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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.

SHAE, n., v. Also shöo, shüe (Sh.), sheu (Ork.), †schöe, ¶schui (Rxb. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 247), shui (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); shai (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.), shee (nn. and ne.Sc.), ¶shie. Pl.: shune (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 133; Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xl., Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 38, Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 34), shuin (Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 12), sheun (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 17), shün (Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Tales 250), shön (Sh. 1900 Shetland News (17 Nov.)), †shoen (Edb. a.1730 A. Pennecuik Poems (1787) 12; Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1813) 4); shone; shane (Fif. 1939 St Andrews Cit. (7 Jan.) 8); shin (Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 46; Ayr. 1928 J. S. Gall Muses 9); anglicised form, gen. in liter. use, shoon (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 317, Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S. T. S.) II. 93; Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xliv., 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 31; Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 19; Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxiii.; Ags. 1932 A. Gray Arrows 49), shoone (Ayr. 1834 Galt Lit. Life II. 217); sheen (ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems (1869) 5, a.1828 Heir of Linne in Child Ballads No. 267 B. xxxv., Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.; Bnff. 1935 Abd. Press and Jnl. (1 Oct.); ne.Sc., n. Dmf. 1970) and dim. pl. form sheenie (Abd. 1887 G. MacDonald Salted with Fire i.); mixed forms shoons (Hdg. 1844 J. Miller Lamp of Lothian (1900) 209, 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 195), shuins (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 63); arch. schois (Sc. 1724 Ramsay Ever Green I. 220). Sc. forms of Eng. shoe (Abd. 1783 Gil Brenton in Child Ballads No. 5. Aix., shee; Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xxvi., Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 84; Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 15; Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo ii.; Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 38; Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 30). [Sing.: I. and m.Sc. ʃe:, ʃö:, ne.Sc. ʃi:. Pl.: I. and m.Sc. ʃIɪn, ʃøn, ʃyn, ne.Sc. ʃin]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a shoe. The following quots. illustrate the pronunciation in the rhymes or spelling. The speakers in the 1716 and 1820 quots. are Highlanders.Sc. 1716 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1943) II. 138:
Two of the crew came into the barn, and cried, “Sheen, sheen!” — “I profess,” said he, “you are too long in coming, for look to my feet; you may see my shoes gone already.”
Slk. 1820 Hogg Basil Lee (1874) 262:
Without either stockings or sheen.
Sc. 1828 Lizie Lindsay in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 265:
And Lizie's taen till her her stockings, And Lizie's taen till her her shoen.
n.Sc. 1882 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) IV. 206:
“Ye wee blawdit cratur', O whaur hae ye been?” “Wading the burnie in stockings and shoon.”
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 123:
My head's in a creel, an' my heart's in my shoon, For och an' ochone, I'll be forty gin June.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 62:
shin A plural of shoe: "Wait till I get my shin on."
Slg. 1990 Janet Paisley in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 119:
He wis sut oan the stool. Pittin oan his guid shune.
Edb. 1992:
Haw hen, whaur's ma shin?
Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 10:
Wha's aucht thir buits? Wha's awe thae shuin
that's sperfilt on the fluir?
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 2:
An syne, there wis the maitter o spikk! Aa wikk like ill-fitten sheen, Belle McPetrie wis gart spikk Inglis. It sat as weel in her mou as cut gless, bit the fowk in the toun cudna spikk the braid Scots o the kintra ...
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 18:
werrin sumdy else's schune
hou could ye be werrin sumbdy else's schune
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 8:
Only auld shune are left hung on strippit waws
for luck. Fauldin doors are being pit up
the haill lang length o the stables.

Hence combs., phrs. and deriv. (1) sheebite, chafing of the heel caused by badly fitting shoes (Bnff. 1935); (2) shö-brö, water which has seeped into one's shoes. See Broo, n.1; (3) shoe-clouter, a mender or patcher of shoes, a cobbler; (4) shae-head, shui-heid, the top or upper edges of a shoe (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork., w.Lth., wm.Sc., Dmf., Rxb. 1970); (5) shoe-latch, a shoe-lace or thong for fastening a shoe (ne. Sc. 1970); (6) shoonless, without shoes; (7) shae-lips, = (4), the ankles (Per. 1921 T.S.D.C.); (8) shaemaker, shoon-, a shoemaker; (9) shae-mouth, = (4) (Kcb. 1970); (10) shae-pint, a shoe-lace (ne.Sc. 1970). See Pint, n.1; (11) shoe-spoon, a shoe horn (Sc. 1824 P.R.S. Lang Duncan Dewar (1932) 25); (12) shee-wisp, a handful of drawn straw used to line the inside of a shoe for warmth; (13) to cast a shae, fig., to have an illegitimate child (Bnff., Lnk. 1938; Ayr. 1970); (14) to gie (a story) hose an sheen, to magnify in the telling, to exaggerate (Abd., Kcb. 1970).(2) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 231:
“Shö brö is warm” is identical with “Better ill shod than barefitted”.
(3) Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 41:
If he be not a souter he's a good shoe-clouter.
(4) Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gaz. (17 Sept.):
Maggie an' me were near owre the shune heads.
(5) Lth. 1895 A. S. Swan Carlowrie i.:
The very shoe-latch tied so daintily above the immaculate white stockings.
(6) Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes lxix.:
They war shoonless feet gaed oot and in.
Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 114:
On's shoonless shins, three feet an' nine.
(8) Slg. 1726 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1925) 54:
The shoemakers in Castlhills.
Uls. 1898 A. McIlroy Auld Meetin'-Hoose Green xii.:
A wheen o' tailors an' shaemakers.
Rxb. 1912 Kelso Chronicle (8 Nov.) 2:
Ma letters hev even increased th' trade o' th' shaemaker.
Lnk. 1951 G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 80:
Her faither bangs doon the buit he was sortin' — for he was a shaemaker.
(9) Ayr. 1776 Session Papers, Fergusson v. Earl of Cassillis (17 Oct.) 1:
He found as much water as took him over the shoe mouth.
(10) Ags. 1945 S. A. Duncan Chronicles Mary Ann 36:
I begins tae lowse my shae-pints.
(12) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 31:
Many had a habit of putting a little straw into the brogue, or shoe, or boot in later times, as a sole to keep the foot warm. When the “shee wisp”, as it was commonly called, was used up, it was spit upon, and cast into the fire to be burned. On no account was it to be thrown into the dung-pit.
(13) Kcb.4 c.1900:
She having had the misfortune to hae casten a shae.
(14) Abd. 1966 Fraserburgh Herald (4 Feb.):
Some might take the liberty of adding “hose and sheen” to it.
Abd. 1993:
He was gien the story hose and sheen.

2. Fig. in reference to a lover or spouse, esp. in phr. auld shune, an old sweetheart, a discarded lover (Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm. and sm.Sc. 1970). Cf. Shauchle, I. 1. (3) (ii).Abd. 18th c. Stat. Acc.1 II. 542:
Ye'll tell the gowk that gets her, He gets but my auld sheen.
Ayr. 1795 Burns Last May vii.:
I spier'd for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet, And how her new shoon fit her auld shachl't feet?
Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 68:
The auld donnert fule wad get nae wumman in Peebles tae wear his number three shoon [i.e. be his third wife].
ne.Sc. 1909 G. Greig Folk Song xxiv. 1:
She's but my auld sheen when ye've gotten her.
Ags. 1948 J. C. Rodger Lang Strang 15:
There's anither lassie dancin' in my auld shune, . . . She wisna very welcome tae my auld shune.

3. The plate or strip of iron covering the underside of the sole in the old wooden plough, or the rim of a coal-skip in a mine.Arg. 1720 F. F. Mackay Carskey Jnl. 61:
When Archd fleming made the sock again seven libs beside the sole and shoe.
Sc. 1743 R. Maxwell Select Trans. Append.:
The mouldy Board, Plough Sole, shone.
Fif. 1763 Rothes MSS. (3 Nov.):
6 Baketes Shed with old Shoon.

4. The under hopper or shute in a meal mill which carries the grain from the hopper to the eye of the millstone (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh., Abd., Per., Ayr. 1970), also in Eng. dial.; a somewhat similar shute conveying the dried grain from the kiln to the mill.Bnff. 1852 A. Harper Solitary Hours 68:
They drew the Tyke abaft the shee, And thought he enter'd the mill-ee.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 172:
Over the “eye” of the mill was suspended an apparatus through which the corn passed, consisting of a happer, shö, and klapper.
Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. ii. 82:
When the grain had been thoroughly dried, it was shovelled into the sheu, a passage fifteen inches square, which slanted downwards from the drying floor to a neuk built on the outside of the kiln opposite the ingle.

5. The keelson of a boat (Fif. 1950), gen. in pl.

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to provide with shoes, put shoes on (a person, a horse, etc.). Combs. and phrs.: (1) shaein-box, the box in which a blacksmith keeps his smaller tools and nails (Abd., Kcb. 1970); (2) shaein-shed, a shed as part of a smithy in which horses are tied up to be shod (Ork., Abd., Kcb. 1970); (3) fig. in phr. shod i' the gab, loquacious, eloquent, having a command of language; ¶(4) shoe-the-naig, a blacksmith; (5) to shoe the old mare, to play at the game as in quot.(1) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxvii.:
That turkis i' the smith's sheein' box.
(2) Abd. 1922 Banffshire Jnl. (31 Oct.) 2:
Some of the “sheeing-sheds” wherein I have seen his wares.
(3) Abd. 1884 D. Grant Keckleton 75:
Finlayson, bein' raither best shod i' the gab, had become a sair thorn in the Provost's flesh.
(4) Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 109:
Then leeze me on my shoe-the-naig — He gars the smiddy glow.
(5) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 426:
A beam of wood is slung between two ropes, a person gets on to this, and contrives to steady himself, until he goes through a number of antics; if he can do this he shoes the auld mare, if he cannot do it, he generally tumbles to the ground.

2. To fit with metal tips, studs, rims, etc., to hobnail (shoes) (Ags., Per., w.Lth., Kcb. 1970), gen. in pa.p. shod (Dmf. 1953), also †shed (see I. 3. above). Comb. shod shool, -shovel, a wooden shovel fitted with a metal rim (Sc. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. III. 47).Bte. 1701 Session Bk. Rothesay (1931) 139:
Two shod shovels for digging the graves.
Edb. 1702 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 21:
[Not] . . . upon shoad carts but upon sledds or unshoad carts allenarly.
Sc. 1715 Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 185:
For a shad [sic] shuvel.
Ags. 1730 Carmyllie Session Rec. MS. (16 April):
Margt. Mackie with a shod shovel offered violence to her Daughter in the Presence of witnesses.

3. To replace the top turf on (a moss) after peat-cutting (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 426; Dmf. 1955).Sc. 1807 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 448:
The surface turfs are carefully laid aside, and after the peats are taken out, these turfs are brought back one by one, and placed upon the part that was made bare. This operation is called shoeing the moss, and the grass is scarcely ever stopt from growing.

[O.Sc. schod cart, 1513, schod schul, 1532, shoe, = I. 3., 1657.]

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"Shae n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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