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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SASSENACH, adj., n. Also Sassanoch, -enagh, Sasennach, -unnach; the form in the 1706 quot. represents the Sasunnaich. English, English-speaking, formerly also applied to the Lowlanders of Scotland; as a n., an Englishman or -woman. The word was orig. put in the mouths only of Highlanders but is now in somewhat jocular use throughout Scotland. [′sɑsənəx]Sc. 1706 Letters from E.C. to E.W. Concerning the Union 6:
We call them Sassanich, in Latin Saxi or Saxoni.
Sc. 1737 J. Drummond Memoirs Locheill (1842) 113:
The English (or “Sassanoch”, that is, Saxons, as they call them in their language).
Sc. 1771 Smollett Humphrey Clinker, Melford to Phillips (3 Sept.):
The Highlanders have no other name for the people of the Low country, but Sassenagh, or Saxons.
Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xviii.:
He that lifts a drove from a Sassenach laird, is a gentleman-drover.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 52:
The Sass'nachs braw be our fock.
Sc. 1922 P. Macgillivray Bog Myrtle 13:
Up in the North where the Gael should be Lord, The heel of the Sasunnach turns.
Sc. 1964 Glasgow Herald (25 March) 8:
The rapacious, ambitious, selfish, or indifferent Scot, who, since the Clearances, has been much more potent than the wicked Sasennach in retarding the social and economic growth of Scotland.
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas MacLagan in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 158:
The Sassenach chap they ca' Balfour,
Wi' ither five or sax, man,
Gsw. 1994 Alasdair Gray A History Maker xi:
This shows he wanted his story read inside AND outside the Ettrick Forest, and I have warstled to help this by putting among my final notes a glossary of words liable to ramfeezle Sassenachs, North Americans and others with their own variety of English.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 4:
Bit Bruce, their brither, hid wyled a wife like ye'd chuse a gee-gaw fur yer hoose - a flichtertie craitur, Sassenach, wi lang crammasie fingernails, a fantoosh, bleached-blonde wummin wi a vyce that tore ben Belle's lugs like the pouer saw the widsmen used at Dinnet.
Sc. 1998 Aberdeen Evening Express 28 Mar 34:
"There is no question of an anti-Scottish bias. We're not Sassenachs trying to put one over on the Scots, we would pretty soon be found out if we tried that."
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 77:
They think lesser mortals hae reason
ti swallie the sassenach view, -
that they are God's gift ti us heathen.
Lets show them, 'Wha's like us ?', Damn few.
Sc. 2002 Herald 14 Sep 16:
... BBC Scotland is hoping River City will be just as long-running as its Sassenach equivalents and Shieldinch as familiar a locale as Albert Square or Brookside Close.
Sc. 2004 Scotsman 6 Feb :
The Highlands Tourist Board is promoting the game as part of a visitor experience to the area, even producing a "sassenachs' guide" to the rules.

[Gael. sasunnach, Saxon, English, an Englishman, an English-speaking Lowlander of Scotland, the Scots and English languages not being differentiated in Gael.]

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"Sassenach adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2024 <>



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