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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CHANCY, CHANCIE, Chancey, adj. All the following senses are almost invariably used with the neg. [′tʃɑnsi]

1. Lucky, bringing good fortune; having good fortune, auspicious. “Any person or thing viewed as inauspicious, is said to be no chancy” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); also applied to unlucky actions (Ags.2 1939). Known to Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.1, Slg.3, Lnk.3 1939.Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Sc. Proverbs 65:
Whistling maidens and crawing hens were ne'er very chancy.
Sc. 1835 T. T. Stoddart Art Angling in Scot. ix.:
Frae Holylee to Clovenford A chancier bit ye canna hae.
Sc. 1923 R. Macrailt Hoolachan 31:
I dinna like to think o' mysel' as the ootsider come in, even when there's nae Adam aboot. He wasna a chancy veesitor yon!
Bnff.(D) 1872 W. M. Philip It'ill a' Come Richt xii.:
Cats are nae chancie beasts to keep in a hoose, they're ower great favrites o' the deil for me.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Rock and wee pickle Tow ix.:
She was never ca'd chancy, but canny an' slim, An' sae it has faired of my spinning o't.

2. Pleasant.Per. 1897 C. M. Stuart Sandy Scott's Bible Class (1924) 64:
I got a sight o' mysel, and it wasna a chancy sight.

3. Safe, but used with neg. = not to be relied on, dangerous. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Arg.1, Lnk.3 1939.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
His Grace was as near to me as I am to you, and he said to me, “Take tent o' yoursel, my bonnie lassie, (these were his very words) for my horse is not so chancy.”
Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales (1908) xii.:
It'll be vera dark, an' the road, they say, is nae ower chancey.
Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 27:
It's no chancy for her gaun hame the noo among sae mony excitable folk.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders vi.:
He was not chancy to ask a question of.

[O.Sc. chancy, bringing or having good fortune, fortunate, lucky, 1513; from O.Sc. chance, fortune, fate (D.O.S.T.); O.Fr. chance, adventure, hazard (Cotgrave).]

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"Chancy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2023 <>



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