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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DAY, n. Also dey.

Sc. form of Eng. dayDundee 1994 W. N. Herbert in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 162:
Twa a herts. Pause, then some mair patience. Anither. Fehv o spades. This time he stopped for a dey.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 6:
an the hoose is decydit
it's haein the dey in bed

Sc. usages:

1. With def. art. = to-day (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms; 1825 Jam.2). Gen.Sc. (exc. I.Sc. and Cai.).Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 150:
You micht hae gien him the play the day, I think, sir.
Sc. 1896 R. L. Stevenson Weir of Hermiston vi.:
Wear them the day, hizzie.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 52:
But tell me gin ye saw twa men the day, The tane wi' yellow hair, the tither gray?
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie I. x.:
Od, Mistress Treddles, ye're far in the day wi' your meal-time.

2. A space (of time) the extent of which is defined by the accompanying word. Obs. in Eng. since 17th cent. (N.E.D.).Abd. 1825 Jam.2:
A month's day, the space of a month, A year's day, the space of a year; “He has been awa this month's day,” he has been absent for the space of a month.

3. Phrases: (1) a day an' a denner, (a) a very long time; (b) “a day's work with a mid-day meal” (Ags.17 1940); (2) a' the days of the week, a children's game (see second quot.); a similar game, in which the ball was thrown against the side of a house, is played in Abd. under the name of Sunday, Monday; cf. Monday, Tuesday in Gomme Trad. Games (1894) I. 389; (3) day an' daily, “constantly; every day” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); daily; known to Cai.7, Abd.9, Ags.2, Slg.3, Lnk.3, Kcb.10 1940; also used adj.; (4) day-and-day-about, on alternate days (Abd.9, Ags.17, Kcb.10 1940); (5) day 'mang 'e dockens, — among the dockens, (a) a stormy day (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.; Rxb. 1825 Jam.2, 1923 Watson W.-B., obs.); (b) a day on which an unexpected quarrel or uproar arose (Ib.); (c) “a day spent over things of little value and with small result” (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); (6) day of the men (see quot.); “still heard in the north but now rarely” (Slg.3 1940); known to Cai.7 1940; also called Men's Day s.v. Man, n., v., I. 7.; (7) i' the day, per day, for each day's work (Ork., ne.Sc. 1975); (8) this day eight days, a week to-day (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 43; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Cai.7 ('iss day echt days), Bnff.2, Abd.2, Slg.3, Arg.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1940; †(9) to be day wi' (someone), to be all up with (someone); (10) to get a (half-)day, to get a (half-) holiday, specif. in allusion to a forthcoming wedding (Ork., Abd. 1975); (11) to get day aboot wi', see (18); (12) to get one's day's wages, “to get one's deserts (implying punishment for misdeeds)” (Bnff.2 1940); (13) to give 'im days, a curling term: to endeavour to keep the stone running; known to Kcb.10 1940; (14) to hae a day in hairst wi', = (17) (a); (15) to hear neither day nor door, “said . . . when a person cannot distinguish one sound from another. It is more generally used, I think, to express the stunning effect of loud noise” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); †(16) to make day an(d) way o't, “to support one's self for the day, so as to clear one's way, without any overplus” (Ib.); (17) to owe someone a day('s work) in hairst (harvest), (a) to have a score to settle with someone (Bnff.2 1940); (b) to be due someone repayment of a favour (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Abd.16 1940, — hairst); (18) to see (get) day aboot (about) wi(th), “to see comparative positions of circumstances reversed; practically ‘to get one's own back'” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; 1925 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 10); (19) to tak' the day by the en', “to rise early” (Kcb.10 1941); †(20) ye've made the day and the way alike lang, “a common phrase, expressive of reprehension, applied to those who have taken much longer time in any excursion than was necessary, especially when they do not return till nightfall” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2).(1) (a) Sh. 1897 Shet. News (15 May):
It's a day an' a denner sin ye darkened wir door last.
(2) Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 36:
A' the birds in the air and A' the days of the week are also common games.
Per. 1900 E.D.D.:
Each player takes one of the days of the week as a name, and all stand in a circle except one who stands in the centre of the ring. He throws a ball into the air, at the same time calling out a day of the week, say Monday. The boy owning this name must then catch the ball before it strikes the ground, and whenever he does so the boys stop and call out “Jinkers,” unless the boy in the centre calls out “No Jinkers,” when the rest all have to stand still in their places. Then “Monday” tries to strike some one with the ball. If he succeeds, the boy struck must go into the centre and throw the ball; if not Monday must do so himself. Any one struck ten times is “off” the game, the object of the game being to stop on longest.
(3) Ork.1 1940:
We'll aye get day and daily bread.
(4) Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. viii.:
For our kind neighbours . . . had in the spring tilled the ground and sown the seed, by day-and-day-about labour.
(6) Sc. 1834 H. Miller Scenes and Legends (1850) 146:
On one of the days of preparation set apart by the Scottish Church previous to the dispensation of the sacrament, it is still customary, in the north of Scotland for the elders to address the people on what may be termed the internal evidences of religion, tested by their own experience. The day dedicated to this purpose is termed the day of the men.
(7) Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 89:
They had high wages too, some 'em seeven shillings i' the day.
(9) Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 201:
Haud till him, sir, or it's day wi' us!
(10) Abd. 1974:
Is that yon twa gaun out the road again? We'll be gettin a half-day shortly, I'm thinkin.
Ags. 1827 A. Laing Archie Allan 8:
Aweel, weel, quo' I, it may even be sae, There's aye heart wi' auld fouk, we'll a' get a day.
(13) Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 163:
“Give 'im days,” cried Willie Gair, excitedly, the moment the stone touched the ice. “Kittle 'im, boys, kittle 'im.”
(14) Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 96:
“Weel, Tam,” said Charlie, “ye've dune us. Maybe I'll hae a day in hairst wi' ye yet.”
(15) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality viii.:
This is my mother, stir; and she's as deaf as Corralinn. We canna make her hear day nor door.
Abd.(D) c.1750 R. Forbes Jnl. from London (1755) 34:
You wou'd na' hard day nar door.
Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 23:
His mother said she “cud nedder hear day nor door.”
(16) Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vii.:
He said it was a black burnin shame to think that the pleuchman should be makin day an' way o't an' nae mair a' his life, an no' hae as muckle as a coo's gress to ca' his ain at the end o't.
(17) (a) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xviii.:
“And Cristal Nixon too — I owe him, too, a day's work in harvest,” said Darsie.
(b) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
Heark thee, man, I owe thee a day in harst.
Sc. 1897 “L. Keith” Bonnie Lady xviii.:
“Aye, you owe him a day in hairst” . . . “I owe him my wife. . . . No harvest day will ever pay for that.”
(18) Sc. 1794 "Tam Thrum" Look before ye Loup II. 8:
They'll may be get day about wi' them for that yet.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
Ye see, they thocht little o' my skill, but I've gotten day aboot wi' them.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxvii.:
I'll see day about with you for this!

4. Combs.: (1) day-a-licht, daylight; (2) day-brak, day-break (Abd.9 1940); also fig. a ray of hope, a better prospect; (3) day-darger, see Darg, v.; (4) day-daw, dawn of day (Abd.9, Fif.10 1940); †(5) day-dawing, id.; (6) day-nicht, the darkness of a daytime storm; (7) day-set(t), sunset; nightfall, evening (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); also in phr. efter dayset, evening (Cai.7 1940); †(8) day sky, daylight; (9) day tale, “the wage of a day-labourer, etc.” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., rare); hence daytal, adj., “of labourers, etc.: Paid by the day” (Ib.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); also found in Eng. dial. = a labourer, engaged and paid by the day (E.D.D.). Tale is here used in its arch. Eng. sense of “reckoning.”(1) Sh. 1897 Shet. News (4 Dec.):
Ye wir doon at da banks i' da hidmist o' day-a-licht.
(2) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 191:
I thought this day day-brak wad ne'er appear.
Ayr. 1836 Galt in Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 28:
The landlord said that there was a daybreak in the letter, which I did not well see.
(4) Sc. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 53:
At early day-daw, cam' alang the road, In search o' vivers, an auld-farrant Tod.
Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 28:
We'll better slip awa' soon to our beds the night that we may rise with the day-daw.
(5) Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. (1817) iii.:
We'll see if the red cock craw not in his bonnie barn-yard ae morning before daydawing.
(6) Sc. 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1856) III. 37:
Black is the sky as pitch . . . as the day-nicht descends denser doun upon the heart o' the glens.
(7) Sh. 1888 Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 128:
No work of any kind was done after dayset, and — unlike all other evenings of Yuletide — no amusements were allowed.
Sh.(D) 1916 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr Aagust 4:
Dayset is da nicght blushin red at da kiss o her laad.
Ork. 1771 P. Fea MS. Diary (Feb.):
I think they got Eda about day Sett.
(8) Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar I. ii.:
Let us therefore hae let-a-be for let-a-be till after the close of the day sky.
(9) Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 36:
She went to Bewlie Hill . . . where the farmer was in want of hands, and paid his day tales every evening.

[Day is found in O.Sc. with the as in sense 1. from a.1692 (N.E.D.); da sky occurs 1535; this day aucht dayis, 1560; day sett, 1643 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Day n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2024 <>



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