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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WAD, v.1, n.1 Also wadd, wud (Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 120); wade (e.Lth. 1780 Trans. E.Lth. Antiq. Soc. VII. 17), ¶widd, ¶weed-; ¶wat. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wed. See P.L.D. §§ 27.1, 56. Hence wadlock, wedlock (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell St Matthew i. 18). [wɑd]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. as above; pa.t. waddit, -ed, reduced forms wad, wed; pa.p. waddit, -ed, wad, wed.

B. Usages. 1. tr. and absol. To pledge, wager, bet (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl., 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 459; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 192; Sh., Slg., Fif., Lnk., Wgt. 1973), freq. in asseverations, I('ll, 'se) wad. Phr. to wad at, to wager on.Sc. 1745 R. Mackenzie J. Brown of Haddington (1918) 37:
I'll widd he shall not say it before my face.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 73:
I'll wad a farden.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry xvi.:
Faith! I'll wad my new pleugh-pettle, Ye'll see't or lang.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 152:
She couldna hae ridden a furlong mair Had a thousand merks been wadded at her.
ne.Sc. 1805 Young Allan in Child Ballads No. 245. A. vi.:
‘O fatt will ye wade, ye Young Allan, Or fatt will ye wad we me?' ‘I ill wad my head agenst yer land.'
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters I. 188:
But I'se wad my lugs, she'll tak' it up ilka plack, an' part it as she likes.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 166:
We'se wad ilk inch that's in oor bouk. He see the glimmer o' her gullies.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
I wat ye a groat.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 95:
A'll wad ye a guinea.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 80:
I'll wad a croon it's Jamie Broon.

2. As in Eng., to marry (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; ne., em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc., Wgt., Slk. 1973). Phrs. to be waddit upon, to be married to. Cf. Mairry, v., 1.; ¶to wed one's weddings, to get married.Ayr. 1792 Burns Weary Pund o' Tow iv.:
And or I wad anither jad, I'll wallop in a tow.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. iii.:
The man she since wadded.
Sc. 1822 Bonnie Baby Livingston in Child Ballads (1956) V. 261:
Upon the laird of Glenlion Soon wadded shall ye be.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
The minaister lad waddit till the quine Birse.
Ork. 1884 in R. M. Fergusson Rambles 243:
Thoo may go wed thee weddens wi' whom thoo wilt; For I'm sure thoo'll never wed none wi' me.
Per. 1887 R. Cleland Inchbracken 273:
Mony anither birkie laad, 'at wad before tryin' on his gemms.
m.Sc. 1915 J. Buchan Thirty-nine Steps v.:
Last nicht my dochter Merran was waddit.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 5:
But, onywye, it wasna by the shirra they were wad.
Ags. 1949 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 409:
She got wadded a month efter mysel'.

II. n. 1. (1) A pledge, something deposited as security (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1929; Ayr. 1930; Sh., Wgt. 1973). Comb. and phrs.: in the wad o', as security for; (to lay) in or a [on]-wad, (to pawn, to leave) as a pledge or security; to lie in wad, to be in pawn, used fig. in quot. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c.; transf. in comb. kirstenin wad, the piece of cake or the like given to the first person met when a child is being carried to baptism (Dmb., Lnk. 1973). See Kirsten, v.Sc. 1751 Charmer II. 58:
My Sunday's coat she has laid it a wad.
Dmf. 1782 Session Papers, Lord Stormont v. Stewart-Douglas (3 Jan.) 10:
The deponent remembers having taken a wad or pledge from the tenants of Netherfield for their cattle having trespassed to the west of Riddingdike.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxxi.:
The thing opignorated, or pledged, or laid in wad.
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters IV. vii.:
Ye left a ring wi' her in the wad o' three an' sixpence.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Siege Rxb. (1874) 612:
His neck lies in wad, and the forfeit will be his undoing.
Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 35:
I have nae wad, says sweet Willy, Unless it be my brand.
Sc. 1870 A. Hislop Proverbs 336:
Ye maun be auld ere ye pay sic a gude wad. Literally, you will be very old ere you can perform such a promise; proverbially, of course, that you look upon that promise as of no value.

(2) A wager, a bet (Uls. 1929; Sh., Wgt., Slk. 1973).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 19:
A Wad is a Fool's Argument. Spoken when, after hot disputing, we offer to lay a Wager that we are in the Right.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xvi.:
I could risk a sma' wad.
Sc. 1842 Whistle-Binkie 219:
I'll tak' a wad, I've gi'en the jaud O' better far a score.
ne.Sc. 1973 Oor Mither Tongue (MacWhannell) 268:
I'll tak' a wad their appeteet 'S nae hauf sae gweed as mine!

(3) A forfeit in a game, an article laid down to be redeemed by some performance prescribed in the course of play; esp. in pl., the game itself, any game in which forfeits are demanded (see quots. and refs. for details) (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Sh. 1973), also in combs. steal-wads, see Steal, v., 2. (5), (the) wadds and (the) wears, -weirs, -wiers (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 460; Dmf. 1825 Jam.). Phrs. to be in (a) wad, to be liable to a forfeit in a game (MacTaggart; Sh. 1905 E.D.D.), more gen., to be in error about something (Sh. 1905 E.D.D.); to hae (someone) in a wad, fig., to have someone in a state of anxiety, in a fix or at one's mercy; to loose a wad, to redeem a pledge by paying a forfeit; to sell wads, to play at forfeits (Sh. 1973).e.Lth. 1759 Address to Farmers Scot. 7:
I have often play'd at wadds.
Sc. 1809 Edb. Review XIV. 143:
Wadds'. This youthful amusement, in which the two opposing parties cross the boundary, and make incursions into the territories of each other, for the purpose of carrying off the wads or pledges, is called, on the Borders, by the very appropriate name of Scotch and English. In the south of England, it has the blunter appellation of steal-clothes.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 115:
This refusal [of a suggested partner] must be atoned for by a wadd, or forfeit. A piece of money, a knife, or any little thing which the owner prizes, and will redeem. His penance of redemption is frequently to kiss those very lips which he had rejected, or any object which is expected to be disagreeable to him. The performance of this looses his wadd.
Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems 101:
The Young anes now at wads did play, An' were their dearies smacking.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 35:
To seize, by bodily strength or nimbleness, a “wad” (the coats or hats of the players) from the little heap deposited in the different territories at a convenient distance.
Gall. 1822 Scots Mag. (Mar.) 374:
It is agreed to have them all in succession, and the “Wads and the Wiers” are selected, in preference, to begin with.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 265:
The other then goes round the circle, trying to discover the thief, and addressing particular individuals. . . . If he guesses wrong, he is in a wadd; if right, the thief is.
Ayr. 1862 J. Baxter The Kirn 45:
Now, ye maun guess wha's aucht this thing, This wad that's in my hand.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (17 July):
Bawby laekly tinks 'at shu'll hae dee in a wad da night.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 185–6:
Another favourite pastime was going in wads. A piece of straw is bent in the form of an acute triangle. Both the ends are lighted in the fire and begin to burn slowly. It is now carefully balanced at the angular point on another straw held perpendicularly in the hand of No. 1. . . . Anyone in whose hand the “gentle Jockie dees” (fire goes out) or “gets a faa” (falls) that one is in a wad, and is punished (?) by kissing every person of the opposite sex present, or by answering a number of dark questions, commonly having reference to love and courtship.

2. Combs.: (1) wad fitba, a challenge football match, the prize being retained or handed over by the challenger according to the result; †(2) wadman, we(e)d-, a person who kept a kind of servants' registry, giving a pledge or security to the employer, and exacting a fee from the prospective employee; †(3) wad-shooting, a challenge shooting-match for staked prizes; †(4) wad-wife, we(e)d- erron. -misses (for -wiffes), the female counterpart of (2). Cf. n.Eng. dial. wedder-woman, id.(1) Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 76:
At wad fit ba' whan braggin' bodies met, To try their fit an' get their hurdies het.
(2) Sc. 1701 R. Chambers Dom. Ann . (1861) III. 244:
There was a generation called wed-men and wed-wives, who had been accustomed to get employers for servants and nurses.
Edb. 1704 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 77:
That all weedmen and weedwyfes and others for money and other good deeds be discharged from meddling in the feeing or recomending of servants.
Edb. 1711 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 217:
That all wadmen or wadmisses and others whatsomever be discharged from recommending or feeing any person under such penalties as the Councill shall think fitt to inflict toties quoties. (6) And that all nurses and other servants whatsomever be discharged to give money or other good deeds to wadmen or wadwives in order to be recommended by them.
(3) Ags. 1726 G. Hay Arbroath (1876) 238:
In 1726, ‘the crying of roups and wad-shootings' received the attention of the Presbytery as violations of the sacredness of the Lord's-day.
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 509:
Many amuse themselves [at Christmas] with various diversions, particularly with shooting for prizes, called here wad-shooting.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 179:
The sturdy, single barrelled flint-lock musket, was quite as good for “wad sheetin, ” as the lighter fowling-pieces.
Ags. 1910 J. Malcolm Monifieth 233:
Associated with Yule and the later New Year's Day was the wad-shooting, which existed in this district until 1856 or 1857.

[O.Sc. wed, a.1400, wad, 1467, a pledge, to marry, 1540, to pledge, bet, 1657, wedwyff, 1505, orig. a female pawn-broker.]

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"Wad v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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