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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LANG SYNE, adv. comb., adj., n. Also -sin; -seen (ne.Sc. 1960). [′lɑŋ′səin, ne.Sc. + ′sin]

I. adv. Long ago, long since. Gen.Sc. See Syne. Also in extended forms lang-back-syne, langainsyne [ < gane, gone] (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.), -frae-syne, -sin-syne (Sh., Abd. 1960).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 20:
Well, nae lang syne, fan our auld fouks were laid, An' taking their ain crack into their bed.
Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 141:
The thought o' bliss enjoy'd lang syne.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 11:
Let's do as did our sires langsyne.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel iii.:
It was just Laurie Linklater, ... that was my father's apprentice langsyne.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 53:
Again I paidle in the burn, But, Oh! it's lang-sin-syne.
Ags. 1897 in A. Reid Bards 105:
Fu' aft I think on bairnhood's days, Thae happy days sae lang-syne gane.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (14 Oct.):
Leebie tell'd Bawby an' me no very lang frae syne.
Sc. 1910 L. M. Watt Poets' Corner 128:
Lang, lang syne i' the Sea-toun.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 36:
Langsyne, afore my grannie was born.
Bch. 1929 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 130:
Lang seen news traivelt naeder fast nor far.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 22:
That's a holy place, I'm telling you. Famous men hae their photos on the walls in there, famous men of Drumsagart, wha in their day, lang-syne in some cases, played for the Thistle, aye, and played weel.
Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 56:
A springtime snawdrop, derkened b' an aik
She's spukken for langsyne
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 49:
Janet, the kitchen dame, wis the een that hid tae tell her mither that Peggy wis having a bairn and that something wid have tae be deen aboot it. The mither wint spare and the faither wis gan tae throttle Salty, but Salty wis awa lang syne.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 113:
Aince, lang syne, in ma halflin days,

Phr. nae lang syne, also nae lang seen. A short time ago. (Bnff., Abd., Edb., Ayr. 2000s).Abd. 1993:
It's nae lang seen at I telt ye.
Edb. 2001:
It's nae lang syne since ye had yer roots [of hair] done - an they're needin done again!

II. adj. Of long ago, of yore, ancient. Gen.Sc.Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 49:
An' yet the langsyne ploys fu' fain You lo'e to tell.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian l.:
In that single word there was more of her sister — more of lang syne ideas — than in all the reminiscences which her own heart had anticipated.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 33:
'Tis langsyne fauts, that puts me in a steer.
Clc. 1870 Alloa Advert. (7 Jan. 1922) 3:
Whup ye aff some langsyne sermon.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 15:
The plaided hap o' auld-warl' ways, The leisure o' the langsyne days.
Rxb. 1919 Hawick Express (7 Feb.) 4:
Jingo ring was mair i' ma line i' th' lang-syne days.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Lowland Hills 55:
We're needin' the torch wi' the lang syne flame.

III. n. The years of long ago, old times, memories of the past. Gen.Sc. Freq. in phr. auld lang syne, id.; the well-known song by Burns gen. sung at the break-up of a social gathering. Also attrib. See also Auld, 9., Phrs. (2).Sc. 1711 J. Watson Sc. Poems (1869) iii. 72:
Thou canst never once reflect On Old-long-syne.
Ayr. 1788 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 290:
Is not the Scotch phrase, “Auld lang syne,” exceedingly expressive?
Sc. 1808 Scott H. Midlothian xxxviii.:
I have a friend in office who will, for auld lang syne, do me so much favour.
Sc. 1823 Byron Don Juan x. xviii.:
As “Auld Lang Syne” brings Scotland, one and all, Scotch plaids, Scotch snoods, the blue hills, and clear streams.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 38:
The days that are past, the sweet days o' langsyne.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller 181:
We maun try and forget for the time the lang years that hae rowed ower us sin' we parted, and dedicate this meeting to auld langsyne.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 304:
Just gave me ane o' the auld langsyne blinks of affection.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Poems 2:
'Twas there, in langsyne, whaur we wore rashy mitres.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 190:
The delicious, though whyles, alas! dowie memories, of the dear auld days of langsyne.
Sc. 1892 P.S.A.S. XXVI. 379:
Perhaps it is not too much to say that “Auld Lang Syne” is the best known and most widely diffused song in the civilised world.
Kcd. 1900 W. Macgillivray Glengoyne I. ii.:
We hinna seen ye for mony a lang syne.
e.Lth. 1913 John Muir The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1987) 3: 
This auld-lang-syne story stands out in the throng of old schoolday memories as clearly as if I had myself been one of that Welsh hunting party - ...
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (3 June) 2:
In spite o' what grandfaithers say O' the grand Langsyne!
Abd. 1949 W. R. Melvin Poems 69:
Wi' Aul' Lang Syne we said gweed nicht.

[Lang, adv. + Syne. O.Sc. lang syne, long since, 1438, as a n., 1694.]

Lang Syne adv. comb., adj., n.

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"Lang Syne adv. comb., adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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