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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

BANK, BANKS, BANGHS, Bankie, n.2 [bɑŋk Sc. but Sh. + baŋx(s)]

1. The place in a peat-moss whence peats are cut (S.D.D., Bnff.2, Bnff.7). Gen.Sc.Sh. 1918 T. Manson Humours Peat Comm. I. 10–11:
Will our Practical Member tell us how many women are needed to “raise” the peats taken out of a bank, thirty yards long, two feet wide, three peats deep, each working ten hours a day?

2. Gen. in pl., but sing. in meaning. A steep coast; precipitous rocks or cliffs along the seashore; also used of the seashore itself, and “of the grassy edge abutting on a flat beach” (Marw.).Sh.(D) 1891 Burgess Rasmie's Buddie 21:
Shü gae dee ta me at da banks [sea shore], An sed, “Quat says du, hinnie?”
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Bank, edge, . . . (1) ledge in a peat-pit; (2) steep coast = Fær. bakki; comm. in pl.: banks.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Banghs, the seashore; precipitous seashore; the place at the shore where boats land and are drawn up.
Sh.5 1932:
He his gaen oot alang da banks — a very steep banks.

Combs.: (1) banksflooer (see quot.); (2) banks-gaet, the way up or down a cliff, used fig. in quot. of any hard or difficult business, sc. like climbing up a cliff. See Gate, n., 2.; (3) banksgirse, Common Scurvy Grass; (4) bank-sparrow, the rock pipit, Anthus obscurus (Sh. 1891 Zoologist (Ser. 3) XV. 133).(1) Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Banksflooer, thrift, sea-pink (Armeria maritima).
(2) Sh. 1952 Robertson & Graham Grammar Sh. Dial. 14: 
He'll be him a banks-gaet.
(3) Sh. 1895 T. Edmonston Flora of Sh. 24:
BanksgirseCochlearia officinalis. Seashores and maritime cliffs, frequent.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Echoes from Klingrahool 16:
Where the tufted banksgirse waved, And the screaming seagull flew.

3. A raised shelf or ridge of ground.

(1) A foot-path or walk.Bnff.2 1933:
I keepit on the bank (or bankie) a' the wye, an' my feet's nae verra weet.
Ags.6 1911:
Bank, a foot-path, usually one above the level of the ground on either side.

(2) The slope of a hill (gen. in pl.). Hence banky, hilly, sloping. Now only dial. in Eng.Ags.1 1933:
In Angus, fields on a slope are called banks.
w.Fif.4 1930:
The slopes of the hillsides hereabouts are often called banks — e.g. Bankhead at top of slope from Hawes Inn (not “Braehead” because, apparently, not on the road).
Rxb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 116: 
The lands are therefore very valuable, but rather unpleasant to labour, being banky in some places.

(3) The boundary-line of a farm.Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 141:
The division of a farm, if visible at all, was described by a bank or gaw fur, and except in seeding or reaping, marches were little regarded.

[In the Insular examples the Sc. form has superseded the old Sh. bakk from O.N. bakki, edge, cognate with “bank”; but the word is preserved in the special Norn applications. “Banks” in Sh. and Ork. may be used as a sing.]

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"Bank n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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