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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.

YOUNG, adj. Also †yong; yoong (Abd. 1877 G. McDonald M. of Lossie III. iii., 1893 Id. Heather & Snow xiii.), yung (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 7); yowng (Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.)); arch. ying (Rnf. 1827 W. Motherwell Minstrelsy lxxxiii.; Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xx. 4). Sc. forms and usages. [jʌŋ; Cai. jʌuŋ. Cf. P.L.D. § 157. (3).]

1. In combs. and deriv.: (1) young communicant, one who intends to become a communicant member of a Presbyterian Church and gen. attends a class of instruction for the purpose. Gen.Sc.; (2) young folk, a newly-married couple irrespective of age (Sc. 1825 Jam., 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland xiv.; Ork., Ags., Per., Ayr. 1974); (3) young laird, the heir-apparent of a landowner (Sc. 1869 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion 22 note). Gen.Sc., see Laird, I. 2.; (4) young man, (i) a bachelor (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 53); (ii) the eldest son and heir. Cf. Maiden. The Young Man, used in veiled reference to Prince Charles Edward during the Jacobite Rising of 1745; (iii) the best man at a wedding, a groomsman (Ork., ne.Sc. 1974); ¶(5) youngsome, youthful, see -Some, suff.; (6) young wife, a bridesmaid (Ork. 1974); (7) young yule, see Yule.(1) Gall. 1737 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 612:
Several young communicants were allowed tokens.
Dmf. 1779 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (26 Oct.):
Oliphant's and Wilison's Young Communicant's Catechisms.
Mry. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 112:
The average yearly number of young communicants (that is communicants for the first time) is 5.
Fif. 1961 St Andrews Cit. (18 Feb.) 5:
There will be a young Communicants' class starting shortly and anyone interested should get in touch with the minister.
(2) Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley lxxi.:
The Baron, while he assumed the lower end of the table, insisted that Lady Emily should do the honours of the head, that they might, he said, set a meet example to the young folk.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 447:
The young fowk are surrounded by the people at the wedding.
(3) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
The young Laird, now Sir John, came from Edinburgh, to see things put to rights.
Ags. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 260:
The old knight was succeeded by his son, who had always been spoken of on the estate as the young laird.
Abd. 1882 G. MacDonald Castle Warlock l.:
Gie the yoong laird there ony o' the dirt ye're aye lickin' oot o' that loof o' yours.
Per. 1899 C. M. Stuart Pitcoonans 21:
I kent it was the young laird, for he was his father a' owre.
(4) (ii) Sc. 1748 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) II. 84:
A messenger sent into these parts by the Young Man in order to quicken the motion of his friends.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxi.:
He was the young man o' a braw fairm than.
(iii) Abd. 1837 J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 68:
The wedding party begins to move away to the future abode of Willie and Meggie, the latter led in front of the joyful procession by her own and Willie's “best young man.”
Abd. 1964 Buchan Observer (7 April) 3:
The second jollification connected with the wedding was “The Decoratin' o' the Hoose.” This took place the night before the wedding. The papering and painting had been done during the previous weeks by the maidens and the gweedmen (also called “the young men”).
(5) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 128:
Sick youngsome sangs are sareless frae my mou.

2. In titles: (1) prefixed to the name of a Highland chieftain or his estate to indicate his eldest son and successor.Sc. 1747 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) I. 148:
The only men that followed young Clanranald in the Prince's service.
Sc. 1869 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion 22 note:
The eldest son of a Highland chief always receives his father's title, with the additional epithet of young; thus, for instance, young Glengarry, young Lochiel, etc.

(2) In compar. after a proper name to distinguish the bearer from an older person of the same name, = Eng. junior, and hence gen. implying the eldest son and heir of a landed proprietor below peerage rank.Ayr. 1704 Arch. and Hist. Coll. Ayr. & Wgt. IV. 205:
James Thomsone, younger, cowane in Stewartoune.
Sc. 1768 Weekly Mag. (8 Dec.) 319:
William Baillie, Esq., advocate, younger of Polkemmet.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xli.:
Charles Hazlewood, younger of Hazlewood.
Lth. 1851 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 632:
Same tile-drains made by Mr. McLagan, younger, of Pumpherston, Mid-Lothian.
Sc. 1936 Sources Sc. Law (Stair Soc.) 433:
Whilst the heir-apparent of a feudal baron is invariably styled ‘younger of,' the heir, whether apparent or presumptive, of an earl or peerage-lord is ‘Master'.

3. Unmarried, regardless of age (Ork. 1974). Cf. young man in combs. above.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 394:
Young Men's Wives, and Maiden's Bairns are ay well mannered.
Fif.10 1935:
Of a married man it would be said “Behavin' like a young man,” or “passin' himsel aff for a young man.”

[O.Sc. yungre, junior, a.1400, young lard, 1496.]

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"Young adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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