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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

WIZEN, v. Also wizzen, -an, wizan, wis(s)en; wuzzen; weezen, weazen. [′wɪzən]

(1) intr. Of any kind of tissue: to shrivel, dry up, shrink, wither (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 96, wissen, 1808 Jam., wisen, wizzen). Gen.Sc. and n.Eng. dial., now freq. used in St. Eng. Vbl.n. wizening; rarely tr. to cause to wither or shrivel, lit. and fig.Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 223:
Where self has gained the upper han', An' wizened up their hearts.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 84:
While ithers dwine or wissen frae the blaze O' scroochin' sun, I easy kep his rays.
Ags. 1930 A. Kennedy Orra Boughs xxxv.:
The pathetic wizening which overtook all women teachers.

Ppl.adj. wizened, wizzen(e)t, wiz(z)and, wis(s)en(e)d, wuzzent, etc., dried up, shrivelled, shrunken, (Per. Fif., Lth. (wuzzent), Ayr. (weezent) 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, wuzzent; Rxb. 1942 Zai, wuzzent, -end). Gen.Sc.: (1) of plants, wood, vegetable matter in gen., also fig.:Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 161, 222:
Aff a' the wissen'd Leaves of Spite to shake . . The Nags and Nowt hate wissen'd Strae.
Ags. a.1823 G. Beattie Poems (1882) 199:
Their wizzent timbers stour'd like sneishin.
Fif. 1879 G. Gourlay Fisher Life 99:
Red herrings, a description of article usually and not inaptly referred to as “wissened sticks.”
Bwk. 1911 P. Landreth J. Spindle 100:
The hard heel o' a wizened laif.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 133:
As muckle wizzand gress As fill the haik.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood i.:
Ye'll never haud book-larnin' in a wizened cask.

(2) of persons or parts of the body:Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 63:
Like the wissen'd beardless Wights, Wha herd the Wives of Eastern Knights.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 23:
The third was an auld, wizen'd, haave coloured carlen.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
Wadna I set my ten talents in your wuzzent face?
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 153:
Ye wee wicked weezened devil.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 211:
His skin was wuzzen'd, unfizzen'd, and broon.
Sc. 1851 G. Outram Lyrics (1874) 28:
She munches wi' her wizened gums.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 108:
Dis wisened-up bits o' things at dey ca' folk noo-a-days, da maist o' dem claes.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxxviii.:
Leave yer faither's hoose to gang to that o' a weezened auld . . .
Sc. 1926 H. McDiarmid Drunk Man 2:
Some wizened scrunt o' a knock-knee Chinee.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
They'll aye come for ye, loupin oot their kists
Een bleezin as het coals,
Corbies wi knablick nebs,
Stookie saunts o the kirk,
Queer wizzent carls an quines
An a hail smarrich o Stuarts.

[O.Sc. wisnand, pr.p., shrivelling. parching, wysnit, ppl.adj., shrunken, 1513. O.E. wisnian, to dry up, wither.]

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"Wizen v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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