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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LOSE, v. Also loase, †loes. As in Eng., to mislay, waste (time), etc. The more common usage is now Loss, v., q.v. The Sc. pronunciation [lo:z] represents the normal development of O.E. losian, orig. to be lost, later to lose (Bch. 1926 Dieth Bch. Dial. 34). Pa.t., Pa.p. loast, Sc. form of Eng. lost. (Abd., Ags., Edb., Arg., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s). Sc. 1706 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 427:
I should loes the litell halth I have gott, if I should quet the contary.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Jolly Beggars Song 8 v.:
Life is all a variorum, We regard not how it goes; Let them prate about decorum, Who have characters to lose.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 120:
But, there, she durstna set her nose, To seek for verse, nor yet for prose; Else she mith chance her life to lose.
Fif. 1812 W. Ranken Poems 123:
If I can fin' but brats an' brose Ink an' a quill, Paper, an' snuff — or gain or lose, I'll scribble still.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 15:
But nyod! they maun hae room for growein' Or loase the chance gin rain shud fa'.
Gsw. 1994 Herald 26 Dec 11:
"Youse are all bampots," I quoth, "and youse huv loast the spirit of Christmas, arguein' and wranglin' ower sich nonsense. ... "
Gsw. 1996 Anne Donovan in Kathleen Jamie and James McGonigal New Writing Scotland 14: Full Strength Angels 20:
She never had any patience wi your conversation even before the words started tae get loast in your heid, she'd raither have read a book or sumpn than listen tae you jabberin oan lik a daft wee burdie.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 16:
Breathin oot the names
Written fae flair tae ruif
O the deid Jews.
Lines loast when Russians
"Restored" the was.
wm.Sc. 2000 Liz Lochhead Medea 4:
too late she screams remorse for a faither loast
Sc. 2000 Sunday Mail 7 May 68:
"I was warming up behind Stewart's goal when a punter shouted: 'Ah remember seein' every wan of thae goals you loast at Wembley.'"

Sc. Phrs.: 1. to lose oneself, to lose command of oneself, become distracted, to lose grip on or interest in oneself (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Obs. in Eng.; 2. to lose one's feet, to get drunk (Uls. 1961). Cf. Eng. slang to lose one's legs, id.; 3. to lose the heid, to lose the head, to lose energy or momentum, to fail to progress or advance (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bwk. 1961), appar. from head as the growing point of a plant. Also to lose one's temper (Gsw. 1961); to become over-excited. Cf. to loss the head s.v. loss v. 1. Kcb. 1891 M. A. Maxwell Halloween Guest 177:
I thocht she was deid and I maist lost mysel'.
2. Gall. 1705 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 181:
William M'Kie … denyed ut supra any excess in drinking, but that it was the dirt in the ail, as he termed it, that made him lose his feet.
3.Gsw. 1962 Bill McGhee Cut and Run 18:
'Bill - Ah - Ah know ye - didny mean ony harm when ye were chirpin' aboot Jenny. Ah'm sorry Ah lost the heid.'
Gsw. 1969 George Friel Grace and Miss Partridge (1999) 283:
When lesser boys lost the head with an enemy and got tangled in a costly battle, Angus just smiled and by the unrelenting fixity of his smile intimidated his opponent into unconditional surrender.
Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 2:
'Some of the men are sure to lose the head with him one of these days. He is always bragging about how he can get other men's wives...'
Gsw. 1994 James Kelman How Late it Was, How Late 49:
... and there ye go just on, taking it easy and no losing the head cause there was nay reason to lose the head it was just a straightforward patacake game ...

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"Lose v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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