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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BULL, n.6 As Eng. bull, the male of the bovine breed, used in various combs. peculiar to Sc. and freq. indicating something large or clumsy of its kind: 1. bull-adder, see 3 below; 2. bull-beef, in phr. as prood as bull-beef, very proud, conceited (Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.1 1937); 3. bull-edder, -ether, -adder, “the dragonfly” (Ags.1, Arg.1 1937); 4. bullfit, a martin, a swift (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2; 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 144); 5. bullflinch, the bullfinch, Pyrrhula europæa (Ayr.4 1928); †6. bullfrench, “the bullfinch” (Lnk. 1825 Jam.2); 7. bull-gowan, the globe-flower, Trollius europaeus (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) B. 160); 8. bull-gress, -gerss, -grass, “the brome grass, Bromus mollis, etc.” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Abd.9 1937; 9. bull-head, -heid, “a kind of firebrick with a rounded end” (ne.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); 10. bull-neck, “an onion that does not form a bulb but grows somewhat like a leek” (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.; Abd.2 1937); 11. bull-of (o')-the-bog, “one of the various names given to the bittern,” Botaurus stellaris (Liddesdale 1825 Jam.2; Rxb. 1885 Swainson Brit. Birds 146; 1923 Watson W.-B.); 12. bull-reel, “a reel danced by men only” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Abd.22 1937; 13. bull sandeel,“the weever fish,” Trachinus (Ayr.4 1928); 14. bulls-bags, “the tuberous Orchis, Orchis morio, and mascula, Linn. It receives its name from the resemblance of the two tubercles of the root to the testes” (Mearns, Ags. 1825 Jam.2; Ags.2 1937); 15. bull-seg(g), †(1) “a bull that has been gelt at full age, a foul thick-necked ox, having the appearance of a bull” (w.Rxb., e.Slk. 1802 J. Sibbald Gloss.; 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Abd.2 1937. Given in N.E.D. as dial. See also Segg; (2)

(a) “the great Cat-tail or Reed-mace, Typha latifolia, Linn.” (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora of Mry. 26, Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (b) “Orchis mascula and O. Morio” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, -seg; n.Sc. 1886 Britten and Holland Eng. Plant-Names 74); 15. bull-snout, -snoot, “the dog-grass,” Agropyrum caninum (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); 16. bull-staig, “a castrated bull” (Sc. 1855 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 726).2. Ags. 1886 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends (1887) xii.:
Bein' as prood as bull-beef o' the confidence displayed in him by his maister.
7. Abd. 1886 Britten and Holland Eng. Plant-Names 72–73:
In Aberdeensh. it [bull-grass] is applied to B[romus] mollis when growing in hayfields and overtopping other grasses.
Rxb. 1876 in Hardwicke's Science-Gossip 39:
Likewise “bull-grass” may be either or all of the following: Bromus mollis, B. racemosus, or B. commutatus.
10. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. (1817) i.:
The deep cry of the bog-blitter, or bull-of-the-bog.
11. Sc. 1847 J. Grant Romance of War IV. xv.:
A bull-reel generally concluded their orgies, or the sword-dance, performed on the dining-tables.
Rxb.(D) 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 5:
A was stannin on bluiddy Ancrum Muir. Nae cannie daffin bull-reel splore that fearfih fecht.

15. Borders 1933 A.W.S. in Border Mag. (Nov.) 172: An' mony a dub we strode across; Owre heather an' nub-berrie leaves, An' great bull-snoots that stan' like sheaves.

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"Bull n.6". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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