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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TAE, n.1, v. Also tee (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. toe. See P.L.D. § 32. [te:]

I. n.

Sc. form of Eng. 1991 Lilianne Grant Rich in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 23:
Skirlin and lauchin, ilk wi spindrift weet,
At the waves' edge the bairns their taes try in

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. Combs. and phrs.: (1) tae-bit, the iron toe-plate on the front of the sole of boots (Sh., ne., em.Sc.(a), w.Lth., Lnk. 1972); (2) tae-breadth, -bree(d)th, the smallest distance possible (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 189; Sh. 1972); (3) tae('s)-length, the length of one's toe, fig. a very short distance (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I., n.Sc., Slg., Fif., Lnk., Wgt. 1972); (4) taeshod, = (1) (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.). See Shod, n.; (5) tae-stane, a tombstone erected at the foot of a grave. Cf. heidstane s.v. Heid, I. 1. Combs. (15); (6) to be tied by the tae, to have domestic or similar obligations, to be limited in one's freedom of action, to be “tied” (Bnff. 1972); (7) to brak one's tae, to over-exert oneself, to make excessive haste, gen. used ironically, as in quot.: (8) to fecht with one's ain taes, to be very quarrelsome (Sh., Cai., Abd. 1972); (9) to get one's taes chappit in aboot, to be rebuffed (Abd. 1972); (10) to have one's een in one's taes, to be completely sure-footed; (11) to hae the ba' langest at one's tae, to keep the advantage, to have the best of the game; (12) to turn one's tae, to set off in another direction (Sh. 1972); to turn one's tae whar one's heel stands, to turn round, to face in the opposite direction.(1) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlviii.:
Frae the nap o' the bonnet to the point o' the taebit.
(3) Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxii.:
His beasts war nae fit to gang the length o' their tae farrer.
Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling III. iii.:
If ony ane o' thae chaps offer to budge his tae length.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Let. x.:
No to be fit to walk your tae's length.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 67:
Ye're no gaun the length o' yer muckle tae oot here the day.
(4) Ayr. 1883 W. Aitken Lays 118:
Heelshod or taeshod and tacket and pin.
(5) Abd. 1877 G. MacDonald M. of Lossie vii.:
She can haud her tongue like the tae-stane o' a grave.
(6) Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (Rogers 1905) 209:
Send aff the men, and to Prince Charlie say, My heart is wi' him, but I'm tied by the tae.
(7) Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 14:
See an nae brak yer tae.
(10) Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 108:
Stoddart to quote his own phrase “had his e'en in his taes”; he knew the place like the palm of his hand.
(11) Ags. 1815 Montrose Review (5 May) 142:
There's nae sayin' wha may hae the ba' langest at their tae.
(12) Sh. 1902 J. Burgess Sh. Folk 65:
I canna turn mi tae whar mi heel staands bit what ye hae somethin' ta set i' mi rodd.

2. A branch of a field drain (Abd. 1792 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1889) 59).Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 428:
Where several branches meet near the head of a principal drain, which are provincially its toes or taes, . . . these branches generally enter it at an obtuse angle.

3. A prong or tine of a fork, rake, salmon spear, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Ppl.adj. tae'd, tae't, pronged, toothed, of a metal implement, having (a specified number of) tines (Sc. 1880 Jam.); comb. taed heuck, a toothed reaping-hook (Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C.).Ayr. 1785 Burns Death and Dr. Hornbook vi.:
An awfu' scythe, out-owre ae shouther, . . . A three-tae'd leister on the ither.
Sc. 1813 The Scotchman 103:
Down he fell an gat his oxter rippet up wi the taes o a graip.
s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 266:
He dung yin o' the taes o' the waster intil my leg.
Abd. 1906 Banffshire Jnl. (3 July) 3:
The dung wi' cleeks was put in heaps, An' spread wi' sturdy three-taed graips.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 21:
There's a tae awanteen i this graip.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 124:
Da tae o' an auld dreg.
Bnff. 1949 Banffshire Jnl. (1 Nov.):
A half-worn graip, its short taes (or tines) turned at right angles to the shaft.

4. Golf: the point or fore-part on the head of a club, the ‘nose'.Sc. 1857 Chambers's Information II. 695:
When standing too far, the ball is apt to be ‘drawn' or ‘hooked' — that is to say, struck with the point or ‘toe' of the club, in which case the ball flies in to the left.
Sc. 1911 Encycl. Sport II. 342:
To hit the ball with the heel or near part of the face, or the toe or farther part.

5. One of the thongs at the end of a tawse or school-strap (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; I., n.Sc. 1972). Hence lang-taed, with long thongs.Dmf. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 206:
It was the taes o' thy auld taws Dang i' my haurns the muckle AA's.
Edb. 1851 A. MacLagan Sketches 166:
A' tremblin', for the lang-taed tawse In auld grannie's leather pouch.
Fif. 1909 J. C. Craig Sangs o' Bairns 102:
“Sam,” . . . Wi's three weel-burnt taes, Oor palmies het.

II. v. Golf: to strike the ball with the point or tip of the club (Sc. 1911 Encycl. Sport II. 342).Sc. 1893 Longman's Mag. (April) 651:
They might toe or heel the ball.

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"Tae n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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