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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

REE, n.1, v.1 Also -rie; rea; rae, wrae (Jam.); reed; reegh, reigh (Jam.); reith; wread, wreath (Sc. 1808 Jam.). See also Reeve, n.1 [ri: and esp. in sense 3. rid.]

1. A yard or enclosure for storing coal, and from which a retail trade may be conducted (Sc. 1825 Jam.; m.Sc. 1967).Edb. 1707 Edb. Courant (1–4 Aug.):
Any that have a mind, may be Provided either with great or small Coal Reasonably at the Calrie [sic].
Dmb. 1761 Caled. Mercury (10 Aug.):
A beneficial well going coal work, and lime-craig, all level-free, and a large field of coal unwrought, with a coal reith.
Lnk. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VI. 224:
Rees fitted up for the retail of coals and culm.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie ii. ix.:
A puffer, which had brought a cargo [of coal] from Ardrossan for Gillespie's ree.
Gsw. 1958 C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 38:
A door that led down steps to the coal ree.

2. An artificially enclosed stretch of water, e.g. a small dock or harbour, “the hinder part of a milldam” (Lth. 1808 Jam., s.Sc. 1825 Jam., reegh).Lth., Rnf. 1825 Jam.:
An inclosure from a river, or the sea, of a square form open only towards the water, for the purpose of receiving small vessels. . . . The reegh of Leith is a common phrase.

3. Specif.: (1) A stone-built yard, wholly or partly covered, in which cattle are wintered (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 257, reed; Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 352; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson, reed; e. and wm.Sc. 1967). Also attrib.Rnf. 1762 Session Papers, Sym v. Pollok (1 Sept.) 23:
The Ree where every Tenant in the Barony of Mearns appeared and owned their own Cattle.
Gsw. 1819 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1915) 475:
By a sunk drain thro' the cattle ree adjoining the slaughter house.
Per. 1831 Perthshire Advert. (27 Jan.):
The foreman directed the pursuer and the other servants, to remain at the reed, and employ themselves in filling the carts, while he, the foreman, should take the carts to the field, and empty the dung on the land.
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gazette (2 July):
Upon the first cry of fire, Mrs Honeyman, the wife of the grieve, had the cool presence of mind to open the “reed gate”, and thus allow the cattle, pigs, and ponies to get off unscathed.
wm.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs McCraw 120:
He should hae been i' the reed, wi' the kye, or sookin' oot'n the soo's trough.
Ags. 1942 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 456:
There never seemed even to be a warm smell coming from the cattle in the reed.
Per. 1956 Scotsman (12 July) 2:
Ample and excellent steading including first-class modern byre for 91 head with corresponding dairy premises, other byres, covered reed, calf pens, 2 bull pens.

(2) A permanent stone sheep-pen where sheep are confined during stormy weather, shearing etc. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 405; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 181; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1967). Also fig. In 1908 quot. transferred to mean a shelter or hiding-place of stones.Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 82:
Ye're better far amang yoursells Within the courtly ree.
Wgt. 1875 W. McIllwraith Guide Wgt. 62:
It seems as if the stones of this old castle had been gathered together to form rees for sheep.
Rxb. 1882 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club X. 10:
Abandonded “sheep-rees” (circular folds) of old date.
Wgt. 1908 J. M. Wood Smuggling 87:
There are yet to be seen the foundations of “rees” or shelters where the horses and “lingtowmen” waited in readiness to act.
Gall. 1912 A. McCormick Words from Wildwood 47:
Or it may be the bark of a dog or the voice of a shepherd as they “wear” the sheep down the mountain sides to the rees for the clipping.

(3) A pig-sty, usually consisting of an outdoor run with a house in it (Kcb. 1898 A. J. Armstrong Levellers 11; Kcd., Per. (reed), Lnk., sm.Sc. 1967). Hence pig-ree, swine-ree.Fif. 1866 St Andrews Gazette (26 May):
Mr Forrest, of the Blue Bell Hotel, kept two pigs in a reed, which he had been instructed to remove.
Cld. 1880 Jam.:
A swine-ree is a yard, field or enclosure where swine are reared; also, the pig-houses erected in such an enclosure.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xlii.:
One of the largest and most distinguished of the houses — one not much, if anything, inferior to a Galloway “swine ree”.
Abd. 1933 J. H. Smythe Blethers 26:
Wis taen fae oot a wifie's ree — A pig we stealt some wye in France.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 57:
If you gave good houses to rubbish like them, they'd have them pig-rees in a damn short while.

(4) An enclosure for housing poultry, a chicken run or pen (Ayr. c.1930; ne.Sc., Ayr., Gall. 1967).Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 1:
He'd the rabbits to feed an' the fulpie to kame An' the hens to hish into the ree.
Kcd. 1933 Scots Mag. (July) 261:
Hens and ducks in their clean straw rees.

4. In comb. bothy-ree, the outhouse used to house single farm-labourers.wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 7:
And I speired the gate to the bothy ree At the lass of the house at Crieff.

II. v. To surround or enclose with a wall of stone or turf (Lth., w.Sc. 1825 Jam.).

[The basic form of this word is prob. *reethe [ri:ð], poss. orig. cogn. with O.Sc. reid, 1561, Du. ree(de), a roadstead, anchorage, but the semantic development is not traceable. Cf. n., 2. The form (w)rae, which is difficult to connect with the above, is derived by some dictt. from O.N. vrá, a nook or corner, which is phonologically possible but has no semantic support, and is attested by Jam. only, as “an enclosure for cattle”.]

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"Ree n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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