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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.

EVEN, adj., adv. Sc. usages. Also eyn (Cld. 1825 Jam.2); ein (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 194; Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 146); evin (Sc. 1887 Jam.6); eyvin (Bnff.4 1926); eyven (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 27); aiven (Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 67; Ags. 1927 Forfar Dispatch (20 Jan.) 3; em.Sc. (a) 1975). See also Eend. [′i:vən, ′e:vən Sc., but Abd. + ′əivən, Cld., Dmf., Gall. + ‡əin]

I. adj. Sometimes used substantively in pl.

1. In the game of marbles: the call made, when two marbles are lying equidistant, to obtain the right of playing first (m.Lth.1 1950). Cf. Even, v., 3, phr. (2).

2. Phrs.: †(1) at evens with, on an equal footing with; †(2) at evens wi' the warld, solvent, able to pay one's way (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); (3) even hands wi', — heads, = (1) (Rxb.4 1944); (4) to be evens (with), to be even with, quits (Ags.19, Fif.10, Knr.1, Slg.3, Edb.1 1944).(1) s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders I. 303:
Wherefore should I speak at evens . . .with the like o' you?
(2) Per. 1802 S. Kerr Sc. Poems 65:
The man wha strives to keep by honest means At evens wi' the warld.
(3) Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man I. xii.:
I's be even hands wi' them an' mair, an' then I'll laugh at the leishest o' them.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 111:
'Nent wha may see May mornin's hue We're even heads.
(4) Sc. 1753 Scots Mag. (July) 339:
[Alan Breck] said, he would be evens with him; and that he would take his opportunity to dispatch or murder either Glenure or Ballieveolan before he left the country.
Ags. 1896 J. M. Barrie Sentimental Tommy vii.:
“Ay, Martha,” muttered Mrs Sandys, “you and Jean Myles is evens now.”
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 365:
Gin A'm no ein wi him neist fair, mind ye, ye can shave my heid an pit a wat clout on't.

3. Combs.: (1) evendoon, see Evendoon, adj.; (2) even-forrit, straightforward; †(3) even in, ? straight; †(4) even-out, downright; (5) even-up, straight, erect; (6) sma' evens, a small allowance of food, “short commons” (Sh. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.).(2) s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders V. 62:
An even-forrit, silly, simple lassie.
wm.Sc. 1903 “S. Macplowter” Mrs McCraw 7:
A'm an evenforrit wumman wi' nae whigmaleeries aboot me.
(3) Fif. 1703 in E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 374:
The magistrates and counsellors . . . discharges . . . all cutting of sheep except an even in score in the shoulder and a fliep in the rumpell.
(4) Ayr. 1826 R. Hetrick Poems 79:
When twa auld bodies near-han done, Wi' even-out wearing.
Per. 1950:
She was aye even oot wi' a' her sayings.
(5) Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 169:
He [a policeman] . . . apparently believed that the haill system o' jurisprudence in the country was in danger if he failed to keep an even-up back on the auchteen shillin's a week allooed him by the authorities.

II. adv. In an even, steady manner or direction. In this sense obs. in Eng.Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck i.:
The settin moon shone even in their faces.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 10:
To plough as ein as a die.
Per. 1852 R. S. Fittis Mosstrooper (1906) vi.:
There's a time to gley, and a time to look even.

1. Esp. in comb. with other advs.: (1) evendoon, see Evendoon, adv.; (2) even-en(d)-ways, straight, to rights; continuously; (3) even-foot-forrit = (5) (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.); Sh.10 1950); (4) evenforenent, directly opposite (m.Lth.1 1950); (5) even forrit, straight forward (Abd.2, Ags.2, Fif.17, Rxb.4 1944); (6) even o'er, level, flat, smooth; (7) even on, (a) continuously, without ceasing, straight on; Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (b) head on (Kcb.9 1944); (8) even out, forthrightly, unreservedly, without restraint (Ags.19, Fif.10 1944). Also in phr. even oot the gate, frank, honest. Cf. Gate, n., 4. (4) and (8); (9) even up, straight up (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 22; Sh.10, Ags.19 1950).(2) Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 66:
She skirls even en-ways, and shores a' the house; She gets mickle mends thaten way.
(3) Bwk.3 1950:
I'm ahint wi' ma wark, but now that the visitors are away I'll no be lang getting even-end-ways.
(4) Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. xi.:
I soon saw by them they war' for playin some pliskin, an' in I cowes ahint a rangel o' stanes till they cam' evenforenent me.
(5) Sc. 1736 Crim. Trials illustrative of “H. Midlothian” (1818) 182:
Why did they not fire even forward and clean the street?
Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 29:
Jist keep the Deid Knowe weel on your richt han', Syne even forrit till ye see a cairn.
(6) Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings 40:
For mark nor meith ye wadna ken, The greenswaird how, an' seggy den, Are straiked even-o'er.
(7) (a) Sc. 1834 Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 439:
Pass that door, and gang even on till ye come to three staps.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
When it lay still, it [baby] did naething but mourn even on.
Edb. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge xvii.:
On the road hame he begoud to haver, puir lad, an' he's havered even on since syne.
Gsw. 1904 “H. Foulis” Erchie vi.:
The wife washes even-on, and greets into her washin'-byne till she mak's the water cauld.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 54:
Trauchlin' awa', aye even on, Sin' ever he was born.
s.Sc. 1932 Border Mag. (April) 60:
Ye canna expec' machinery to serve ye even-on if ye dinna respec' it eneuch to pey attention till't.
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 19:
He's a wild man tae taalk, that: he jist taalks even on: ye canna stop him.
Per. 1987 Roger Leitch ed. The Book of Sandy Stewart 55:
We done the casual fermwork - no steady even on, but sometimes if the fermer needit us.
(8) Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck I. 50:
The body was like to gar me greet even out.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xi.:
Gin ye see onything wrang wi' my face tell me even oot, an' hae dune wi't.
Ags. 1897 F. Mackenzie Northern Pine 277:
I'll be even oot the gate wi' ye.

2. In phr.: †even and eyn, in good earnest.Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 216:
Till even and eyn he took thocht o' a wife To help wi' the warl' an' the fecht o't.

[O.Sc. evin-up, upright, 1552. ]

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"Even adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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