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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

THIRTEEN, num. adj. Also †-tein; therteen (Ags. 1706 L. Macbean Kirkcaldy Burgh Rec. (1908) 226; Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 313; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai); †threete(e)n (Lnk. 1716 Session Rec. Carstairs MS. (5 Dec.); Kcb. 1731 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 545); thretteen (Ayr. 1786 Burns To his Auld Mare xv.; Sc. 1808 Jam.), -tein; threttain (Sth. 1708 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 253), thretten (Bte. 1704 Bk. of Arran (1914) II. 156); tretten (Sh. 1972). Ordinal forms: thirteent (ne.Sc. 1971), threeteent (Bnff. 1711 W. Cramond Annals Bnff. (S.C.) II. 180). Sc. forms and usages. [m. and s.Sc. ′θɛr′tin]

1. As the ordinal, thirteenth, reg. in Sc. idiom, now obsol. (Sc. 1727 Munim. Gsw. Univ. (M.C.) II. 432).Ags. 1702 L. Macbean Kirkcaldy Burgh Rec. (1908) 221:
The thirtein day of October last by-past.
Sc. 1726 Nairne Peerage Evidence (1873) 36:
This therteen of Aprile one thousand seven hundred and twenty six years.
Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 6:
A real, even-down, bonny fide thretten edition.

2. In phr. the thirteen drifty days, a heavy snow-storm which occurred in the south of Scotland throughout a fortnight in the year 1620 and was supposed to have destroyed nine-tenths of the sheep.Sc. 1822 Anecdote Library 626:
The most dismal storm on record in Scotland, is that of the thirteen drifty days; which, as near as can be traced, must have occurred in the year 1620. The mentioning of the thirteen drifty days to an old shepherd, in a stormy winter night, never fails to impress his mind with a sort of religious awe.

[The mod. form is a metathesis of the orig. threteen, etc., O.E. þrēotīene. O.Sc. threttene, 1413.]

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"Thirteen num. adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jun 2022 <>



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