Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
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.

HEAVY, adj. Also heivy, hivvy (Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 8; Abd. 1935 M. C. Wilson Souter's Sujaistions 6).

Sc. forms of Eng. 1996 Lindsay Paterson in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 16:
"The rain's nae sae hivvy noo," said the man ahin the coonter, bit Sally niver heard him.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 12:
Dour sail o day
swees on heivy heenges
as the souk on moorit barges

Sc. usages:

1. Of a river: swollen, above normal height (Cai., Abd., em.Sc.(b), Ayr., Kcb., Slk. 1956).Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery v.:
The river was not in flood, but it was above its ordinary level — a heavy water, as it is called in that country.
Slk. 1890 Scots Mag. (June) 26:
Narrating various instances occurring in former years when the water was “heavy,” of inefficient cavaliers slipping from their saddles.
Dmf. 1904 W. Wilson Folk Lore Nithsdale 91:
I had a gude bit to wade, an' the water was middlin' heavy.

2. In an advanced state of pregnancy; hence phr. heavy o' fit, heavy-fitted, -it (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Gall., Uls. 1902 E.D.D.), id. Gen.Sc. Also fig.Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (1890) II. 13:
I certainly turn heavy-footed, not in the female sense, however.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 146:
James cam to me ae morning when she was heavy o' fit.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (8 Jan.):
Wir coo is heavy an' his ane is ield.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters vi.:
Rab Tosh o' Fleckie's wife was heavy-footed at the time, and Doctor Munn had been a' nicht wi' her.
Fif. 1939 J. Lee Tomorrow is a New Day 4:
She has told me since that she was “heavy footed” at the time. That is her reticent way of saying she was with child.

3. Large, copious. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie xv.:
Sandy sometimes took a gey heavy dram.

4. Of beer, often as noun, similar to Eng. bitter, but with a higher specific gravity.Sc. 1955 A. Campbell Bk. of Beer 207:
The visitor to Scotland will need to know that mild and bitter are not locally used terms. Heavy beer is equivalent to best bitter; there is very little mild sold outside England.
em.Sc.(b) 1973 John Herdman Three Novellas (1987) 14:
A former school acquaintance of mine had been watching this incident from a distance with evident amusement, and now he came over, bringing me a consolatory pint of heavy.
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 206:
He swallowed another large draught of the heavy beer.
m.Sc. 1996 Christopher Brookmyre Quite Ugly One Morning (1997) 28:
'Tough day?' Duncan said to her over Parlabane's head.
'You don't want to know,' she said breathily, then reached for the life-giving heavy again.

5. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) heavy handfu(l), a heavy burden, an oppressive responsibility. Gen.Sc. (2) heavy-heartit, of the atmosphere: lowering, threatening rain (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Knr. 1956); (3) to be heavy on, a heavy neighbour on, to be hard on, consume or eat a great deal of. Gen.Sc. (exc. I.) (4) to give the heavy dunt to, to get rid of.(1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lviii.:
If ye had an experiment o' the heavy handfu' they hae been to me, ye would hae mair compassion for your mother.
Sc. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland xxiii.:
Her sister, who had been left a widow, with a heavy handful of young bairns.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 51:
“She has a heavy handful” said of a widow who is left with a large family.
Fif. 1899 Colville Vernacular 57:
Worst trial of all was that heavy handfu', the helpless naitrel or harmless loonie.
(3) Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xviii.:
Good black French brandy was the constant beverage and a heavy neighbour Will was on it.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 51:
“He's very heavy on the strawberries,” i.e. he eats a great many.
Lth. 1882 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 181:
The boys were like all healthy boys . . . “heavy” on their clothes.
(4) Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 33:
heavy dunt the To give something the heavy dunt is to stop doing it or get rid of it. The phrase can also be applied to a girlfriend or boyfriend: 'Is it no time ye were giein that wee toerag the heavy dunt?'
Edb. 2003:
If we don't get some funding it'll be the heavy dunt for the hail lot o us.

6. Loud. Used adv. in quot. m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 272:
Gif that's the way o't, I may as weel no roar sae heavy.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Heavy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: