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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLUE CLUE, —Clew, n. A ball of blue worsted used in divining at Halloween.Abd.15 1924:
I wine the blue clew, fa hauds the en'?
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xi.:
An' [she] darklins grapet for the bauks, And in the blue-clue throws then. [Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions. Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot, a clew of blue yarn: wind it in a new clew off the old one; and towards the latter end, something will hold the thread: demand, wha hauds? i.e. who holds? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the christian and sirname of your future Spouse. Ib. Note.]
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 138:
To win [wind] the blue clue in the killpot on halloween, was a serious matter before Burns made the world laugh at it.

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"Blue Clue n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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