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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.

EFTER, Aifter, prep., adv., conj. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. after. [′ɛftər, ′eftər]

Sc. forms:  (efter Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Fif., Edb., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb.; aifter Bnff., Abd. 2000s). wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 123:
At last the workman spoke. "Is it Master Peacock you're efter?"
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 6:
after But if in a pub someone asks you 'What are you after?' this is not an enquiry after your recent doings but an offer to get you a drink.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 39:
Eftir yon wearie daurg frae burn tae heidrigg
cowpin the furrs owre in the droukin rain,
Edb. 1994:
What are ye efter?
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 23:
I had to tell everyone at the casualty that I was mucking aboot wi Tony and I fell. I had headaches for a long time eftir that.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 90:
'She said, is that Eddie? Quite loud, like that. Like she was in a panic, feart or something. Mebbe she seen him, I dinna ken. I calmed her doon, I says, dinna fret Mary, there's naebody here but us. She was quite placid eftir that. Lay back doon and niver said anither word.'

Sc. usages:

I. prep.

1. In telling the time = Eng. past (Sh., Ork., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Slg. 1943).Sc. 1799 H. Mitchell Scotticisms 19:
Half an hour after ten; Sc. — Half an hour past ten, half past ten.

2. In succession to, as heir to.Sh. 1937 J. Nicolson Yarns 97:
I had ta go ta da toon ta look efter da few Pennies 'at I ha'e i' da bank; money, ye ken, 'at I got efter a foster-bridder o' my faither's 'at died in California.

3. Used with all the tenses of the v. to be, governing the gerund to denote completed action, in past or future: found in Gael. districts as a translation of Gael. air, Ir. ar + vbl.n., with the same force. Known to Arg. and Uls. correspondents 1945.Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds xxxviii.:
Brawly-that is a question to be after spearing, maister.
Inv. 1898 E.D.D.:
I am after telling him. I will be after telling him.
Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 333:
I'd be after asking you to lat me faither off.
Arg. 1937 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 16:
Dae ye ken whut he's jist efter tellin' me.
Gsw. 1964 George Friel The Boy who Wanted Peace (1985) 165:
"Would I come back?" she echoed him in a voice of overacted astonishment. "You're after arguing you never asked me. You're after telling me to stay away for good."
Highl. 1971 Allan Campbell McLean The Year of the Stranger (1987) 2:
'I was after taking a dip in the pool. It was that hot, I fancied a swim.'
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 6:
after Indicates that the speaker has just done or had something: 'I'm just after my tea.' 'Ah'm just after being tae the doctor's.'
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 95:
'Well,' said the cook, 'we're after makin some soup.'
sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
after having just completed, e.g. 'jist after tellin ye.'

4. Following the direction of, with the object specified foremost, to the front; corr. to Eng. idiom with first as in head first, e.g. (1) efter the back, back foremost, backwards, on the back (Cai.9, Abd.27 1948); (2) after the end, end on; (3) aifter the heid, head foremost (Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1950).(1) Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 50:
The fellow . . . sprang upo' me, and . . . threw me aifter the back doon the precipice.
Abd. 1950 Huntly Express (28 July) 4:
I stottit efter the back an' sat doon in my ain basket o' eggs.
(2) Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 134, Note:
An embankment has been raised along the Aven, from its junction with the Spey . . . faced with stones keyed, that is, neatly set in after the end or edge to the level of the field, and then raised three or four feet with earth.
(3) Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 108:
She'd fa'in doon aifter the heid atween't an' the wa', an' cudna get up again.

II. adv.

1. Remaining, left over from (Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 71).Sh. 1898 Sh. News (14 May):
Ir dey ony drap o' gin efter, Grizzie.
Sh. 1924 J. Hunter Sketches 109:
Yesterday tree o' wir hens took der flight afore my lookin eyes, an' da five 'at's efter guid rowin demsels troo da gutter laek things demented.

2. Of position: in a certain direction, esp. indicating the points of the compass, in such phrs. as nort' efter, sooth efter; ower efter, over there, in efter, further in, inward, ′ut efter, outward, utefter, all the time after, from beginning to end (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.10 1950).Ib.:
He was de same ut efter; when onything is right or wrang done, it will be right or wrang a' ut efter.

3. Over and done with, past. Orig. of Gsw. Highl. or Ir. orig. Gsw. 1975:
I wish it wis efter.

III. Phr.: efter-ane, -een, after ane, in the same manner, alike (Sc. 1808 Jam., after ane); in the same humour, unchangeable; the same.Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 69:
A' my time that's yet bygane She's fixt my lot maist after ane.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 43:
Ye canna gang wrang t' him: for he's aye efter-ane: an' he niver sehns awa ony ane wee a sair hairt.
Abd.27 1950:
It's aa efter een tae me.

IV. Combs.: 1. after-burn, “the last ‘wort' drawn off malt” (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Ork.2 1948), cf. Burn, n., 2.; 2. eftercast, effect, consequence (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2, aftercast, 1923 Watson W.-B., eftercast, aftercast, obsol.; Sh.10 1950, obsol.); 3. efterclap, = 2. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), efter-klap(s), 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.10 1950, obsol.); also found in many Eng. dials.; 4. eftercome, = 2.; what comes after (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Sh.10 1948; Ork.1 1948 (in pl.); Ork.2 1948); the hereafter; 5. efter-dayset, evening (Sh.10, Cai.10 1947), an evening social gathering; see also Day, n., 4. (7); †6. aftergait, adj., (1) seemly, fitting. Also adv.; (2) tolerable, not excessive; also applied to the weather; 7. efterhand, etc., see Efterhin; 8. efterhank, see Hank, n.2; †9. afterheid, “grass springing up in the stubble after the crop is cut” (Wgt. 1898 E.D.D.); †10. aftermuck, land that has been manured the previous year; †11. aftername, surname; 12. efternune, etc., see Efternune; 13. (1) aftershot(s), the strong spirit which comes away last when whisky is distilled (Ork.2 1948); (2) eftir-shot, a second or subsidiary race at a race-meeting, specif. at Paisley. In O.Sc. 1608; 14. efterskuttal, -skuttel, the bottom board or floor in the stern of a boat (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), -skuttel, 1914 Angus Gl., -skuttal; Sh.10 1950); 15. after-stang, used fig. = a pang of remorse (Lnk.11 1943); 16. after-suit, efter-shuit, a compartment in the stern of a boat (Ork. 1929 Marw., after-; Fif.17 1951, efter-). For the second element see Shot, n.; †17. after-supper, “the interval between supper and the time of going to rest” (Lnk. 1825 Jam.2); 18. efterwal, “that division of a farm which is called outfield in other parts of Scotland” (Cai. 1825 Jam.2, afterwald), i.e. arable land, which is not manured, but cropped until it is worn out, so as to be unfit for bearing corn for some years; soil rendered useless for cultivation (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 70, efterwal); also fig.; hence, ¶refuse, leavings (Ib.); [cf. Sh. attavelt = *aptr-velta, ground recultivated, after having lain fallow for some time (Jak.), and Awald n.]; 19. efterwale, “what is rejected in making. a choice or selection” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).2. Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
He durst na do't for fear o' the aftercast.
Sc. 1866 T. Carlyle Reminisc. (1881) II. 265:
The aftercast of the doctors' futile opiates were generally the worst phenomena.
3. Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1821) xxxi.:
If some sic things be done with speed, They're safe,'tis help in time o' need, Nae after claps.
m.Lth. 1811 H. Macneill Bygane Times 37:
Sae, on he drave wi' whirling speed, Nor o' an after-clap took head [sic]
4. Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck II. 48:
I fear she is ruined for this world — an' for the aftercome, I dare hardly venture to think about it.
s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders II. 275:
It's a' vera weel as far as it's gane; but I'm fear'd for the aftercome.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vii.:
Gin ye wad learn the aftercome o' startin in a fairm wi' ower sma' means, or on borrowed siller, speer at your ain maister.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Moss-Hags xxiii.:
He wad like to dee but for thocht o' the After-come.
5. Cai. 1947 E. Graham Head o' Mey vi.:
Neighbours would meet together in the evenings for an after-day-set, after the day's work was done.
6. (1) Lnk. 1825 Jam.2:
That's something aftergait, that is somewhat as it ought to be, or after the proper manner.
Dmf. 1835 Letters T. Carlyle to his Brother (Marrs 1968) 373:
If the cattle are setting any way aftergate at all about Whitsunday.
(2) Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
I'm ill o' the toothache; but I never mind sae lang as it's ony way aftergait ava . . . I'll be there, if the day's ought aftergait.
10. Inv. 1772 in I. F. Grant Old Highl. Farm (1924) 237:
Ane account of what bear was sown 1772 by God's blessing. . . . In Dunachtion in affter muck . . . 1 boll 3 pecks.
11. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxvi.:
We dinna mind folks' after-names muckle here.
13. (1) Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
In the process of distilling whisky, the strong spirit which comes away first is called the foreshot or foreshots; and that which comes last, the aftershot or aftershots.
(2) Rnf. 1704-11 Paisley Mag. (1828) 631:
They have allowed a Foott-Race, a Horse Race, and Eftir-shot, as use is. . . . At the fair a little before the Eftir shott was run for.
15. Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 267:
Sinfu' pleasures, bought Wi' mony an after-stang.
18. Cai. 1812 J. Henderson Agric. Cai. 87:
The outfield land (provincially afterwald).
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 196:
Naething between ye and the lift, but the radioactive efterwal o us. Does fall-oot look like fanns o snow against the dykes?

V. conj.   Sc. form of Eng. after. Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 59:
The fish, aifter they were washed, cleaned and tied in twos, were then teen tae the pickle and soaked intae brine for aboot forty minutes.
Abd. 1991 Douglas Kynoch in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 87:
Euterpe was forfochen
Aifter feeplin at her flute;
Polymnia was ailin;
An Calliope was oot.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 123:
Traill breathed out heavily. 'It's a terrible thing, tae see a man murdered. But tae butcher the flesh eftir the spirit has departed frae it, is baith senseless and barbaric.'

[O.Sc. efter, eftir, from 1375, eftirclap, 1571, eftercum, 1568, eferschot, a supplementary act, 1621.]

Efter prep., adv., conj.

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"Efter prep., adv., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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