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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SWINE, n. Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., now only dial., sing. and pl.: a pig, pigs (Sc. 1800 Monthly Mag. I. 237; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc.

2. Phrs.: (1) speaking of swine, used parenthetically = incidentally, by-the-bye. The expression seems to have originated, like so many more of Carlyle's usages, in some private joke in the Carlyle household: (2) the swine fell, gaed, will gae, had gane, run, been driven, etc. through it, of an affair coming to nothing, being completely ruined, falling through, appar. from the superstitious notion that a pig running loose in the midst of a company, a celebration, or the like, is a bad omen for the outcome (Ork., Mry., Dmf. 1972, -run-).(1) e.Lth. 1823 Love Letters T. Carlyle (1909) I. 199:
“Speaking of swine”, a very ludicrous and rather annoying circumstance occurred to me the other day.
(2) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 330:
“The swine's gone through it”; spoken when an intended Marriage is gone back, out of a superstitious Conceit, that if a Swine come between a Man and his Mistress, they will never be married.
Sc. 1723 W. Fraser Bk. Carlaverock (1873) II. 349:
There is so much to doe about the thoker good that she is affraid the swine will run through it.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxvi.:
If it's within the compass o' a possibility, get the swine driven through't or it may work us a' muckle dule.
Sc. 1829 E. Logan Restalrig xiv.:
It was yere honour's ain blame that the swine had gane through it.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 104:
It looks like it was comin near the bit noo, if “the swine dinna rin through't.”
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 130:
To signify that an undertaking had failed there was used the proverb, “The swine hiz gane throw't,” or “The swine hiz gane thro the kail.”
Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie and Madge 126:
The swine aye fell through't, for I've never been at ony o' thim yet.
Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 108:
The swine gaed through her waddin.

3. Combs.: (1) swine('s)-arnot, -nut, -nit, tall oat-grass, Arrhenatherum elatius, esp. its tuberous roots (Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica I. 105, swines-, 1808 Jam.: Abd. 1972). See Arnit, n.1; also given as marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris, which has also tuberous buds on its roots (Bnff. 1812 D. Souter Agric. Bnff. App. 38); (2) swine-beads, the tall oat-grass. Arrhenatherum elatius (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1972). See (1) and (4); (3) swine-bread, the pig-nut, Bunium flexuosum (Inv. 1886 B. & H. 461; Fif. 1972); (4) swine-butty, (2) (Ork. 1929 Marw.); (5) swine-crub, a pig's trough. See Crub, n.2; (6) swine-crue, -cru(ive), -cray, a pig-sty (Dmf. 1920; em.Sc. 1972). See Crue, Cruive; (7) swine-fish, the wolf-fish, Anarrhichas lupus (Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl.); ¶(8) swine-gotten, begotten by a pig, as an abusive epithet; (9) swine's grass, the common knot-grass, Polygonum aviculare (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 173). Obs. in Eng.; (10) swine-meat, pig-swill, hog-wash (Ork., ne. and m.Sc. 1972); (11) swine's mosscorts, the marsh betony or woundwort, Stachys palustris (Sc. 1808 Jam.). See Maskert and (1) above; (12) swine's murri(c)ks, the name given to various plants in Sh., gen. the tall oat-grass, Arrhenatherum elatius (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 211, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972). Cf. (1); also the vernal squill, Scilla verna, “probably the oldest application”, ‡the silverweed, Potentilla anserina, ‡the marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. (Tait) I. 86; (13) swine-pig, a pig, a swine (Kcb. 1972); (14) swine-pot, a pot in which pigs' food is boiled (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork., Abd., Kcb. 1972); (15) swine-ree, a pig-sty (Cld. 1880 Jam., s.v. Ree). See also Ree, n.1, 3.; (16) swine('s) saim, -saem, ¶-ceme, lard, pig's fat (Sc. 1825 Jam.; n., em.Sc. (a), Lnk., s.Sc. 1972). See also Same, n.1; (17) swine-shott, a young pig (Kcb. 1972). See also Shott; (18) swine-th(r)issle, -thristle, the sow-thistle, Sonchus oleraceus (Gall. 1814 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 104; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 117, also in dim. form swinies; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1972); (19) swine-ward, a grassy enclosure on which pigs are kept. Cf. calf-ward s.v. Cauf, n.1, 3. (9).(1) Abd. 1735 J. Arbuthnot Buchan Farmers (1811) 12:
Quicken, swine-arnot, or other such spreading roots.
Sc. 1800 Farmer's Mag. I. 271:
That pernicious weed, provincially called knot-grass, or swine-arnol [sic].
Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 639:
The avena elatior, now holcus avenaceus, or swine's arnut.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick vi.:
Herbs of the field such as “soorocks” and “swine's arnits”.
(5) Abd. 1781 Session Papers, Davidson v. Sharp (22 June) 9:
A pair of cart-hems, and two swine-crubs.
(6) Edb. 1825 R. Chambers Traditions I. 180:
Under these projections [fore-stairs] our ancestors kept their swine . . . frequently denominated swines' cruives.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 73:
Sittin' on the tap spar o' the swine-cru.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon ii.:
Parents who bring up their bairns as if they lived in a swine-cray.
(7) Ork. 1805 G. Barry Hist. Ork. 294:
The wolf-fish, here the swine-fish, an ugly animal, is often found in our seas.
(8) Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xiv.:
Just as I was sae bonnily banging thae swine-gotten tag-a-busses.
(10) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 286:
He use't it for a kin' o' laidle tae serve the swine-meat wi.
(13) Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 258:
He had wee blue een set deep in his head like a swine-pig.
(15) Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 211:
A newly begun pig-stye or swine-ree.
(16) Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. (1877) 85:
Retailing swine-seam, brimstone, and louse-traps to the folks of Bithergirse.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 32:
I greez'd Her horls wi Swynes-Ceme.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 202:
A small piece of swine-saem or lard.
(17) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 332:
Stots, an hoggs, an swine-shotts.
(19) Bwk. 1758 Summons of Reduction Swinton v. Russell (20 June) 25:
If the pursuer did not take off his lock from his swine-ward, he would strike off the same.

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"Swine n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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