Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SKY, n.1, v.1 Also †skey. Sc. form and usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs.: (1) sky-goat, the snipe, Capella galtinago, a trans. of Gael. gabhar adhair, id., wrongly used in quot. to denote the bittern; (2) sky laverock, the sky-lark, Alauda arvensis (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). See LaveRock; ¶(3) sky-racket, a sky-rocket; fig. a din which fills the sky. Also attrib. = high-flying, flighty, giddy. (1) Sc. 1814  C. I. Johnstone Saxon and Gael I. xiii.:
The Highlanders call the bittern the sky-goat, from some fancied resemblance in the scream of both animals.
(3) Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 147:
A wheen sky-racket dancing daughters, a' bred up to be ladies.
wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 345:
When half-a-dozen o' thae thumpin canaries set till't, there was a sky-racket with a vengeance.

2. Daylight, the light of the sun, esp. at dawn or sunset (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Abd. 1754  R. Forbes Journal 31:
The niest mornin they had me up afore the sky.
n.Sc. 1825  Jam.:
The sky winna set this hour yet.
Abd. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XII. 624 note:
O'er the tap o' Lawel Side, which they cam' till jist afor' the sky.
Peb. 1948  W. Grant Tweedale 214:
The breaking light that betokens the sunrise, the Tweeddale shepherd terms “the sky”.

Phr. and combs.: (1) between the sun and the sky, between dawn and sunrise. Hence to look or see an object between the sun and the sky, see 1825 quot.; (2) sky-break(ing), daybreak; (3) skylight, the after-glow of day, the dusk after sunset; (4) sky-set(ting), nightfall. (1) Ags. 1818  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 116:
The boat was then rowed out to sea before sun-rise, and, to use the technical expression, the figure was burnt between the sun and the sky, i.e. after daylight appeared, but before the sun rose above the horizon.
Sc. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 67:
This bygane night, atween the sun and sky.
n.Sc. 1825  Jam.:
To look or to see an object between the sun and the sky, to bow down the body, bringing the eye as much as possible along the horizon. When there is a dark ground behind an object is in this way seen far more distinctly than when viewed by one standing upright. The idea seems borrowed from the circumstance of anything being thus seen after sunset by the light that is reflected from the sun on the lower part of the sky.
(2) Peb. 1702  C. B. Gunn Linton Church (1912) 84:
A little after sky-breaking upon the Monday.
Mry. 1733  Session Papers, Grant v. Duke of Gordon (25 April 1775) 19:
In the night-time before the sky-breaking.
s.Sc. 1888  W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 222:
I lay still till just afore sky-break.
(3) Per. 1728  J. A. R. MacDonald Hist. Blairgowrie (1899) 46:
On the Saturday night, betwixt day and skylight.
(4) Per. 1730  A. Lang Bk. of Dreams (1899) 145:
About sky-setting, I heard a scraiching.
Ags. 1756  Session Papers, Robertson v. Baillie (18 Nov.) 18:
It was about the setting of the Sky when they went into the Harbour of Shieldhill.
Sc. c.1828  Tam Lin in
Child Ballads No. 39 G. xxxi.:
O they begin at sky setting, Rides a' the evening tide.
Abd. 1907  Folk-Lore XVIII. 85:
About ‘sky-set' all the members of the household set out.

3. The outline of a hill as seen against the sky, the skyline. “It has been also defined, the highest part of a hill that is seen by a person standing at its base. All below this is viewed as individual property; all above it, as common” (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Abd. 1766  Invercauld Rec. (S.C.) 338:
Beginning at the Sky of the Glack.
Abd. 1781  Session Papers, Earl of Aboyne v. Earl of Aberdeen (14 July) App. 8:
Along the summit or skey of said hill.
Abd. 1858  J. B. Pratt Buchan 77:
Near the sky of the Hill of Aldie.

II. v. 1. intr. Of weather: to clear (up). Sc. 1825  Jam.:
It's skyin'. n.Sc. It's like to sky up. Slk.

2. intr. To skim along the horizon, or over the surface of an expanse of water; tr. to make (a stone) skip over a pool, etc., to play ducks and drakes (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 289). Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 431:
The maws fly skying by the sounding shore.

3. (1.) “To look towards the horizon, shading the eyes with the hand” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164; ne.Sc. 1970). Cf. I. 2. Phr.; tr. to shade (a patch of water) so as to see to the bottom; to look about one (ne.Sc., Ags. 1970). Per. 1881  D. MacAra Crieff 67:
He sometimes “skied” the water when it was in flood. This consisted in holding a piece of red cloth above the pools, which, he affirmed, shaded the water, so that he could see to the bottom and discover if any fish were about.

(2) To look closely (at), to examine, esp. cloth (Rnf. 1910), to hold up to the light. Agent n. skier, in linen manufacture: one who examines the cloth from the weaving-shop for flaws (Fif. 1927 Dict. Occup. Terms (H.M.S.O.) 174).

[O.Sc. sky, daylight, 1648, sky-braking, 1643, skie-set, 1655.]

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"Sky n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Aug 2019 <>



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