Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GAN, v., n. Also gaun, gann, gaan. [m.Sc. gɑ(:)n, but sm., s.Sc. + gɒn]

I. v. 1. To go (Slg.3, Fif.14, Ayr.8, Kcb.10, Dmf., s.Sc. 1954). A variant of Gae, v., found only in inf. and pr.t. Not in n.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1712 J. Arbuthnot John Bull II. iv.:
Tell him he may e'en gan his get, I'll have nothing to do with him.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 19:
To gaun barefit till they could earn their ain shoon.
Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 70:
Mister, afore I gan awa, wad ye be sae kind as try ane o' the matches?
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 29:
At that period o' the Langholm history oor local police “force” didna gan' on beat till eicht o'clock.
Gall. 1917 Sc. Field (March) 145:
The man's no richt that gans oot the nicht.
wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie Last Day 6:
“Hoo can he gaun in a sledge and nae snaw?” argued Jamie.
Fif. 1952 B. Holman Diamond Panes 70:
What's wrang wi' giein' us a song afore you gann up the hill. [p. 106, gaun.]
Ayr. 1988:
A'll gan owre the road wi ye. Afore ye gan awa, tak a nip.
Edb. 1991 Gordon Legge In Between Talking about the Football 147:
'The Scots are a museum, man.'
'Gan you and dang, wee man.'
m.Sc. 1994 John Burns in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 26:
"I'll hae tae gaun hame," he said, and walkt oot o the smiddy wi the coorse lauchin o the twa men dirling in his lugs.
Fif. 1994 William Hershaw in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 48:
Wullie mindit the nicht she had got aw dolled up ti gan ti the club wi the ither cleaners.
Edb. 1997:
Ah gaun tae the pictures every week. Ah gaun tae a nice dentist in the toon.
Abd. 2000 Herald 16 Oct 20:
Navigational aids had included that employed when they were totally lost in fog and trying to get to anywhere safe. Skipper Tam was heard to issue the following order: "Somebody gaun forrit and look for creel ends." It had to be explained to the Farmer that if they could see any evidence of lobster pots, which are not set far from harbour, that would mean they must be near to somewhere.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 6:
There's muckle big holes in baith ma shoes,
wi attendin interviews,
but it disnae maitter whaur ye gaan,
or wha ye ken, ...
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 9:
shop stewards, - the lot,
are aa ti gan doun ti London.
Keep them on the stot.

Phrs.: (1) to gan by [= beyond] oneself, to go off one's head (Fif.17 1954); (2) gan-fae-me-come-tae-me, n., a trombone (Fif. 1940); (3) to gan in, to shrink (Fif., Dmf. 1954); (4) to gan in wi', to agree with (Fif.17 1954); (5) to gan on aboot (something), to make a fuss about (something) (Fif., Dmf., Kcb. 1954). For (1), (3), (4), (5) cf. also Gae, v.

2. To walk, in comb. †gannin-gait, “the foot-path of a public road; also, the foot-path through fields to a farm house: so called to distinguish them from the cart or carriage way or gait” (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.).

II. n. In combs.: †1. foot gan, a passage, gangway; see also Fit, n.1, v.1, III. 14.; †2. gan-way, a foot-path (Sc. 1887 Jam.).1. Sc. 1707 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) App. 667:
Mending a foot gan in the Laigh Kirk, ½day . . . . . 0. 6. 8.

[O.Sc. has gane, pr.p. gan(n)and, from a.1400, as well as ga; O.E. gān. The mod. forms in -n are due either to the influence of Gang or of the pr.p. gain, gaun, etc. of Gae, q.v.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: