Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YON, adj., pron., adv., n. Also yun (Sh.), ¶yahn (Kcd. 1921 T.S.D.C.), youn (Ags. 1794 W. Anderson Piper of Peebles 18); yin (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw.). See also Thon. [jon; Sh. jʌn; Cai. jɪn]

I. adj. 1. That, those, yonder, indicating a person or thing at some distance in time or space, gen. more remote than that, which is applied to the nearer if two or more objects are being spoken of (exc. in Sh. where the contrary is the case) (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 140; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915-26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc., now only dial. in Eng. Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.:
See yon twa Elms that grow up Side by Side.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 41:
Yon bony thing that I fuish hame with me.
Ayr. 1795 Burns A Man's a Man iii.:
Ye see yon birkie ca'd a Lord.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxx.:
I mind aye the drink o' milk ye gae me yon day.
s.Sc. 1839 Wilson's Tales of the Borders V. 53:
Ye wouldna let me gie half-a-crown for yon strowl o' lace.
Rxb. c.1870 Jethart Worthies 54:
Yon election o' Charteris was the grandest ever I saw!
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xviii.:
Yon little man with the red head.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 13:
To tell yon great occasion when We garred our licht shine afore men.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 43:
Yon een that's watchin' me, Whaur the arn-boughs darken.
Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (9 Nov) 2:
Yin licht-feeted gentry fae 'e Cairn turned my gricey intil a hare.
Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Oct.-Nov.) 22:
I wis oot ower da knowe by yun time.
Sc. 1954 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 370:
Do you see yon beast sitting up a' top of the rocks there?

Phrs. with euphemistic or depreciatory force: (1) yon kind, of a doubtful or not very commendable sort, in no good shape or state, ill-conditioned, not quite the thing (Sh., n.Sc. 1974). See Kind, n., 3.(4); (2) yon time in it'll be yon time before, it will be a long time before . . . (1) Abd. 1922 A. R. Birnie Jock McAndrew 4:
Oh! Jock. Dinna speak aboot that. Ye mak' me yon kine.
Abd. 1966 Buchan Observer (31 May) 5:
I'se warran' the ithers had been gey yon kind — lookin' at their feet an' shaakin' their heids!
(2) Kcb.4 1900:
To a person who had a long way to walk, a friend said “It'll be yon time ere ye get to yer ain gate-en'.”

II. pron. 1. That one (person, thing etc.), those. Gen.Sc. Bte. 1702 Session Bk. Rothesay (1931) 153:
What bony work was yon she had in the wood with Patrick Campbell.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii, iv.:
Harken, yon's auld Aunty's Cry.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 128:
As thus the dancing an' the mirth gaes on, Ane looks about, an' says, “See sirs! What's yon?”
Ayr. 1793 Burns Mary Morison ii.:
Tho' this was fair, and that was braw, And yon the toast of a' the town.
Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 69:
But who is yon, the foremost of the swarm, That scampers fleetly as the rushing wind?
Sc. 1823 Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. 189:
Everything very comfortable yonder, sir — a very bien bit yon.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 13:
My guidness, but yon's big boats!
Sc. 1896 L. Keith Indian Uncle 46:
‘What's yon?' inquired Mrs Sanderson, with a jerk of the elbow towards the banished Savory.
Rxb. 1916 Kelso Chronicle (24 March) 3:
A' yon aboot the collection and the squabbles about the other presents.
Abd. 1924 L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 26:
Jean flares up, “Fat's yon ye sed?”
Ork. 1938 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 378:
“Tells thoo me yin!” ejaculated Chohn which is the Orcadian counterpart of America's: “You don't say!”
Sh. 1952 Robertson and Graham Sh. Grammar 4:
Generally speaking, yun is used of things near in time and place, while dat is used of things past or more remote. “Yun's my bit o laand oot benort, an dat wis my bridder's croft at du saa apo da tidder side o da voe.”
Sc. 1953 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 489:
Don't tell Morag all yon was about the wee boat.

Phr. yon's away, a direction to a sheep-dog to round up sheep, poss. for yonaways, yonder, over there. Slk. 1838 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
‘Reaver,' quo' I, ‘yon's away.' In three minutes he had ten score o' ewes and wedders at my hand.

2. As a euphemistic name in sea-taboo language for sea-sickness (Mry. 1930).

III. adv. 1. Yonder, over there (Sh., n.Sc. 1974); further away. Also in Eng. dial. Dmf. 1829 W. Caesar Jaunt 8:
McIntosh's took the height, A wee bit yon.
Sc. 1925 Greig & Keith Last Leaves 49:
Lie yon, lie yon, my new-come bride.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 104:
Yon's whaar I rave up twartree fur ta big da daeks wi'.
ne.Sc. 1973:
Yon's far ye get your tickets.

2. Thither, to that place. Phrs. (1) far yon, far gone, far away with it, in a state of exhaustion; (2) hither and yon, hither and thither, this way and that. See also Hither, I. 1.(1). Kcd. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
I'll awa' yahn.
Gsw. 1935 McArthur & Long No Mean City 317:
Look over yon! That'll be Razor King oot o' the jail.
(1) Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 32:
Syne gart auld Donald fill the drone, And play till he was richt far yon.
(2) Ayr. 1836 Galt Rich Man (1925) 150:
She swayed hither and yon, and was so coggly that I had fears of a catastrophe.
Rnf. 1937 Oor Mither Tongue (MacWhannell) 204:
When your feet run awa wi' ye, hither and yon.
Lnk. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 123:
I saw by the look o' oor dwellin' That Bess was gaun hither and yon.

IV. n. Euphemistically for a bad, shocking, lamentable thing, occurrence, sight, etc. Cf. phrs. under I. 1. Ayr. 1830 Galt Lawrie Todd vi. vii.:
Heh, sirs! is na' yon, a yon?

[O.Sc. yon, adj. and pron., from 1375. III. represents a reduced form of yond, Yont, O.Sc. yone, yonder, a.1500.]

Yon adj., pron., adv., n.

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"Yon adj., pron., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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