Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TUNE, n., v. Also tuin, tüne (Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 166, 1917 J. Buchan Poems 69), teun (Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 131), töne (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (24 Iktober), 1958 New Shetlander No. 48. 8); ¶ta'en; tin(n) (w.Lth. 1892 R. Stewart Legends 171; Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 38, Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 20); ‡teen (ne.Sc.), †tien (Per. 1773 in Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 243). Sc. forms and usages. See P.L.D. §§ 37, 93.1., 121. [I., m. and s.Sc. tøn, tyn, tɪn; ne.Sc. tin, gen. in sense I. 3. only.]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Sc. phrs, and comb.: (1) to gie tune to, to put feeling and strength into; (2) to hae or tak a tune to onesel, to play a tune by oneself (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1973); (3) tune-book, a metrical psalm-book (Ork. 1973); (4) tune lines, the words sung to a tune, specif. secular words devised to suit a metrical psalm-tune when it is sung in practice only and not at worship (Ork. 1973). (1) Ags. 1774 Weekly Mag. (30 Dec.) 15:
They weel their meikle fingers beek, To gie them tune.
(2) Slk. 1838 Hogg Tales (1866) 73:
He's takin a tune to himsel' at the house-end.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 57:
Some billie haein' a teen tull 'imsel i' the edge o' the evenin'.
(4) Wgt. 1878 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 206:
Singing masters and precentors all through Galloway used to make use of popular rhymes for tune-lines, so as not to desecrate the Psalms of David by using them to teach children to sing.

2. Intonation, the pitch and cadence of speech; freq. that associated with a particular dialect, a twang (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1973). Sc. 1783 H. Blair Lectures on Rhetoric II. 214:
In Public Speaking . . . a certain melody or tune, which requires rest and pauses of its own, distinct from those of the sense.

3. Mood, humour, disposition, temper, now most freq. in guid or ill tune, -teen (Sh., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Bwk., Wgt. 1973). Obs. in Eng. Adj. tunie, changeable in temperament, moody (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; s.Sc. 1973). Ayr. 1785 Burns Holy Fair xxvi.:
They're a' in famous tune For crack that day.
Abd. 1794 W. Farquhar Poems 172:
Sae, 'oman fa' no in ill teens.
Lnk. 1824 Sc. Peasants 217:
He put me in an ill tune, Jenny.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 84:
Robina an' me were juist oot o' a' tune an' temper.
Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 37:
'Twud pit them in a merry teen.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 5:
Sandy's in a tirmendous ill tuin the day.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 40:
She'll bless ye or curse ye, Whate'er be her teen.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 286:
The ill ta'en in which he had flitted from Echt.
Abd. 1956 Ev. Express (21 Nov.):
Do ye ever get into sic a nyatterin' teen?

II. v. 1. In phr. to tune one up to, to induce one to do some silly or wrong action (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Per. 1973).

2. To put (an implement) into proper working order, to set correctly, to adjust, e.g. of a plough (Cai. 1973). In n.Eng. dial. used of setting up a loom. Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 5:
I wat a pleugh he weel could tune.
Abd. 1869 Banffshire Jnl. (21 Dec.) 2:
To gather down, an' trim an' teen Yer guid auld Spinnin' Wheel.

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"Tune n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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