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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLEESH, n., v. Also †flee(s)ch, †fleish. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. fleece. Flyce (ne.Sc.) is also found as a variant of the Eng. form. [fli:ʃ]

I. n. 1. Sc. forms with meaning as in Eng. (Per. 1916, Ayr. 1923, Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth. 1951). Also fig., a sheep.Sc. 1712 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 53:
He sought the fleech, and not the flock!
Abd. 1730 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. IV. 237:
For two pound weight and a half of whit fleish stocking wool . . . £2. 6. 0.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Mailie's Elegy vi.:
A bonier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips.
Sc.(E) 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms lxv. 13:
The lea's, they are happit wi' fleeshes.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 46:
Ye wisna sweir te rin a leesh, Cuid turn the sheep, yet hain the fleesh.
Sh. 1933 J. Nicolson Hentilagets 13:
Wir Eppie hed a peeri lamb Wi a fleesh baid saft an bonni.

2. Humorously, of clothes: an outfit, a stock, covering (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
A've bocht a new fleece o warm claes for the winter months.

3. A large number, a horde, of persons (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.) or things (Abd.27, Mearns5 1950), a herd or flock, esp. of grazing animals (Abd. 1951).Sc. 1831 Scott Journal (1890) II. 403:
A fleece of letters, which must be answered, I suppose.
Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 16:
Tho' ilk day brocht fleeshes new O' trials to her.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (18 Dec.):
By the time one cover of cattle goes to the grading centre, another fleesch is about ready to take its place.

4. A skin eruption, a rash of spots, as in measles (Abd.27 1951).Mry. 1950:
He's oot in a fleece.

II. v. To peel off like a fleece. Nonce.Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 111:
When superstition Will frae her vot'ries far an' near Like woo come fleeshin'!

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"Fleesh n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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