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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HANDIE, n. Also handy; hannie, -y, -ah, -ay, hawnie. [em.Sc. ′hǫnde; wm.Sc. ′hǫnɪ] A small wooden tub or pail used for carrying liquids, esp. a milk pail with one of the staves projecting to form a handle (Lnk. 1825 Jam., hannie, handie; Per. 1902 E.D.D., handy; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 29, hannah; Ayr., Slk. 1928; Slg., m.Lth., Kcb., Dmf. 1956); a skimmer or ladle (Ayr.4 1928, hanny); a wooden dish for holding food (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., handie). Hence hannie-fu, the fill of a milk-pail (Lnk. 1825 Jam.).Per. 1723 T. L. K. Oliphant Lairds of Gask (1870) 93:
A little “handy” for washing the bairns.
Slg. 1734 Burgh Rec. Slg. (B.R.S.) 359:
By cash for a handy for taking the water out of the new well . . . 6s.
Abd. 1759 Trans. Highl. Soc. (1902) 90:
The milking handy, pales, &c., as well as cogs.
Lnk. 1818 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 503:
I had gane into the milkhouse . . . to teem a hannie-fu' o' milk, whan I heard my dochter cryan' out.
Ags. 1845 G. Webster Disputed Inheritance II. i.:
I cried to Mrs Cuick, wha cam . . . rangin' a handie wi' a drap saippie suds.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 44:
The calves got their milk gi'en to them in a hannie, an' we held the han'le till they sookit the dish dry.
Lnk. 1948 Scotsman (10 Nov.):
7 Carrying Pails, 7 Handies, 6 Byre Stools, 10 Milk Cans.

[Hand, in obs. sense of handle, + -ie. O.Sc. handy, 1681, id.]

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"Handie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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