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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AE, YAE, adj., numeral = one; and with other uses developed from the numeral. (Also a'e, ee, yeh, ya, eäe.) [e: I.Sc. + i:, n.Sc., em.Sc.(a); je: em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., sm.Sc., s.Sc. + jæ:]

A. 1. As numeral: one. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1737 A. Ramsay Prov. (1797) 41:
He that kens what will be cheap or dear, needs be a merchant but for ae year.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xi. 107:
I ken mair than ae advocate that may be said to hae some integrity.
Sh.(D) 1931 Saga, Sh. Times, March 14, 7:
I tink nothin' ava o' a' ye're new-fangled machines — da wireless fur ee thing.
Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Pres. of Aberdeenshire 44:
She wished she had just ae ither lassie to make out the dizzen an' a half.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
I min' ae nicht, fin straikin ye [i.e. the cat],
Yer coat o yalla tortyshell
Ceest on the air a balmy smell,
Its sweet reek yoamt aa ower me.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 1:
Freedom is fine fur erne fierce
That reenges wide wi bluidy cleuk
Fur falcon heich wi een o steel,
Fa jeels the marra wi ae luik.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 13:
Ae nicht I sat by mysel at the fire
and thocht.
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas Fraser in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 8:
But still ae spell, it's trith to tell,
Will last until my deith.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 6:
'Twixt Ruberslaw an Warbla Knowe
Yince, Christopher we'd meet
For ae sicht o' the tither
Asklent burn water rummlin at oor feet!
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 15:
Ae reistless maw, ae neck-chain's clink,
ae beist's hiccough,
Rising hindquarters-first to bate
the neck-chain's thraw.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders 156:
There's but yae road for them, and that's the straughtest.
s.Sc.(D) 1837 D.S.C.S. 173:
Hey haes eäe bairn leevan', only eäne.

Occas., the ae, this ae (Ork., ne.Sc. 1975) (emphatic):Slg. 1876 A. B. Grosart Poems A. Wilson I. xx.:
I maun let you see something you hinna seen the like o' this ae twalmonth.
Arg. 1931 I. Burnett The Ravens enter the House 50:
Deil's in my tongue, what did I say that for? I didna mean the ae word of it.

2. One of two, as opp. to the other; gen. the ae. (Cf. the tae s.v. Tae, adj.) Gen.Sc. Also, one as opp. to another, others, or the others. Gen.Sc.Sc. [1825] J. Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 65:
No, Mr North, nane o' your envious attributions o' ae spirit for anither.
Lnl. 1890 A. M. Bisset Spring Blossoms 13:
Tam on ae side o' his broo Has stuck his new Glengairry.
Ayr. 1789 (publ. 1800) Burns To Dr Blacklock vii.:
But why should ae man better fare, And a' men brithers?
e.Dmf. 1894 J. Cunningham Broomieburn 53:
Unless he looks at it frae the ae side, an' then frae the ither.
Rxb.(D) 1868 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 12/2:
Ma airms flew ya' way an' ma elbows another.

3. With ellipse of noun: (by) one (degree). Used with comparatives. (Rare.)Gsw. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 33:
A good fu fat farmer's son, but ae laigher nor a laird.

4. The same. Gen.Sc.Ork. 1920 J. Firth Remin. Ork. Parish (1922) 80:
To have been “bapteezed oot o' ae water” was looked upon as a permanent bond of friendship.
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches (1908) 37:
“Nae 'at he gaed ower deep for me,” said Sandy, “but A couldna exac'ly say ae wy wi' 'im a'thegither in some o's views.”
Abd. a.1920 in Gleanings from a Deeside Parish 15:
We come a' till ae door at nicht.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Caller Herrin' (Life and Songs 1905) vii.:
At ae word be in yere dealin'.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 165:
Folk in Gallawa's no a' yae breed noo though.

5. Only. Gen.Sc.Sc. a.1802 Scott (ed.) Minst. Sc. B., Bonny Hind II. 300:
For I'm Lord Randal's ae ae son. [Intensive repetition.]
Sc. 1926 W. Shirley Mairtyr's Croun, Sc. Mag. IV. 433:
I maun see the lad, ma yae man bairn.
Per. c.1790 Lady Nairne L. o' Cockpen (Life and Songs 1905) ii.:
McClish's ae daughter.
Fif. 1896 G. Setoun R. Urquhart vii. 84:
He's Mich'el's and Marget's ae ewe lamb, an I would do muckle for him for their sakes.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 47:
An' mony a ae wean gar greet.
Bwk. 1880 T. Watts in Minstr. of the Merse 194:
Oor ae wee wean.
Rxb. 1802 J. Leyden in Minst. Sc. B. II. 342, Ld. Soulis xxxi.:
Now rose with Branxholm's ae brother, The Tiviot, high and low.

6. Before a superlative, ae adds emphasis. Gen.Sc., but now chiefly poetic. (Cf. Lat. iustissimus unus, etc.)Sc. a.1818 The Laily Worm, Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 36, i.:
My father marrëd the ae warst woman The wardle did ever see.
Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. VII. 513:
Come to my hand, thou lang taper spearmint — the half o' thy virtue has never been kenned. Thou art . . . the ae saftest thing a hizzie fond o' daffin can sew in the hem o' her smock.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
Ye're the ae best han' at gedderin' a' the claicks o' the kwintra side 't I ken.
m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings, etc. 71:
Till the a'e last load is in, Wi' its joltin' and its din.
Ayr. 1792 Burns The Deil's Awa, etc. iii.:
But the ae best dance ere cam to the land Was “The Deil's Awa wi' th' Exciseman.”
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 324:
For he has a' his mother's heart, — The ae best heart the world e'er knew.

7. A certain (person or thing). Often in phr. indicating past time. Gen.Sc. Also = some (of indef. future time). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1858 E. B. Ramsay Reminiscences (26th ed.) vii:
“Where are you taking that salmon, my boy?” Boy: “Do you ken gin ae Mr — — (giving the gentleman's name) lives hereabout?”
Sh. 1888 Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 285:
As I stood by oor door ae bright Sabbath morning wha should gang by but Merran.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
Ae cheil wi' the key wins at the door in coorse, an' apens't.
Ib. xxxiv.:
They gae far aboot that disna meet ae day.
Abd.(D) 1926 P. Giles Abd. Univ. Rev. July 223:
Bit ae sharp offisher sortit 'em.
Lth. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger (1915) 5:
An a'e day the maister passin' got a divot on the heid.
Edb. 1893 W. G. Stevenson Wee J. Paterson 11:
Yae day there was a man gaun fishin' up the water.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae 'Tween Clyde and Tweed 7:
Yae hairtsome mornin' in the airly spring.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 196:
Ae cam, blae, bitter frosty day.

8. About, approximately, as much as, as long as. (Cf. a similar use of A, indef. art., 3. Cf. also N.E.D.: “ A with numeral adjectives removes their definiteness, or expresses an approximate estimate: . . . as a sixty fathom, a six years, a two hundred spears.”)Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems, etc. 189:
Ae forty miles they got wi' trouble Frae sun to sun.
Arg.1 1928:
I'm sure it'll be ae ten years since I saw you last.
It'll be ae the hinner-en' o' July afore the hoose is ready.
There's ae a ton o' manure in the store, but we micht need twarrie bags mair.
I'll have ae twenty cheese ready for the market by next Monday.

B. Phrases.

(1) Ae and ane, one and the same (see Ane). (2) Ae ane, one only (see Ane). (3) Ae gate, in the same direction (see Gate).

(4) Ae man's bairns, (as if) of one family.Sc. 1827 Scott Two Drovers ii.:
Ye ken Highlander and Lowlander, and Border-men, are a' ae man's bairns when you are over the Scots dyke.

(5) Ae year's bairn wi', of the same age as.Bnff. 1899 Bnffsh. Jnl. 27 June 3:
Mr Alexander Alexander . . . who reckoned himself ae year's bairn with Bell.

C. Combs.: (1) Ae-baste, drawn by one animal. (2) Ae-beast-tree (see quot.). (3) Aebite, adv., at one gulp. (4) Ae-fur, adj. (see quot.). (5) Ae-fur-brae, n. (see quot.). (6) Ae-fur-land, n. (see quot.). (7) Ae-handed, ae-haun't, adj., lit. one-handed; also (a) single (combat), (b) clumsy. (8) Ae-horned, adj., with one handle. (9) Ae-lugged, adj., having only one handle. (10) Ae-pointit-gairss, n., couch-grass, Triticum repens (Bwk. 1854 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club I. 199; Per. 1975); sheep's fescue, Festuca ovina (Bwk. 1885 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XI. 28) (see also quot.). (11) Yeh teime, adj., one-time, former.(1) Ork. 1920 J. Firth Remin. Ork. Par. 107:
There was the “ae-baste pleugh,” the “twa-baste pleugh,” and the “fower-baste pleugh”
(2) Sh. and Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl. 1:
Ae-beast-tree, a swingle-tree by which one horse draws in ploughing.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Ae-beast-tree, the smallest of the plough-trees or swingle-bars used in ploughing, etc.; intended to be fixed behind one horse. Now obs. probably.
(3) e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes, etc. 92:
Syne, what the warld could stap us noo Gaun, aebite, doon disaster's throat!
(4) Cld., Slk. 1825 Jam.2:
Ae-fur, adj. Having all the soil turned over by the plough in one direction.
(5) and (6) (Synonymous). Slk., Cld. 1825 Jam.2:
Ae-fur-land. Ground which admits of being ploughed only in one direction because of its steepness, in which only one furrow can be drawn, as the plough always returns without entering the soil.
Bnff.2 1928:
Ae-fur-land, land ploughed one way.
(7) (a) Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems, etc., Souters o' Selk. ii.:
At a raid, or an ae-handed tulzie, He fear'dna the man that was born.
(b) Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. 220:
They wadna be a jiffy o' grippin ye like a gled, they're no sae ae-haun't.
(8) Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orc. Sk. Bk. 29:
The geudwife fetched him twa pints o' her best i' a ae-horned cog.
(9) Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce III. ix.:
We cannot do less than buy in Cousin Robbie's ae-lugged posset-dish.
(10) Lnk. 1825 Jam.2:
Ae-pointit-gairss. Sedge-grass, a species of carex — i.e. single-pointed grass.
(11) Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 24:
The yeh teime coach road was be the Langbauk an doon the Loan.

[For etym. see Ane.]

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"Ae adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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