Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MEAN, n.1, adj.2 Also meen; mein; meand; maen; main. Sc. forms and †usages:

I. n. 1. A means, instrument, a way, an occasion or opportunity (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 59). Obs. in Eng. Phr. ‡to mak a mein, to make an attempt, to take steps (Sh.10 1962). Obs. in Eng. Cf. Moyen. Sc. 1714 T. Halyburton Nat. Religion 39:
We consider it as a Mean in Order to some End.
Sh. 1744 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S.) 4:
However it proved a mean of recovering to such degree that I preached next Sabbath.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 34:
He wad ha geen his neck but for ae kiss; But yet that gate he durstna mak a mein.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
Ye hae been the mean o' preserving my life.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West 100:
He jealoused that he had no mean o' getting admission for Mrs Goroghan.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi.:
The mean, unbekent to her, puir quean! o' bringin' sae mony mischanters upon me.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 186:
They're sair to blame, and gi'e offence To ane owre-watching Providence, Wha fleer at ony mean that's offer'd.

2. Property, possessions; means of livelihood. Hence ¶meanless, indigent, destitute. Edb. 1811 G. Bruce Poems 186:
I'm houseless, an frien'less, I'm hung'ry, an' meanless.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 117:
To try to grasp her little mean.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (6 May):
Dis bürope is no fit ta trust your mean till, boys.

II. adj. Intermediate, intervening. Obs. or arch. in Eng. Rxb. 1806 J. Hogg Poems 83:
Granny cam i' the mean stour.

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"Mean n.1, adj.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2020 <>



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