1827 Crawfurd's Coll. (S.T.S.) I. 170:
Sadly to the score the[y] sought To the number of fifteen [of a horse-race.]
Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 154:
Sad, firm, steady. “The jelly is sad enough”.
Kcb. 1897 66th Report Brit. Ass. V. 464:
The meal is beetlt doon i' the meal-ark till it is firm an' sad.

4. Deriv. saddy, of a horse: with a sagging back, saddle-backed.Sc. 1705 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 58:
An excellent horse, noe wise saddy.

5. “Damp” (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 154), soggy and limp with moisture (Ork 1969).

II. v. 1. tr. To make dense and compact, to compress, press down, to solidify by hammering, to cause to sink or settle down (Lnk., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Obs. in Eng. since 15th c. Ppl.adj. weak saddit, strong sadden, of bread: heavy, not fully baked (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em.Sc.(b), Dmb., sm., s.Sc. 1969, saddit); of earth: beaten hard, packed (Kcd., Ags., Per., Lnk. 1969); shrunken, shrivelled.Abd. 1736 Rec. Old Abd. (N.S.C.) II. 178:
For iron hingers to the two bells and for rowing and sadding the two tongues.
Lnk. 1745 Session Papers, Cunnison v. Whitelaw (29 July) 8:
The Headrigg was more solid and sadded, as it used to be made Use of for leading home the Corns.
Mry. 1782 Session Papers, Gordon v. Brander (19 July) State of Process 147:
The water would have sadded, or firmed it.
Slk. 1802 Hogg in Edb. Mag. (May) 369:
The hay, sae noos'd and saddit [from two people lying on it].
Abd. 1844 W. Thom Rhymes 72:
The tremblin' breird fa's sadden an' sear'd.

2. intr. To become dense and solid, to settle down in a compact mass, to shrink in bulk, to subside, of snow (Abd.4 1928), of a hay- or corn-stack (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ags., Fif. 1969), of soil (Lth. 1969). Also fig.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
The ground is said to sad, or be sadded, when the soil coheres.
m.Lth. 1858 The Dark Night 235:
Things 'll sad back sae far.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 20:
The duds, ye see, are no sae weet, The snaw has saddit on 'em.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
The grave's saddit.
wm.Sc. 1924 Glasgow Herald (25 Nov.):
No matter how much the stack sads, the ropes are kept taut.
Abd.7 1925:
A bag of grain or chaff, which decreases in bulk after a time, is said to “sad” or to have “saddit”.

III. n. 1. A heavy pressing-downward movement, a thud, thump; a hollow, knocking sound.Edb. 1828 M. & M. Corbett Tales I. 46:
He fell down with an unco sod.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 110:
Willie Pung . . . sat doon with a great sadd on my guid new beaver hat.
Gall. 1904 E.D.D.:
Sod. A sudden and singular sound made in a pot or pan whilst being used for cooking. It seems to be caused by an exhaustion of air; and is looked on as a portent, or a warning of death.

2. A sag, a hollow sunken shape.Ags. 1820 Montrose Chron. (29 Sept.):
The storm-tatter'd riggin a' sow'ds here and there.

IV. adv. With a thud.Ayr. 1890 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 280:
A tottering step lurched up the gravel path, And, something fell doun, sudd, beside the door.

[O.Sc. sad, heavy, of a blow, 1375, firm(ly), c.1500, to beat hard, 1629. In III. and IV. the forms may be partly echoic.]

Sad adj., v., n., adv.

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"Sad adj., v., n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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