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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WAND, n., v. Also wande, waned, ¶waind, waand (Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 257); wan, †wane (Bnff. 1752 V. Gaffney Lordship Strathavon (S.C.) 230), waun (Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 224), waan (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 76); whan, whaun (Edb. 1826 M. and M. Corbett Odd Volume 178), ¶whand. Dim. forms wanny, wanie (Abd. 1926 Abd. Univ. Review (July) 224), ¶wahnie. Sc. forms and usages. [wan(d). See D, letter, 4.]

I. n. 1. A slender pliant stick, esp. one cut from a young tree. Now only dial. in Eng. In 1818 quot. the peeled stick outside the door is apparently intended as a sign that those within do not wish to be disturbed. Cf. Widdie, n., 1. Also fig., and nonce transf. of a person: a tall skinny fellow.Kcd. 1705 Urie Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 114:
Ilke persone found cutting of wands in willies bog.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 63:
Between Ten and Thirteen, bow the Waind while it is green.
Ayr. 1795 Burns Wee Willie Gray i.:
Peel a willow wand to be him boots and jacket.
Slk. 1802 Hogg Poems (1874) 69:
His hand claive to his hivvye sword, His knees plett lyke the wande.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxviii.:
And did she na see by the white wand at the door, that gentlemans had taken up the public-house on their ain business?
Peb. 1838 W. Welsh Poems 62:
Amang some trees an' spreadin wands.
Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 248:
Just twa-three bits o' wands for girds.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xliv.:
There was one coming, now a willow wand of a student of Groningen.
Lnk. 1909 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 68:
And he slang tattie-plooms frae the end o' a whaun, To fricht the bit rabbits, and bother the craws.
Abd. 1957 Deeside Field (Ser. 2) 2. 34:
He was a big spare wand of a man.

Comb. wand-birn, -burn, a long straight scar of burning made on a sheep's face as a mark of ownership (Cld. 1825 Jam.), prob. so called from its appearance. See Birn, n.2Kcb. 1880 J. H. Maxwell Sheep-Marks 6:
Back nip on near ear; Wand Burn on far cheek.

2. Specif. a young shoot of willow used in making baskets, a wicker (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1973). Now only dial. in Eng. Also attrib. = made of wicker, wickerwork, as in wand-basket (Sc. 1825 Jam.), -bed, -cage, -chair, -cradle, -creel, -door, -rope, a rope of twisted withies.Sc. 1706 Short Survey Married Life 7:
She'll be so like her Bruiked Brother Robie Ram looking throw the Wand Door.
Sh. 1718 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iv. 195:
A duzen of wand criells or baskets for carying the hering in.
Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1871) I. 28:
An auld kist made of wands.
Rs. 1751 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 134, 137:
42 cheirs 3 armed and one of wane . . . waned chair in the chamber . . . a wand cradle.
Kcd. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballads 6:
Your cage sall be o' the beaten gowd, When now it's but the wand.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch i.:
A blackbird in a whand-cage of my faither's making.
Sc. 1887 Jam. s.v. Widdy:
In some parts of the Highlands and islands doors fastened with widdies or wand-ropes may still be seen; and such fastenings were not uncommon in the Lowlands at the beginning of this century.
Slk. 1892 W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 13:
He kicket that hamper till the' werena twa wands o't thegither.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro John Splendid xv.:
Putting a wand chair to the front for him.
Kcb. 1902 Crockett Dark o' Moon xl.:
Drinkin' wickers, a' wattled wi' sauch wands.
w.Lth. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 13:
They coopered baskets wi' saugh whans.

3. A rod or stick used for chastisement, a switch; a carpet-beater. Also fig. Now only dial. in Eng. Crockett's use of the comb. wand-hand, whip-hand, in the phr. wand-hand and working hand, on every side, is a literary archaism from Samuel Rutherford (1637).Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 33:
He's sairest dung that's paid with his ain wand.
Sc. 1783 The Bonny Birdy in Child Ballads No. 82 ix.:
Wi a little wee simmer-dale wanny She dang me sair an aft.
Ayr. 1821 C. Lockhart Poems 9:
Tho' fasht whiles, and lasht whiles, Wi' hardships cruel waun.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 220:
I dinna think the whauns [for beating carpets with] was peel'd.
Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. (Spring 1956) 16:
There's mony a twa you put together in y'r Matrimony wad ha' been better if you'd ta'en a wand to them.
Kcd. 1900 Crockett Stickit Minister's Wooing 241:
We will drill him, wand-hand and working-hand, so that he cannot stir.

4. (1) A staff used as a symbol in legal contracts.Sc. 1772 Session Papers, Petition T. Kerr (23 June) 8:
Very little form was used by the landlord to eject his tenants: he did it verbally, or by breaking a wand at the tenant's door.

(2) Specif. in phr. wand of peace, the staff of office of the king's messenger, which might be broken by him to signify that he was being impeded in the execution of his duty. Cf. II. and see also Peace, n., 1. (8).Sc. 1708 D. Hume Punishment of Crimes (1797) II. 185:
The messenger being terrified, broke his wand of peace, and displayed his blazon, and protested for a deforcement. . . . The said Captain Patrick Gordon, when the messenger touched him with his wand of peace, by virtue of a caption at the Lady's instance, used and emitted the threatening expressions lybelled.

(3) A measuring rod. Rare and obs. in Eng. Cf. Ellwan(d).Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 48:
When maltmen come for siller, And gaugers with wands o'er soon.
Sc. 1829 Scott Anne of Geierstein iii.:
Your sentiments rather belong to the sword than the measuring wand.

5. A fishing-rod (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork., Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., waand; I., n.Sc., Ags., Per. 1973). For combs. such as fishing-wand, piltock wand, see under first element. Comb wand-fisher, a rod-fisherman (Abd. 1936).Sc. 1701 Fountainhall Decisions (1761) II. 125:
The taking of small fishes by rod or wand.
Edb. 1782 Caled. Mercury (14 Aug.):
A small fish taken with wands and lines at the rocks of Northfield.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 49:
Wi' sa'mon rod or trouting wan'.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 101:
A bit creel on their back an' a fishin' wand i' their hand.
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 61:
Sae rax doon the wan' lads, and on wi' the creel.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 47:
I had nae gad, sae doun my wand I flang and pinned him on the sand.
Rnf. 1930 A. M. Stewart Stickleback Club 24:
To fish them with a hazel or rowan “whan” about 4 feet long.
Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 2:
I ken o' an aul' sauch tree, Where a wee loon's wahnie's hingin' yet That's dead in Picardy.
Sh. 1949 Shetland Times (8 April):
No restrictions on boats, or number of handlines or “waands.”
Abd. 1972 D. Toulmin Hard Shining Corn 106:
With his wand and fishing-bag tied to his back.

6. A pole or stout stick; specif. such as is used to propel a boat in shallow water or to fend it off from the harbour wall, a punting pole; a mill-wand, see Mill, n., 1. (65).Abd. 1802 A. Jervise Epitaphs (1879) II. 47:
4 Clusses, Cleeks, wand and bands . . . £1.
Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 441:
[Millstones] were rolled on their edges from the quarry to their destination, with a round beam or “wand”, through the centre, having a number of men supporting at each end, and horses dragging in front.
Bnff. 1930:
Pit the boat astarn a bittie; I've lost my waan.

7. An animal's pizzle (Kcb. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial.Rnf. 1721 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1878) II. 117:
He stabbed and cutt the aforesaid horse in the belly, a little above his wand or sheath.

II. v. tr. Of a messenger-at-arms: to touch a person whom one is about to arrest with one's staff of office, as a sign of one's authority. Cf. I. 4. (2). Rare.Mry. 1758 Session Papers, Forbes v. Grant (21 June) 79:
She heard Donald Grant desire John Henderson the messenger to wand Mr Forbes.

[O.Sc. wand, = I. 4. (2), 1437, fishing-rod, 1549, penis, 1583, wand-basket, 1685, -bed, 1592, -chire, 1626, -cradle, 1672, -creill, 1575, -hand, 1620, = II., a.1633.]

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"Wand n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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