Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

PRESS, v., n. Also praiss. See also Preese. Sc. usages:

I. v. As in Eng. Comb. †press-day, prest-, “the name formerly given to the third day of a visitor's stay, in consequence of its being customary on this day to urge the visitor to delay his departure somewhat longer” (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 144).Sc. 1831 S. Ferrier Destiny I. x.:
A rest day, a drest day, and a prest day, were the appointed measure of a visiter's days. The third was delicately appropriated to the pressing solicitations of the host, and always conferred as an act of bounty over and above.

II. n. 1. “A strong but ineffectual inclination to go to stool” (Sc. 1825 Jam., praiss; Ork., Bnff., Ags., Fif. 1966). Cf. Preese.

2. A large cupboard, gen. one built into a recess in the wall but also applied to free-standing cupboards of all kinds (Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 97). Gen.Sc. and in Eng. dial. In Scot. in wider application than in Eng. where it gen. refers only to cupboards for books, occas. to those for clothes. Also attrib., as in press-door, press-drawer, etc. Deriv. press-fu', a cupboardful.Sc. 1718 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1834) I. 197:
As one was praying, down falls the press, wherein was abundance of lime vessels, all broke to pieces.
Edb. 1767 Caled. Mercury (24 Jan.):
That Lodging or Dwelling House, . . . consisting of five good fire rooms, and a kitchen, a dark room without a vent, a closet to every room, presses, and other conveniences.
Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 131:
Then frae a press with lids as black's a slae Brings a quart bottle out of uskabea.
Sc. 1776 J. Anderson Chimneys 158:
The same effects will be produced, by opening or closing a press-door within the room, as by opening the room-door, in a still higher degree, in proportion to the size of the door of the press.
Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 64:
I' my press draw'r I hae some cash.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 125:
Coffins stood round, like open presses.
Sc. 1817 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) V. 3:
I don't mean a formal press, with a high door, but some crypt, or, to speak vulgarly, cupboard, to put away bottles of wine.
Rnf. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxii.:
Mrs Soorock's cupboard was what, in Renfrewshire, is called a dining-room press.
Slg. 1852 A. Bain Education Slg. (1965) 196:
Press doors and drawers to have strong hinges and turned knobs.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls ii.:
A “press” or cupboard containing a fair assortment of cooking utensils.
Bnff. 1902 J. Grant Agric. Bnff. 9:
We have facing the fire . . . the bunbreist, consisting of the box bed and press.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Jooly 5):
It'll be a tik mist whin da boy canna finn his midder's press.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 80:
I'll saddle the horse, but when she's no there, I'll jeuk in ahent the press door.
Gsw. 1950 H. W. Pryde McFlannel Family Affairs 81:
Surely the two of us can guddle along for one meal. The egg stuff'll be in the press there.
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 69:
He went to the press, and returned with a bottle, which he poured out. "Here," he snorted, "set thee mooth tae yin chug an' tell me whit id's like."
Abd. 1962 H. Diack Boy in Village 35:
Our cupboard, like all Scottish cupboards, was called the “press”.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 15:
What are you looking for?
To see
If anybody is hidin' tryin' to overhear.
This wee press is just the place for sicha nosy ear!
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 119:
And the Minister, for all his solemn kirk virtue, had in him a remnant of humour left over from high-jinking student days. The Sergeant had neither, but when Provost MacKenzie took out his bottle from the press in the corner and set out four glasses, he put up his sword and resigned himself to quenching his rage with a dram of the Provost's whisky.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 115:
Hornshottle croftlaund, whaur the wind sings tae the gress
At catches the yett's fingers; whaups cown.
Black-broukit music sheets scouk in the press.
When the lift's lown
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 10:
And a lockt press
wi the guns though shut oot o sicht.

Combs. (1) press-bed, a bed built into a recess in the wall, and shut off from the room by wooden doors, a box-bed, see Box, n.1, 2. (1). Gen.Sc., obsol.; (2) press-head, the top of a free-standing cupboard (Kcb. 1966).(1) Sc. 1733 Bk. Old Edb. Club XXVII. 156:
Six press beds with ambries above each.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 538:
A small private apartment, including within the recesses of its walls two or three press beds.
Sc. 1861 Queen Victoria Leaves (1868) 206:
In a little room of a regular Highland cabin, with its usual “press bed,” we had luncheon.
Abd. 1879 G. McDonald Sir Gibbie xxxiii.:
One [salmon] was reported to have been found in a press-bed.
Sc. 1894 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 307:
The house had just a “but” and a “ben” . . . each containing two press-beds.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xvii.:
The warld smells like the inside o' a press-bed when the door's steekit.
2. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 372:
There might he dawner in on an evening, lay by clicky [a stick] on the press head.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Press v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: