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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.

BACKLINS, BACKLANS, Baklins, adv. and adj. Backwards. Lit. and fig. [′bɑklənz, -lɪ̢nz, -lɪnz]

1. adv.

(1) On or after the back; fig. to imply retrogression, decay.Sc. 1899–1901 R. Ford Vagabond Songs and Ballads (1901) 122:
But if the trade gaes backlin's, I'll keep it to mysel'.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.:
Baklins, backwards.
Ork.(D) 1904 Dennison Orcadian Sketches 6:
Whin de whall wad ferkie an' wallop wi' his tail, de folk wad flee, an' some o' them wad fa' backlin's i' the sea.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 86:
Gin I fa' backlan's I'll brack my ain neck.
Abd. 1993:
Can ee rin backlins?
Ags. 1883 J. Kennedy Sc. and American Poems (1899) 117:
Backlin's headlang doun he tummlet — Buller'd maist like ony bull.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 25:
But baith were backlins gaun Wi' eild this day.

(2) In a reverse direction or order; from end to beginning.Sh. 1926–1928 J. G. Lowrie buys a Ford in Shet. Times:
Tinkin da haethin wid cum backlins.
Bnff. 1890 W. Gregor in Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club 59:
This screw was screwed “the wrang wye,” i.e., against the course of the sun, into the footprint of the horse, the Lord's Prayer being repeated “backlans” during the process.
Abd. 1928 “Sub Divo” in Abd. Univ. Rev. (Nov.) 23:
Lay by yer pride, or birlin' wheels May backlins rin till tow gyang tee.
Ags. 1856 W. Grant A Few Poetical Pieces 85:
Then o'er his head the torrents thud, Wi' fiendish buller; Blash'd 'tween the crags wi' horrid scud They backlins guller.

2. adj. Modest.Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 54:
Dinna be sae backlins in comin' forward.

ppl. phr. backlins-comin, coming backwards; returning.Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson xxiii.:
For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a newk An' out o' sight, An' backlins-comin, to the leuk, She grew mair bright.

[Back + lings. Found in O.Sc. O.E. on bæcling, “retrorsum”; Norse, baglængs; O.Dan. baglengis. For lings see under Arselins.]

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"Backlins adv., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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