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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

RING, v.2, n.2 Sc. usages of ring, to make a clear metallic sound. Pa.t. werang (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 88), by confusion with Wring.

I. v. 1. Phrs. and combs.: (1) ring-gir(d) le-e'en, see quot.; (2) to ring a lood bell, to boast or brag (Lnk. 1968); (3) to ring bottle bells, — (the) pottle bell(s), to clinch a bargain by shaking hands with the little fingers linked (Kcd. 1880 Jam.). The orig. of the phr. is not clear but poss. refers to the ringing of a bell in a tavern to summon a bottle of liquor to seal a bargain; (4) to ring in, (i) of church bells: to increase the tempo of the strokes before ceasing to ring, or before the carillon gives place to the single bell, as an indication that the service is about to commence (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1968). Also in Eng. dial. Vbl.n. ringing in; (ii) fig. to give way, to yield, to abandon an effort or struggle (ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1968); to be near the end of one's powers of endurance, to be at death's door (Ags. 1968). Pa.ppl. rung in, having reached this state; (5) to ring on (someone), to nag, rail at, pester; (6) to ring out, to hold forth about, to make a great song about; (7) to ring pottle bells, see (3); (8) to ring the lugs aff one, to drive one demented with noise.(1) Rxb. c.1830 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 80:
Tradition informs us, that the night so many of the Danes were destroyed, the women roused the people to arms by ringing upon girdles to revenge themselves for the ravishment they had sustained, and that each woman killed her own ravisher in cold blood. The evening ever after was called “Ringgirle e'en”, and was kept as a night of mirth and festivity annually. At the present day, the sound produced by the ringing of the girle or girdle is the signal for the women to assemble to punish those men who strike their wives by ducking them in the village well.
(2) Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 39:
For what auld Mrs. Blaw-a-bit Aye rang sae lood a bell.
(3) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 22:
Boys, on concluding a bargain, linked the little fingers of their right hands together, shook the hands with an up and down motion, and repeated the words: — “Ring, ring the pottle bell, Gehn ye break the bargain Ye'll gang t'hell”. This ceremony was called “ringing the pottle bell”, and to break a bargain, after being sealed in this fashion, was regarded as the height of wickedness.
(4) (i) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlv.:
The bell only changed to the final and impatient chime when they crossed the stile; and “rang in”, that is, concluded its mistuned summons, when they had entered the Duke's seat, in the little kirk.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Bells are said to be ringing in, when, in order to stop them, the repetition of the strokes becomes quicker than before.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. xiv.:
The bell of the kirk of St. Serf had, for a long hour, emitted every discordant sound of which a cracked bell is capable; and at last intimated something like Johnnie Fow's fixed purpose of ringing-in.
Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.:
The kirk's rung in.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 94:
But noo the bell is ringin, in; To tak their places, folk begin.
Abd. 1913 W. R. Melvin Caller Herrin' 23:
The Church bell has rung in, and the service has commenced.
Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 63:
The jowin' bell is near the ringin'-in.
Fif. 1958:
We're late for the kirk — the bell'll be rung in afore we get there.
(ii) Sc. 1824 J. Wilson Tournay xiv.:
The deputy is, in a manner, rung in. His day's darg is ower.
Abd. 1825 Jam.:
A person who has made a great noise in his day is said to be ringing in when on the borders of death.
Fif. 1825 Jam.:
Rung in, applied to men or horses, that are so exhausted by running that they cannot contend for victory any longer.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 144:
He bravet it aff a lang time; bit he did ring-in at the length an' the lang rin.
Abd. 1889 Bon-Accord (27 July) 20:
I hid nae ither help for't bit tae ring in an' lat her tak' her gate.
Abd. 1913 G. Greig Mains Again 32:
I've jist come owre to tell ye that I'll hae to ring in. . . . I canna tak' ye.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 143:
Aw wis hardly able to haud tee. Bit wid I ring in? Na, fegs.
(5) Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 159:
Aye she kept ringing on me aboot it.
(6) Ags. 1893 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. xvii.:
“Oh, it is you who want the wife for Robert?” “Of coorse. But whenever I mention it to him he rings oot aboot anither coo.”
(8) Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle iii. vii.:
Damn their noise — they [the rooks] ring the lugs aff a man.

2. To deliver a resounding blow, esp. on the ear or head (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., n. and m.Sc. 1968). Deriv. ringer, a blow of this nature (Watson; Ork., n.Sc., Fif., Slk. 1968).Ags. 1962 D. Phillips Lichty Nichts 7:
My ears have been rung and cracked; and my “jahs” slapped.

3. Of ice or frosty ground: to give forth a ringing sound under impact or friction (ne.Sc., Fif., Kcb., Rxb. 1968). Hence ppl.adj. ringin(g), in comb. ringin frost, -storm, a hard and prolonged frost (Dmf. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 261; Ork., Bnff., m. and s.Sc. 1968).Sc. a.1800 Merry Muses (1911) 95:
Frost beneath my fit-stead rang.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 409:
“Ringing black frost”, a very severe frost.
Sc. 1849 A. Bell Melodies 32:
It is a common expression of the Scottish peasantry, in winter, that There's a ringin' frost in the air.
Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.:
Clear ice without snow rings under the curling.
Slk. 1897 D. W. Purdie Poems 97:
A ringin' frost the nicht befell.
Edb. 1927 Spectator (17 Dec.) 1088:
I dinna like this gowan-gabbit weather. A guid ringin' frost is faur better.

4. In ppl.adj. ringing: applied to a large boulder, phs. because of the sound given forth when struck (Abd.16 1937). See quot.Arg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VII. 206:
One of those pieces of rock, commonly called ringing-stones, supposed to be about twelve tons weight. It is not balanced, or capable of being moved by a small force, as these stones sometimes are, being firmly supported by two or three small stones interposed between it and the rock beneath; and, when struck by any hard body, it emits a hollow sound like a kettle.

II. n. 1. The striking of a clock, the stroke (Sh., ne. and m.Sc. 1968).Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings I. 62:
Be sure an' be hame by the ring o' ten.

2. A resounding blow or cuff, esp. on the ear or head (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., ne. and m.Sc. 1968).Lnk. 1887 A. Wardrop Mid-Cauther Fair 216:
I took him ane o' the awfu'est rings on the lug he ever got.
Kcb. 1904 Crockett Strong Mac xxiii.:
She would give the biggest boy in the school a “ring” on the side of the head.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 210:
I'll tak ye a ring ee lug.
Edb. 1958:
I'll gie him a ring alang his ears.

3. A single coin, in neg. contexts, sc. nothing which would ring on a counter. Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Eng. cant ring, money acquired by begging.Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop J. Mathison 89:
For me, I haena got a ring, You never met a drier weaver.
Gall. 1904 E.D.D.:
I care na a ring. No worth a ring.

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"Ring v.2, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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