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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

POIND, v., n. Also p(o)ynd, p(u)ind (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 349; Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 20); poin, puin, pin(n); peen (Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (5 Feb.) 16), pein (Bnff. 1887 J. Thomson Speyside Par. 27). Pa.t. p(o)inded, -it, poin'd, pinn'd. [pɪn(d); n.Sc. pin]

I. v. 1. tr. or absol. Sc. Law, with a person or his goods as object: to seize and sell (the goods of a debtor), to impound, to distrain (upon a person) (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 211; Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 65). Also fig. Vbl.n. p(o)inding, the impounding of goods to be sold in payment of debt, distrain, distress of goods (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Poinding and warrant sales were abolished by the Scottish Parliament by a bill which came into force in 2002. Derivs. poindable, liable to be distrained, subject to poinding (Sc. 1808 Jam.); poinder, pinner, one who poinds, a creditor who distrains his debtor's goods, see also 2. Combs. multiple-poinding, see Multiplepoinding, n.; personal poinding, distress for debt. Phr. to poind the ground, “to take the goods on land in virtue of a real burden possessed over the land” (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 65).Ayr. 1700 Arch. & Hist. Coll. Ayr & Wgt. IV. 197:
Ordaines the same to be payd to his Lordship . . . with certification, if they failzie, to be poyndit be the officer therfore.
Sc. 1705 Fountainhall Decisions II. 282:
Other civil debts have the executorials of horning, poinding and arrestment for affecting the debtor's means.
Lnk. 1712 Minutes J. P.s (S.H.S.) 129:
In case the saids absents shall not have poyndable goods, to punish them in their person.
Gsw. 1716 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 580:
Executing letters of poynding the ground.
Sth. 1718 Trans. Inv. Scientific Soc. IV. 342:
Agravated by his poinding of a sick woman at the point of death of her very bedclothes.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.:
His Honour mauna want, he poinds your Gear: Syne, driven frae House and Hald, where will ye steer?
Ayr. 1787 Burns Address Beelzebub 37–8:
While they're only poind and herriet, They'll keep their stubborn Highland spirit.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
When the country side wasna fashed wi' warrants and poindings and apprizings, and a' that cheatry craft.
Ags. 1833 J. Sands Poems 26:
The whole sum . . . Wadna pay the poinder.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 744:
Personal poinding, that is, the poinding of moveables for debt, may proceed either in virtue of the ordinary letters of horning issuing from the signet, or on the decrees of inferior courts, as to moveables within the inferior judge's jurisdiction. The first step is to charge the debtor to pay the debt; and, the days of the charge being elapsed, the poinding may proceed.
Sc. 1886 Acts 49 Vict. c. 23 § 3 (1):
Any arrester or poinder . . . who shall be thus deprived of the benefit of his diligence.
Gsw. 1889 A. G. Murdoch Readings II. 18:
They [Sheriff officer etc.]'re stannin' in the lobby waitin' to “pin the corp” they say.
Sc. 1899 Scotsman (6 July):
Notes of expenses of carrying through sales under sequestration or poindings, and also . . . of carrying back poinded or sequestrated effects.
Sc. 1927 Gloag & Henderson Intro. Law Scot. 176:
The Act provides . . . “In Scotland the seller of goods may attach the same while in his own hands or possession by arrestment or poinding; and such arrestment or poinding shall have the same operation and effect in a competition or otherwise as an arrestment or poinding by a third party.” There is no analogous process in England.
Sc. 1993 Duncan Macmillan in J. M. Fladmark Heritage: Conservation, Interpretation and Enterprise 293:
His neighbours rally round him in the name of humanity, but are powerless as the bailiff and his men poind his goods in the name of the law.
Sc. 1995 Daily Record 14 Feb 24:
Alexander and Margaret Donald pleaded with a sheriff not to take the microwave - worth £25 - because it was their main means of cooking. The couple's electric stove was not included in a sheriff officer's poinding because by law the couple, from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, must be left with cooking equipment.
Sc. 1999 Herald 6 Oct 14:
Last year there were 23,067 poindings in Scotland, the bulk at the instance of Scottish local authorities for council tax, poll tax, and the like. Of these cases, 513 proceeded to a warrant sale. The great scandal of warrant sales is that they represent a legalised form of cruelty.
m.Sc. 2000 Christopher Brookmyre Boiling a Frog 322:
Her soul hadn't been so much sold as poinded.

Hence by extension, to steal, purloin, seize.Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods (1907) 157:
Whan theives brok' through the gear to p'ind.

2. To round up and confine (stray animals or the like) as surety for compensation for damage committed by them (see 1838 quot.) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai., Lth., s.Sc. 1966). Jocularly also applied to human beings. Comb. poinding-yard “an enclosure for stray beasts” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. II. 3.Dmf. 1708 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1890) 262:
A continual bone of contention between him and the Town, they daily poinding one another's Cattle.
Sc. 1771 Corresp. Boswell and Johnston (Walker 1966) 272:
This is but an unpleasant situation to be as we say in Scotland poinded at an Inn.
Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 132:
Hunger and cold force home the half starved cattle from the hills . . . and it is equally impracticable to poind these invaders, as to prevent their incursions.
Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 109:
For if they [hares] loup my dykes o' fail, An' eat my plants, or stocks o' kail, As sure as I'm a livin' man, I'll poind as mony as I can.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. vii.:
Their asses were poinded by the ground-officer when left in the plantation.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 745:
The poinding of cattle found trespassing on inclosures . . . does not transfer the property, but merely gives a right of detention to the person who seizes the cattle on his grounds, until satisfaction is made to him for the damage.
Sc. 1933 E. S. Haldane Scot. of our Fathers 292:
There was constant warfare between tenants over the “poinding” of one another's cattle.

Hence poinder, pinner, more commonly in deriv. poin(d)ler, pin(n)ler, an estate officer authorised to impound straying or trespassing animals (Sc. 1825 Jam.), now obs. exc. hist. since the enclosure of fields; in later use, a forester, one of the poindler's duties being the charge of hedges and woods (Id.; Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C., Mry. 1958). See also pundlar s.v. Pund.Inv. 1767 Gordon Castle MSS.:
The Badenoch people kept poindlers for preserving the grass at Aultanchraggan.
Inv. 1808 J. Robertson Agric. Inv. 197:
The guardian of the grass is sent forward to another shealing, whenever the families arrive at that destined for their temporary residence. This trusty servant, on whose fidelity so much depends, is called the poindler, probably because he has public authority to poind and confine cattle that are troublesome.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxiv.:
I'll . . . get my bit supper frae Ringan the poinder up by.

II. n. 1. An act of poinding, a distraint, seizure of goods for debt. Comb. poind-money. the money realised on poinded or distrained goods.Mry. 1751 Session Papers, Gordon v. Braco Information 60:
Illegal and unwarrantable Practices of seizing and exacting Poind Money for all Horses and other Bestial that may pass through these Roads.
Rnf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 120:
With the ransom or poind money [he] built that castle.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poet. Wks. (1897) 71:
A poind was ca'd, we maun remove, For saying things we couldna prove.
Ayr. a.1851 A. Aitken Poems (1873) 32:
May bankrupt villains ne'er divest You o' your hard-won earnings; Nor cruel beagles e'er infest Your doors wi' poinds an' hornings.
Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 63:
Glad to catch him with your poind and horn.
Ork. 1874 Trans. Highl. Soc. 41:
When the cattle so trespassing were poinded, and poind money taken for them, they thought it “hard lines”.

2. A pledge or pawn exacted in default of or as security for the payment of a debt, a surety, “that which is distrained” (Sc. 1808 Jam.), a straying animal which has been impounded. Also fig. †“a silly, useless, inactive person. . . . It includes the idea of being subject to imposition” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Phr. to drive poinds, to exact goods in lieu of money owed, to demand security.Ayr. 1708 A. Edgar Church Life (1885) 222:
His striking of a woman upon her refusal of a poynd.
Ags. 1719 Dundee Charters (Hay 1880) 159:
If the said poinds be not relived within three days.
Gall. 1727 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933 ) II. 71:
He could not obtain the expenses from the said Anthonys successors, who are poor orphans, and ther overseers unless he had driven poynds.
Inv. 1743 A. Ross Freemasonry in Inv. (1877) 34:
With power to them, in case they did not willingly come to attend the Lodge, to bring a poind equall in value to the fine instituted by this Lodge in the by-laws . . . Robert Nicolson absolutely deneyed either to give presence or a poind.
Sc. 1813 N. Carlisle Topogr. Dict. Scot. II. s.v. Priestwick:
Sometimes Poinds are driven, and executed at the Cross of Priestwick.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
Hout, he was ay a puir poind a' his days.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xi.:
I never was aught but a poor poind at speechifying.
Ags. 1934 G. Martin Dundee Worthies 126:
Weel, David, I think it would make a “glorious poind”.

3. An enclosure or building in which forfeit animals, etc. are kept, a pound. Combs.: poindfold, -fauld, pin-, poind-house, id. Also in Eng. dial. as pinfold. Hence v., poindfauld, to seize or impound livestock (w.Sc. 1929 A. A. McGregor Summer Days 338). Cf. I. 2. See also Pund, Pumphal.Mry. 1712 W. Cramond Grant Ct. Bk. (1897) 21:
Gregor Grant unlawed in £10 for breaking of ane poynd house and taking out of his horses, housed be James Grant for eating his cornes.
Per. 1754 Caled. Mercury (12 Feb.):
There are several Core Houses and a Poind Fold.
Sc. 1755 Session Papers, Gray v. Robertson (29 July) 29:
The Defender has been in Use these twelve Years past of poinding Cattle he found trespassing upon his own Grass, and detaining them in a Poind-fauld till he got Satisfaction from the Owners.
Arg. 1775 Arg. Estate Instructions (S.H.S.) 104:
Laggan has used very irregular steps in poynd-folding the cattle of Corkamile.
Dmf. 1811 A. Steel Annan (1933) 191:
They resolved to enclose the same with a stone dyke and to lay off a part of it for a poind fold.
Inv. 1884 Crofter's Comm. Evid. I. 127:
When the sheep are poinded, perhaps they will be two days in a pinfold before we get notice.
Ork. 1902 Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 25:
A man from every house shall attend at each poind on the public poinding days.
Bnff. 1902 Banffshire Jnl. (28 Jan.):
A poyndfold is a fold in which cattle were confined, as being poinded or distrained.

[O.Sc. poynd, to distrain, a pledge, 1249, an animal put in a pound, 1420 poyndable, 1511, pondfald, 1288, poindlar, 1583, O.E. pyndan, to enclose, from pund, an enclosure. The spelling poind [pynd] is an arch. legal survival from the 16th c. The O.E. n. form has given Pund, q.v.]

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



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