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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BY-HAND, Bye Hands, Byehan', adj., adv. and prep. Orig. an adv. phr., but now used before noun as adj., or in pred. with adj. and adv. force. [′bɑɪ′hɑn(dz)]

1. Casual.  Also adv. by the way, incidentally, in passing.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie II. v.:
Ye needna let on about my coming from the Hall at a', but pass me off as a by-hand job.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-Boat viii.: 
I should remark by hands that there was a man from Port-Glasgow.

2. Disposed of; settled (in marriage); finished; aside. Known to our Abd. correspondents only. See also Behan(d).Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 53:
A good thing by-hand.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Marri'd and Woo'd an' A' iii.:
She neither kend spinning nor carding, Nor brewing nor baking ava'. . . . An sae I dread will be seen on her, When she's by hand and awa'.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Guidman o' Inglismill 27:
An' as he steppit o'er the stibble lan', — “The wark,” quo he, “is feckly a' byehan'.”
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie II. xxx.:
For the present, set them [the two questions] bye hands, for I have got dreadful news.

3. prep. Near, beside. Cai. 1872 M. McLennan Peasant Life II. 195: 
Ye need fetch the seek widow wi' a cairt tae the town here-awa', tae by by-han' the doctor.

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"By-hand adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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