Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TURNPIKE, n. Also turnpyke, -pike; and pseudo-Highl. form turnimspike (Sc. a.1779 D. Graham Works (1883) I. 263–4). Sc. forms and usage: a spiral staircase (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai., Slg., wm.Sc. 1973). Sc. c.1700 Overture for Cleaning Streets (Pamphlet):
He will cause the whole Streets, Closes, Courts, and Turnpyks within Edinburgh to be paddeled and sweept clean every morning.
Edb. 1726 Edb. Ev. Courant (17 Feb.):
Her Dwelling House, first stair above the Trone Kirk, Top of that Turn-pike.
Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (April) 163:
Turnpike here signifies a circular spiral staircase, leading to several apartments.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxii.:
The turnkey, who, leaving the inner wicket unlocked behind him, led me up a turnpike.
Kcb. 1900 Crockett Black Douglas xv.:
Upon the last step of the turnpike.

Combs. (1) turnpike fit, the foot of a turnpike-stair; (2) turnpike-stair (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 169). Now hist. (1) Sc. a.1730 A. Pennecuik Collect. Sc. Poems (1787) 43:
In turnpike fits he darn'd himsell.
(2) Sc. 1740 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 484:
Mr Mackenzie's wife was drawn backwards by the cuff of the neck down a narrow turnpike-stair.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 110:
Wi' her Joe in Turnpike Stair.
Fif. 1807 J. Grierson Delineations St Andrews (1838) 93:
A new turnpike-stair erected in the steeple.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvi.:
A half-circular turret, served as a case for a narrow turnpike-stair.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail iii.:
An indistinct vision rises in our fancy of a large irregular whitewashed house, with a tall turnpike staircase.
Sc. 1864 P. F. Tytler Hist. Scot. III. 220:
The bed-chamber communicated by a secret turnpike stair with the king's apartment below.
Wgt. 1875 W. McIlwraith Guide Wgt. 80:
A turnpike-stair leads from the ground flat to the upper apartment.

[O.Sc. turnpekk, id., 1501, from the notion of the stair revolving round a central axis like a turnpike, a revolving set of spikes, a turnstile.]

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



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