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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Pin, Pinn(e, n.1 Also: pyn, pynne; pine, pyne; pen; pein(e. [ME. pinn(e (c 1325), pyn (Chaucer), pynn(e (14th c.), e.m.E. pin (c 1530), late OE. pinn, peg (a 1100), pin (14th c.), point or peak (c 1450), a cask (1570), also in various transf. uses.]

1. A small (freq., tapered or pointed) piece of wood or metal; a peg; a bolt.The usual sense in Older Sc.Used for various purposes, as to fasten together parts of a structure, to hold (or ? wedge) something in position, etc.Also fig.(1) c1475 Wall. ix. 506.
A cruell portar … Powit out a pyn the portculys leit fall
c 1500 Coll. St. Salvator 159.
A gret crus … standand apon a gret futh closit with a pyn of siluer
1506–7 Rentale Dunkeld. MS. 32.
Pro … perforando lie lath cum cochis lie pynnis quindecim solidj
1512 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 19.
Mariota … vidit Elenam … trahentem quoddam lignum per le pynne
1513 Treas. Acc. IV. 523.
For vj puncionis to be pinnis to the said sclatter for the chapell
Ib. 524.
ij irne pinnis weyand ij stane
1531–2 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 104. 1558 Old Dundee II. 331.
Decernit to mak ane stick of claith of pyle gray perteining to Robert Kid … as gude as it wes or he took out the pins of the same
c1590 Fowler I. 107/74.
Who from the lowest partis … Did bwild the same and mounted wp be manye pinnis and propps
1593–4 Ayr B. Acc. 180.
[For the loan of a kettle] to seyth the pinnis in
1593–4 St. A. Kirk S. 772.
Patrik maid the pynnis to clois the lokkis of the kirk dur of the schaft of ane ammer with ane risp
1668 R. Brown Paisley I. 301.
Before the bailies give libertie to cast onie riging turvs … they sall sight the hous … and where the same had not bein pinned with pins and tries that the bailies sall have no libertie to grant any
1688 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XXVII. 120.
Wherby you may have liberty to screw in a pin when ye goe to the golve
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 1194.
All has he [God] turnand one a pyne
c1475 Wall. vii. 1160.
[He was] To lous the pyne quhen Wallace leit him witt
1650 Edinb. Test. LXV. 36.
Ane old pine for hinging of ane cloak thairwpone
1650 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 595.
His head to be affixed one ane iron pine and sett one the pinnackell
(c) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 123/26.
With horribile pennis of irne that are nalis throu his handis & feit
1559 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 296. 1611–2 Ib. 329.
For ane punschone and ane bear barrell to be penis
(d) 1611 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 336.
For viijc peines xxvj s. viij d.
(2) 1565 Treas. Acc. XI. 408.
For making of palȝeone treis, pynnis, irne werk and standertis to the saidis palȝeonis
1585 Reg. Morton I. 145.
Faill nocht to haue the said palȝeoun sufficientlie orderit with cordis pynnis [etc.]
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 221.
A tent … leaneth only to certain pinnes quhilk enter not deeply in the earth
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII. 357.
A tent with staves & pins belonging therto
(3) 1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II. 141.
For making xii irne pines to the builyart burde
fig. c1620 Boyd Fl. Zion Exc. xviii/1.
Of all this work scarce laking is a pin
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 170. 1669 Laing MSS. I. 375.
Lord if it be thy will to shaik … this church government, louse wee pray the pins of it softly

b. spec. One of the tuning pegs of a stringed instrument. a1500 Henr. Orph. 140 (Asl.).
O dulfull harp … Thy goldin pynnis with thi teris weit
1670–80 Dauney Anc. Sc. Melodies 56.
Of our pins Ye know the gins Ye tirled on them full oft-a

c. A bobbin. — 1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 310.
Gold and siluer threid counterfute called … copper gold and siluer vpoun pens and rowles

d. ? A bolt projecting from a door, and operating some device on the inside to attract the attention of a door-keeper or the like. Cf. the later and mod. Sc. dial. usage = some type of door-knocker. 1535 Stewart 18945.
Thir tratouris tua … Come to the dur and choppit on ane pyn

e. As the second element of a compound, the first element serving to indicate function.For further examples see Ere-ledder n., Lin-pin n., Lukit-pin n., Pak n.1 2 e, Palȝo(u)n(e n. 5, also sclate-pin and thak-pin. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 9184.
And hit him sidlingis on the charnale pyn

2. Some part of a gallows, perh. the peg over which the rope was slung. b. Applied, metonymically, to the gallows.Also proverb. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 413.
A stark gallowis, ane wedy and a pyn [: kyn, myn (= less), thin]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 54.
Sa mony ane gin to haist thame to the pin … was nevir hard nor sene
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3220.
Ane king is cum … to heid and hang ws … he may fang ws Bot on ane pin
Ib. 4195.
Quhair thow hingis on that pin
1604 Crim. Trials II. 434.
He and sundrie of his clane were hanged … the Laird of Makgrigore was hanged a pinne above the rest
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1638.
Ye ar a lick the widdie or pin

3. A thin piece of wire, usu. tapered to a point, used as a fastener; a pin. = Prene n. 1–4.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 4883.
This is ane off my ladyis pynnys
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 81.
A pyn of gold
1535 Stewart 40108.
All the riches … [Macbeth] Gart turs away that tyme be the leist pyn
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 219.
The witches willed to searche his toong under which was founde two pinnes thrust up into the heade
1633 Rutherford Christ's Napkin 4.
The marriage-day … when we shall be cloathed and not a wrong pinn on us
1648 Thanes of Cawdor 308.
7 peper of pinis
1658 Edinb. Test. LXIX. 78.
Severall sortes of pines
1696 Ib. LXXX. 211.
Ane silver penndie for neidles or pins
(b) 1621 Jas. Bell in Glasg. Her. (1864) 25 June.
10 grotkin preins, 7 sh. 8 d., 3.16.8. … 6 grotkin hud peins at 14 sh. is 4.4.0.

b. As a type of something of little value. — a1568 Bann. MS. 74 b/8.
Thy pryd … proffittis nocht a pin
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxxiv. 22.
All warldlie welth … we wald nocht pryse ane pyn

4. In various special phrases, appar. chiefly or only in sense 1.Powrit to the pin, reduced to penury or extreme poverty.With hart hyngand on the ioly pyn, in a merry or joyful mood or state of mind.A pin for everie bore, something to meet every contingency.See also Pak n.1 2 e. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 244.
He wepis nocht … Quhill drynk & dys haf powrit him to the pyn
1513 Doug. xi. x. 15.
Walkyng to and fro With hart hyngand on the ioly pyn
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 83.
Bot that ȝe may prouyde befoir To haue ane pyn for euery boir
c1610 Melville Mem. 178.
I wist weill he wald find a pin for euery boir
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1858.

5. A small cask.Cf. e.m.E. = half a firkin (1570). 1610 Brechin Test. II. 90.
Thair is sum laikage with tua laiche rynning penis of Frenche wyne

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"Pin n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Mar 2023 <>



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