Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TWINE, n.1, v.1, adv. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. In Sc. and U.S. commonly used for Eng. string (Sc. 1916 N.E.D.). Gen.Sc.

2. Fig.: (1) a contortion of the body, an affected posture. Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 58:
Bowden'd wi' pride, he learns a certain twine.

(2) a short attack of any kind of ailment, e.g. a twine o' sair teeth (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 201); weakness resulting from an illness (Id.). Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 39:
Twines o' the gripes and the cholic.

(3) the swell or surge of the sea round rocks (Abd. 1973).

3. Hard labour, exertion, a strenuous job. Phr. ¶in twine, of a woman: in childbirth. Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 201:
They got an unco twine at the cuttan o' the laid corn.
Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xlii. 14:
Like's a mither in twine, I sal skreigh.

4. A twist or turn of fortune, a vicissitude. Also in n.Eng. dial. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 137:
An' vain may I be now, when a' that's past, By unko twines has fa'en sae well at last.

II. v. A. Forms: Pr.t. twine; pa.t. weak twined (Gen.Sc.); strong twan (Sc. c.1764 Burd Ellen in Child Ballads No. 28. ii.; Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Selections 13).

B. Usages: 1. As in Eng., to twist or spin (thread, cord, rope, esp. straw-rope, etc.) (I. and n.Sc. 1973); to weave. Sc. 1787 Sc. Musical Museum I. 32:
Twine it weel, the plaiden.
Gall. 1832 J. Denniston Craignilder 76:
Twine winning sheets for gallant chiels.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (2 July):
This twisting together of the strands, called ‘twining,' is the most wearisome part of the spinning.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 170:
We hid to twine rapes for a twa-three oors on eyn. Aw likeit fine to twine a fyle.

Combs. and deriv.: (1) twine off, to compose (a piece of writing), to spin off (a story, etc.); (2) twine-cruik, an instrument for making straw-ropes, a rope-twister, a thraw-cruik (Rs. 1961 Gwerin III. 213); (3) twiner, (i) id. (Ib. 211). Also in Nhb. dial.; (ii) one who twists spun woollen yarn into a thicker thread, now a machine operation; the machine which does this. Also in Eng. local usage; (4) twine out, to spin out (a tale, etc.), prolong, protract. (1) Sc. 1817 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) IV. 440:
Considering what I have twined off hitherto.
Sc. 1828 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) XI. 29:
I have also twined off a world of not bad balaam in the way of notes, &c. for my Magnum.
(3) (ii) Rxb. 1864 A. Jeffrey Hist. Rxb. IV. 117:
In 1810 the twiner was invented by William Johnstone, Galashiels.
Rxb. 1868 Hawick Advertiser (18 April) 3:
There are about 30 twiners in our works. There were other twiners working at the same kind of yarn.
Slk. 1917 Border Standard (9 June) 3:
He was a twiner in Netherdale Mill.
(4) Lnk. 1806 J. Black Falls of Clyde 108:
When I thought to hear A grace like yours, twin'd out for ha'f a year.
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms lxxxv. 5:
Wult thou twyne owt thine angir til a' genaeratians?

2. To spin (a yarn) fig., to put forward a case or idea in a certain way. Edb. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxxiv.:
‘Jean, there's a chance for ye, and only one,' for that was the way I twined it to her.

3. Fig., tr. and intr. To join, link, unite. Abd. 1845 P. Still Cottar's Sunday 182:
Aff they went to bid Mess John Twine the marriage tether.
Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 36:
Sib by our sires, and twice in marriage twined.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 150:
Ye'll ne'er reproach the day ye twine Wi' Ailie in the marriage knot.

4. tr.To twist, screw; twist the body, to wriggle, writhe (n.Sc., Wgt. 1973). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 33:
As twining o'er the clanking flail, I sweltering fought the hours away.
Per. a.1837 R. Nicoll Poems (1914) 283:
To twine his mou', an', gasping speak.
Gsw. 1885 Gsw. Ballad Club 213:
Twine out his lugs, root out his tongue.
Ags. 1887 A.D. Willock Rosetty Ends 84:
Geordie twistit an' twined as if he was daft.
Wgt. 1877 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 290:
The wean twining and kicking.

5. To put (a person) to the utmost stretch in working, to be at the utmost stretch (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 201); to chastise (Abd. 1825 Jam.); to walk with great difficulty (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 201).

6. To turn over (the furrow) in ploughing with a twisting motion. Cf. Tweel, n., v. Ayr. 1928 J. S. Gall Muses 10:
The grass weel twin'd an' oot o' sicht.

7. To grumble, grouse (Dmf., Rxb. 1973).

III. adv. With great difficulty (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 201).

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"Twine n.1, v.1, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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