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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.

LOAN, n.1, v. Also lone, ¶loun. Dims. loanie (Ags. 1947 J. B. Salmond Toby Jug iii.), loaney (Uls. 1901 Northern Whig). [lo:n]

I. n. 1. Orig., before the enclosing of fields, a strip of grass of varying breadth running through the arable part of a farm and freq. linking it with the common grazing ground of the community, serving as a pasture, a driving road and a milking place for the cattle of the farm or village and as a common green (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1910 C. C. Russell People and Lang. 23; Per., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sc. 1953 B. M. W. Third Rural Geog. Sc. Lowlands (Edb. Univ. Thesis) Gl.). Freq. in place-names as Dobbie's Loan (Gsw.), Lovers' Loan (Edb.), The Tinks' Loan (St Andrews), Langloan (Coatbridge). Also in n.Eng. dial.Abd. 1713 Third S. C. Misc. I. 25:
The said George Grub shall caw his cattell on ane old common loan.
Arg. 1715 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report V. 619:
I came to the end of Loch Dochart earlie in a morning, and the shouldiers being cold made great fires on the first loun we came to.
Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 72:
Milk het frae the Loan.
Gsw. 1725 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 243:
Bridge joyning the two Cowloans, bridge at Langsyde Loan, Cathcart Loan bridge.
Sc. 1736 Pilulae Spleneticae 37:
If they [calves] take it of their mother, they'll be loud in the lone, and they say that makes a bad milk-cow.
Abd. 1755 Lord Glenbervie Diaries (Bickley 1928) II. 351:
The school house of Foveran stood at the edge of a common or open green, called in Scotland a loan.
Ork. 1772 P. Fea MS. Diary (Aug.):
My Mowers begun to the loan, being in the meadow from Tewsday.
Slg. 1773 Reports to Lord Commissioners relative to Rivers Forth, etc. 30:
Cornton lone; this lone is an artificial excavation, of sufficient breadth, considerably lower than the adjacent fields.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 234:
The kye stood rowtin i' the loan.
Gall. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 59:
Kimmer can milk a hale loan o' kye.
Rxb. 1820 Scots Mag. (June) 533:
At Allanhaugh, a small village (the vestiges of which only now remain) in the upper parts of Tiviotdale, the devil was seen regularly every Saturday evening, walking along the loan.
Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 62:
Or gin the carl play'd to weddin's o' the lone.
Lnk. 1841 Justiciary Reports (1842) 634:
In or near a bye-road or loan leading from the Old Town of Airdrie aforesaid, to a field called Lady Well Park.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Tod had his dwallin' in the lang loan.
em.Sc. 1920 J. Black Airtin' Hame 170:
On a foggy day he sat in the shelter of a “fail” dyke at one side of an old drove loan.
Ags. 1923 V. Jacob Songs Ags. 32:
The kirkyaird loan alang the brae Was choked wi' brier and whin.
m.Sc. 1928 O. Douglas Ann and her Mother 130:
A stranger in a strange land, or, as Marget put it “a coo on an unco loan”.

Combs., deriv. and phr.: (1) loan-end, the end of a loan, the point where lanes end or meet (Uls. 1910 C. C. Russell People and Lang. 23; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.(exc. I.) Sc. Common in place-names; (2) loan-head, the top end of a loan. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Freq. in place-names, as of farms; †(3) loanie, milk, esp. when warm from the cow and newly strained (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obs.). Cf. (4); (4) loan-soup, milk fresh from the cow, “given to strangers when they come where they are a-milking”; (5) to the loan, to the street, i.e. to ruin, bankruptcy, or beggary. Cf. Doggerlone; (6) toun-loan, the loan of a Toun or farm or of a group of rural cottages, the green of a hamlet.(1) Rxb. 1768 Session Papers, Buccleugh v. Turnbull etc. (10 March) 36:
When they brought the Black-cattle to the Loan-end, they sent in the Herd's Servant to acquaint the Baillies.
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy xxxvii.:
There's a lad wantin' to see her at the loan end.
Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 57:
An' voices at the saft loan en' Are mingling wi' the clank o' quoits.
(2) Sc. 1711 Edb. Ev. Post (5 April):
A good Farm-Room, called the Loan-head of Kirkliston.
Rxb. 1764 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1916) 4:
He may have taken in a piece of the loan-head by that dyke.
Ags. 1815 G. Beattie Poems (1882) 185:
The Dame wha gae him sic a fright, An' frae the Loan-head took her flight.
Gsw. 1865 J. Young Homely Pictures 15:
I saw them reach the howe loan-head, An' mak' to cross the fuird.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-head 5:
Sweetly chanted an individual at the loan head to some sheep drovers.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 125:
There's a bogle by the bour-tree at the lang loan heid.
(4) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 371:
You are as white as a loan Soup. Spoken to Flatterers who speak you fair, whom the Scots call White Folk.
(5) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xciii.:
Nobody says or thinks that it was idleset which brought you to the lone.
Gsw. 1865 J. Young Homely Pictures 155:
He maun patiently wait on, Or turn his tenant to the lone.
(6) Abd. 1750 T. Mair Ellon Records (1898) 391:
His wife running out of the house and making a noise upon the Town lone.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
A small hamlet consisting of about half a dozen unpretending edifices … with an old fashioned “toon loan” fringed by a few large … trees. At the top of the loan was a very rustic looking schoolhouse and one or two small “rape-thackit” cottages.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 89:
She was skelpin' barfit throu' the toon loan.

2. Specif.: the part of a farm ground or roadway which leads to or adjoins the house (Arg.1 1937; ne.Sc., Per. 1961).Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie x.:
Several … lads … were standing at the end of the loans which led to the farms where they were as herds or as ploughmen.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 44:
When I was sayin' “Goodbye” the streen, … The wife at the mou' o' the loan an' me.
Abd. 1926 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 112:
Ma fader aye thocht 'at a close mou made a wise heid, sae he said naeder echie nor ochie, bit jist clappit on his bonnet and set awa' doon the loan.

3. A street or roadway, a lane (Sc. 1825 Jam.); specif. that part of the street between the middle of the road and the houses on either side where there were no pavements. (Ags. 1990s; Ork., Bnff., Fif., Gsw., Edb., Ayr. 2000s). Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xv.:
The proprietors paved the spaces of ground between their steadings and the crown of the causey; the which spaces were called lones, and the lones were considered as private property. … The carts and carriages made no hesitation of going over the lones instead of keeping the highway in the middle of the street.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 74:
Skirling lassocks are playing at hespy on the stairs or the peever on the loans.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 35:
The other two examples are both in the High Street, and one must hope that some good citizens will put them beyond the mis-chances of private enterprise and official interference. Up a loan there is Thunderton House, that was once the town residence of a Dunbar, one of the lairds of these parts.
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 129:
That first morning I took the car right round to Bath Street, and walked along to the front entrance of the college, but later on I was brave enough and knowledgeable enough to come off at West Nile Street and cut through the lone, which saved a good two or three minutes while the tram was held up at the lights.

II. v. To drive or pasture cattle, as on a loan.Peb. 1710 Burgh Rec. Peb. (B.R.S.) 179:
The Magistrats and counsell, considering the great abuse … in abuseing and stealling of their pease, and loaning doune their yeards.
Sc. 1712 Atholl MSS. (5 Sept.):
Since the arbiteres have not determined the precise bounds of the loaning, your Grace, or thos haveing right from you, may in the mean tyme continow to lone above the head dykes in the way that seemes most convenient.

[O.Sc. lǫne, 1410, = 1., O.E. lone, a road, street, the same word as Eng. lane, which approximates to meaning 1. above. In Sc. lane is not applied, as in Eng., to a country road enclosed by banks or hedges.]

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"Loan n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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