Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SHEEN, v., n.1 [ʃi:n]

I. v. To shine, gleam, glisten (Abd. 1891 Trans. Bch. Field Club II. 12; sm.Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh. 1952 Robertson and Graham Sh. Grammar 35: Sh., ne., e. and wm.Sc. 1970). Pa.t., pa.p. sheened, sheent (Robertson and Graham; Sh., ne.Sc. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Hence sheener, a shiner, ¶a candlestick. Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Ajax 19:
A' his wimples they'll find out Fan i' the mark he sheens.
Hdg. 1801 R. Gall Songs (1918) 2:
Thy ee will wake nae mair, That sheened sae fu' o' glee.
Abd. 1813 D. Anderson Poems 77:
The starnies they were sparklin' bright, The siller moon sheent clear.
Ags. 1860 R. Leighton Poems 316:
Breathin' upon its sheenin' blade.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 17:
Gowd floo'ers, a' sheenan' as gin dey been covered wi' clear gless.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 142:
Da ten, da ten Commandments, Da nine, da brazen sheeners.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 43:
Aa da peerie stripes oot an' in among da broos, sheenin laek silver treeds.
ne.Sc. 1953 Mearns Leader (25 Sept.):
The sun wis sheenin' an' the day wis fine.

II. n. In phr. the sheen of the ee, the pupil of the eye (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Cf. Eng. dial. shine, id.

[O.Sc. has schene, = I., a.1400, scheyne, = II., c.1500. Appar. a v. and n. usage from the adj. sheen. The semantic development is not altogether clear. Presumably sheen came to be used substantivally and then to be thought of as variant of shine (with which it is not etymologically connected), and later to be substituted for shine when used as a v.]

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"Sheen v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Jul 2020 <>



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