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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

AFTEN, AF'EN, AFFEN, adv. Also oaffen, oaften.  Often, frequently. [ɑfn Sc., afn + ɑ I.Sc.] Compar. aftener (af'ner, etc.), superl. aftenest. Gen.Sc., exc. s.Sc. in which the orig. vowel o is more common. See P.L.D. § 105.2.Sc. a.1733 in Orpheus Caled. I. 114, Down the Burn Davie iv.:
They aften shou'd return, Sic Pleasure to renew.
Sc. 1737 A. Ramsay Proverbs (1776):
A bit is aften better gi'en than eaten.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
Vara right — that's what I hae aften said.
Sc. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Kirk i' the Clachan 132:
They that are nearest their Lord an' aftenest wi' Him.
Sc. 1994 Pete Fortune in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 153:
A tell ye man, whit a rerr sicht it wis, a richt collieshangie. A mean, it's no that A huvna seen the big bluntie riled afore - help ma Goad seen that oaften eneuch
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orc. Sk. Bk. 14:
Ye witless impident quine. . . . I'me aften telt you tae close the door efter you.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 22:
For she was aften starting thro' her sleep.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
Oh weel, it's owre af'en to hae them ilka nicht 'cep Sunday for a haill ook.
Abd.4 1928:
Af'ner here nir i' the pairis kirk.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web iii:
Tae get the tawse at the schule wis naethin - a meenit's hurt - fur I got it aften.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Auld Reikie, Poems (1925) 75:
Yet fearfu' aften o' their maught, They quat the glory o' the faught.
Edb. 1795 H. MacNeill Scotland's Scaith xl.:
Let us aftener meet thigither.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 3:
God knows he's hid it oaffen enough.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs l. 47:
I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath, What sort o' life poor dogs like you have.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 199:
The Factors is geyan affen Bank-Agents forbye.
Dwn.(D) 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod xxix. 122:
Gie an' affen he's no back whun Tam an' me gangs till oor bed.

[Altered form of Mid.Eng. (and Eng.) often.]

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"Aften adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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