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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WADE, v., n.1 Also wed (Ork. 1910 Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 31), wedd (Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 48, Sh. 1973); wad (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 51, Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 192; Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 49; Ork. 1929 Marw.), waud (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); wide (Sc. 1774 Survey Assynt (S.H.S.) 56, 1783 Child Waters in Child Ballads No. 63. B.v.; Per. 1817 A. Buchanan Rural Poetry 19; Edb. 1866 J. Smith Merry Bridal 35, Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 115; s.Sc. 1904 W. G. Stevenson Glen Sloken 111; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; ne.Sc., Bwk. 1973); wyde (Inv. 1905 J. Fraser Reminiscences 153, wm.Sc. 1906 H. Foulis Vital Spark xii., Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 14), weyd (Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 47). Sc. forms and usages. [wed; n. and m.Sc. + wəid; Ork., Ayr., Gall. + wɑd]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. as above; pa.t. weak wadit, waddit, reduced forms wad (ne. Sc. 1828 Knight's Ghost in Child Ballads No. 265 xiii.), wade (Edb. 1796 H. Macneill Waes o' War 8; Sc. 1800 Thomas Rymer in Child Ballads No. 37. A. vii.); strong widd (Sc. 1715 News Letters 1715–16 (Steuart 1910) 59); pa.p. weak wadit; strong wid (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 73), widden (Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife xviii.; ‡ne.Sc. 1973), wooden (s.Sc. 1830 Thomas Rymer in Child Ballads No. 37. B. vi.).Abd. 1993:
I doot ye'll hae tae wyde ower e burn.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 1:
... the hey haughs an corn parks, snod atween the green-widded knowes, far the yowies an nowt gaed wydin ower steens an dockens an thrissles, wi the muckle Bens ahint, ...

B. Usages: 1. As in Eng. (1) intr. Sc. comb. wading stone, a stone in a river marking the depth of the water, as a guide for persons wishing to cross on foot. Cf. riding-stone s.v. Ride, v., 2. (7). Hist.Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 358:
Two natural great stones in the middle of the river [Isla], called the riding stone and the wading stone.
Lth. 1966 A. J. Youngson Classical Edb. 29:
Between 1800 and 1850 innumerable fords with their ridin' stones and wadin' stones were replaced by stone bridges.

(2) tr. To traverse by wading. (i) Used in fig. phrs.: to wade the water, to go through a certain experience, ‘to take the plunge'; no to wade the water wi, to be untrustworthy, not to be relied on. Cf. Ride, v., 4.; (ii) deriv. wadeable, that can be crossed on foot, fordable.(i) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 141:
I'm dootin' ye're no a'thegither ane to wide the water wi'.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 322:
His ald filloos 'ats waded da water kens whit 'id is tae geong an' spake tae wir guidfaither tae be.
(ii) Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. vi.:
As soon as the fugitives were within wadeable reach of the bank, they jumpit out of the boat.
Sc. 1864 Carlyle Frederick xvii. vi.:
Where the Brook withal is of firmer bottom and more wadeable.

2. intr. Of things: to dip down into or pass through water.Sc. 1794 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (12 Feb.) 28:
Interrogated for the pursuers, If, at times the deponent saw the mill-wheels of Morphie going the said wheels were not wading, and whether wading does not lessen the velocity of the wheels motion?
Sh. 1950 A. Halcrow Sail Fishermen 167:
Watching the line of buoys extending to the horizon and wading deep.

3. Used in a passive sense, of water: to be passable or fordable, to permit of being crossed on foot. Cf. Ride, v., 5.Lnk. 1827 W. Motherwell Minstrelsy 338:
The water's deep, and will not wade.
Fif. 1930:
Thon burn's in spate; it'll no wade the day.

4. Transf., of the ‡sun or moon: to move through cloud or mist (Sc. 1887 Jam.; I., ne., Per., s.Sc. 1973). Also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
The Sun was wading thro' the Mist.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf iii.:
The moon was, in the phrase of that country, wading or struggling with clouds.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 293:
When [the sun] is said to be wading in the cloud, rain may come.
Fif. c.1870 Edb. Ev. News (19 May 1956) 4:
One would hear such a remark as, “The moon is wading the nicht.”
Slk. 1902 Border Mag. (Feb.) 29:
He was just lookin' at the mune wadin' through the lift.
Abd.4 1932:
It'll be snaw, the meen's weydin.

5. Sh. usage, of fish: to appear on the surface or leap out of the water (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 227, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973, wed).Sh. 1968 C. Sandison Unst 53:
Mackerel, too, are sometimes caught. Sometimes these may be seen “wading” and one makes for this spot.

II. n. 1. The act of wading, a distance covered by wading (n.Sc., Per. 1973). Rare in Eng.Lnl. 1896 Poets Lnl. (Bisset) 188:
Damm'd up the burn for a paiddle or wade.
Abd. 1932 R. L. Cassie Scots Sangs 25:
A wullsome wyde, fu' sair tae byde, Throwe gullie-wullie moss.
Abd. 1993:
I hid a wyde in e sea at Tarlair tae see if e saat water wid cure ma corns.

2. Shallow water, a ford. Comb. seal's wedd, shallow water where seals come ashore. Deriv. waddie, -y, a wading-place, a ford (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1973).Sh. 1829 Private MS.:
Certain lands with booth, beach and seal's wedd.
Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iii 156:
Crossing a waddy when the burn was swollen.
Ork. 1947 H. Marwick Place-Names Rousay 93:
Waddy is a more or less generic name in Orkney for a wading-place or ford.

3. The draught of a boat in water (Ork. 1929 Marw., wade).

[O.Sc. waid, v., 1375, O.E. wadan, to go, wade. For the [əi] forms after w, cf. wile, Wale, wyme, Wame, O.Sc. weid, weyd, from 1541, and P.L.D. § 126.2. In I.Sc. the forms partly derive from Norw. vada, O.N. vaða, to wade. For I. 5. cf. Norw. dial. vada, to swim at the surface, of fish. In II. 2. the form waddie represents the loc. dative case vaði of O.N. vaða, a ford, shallow, freq. in place-names.]

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



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