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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SAE, adv., n.2 Also se, ¶say and obs. forms sa (Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 51; Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 196); seye (Dmf. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 260); sua (Kcd. 1700 Black Bk. Kcd. (1843) 129; Gsw. 1715 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 548), swa (Peb. 1701 Burgh Rec. Peb. (B.R.S.) 165; Lnk. 1717 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 219); suae (Sc. 1706 W. Fraser Hist. Carnegies (1867) 260, 1743 Edb. Commiss. Test. MSS. (Reg. Ho.) CVII.), swae (Sc. 1718 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 33). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. so. See also So. [se, unstressed sə]

I. adv. 1. As in Eng. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 25:
O bonny lassie, since 'tis sae, That I'm despis'd by thee.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 11:
Sae I begins, my pen into my hand.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To the Unco Guid i.:
O ye wha are sae guid yoursel, Sae pious and sae holy.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xviii.:
Since sae be that sae it is.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Bridal of Polmood x.:
It is easy for him to say sae.
Edb. 1869 J. Smith Poems 46:
Oh sad I think on a' thy ways, sae gentle an' sae kind.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 6:
Oor rucks o' corn are baith awa', An' sae's the timmer brig!
Sc. 1889 Stevenson M. of Ballantrae ii.:
The Master — the deil's in their thrapples that should call him sae!
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 9:
An da clover red? or is it in play Wi joy because at He's made dee sae?
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs 13:
You, that's sae licht o' hert.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 3:
A wummin needny get all dolled up sae fine
If it's only in her ain man's een she wants to shine.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 9:
Sae I thankit him kindly -
syne he gied me the awfiest dunt
i the ribs, an there she stud ...
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 3:
Ye should caw canny oan the breid, no eat sae much ae it ...
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Fyles ye myurr-myurr to me ma leen,
Yer quaverin myowies thin an smaa,
Sae saft they're scarce a soun' avaa.
Ye're couthy in yer fraisin teen.
Sth. 1996 Essie Stewart in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 10:
'What care we though we be sae sma - the tent will stand when the palace shall fa!'
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 15:
Coltherdscleugh and Cauldcleuchheid
Sae lang's ye mind thae words
Loupin oot at ye fae the hauf-inch Tweeddale map
Ye've sma cause tae be warsellin wi sair heid
Ower the demise o the guid Scots tongue ...

2. In various phrs. not found or obs. in Eng.: (1) sae . . . as, (i) = Eng. as . . . as (m.Sc. 1969); (ii) = Eng. so, how, with exclam. force, (iii) = Eng. in order that. Gen.Sc.; (2) saefa ye, used in reciprocating a good wish, the same to you! See also Fa, v., B. 1.(1) (i) Sc. 1798 Monthly Mag. (Dec.) 436:
So soon as I receive your letter I shall send an answer.
Sc. 1898 L. B. Walford Leddy Marget xi.:
Maybe she'll gang to her room sae soon's she's had her tea.
(ii) Sc. 1765 Child Maurice in Child Ballads (1956) II. 273:
Ye leid, ye leid, ye filthy nurse, Sae loud's I heire ye lee.
Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling III. 219:
When I thought sae happy as Susie an' me mith live upon't.
Abd. 1844 W. Thom Poems 92:
Wha is't that aucht yon lo'some e'e? Sae weel's I see it yet!
Lnk. 1850 W. Watson Poems (1877) 160:
Sae weel's he kens the value o' his pleughman lad.
Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 71:
I daurna tell sae ill as that craeter o' a spaewife was on her death-bed.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Se weel as du kens.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 78:
Sae weel's aw ken that.
(iii) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 13:
Keepin' a sharp e'e on your bait, sae as ye can gie your waand a rick.
Per. 1899 C. M. Stuart Sabbath Nights (1924) 18:
They're gien him a crack owre the head so as he wouldna tell nae tales.
Ags. 1962 Forfar Dispatch (March):
She liket wi a' beddit early sos she cud get some peace.
(2) Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 128:
“Gweed nicht, an' a soun' sleep to ye”. “Sae fa' ye! Ta, ta.”
Bnff. 1948:
“A happy new'eer!” “Sae fa' ye.”

3. In Combs.: (1) (gin) sae be('t), conj., if so be, provided that (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147; Sh., ne., em.Sc.(a), sm.Sc. 1969), if haply; hence sae be's [ < gin sae be as], to express purpose: so or in order that; (2) sae-bein('s), -bi(e)ns, [ < sae bein as], id.; seeing that (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147, -bein; Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm.Sc. 1969); (3) sae-comin, peculiar to or characteristic of a particular person, idiosyncratic; (4) sae lang, n., an interval of time, in phr. ilka saelang, every so often, now and again (ne., em.Sc.(a) 1969); (5) sae like('s), such like; much the same (as), similar (to) (n.Sc. 1825 Jam., s.v. salike); (6) sae-say, account, description, narrative, assertion. A miswriting for the more common reg. form say-sae, s.v. Say, v.; ¶(7) sae-wyse, in like manner.(1) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 107:
Sae be the lad her for his ain wad hae.
Abd. 1831 Aberdeen Mag. 479:
I wadna be very particular mysel', how I cam by the gear, saebe I didna steal't.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin i.:
Gin sae be yer ain character an' conduck 'ill thole creetical inspection.
Sc. 1890 Whistle-Binkie II. 219:
E'en beg or steal — gang to the deil! Saebe't ye keep her happer fu'.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 26:
Let me hae this water, say-be I thirst nae mair.
Fif. 1969:
I'm supposed tae be gettin an operation [for cataract] sae be's I can see.
(2) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
Saebeins she be sic a thrawin-gabbit Chuck.
Abd. 1737 Caled. Mag. (1788) 499:
Gin I had here the countra Skate, Sae beins I shoud him bang.
Gsw. 1777 Weekly Mag. (16 Oct.) 63:
Syne the herd lads, saebiens they canna' tent Their cauldrife hirsles on the elricht bent.
Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 140:
But saebins this is auld term-day The rent nae doubt ye'll gar us pay.
Ayr. 1821 Scots Mag. (April) 352:
I'll say nae mair e'enow, saebeins I ding you a' firry-farry.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 231:
He would make her a lady, so-being she would join the teetotal society.
Arg.2 1930:
We'll put in the hey the morn so bein as it's dry.
(3) Ork.1 1952:
He's like his mither's folk when he laughs in yun sae-comin wey.
(4) Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 186:
That sair wi' a' our art will never heal But ay at ilka sae lang brak an' beal.
(5) Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 10:
It's no a prent beuk ye ken; but sae like as the anes ye hae i' the office in by.
Ags. 1957 Forfar Dispatch (5 Dec.):
Eez brither fa wiz jeest sae-like's him.
(6) Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 83:
He got on fell weel be his midder's sae-say.
(7) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 158:
Sae-wyse the Papists, as befel That terrible warld-waukin' yell Did scatter aff.

II. n. A circumstance, fact, state of affairs. Nonce.Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel viii.:
If that sae be sae, I maun take the langer tramp mysell.

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"Sae adv., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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