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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.

KES, n., v. Also kace (Marw.), kase, keuss, kioss, kjos, koos(e), kus; k(a)est, kyest. [k(j)es, k(j)ɛs(t); køs, kus]

I. n. A heap, pile, as of fish, sea-weed for burning, etc. (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1959); specif. a dunghill, or cess-pit (Ork. 1887 Jam., kaest).Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.:
Keuss (of sillacks), a number of sillacks put into some receptacle, and allowed to remain until they have acquired a game or spoilt flavour.
Ork. c.1912 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 20:
All the houses of Stenso in Evie put the ware in four kests or heaps, putting a load on each kest in succession, and the kests were then balloted for.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 97:
Dey wir juist a koose o' forks an' spunes lyin afore me.
Sh. 1954 New Shetlander No. 40. 10:
Shö shook da jackit an a koos a mochs fled oot.

II. v. Of peat or seaweed: to pile up for drying (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), kes, 1914 Angus Gl., kus, Sh. 1959). Also ppl.adj. kiossed, see 1914 quot.Ork. 1767 P. Fea MS. Diary (17 Sept.):
Sent Jo Hay and 5 others to kase and bullan what peats I had in the Calf.
Ork. 1769 Ib. (28 April):
The Tang there was kested thereon.
Sh. 1914 Old-Lore Misc. VII. ii. 74:
Kiossed heads were fish heads or small fish rolled in a cloth and put into a crevice of a stone wall till they acquired a gamey flavour. They were then cooked and eaten with butter and potatoes.

[Norw. dial. kas, kos, a heap, pile of things gathered together, O.N. kasa, to heap earth on (carcases, etc.), kǫs, a heap, pile, conflated with O.N. kǫstr, a pile, esp. of fuel. The phonology partly follows Sc. development. Cf. P.L.D. § 48.1.]

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"Kes n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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