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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.

BING, Binn(e), n.1 and v.1 Also byng (Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 159). [bɪŋ, bɪn (rare)]

1. n.

(1) A heap, now commonly in reference to the large mounds of waste from coal- and shale-mines (m.Sc. 1975). Gen.Sc. Given neither in the Concise nor in the Un. Eng. Dict. Quots. in N.E.D. are mostly Sc.Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. xiii.:
It wad be ill my part no to do her errand, were it to carry a coal bing.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 23 Jan 10:
Yet a diversity of plantings would work wonders in screening those sectors where Old King Coal and Paraffin Young's shale bings, between them, have left mid-Scotland a grim legacy of environmental scarring.
Sc. 1990 Scotsman 3 Sep 6:
We had the traumatic phase of the awful pansy shorts inflicted on Scotland's national squad a few years back and the traditional look has been further undermined by the wearing of these long combs which, however beneficial they may be to suffering muscles, have the visual impact of shale-bings being viewed through dense fog.
Sc. 1991 Scotsman 14 Apr 4:
In 1989, the council decided, on the advice of a report commissioned by the Scottish Development Agency, that the two smaller - 168ft - bings should be reduced by 125ft and 75ft respectively.
Bnff. 1900 Bnffsh. Jnl. (5 Aug.) 2:
He saw a big bing o' guid sids lyin' idle.
em.Sc. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 153:
'Inspector Rebus, what the hell brings you to this blighted neck of the bings?'
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 3:
The bings oot-by, lik dour black cairns,
raised ti a special breed o men, -
o moles, wha howk thir stent o coal an then, ...
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 193:
Syne took them to the big potatoe bing.
Dmb. 1927 J. Mothersole Roman Scotland v.:
An interesting-looking hill which turned out to be an unusually high “shale-binn.”
Lnk. 1974 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 102:
When the slag bing of the Clyde Ironworks overflowed.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 134–135:
The brushers . . . got him lying streekit oot on a bing of stanes by the roadside.
Gall. 1880 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 34:
The breeding place once occupied by the Cormorants, and still known as the "Cormorants' Roost" or "Doucker's Bing."

Comb. bing-stead, a waste-heap or spoil-bank from a lead mine. Arg. 1740 Session Papers, Memorial A. Campbell (17 Dec.) 1:
Great Quantities of Lead-ore, lying in Heaps or Bingsteads.
Lnk. 1758 Session Papers, Telfer v. Duke of Queensberry (20 Feb.) 3:
To . . . build Houses and Mills, erect Engines, put up Bingsteads and Knocking Places, lay Buddles, and place Ore Boxes.

Phrs. (1) bing o' a fire, a heaped-up fire; (2) in/on the bing, of a horse, having lost a race.(1)Fif.3 1933:
Pit a guid bing o' a fire on.
(2)Rnf. 1972 Bill Bryden Willie Rough 17:
You want everybody's horse tae go on the bing. By the law o' averages somebody's got tae win sometime.
Edb. 1984:
Aw ma horses are straight in the bing these days.

(2) (See first quot.)Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry IV. Gloss.:
Bing, binne. A temporary inclosure or repository made of boards, twigs, or straw ropes, for containing grain or such like.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sk. and Anecd. of Wgt., etc. 364:
She gaed tae the bing o' prawtas, an' hoakit awa' the boards wi' her nose, till she got at the rotten prawtas.

(3) A company, a large number generally.Sc. 1984 Scotsman 17 July :
"Bing" is not a recent collective noun and it is not necessarily applied to pickets, NUM or otherwise. Some 40 years ago I was the proud possessor of a "bing of marbles". At that time it implied a number of items with a leaning towards the too numerous to count.
Sh.(D) 1931 Burgess Geordie Twatt's Bridal in Sh. Almanac Companion 189:
We took aff wir several wys across da hills, a' dem belangin' ta da sam' place in a bing.
Abd.(D) 1916 G. Abel Wylins fae my Wallet 78:
An' fechtin' grim wi' sic a bing O' German fangs.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 59:
Frae hoose to hoose they flit in bings.
Arg.1 1929:
“Man, that's a fine bing tae play intae” (often used on the bowling green).
Gsw. 1912 Neil Munro Erchie & Jimmy Swan (1993) 174:
'I hear,' said Erchie, 'that the Gleska Fire Brigade's layin' in great bings o't [coal]. It's the very thing they've been lookin' for for years.'
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 381:
There wus an unca bing o' them aboot The Aul' Clachan an Ba'maclellan.

†(4) A hole or pit for collecting urine, to be used for washing clothes.Ork. 1929 Marw.:
The graith-b[ing].

(5) fig. “A lazy fellow” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).

2. v. To heap or pile up; to pit (of potatoes); fig. accumulate money.Sc. 1822 Blackw. Mag. XII. 761:
The Hairst was ower, the barnyard fill'd, The 'tatoes bing'd, the mart was kill'd.
Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 48:
Singin upo' the verdant plain, . . . Ye'll bing up siller o' yir ain.
Fif. 1867 St Andrews Gazette (6 July):
An increased supply of coal is now easily obtained, and 'binging' is accordingly being proceeded with, so as to meet the extra demand.
Fif. 1899 “S. Tytler” Miss Nanse vi.:
Leddies, there's a post-chaise at the door with two old gentlemen inside, and the top of the chaise just binged with luggage.
Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor xx.:
His stackyard has just been thatched and his potatoes binged.
Rxb. 1875 N. Elliott Nellie Macpherson 165:
Deil bing them.

[O.N. bingr, a heap; Sw. dial. binge, a heap of corn, but Sw. binje, dung pit; Norse binge, a corn chest; Dan. bing, a box or compartment (Falk and Torp). Eng. dial. (n. and midl. counties and e.An.) gen. has bing, in the sense of a manger, perhaps influenced by Scand. usage; binn and bing have also been confused to some extent in Sc. (see 1 (2) and (4) above). O.Sc. has bing, n., a heap, and v., to pile up; used also by Douglas to mean a funeral pile. O.E. binn = a manger.]

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"Bing n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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