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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GRAVE, n., v. For Sc. forms, see Graff, and cf. Graft. Sc. usages:

I. n. In combs.: (1) grave-digger, a kind of spinning-top (Sc. 1951 Sunday Post (1 July); m.Lth.1 1955); (2) grave-howker, a grave-digger; †(3) grave-merels, a skin eruption superstitiously thought to be caused by treading on the grave of a still-born child; cf. Merls; (4) grave-mool, -mould, the soil of a grave (Ags.19 1955); (5) graveyaird, a graveyard, used attrib. in (a) graveyairdchorus, -cough (Ayr. 1955), a “churchyard” cough; (b) graveyaird deserter, a sickly-looking person, one who looks as if he should be in his grave (ne.Sc. 1955); (c) graveyaird hoast, = (5) (a) graveyaird cough (Bnff., Abd., Edb., Ayr. 2000s). Cf. kirkyaird s.v. Kirk n.1 III. 53.(2) Fif. 1844 J. Jack St Monance 18:
I ne'er had meikle fauver either for the howdie or the grave-howker.
(3) s.Sc. c.1880 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club XXIII. 66:
The skin feels as if heated iron was applied to it; which is followed by the breaking out of blotches, which are called the grave-merels (merled is variegated), or grave-scabs.
(4) Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remark. Passages 104:
The swearing Ministers have heartily and willingly, . . . shooled on the Grave-moulds.
Sc. 1923 R. Taylor End of Fiammetta 29:
I ken I smell o' cauld grave-mool That washed in lavender.
(5) (a) Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw 38:
That host o' yours . . . jist like a graveyaird chorus.
(b) Ib. 112:
“John, puir man,” abroad, and “graveyaird deserter” at hame.
(c) Dmb. 2004:
That's a graveyard hoast ye've got.

Deriv. ¶gravesome, fitting for the grave, funereal, sable. Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 122:
Fan our bairn is hidden fae my sicht in a coffin it'll no be wi' black gravesome claith, but wi' 'e colour o' Heaven.

II. v. 1. To place a corpse in a grave, to inter, bury (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Obs. since 17th c. in Eng.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 411:
O! never melt awa thou wride o' snaw, That's sae kind in graving me.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 85:
Some purposed in the sea to grave him.
Sc. 1875 J. Grant Six Hundred I. ix.:
They told you that I was dead, too, and graved in yonder kirk.

2. “To dig in the ground” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), also common in n.Eng. dial. Specif.; to dig for shellfish in the sand at ebb-tide (Sh. 1866 Edn. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Hence n. graver, a spade (Sh. 1814 Irvine MSS.), in sea-taboo usage.

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"Grave n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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