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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.

AVA, Awa, Avaa, adv.phr. [ə′vɑ: I.Sc., n.Sc., but mn.Sc. + ‡ə′wɑ:; ə′vǫ: em. and wm.Sc. ə′vɒ: sm.Sc., s.Sc.]

1. Used as in Eng. at all, gen. with an interrog., or neg., or virtual neg., or in a conditional clause. Gen.Sc. Cf. Ata.Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs (3rd ed.) 203:
Lang and sma', gude for naething ava.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 34:
af coorse, an no whit we wuid caa
richt pits tae wrang the wurd avaa,
for weel we ken the wurd is law.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 19:
That wus no like a gentleman ava'.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 263:
Fat's this noo ava?
Bnff.2 1932:
I am familiar with ata, ava, awa, the last is growing less and less common.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 15:
Frae mang the stock, his honour gat his fa', An' got but little cunzie, or nane awa.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Fyles ye myurr-myurr to me ma leen,
Yer quaverin myowies thin an smaa,
Sae saft they're scarce a soun avaa.
Ags. 1846 G. Macfarlane Rhymes of Leisure Hours 80:
No a bow there was ava' In laft or kiln.
m.Sc. 1989 Scotsman 13 May 14:
His advice to his successors: "Stick to the old tradition. This bloody kind o' jazz, top of the pops, is nae uise avaa.'
Fif. 1893 “G. Setoun” Barncraig (2nd ed.) iv.:
Hoots, nothing ava', . . . just a kind of shapeless thing that's been bummin' i' my head all day.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 103:
Ye ken it's the shivers that obleeges me tae touch't ava'.
Gsw. 1904 J. J. Bell Jess and Co. i.:
For I'm thinkin' there's room for anither [jiner] if he's got ony spunk ava'.
Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle The Lintie 157:
Nae mair awa, Wull, nae mair awa - steady at that, Lintie.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 44:
Noo we'll hae a dance, if he can scrape ava.
Ant. 1928 The Irish Breeder 18:
Says I, my young freen o why dae ye say There's nae doots ava a gid yin wud pay.

2. The following are two unusual uses of ava — viz. (1) of all, (2) in all.(1) Sc. a.1806 Lamkin in Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 93 xxv.:
It is your young son's heart's blood; 'T is the clearest ava.
Ayr. 1784 Burns Address to the Deil xviii.:
An' lows'd his ill-tongu'd wicked Scawl, Was warst ava.
(2) Abd.(D) 1809 J. Skinner Amusements, etc. 64:
And now the laddie has a flock O' mair nor thirty head ava'.

[Av = of, and a' = all. Cf. Fr. du tout with negatives. There is no parallel usage in St.Eng.]

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"Ava adv. phr.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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