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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.

TOD, n.1 Also toad, todd and dim. forms toddie, tody; toddo (Ork.). [tɔd, tod]

1. The fox (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 129). Gen.Sc., obsol. Hence tod-like.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 109:
Had the Tod Worry'd my Lamb?
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 69:
The tod ne'er sped better than when he gade his ain errand.
Ayr. 1783 Burns Death Poor Mailie 29–30:
O bid him save their harmless lives, Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 69:
We raide the tod doune on the hill.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xx.:
There's mony a tod hunted that's no killed.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xlviii.:
His tod-like inclination to other folk's cocks and hens.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxv.:
Fat's makin' sic a reerie amo' the stirks? Seerly the tod, or a set o' cairds.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxii.:
When a wife o' nineteen months rins like a tod frae her married husband.
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 21:
There's a tod aye berkin' when the nicht comes doon.
Bnff. 1949 Huntly Express (25 Feb.):
Any child of five in hill-foot districts like Glenrinnes, Glenbuchat or the Cabrach knows what a “tod” is.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 45:
Yae forenicht thro the Big Hoose rose-busses
thair cam on him a scabbit, hungert tod.
Nou he's twa tollies doon the birkenshaw.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 69:
Scalin alang the glen wis a lythesome linn o deer, a hale breenge o bawds, a fleerich o mappies, a kirn o creepie-crawlies an a hotterel o mowdies, tods, brocks an bantam chukkens.

2. Fig. applied to a person: a sly, cunning, untrustworthy character (Per., Edb., wm., sm.Sc. 1972).Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 46:
But Harden was a weirdly man, A cunnin tod was he.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xcviii.:
The ground of an action for damages against that tod o' a bodie Pitwinnoch.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Let. xi.:
A neighbour they caa'd Laurie Lapraik — a sly tod.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped vi.:
Take care of old tod; he means mischief.
Sc. 1924 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 101:
Yer men are stinkin' brocks, an' todds.
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie i. vi.:
The sly auld tod wadna hae tellt us, if Jeanie hadna let the cat oot o' the bag.

3. Combs. and phrs.: (1) either a tod or a fern(y) buss, a proverbial expression to indicate something about which the speaker has no particular interest in being more precise, something or another, orig. a phr. from the game of through the needle e'e, see Needle, n., 1. (5) (ii); (2) hunt the tod, the game of Hide-and-seek (Bnff., Abd. 1972); (3) the hounds and the tod, id.; (4) (the) tod and (the) lambs, a game played on a perforated board with wooden pegs, one representing the tod and the rest the lambs, whose object was by making certain regulated moves to corner the tod, a variety of draughts called in Eng. fox and geese (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd., Per. 1972). Also attrib. in tod (and lamb) brod, the board used in the game (see 1836 quot.), the game itself; (5) toddie's grun(d), toddo's-, tod(d)y's-, a place of sanctuary in a children's game (see quots.), gen. in a form of tig (Lnk., Ayr. 1972); (6) tod-dyke [ < Tike], a mongrel supposedly half dog and half fox (see quot.); (7) tod('s) hole, a fox's den. Also fig.; (8) tod-hunt, a fox-hunt. Hence agent n. tod-hunter, a man employed to exterminate foxes; ppl.adj., vbl.n. tod-hunting, fox-hunting; (9) to(a)d-i'-the-faul(d), (i) a game in which one player is encircled by the others with hands linked and has to force his way out; (ii) = (4); (iii) the game of Hide-and-seek, esp. when played after dark (Ags. 1969 I. & P. Opie Children's Games 154); (10) tod-lowrie, -laury, ¶-loorach, the fox (Sc. 1770 Hailes Ancient Sc. Poems 282, laury; Lnk. 1917 Thistle (Feb.) 39, -loorach). Now liter. See also Lowrie, n., 1.; the name of a children's game, ? = (9) (i); (11) todman, a fox-catcher (see (8)); (12) tod mittans, pl., the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) T.135); †(13) tod's bairns, fig., an evil brood, the offspring of bad parents; †(14) tod's birds, id. See Bird, n.1, 1.; (15) tod('s) tail(s), (i) the club- or staghorn-moss, Lycopodium clavatum (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 30; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 257; n.Sc. 1972); (ii) the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1972); ¶(iii) wild orchis (Fif. 1930); (iv) phr. to run tod-tail, in a children's game: to run in single file in pursuit of another player (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.); (16) tod's turn, a sly or treacherous trick. Now liter.; (17) tod-touzing, “the Scottish method of hunting the fox, by shooting, bustling, guarding, halloaing, etc., famous fun, without a regular plan” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 450).(1) n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
It's either a tod or a ferny-buss, i.e. it's something or another, no matter what.
(2) Slk. 1889 T. Kennedy Poems 185:
Where we “denned” in our wild game o' “huntin' the tod.”
Slk. 1893 R. Hall Schools 18:
What games we used to have at “hunt the tod,” . . . “fit an' a half”, “cuddy loups”, “crinky”, “weediway”, “loachman lo”, “hoose-ba'”.
Ags. 1917 Arbroath Guide (28 April):
We played “Hunt the Tod” till the echoes resounded, And flung back our shouts from the “Blaeberry Wood”.
(3) Hdg. 1886 J. P. Reid Facts and Fancies 99:
'Twas the wale o' them a', as I've heard callants say — “The hounds an' the tod tally-ho, tally-ho!”
(4) Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 51:
Some force, t'enclose the Tod, the wooden Lamb on.
Ags. 1822 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 659:
These last playing at the tod and the lambs.
Per. 1836 G. Penny Traditions 117:
Tod and Lamb Board was another game here, which was played on a board formed by four intersected squares of lines, three rows of holes in each square, in all 32 holes — for which there were 15 small pins placed on one side, and in the centre a large one, the tod; the small ones were the lambs. Between the holes diagonal lines were drawn which the lambs were allowed to traverse; the tod at same time moving in a similar direction: the object was to hem in the tod.
Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Macdonald Lass iii.:
You might take a game at draughts, or at ‘the Tod and the Lambs', with Mrs. Macdonald.
Abd. 1900 Banffshire Jnl. (10 July) 7:
Other children's games for example, the “Tod and the Lambs.”
(5) Gsw. 1870 G. Henderson Recollections (1914) 35:
Then there is “Tody's grund.” Undoubtedly Tody is the fox. Hence the triumphant shout, “I'm on Tody's grund. Tody canna catch me.”
Gsw. c.1900 Gsw. Evening News (21 June 1947):
“Toddy's ground” incommoded pedestrian and vehicular traffic alike.
Ork. 1923 P. Ork. A.S. 66:
In Sanday, a portion of ground at the “Dull” or “Hail” is set apart in some games as a place of sanctuary where a player cannot be caught. This is called Toddo's Grund; e.g. “I'm on Toddo's grund; thoo cunno catch me.”
(6) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 449:
Tod-dykes — Dogs half foxes, half common dogs; shepherds tether their het bitches about fox-haunts, and so this breed of dog is acquired; they are said to be excellent hunters.
(7) Sc. a.1789 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 85:
It gaed into the side o' a muckle whin bush, and into a tod's hole . . . “Ye'll be a' i' the tod's hole In less than a hunner year.”
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
Ilk hag, and den, and todhole round about.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption vi.:
Some tod-hole whaur the Doctor can ne'er get his clauts owre me.
Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 36:
By crag tops and tod holes and green prickly whins.
(8) Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Tales 161:
She's a famous mare, your Black Bess, Tam, I think she has been broke to the tod-hunting in her youth.
Sc. 1882 Standard (10 Feb.) 5:
The ‘Tod-hunter', who last century was kept in the Western Isles for the purpose of exterminating the foxes.
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers xvii.:
As gude sport as ever I saw at a tod-hunt.
Lnk. 1885 J. Hamilton Poems 303:
The tod-huntin' gentry aft cam' there to dine.
Abd. 1891 G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 212:
Formerly foxes existed in such numbers as to cause serious loss to the farmers, who were occasionally forced to seek the assistance of the professional todhunter. This respectable vulpicide — generally famed for his skill as a marksman — was the possessor of a ragged pack of all sorts of tykes and mongrels.
Sc. 1904 J. A. Thomson Reminisc. II. 154:
To go and have a tod hunt in the Highlands.
(9) (i) Kcd. 1849 W. Jamie Stray Effusions 65:
At trak-o'-the-barlie, or tod-i'-the-fauld, I only might catch you, when twenty wad by.
Bnff. 1894 A. B. Gomme Trad. Games I. 142:
“The Tod i' the Faul.” This game is commonly played by boys. Any number of boys join hands and stand in a circle to form the Faul. The boy that represents the Tod is placed within the circle.
(ii) Abd. 1837 Abd. Shaver (Aug.) 371:
Treasurer Crombie at the “toad i' the fauld.”
Abd. 1929 W. Littlejohn Buchan Cottar Stories 8:
The dambrod and that now forgotten game, the “toad in the faul.”
(10) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iv. i.:
As fast as Flaes skip to the Tate of Woo, Whilk slee Tod Lawrie hauds without his Mow.
Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess iii. ii.:
The lamb's aft rescued from Tod-lowrie's fangs.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxxi.:
Todlowrie, come out of your den.
Slk. 1824 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
The Snaw-fleck's father was called Tod-Lowrie.
Sc. 1845 J. Grant Romance of War xvi.:
Hunted in the hole like a yirded tod lowrie.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 121:
To see yer bonny todlin' weans Playing Tod-Lowrie on the greens.
Fif. 1887 S. Tytler Logie Town II. vii.:
“Todlowrie's worst enemy,” which being freely interpreted in King's English, meant the most daring rider to hounds.
(11) Slg. 1723 Balgair Court Min. (S.R.S.) 23:
To charge poynd and appryse alse much goods gear and other effects from the tennents as will pay James Walker, todman.
(13) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 329:
The Tod's Bairns are ill to tame. Apply'd to them who are descended of an ill Parentage, or curs'd with a bad Education: Such are hard to be made good or virtuous.
(14) Sc. 1717 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) II. 276:
I am grieved to hear the bill about patronages and toleration has been read, if it be not of another strain than I hear it is; it's ill taming tods' birds.
(15) Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 278:
Heather, amongst which that singular and beautiful ornament of the moorlands, called by the peasantry ‘Tod Tails' wound its green branches like plants of vegetable coral.
Ags. 1848 W. Gardiner Flora Frf. 224:
It is known here as “Tod's-tail,” and frequently manufactured into door-basses.
Ags. 1891 Brechin Advert. (6 Jan.) 3:
Ere green todstails adorned the rugged bare sides o' the hills.
(16) Sc. 1706 Sc. Antiquary XII. 99:
This will be very odd, for a Scots Parliament to do this, or Scotsmen to play their own Country sic a Tod's Turn.

4. A small species of crab, not identified (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.). Phs. a different word.

[No satisfactory etymology has been propounded. The word is first found in Early North. Mid.Eng. in the late 12th c. and in O.Sc. from the early 15th c. onwards (in place-names c.1250). The fox is conspicuous for the variety of its names, and nick-names, esp. in folk-lore, and tod is prob. one of these of unknown orig. O.Sc. has also tod-lowrie, c.1470, tod's birds, 1589.]

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



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