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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCORE, n.1, v. [sko(ə)r]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. a mark, scratch, stroke, notch. Adj. scorie, -y, skory(e), scratched, notched, in comb. scorie-horned, fig. of a human being: wrinkled, scarred with age, old-looking (Bwk. 1950). It is uncertain whether the 1824 quot. belongs here. Phr. to draw a score, to make a mark or sign, esp. of the cross, in order to defeat witchcraft, to Sain.s.Sc. 1824 J. Telfer Border Ballads 44:
The hurcheon with its skorye [v.l. skory] chafts, As it gepit wi' gyrninge joye.
Dmf. 1826 W. Nicholson Poet. Wks. (1897) 78:
But he drew a score, himsel' did sain.
Abd. 1966 Abd. Press and Jnl. (28 May):
Ma han's are scorie-hornt.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 17:
Ma hans are scorie-hornt,
An fyles I fin masel
Skushlin ma feet, as ma midder did
Oot teemin the orra pail.

Deriv. scoreboard, one of the cross-rails fitted between the upright posts in the main frame of a loom. Cf. Eng. score, a kind of scarf or mortice.Sc. 1844 P. Chalmers Dunfermline 363:
The frame of the loom, which consists of four scoreboards, or connecting rails, two upper and two lower, to keep it steady.

2. A line, furrow or wrinkle in the skin, esp. of the hand as having significance in palmistry; a scar or mark left by a wound, a weal (Sh., n. and wm.Sc. 1969).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 65:
Whan she her loof had looked back an' fore, An' drew her finger langlins ilka score.
Ayr. 1785 Burns There was a Lad v.:
I see by ilka score and line, This chap will dearly like our kin'.
Abd. 1966 Huntly Express (7 Oct.) 2:
A lang reed score on his face.

3. The division or parting of the hair on the head, the Shed (Lth. c.1910; Slg. 1969).

4. A mark on the ground used in a game, e.g. marbles; the starting or winning line as in a race; the hog-score in curling, over which every stone must pass in order to count, see Hog, n.1, 2.; in pl. the game of lang bowls (see Lang, I. 6. (6)). Freq. used fig. Dim. scorey, scorrie, a boys' game (see 1956 quot.) (Lth. 1969).n.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
The word score is used for the mark, or end of a race, but most used at the “long Bowls”, which are sometimes called “the Scores”, because they make “draughts” or “impressions in the ground” where they are to begin and leave off.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 88:
Whatever meith atweesh you been before, I'm sure that I was last into the score; I hae his hand, his troth, an' what needs mair?
Sc. 1858 Royal Caled. Curling Club Annual 247:
You've mony a hog brought owre the score, My bonny broomy kowe.
Rnf. 1877 J. Neilson Poems 92:
“Ringie”, “scorie”, weel he plays — He's a dab to win.
Slg. c.1880 J. Love Antiq. Notes (1908) I. 60:
We hae played at “bools” or “scorrie”, At the rounders or the ba'.
Edb. 1956 Edb. Ev. News (20 Nov.) 6:
But “scorey” and “cuddy-loup” appear to have died. An empty matchbox and a concrete pavement provided the “pitch” for the former. Taking a line or “score” each, the opponents chipped the box along the pavement. If it stopped on the “enemy” line it was a “score”, each game consisting of six scores and ends being changed at three.

Phr. ower the score, fig., beyond the bounds of reason, moderation, propriety or the like. Gen.Sc. Cf. Mid.Eng. out of score, id.Abd. 1786 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 112:
She thinks ye hae ga'en o'er the score.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 62:
Bringing a sodgers'-band to their help, is gaun o'er the score.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 50:
Lest some o' the nickums should gang owre the score.
Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 157:
He gangs fairly ower the score baith wi' drinkin' himsel' an' treatin' ithers.
Gall. 1928 Gallovidian Annual 88:
Aye, that's a bittie ower the score!

5. A mark obliterating an entry in a book, a stroke of the pen scoring out a word, etc.Sc. 1727 A. Pennecuik Coll. Poems (1750) 84:
My Roll of sins hath got the Clergy's Score; A good Encouragement to sin the more.

6. A group of twenty-one, a score plus one, used in selling sheep, one being added to every twenty by way of discount. Cf. cladscore s.v. Cleed, v., 5., hog and score s.v. Hog, n.1, I. Combs. (3).Slg. 1825 Edb. Ev. Courant (13 Oct.):
Inferior kinds ran from £18 to £19 per score of twenty-one [at Falkirk Tryst].

II. v. 1. As in Eng.: to make a mark or cut, esp. in phr. to score abune the breath, to make a scratch or incision on the forehead (of a suspected witch) usu. with an iron instrument and freq. in the sign of the cross, as a means of thwarting her power (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Hist. In 1879 quot. transf. to an imaginary mark made on the supposed victim of witchcraft as a charm against illness.Rxb. 1729 Melrose Parish Reg. (S.R.S.) 157:
The minister read an act of the Synod against charms and scoring above the breath.
Kcb. 1760 Session Papers, Petition J. M'Clachery (21 Jan.) 3:
The Petitioner, having been taught that the Scoring a Witch (that is, the giving her a Scratch on the Forehead) is an infallible Method to disappoint her Enchantments.
Peb. 1814 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 797:
In the upper end of Peeblesshire a shepherd, being dissatisfied with the quantity of milk which some of his cows yielded, shrewdly suspected they were bewitched by an old woman who lived about fifteen miles from the spot. Scoring aboon the breath being the only remedy prescribed by the superstition which yet remains in that part of the country, for an evil of such a desperate nature, the owner of the cattle, determined to try the cure, set out, and finding the poor old woman at home, cut her severely in the brow.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 56:
Some luckie's been her cantrips tryin' A charm she's pitten i' the byre, Wi' saut or scorin' they maun try 'er.
Edb. 1865 W. Hutchison Tales of Leith 337:
We find a striking illustration of the “scoring above the breath,” in the Report of the Inspector of Prisons in Scotland for the year 1846 [for Rossshire].
wm.Sc. 1879 J. Napier Folklore 36:
I had taken what was called a dwining, which baffled all ordinary experience and therefore, it was surmised that I had got “a blink of an ill e'e”. The operator took a tablespoon and filled it with water. With the sixpence she then lifted as much salt as it could carry, and both were put into the water in the spoon. The operator then drew her wet forefinger across my brow, — called scoring aboon the breath.

2. To mark off or delimit. Phr. to score by, to set aside, reject, exclude, separate.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 86, 203:
This spak he, lippning Colen wad deny An' sae betweesh them score poor Bydby by . . . Whae is this lad has got of you the start An' frae the gentle fouks scor'd by your heart?

3. To draw the finger across the throat as a gesture of strong asseveration, sc. invoking the cutting of it if what is said proves not to be true.Sc. 1930 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 31:
Is it the truth ye're tellin'? Score yer throat.

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



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