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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MINNIE, n., v. Also minni, minny, mihnny (Sh. 1898 Shetland News (12 Feb.)); mynnie; minno; ¶minnick. [′mɪni]

I. n. 1. Of human beings: an affectionate term for a mother (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Ags., Lnk., Uls. 1963).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 387:
Your Minnie's Milk is no out of your Nose yet.
Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Deposed 8:
Her minny crooks her mou', and dad.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam Glen iv.:
My minnie does constantly deave me, And bids me beware o' young men.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Cradle Song i.:
Now, baloo loo, lammy, ain minnie is here.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
Our minnie's sair mis-set, after her ordinar, sir.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Bridal of Polmood vii.:
Ane honest mannis wyffe and mynnie to twa bairnis.
Sc. 1858 E. B. Ramsay Reminiscences 78:
One boy, on coming late, explained that the cause had been a regular pitched battle between his parents . . . adding, however, with much complacency, “But my minnie dang, she did tho'.”
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xvi.:
If ye want the bit lass, afore Hector Faa's minnie ties him and her up ower the tangs.
Ork. 1922 P. Ork. A.S. 29:
Baa the bairns o' Bae-tun, For minno's awa tae Sae-tun.
Sh. 1954 New Shetlander No. 40. 20:
Shu's me bairns' Minnie noo.

Hence combs.: (1) minnie's bairn, a child overpetted by its mother, mother's darling (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags. 1963); (2) minnie's daut (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.), — dawtie, id. (Cld. 1880 Jam.); (3) minnie's-man, a henpecked husband; (4) minnies mouthes, “those who must be wheedled into any measure by kindness, coaxing, etc.” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (5) minnie's pet, = (1).(3) Lnk. 1806 J. Black Falls of Clyde 131:
Near him! you're just beside him: Were it Ann, You'd reach her sax mile aff — Poor minny's man.
(5) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 137:
Quite pleas'd in being dedd an' minnie's pet.

2. Of animals: a mother, a dam.Ayr. 1786 Burns To his Auld Mare v.:
When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, Ye then was trottin wi' your minnie.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xii.:
The very gair where it was lambed and first followed its minny.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 232:
Your minnie burdies ye maun lae, Ten to my nocket I maun hae.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 107:
I at my minny's duggs then hung, An' scarg'd about a foal.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 25:
The fawn blithely skips while its minnie lies doun.
Bnff. 1884 Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club 30:
There wiz three doggies, Trig, Tree, and Trimmick, An' filk wiz Trimmick's minnick.

3. A grandmother (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1963). Cf. luckie-minnie s.v. Luckie.Sh. 1894 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXV. 116: 
Da tüllie it da shicken-cock maed wi mam an' minnie.

II. v. Of a suckling: to recognise and run back to its mother; of a shepherd, etc.: to put each lamb to its own mother.Peb. 1772 Indictment of A. Murdison 3:
Four or six lambs broke off from the flock of eild sheep . . . and run to the ewes, and minnied or mothered themselves by sucking.
Lth. 1825 Jam.:
It is given as a proof of the accuracy of a shepherd's acquaintance with his flock, that, after the lambs have been separated from the ewes, he can minnie ilka lamb.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 294:
Sandy has fallen asleep and has letten away all the lambs — and they're all minnied again.

[O.Sc. mynnye, mother, from c.1500. Orig. obscure, possibly adapted from instinctive child utterances.]

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"Minnie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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