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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DEID-MAN, Dead-man, n. comb. In various combs., mostly plant-names: 1. deid man's bellows, the bugle, Ajuga reptans (Ayr.9 1949; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also in Nhb. dial.; also applied to other plants (see quot.); 2. deid (dead) man's (men's) bells, the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea (Sc. 1808 Jam., -men's-; Mry.1 1925, -man's-; Abd.9 1940; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 157; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also in sing.; also in Nhb. dial.; 3. dead man's creesh, the hemlock water dropwort, Oenanthe crocata (Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 145); 4. deid man's dive, = 13 (Ags. 1885 (per Ags.18); Fif.10 1936); cf. Cocks,; 5. deid man's drap, id. (Kcb. 10 1940); 6. deed man's fingers, the flowers of the foxglove (Arg.1 1940); used in Eng. of various species of Orchis, etc.; 7. dead man's flourish, (1) hawthorn blossom (Edb.5 1943); (2) meadow-sweet (Sth. 1900 People's Jnl. (23 April 1949)); 8. deid-man's hand, (1) “the spotted palmate orchis, O. maculata” (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 193; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also found in Eng. dial.; (2) the lesser stitchwort, Alsine graminea (Ayr.9 1949); 9. deadman's liver, applied to many species of liverwort, family Hepaticae (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bwk. (ed. Tait) I. 81); 10. dead man's mitten(s), applied to various species of gentian (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.11 1949); 11. dead men's paps (see quot.); 12. dead men's pinches, “small discoloured marks on the skin, which come mysteriously during the night, and which show themselves in the morning. They resemble the marks of pinches or bruises” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); cf. Deid, III. 34.; 13. dead man's plunge, “this is made by throwing a stone, so that it enters the surface of water with such force that no splash is made” (Ib.); cf. 4 and 5; 14. dede-man's-sneechin, the dust of the common puff-ball, Lycoperdon bovista (Mearns 1825 Jam.2); 15. dead-man's thoom(s), (1) the early purple orchis, Orchis mascuta; also in Nhb. dial; (2) = 2 (Ags.6 a.1890); 16. dead men's toes, the polyp, Alcyonium digitatum (Ags. 1813 J. Headrick Agric. Ags. App. B. 36).1. Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 162:
Ajuga Reptans. Deadman's bellows — a name which it shares with Digitalis, Pedicularis sylvatica, and the Boleti.
2. Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes III. xv.:
“Isna that a bonnie ring o' deid man's bells, Annie?” said he, holding out the foxglove.
Bch. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 4:
I ken a neuk faur wagtails nest, it's there the deid-man's bell Ben's ower the bank an' in the lauchin' water sees itsel'.
Ags. 1848 W. Gardiner Flora Frfsh. 139:
On the Sidlaw Hills, and in the mountain valleys of Clova, it is peculiarly exuberant, and is known to the peasantry by the name of “Dead men's bells,” probably on account of its poisonous qualities.
Cld. 1818 Edb. Mag. (Oct.) 328:
But dinnae pu' the dead men's bells.
11. Bnff. 1876 S. Smiles Naturalist 284:
Now and then a starfish; “Dead Men's Paps,” as they are called here.
15. (1) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 193:
From the colour and shape of the tuber, the plant is called Dead-man's thumb; and children tell one another, with mysterious awe, that the root was once the thumb of some unburied murderer.

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"Deid-man n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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