Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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RAX, v., n. Also racks, raax, raux, rawx (Sc. 1836 Chambers's Jnl. (Oct.) 288); wrax; rex, raex (I.Sc.). [rɑks; I.Sc. ræks]

I. v. 1. absol. or refl., in Sh. also with apo. To stretch oneself, esp. after sleep (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), or after being in a cramped position. Gen.Sc. Hence raxter, a long walk, a tramp for exercise (Sh. 1904 E.D.D.). Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 74:
Carles wha heard the Cock had craw'n, Begoud to rax and rift.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 158:
And turn and fald their weary clay, To rax and gaunt the live-lang day.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 273:
He rax'd himsell wi' mony a groan.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 109:
Whan hens begin to mutter on the baux, . . . Whan matrons sage begin to rift an' rax.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 96:
Wi' their hands aboon their head They raise an' rax'd themsel's.
Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie and Madge 15:
Habbie gradually gies owre snorin, an' begins to rax himsel'.
Ags. 1896 Barrie Sentimental Tommy iii.:
When you are wraxing ower your kail-pot.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 81:
What tinks doo aboot pittin' dem [kye] up i da hill for a hoor or twa, Sibbie, if hit wis only ta raex apo dem?
Abd. 1928 Abd. Book-Lover VI. i. 13:
His pipes laid awa' Jock raxes himsel.

2. tr. To stretch or extend a part of the body: (1) of a (cramped) limb, used transf. in 1943 quot. of teeth. Gen.Sc. Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 103:
To rax their banes, and rub their een.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 6:
The dancers a' convened, Tae rax their legs an' stuff their wizens.
e.Lth. 1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 146:
I'd daur to rax my limbs at least.
Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 35:
After being in the house a' day I took a turn tae rax my legs.
Bwk. 1943 W. L. Ferguson Vignettes 74:
Doon i' the dumps! Doon i' the dumps! O for a crust to rax my stumps!
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 4:
As prood as a chucken fin raxin' its legs.

(2) of the neck: (i) to crane, push out (one's own neck) (Sh., n. and em.Sc., Lnk. 1967); (ii) to stretch or pull out (another's neck), hence to hang (Sh., Abd., 1967). Vbl.n. raxing, a stretch, a hanging; ppl.adj. raxed, stretched. (i) Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 89:
Ye'll shortly see Me rax my neck, and craw.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 101:
Wudna there been a gey raxin' o' necks if Sandy had gotten knighted.
Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 74:
Ye've been raxin' yer neck like a craggit-heron sin' ever ye cam' in aboot.
(ii) Ayr. 1786 Burns A Dream viii.:
An' may ye rax Corruption's neck, And gie her for dissection!
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 21:
For cowards some their craigs had racks'd.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
“When we had a Scotch Parliament, Pate,” says I (and deil rax their thrapples that reft us o't!), “they sate dousely down and made laws for a haill country.”
Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 207:
Is this young Wat Scott? an' wad ye rax his craig, When our daughter is fey for a man?
Clc. 1870 Alloa Advertiser (7 Jan. 1922) 3:
I'll shune rax your neck for ye. But as you're a tall man ye'll need a short rope.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xiii.:
Weel may yon boatie row, or my craig'll have to thole a raxing.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 210:
Aa'll rax your craig for ye.

(3) of the head or eyes: to raise in order to look or listen (Sh., Abd. 1967). Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xl. 5:
Rax up yer een, an' leuk.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister iii.:
Betsy wraxed up her head.
Dmf. 1921 J. L. Waugh Heroes 100:
And Luiffy, elbows on his knees, hands under his chin, and head raxed towards me was an attentive, interested listener.

(4) of the hand or arm: to reach, stretch, with out, ower, forth, in, up, etc. (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 154). Gen.Sc. Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 4:
An' raxing out His gardies, loud did cry.
Rnf. 1791 A. Wilson Poems 185:
Rax me your hand — hech! how he granes.
Fif. 1802 C. Gray Address Weavers 7:
Come, rax full length your filthy paw.
Slk. 1831 Hogg Tales (1874) 194:
If it should rax out its arms, till they crack.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
A lang airm was raxt owre atweesh the shoulders o' twa or three.
Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iv. 179:
The mester-hoosal, after saying grace, invited the party to partake of a hearty supper by shouting in his cheeriest tones, “Rax in y'ur hands,” and “Fa' tae noo folk.”
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's i. 24:
I've rax't oot my haun, But ye fash't yersels nane.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Lowland Hills 38:
Ay, Jeems, ma man, rax oot yer haun an' wale An Auld Kirk manse.

(5) by metonymy, of a blow or stroke: to deal, deliver, inflict (Sh., Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1967). Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 12:
Death wi' his Rung rax'd her a Yowff.
Abd. 1739 Caled. Mag. (1788) 499:
A muckle man, co he, foul fa' him, . . . Rax'd me alang the chafts a whawm.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 159:
His strang, hazle pike-staff he taks, Designin to rax her a lounder.
Lnk. 1806 J. Black Falls of Clyde 108:
Hae, there's a wand, rax her a gowf wi' that.

3. (1) To stretch by pulling, to lengthen by tension, to pull out to length or breadth, extend (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson). Gen.Sc.; to torture by racking. Also fig. Deriv. raxer, one who stretches. Also fig. Phr. to rax a halter, to be hanged. m.Lth. 1711 J. Monro Letters (1722) 38:
The convinced Soul raxes out his own Wickedness and Sin longer and broader than any other Body's watsomever.
ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems (1869) 94:
But if ye rax me limb and lith.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ordination i.:
Ye wha leather rax and draw.
Slg. 1802 G. Galloway Admirable Crichton 74:
His iron sides like clay did wrax.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian v.:
When ye gang to see a man, that never did ye nae ill, raxing a halter.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones II. 206:
The humble are the tillers of fields — the tenders of flocks, the raxers of leather, the weavers of webs.
Sc. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminiscences (Ser. 2) 107:
If I could win at him, I wud rax the banes o' him.
Sh. 1892 Manson's Sh. Almanac:
Cut an rexed da tar ledder o da grice for humbliebaands.
Ags. 1918 J. Ingles The Laird 20:
Weel, Pitcarmit raxed his soople heid for a week, an' when Sabbath cam' he had his story o' the Ark a' cut an' dry.
em.Sc. 1920 J. Black Airtin' Hame 80:
A'e guidman comin' frae his darg His stap raxed oot, whene'er he saw The guidwife's cruisie blink.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A've rax't ma brains, but canna mind.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 15:
Gweedsake, cud ye nae rax a penny? A gweed customer like me deserves a bittie ye ken.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 13:
Tae twa they've raxed their ilka mile Sin' my young days!
Sc. 1964 Weekly Scotsman (13 Aug.) 8:
My father was raxed with asthma.

(2) to stretch or spread out or over, expand, extend to full reach or capacity (I., n. and em.Sc. 1967). Also fig. Ppl.adj. raxin, plentiful, filling. Deriv. raxer, a filling, satisfying meal. Phr. to rax one's leather, to fill the stomach, feed. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186:
For deacon cocks hae pass'd a law To rax an' weet your leather Wi' drink thir days.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Mare xviii.:
Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether, To some hain'd rig, Whare ye may nobly rax your leather.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 88:
The darksome e'ening raxes Her wings owre day.
Fif. 1811 C. Gray Poems 15:
Nae Tyrant e'er our purse-neck raxes.
Abd. 1827 J. lmlah May Flowers 138:
Come rax your lungs an' rouse your lyres In praise o' Highland Whisky O!
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 232:
The largest of the serpent tribe can swallow an ox. . . . The horns o' a Hielan' stot wad rax the wimes o' them.
Rxb. 1880 T. Watts Woodland Echoes 65:
That ye suid tine yer wuts tae scribble . . . An' raux yer jaws tae yelp an' giggle.
Ags. 1910 J. Lee Poems 35:
Blawn as the pipers' chouks wad rax.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 158:
Rex thee gump an' aet the stump.
s.Sc. 1926 H. McDiarmid Penny Wheep 61:
It's a wunder its heid disna burst The way it's aye raxin' its chouks.
ne.Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (April) 58:
The nets are raxed aroon me, dryin bonnie i' the sin.
Cai. 1961 “Castlegreen” Tatties an' Herreen' 16:
So straichten yur back, sir, an' hev a richt raxer There's notheen' lek broth, on 'e Sunday!

(3) fig. To make extortionate demands upon (a tenant), to demand the greatest possible rent or dues, rack-rent. Deriv. raxward, of a landlord: grasping, extortionate. Sc. 1794 Letters of G. Dempster (Fergusson 1934) 252:
You would wonder at the change the little tenants have made on their houses and farms here since they know they are not to be removed nor raxed and are red of services.
Ork. 1829 J. Malcolm Tales 93:
I'm . . . sairly hadden down wi' the laird, wha's threatenin' to raise my rent that's ower high already; but he was aye a raxward man, — and, between you and me, he's rather greedy.

4. To strain, sprain (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Also fig. e.Lth. 1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 62:
An' lang he ferliet at the sicht, An' sair he raxit his ein.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 94:
A man mith rax his een in vain Ere he could spy . . . an idol.
Abd. 1863 G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod i. x.:
Tak' care an' nae rax yersel ower sair.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 91:
We'se gaase dem rex dir rigs afore dey geng hame agen.
Ags. 1894 J. Inglis Ain Folk 139:
Oor hens jist made up their minds that it wisna worth their while to rax themsel's for eggs at tenpence the dizzen.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro J. Splendid xv.:
A raxed shoulder he had met with at Dumbarton.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde 1st Bk. McFlannels ii.:
Ah don't want tae rax masel'.

5. To reach out and hold or grasp (an object) at the full extent of one's arm: (1) in gen.: Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 118:
Raxin' the Bible alift, he cried, In the strength o' the Powers abune.
Abd. 1913 C. Murray Hamewith 98:
Rax back your rung, an' ance — nae mair — Gie saucy Meg a canny skelp.

(2) in order to draw it towards oneself, esp. with down (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Kcb. 1967). Sc. 1842 D. Vedder Poems 139:
Rax doon the nuts, ye uncolike loon.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 11:
Rax doon the bools, link up the cruik, Hing on yer tatie bree.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 64:
My mother “raxt” a hymn book saying, “We will now sing one or two verses.”
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 485:
Noo I'll rax doon the muckle Book.
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 61:
Sae rax doon the wan' lads, and on wi' the creel.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 39:
He raxed the Bible till him And he pounded it fu' weel.
Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 18:
The Deil eat a' that he could rax.

(3) in order to hand it to another, followed by the dative with or without to, to pass, hand over or on (Sh., ne., em. and sm.Sc. 1967). Freq. with advs. doun, ower, etc. Ppl.adj. raxin, openhanded, generous, ready to give. Comb. rax-me-doon, a better kind of coat that is kept at hand so that it can be quickly exchanged for one's working coat (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Dmf. 1760 Session Papers, Jardine v. Corbet Proof 40:
He saw him take one or two of the magistrates by the arm, and rax or hand them by.
Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 153:
Rax me my cloak, I'll down the key, And see him come ashore.
Sc. 1796 Select Christian Authors No. 64 (Buchanan 1840) 201:
When in the General Assembly the cause of foreign missions was opposed on the ground that Paul did not preach to the rude people of Malta, Dr Erskine said, “Rax me that Bible,” and read the account of that visit.
Gsw. 1807 J. Chirrey Misc. Poetry 40:
I wash't my face, an' kaim'd my hair, Bade Nan gae rax me o'er a sark.
Ags. 1820 A. Balfour Contemplation 272:
She bang'd out o'er, rax'd him a chair.
s.Sc. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 246:
She sat doun aside the shearers, an' he raxt 'er bye roastit corn.
Wgt. 1877 Saxon Gall. Gossip 43:
Rax me some broth an' a spune.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped ix.:
Scraping plates and raxing drams to a wheen tarry sailors.
Sh. 1892 Manson's Sh. Almanac:
Rex me da skuinie an glaan.
Sc. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse Sayin's xxxi. 20:
But, for a' that, she's an open-hairtit body to the puir, An', e'en to gangrels, she's kent to hae a raxin haun.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 53:
And if it maun be that we twa maun twine, Then rax me that gowden ring o' thine.
Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 15:
Rax me thon bottle, like a mon!

6. intr. To strain or exert oneself in gen.; specif., of a horse in harness, hence raxers, harness; to retch, vomit. Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-boat xii.:
What a creighling the creature made, raxing and hadding its sides [of seasickness].
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 136:
But had ye got sic raxers on when I stuck tae the dram, They'd fitted ye as breeks o' mine fit my wee bunchie Tam.
Fif. 1881 C. Gulland Scottish Ballads 4:
Tugged at a mighty load, and raxed To gain Dunsinnan's crown; Wi' might and main they raxed in vain.

7. To reach or stretch (for or to) (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson), to extend the body or arm; specif. at table: to help oneself to food. Gen.Sc. Also fig. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 152:
Wha rax for Riches or immortal Fame.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 131:
Raxing to the chimney-stane. She, shortly, finds twa usefu' een.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Tales (1874) 679:
Come along, then, my wee bonny hen chicken. Raux up an' gie me a grip o' your finger-ends.
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan x.:
Ye have broke weel in on the mailing by your feus down at the well, . . . and raxed ower the tether maybe a wee bit farther than you had any right to do.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 145:
Raxing for a peat to light his pipe.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 60:
When my faither cam' back he raxed ower the bed and made my pillow easy for my head.
Abd. 1914 A. McS. The Bishop 28:
I wis sure gin he cam' near, I wid never rax till 'im, for his airms wis sae lang.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
“Rax owre”, “Rax tae”. “Rax oot ti the scones”.
Lnk. 1928 Bellshill Speaker (12 Oct.):
I'd see a' sorts for gowd rax high.
Abd. 1930 D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 14:
Is't jist Aiberdeen ye get, Peter, or can ye rax farrer awa'.
Ork. 1960:
Boy, watch theesel and dunno rex ower the table when the minister comes.

8. To expand, stretch, elongate, become longer or broader (Sh., Abd. 1967): (1) in gen. Hence ppl.adj. raxin, expansive, elastic, accommodating. Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 60:
Raw leather raxes.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Ep. J. McMath iv.:
Their three-mile prayers, an' hauf-mile graces, Their raxin' conscience.
Slg. 1802 G. Galloway Admirable Crichton 74:
His iron sides like clay did wrax, An' bent his sulky study.
Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.:
The truth raxes in his mou' like India rubber.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 56:
An' whiles she gar't his wallet rax Wi' cast-aff claes, instead o' farles.
Abd. 1918 J. Mitchell Bydand 21:
An' syne the eerie shadows raxin' ower the Silv'ry Dee.
Abd. 1963 J. C. Milne Poems 111:
Wi' fite beard raxin doon his breist.

(2) To grow, develop; specif. of the daytime: to stretch out (Sh., Abd., Per. 1967). Ppl.adj. raxing. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 137:
They'd rax fell strang upo' the simplest fare, Nor find their stamacks ever at a stand.
Slg. 1830 Perthshire Advertiser (19 Aug.):
Fine raxing beasts could be bought at 6l.
Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 30:
Maggie was a raxin' carlin', Stood near twa ell in her shoon.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 40:
The day's raxin' oot, an' the night`s creepin' in.
Ags. 1897 A. Reid Bards Ags. 202:
An' when I raxed beyond my teens . . . I'd gang to meet the lassies.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 13:
O' fair may fa' the seedtime, While days rax oot again.

9. To extend in space from one point to another, to reach (ne. and em.Sc., Ayr., Slk. 1967). Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 78:
A pole as lang and big As wad rax there an' back again.
Ags. 1927 Brechin Advertiser (25 Oct.) 3:
Miry miles raxed 'tween the stanes.

II. n. 1. The act of stretching (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne. and em.Sc. 1967); a pull, a tug. Also fig. = the stretch. Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 118:
To . . . gi'e my legs a rax.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 34:
Gif ilka word o't dinna jimp like wax, The ill join'd bit sall cost your neck a rax.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 146:
They grippit, . . . And, wi' enormous raxes, soucht T' unsaddle ane anither.
Kcd. 1844 W. Jamie Muse 104:
That night their legs had got a rax.
Edb. 1883 Stevenson Letters (Colvin 1899) I. 255:
Ye crack o' Maecenas he's naebody by you! He gied the lad Horace a rax forrit by all accounts.
Mry. 1899 C. A. Elf Hill Birnie 14:
A few yawns and “raxes”, and every stalwart member moved “swack” and obedient to his will.
Bwk. 1914 Rymour Club. Misc. II. 132:
Your mind is aye upon the rax.

2. The act of reaching (Sc. 1808 Jam.); reach (Sh., Abd., Slg., Lnk. 1967). Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 101:
His sensual saul, an' hollow, Stoops down below the rax o' truth, To cheat her unsuspecting youth.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 58:
The Jingler, who occupied a snug birth within “rax” o' the ingle lug”.
Bwk. 1900 A. T. G. Thornlea 49:
Pit it west oot o' the rax o' the bairns.
Mry.1 1925:
It's gey far oot o' the rax o' the like o' me.

3. A strain, a sprain (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 140:
He wiz liftin' a muckle stane, an' ga's back a gey sair rax.
Abd. 1895 N. Roy Horseman's Word xxii.:
Even a bit wrax or a bealin, will whiles near-hand ruin a lad.
Abd. 1960 Buchan Observer (9 Feb.) 3:
There's lotions for lumbago, Rheumatics, or a rax.

[O.Sc. rax, to stretch, from a.1400, O.E. raxan, to stretch oneself after sleep. The I.Sc. form rex may be due to conflation of Rax and Norw. dial. rekkja, to strain, stretch out. See Reak.]

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