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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
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.


1. An alehouse. Prob. so called because it was the place where the post-horses were changed.Sc. 1723 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 405: 
Which house keepeth a change (the publick road to Edinburgh and Glasgow passing that way).
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 28:
He had no far tae gang; for Ma'n's Slater keepid a change i' the hoose o' Purgatory.
n.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters North Scot. (1818) I. 185:
As we were passing by the Door of a Change, one of them, the Weather being Cold, proposed a Dram.
Mearns 1796 J. Burness Thrummy Cap (n.d.) ll. 74–75:
Aside the kirk dwalls Robbie Dorat, Wha keeps a change, an' sells guid drink.

Combs.: †(1) change-fo'k, tavern keepers; (2) change-house, an alehouse (Fif.10 1939); see also cheenge-hoose s.v. Cheenge, n. and v.; †(3) change-keeper, an innkeeper (Per., Lnk. 1825 Jam.2); †(4) change-wife, a female innkeeper.(1) Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs 81:
Unlike the puir, sma' penny-wheep, Whilk worthless, petty change-fo'k keep.
(2) Abd.(D) 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 64:
The soldiers drink in the change-house free.
Fif. 1895 “S. Tytler” Macdonald Lass ii.:
The very lassie in the change-house whipped out when she had a guess who the soldiers were after.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xviii.:
Now, butt an' ben, the Change-house fills.
(3) Abd. 1710 Records Burgh Abd. (1872) 339:
They find that stables are greatly wanting for accomodating strangers horses, . . . and that change keepers should be encouraged for the accomodating of them.
(4) Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems and Songs 291:
The change-wife bonnily she'll bloom.

2. Custom, business patronage. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.9 1939.Kcb. 1814 J. Train Strains Mountain Muse 95:
And soon they find, that people to them Strange, Will use them much discreeter for their change.

Phr.: to gi(v)e change, to get —, to give, get custom (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl., give —; Bnff.2, Abd.2 1939).Bnff.2 1939:
Noo that I've sattl't aside ye, I howp t' get yir change.
Abd. 1898 E.D.D.:
Dinna gyang bye ma door, bit gie me yer change.

3. Payment, the whole money due for a purchase (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). Not known to our correspondents.Ib.:
Sir, I've called for the change for them pea-rods.

[O.Sc. has change, etc., a small inn or alehouse, from 1609, and change-house, chainge-, from c.1620 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Change n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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