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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

GEAN, n. Also geen, †guin(e); ¶guean (Sc. 1854 H. Miller Schools (1858) x.), ¶guigne (Inv. 1820 E. Grant Mem. Highl. Lady (1928) 207), †gin (Sc. 1733 Haddington Forest Trees (1953) 23). The wild cherry, Prunus avium, and its fruit. Also gean tree. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. (mainly n.) dial. [gi:n]Abd. 1735 Abd. Estate (N.S.C. 1946) 16:
4 Ash planks and 2 Geen . . . 4/-.
Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 26:
The orchard [is remarkable] for a great number of large old trees, bearing the species of small cherry, called black and red geens.
Dmf. 1802 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (6 April):
Mahogany chairs; Elm do. Geantree do.
Rxb. 1803 J. Leyden Infancy (1819) 394:
The guine, whose luscious sable cherries spring, To lure the blackbird mid her boughs to sing.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 117:
To these may be added . . . the wild apple; the common gean (Prunus avium), and perhaps the black gean (P. cerasus).
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 115:
A pear tree, a geen tree, and some ither bonny things.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xv.:
The geans were hanging thick and quite black, and nearly as large as cherries.
Abd. 1909 C. Murray Hamewith 62:
There's leaves upon the bourtree on the haugh, The blossom is drappin' fae the gean.
Rs. 1936 C. Macdonald Echoes 71:
He went to the woodie for a feed of geans instead.
m.Sc. 1986 Ian A. Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 165:
The gean tree, aa in bud forenenst your winnock
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 22:
The mist was risen afore him, mixed in
wi the floorish o gean and blackthorn
Sc. 1991 John McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 89:
Atween twa days
the gean's cam wechty
wi a freithin o flouers
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 55:
A bleezard oot aff Bennan,
lan nae langer seen;
the Firth a swirl o saftness
lik blossom o the gean.
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 13:
On the Meadows' walks the gean
blossom has fallen. The Spring cams late
here in the north, but aye hope o less-bitter
fruit, I repeat to mysel.

[O.Sc. has geine (trie), geane, from 1628, guind, 1653; older Fr. gui(s)nes, a kind of little, sweet, and long cherries (Cotgrave), Mod.Fr. guigne.]

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"Gean n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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