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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

COMMON, Comoun, Coamon, Komin, Komon, adj., n., and v. For other forms see Cowmon.

1. adj.

Sc. form of Eng. common (Sh., Ork., Edb., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s).Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 10:
Ah mean tae say, Burns wis aw fur the coamon man an fur plain spikk, no some gentry's lickspittle ...".

Sc. usages:

In combs.: (1) common corn, “oats of that kind where each grain hangs by itself upon the stalk [in distinction to potato corn, where two grains hang together]” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 141; Bnff.2 1937); (2) common debtor, when A owes money to B which B recovers by taking from C a sum owed by C to A, A is known as the common debtor; (3) common dines, see Dine, n.; (4) common good, — gude, “the property and revenues of the Corporation [of a burgh] which are not held under special acts of Parliament, nor raised by taxation” (Gsw. 1896 J. Bell and J. Paton Gsw., its Municipal Organization and Administration 88). Sometimes common good fund. Gen.Sc. Common goods are held by royal burghs only. By the provisions of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1973, the common goods of the four large cities are to be administered severally by each of these, now enlarged into districts, those of smaller burghs are to be transferred to the District Councils, the income of each however to be expended for the good of the community which previously possessed it as a burgh; (5) common tune, one of twelve metrical psalm tunes in common use in Sc. Presbyterian churches in the 17th and 18th cs. (see quot.).(1) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 141:
There is little of this “common corn” now used; the other kind . . . has superseded it, as thought to be more prolific and “early,” which has caused the other, “common” over all the land anciently, to be now branded with the epithet of “late corn.”
(2) Sc. a.1856 G. Outram Lyrics (1874) 42:
And he whom they call Common Debtor, alone Has uncommon good luck — he's got off with his own.
(4) Sc. 1702 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 30:
There has been payed considerable sowmes of money out of the Good townes Common good yearly.
Sc. 1722 Rec. Conv. Royal Burghs (1885) 310:
That they observe the laws of the burrows concerning the roup of their commone good.
Sc. 1780 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1912) 594:
At the late roup of the citys common goods no person had offered to take the ladle dues payable to the city for the ensuing year.
Sc. 1828 Scott F.M. Perth xxiii.:
Any aid which you may afford from the Common Good, to the support of the widow Magdalen and her orphans.
Sc. 1887 Jam.6, Add.:
The common gude of a burgh, which gen. consists of lands and customs anciently conferred by royal charter, accumulations of burgh revenues or property mortified to or acquired by funds of the burgh, must be kept for the common profit of the burgh, and expended on common and necessary things of the burgh.
Sc. 1998 Galloway News 27 Aug 5:
A Councillor is calling for the law to be changed to protect an asset of the Castle Douglas Common Good Fund. ... He said this week that they were trying to get money for the common good fund, but they couldn't let the 'tower flat,' because a secure tenancy would create a right to buy.
Fif. 1935 St Andrews Cit. (17 Aug.) 911:
[Rouping the stances for the Lammas market at St Andrews produced] £590 which will go to the Common Good Fund of the City.
(5) Sc. 1949 M. Patrick Sc. Psalmody 165:
Typical examples are given by Thomas Bruce, school-master in Edinburgh, at the end of the slender Psalter published by him in 1726, under the title The Common Tunes, or, Scotland's Music made plain. At that time be it remembered, only twelve tunes constituted 'Scotland's Music' for church use.

2. n. †(1) The common people. Obs. earlier in Eng., last quot. in N.E.D. 1663.Sc. 1746 D. Warrand More Culloden Papers (1930) V. 81:
The Country of Glengarry is ready upon call (I mean the Common).

†(2) A debt, obligation.Sc. 1925 T. D. Robb in Scots Mag. (Dec.) 164:
How jolly and spendthrift a time Yule in particular was, we see from other old proverbs. . . . Another tells us that a Yuill comoun (reckoning) was sometimes only repaid at Easter when the “lang lentern” made folks lean with abstinence.

Phrs.: (a) for common, usually, generally (Per. 1975); (b) than common, than usual (Sh., Ags. 1975); (c) to be good (gud i) one's common (komon), to be incumbent on one, to be one's duty; (d) to be ill i' one's komin, to be ungrateful of one, to be a poor return (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); †(e) to be in someone's common, to be indebted to a person.(a) Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. iii.:
She taul' her story for common tae the orra man.
Kcd. 1856 W. Jamie Jacobite's Son 59:
More folk beneath yon pillars for common than what there is in all your glen.
(b) Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie 59:
He is a wee bittie later than common.
(c) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 116:
Good your common to kiss your Kimmer. Spoken to them whom we see do Service, or shew Kindness to them, to whom they have great obligations.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Hit was gud i my komon ta du it.
(d) Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.:
It's . . . ill i' dy komin to du it.
(e) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 227:
I am as little in your Common, as you are in mine.

3. v. (1) To have dealings, to negotiate (with someone).Mearns 1730 Baron Court Bk. of Urie (S.H.S. 1892) 137:
The liferentrix of Reid Cloack and Ury common'd about it, but [plaintiff] does not know what agreement they made.
Gall. 1701 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 69:
Alexander M'Gill came to his house once upon this head and that some other tymes his commoning with him was to this purpose.

(2) With upon: to confer about, hold discussions on. Sc. 1706 J. Clerk Memoirs 65:
It had been common'd upon, and agreed as the only expedient.

[O.Sc. commoun, common, the common people, a.1400, a debt or obligation, c.1540, phr. in (one's) commo(u)n, from 1575; v., to have dealings or intercourse with another, 1456 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Common adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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