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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

BED, n. As in St.Eng., but note the following.

1. (See quot.)Sc. 1773 Dmf. Weekly Mag. (23 March) 64:
A gentleman, near Widdrington, having killed a hare, about half an hour after she was drawn, a young one was perceived to move in the bed, which, on being put in some wool and laid before the fire, revived, took some milk, and is yet alive.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 51:
Bed. The matrix; bairn's, calf's, lamb's bed, the womb where these are generated.

2. Comb.: bed-recess, An alcove in a room in a tenement flat (usu. the kitchen and in some cases the living room) measuring 4 feet 6 inches by 6 feet long - the size of a standard bed. Sc. 1994 Daily Record 13 Sep 10:
When they came across an old 'single end', she tried to explain all about it to the girl - the old sink, old fireplace, bed recess, etc.
Sc. 1996 Scotsman 11 Jun 15:
When is a kitchen not a kitchen? When it's a range of possibilities, a whole set of kitchens - so says Milan's pre-eminent design house, Driade. So what's new? This statement will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever flicked through the Homestyle section of John Menzies in search of the perfect kitchen/dining arrangement for a lofty tenement flat (just what do you do with that 6x4ft bed recess?) or suburban semi.
Sc. 2003 Sunday Mail 28 Sep 42:
In 1911, six out of 10 Glasgow homes and four out of 10 in Edinburgh were either a single end a room with kitchen and bed recess or a room and kitchen. Several families shared an outside toilet.
Sc. 2004 Evening Times 19 Aug 20:
The first-floor flat is a typical late Victorian example, consisting of four rooms and retaining most of its original features such as its bed recesses, kitchen range, coal bunker and bathroom.
Edb. 1992:
When we first got married we used the bed-recess in the kitchen exactly as that. Thus the 'room' of the room and kitchen was freed to be the sitting room.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 10:
bed-recess In a tenement flat, an alcove or recess in, for example, the kitchen which formerly held a boxed-in or curtained-off bed. These are now often used as dining areas.

Phrases: (1) get her bed (see quot.); (2) tak' t' the bed, go to bed for child-birth; (3) to be ahint the bed wi, to be too late or too clumsy in doing something, to attempt unsuccessfully to do. (1) Lth. 1825 Jam.2:
A woman is said to get her bed, when she has born [sic] a child.
(2) Bnff.2 1933:
Kirsten's teen t' the bed this morning.
(3)m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 22:
I've seen baith auld an' young tryin' tae get up on't [a cuddy-ass], wi' chains an' every way ye could think o', but it was a sair job, and they were aye maistly ahint the bed wi't; for if they did get on, they were aff again wi' a clash jist aboot as sune.

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"Bed n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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