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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLAES, CLAISE, Clais, Claze, CleysClease, Cleas, Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. clothes. See also Claith, n., 2. Dim. claesie. [kle:z Sc., but ne.Sc. + kləiz, kleiz; klɪəz s.Sc.; kleiz Ant.]Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage II. xi.:
As soon as the ceremony was ow'r, ilk ane ran till her an' rugget an' rave at her for the favors, till they hardly left the claise upon her back.
Sth. 1996 Essie Stewart in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 15:
During rationing my mother always swapped her clothing coupons for sugar for the tea, 'We dinnae need new claes,' she'd say 'but a' the Stewarts ha'e had a sweet tooth since the Flood!'
Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 11:
Twa site of clais, ane double blew, And ane of tartan, maist split new.
Bch. 1929 P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Review (March) 131:
A gied hame on a Sunday fyles for ma clean cleys.
Ags. 1892 D. L. Greig Pastime Musings i. 35:
Then mither takes her claesie aff An' puts her to her bed.
Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 52:
" ... Ye ken the type - probly bides in Brochty Ferry an' behs her claze in Markies." Ina shook her head. "It's no real, is it?"
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 69:
Yince ye were thirlit tae the common fowk;
nane wes less puddock-swalt in the haill toun,
but happit nou in brawer claes ye snowk
an strunt aboot the bit, tae auld freens blinn.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 11:
Whit kinna cratur
Canna let a lass
Mak claes fir her bairn?
em.Sc.(b) 1991 Athole Cameron in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 53:
We get claes oan whirlies
fleein busy lizzies.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 139:
'Aye, but the beast's no deid. Can ye fetch me new claes?'
Ten minutes later, re-wigged and new-washed, the pistols hidden by Fergusson, he is out on the streets again, in pursuit of himself, but keeping away from the soldiery.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 55:
So Flunky braw, whan drest in master's claise, Struts to Auld Reikie's cross on sunny days.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 96:
An' in her cleas be buskit braw.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 51:
A wolf dressed
Up in sheep's claes.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 15:
On a Friday you were running at 4 o'clock to get the claes out the pawn.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 12:
Whit dae ye think ah am, a graverobber? Ah'm no wearin a deid man's claes.
Rxb. 1873 Book of Ruth iii. in D.S.C.S. 247:
Wæsch-yersel than, an' ræd-yersel up, an' pyt on (y)eir guid clease, an' slyp doon tui the bærn.

Combs.: 1. claes-beetle, “a mallet for beating clothes in washing” (Gall. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); known to Bnff.4 1928; Abd.9, Ags.17 1940; 2. claes-cairryin, a visiting of the bride's house on the night before her wedding, when her clothes were taken to her new home (Ork., Ags. 1975); 3. claes dykes, a clothes horse; 4. claes-hoister, -stenter, a clothes-prop, wooden pole used for raising the clothes-line (Kcb.10 1940, -stenter); 5. claeshorse, Sc. form of Eng. clotheshorse; 6. claes-line, Sc. form of Eng. clothes line; 7. claes-pole, (1) = 4; (2) pole of wood or iron to which the clothes-rope is attached; both Gen.Sc.; 8. claes-rope, “a clothes-line” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), Gen.Sc.; 9. claise screen, a clothes-horse, Gen.Sc.; 10. dead (deid)-claes, see Deid, III. 10.1. Gall. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 52:
I noticed a nail ca't into the back o' the bed, an' a verra big claes-beetle hingin' tae't by a string.
3. Edb. 2004:
Ah still yaise claes dykes fur wee things.
4. Ags. 1893 Arbroath Guide (15 July) 3/7:
Marget brocht up her claes-hoister frae the green.
5. Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 17:
"I warned yer Da the day o his waddin at he wis mairryin a claeshorse an nae a wummin," muttered Granny tae hersel, ...
6. Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 48:
Mrs Mathers rugged aff Maisie's playin claes an plunkit her inno a steen-cauld scratty semmit new aff the claes-line, far the icicles jinglit like coo bells in the jeelin win.
7. (1) Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems and Sketches 51:
Tae mak' matters waur ye had tae tumble the claes pole in the lobby wi' a noise sufficient tae wauken the hale laun.
(2) Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xiii.:
They were oot at the back door scorin' goals wi't throo atween the claes-poles on the green.
9. Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. vii.:
Ganging about wi' a claise screen tied to your back.

Deriv.: claeser, the trunk in a bothy in which a farm-servant kept his clothes (Ags. 1947). Kcd. a.1914 Scots Mag. (Nov. 1973) 187:
If he put a padlock on his clothes kist ("claeser"), a man would never lock his mealer.

[O.Sc. has clais(e), claes, etc., from a.1487. The uncontracted forms, cla(i)this, cleathes, etc., pl. of clath, appear from a.1400 (D.O.S.T. s.v. clath(e)).]

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



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