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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.

AGAIN, Agane, Agean, Agen, Agin, adv., prep., conj. Also ageen; agyen (Rxb. 1884 W. Brockie Yetholm Gypsies 89). (For aphetic forms see Gin.) Sc. forms and usages of Eng. again.[ə′gen, ə′gɛn, ə′gɪn Sc.; ə′gɪən s.Sc.]

Sc. forms:Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 20:
As the sanle leapt
oor haunds flasht, and they like lichtnin
back to their sand hame, but agen and agen
the graips threw up sods o sand
Sh. 1994 Laureen Johnson in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 166:
Dey wir a kindly look till her, an ageen I towt at I ought ta ken her.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 6:
Happen, my freen, we'll meet agin
Tongues tethered fast
At soun' o' Cheviot's waters
Dirlin the haill sang at the last!

1. adv. (Besides St.Eng. meanings.)

(1) At an indef. time (in the future).Sc. 1820 Blackw. Mag. VII. 160:
Here's Sunket for ye; . . . fifteen sugar pippins. . . . Even take some o' the ripest, and greet about his gifts again, and get another; he was a leash lad and a leal.
Sc. 1823 J. G. Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. 199:
This will learn ye, again, ye young ramshackle.
Bnff.2 1931:
“I never saw a mids teen oot that wye afore.” “Ah, weel, ye'll ken again.”
em.Sc. 2003 James Robertson Joseph Knight 90:
' ... And did you find this someone you were looking for?'
'No, I - he's oot. I'll get him again.'
Edb. 2003:
Ah'll no can cairry aw yon tatties. Ah'll get them again.
Arg. 1992:
I'll no manage tae take it the day, but hing on tae it an I'll get it again.

(2) Back, in the phr. haud again = hold back, check. (Now appar. only ne.Sc. and Ags.). The phr. is sometimes used as n. = check.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
To hald again, to resist, to withstand, by word or action.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
To hald again, to stop, to arrest.
Bnff.2 1931:
Tak' a Steen an' haud again t' m' till I ca' a nail into the treviss.
Haud again that calf there, an' dinna lat it oot o' the closs.
He craws braw croose eynoo, bit he'll get haud again shortly. [Phr. used as n.]
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 39:
Looking like threescore an' ten wi' care: Tho' sax an' thirty held her yet again.
Ib. 94:
Sair bargain made our hirds to hadd again.
Abd. 1825 Jam.2:
Hald-again, Ha'd again [n.]. Opposition, check.
Abd.(D) 1929 Mains and Hilly, Abd. Wkly. Jnl. 7 Feb. 6/4:
There hiz been a gey haud agen o' the matches wi' the frost. [Phr. used as n.]
Ags. 1878 A. Whamond James Tacket x. 60:
One of them [sc. cows] was running down a pathway. . . . Betty cried “O Jamie, haud again.”

(3) With v. of motion = back, esp. in order to return to where one started. Exc. after “back” this is obs. or arch. in St.Eng. (N.E.D.). Also with v. “to be,” in sense back again.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 151:
He's an Aberdeen's Man, he may take his Word again.
Sc. a.1805 The Mother's Malison, Ballads ed. Child (1904) No 216 a, xvi.:
Hey, Willie! an hou, Willie! An Wilie, winnë ye turn agen?
Bnff.2 1931:
“Ay, ay,” said Jock, pu'in his watch oot o's hip pooch, “ it's turnin' ower i' the nicht, I'll need t' be gaain again” [i.e. returning home].
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 40:
Gin she'd been living she had been again [i.e. she would have been back by this time].
Ib. 63:
Now win my benison, an' run again [i.e. back].

(4) Of reciprocal action: in return. Obs. in St.Eng.Bnff.2 1931:
I thinkna muckle o' wir new neepur; he's aye needin' something, bit he's nae vera obleegin' himsel'; len' an' len' again's my motto.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 97:
Nae doubt we wiss, when we our liking set, That we with just as good again be met.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ep. to J. Rankine xiii.:
But pennyworths again is fair, When time's expedient.
[Cf. Dunbar, “I salbe als weill luvit agane” (early 16th cent.)]

(5) Used idiomatically in questions in which the questioner rhetorically appeals to his interlocutor to remind him of something (ne.Sc., Ags. 1975). Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 115:
"The Barclays of Ury were great pugilists also." "Fat's that again?"
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 72:
Weel, whar was I at again?

2. prep. = Against. Obs. or dial. in Eng.; some uses survived till 17th cent., others are not found later than the 15th. See N.E.D.

(1) Leaning or resting against; close to or touching.Sc. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae the French, A Tod's Trick 52:
Sae lift yer forefeet up again' the wa', Than up yer lang back-bane I'se clim wi' speed.
Sc. 1923 R. Annand End of Fiammetta 84:
We'll mak' your bed again the wa' Safter than silk.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 82:
Ay weel, here he was wi' a bawbee can'le stuck up again' the boddom o' the lookin'-gless.
Edb. 1851 A. MacLagan Sk. from Nature, Smiddie iv.:
Up agen the auld gable 'tis like you may view A tramless cart or a couterless plough.
Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (2nd ed.) 3:
And a broon curly heid restin' again' his knee.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He leaned again the wa'.
Uls.(D) 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 10:
I hadnae went many steps when I saw a big bunnel lyin' agen a hoose side.

(2) Of striking or beating against: into collision with. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms 10:
He came again him (= against).
Sc. [1828] J. Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 96:
We yokit, and on me tryin to hough him, we tumbled again' the mantel-piece.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 219:
Wadn't I be a dooble-distilled gowk tae again rin my head agin a wudden post.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders ii:
“Lift me up, Paitrick,” said my father, “till I see again the bonny tide as it lappers again' the auld toor.”
Wgt.3 1931:
Ye wad ha'e been frichtit too, if ye had heard . . . his heid gaun crunt again' the wa' an' his cluits prancin' again't.

(3) In hostility or opposition to, in defiance of, in disparagement of, to the hurt or disadvantage of, in accusation of, forbidding or unfavourable to (a person, or a course of action), not in accordance with. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality III. ix.:
Sae the law gaed again the leddies at last.
Ib. Conclusion:
Though he was acting again the law.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy III. ii.:
There's nae law again a man looking after his ain, I hope?
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes (1892) ii.:
Dinna daur to say a word again' the bairn.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The Presbytery an' the lawvyers concludit the sattlement i' the manse again a' sponsible objections.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 40:
She'll murder ye, and there's nae help agin it.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums ix.:
I say naething agin her waist, speakin' in the ord'nar meanin'.
Slg. 1744 Rec. Shoemakers Incorp. in Slg. Arch. Soc. Trans. (1924) 44:
Deacon James Heartley complained again Robert Morison, jurnayman to John Hill, for offering to feght him [etc.].
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 3–4:
Lammie's an elder o' the Auld Kirk — he was made ane after the Disruption, sair again' his will, it was said.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 314:
Wullie lookit at the book an saw yt there wus echteen shillin stannin again them a'ready.
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms liii. 5:
Him that encamps agayne thee.
s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 242:
Aa'm sayr væxt for yuwr seakes at the haand o the Loard hes geane seae agean us.

(4) Of time: towards, by. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1815 Scott Guy Mannering II. i.:
Sicken a blythe gae-down as we had again e'en!
Inv. 1729 in Letter Bk. of Bailie Steuart ed. Mackay (1915) 331:
For God sake be serrious wt. Scotas, and try if can persuad him to pay the bills due me by Glengarry again Michalmass.
Lth. a.1885 J. Strathesk More Bits from Blinkbonny (1887) 110:
I wad get eight shillin's for't easy in Larkton agin Tyesday fortnicht.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Fastern's E'en fa's three weeks again Tuesday.
[Cf. Dunbar (early 16th cent.): “agane this ȝuill” = by (the time of) Yule.]

(5) In anticipation of, to be ready for. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
He wants it [sc. a saddle-cloth] agane the Kelso races.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 137:
Jean begood tae hing oot her ringlets . . . again his comin.

(6) During, concurrently with. Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 78:
She keepit Cullowden farm again' a' the time o' the Inn.

3. conj. In anticipation of, in readiness for, the time when. Gen.Sc. Obs. in St.Eng. since early 17th cent. (N.E.D.) Cf. A. Scott (middle of 16th cent.) Ane New Ȝeir Gift l. 184 (S.T.S.): Agane thy Grace gett ane guid man þis ȝeir [Agane = in case that, in the event that].Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxiii.:
I hae been just putting your honour's things in readiness again ye were waking.

[O.E. ongegn, ongægn, etc., from on + gegn = direct; O.Sc. agane, agayn(e). Occurs as adv., prep. and conj. in O.Sc.]

Again adv., prep., conj.

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"Again adv., prep., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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