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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ASS, AISE, ASE, n. Also ais(s), aess, aisse, asse, ace, ess, ause, auss, awse, aze. Ash, ashes. [ɑs Ork., Edb. + es, Lnk., sm.Sc., ǫs.Sc.; es Sh., Cai., ne.Sc., e.Per., Fif., Edb. + ɑs; e1s Ags.; ɛs Sh. + es + e:z; s Lth. + e, Rnf.; ǫ:z, ɑs, es Ayr]

1. n.Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 24:
The licht o Scotland syne gaed out, it seemed,
foraye; but wha coud ken the aumers dernt
anaith the auss, ...
Sh.(D) 1886 “G. Temple” Britta 131:
Dere's da mark o' a man's fit in da aze!
Sh.(D) 1931 W. J. Tulloch in Sh. Almanac 193:
We waitit till da lights wir oot o' da hoose except twartree lowin braands among da restin' ess.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 117:
Ap raise the ass i' sic' a clood.
Cai. c.1919 J. Horne Poems and Plays 33:
'E wagtail flirts on 'e gairden wa', An' 'e sprowgs mak' baths in 'e ase.
ne.Sc.(D) 1884 D. Grant Lays and Legends of the North (1908) 3:
Backets, baith for aise an' saut.
Abd.(D) 1920 C. Murray In the Country Places 23:
Jist afore Pase The gowkit fee'd 'oman when teemin' the aise Cam' clyte in the midden — a bonnie like place.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 16:
Treetlin wi water an aess an peats,
Aye a pail in her haan.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 51:
A chiel fa's brunt hissel bi luv
Winna rekinnle the lowe:
He'll rebigg his life frae the aisse.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems, etc. 57:
Coals to carry, fires to licht, Aiss to fling oot in a backet.
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost o' Glendookie 99:
Flung among the Deevil's ace, to be whummelled in red-hot backets to a' eternity.
Edb. 1843 Jas. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet 65:
The bonnie, bonnie bairn, wha' sits pokin in the ase, Glowerin in the fire wi' his wee round face.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch The Laird's Lykewake, etc. 83:
Snug amang the ause, Auld baudrons dozed wi' sleepy blinkers.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poet. Wks. (1844) 52:
But, see yon dismal form that louts, Black crawling owre a midding, Thrang scarting cinders up, and clouts, That i' the awse lie hidden.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 264:
They . . . riddle't the brunt shells frae amang the asse.
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms cii. 9:
For I hae eeten assis like breæd, an' ming my drynk wi' greetin'.

2. Phrase: Aise an' stew, ashes and dust.Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer II. ii.:
The tane's gane a' to aise an' stew . . . an' frae the tither I canna draw a cheep.

3. Combs.: (1) Ass-backet, ass-bucket, with variations of ass (see above). A small tub or square wooden box for holding ashes. Also fig.Bnff. 1922 “Jean” in Bnffsh. Jnl. (21 Feb.) 6:
Then I'll tak my aise-backet, an' cairry it oot tae my aise-pit.
Abd. 1922 Wkly. Press (14 Jan.) 1/1:
Wha coup't the ase backits an' rang a' the bells?
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 43:
Assbucket, an ash bucket.
Dmf. a.1820 Border Mag. (Oct.) 169:
Sklent the bogs wi' thy as'bucket feet.

(2) Ase-bing, heap of ashes.Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. of Sc. Life and Char. 18:
E'en rags frae the ase-bings, despite mony a spot, Were deemed wordy a place on Jock Wobster's auld coat.

(3) Ass-hole, etc. Place below the grate, or in front of the grate, for the ashes; sometimes also hole outside the house for ashes. Often contracted into assole (Lth., Rxb.).Sc. [1834] Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) IV. 84:
As he flourished them round his head, and then sent them intil the ass-hole.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 196:
Burnt tae cinders, fit for the aisehole, fertiliser for gykes and thirsles, and shelter for the corncrake.
Fif. 1894 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin xxii.:
He glowered up to the crap wa', an' doon into the ase-hole.
Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter James Inwick 21:
I likit yon bit awfu' aboot the wumman that tint the saxpence, an' soupit oot her hoose but an' ben, an' rakit oot the aiss-hole.
Lnl. 1896 E. Oliphant in Poets and Poetry of Lnlsh. 96:
A pie i' the ase-hole was bakit there for us.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 168:
If the likes o' him would only be content tae toast his taes in his ain as'-hole.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross The Scot at Hame 29:
Noo we ha'e twelve rooms, but we maistly sit Here at the ass-hole; it's a cosy bit.
Ayr. 1841 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 184:
The cat in the ass-hole, makin' at the brose — Down fell a cinder and burnt the cat's nose.
m.Dmf.3 c.1920:
Ase-hool — a pit under the fireplace or grate for ashes.

(4) Ass-midden, etc. Place for the ashes outside the house. Also see below.Slk. 1818 Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck II. 332:
I saw her . . . thrawin' ye ower the ass-midden.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 43:
Ass-midden, a refuse-depot.

(5) Aiss-packad, wooden box for carrying ashes. [′es′pakəd]Cai.3 1932:
Aiss-packad, it was a sort of wooden box — shovel-shaped — used for carrying out the “aiss” or peat ashes. Once used at every home, but now very seldom seen and supplanted by any old iron or tin implement.

(6) Ass-pit, ase-pit, etc. Ashpit. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1825 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1841) 232:
Ane o' the prentices . . . fell in the ase-pit.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 43:
Asspit, a hole or spot for depositing ashes, etc.

(7) Ase-puckle, n. (See quot.)Sc. 1911 S.D.D.:
A spark from the fire.

[Perhaps from Puckle = grain, a small bit. Not known to our correspondents.] [O.Sc. as, ais, es, pl. askis, assis. The ass, ais, etc., forms in Mod.Sc. come probably from O.N. aska, if not from pl. ascan of O.E. asce. For loss of k cf. bus for busk. The -sh forms in the examples are due to St.Eng.]

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"Ass n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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