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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.

DOOR, n.1 Sc. usages. Also †dore; dour, dure (Cai. 1872 M. MacLennan Peasant Life 145; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.; Tyr. 1928 “M. Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey (1929) 16), duir (Ags. 1907 (per Fif.14)); dorr (Arg. 1990s). [do:r, †dør, dyr]

1. (See quot.)Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 196:
A target or door, as it was called, with a centre nail, was set up in a field.

2. Used to denote “the entrance to the workings at the shaft” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 24, doors).

Hence (1) door-head(s), “the roof or top of the workings at a shaft” (Ib.; Edb.6 1944); (2) door-stoop, “a pillar or block of mineral left around a shaft for its protection” (Ib.); (3) high (low (or laigh), mid) doors, an upper (lowest, middle) landing-place in a shaft (Ib.).

3. Phrs.: †(1) doon the doors, down the street; (2) ower the door, outside, out of the house; Gen.Sc.; (3) pit tae the door, also taen oot the door, ruined (Bnff., Ayr. 2000s); (4) to gie (someone) the door (in his face), to show (someone) the door, to slam the door in someone's face (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.17, Fif.13, Slg.3, Lnk.11 1940); (5) to had i' da door, in sea-taboo usage: to stop a fishing-line from running out too fast (Sh. 1814 Irvine MSS.); (6) to put to the door, to ruin (Bnff.2 1940; Abd.27 1949); †(7) to tak' the door on one's back, to go away, clear out (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.); (8) to tak' the door ower one's head, id. (Sh.11 1949); (9) to tak' the door wi' one, id. (Bnff.2 1940); to shut the door as one goes out (Abd.9 1940).(1) Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 63:
Grim auld carlins doon the doors Sud scauld.
(2) Sc. 1743 Culloden Papers (ed. Warrand 1927) III. 156:
He had not been over the door for two months.
Abd.29 1949:
Ma mither hisna bin ower the door for a fortnicht.
(4) Kcb. 1896 S. R. Crockett Cleg Kelly xxiv.:
Janet wad gie them the door in their faces and then send for a polissman.
(6) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 98:
Early rising is the first thing that puts a Man to the Door.
(7) Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 136:
Your gods an' your graces maun pack, Sae, friend be advis'd, tak' the door on your back.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. xxxii.:
Come out, and tak the door on your back.
(9) Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 313:
There's nae fear o' yer bawbees; tak' the door wi' ya, an' be aff.

4. Combs. and attrib. uses: †(1) door-board, the panel of a door; (2) door-chain, “a chain with adjusting screw by which bucket and clack doors are slung” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 24); (3) door-cheek, a door-post, hence by synecdoche the door itself, doorway; also in Eng. dial.; Gen.Sc.; see also Cheek, n., 1; †(4) dore-crook, “the hinge of a door” (Abd. 1825 Jam.2); see also Cruik, n., 2; (5) door-deaf, as deaf as a door-post (Abd.2 1940); (6) door-heid, -head, the upper part of a doorcase, the stone lintel (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 40, dore-head; Bnff.2, Abd.9 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., door-heid, Rxb.5 1940); also in n.Yks. dial.; †(7) door-land (see quot.); known in Per. c.1850 (E.D.D.); (8) door(s) neighbour, a next-door neighbour (Bnff.2 1940); obs. in Eng. since early 18th cent.; †(9) door-piece, the stonework of a door; (10) door-sneck, a door latch or fastening; (11) door-stane, -stone, a flagstone before the threshold of a door, hence the threshold itself (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh.10 1949; Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.2 1940; Fif.16 1949); also in n.Eng. dial.; (12) door-staple, -steeple, “the iron hook that is driven into the door-post which secures the bar or bolt in the inside to fasten the door” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 40, dore-stahple; Bnff.2, Ags.17 (-steeple) 1940); (13) door-step, = (11); also in phr. to have a foot over every —, to have free access to everyone's house in the neighbourhood, to be persona grata; (14) door-thrashel, the threshold (Abd.2, Abd.9 1940); (15) door-thresh, id. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (16) door-ward, the name given to the warden of a palace under the early Scottish monarchy: now the surname Durward; hist.(1) Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 44:
Dinna dae the door-boards wrang.
(3) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xvi.:
Twa crossed-legged figures . . . ane on ilka door-cheek.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf x.:
I saw ye at the door-cheek as I cam o'er the bent.
Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Songs 61:
At door-cheek, nor at winnock-lug, Was ever a mark o' feet.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ix.:
This war . . . will soon be at our ain doorcheeks.
Rnf. 1865 J. Young Homely Pictures 127:
Ilk door-cheek and close was packit Wi' draigletail and dreepin' jacket.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 24:
The midden was at the door-cheek!
Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (27 Sept.) 2/6:
When he went into the hoose he set his rod doon at the door cheek.
(5) Edb. 1911 H. Macneill Bygane Times 57:
My greatest fear Is, that door-deaf, Pride canna hear.
(6) Abd. 1769 Abd. Jnl. (22 May):
Scrolls for Signs, or door Heads.
Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy Geordie Chalmers 202:
In it wasna for the sake o' that aul' beast below you, as the sign's aboon my door-head, I'd gar ye sleep i' the laighest part o' the glen.
Rxb. 1868 in Ellis E.E.P. V. 714:
He leuch at the laigh doorheid.
Gall. 1897 Ethnog. Survey U.K. (5th Report) 486:
“The Hare” was often kept over the “door-head” till the following harvest.
(7) m.Sc. 1794 W. Marshall Agric. Cent. Highl. 30:
A small plot near the house. termed “door land” (for baiting horses upon at meal times, teddering a cow, etc.).
(8) Sc. 1765 Session Papers, Lord Advocate v. Baillie (13 June) 8:
John Brebner merchant, her door-neighbour.
Abd. 1828 “J. Ruddiman” Tales and Sk. 186:
I saw the limmers . . . doors neighbours o' my ain.
Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 101:
Captain Inglis, just our ain door-neighbour.
Rnf. 1871 D. Gilmour “Pen” Folk (1873) 32:
A newly married pair having become “door-neighbours” to William Gilmour.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 43:
At least far continents ayont the sea, Wad then to ithers like door nei'bours be.
(9) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller 77:
The steps of the stair, the door-piece, the window rybats, were all kept as clean and bright as washing . . . could make them.
(10) m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 25:
D'ye mind hou yince thay tirlit on yir door-sneck ...
(11) Sc. 1802–3 Scott Minstr. II. 228:
The Scottish fairies sometimes reside in subterranean abodes, in the vicinity of human habitations, or according to the popular phrase, under the door-stane or threshold.
Mry. 1924 J. C. Austin in Swatches 80:
Wha hae we here, this carlin queer Upo' the doorstane sittin?
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd xii.:
It'll be twa dry days an' a weety afore ever I seek tae pit my fit across your door stane fin that's the style o' ye.
Per. 1903 H. MacGregor Souter's Lamp 213:
It's lang since ye've been atour my door stane.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 192:
He paus'd a wee on the dure-stane.
wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan II. 8:
Ye lazy hutherons, what gars ye spread out your wabs to bleach at the vera door-stane.
(13) Sc. 1897 “L. Keith” Bonnie Lady 66:
I'm here . . . to ask if you, that's got your foot over every door-step, can hear tell of another lass to take her place.
Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 301:
Coupe yere dish-water farther frae yere door-step, it pits out our fire!
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 243:
Standing at the landing-place, or door-step, as they call it there.
(14) Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 46:
Fat hae I for door-thrashel? Twa mile o' yird-fast stane.
(16) Sc. 1710 R. Sibbald Fife and Kinross 129:
This Family [de Lundin] lived in Angus, and most of them took the Name of the Office, and were called Door-wards, vulgo Dorets.
Sc. 1829 P. F. Tytler Hist. Scot. II. 238:
The chamberlain, and the hostiarius or doorward.

5. Sc. law: in pl. in phrs. (1) to make open doors, to force open a locked door (under legal authority); (2) letters of (for) open doors, a court warrant to allow a messenger-at-arms to break into locked property in order to poind goods; cf. king's keys s.v. King, n., 3. (28).(1) Sc. 1720 Atholl MSS. (9 March):
If your Grace pleases give each of them ane order with powers to call for Asistance and to make open doors.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute iii. vi. 25:
If the debtor's goods be within lockfast doors, to which the messenger . . . cannot get easy access, he ought to return an execution setting forth that fact, on which a new precept will be directed of course for making open doors.
Sc. a.1818 in Bk. of Buchan (1910) 242:
I made open doors o' double deals, I made locks and keys to splinter.
(2) Sc. 1702 Fountainhall Decis. II. 153:
Captions can be put in execution quocumque tempore, and by letters for open doors one may be taken out of his bed.
Sc. 1931 Green's Encycl. XI. 355:
The Personal Diligence Act, 1838, . . . has in practice done away with the need for letters of open doors, but as the older practice was expressly saved by the Debtors (Scotland) Act, 1838, it is still competent to poind on letters of horning, in which case letters of open doors might still be necessary.

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"Door n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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