Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HIGH SCHOOL, n.comb. Also †hie- (Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. i.). A name given to the principal school in many Sc. burghs, orig. so used in Edinburgh from 1519, later in Kelso and Stirling, and very frequently, from the early 19th c., of schools in other towns; a grammar school, a senior secondary school. In use also in U.S.A. from c.1820. Edb. 1704  Town Council Rec. (17 May):
Mr James Alexander wrytting master to teach such of the schollars in the high schooll of Edinburgh as have ane mynd to wrytt.
Slg. 1707  R. Sibbald Hist. Slg. (1892) 39:
A little from this towards the Castle [Stirling] is the High-school, in which there is a principal Master, and under him two Doctors or Ushers.
Sc. 1763  Boswell London Jnl. (1950) 209:
Many a tender bum has smarted by his barbarous birch when he was janitor of the High School at Edinburgh.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian iii.:
The old Town-Guard of Edinburgh, who . . . were, in my boyhood, the alternate terror and derision of the petulant brood of the High-school.
Ags. 1865  J. C. Jessop Education in Ags. (1931) 199:
Mr Andrew Robertson, now Rector of the High School of Brechin.
Gsw. 1921  Ward Locke's Guide to Gsw. 46:
The High School, an imposing building in the Florentine style, with statues by Mossman.

[For parallel usages of High in this sense, see Heich, adj., 8.]

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"High school n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Apr 2019 <>



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