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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ROAD, n., v. Also rode (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 62), rod (Sc. 1834 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) IV. 207; Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 13; Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Clay Biggin' 26), rodd (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (15 May), Abd. 1932 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 104, Ork. 1949 “Lex” But-end Ballans 26; Sh. 1968); erron. roat (Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales 62), and dims. roadie, roddie. [rod; the pronunciation rɔd common in the 18th c. is still sometimes heard. Cf. Mry. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 396.]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a public highway, a metalled road. Sc. combs., deriv. and phrs., lit. and fig.: (1) road board, rod brod, a committee, orig. (1878) of a Board of Road Trustees and later (1889) of the County Council, which supervised the making and repair of roads in a county; (2) road-en(d), the junction where a side road ends in a main road. Gen.Sc. Freq. in place-names; (3) road-harl, a scraper for removing mud from a road (Slg., ‡m.Lth. 1968). See Harl; (4) road-injin, a steam-locomotive used on roads; †(5) road-money, a tax levied on the inhabitants of a district for the upkeep of roads; (6) road-ribbens, mud raked to the side of a road in the process of cleaning (Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 352, Dmf. 1968). But see Rib, v., 3; (7) road-riddens, id. (Ib.); ¶(8) road-stamper, jocularly, a wooden leg; (9) road-stoor, road-dust. See Stour; (10) tae the road, recovered after an illness, able to be about again (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968); (11) to get the road, to be dismissed from employment, get the sack (Gsw. 1934 Partridge Dict. Slang 701; Per., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1968); (12) to get to the road, to put into use or service, set agoing; (13) to tak in the road [where in is adv.], to travel along the road, to cover the miles, esp. at speed (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968); (14) to tak the road, to set off on a journey, to get under way. Gen.Sc.(1) Sc. 1918 J. P. Day Public Admin. Highl. 324:
A smaller executive body, limited to thirty members, was selected as the County Road Board, the Trustees retaining general supervision.
Sh. 1924 T. Manson Peat Comm. III. 249:
Dey see at da Rod Brod keeps da rods in splendid oarder.
(2) e.Lth. 1886 J. P. Reid Facts and Fancies 186:
Aften hae we spiel'd the dyke at the auld road en'.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chronicle (1 April) 2:
From Sprouston boat road-end.
Arg. 1947 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 126:
Whether he'd manage to join in the occasion even at the cemetery road end.
Sc. 1998 Edinburgh Evening News 23 Jun 16:
They followed him for seven-tenths of a mile, during which time he overtook a stationary bus depositing passengers and passed several farm road ends.
Sc. 2003 Aberdeen Evening Express 15 Nov 16:
At the road end, with Inverurie Academy on the right, go left and right on the path round the playing fields.
Uls. 2003:
I'll meet you at the road-end.
Edb. 2003:
Ah'll meet ye at Gilmerton road-end.
Dmf. 2003:
Ah'll gan as fer as the road-en wi ye but am no gonnae walk alang that main road.
(3) Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 280:
Road-harls, rakes, an' forks.
(4) Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 4:
A duist hyit jairgin things, an that menseless road-injin fair garrd mei girrl!
(5) Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 327:
There is such a payment as road and rogue money.
Abd. 1795 Powis Papers (S.C.) 353:
By work at Powis Bridge for Road money . . . By A. Wood collecting Roadmoney.
Sc. 1835 Report Municip. Corp. Scot. 48:
The tax which is levied throughout Scotland for maintaining the King's highways, usually denominated the “Road Money” is under the management of statutory commissioners in each county.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 277:
The collector of road-money sent his clerk to S. for payment of his share of that tax.
(8) Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings II. 128:
A prospective stick-leg, similar to the “fou” tailor's own iron-virled road-stamper.
(9) Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 66:
Road-stoor, here and thither wafted.
(10) Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 53:
Ye've gotten a gey shak, but maybe ye'll jist haud a wee bitty to the road again.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xiv.:
I'll seen be tae the road again.
Abd. 1960 Buchan Observer (9 Feb.) 3:
Or mornin' Luckie's tae the road Her ain aul' sel'.
(12) Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 146:
I took a snuff, an' then got the teapot to the road.
(13) Bnff. c.1930:
The foreman's pair took in the road at the mad gallop.
(14) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 13:
A dainty stirrah had, two years out gane, An' he was now well ta'en the rode him lane.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 71–2:
An' sic a night he taks the road in, As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
Ags. 1833 J. Sands Poems 71:
James his duds Reekt out frae bole, and press, and kist, To take the road amang the rest.
Bnff. 1871 J. Milne Poems 83:
The ase tak's road an' traivels up the lum.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 47:
We'll dae withoot ye, morn an' e'en, Sae — ye may turn an' tak' the road!
Slk. 1893 J. Dalgleish W. Wathershanks 26:
Ou began tae think aboot takin' the road hame.

2. An unmetalled track, a beaten or grassy path (Rs. 1929). Gen.(exc. wm.)Sc. Also fig. Comb. rabbit('s) road(ie), a rabbit's track (Abd. 1968).Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) II. 22:
There ran across this way (or road, as they call it) the end of a wood of fir-trees.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 27:
With the pleasant roadie she was ta'en.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 71:
Tak' ye my plan; that wimpl'd roadie keep, Down to the ford.
Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 30:
Stray daisies, interlaced with primroses and sweet-william, lined the roadie that trailed up to the door.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 10:
The roadie o' the fermer's thochts.
Ags. 1934 J. Angus Sheltering Pine i. iv.:
There's a roddie up the burn-side.
Cai. 1937 N. Gunn Highl. River viii.:
He chose his rabbit run or “roadie” near the crest of a rise.

3. A path cut by hand round the perimeter of a field of grain to allow a reaping machine to make its first circuit without crushing the crop. Gen.Sc.m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick i.:
The stuff was a' stan'in deid ripe, an' we'd gotten the roads cut an' a' ready to start.
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 88:
Ere the cutting in the ley began there'd been roads to clear all round the corn.
Mry. 1956 Bulletin (2 Oct.) 8:
Roads must be cut in every corn field and these roads are cut by a pair of hands using a scythe.

4. Mining: as in Eng., a passage in an underground working in a mine. Hence combs.: (1) road-coal, coal cut from the face at road-level (Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 662; Fif., Lth. 1968); (2) roadhead, the end of an underground passage at the working face (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 55; Fif., Lth., Lnk. 1968); (3) road(s)man, a mine official responsible for the making and maintenance of haulage roads (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 55; Fif., Lth., Lnk. 1968).(3) Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw 232:
We are re-laying the roads at the “bottom”, and I promised Sleepers, the roadman, to be down again to see how they were getting on.
w.Lth. 1929 Glasgow Herald (27 Dec.) 4:
A roadman in the employment of the defenders at their Furnaceyard Pit.

5. In locutions now obs. in Eng. or where Eng. uses way: (1) direction, way, course, the route over which a person directs his journey (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.). Gen.Sc.Lth. 1853 W. Wilson Ailieford II. xvii.:
I'm no gaun to force my road into a secret.
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 47:
What road are your going?
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick ix.:
Your kirk chuggin ye the tae road, an' your pairty the tither.
Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert xvii.:
The bull stoppit for a second, feel-like, an' syne cheeng't his road richt tae Allan.
Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ii.:
The brawest moon will not discover you a dwelling in a muckle wood, if you kenna the road to it.
e.Lth. 1972 Mollie Hunter A Sound of Chariots (1988) 138:
'But I never, I never! I didn't steal his peaches!' she protested wildly, but Kirsty only said urgently,
'Get your road oot o' here then. The Major's fizzin' mad. Away afore he catches ye!' and waddled rapidly back to her kitchen.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 16:
His eyes were gaun every road but me.
Fif. 1991 William Hershaw in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 169:
It blaws fae the Kremlin ower the Lammerlaws
And through the tuim heids o Burntisland fowk
On its road to Glesgi.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 9:
Being on the bike meant he could go the long way round to the butcher without losing any time, but it was on his road home, with the parcel of beef, that disaster struck.

(2) a particular method or manner of doing a thing, a way (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh., n. and em.Sc.(a), Slk. 1968). Also in Eng. dial.Abd. 1943 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 351:
It takes a deal of wit to make a fortune, be it by a book or any other road.
Abd.16 1951:
That's nae the road to dee it.
Ayr. 2000:
But I didnae say onythin tae her in case Ah hurt her feelings, fur she's no a bad sowl if ye tak her the richt road.

(3) condition, state (Abd. 1968).Inv. 1911 in Buchan Observer (10 April 1962) 7:
Everybody kens the road thit his stomach is.

(4) Phrs.: (i) a' roads, awroads, everywhere. Gen. (exc. I.)Sc.; (ii) a' the road, all the way, during the whole extent of the journey. Gen.Sc.; (iii) half-road(s), hauf-, half-way. Gen.Sc. See Half, II. 3. (2); (iv) in one's road, — the road, in one's way, causing inconvenience (to one). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; (v) mony roads, in many places (Kcd. 1968); (vi) nae road, by no means, in no possible way (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Ayr. 1968). Also in Eng. dial.; nowhere (Abd. 1968). Cf. Gate, I. 1. (2); (vii) on the road, fig. of a woman: pregnant (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1968); (viii) ony road, anyroad, any roads, onieroad, anyway, anyhow. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; anywhere (Abd. 1968); (ix) out of one's (the) road, (a) out of one's (the) way. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; (b) in the expression never out of one's road, having a capacity for turning everything to one's own advantage, always having an eye to the main chance; also not easily put about, of a phlegmatic or easy-going character (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Abd. 1968); (x) out of the road of, unaccustomed to, out of the way or habit of (n.Sc., Ags., Per., Slk. 1968); (xi) to hae one's ain road, to follow one's own inclination, take one's own way. Gen.Sc.; (xii) to haud the road, to keep going, to be up and about, freq. of convalescence; (xiii) to look the road o' to look towards, to recognise, take notice of, freq. in neg. sentences = to ignore, “cut” (n.Sc., Gall. 1968).(i) Lnk. 1880 Cld. Readings 125:
Thistledoon is aye dreadfully hard-up. He ticks a' roads.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 90:
The stuckies arna jist ma wale o burd; ... Thir burdlife keelies, impident an gash,
awroads thay flee aboot the kintraside;
lik reivers on a herryin, ....
Edb. 2003:
When Ah drappit that colander o peas they just went awroads!
(ii) Bnff. 1887 W. M. Philip Covedale ii.:
He never daur'd to say a word to her a' the road!
(iv) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Ye're like the gudeman's mother, ay in the gudewife's road. “I wadna see you in my road”. Addressed to one who under the pretence of working is viewed as merely impeding another.
Sc. 1876 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 146:
“I hope I'm no in your road”, says I, drawing my chair a wee bit back.
Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 37:
For criminal wark I wudna seen 'im i' my road.
Ags. 1895 J. Inglis My Ain Folk 24:
She sudna be i'the sheep's road.
Abd. 1930 Abd. Univ. Mag. (March) 102:
Aul' folk's nae muckle eese, an' forcier folk think 'em gey sair i' the road.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 42:
"Aye, he's ambitious that Bryce Blair and I wouldnae like to be in his road when he sets oot for whit he wants."
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 129:
'Ay, kinda. I was jist settlin in. Didna think there'd be anybody much comin by here at this time.'
'Oh.' Carlin hunkered down. 'Well, I'm sorry tae disappoint ye, but ye're right in the road o aboot twenty tourists that are headin up here in the next five minutes.'
(v) Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 43:
The crap on the Mains wisna jist sae feerious bad as it wis mony roads.
(iv) Per. 1705 A. Porteous Crieff (1912) 207:
Molesting all that came in his rode.
(viii) wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 12:
" ... Anyroad, you've plenty work on the rigs to keep you fae wearyin'."
Gsw. 1995 Chris Dolan Poor Angels 103:
And any roads, I won't be going to Torquay this year with Kitty - what with Kitty being dead and all.
Ayr. 1999:
Tell him onieroad! [tell him anyway!]
Slk. 1999 Jules Horne in Moira Burgess and Donny O'Rourke New Writing Scotland 17: Friends and Kangaroos 59:
Anyroad, this man came up the hill. He was bigger than a dot because we could see he had a jaiket ower his shoulder, holding it with his one finger.
(ix) (a) Abd. 1876 S. Smiles Naturalist 40:
Just gie him something, Maggie, and get him oot o' the road.
Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (27 Feb.) 3:
Kate's aye blythe to get me oot o' her road.
Wgt. 1908 J. M. Wood Smuggling 73:
My grandfather oot o' the road, my grannie went into the kitchen.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 106:
Lat's get dis swee'd head an' feet oot o' da rod.
wm.Sc. 1977 William McIlvanney Laidlaw (1985) 33:
'Wumman. Come oot the road.'
Gsw. 1985 James Kelman A Chancer 304:
But McCann had caught him by the shoulder and was pushing him on the way and he went staggering a couple of paces, catching onto a table, and two men who were sitting at it jumped quickly back out the road.
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 115:
For as long as I could remember, I had fantasised revenge on that fuckin dug for the savaging he gave my leg as a sprog. The animal learned to keep out my road, but I made sure I was never caught kicking him.
(b) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Used in a negative form of one who never loses sight of his own interest, who has the knack of turning every occurrence to his own advantage; as, “Happen what will, ye're never out o' your road”.
(x) Sc. 1717 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1853) II. 342:
When I am for some time out of the road of writing.
(xi) Abd.4 1931:
A wilfu' beastie maun aye hae its ain road.
(xii) ne.Sc. 1968:
I'm gled tae see you haudin the road again.

(5) the reason, cause. Abd. 1991:
The car broke doun and that's the road I'm late. He spiert fat road it happent.
Edb. 2004:
The road Ah'm no gaun tae the pairty is Ah hae nothin tae wear!

II. v. 1. intr. To travel on a road, to set off on a journey, to start out (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968). Freq. in pa.p. or ppl.adj. roadit, on the road, off on a journey, also fig. of a young child: on its feet, able to walk (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Ayr. 1968); on one's feet again after an illness or a misfortune, as bankruptcy (Abd. 1968); ready or prepared for any action (Id.). Deriv. roader, a tramp, a vagrant.Abd. 1865 H. G. Reid Lowland Legends 55:
A queer, rollicking, funny lump of a “roader”, and by his own story in search of work.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden (1922) 74:
I never like to turn back when I'm ance roadit.
Abd. 1922 Weekly Free Press (7 Jan.) 3:
Aw'll need t' be roadin' again.
Ags. 1945 Scots Mag. (April) 41:
It's time we were roadit. Guid nicht.
Abd. 1950 Huntly Express (29 Dec.):
Their parents rose at three o'clock and got everyone, as they said, roadit tae thrash wi' the flail.
Abd. 1964 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 456:
On Sunday I had to get “roddit”for the Sunday school and kirk.

2. tr. To send someone off (on an errand) to direct on to a specific road (Abd., Ags., 1968).Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 25:
Roadin' him on a wild-goose eeran aifter a calf.
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song (1937) 173:
The horses, glad to be roaded up to Blawearie.

3. To make a pathway through, to beat a track in (Sc. 1880 Jam., rod(d)). Cf. I. 3.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 145:
The fouck hae roadit a' the eyn-rig. The hares hae roadit the corn.

4. Of game: to run along the ground in front of a gundog instead of taking wing (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Sic, but phs. a misunderstanding of Eng. road, applied to a game-dog following birds on the ground.

5. To dress a millstone, to cut grooves or roads in it.Edb. 1759 Edb. Chronicle (12 April):
Robert Gordon has been employed by the corporation of Bakers in Glasgow, to new road the stones of one of their flour mills. . . . The stones are so far improved, by this new method, as to exceed, in most respects, one of our best mills roaded in the ordinary way.

[The form road (from O.E. rād) is a 16th-c. borrowing from Eng., the hist.Sc. form being Raid, q.v.]

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"Road n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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