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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

ONLAY, v., n. [′onle]

I. v. To lay on, in all senses. Vbl.n. onlaying, laying on, superimposition; the act of laying on blows, a severe beating (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 120); in pl., the increase in the number of stitches round the leg in knitting a stocking (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1964).Sc. 1832 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 173:
To prepare a bed beneath the portico, and beautiful bedclothes Of purple to onlay.

II. n. A heavy fall of snow or rain (Sh 1881 Williamson MSS., 1914 Angus Gl.; I.Sc. 1964).Sh. 1892 Manson's Almanac:
For a whole ook it luiked as if it wid be a onlay.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Faebruary 11):
Every shooer o snaa is no da first o a on-lay.

2. Settled weather of a particular kind, gen. bad (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)), e.g. of wind from one direction (Sh. 1964).

3. A surfeit (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Banff. 120).

[O.Sc. onlay(ing), from 1558.]

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"Onlay v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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