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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.

HOUSE, n., v. Also hoose (Gen.Sc.), hoos (Ayr. 1838 J. Morison M'Ilwham Papers 19), hus (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), †huss (Ags. 1712 A. Jervise Land of Lindsays (1853) 342), hooze, hous, †hows (Bnff. 1720 Ann. Bnff. (S.C.) II. 421). Dims. hoosie (Gen.Sc.); housie, housey (Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xiv.), housikie (Abd. c.1770 A. Watson Wee Wifeikie (1921) iv.). Arch. pl. form housin (Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 19). [hus. See P.L.D. § 38.]

I. n.

Sc. forms of Eng. house.wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 14:
"We did weel to hang on here, Jamie, in the bad years. It's been a good hoose and we've been comfortable enough. I'm richt fond of it wi' the burn runnin' by and the Arran hills to look at."
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 51:
Get out ma house.
Whose hoose? It's ma hoose, Ah'll mind ye o' it.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 95:
'He's got a good wage. How much did ye spend on that hoose ye bocht, boy?'
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
This hoose is yours, the gear, the folk
Ootside an in, baith but an ben.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 43:
There wis a muckle paper-mashie model o a rig, wi paper divers at its foun an toilet rolls for gas pipes leadin frae the boddom tae a muckle chart on the waa aside Bacon an Eggs' [sc. a gerbil] hoosie, wi aa different eeses o ile that wid jist bumbaze ye.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 16:
The ba'-faced gowk they cried him
Geordie Pate o the Loan:
Dwelt aye at the back-en o his hoose
Nivver faur frae his neeps

Sc. usages:

1. A set of rooms in a building occupied by one tenant or family, having a separate door opening upon a common passage or stair, a flat (see 1776 quot.).Bte. 1706 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 577:
All and haill the forsaid tenement of houses back and fore high and laigh with shops chambers and pertinents thereto belonging.
n.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1754) I. 63:
They call a Floor a House; the Whole Building is called a Land.
Sc. 1776 A. Smith Wealth of Nations I. i. x.:
A dwelling-house in England means everything that is contained under the same roof. In France, Scotland, and many other parts of Europe, it frequently means no more than a single story.
Edb. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (3 July):
This tenement is at present divided into two dwelling-houses . . . The street-house is occupied by Mr Alexander Howden, merchant. The upper house is at present empty.
Gsw. 1846 J. Smith Working Classes 25:
A house near the entry on the first floor is tenanted by William Laidlaw. His one apartment measures nine feet by five.
Edb. 1880 Trans. Philological Soc. 109:
When a large building is erected, generally with a single entrance and a single staircase, and is divided into a number of flats, each containing two or more rooms, the whole building is called in Edinburgh a tenement, and each flat, consisting of two or three or more rooms, is called a house.
m.Sc. 1917 O. Douglas The Setons iv.:
At 171 a boy was lounging . . . [he said] “There's a Robison an' a M'Intosh an' twa Irish-lukin' names. That's a'. Twa hooses emp'y.”
s.Sc. 1957 Scotsman (4 Nov.):
Two Houses on the First Floor both subject to Tenants Rights let at £10 10s and £10, and a House on the Third Floor to which Vacant Possession will be given.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 16:
When me, him and the weans got a hoose o' wur ain
In a four-in-a-block in this scheme.
Edb. 2004:
Oor hoose is up a stair oan the second flair.

2. Combs.: (1) hoose-a-gate, adj., gossiping from door to door (Ork. 1957), used as a v. in vbl.n., hooseagettan, visiting each other's houses. Cf. (3); (2) hoosamenyie, -minya, hoose-menyie, an uproar, disturbance, quarrel (Ork. 1929 Marw.). See Menyie; (3) hoosamil, husamil, a road or space between houses (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1957), orig. from adv. hoosamylla [Norw. dial. husamillom, from one house to another, < hus + mellom, between], in phr. to geng hoosamylla, -husamilla, -hoose-a-mila, to go from house to house gathering news or gossip (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Cf. (1); (4) hoosavel, -vellyie, (a) the home-field, the field nearest the house (Ork. 1929 Marw.); (b) food or refreshment brought to harvesters in this field (Ib., Ork. 1957). [The second element is O.N. vǫllr, dat. velli, a field]; (5) hoose devil, see quots. (ne., em. and s.Sc. 1957). See also Causey, 6. (10); (6) hoose-en(d), the end or gable of a house. Gen.Sc. Also fig., as in Eng. dial., a stout or heavily-built woman. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (7) house-fast, adj., house-bound, confined to the house (Sh., Abd., em.Sc.(a), Rnf. 1957). Cf. (24); (8) hoose-fillinhouse-filling, house contents for a newly-married couple, including wedding presents; the act of putting these into the couple's new home; (9) husfolk, the inmates of a house (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1957); (10) hoose gaan, = (1) (Cai. 1957); (11) hoose-gear, household furnishings or equipment. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (12) hushad, housekeeping, management of a house (Jak., Sh. 1957) [Norw. hushald, id.]; hence hoose haddin', id. (Gen.Sc.), hoosehaudder, a householder (Gen.Sc.), in 1736 quot. one who manages a household; (13) house-heat(ing), a “house-warming,” a celebration of entry into a new house by lighting the fire and entertaining friends (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. See Heat, v.; (14) hoose-heid, the roof of a house (Cai., Abd., Rxb. 1957). See Heid, n., 4.; (15) hoose-hicht, the height of a house (m.Lth., Rnf. 1957), used fig. ironically of a person of small stature; also adv. and adj., in a state of great excitement or anger, “sky-high”; (16) hoose-hizzie, a maidservant (m.Lth. 1957); ‡(17) householdry, household utensils. Obs. in Eng. in this sense since late 16th c.; (18) house-lark, appar. the hedge-sparrow, Prunella modularis; (19) house mail(l), -meall, -male, house-rent, rental. See Mail. Now hist.; (20) house-pin, one of a series of wooden pins about 15 inches, put into the roof for keeping the simmens tight and snug, also used for fixing the pones to the divots on the roof (Sh. 1962); (21) hoose place, a situation as a domestic servant (m.Lth., Rxb. 1957); (22) house-side, fig., a big, clumsy person (Ags., m.Lth., Gsw. 1957). Cf. (6); †(23) housestead, the land on which a house is to be built, a house-site. Obs. or dial. in Eng. since late 17th c. Cf. Eng. homestead; (24) hoose-tied, adj., housebound, tied or confined to the house (Cai., Per., Rnf. 1957). Cf. (7); (25) hoose-turn, household task (m.Lth. 1957); (26) house-verdeen, husvirdin, (a) a servant in charge of the outdoor work on a farm (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., -verdeen); (b) a capable housewife (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), husvirdin). [For the second element cf. L.Ger. werdin, Ger. wirtin, landlady, house-wife, woman in charge of a farm]; (27) hoose wedding, a marriage conducted and celebrated at home (m.Lth. 1990s; Edb., Ayr. 2000s); ‡(28) hoose-wife [′husɪf], the house sparrow (Rnf. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 747); (29) housewifeskep, see Hizzieskip; (30) toon('s) hoose, -house, see Toun.(1) Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 62:
The wives o' the Hillwhy wha waar aye gaan a hooseagettan an' gossapan onywey.
Ork. 1949 “Lex” But-end Ballans 8:
For Chesso's a hoose-a-gate limmer, an' de spreader o' miny a yarn.
(2) Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.):
Hoosaminya was a term I have heard used when things were turned upside down for a cleaning up, for a wedding or any other upheaval. “Sic a hoosaminya,” I have heard it said.
(3) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 189:
The young lads banded themselves together in squads and went hoosamylla (from house to house), as maskers, commonly called gröliks.
Sh. 1952 New Shetlander No. 31. 27:
Shu ösed ta geng hoose-a-mila tiggin her bits o' needs.
(5) Peb. 1818 J. Affleck Waes o' Whisky 10:
Causey saint an' house devil, Wi' your wife ye canna gree.
Abd.29 1953:
When any of us behaved exceptionally well in public our mother used to say “I doot ye're a hoose deil an' a causey saint.”
(6) Peb. 1702 C. B. Gunn Linton Church (1912) 84:
George Tweedie saw Isobel F. come by Adam Heriot's house-end a little after sky-breaking upon the Monday before their marriage.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 17:
Frae's ain house en' unto the shore, He scoor'd wi' a' his mettle.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 60:
Whaur was he? Paumerin' at his ain hoose-end.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 131:
The brattle of the burn that gaed bye the hoose-end, could be heard.
m.Sc. 1924 O. Douglas Pink Sugar xxvii.:
A muckle blackaveesed wumman. A great hoose end o' a wife.
Fif. 1929 St Andrews Cit. (9 Feb.) 9:
They needna' wander far asklent Frae their hoose-end.
(7) Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 153:
O' ither wives wha ne'er were keepit hoose-fast, Like what she was.
(8) Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 235:
The wedding-flags were run up with cheers on the bridegrooms' ships, and the brides-to-be brought out their house-fillings from below the bed: the vases and pictures, the linen, the crystal and crockery which they had been saving bit by bit since they left the school, ... .
Fif. 1988 Alistair Lawrie et al. eds Glimmer of Cold Brine 45:
A day or so before the wedding 'Hoose-fillin'' took place at the couple's new home. . . . At 'Hoose-fillin'' the 'kists o' providin'' (the bride's bottom drawer) were placed beneath the beds . . .
(11) Sc. 1822 Scott Pirate v.:
She has held the house-gear well together.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes vii.:
The hoose-gear's a' to be roupit the morn.
(12) Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 79:
Wishers and wadders were never good house-hadders.
Edb. 1820 Anon. Edinburgh III. 16:
There was na a . . . decenter hoose-hadder in the toon.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 216:
Wissin' an' waddin' are pör hoose haddin'.
(13) Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 48:
At brydal shaw, or new house heat, We thraw auld age awa, Jo!
Dmf. 1825 Carlyle Letters (Norton) II. 316:
We shall need many things of that domestic sort; . . . It is like a sort of marriage; at least, it is a house-heating.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 15:
When the house was taken possession of, there was a feast — the hoose-heatin or fire-kinlin.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 119:
Flitting in at the back end, we had our house-heating on Hogmanay.
Hdg. 1889 J. Lumsden Lays Linton 72:
A large number of notes . . . were despatched to our neighbours, inviting them all to a grand “house-heating” banquet.
Per. 1896 D. Kippen Crieff 31:
On the occasion of some additions being made to the tanworks, all the men engaged had a use-and-wont jolly house-heating (i.e. drinking match) when the additions were completed.
(14) Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 219:
This aught-days I tentit a pyot Sit chatt'rin upo' the house head.
Sc. a.1845 Captain Car in Child Ballads No. 178 F. iii.:
As she was up on the househead.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 19:
There lichtit a corbie on oor hoose-heid.
(15) Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 118:
A man of (y)ae house hight, a man of no great reach.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 80:
“He's nae twa hoose-hicht mair nor I am (or me).” “He wiz hoose-hicht at the factor fin he set's fairm bye 'im.” Back-hicht and couple-hicht have the same meanings.
Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (18 Jan.) 3:
Are ye no through yet, ye nasty gude-for-naething callant! Jockey Tamson wad hae had the heap hoose-hicht by this time.
(16) Ags. 1899 W. L. Watson Sir Sergeant xiii.:
My house-hizzies are lang sleepers.
(17) Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds xiv.:
To judicate that leddies would be flinging householdry at ane anither's heads.
(18) Sc. 1747 R. Maxwell Bee-Master 23:
The House-lark, a little dun Bird with a black Bill, the Swallow, Sparrow, . . . are all of them Enemies to Bees.
(19) Abd. 1713 Fintray Court Bk. (S.C. Misc.) I. 24:
Isobel Smith . . . hath paid her yard and house mail 1712.
Gall. 1721 Session Bk. Minnigaff(1939) 375:
Lent to Janet M'Kie one of our enrooled poor to help to pay her hous male twelve pence.
e.Lth. 1893 P. H. Waddell Old Kirk Chron. 157:
Those who received regular help were called the Session's “pensioners”; and what they got was usually valued in victual and “house maill”.
(21) Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (7 Sept.) 3:
“I'm at the Berns, wi' Mr Simson — i' the hoose.” “Juist na. Then, will ye gang back tae a hoose place?”
(22) n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
“Sic a house-side o' a wife,” a woman as broad as the side of a house.
(23) Dmf. 1777 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (16 Dec.):
A Housestead at the townhead of this burgh.
Dmf. 1812 J. Singer Agric. Dmf. 595:
Each person who feus a house-stead is obliged to build with stone and lime, according to a regular plan.
(24) Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 30:
The wark afield was scarce an' short, An' I was hoose-tied by the ingle.
(25) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 67:
She had . . . gotten the common enough habit of muttering and confabbing to hersel' as she gaed aboot her hoose-turns.
(27) Sc. 2001 Herald 15 Aug :
In December 1974 he married Patricia MacLeod of Borrisdale, at the south-west toe of Harris, in one of the last old-style house weddings: 500 were fed at the tiny cottage.
Sc. 2002 Herald 12 Aug 12:
Harris beach and all the young folk were warmly asked. We may yet see better days; a return to the old house-weddings, merriment in the byre, festivities that last several nights, and are of ruinous cost only to the village hens.
Edb. 2004:
Hoose weddins are mair fun than thaim held in a hotel.

3. Phrs.: (1) doon the hoose, see Doon, adv.1, III. 36.; (2) house an ha', — harbour, — haul(d), one's all, every refuge (Abd.4 1933, haul). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. See also Ha, n., 1., Haud; (3) hoosie Fraser– Frazer, house of Fraser, rhyming slang for a(n open) razor (Gsw. 1990s) [f. House of Fraser, the department store (originally Glasgow-based)]; cf. malky; (4) hoose o' clay, the grave; (5) house to itself, a self-contained house (m.Lth. 1957). Also house within itsel(f) (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 168, 1827 Scott Chron. Canongate v.; Abd. 1957); (6) one's house at hame, one's home (Abd., Ags., Ayr. 1957).(2) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 27:
Root, root her out o' house and ha'.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 33:
No! though ye wad roup us out o' house an' harbour to quarter wi' the peeseweeps.
(3) Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 81:
hoosie Fraser House of Frazer, i.e. razor. Sometimes shortened to hoosie.
Gsw. 1994 R. G. MacCallum Tongs Ya Bas 69:
A razor in Glaswegian rhyming slang was a 'Malky Frazer' and the term dates to the twenties and thirties. The term was changed much later to 'Hoosie Frazer' which is what Glaswegians called the department store 'House of Fraser'.
(4) ne.Sc. 1888 D. Grant Keckleton 28:
Mony is the corp for whom these twa hands hae fashioned the “hoose o' clay” in the Keckleton Kirkyaird.
(5) Sc. 1776 E. Topham Letters from Edb. 12:
The houses are what they call here, “houses to themselves.”
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. 210:
Residing with her son, the advocate, in a “house within itsel'” at the bottom of Hope's Close.
(6) Sc. c.1770 Herd's MSS. (Hecht 1904) 180:
They'r a' nodding at our house at hame.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders i.:
Keep far ben in your ain hoose at hame when the Marshalls ride!

4. Curling: the circle round the tee within which the stones must lie to count, the Broch. Also used similarly in carpet bowls (Gall. 1909 Handbook Sc. Carpet Bowling Ass. 92). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1883 The Channel-Stane (Ser. 1) 50:
The stone draws past everything save the winner, which is knocked clear of the house.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie II. 113:
The eager onlookers were crowding uncomfortably close to the “house”.
Slk. 1897 D. W. Purdie Poems 98:
There's no a stane in a' the hoose.
Sc. 1914 J. G. Grant Complete Curler 95:
One of the chief points in the game. . . . is to get a good stone in the “house” — to “draw” — and to protect it when there.
Sc. 1951 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 301:
His mate helps him [icemaster] mark out the rink with a plank seven feet long. That scrapes a series of concentric rings as they press it round on a pivot. The “rings” Are called the “house” — more likely the “hoose” — one at each end of the rink, 42 yards apart.

5. The name given to a game of ball in which the ball is thrown up behind the thrower to be caught by the other players (Mry.1 1925). Hence (1) house ba', hoosie-(Bwk.), the game of rounders (Rnf. 1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) A. 175; Cai., Bwk., Dmf., Rxb. 1957); (2) housie meetie, id. (Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 116; Cai. 1957).(1) Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 33:
The “lassies' games” were skipping on the “jumpin'-rope”, the “House Ba',” the “pickies”.
Slk. 1893 R. Hall Schools 18:
What games we used to have at “hunt the tod,” . . . “fit an' a half”, “cuddy loups”, “crinky”, “weediway”, “loachman lo”, “hoose-ba'”.

II. v. 1. tr. To take or drive into the house, to shelter. Gen.Sc.; of sheep: to pen; intr. to take refuge; of crops, etc.: to store (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd. 1957).Sc. 1715 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 69:
But mony a pauky Look and Tale Gaed round whan Glowming hous'd them.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 400:
At ev'ry stack we meand to house, There with the currs he happed crouse.
Peb. 1838 W. Welsh Poems 35:
I [dog]'ll roar an' squeel, an' cock my tail As I were housin sheep.
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 27:
Inside o' its wa's the placie is wee, Tho' it's roomy eneuch for my doggie an' me, Whaur we hooze up at e'en, wi' the sun's sinkin' ray.

2. Vbl.n. housin', shelter, a dwelling, an abode (Abd. 1957), house property.Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 19:
O lassie will ye tak' a man, Rich in housin' gear an lan'.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Bwk. Bard 195:
I'd rather hae a cottage, . . . Than wealth an' housin' braw.
Per. 1957:
“To gie the sheep hoosin” means to bring them down from the hills to pens near the farm.

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"House n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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