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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

SHEPHERD, n. Fem. deriv. shepherdess.

Sc. usages:

1. In combs.: (1) shepherd('s)-check, a black and white check pattern of cloth, orig. worn by shepherds as plaids. Gen.Sc.; (2) shepherd's club, the common mullein, Verbascum thapsus (Lnk. 1793 D. Ure Rutherglen 248); (3) shepherd's gourd, id. (sm.Sc. 1896 Garden Work (4 March) 112); (4) shepherd's knot, tormentil, Potentilla tormentilla; (5) shepherd land, hill pasture for sheep. Hist.; (6) shepherd's needle, the wild chervil, Scandix pecten veneris (Lnk. 1831 W. Patrick Plants 141). Also in Eng. dial. It is uncertain if this is a genuine Sc. usage; (7) shepherd's plaid, the long shawl or blanket worn by a shepherd, esp. one of a black and white check pattern; hence attrib. made of cloth of this pattern; (8) shepherd's scone, see quot.; (9) shepherd's spung, shepherd's purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) S. 53). See Spung; (10) shepherd's stirk, a calf reared by a shepherd as part of his perquisites (wm.Sc. 1970); (11) shepherd('s) tartan, (a cloth of) black and white check. Gen.Sc. Cf. (1) and (7); (12) yellow shepherdess, the yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava rayi (Ayr. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Fr. bergeronnette, wagtail.(1) s.Sc. 1869 D. Bremner Industries 202:
They began the trade by making shepherd's plaids or “mauds”, and “shepherd check” trouserings.
Fif. 1896 L. Keith Indian Uncle xvi.:
Let himself be instantly “happet” in the sheriff's shepherd-check plaid.
Dmf. 1912 J. Hyslop Echoes 289:
Mr Gladstone pourtrayed clad in trousers of shepherd's check.
(2) Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fif. (1803) 90:
Upon the north side of this firth lieth Inchcolm . . . I found the verbascum majus, called commonly the shepherds club growing upon it.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 12:
Shepherd's clubs hang nodding o'er the steep.
(4) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 72:
In the Lammermuirs the root is called the Shepherd's-knot, and is used, when boiled in milk, for the cure of diarrhoea.
(5) Sc. 1892 R. W. Cochran-Patrick Medieval Scot. 20:
Shepherd land' seems to have been generally hill pasturage, to which the sheep were sent at suitable seasons.
(7) Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxv.:
A maud, as it is called, or a grey shepherd's-plaid, supplied his travelling jockey-coat.
Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (May) 141:
Wi' his Dundreary whuskers and shepherd's plaid breeks.
(8) Arg. 1954 D. Mackenzie Farmer in W. Isles 179:
There is also the Shepherd's scone, which hails from Galloway. Ingredients: One cup oatmeal, three cups flour, sour or buttermilk, one teaspoonful baking soda, one to two teaspoonfuls cream of tartar, one teaspoon sugar, pinch of salt, two oz. butter or margarine.
(10) Dmf. 1964 Dmf. Standard (3 Oct.) 14:
1000 Store Cattle, 100 Shepherds' Stirks.
(11) Sc. 1851 Illustr. London News (20 Sept.) 354:
Cloth for no less than forty pairs of shepherd tartan trowsers.
Sc. 1865 W. Blaikie Livingstone (1880) 362:
He wore shepherd-tartan trowsers.
Per. 1901 I. MacLaren Young Barbarians xii.:
A woman wi' a red face and a shepherd's tartan plaid.
wm.Sc. 1923 H. Foulis Hurricane Jack 48:
Wi' a splendid pair o' shepherd-tartan troosers like that.
Sc. 1962 Abd. Press & Jnl. (20 Jan.):
Shepherd Tartan was coming in, having been made fashionable by Sir Walter Scott, especially for gentlemen's trowsers.
(12) Ayr. 1913 Gsw. Naturalist V. 110:
Ray's Wagtail, which I have heard an Ayrshire game-keeper call the “yellow shepherdess”.

2. The chief male participant, usu. a schoolboy, in the annual summer festival at Moffat, a centre of the Border sheep industry. His full title is the Shepherd of the Hills. His female companion is called the Shepherdess or Shepherd's Lass.Dmf. 1934 Scotsman (19 July):
Mrs Hunter installed Master Robert Leggatt and Miss Winnie Hetherington as Shepherd and Shepherdess of the Hills . . . and presented each with a gaily decorated shepherd's crook as their insignia of office.
Dmf. 1964 Dmf. Standard (25 July) 3:
Moffat's gala week reached its climax . . . with the annual ceremonies of the installation of the Shepherd and his Lass.

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"Shepherd n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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