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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

SPEECH, n. Sc. usages:

1. Combs. †(1) speech-crier, a street vendor of speeches, one who hawked ‘last dying speeches' of criminals; (2) speechman, id.(1) Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 68:
Ilk haltin' hirplin' blindit fiddler, Ilk wee speech-crier, Ilk lazy ballant singin' idler.
Edb. 1870 H. Lonsdale Life R. Knox 109:
Speech-criers of the last horrid doings of Burke and the doctors.
(2) Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 1:
Wi' speechmen cryin', beggars singin', Loud was Aged Reekie ringin'.

2. Phrs. (1) to get in speeches with (someone), to get into conversation with someone; (2) to pit speech upo' (someone), to address someone, speak to someone. See Pit, v.1, B. 2. (24) (ii); (3) to tak speech in hand, to make a speech, to hold forth; (4) within speech of the land, within hailing distance of land, near enough the shore to communicate by voice with those on land. Cf. Cryreck.(1) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (8 July):
Man, Loard bliss dee, an' dünna get dysel' in speeches wi' her.
(3) Ayr. 1818 Kilmarnock Mirror 111:
Ane o' the elders o' the kirk teuk speech in han'.
Per. 1824 Harp Per. (Ford 1893) 248:
Donald he took speech in hand.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 20:
They were sure to tak' speech in han' an no let him away.
(4) Ork. 1775 J. Fea Method of Fishing (1884) 160:
It is well known, that there have been instances of Cod being fished here, to great purpose, within speech of the Land.

3. = Speak, n., 5.Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (13 Feb.) 334:
‘I wad really learn to command mysel',' said my uncle, verra gravely, ‘ye'll make us a country speech.'

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"Speech n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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