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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WHEY, n. For n.Sc. forms see Fey, n.2 [ʍəi; em.Sc. (a) ʍɑe] Sc. usage: short for goat-whey (see Goat, 5.), the drinking of goat's milk-whey at some resort in the hills as a tonic, a frequent practice in the 18th c.Per. 1732 W. Duke Lord G. Murray (1927) 47:
To continow closs at the whey, seeing I feel so good effects from it.

Sc. combs.: 1. wheybeard, -bird, the white-throat, Sylvia communis (Sc. 1880 Jam.), also the willow-warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus, more commonly as wheetie-white-beard, -why-bird (see Wheet, n.1, 3.). Jam.2 gives whey-bird as “the woodlark,” a name freq. applied in Scot. to the tree-pipit, Anthus trivialis (see 1865 quot.); 2. whey brose, a dish of raw oatmeal mixed with boiling whey instead of the usual water, = float whey s.v. Float, n., 1. (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1974); 3. whey drap, a hole formed in badly-made cheese by the accumulation and fermentation of whey in it (wm.Sc. 1825 Jam.); 4. whey-eye, id. (Ib.). See 8.; 5. whey-float, see Float, n., 1.; 6. whey-parritch, -porritch, porridge made with whey (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr. 1930). Cf. 2.; †7. whey-sey, a tub in which milk is left to curdle (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); 8. whey-spring, = 3.; 9. whey-whullions, see Whillins. For goat-whey see Goat, n., 5.1. Lnk. 1865 Zoologist XXIII. 9709:
The willow wren is much more numerous; it bears the local names of “wheetie” and “wheybird,” the latter of which Jamieson wrongly assigns (in his ‘Scottish Dictionary') to the wood lark, a very rare bird in Scotland.
2. Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi.:
That nicht we had whey-brose to oor supper.
Rxb. 1910 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 8:
“Whey brose” was prepared by heating the whey pressed from the curd until it thickened, it was then poured into a vessel containing oatmeal and seasoned to taste.
Abd. 1974 Huntly Express (22 Feb.) 3:
The whey brose was of a consistency which made it easy to bottle.
3. Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 452:
Even when the utmost pains have been taken to press out the serum, it will, several weeks after the cheese has been made, burst out in putrefying holes, which, in the dairy language of Ayrshire, are termed whey-drops.
6. Dmf. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 105:
I doot some o' ye hae taen ower mony whey porridge the day.
Rnf. 1895 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 166:
Oh, the whey-parritch!
7. Rxb. 1910 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 8:
The milk obtained at “The Ewe Milking” was then taken to the shepherd's cottage nearest at hand, his wife preparing it in the course of the day for the “Curding,” this being done in the Whey-sey.
8. Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 455:
Whey springs or eyes are seldom met with in the cheeses of Ayrshire.

[It is somewhat uncertain whether whey-beard for the name of the bird is adopted from Eng. whey-beard, a whey-coloured beard, or has been assimilated to it from an earlier whitebeard (cf. Eng. white-throat).]

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"Whey n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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