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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HEAP, n., v. Also heep; hape, haip, haep, hipp, heip (Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 47, 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. 73), and dim. form heppie (Mry. 1889 T. L. Mason Rafford 10). [hip, hep. See P.L.D. §§ 88, 120, 142, 164. 9]

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. A large number or quantity, a great deal (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Ayr.1 1910). Gen.Sc. In colloq. Eng. gen. in pl. = “lots.”Sc. 1721 R. Wodrow Sufferings I. Pref. 9:
Breathing Places to stop at, in so great a Heap of Matter as is here collected.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 125:
An' ca'd it naething but a blether, A fearfu' heap o' lies.
Rs. 1814 E. Bond Letters I. 61:
What would I do when I met a heap of strange cows coming.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies iii.:
There are a heap o' blin' folk in the warld.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 49:
Boys A had a hape o' dacency, When A first come among ye.
Ags. 1894 J. F. Mills Jamie Donaldson 8:
There, alang wi' a great haep mair young fouk, I got lessons in wreatin' an' coontin'.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick ix.:
We thocht an awfu' heap o' him than.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 32:
A' through the war, when horse were ill to get, I paid a hape o' siller to the vet.
Bch. 1949 W. R. Melvin Poems 51:
I've been aboot the warl' a heap.
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 66:
"Thir's a hipp o' differ. Shae saa thee fiss, bit shae didno ken thoo wur aboothands."

2. Used quasi-adv., absol. or with comp. adj. or adv.: a great deal, very much, a lot (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 98). Gen.Sc. Cf. colloq. Eng. “heaps.”Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. Add. 226:
The doctor's a heap better the day.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
“I cudna say,” quoth Tam drily. “I wudna care a great heap.”
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xix.:
“Here's to the company!” says I, takin doun my gless, an' feelin a heap the better o't.
Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 40:
An' m'Aunt Mary says 'at ye're a hape fousumer nor ma grannie yersel'.
Gall. 1929 Gallovidian 16:
Eh, but ye ken Jess' o' the Hill was an awfu' heap better efter she went to Uchtriemaken.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 17:
The mune's lyin' a heap owre far owre.

3. A term of reproach applied to a slovenly woman (Ags., Fif. 1808 Jam., haip; Uls.3 1930; Cai., m.Lth. 1956, heap; ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a)., Uls. 1956, haip), “usually conjoined with some epithet expressive of the same idea; as a nasty heap” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), or to a coarse, rough person (Mry., Abd., Per., Knr. 1956, haip); hence, the slovenly walk of such a person (Abd.6 1913). Also in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 125:
She jaw'd them, misca'd them For clashin' claikin' haips.
Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 91:
Foul fa' the sly bewitchin' heap Cou'd turn hersel in ony shape.
Bnff. 1872 W. M. Philip It 'ill a' come Richt iii.:
“Ye fu'some heap,” she shouted, “ye'll burn us to the door or pusion's wi' your dirt some day.”
Abd. 1953:
Ye're a fedmil heap.

4. One fill of the firlot, heaped measure (Bwk. 1825 Jam.).Gall. 1692 A. Symson Large Descr. of Gall. (1823) 99:
They sell their beir, malt, and oates by heap, and the vessell is so broad, that the heap will be more than one-third part of the whole.
Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 448:
In Berwickshire, potatoes are usually sold by measure . . . four fills, heaped by hand as high as they can go, called heaps, are counted as one boll.

5. Phrs.: (1) to be heid o' the heap, to be in the forefront, to take the first place (ne.Sc., m.Lth. 1956); also to be very elated, “to be on top of the world” (Mearns3 a.1925); (2) to be in a heap, to be in a confused state, higgledy-piggledy (Sc. 1825 Jam.; m.Lth. 1956).(1) Abd.1 1929:
Peggy is aye heid o' the heap at lessons or play.

II. v. 1. As in Eng. to pile up, in phr. heap the cyarn (see Cairn, n.1), (a) a children's game in which the participants pile their hands one on top of the other, those underneath being consecutively withdrawn and placed as quickly as possible on top of the pile (Abd.31 1956). See also het hands, id., s.v. Het, adj., 1. (3), and Dishaloof; (b) a boys' game in which the players throw themselves on top of one another and the boy at the bottom tries to scramble out and get to the top of the heap (Abd.31 1956). Cf. hillie-cairnie, id., s.v. Hill, n., 3. (1).

2. In regard to clothes: to be untidy, to wear in careless or negligent fashion (Abd. 1956). Ppl.adj. haipen, of the clothes themselves, slovenly, untidy (Abd. 1956).Abd.1 1929:
Ye'll haip on wi' yer gweed Sunday goon on. Belyve ye'll mak' a peltin'-pyock o't.

[O.Sc. hepe, heip(e), from c.1400, haip, 1560, a heap or pile, from 1545, a heaped measure of capacity.]

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"Heap n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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