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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

TAID, n. Also tade, taed, tead; tede (s.Sc. 1824 J. Telfer Border Ballads 45), ted; tid. Dim. forms taedie, taidie, ted(d)ie; tiddy. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. toad. See P.L.D. § 32. [ted]

1. As in Eng. (Slg. 1910 Scotsman (12 Sept.); Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.(exc.I.)Sc., freq. in proverbial and other phrs.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. ii.:
The venom of black taids and snakes.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxxv.:
A taid may sit on her coffin the day.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 411:
And the milk on the tade's back I wad prefer, To the poison on his lips that be.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 44:
Mony masters, quo' the taid, when every tynd o' the harrow took him a tide.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 140:
Half a poddock, half a tead.
Sc. 1894 Scots Mag. (April) 392:
“Hoo did your minister get on las' Sawbath?” asked the one. “Get on!” said the other; “he got on — just like a taed amang tar.”
Ags. 1959 G. Michie Glen Anthol. 10:
Sittin' like twa taeds i' the cart o' a stane.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 32:
Claik a hunner different leids
Dwines tae a hoolet's lanely croon.
Nicht, like a taed, his hunkered doon.

2. Combs.: (1) ted labster, the hermit crab, Pagurus pollicaris (Abd. 1930 Fishery Board Gl.). Cf. 4.; ¶(2) taid's ee, jealousy, from the belief in the malignancy of a toad's glance; (3) taid-red, toad- or frog-spawn (Sc. 1887 Jam.). See Redd, n.2, 1.; (4) taid-spue, id. (Ib.); (5) taid-stane, a toadstone, a stone thought to come from the head of a toad, and used as an amulet (see quot.); (6) taid stuil, tade-stool, a toadstool (see quot.) (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1972); (7) tappit taed, a toad thought to have a precious stone in its head, Cf. (5) and Tap, v.; (8) yerd taid, the common toad. See Yird.(2) Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems 10:
Yon vile discrimination, That breeds aye the taid's e'e In mony a congregation.
(5) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 128:
It [charm] was for stoppin bluid whun onybuddy wus woundit. They put a Taed-stane on the wound.
(6) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 272:
The ill-favoured and deliquescent species, as well as the large Polypori and Boleti, are called Paddie or Paddock-stools or Tade-stools.
(7) Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chronicle (5 Oct.) 4:
Jordanlaw Moss was the reputed habitat of the tappit taed, a unique specimen, whose head was believed to contain a gem of fabulous price.
(8) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xxxiv.:
A baukie-bird in the air, or a yerd taid on the brae.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxv.:
Ye would as soon think o' likening a yird tead to a patrick or a turtle-dove.

3. A sheep tick or ked, so called from its toad-like appearance (Ayr., Dmf. 1958), also in comb. sheep-tade (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 425; Cld. 1825 Jam.; wm., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1972).

4. The spider crab (ne.Sc. 1930 Fishery Board Gl.). Cf. 2. (1).

5. A contemptuous name for an objectionable trouble-making person (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 211; Ork., ne.Sc., Per., Slg., Ayr. 1972), freq. also connoting unpleasant appearance. Cf. Eng. toad with sim. meanings.Peb. 1793 R. Brown Comic Poems (1817) 127:
A swindling, hen-peckt, poisonous taid, The vilest o' them a'.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xliii.:
The same wee blackent-like taid as when you left the Stoneyholm.
Fif. 1886 S. Tytler St Mungo's City xxii.:
You thrawn taed, I doubt it's ill-gotten gear.
Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 62:
He waas said tae be a filty leean taed.
Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. 147:
Johnnie Shearer, a puffin' ganjin ted.

6. Used as a term of endearment, esp. of a child or young woman (Sc. 1825 Jam., taid(ie); Fif. c.1850 Peattie MS.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1972), occas. used of pet animals (Abd. 1972), and attrib. = small, dinky, teeny-weeny.Per. 1768 T. L. K. Oliphant Lairds of Gask (1870) 357:
Poor Tods, I think of them all every child I see.
Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.:
Your wife, an' your wean, puir taed.
Ags. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan II. xi.:
I'll mak' a bane-fire o' a' my trees if that wee taed is to be set aside.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums ix.:
Lads, what a persuasive tid she was!
Kcd. 1910 W. Macgillivray The Elder 28:
The smallest porridge cappie for the young child when first trusted to feed himself out of his own teddie cap with his teddie horn spoon.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 9:
Annie wis aye a clivvir ted.
Abd. 1960 People's Jnl. (16 July) 8:
The wife afore me hid a gey gabbin' ted o' a loonie wi' her.

[O.Sc. taid, toad, lit. and fig., 1475, taid-stane, 1577.]

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"Taid n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Oct 2022 <>



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