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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DERAY, n. Disturbance, noise; disorderly revelry or mirth (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.). Arch. Also in Eng. dial. [də′re:]Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
There were pipes and fiddles, and as much dancing and deray within as used to be in Sir Robert's house at Pace and Yule, and such high seasons.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 51:
The noise an' daft deray O' sang-birds in the gab o' May.
Bnff. 1865 Bnffsh. Jnl. (27 June):
Two burnies meet in the glen's retreat West frae my house, an' rin In fond deray past the foot o' the brae.
Ags. 1924 A. Gray Any Man's Life 97:
When work is done, and daylight dies I would have dancing and deray.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 7:
Great was the din and the deray.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun iii. 75:
And douse spectators, Were a' involved in this deray, Like gladiators!
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 192:
The women were by this time screaming, and the men literally jumping and clapping their hands for joy at the deray that was going on.

[O.Sc. deray, disturbance or disorderly action, from 1375; loud noise, din, outcry, from c.1420; Mid.Eng. deray, disorder, tumult; O.Fr. desroi, disorder, disarray. The freq. use of the alliterative phr. dancing and deray has prob. arisen from the pop. 15th cent. poem Christis Kirk on the Grene: “sic dansing nor deray.”]

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"Deray n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Oct 2023 <>



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