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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.

RUNCH, n.1 Also runsh; rounce; and dim. forms runchech, runcheck (Ork. 1887 Jam., Ork. 1968), runchick (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Book (Tait) I. 85), runshick (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 190), runshuk; runsick (Ork. 1887 Jam.); runshag (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1968); runsho(o) (Ork.5 1950, Ork. 1968); runchie (Sc. 1807 G. Chalmers Caledonia II. 936), runshie (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Book (Tait) I. 85); runsie (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 190); ¶rungy (Sh. 1845 T. Edmonston Flora Sh. 25), runjee (Sh. 1899 Shetland News (8 April)). The wild radish, Raphanus raphanistrum (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 21, 1935 J. Burgess Flora Mry. 4; I., n., em.Sc., Wgt., s.Sc. 1968), found as a weed in cornfields and gen. distinguished from the wild mustard, Sinapis arvensis, or Skelloch, q.v., but some confusion in terminology exists because of the similar appearance of the two plants when in flower (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 262; ne. and m.Sc. 1968). Also attrib. Applied occas. to the garlic treacle-mustard, Erysimum alliaria (Rxb. 1863 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 41), and to the wild turnip, Brassica campestris. In s.Sc. the varieties are distinguished as rough runch, the wild radish, and yellow runch, the wild mustard (Rxb. 1863 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 40, 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in n.Eng. dial. [rʌnʃ, Sh. ′rʌnʃɪ(k), Ork. ′rʌnʃo]Sc. 1747 R. Maxwell Bee-Master 71:
There are two Sorts of wild Mustard. Skeldocks yield Yellow, Runches very white Honey.
Ayr. 1774 Sc. Farmer II. 143:
The wild mustard, and wild turnip, called by the farmers here Rounces.
Ork. 1775 J. Fea Present State (1884) 57:
A kind of wild mustard, commonly called Runchech.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 415:
Runches — White roots, common among ploughed land; swine are fond of them, but farmers not.
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 233:
That is the Skellock, or birds' seed, or wild mustard. . . . There are two distinct species of it: one very pernicious, which by way of distinction is called the runsh.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 36:
Reerd on a Runshick — Born in a Spittal. The Beast i here alude to is a gleg.
Bwk. 1908 A. Thomson Coldingham 285:
Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), also known as “Wild Mustard,” “Runches,” and“Skellies”.
Abd. 1923 J. Hunter MS. Diary (23 Aug.):
Cut some of the endrige below turnips it was mostly runch.

Comb.: runchie week, the first week in May, when this weed is springing (see quot.).Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale 6:
There are amongst them, that will not suffer the Wrack to be taken out of their Land, because (say they) it keeps the Corn warm, nor sow their Bear Seed be the Season wet or dry, till the first Week of May be over, which they call Runchie Week.

[Origin obscure. O.Sc. ruinch, ruinscheoch, a.1585.]

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"Runch n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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