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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DANCERS, Sc. usage: with def. art. = Aurora Borealis. Also the Merry Dancers, the Pretty Dancers, idem (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Known to Cai.9, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.10 (Merry Dancers) 1939.Sc. 1717 British Wonders 32:
Nature's sportings that arise So frequent in the northern skies, . . . Are stil'd the pretty dancers there.
Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 189:
Aurora Borealis is known as “The Pretty Dancers.”
n.Sc. 1719 Letter in Mist's Weekly Jnl. (1722) I. 130:
In the North of Scotland . . . they are seen continually every Summer in the Evening . . . they call them the Dancers.
n.Sc. 1919 M. Maclean From Croft and Clachan 61:
The bogie man's awa', The dancers rise an' fa', An' the howlets cry frae the bour-tree high.
Mry. 1847 C. St. John Nat. Hist. Mry. (1863) 86:
We saw a very brilliant aurora borealis, or as they term it here, “The Merry Dancers.”

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"Dancers n. pl.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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