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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STEY, v.1, n.1 Also stie (Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 27; Rxb. 1895 J. B. Webber Rambles 5), stigh (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (7 Dec.) 9). [stəi]

1. Sc. forms and usage of Eng. stay, to remain, tarry, a sojourn, etc. (Sc. 1813 The Scotchman 118; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson, Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; m. and s.Sc. 1971). Ork. 1984 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days i:
One day in the early thirties I was at Kirkwall Auction Mart to report the bull sale, and was pushing through the crowd to climb to the seat behind the auctioneer which the Press usually occupied, when I felt myself thumped on the shoulder and hailed with: "Hey boys, stey here a meenit."
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 40:
Let me leave here on the double,
Sharpish - afore they cause me further trouble ...
By God ye'll stey, Ah couldny live wi' sic a loss -
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 4:
MARIE-LOUISE How did ye no stey in yir bed?
MANON Wid you mind tellin me...
MARIE-LOUISE It's Setterday.

2. to dwell, reside (permanently or usually), to make one's home (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 167, 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 50). Gen.Sc. Cf. Bide, which is the n.Sc. equivalent usage. Edb. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 21:
I was told that I must . . . inquire for such a launde (or building) where the gentleman stayd.
Sc. 1814 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 145:
The kitchen, where they usually “stay”.
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie vi.:
“Where does your enemy stay?” he asked. “Herrin' Jennie? A'body kens where she bides.”
Arg. 1936 Times (11 Jan.) 14:
Peter McLean, who stays at Brackley Farm.
Dmf. 1940 Gallov. Annual 78:
O here may I rest frae strife an' care, An' stey to the en' o' ma days.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 10:
He wis tae stey whar aal his folk hid aye bidden.
Sc. 1961 Scotsman (22 Aug.) 10:
English visitors should also have it made clear to them that if a Scot asks someone if he is “staying here” he means does that person live here.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 5:
And they were Good Boys, their Mum's Pride & Joys,
Saving it for their Future Wives?
And despite their fame they still steyed at hame
And lived real clean-living lives?
Gsw. 1991 John Burrowes Mother Glasgow 151:
' ... The old man? A bit more doted. Stays with the sister out in the schemes.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 128:
'There's folk stey in these hooses. Dae they no get fed up wi aw the racket?'

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"Stey v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2024 <>



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