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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

MANE, n.1, v. Also main, maen, menn; mene, mean(e) (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms lxviii. 64), meen, mein; ¶menye; ¶moyen by confusion with Moyen. [n., men, I. and ne.Sc. min; v., min]

I. n. 1. A cry of sorrow, grief or pain, a moan (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, main, 1808 Jam.), a howl, an outcry, a lament, a mournful song, a dirge. Phr. to mak (a) mane, to lament, bewail, mourn (I. and n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Slk. 1962). Used often proleptically in my, dy, his, etc. mane is made, it's all up with . . . , I, you etc. “have had it”, are done for (Sh. 1962).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 187:
Your Honour's Father dead and gane, For him he first wa'd make his Mane.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 50:
As he is chamber'd up, he hears a grain, As of a body making heavy main.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 82:
Blaw saft, my reed, and kindly to my maen, Weel may ye thole a saft and dowie strain.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 406:
The waefu' maen! For Willy that was ance sae teugh, But now is gane.
Rxb. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 328:
And there the bard will sighing sit, And make the burden o' his maen.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sketches 80:
She looked sae forfairn, and sobbed sic a mane.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 111:
Aft whan I sat an' made my mane, Aft whan I laboured burd-alane, Fishin' for rhymes an' findin' nane.
Ork. 1904 W. T. Dennison Orcadian Sk. 25:
Sometimes hid was like a bothy i' terrable pain, makin' meen.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 63:
He wrang his han's; he wusht that he was deid! Ane passin' by, . . . Said “Freen, what's causin' a' yer wearie manes?”
Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 5:
When the kingie dee'd ae Lammas mirk, His fowk made muckel mane.
Sh. 1955 New Shetlander No. 42. 7:
An I saa a man dere settin a trap. If du gengs in yunder, dy maen is made.

2. A voiced complaint or grievance, a grumble, grouse (I.Sc., Cai., Ags., Fif. 1962). Phr. to mak mane, to make one's complaint heard, to complain, grumble.Sc. 1745 Scots Mag. (June) 274:
To bare our hearts, and tell you a' our mane.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 138:
Ay maun the childer, wi' a fastin mou', Grumble and greet, and make an unco mane.
Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Poems 21:
God bliss your Honour, ye may hear my mean.
Ayr. 1821 Scots Mag. (April) 351:
It was just yestreen that I h'ard a gey auld-farrant chappie makkin a sair moyen anent some chiel wham that cat-wittit trybe o' tawpies had ausomly bamboozelt.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 89:
Wha daur complain, or mak a mane.
Ork. 1880 W. T. Dennison Sketch-Bk. 16:
Jeust is Paetie wus makan' his mane tae the sodger.
Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts and Larks 68:
Will yer Kingship deign to listen To a Larkie chappy's maen?
Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (19 Jan.):
Faigs, A mak' nae mein if Willag gets a sta' for Roggey's bul'.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 71:
in Scotland, in a snell season whaun saft lips crack
and the lugs are snittered reid, is aye the near mane.

3. An expression of sympathy, condolence or regret, esp. in phr. to mak (nae) mane for or about somebody, to show (no) sympathy towards (I. and n.Sc., Ags., Uls. 1962). Deriv. meenfu, full of regret (Fif. 1962).Abd. 1891 Bon-Accord (5 Sept.) 16:
It wis rael innocently deen, an' John wis rael meenfu' aboot it.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 14:
Od, there's nae maen made for me though I drap doon.
Lnk. 1920 G. A. H. Douglas Further Adventures Rab Hewison 73:
She was makin' a great main aboot her.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 36:
Aw mak' nae mean for a body as lang's they can tak' their diets like idder fowk.
Bwk. 1960:
He's no tae mak mane for — he deserves no sympathy.

4. Any moaning or mournful sound, as the cry of a bird, the sigh of the wind, sea, etc. (Sh., Cai., Ags., Fif. 1962).Slk. 1813 Hogg Poems (1874) 34:
With a mooted wing and waefu' maen, The eagle sought her eiry again.
Crm. 1829 H. Miller Poems 84:
Down the burnie works its way, . . . An' mourns (I kenna why) wi' a ceaseless mane.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 93:
It soughs wi' wild an' eerie maen The leafless trees amang.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 71:
Whaur linties, ever sighin' sair, Mak piteous mane.
Lth. 1916 J. Fergus The Sodger 27:
An' whiles the wind will fley me sair By giein' an uncanny mane.
Abd. 1925 A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 115:
An' does he hear the weary mane That ilka breeze maun bear?
Gall. 1929 Gallovidian 77:
But for a peewit's peengein cry An' fir-taps' eerie mane.
Sh. 1954 New Shetlander No. 40. 7:
Bit afore lang da maas medd menn, first ava pleepsit wye, dan wi a klaagin is an dey'd büne raameest an tirn.

II. v. 1. intr. with for, on, or absol.: to utter cries of grief or pain, to moan with anguish, to bewail, lament, grieve over, freq. compounded with another verb of similar meaning (Cai., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Uls. 1962).Sc. c.1700 Orpheus Caled. (1733) I. 88:
She main'd and she grain'd out of Dollor and Pain, Till he vow'd he ne'er wou'd see me again.
Sc. 1724 Ramsay Ever Green (1875) I. 215:
I cum to hier thy Plaint; Thy graining and maining Haith laitlie reikd myne Eir.
Sc. p.1745 Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 62:
O weel may we maen for the day that's gane, And the lad that's banish'd far awa.
Sh. 1753 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S.) 13:
She meaned as to the state of her soul.
Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 136:
An' ay I'll sit an' mane till my blude stops wi' eild.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate xxiv.:
There wasna a bairn in the howff but was maining for him.
Kcd. 1823 J. Burness Ghaist o' Garron Ha' (1887) 25:
When he came hame he sair complain'd An' on his inside sadly maned.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 167:
Its nae sma' loss that makes us mane, An' wear the weed.
Lth. 1890 M. Oliphant Kirsteen iv.:
Ye canna expect a young boy like that to maen and graen.
Sc. 1928 T. T. Alexander Psalms 9:
My soul, hoo can ye murn and maen? And hoo sae dowie dree?
wm.Sc. 1936 R. MacLellan Toom Byres (1947) 42:
He's mainin awa like an auld coo in cauf.
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 16:
They, dule and mane, unhairtsome roond the bier,
Lay by the bride sidelins, in effectuous exile

2. tr. To groan or sorrow over, to express regret for, to bewail, deplore.Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale 92:
His sad Affront was sairly mean'd.
Abd. 1737 Caled. Mag. (1788) 505:
Some redd their hair, some main'd their banes, Some bann'd the bangsom billies.
Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 98:
I dinna mein them to be merry, And lilt awa'.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xxii. intro.:
David foremaist, an' Chryst ahin him, baith maen fu' sair the mislipp'nin o' God i' their ain day o' dule.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 2:
Oh! the speaned lambs mene their mithers As they wimple ower the bent.

3. To indicate pain or injury by flinching and showing sensitivity, or by ostentatiously nursing the affected part (Gall.3 c.1867; Dmf.3 c.1920; Uls. 1931 North. Whig (2 Dec.) 5; Fif., Wgt. 1962).Sc. 1758 Session Papers, Allason v. Ritchie (3 Jan.) 6:
He had seen said Horse employed in Ploughing, Riding, Carrying, and Carting, and never observed him mean any Part of him, or any thing like Lameness about him.
s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.:
Mene, Mean, to indicate pain or lameness; to walk or move as if lame.
Gall. 1903 E.D.D.:
When a horse e.g. which has anything wrong with its foot or leg winces when it is touched, it is said to “mean” it.
Abd. 1974:
Your back's botherin you again. I see ye're meenin 't.

4. Sc. Law, usu. refl.: to make a formal complaint or petition before the proper authorities.Sc. 1718 Atholl MSS.:
Upon their Refuseall They did formerly by Appointment of the presbitry mean themselves to the Sheriff of perth.
Sc. 1721 Memorial for Merchant Burgesses Edb. (15 Nov.):
The only Court which they now have to mean themselves to in the first Instance.
Sc. 1752 J. Louthian Form of Process 21:
It is humbly meaned and shown to Us, by Our Lovit, C.D. That [etc.].
Sc. 1783 Burns Chronicle (1935) 78:
My Lords of Council and Session unto your Lordships humbly means and shows William Burns in Lochlee . . .

5. To pity, to show sympathy towards, to condole with (Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 350; Cai., Ags., Rxb. 1962. Phr. with gerundive inf., to mane, — mean, to be pitied (Cai., Gsw., Kcb., Rxb. 1962).Lth. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 49:
Never ane did mean her.
Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 133:
An Fowk can get A Doll of rost Beef pypin het, . . . They're no to mean.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 305:
Thro' ilka state o' life I've ta'en a glowr, I find the rich as grit to mean's the poor.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxi.:
If she's as good as she's bonny, Charlie's no to mean wi' his match.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 316:
They that wash on Wednesday, Are no sair to mean.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 41:
He's no' to maen! He's at the stage The table-laund o' middle age.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 5:
Folk are muckle ti mean that beide on aether seide o the Mairches atween twae prood an towty countries 'at canna grei an are aye cuissen-oot.

Phr. Deil mean ye, — him, etc., an imprecation, lit. = “May the Devil pity you, — him, etc!” Used in similar contexts to Eng. “Devil take you!” (Abd., Per., Fif., Ayr., Kcb. 1962).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 21:
Dee'l mein you if your Leg was broken. Spoken to them who have gotten some signal good Fortune, as if it were no Pity to see them get some Mishap.
Sc. a.1795 A. Brown Hist. Gsw. I. 114:
De'il mean them, they had neither kith nor kin in this country.
Sc. 1824 Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 592:
“Poets” quo' he [Wordsworth] (deil mean him!) — “Poets, Mr Hogg? — Pray where are they, sir?”
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (8 May) 10:
“Fatna a bonnie prayer the minister pat up the day.” . . . “Deil mean him! it's his tryde.”

6. Transf.: to utter a moaning or mournful sound, as an animal, the sea, wind, etc. (Ags., Fif. 1962). Also ppl.adj.Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems II. 57:
Hawky ahint the hallan main't, And routed aft and sair.
Sc. 1858 W. Aytoun Ballads I. 27:
The mavis menyed in her song.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 3:
The sea That manes by nicht an' cries by day The dule that's come to me.
Abd. 1924 M. Angus Tinker's Road 8:
The black thorn's maenin', “O rauch winds, let me be!”
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 125:
He says the bogle's juist the win' that through the bour-tree maens.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21:
Tae Sylvester, Banchory meant bein jyled wi other forehooied, greetin, girnin, murnin and manin kittlins, cut aff frae their hamely sinecures in the purgatory o a cattery.

[O.Sc. (to mak) mayne, 1375, mayne, a lamentation, c.1500, O.E. *mān, id.; mene, to bewail, 1375, to pity, c.1500, to mene, to be pitied, 1535, to state a complaint formally, from 1475, O.E. mǣnan, to lament, with the i- mutated form of *mān-. In Mod.Sc. the two forms have run inextricably together, from the fact that in ne.Sc. mane becomes meen and in em.Sc.(a), mean becomes mane (see P.L.D. §§ 88, 118) and the noun and verb forms and usages have besides become interchanged. O.Sc. has main, v., from the n., 1629.]

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"Mane n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <>



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