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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.

BANNOCK, BANNACK, Bannie, Banna, Banno, Bawnick, Bawnay, Binnick, Bonnock, n. Also bunnock (Ayr. 1828 A. Aitken Poems (1873) 57), bonnag (Per. 1796 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) XH. 73). [′bɑnək, ′bɑnɪ̢k Sc.; ′bɑn Ork., Rxb., but n.Ork. ′bɪnɪk; ′bɑnə, bɑnɪ s.Sc.; ′bn em.Sc. + ′bnɪk; ′bɔnək wm.Sc.]

1. A round, flat, thickish cake of oatmeal, barley, pease or flour, baked on a girdle.Sc. 1895 J. Wood in Sc. Antiquary X. 76:
The goodwife was baking, and had a girdleful of bannocks on the fire.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 14:
He's a moment noo sin' doo guid oot i' da moarnin' wi' a bit o' a flooer bannock. [Bannock is not used in Sh. for oatmeal cakes.]
Ork. 1913 J. Firth in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. VI. 147:
In view of such a contingency he stuffed his pockets with aet bannos (oat cakes).
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. Ork. Par. (1922) 36:
All food, with the exception of oat and bere bannocks, being speun mate (food to be partaken of by means of a spoon). Bannocks, pron[ounced] in N.Isles Binnicks.
Hebr 1995 Angus Duncan Hebridean Island: Memories of Scarp 135:
As we were given tea and sugar and milk, as well as bannocks of oatcake, we made a fire in the open, preparing wood-shavings for kindling, using a pocket-knife, and selecting good dry peat from one of the peat stacks near us.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 11:
While he waited for the electric kettle to boil, he spread butter thickly on a bannock and began to munch it.
Bnff. 1890 Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club (18 Dec.) 10:
Mutton, ham, cheese, broiled salmon, bannocks, and butter were produced promiscuously.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums viii.:
Her bannocks is so superior 'at a Tilliedrum woman took to her bed after tastin' them.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 59:
The milk was warm from the udder. They dipped their bannocks in it.
Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. in Perth 350:
Pease too are eaten in a similar shape, namely in thin, flaccid cakes, called bannocks, the ordinary bread of the gentry or lairds.
Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair ii. xxxvii.:
And, at their broad and sturdy backs, are hung Great wallets cramm'd with cheese and bannocks, and cold tongue.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 36:
Bannocks and baps and loaves of crusty bread came out of the side-ovens, heated by the fire - she baked for us when we could not afford to buy from Mrs Guthrie.
Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 115:
Shee's noa a bawnick oa yesturday'z baikin . . . (no chicken). [p. 228 bawnay.]
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 113:
Other crofters put out bits of bannock for the Little People, small bowls of oatmeal swirling with cream, and scraps of fine tweed to make coats and caps against the dank cold inside the knolls.
Gsw. 1924 J. H. Bone The Crystal Set (Gowans and Gray Repertory Plays) 11:
I'll tak the bannocks oot the oven.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer xx.:
Tell yon guid bluid o' auld Boconnock's, I'll be his debt twa mashlum bonnocks.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders xliv.:
He had a can o' the guid sweet milk an' a basketfu' o' bannocks.
Rxb. 1920 Kelso Chron. (17 Dec.):
Who ever heard of an Englishwoman who could knit stockings, bake bannies and make kail.
e.Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 26:
Instead o' the coorse “fadgie” an' the barley banna bein' predominant on the bakin'-board.

Combs.: (1) Bannock(y) Day, Shrove Tuesday; also given as the Tuesday after Easter (Bnff. 1937 M. M. Banks Cal. Customs Scot. I. 47), but this may be an error. Cf. Bannock Nicht and Sautie, adj., 1. Combs. (2); (2) sodden banno'. (See quot.)(1) Abd. c.1850 H. Beaton Benachie (1915) 54:
"Beef Brose" and "Bannock Day" in the middle of the nineteenth century were looked forward to for months.
(2) Rxb. 1825 Jam.2 (s.v. Fitless-cock):
Fitless cock [footless], a cake baked of lard and oat-meal, and boiled among broth; also denominated a sodden banno', usually made about Fastern's Een, or Shrovetide.

Phr.: a braider bannock, a more prosperous living.  Ags. 1830 Perthshire Adv. (18 Feb.):
The Lord has seen fit to call him to another quarter of his vineyard. It is a great blessing to state, however, that his call is to a "braider bannock."

2. Obs. A small quantity of meal, of oats, barley or pease (enough to make a bannock), due to the servants of a mill by those grinding their corn in it or thirled thereto.Sc. 1909 Green's Encycl. Law Scot. II. 1:
Bannock (lit. a cake . . .) was a perquisite of the mill servant due by the thirle under the obligation of thirlage [q.v.].
Cai. 1697 A. W. Johnston Cai. Estate Rental in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. (1920) VIII. 6:
Mair, he payes of fearme mill multer and bannack.
Abd. 1788 Philorth Baron Court Book MS V 53:
He only had the Bannock which was a muttiefull out of each four pecks of Shilling.
Per. 1750 Session Papers, Campbell v. MacNab (9 July 1755) Proof 7:
Goodwill and Knaveship to the Miller, and a yearly Present betwixt Christmas and New-year Day, commonly called the Bannock.
Dmf. 1912 J. and R. Hyslop Langholm as it was 549–550:
A bannock of barley, oats, or pease-meal, but usually of barley, was a perquisite of the servant of the baronial mill, due from the tenants under the obligation of thirlage. It was one of the sequels, which were not merely voluntary gratuities, but were due in virtue of the astriction of a tenant to a particular mill.

3. Something soft and round, resembling a bannock.Wgt. 1839 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 178:
I saw a ball of fat, or bannock of tallow, weighing 27 lbs., that was found in the moss.

4. An acting game in which there are three chief players, one guarding the rest of the players, in this case called bannock(ie)s, another attempting to steal these one by one, and the third acting as an intermediary (see I. & P. Opie Children's Games (1969) 317 sqq.). Ags. 1948 J. C. Rodger Lang Strang 43:
For this game you need 1, the Deil; 2, a Mother; 3, a Servant. All the rest of the children are bannocks.

[O.E. bannuc; Mid.Eng., 15th cent.; O.Sc. bannok, banak, bon(n)ok, 16th cent. Lat. panicium, panis, bread. Widely distributed in Eng. dial. Cf. Gael. bannach, bonnach, a cake, which are prob. from Sc.]

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"Bannock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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