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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLAE, v., n.1 Also †flea; fley (Cai. 1872 M. McLennan Peasant Life 257; Lnk. 1920 G. A. H. Douglas Further Adventures Rab Hewison 35). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. flay. [fle:]

I. v. 1. As in Eng., to skin, pillage. Pa.p.: wk. flead (Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 57); st. flain (Arg.), flen (Sh.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 13:
Their ae beast cow I saw them lately flea.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 90:
[They] heeze his hopes wi' thought o' bribe, Till in the end they flae him bare.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 75:
Lice an' fleas, an' vermin brown, Thrangt in my sarks, eternal flae me.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 66:
I maun get da bluid run oot o' da ram if he's ta be flain an' taen up afore we geng ta bed.

2. To pare the grassy surface off a peat bank before cutting the peats (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Bnff.2, Ayr.4 1942). Also in Eng. dial. Hence flayer, flaymeur, see quots. See also Flaw, n.1, v.1Arg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 X. 405:
Fleaing them, 2 or 3 inches deep, wherever there is the smallest mixture of moss in the soil.
Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (July) 45:
Just when they had gotten a deil's dizen o' sods flaed, and that's thirteen, the fairy pipes began to play.
Ork. c.1893 W. R. Mackintosh Peat-fires 63:
A young lad out on the hill “flaying moor.”
Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. iv. 134:
The process of removing this turf from the moss is known as “flaying,” the worker is the “flayer,” and the turf removed is the “flaymeur.”
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. 160:
We're gaen ta flae moor an cast paets.

II. n. 1. A skin, “from its being flayed off” (Fif. 1825 Jam.).

2. A skim coulter, “an iron earth-board firmly screwed to the coulter” (Sc. 1805 R. W. Dickson Pract. Agric. I. i. 8) which pares off the surface before the furrow is turned.

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"Flae v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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