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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GAUDSMAN, n. Also gadsman, ga(u)dman, gaadman; gade(s)man.

1. In the old method of ploughing: the man or boy who accompanied the ploughman to direct and incite the team of oxen or horses with his gaud (Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 176, gadman; ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 180, gaad-); “one who guided the horses, and carried the pettle, or plough staff, with which he cleaned the ploughshare when clogged with earth” (Ayr. 1858 M. Porteous RealSouter Johnny” 24). See also Goad(s)man.Sc. 1728 in D. H. Fleming Six Saints (1901) I. 59:
The plow-men will lose their grips of the plough, and the gade-men will throw away their gades.
s.Sc. c.1750 T. Somerville Life (1861) 363:
Two persons were employed at each plough — one, called the ploughman, holding the stilts, and the other, called the gadman, or ploughboy, leading or driving the horses.
Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 6:
While gaudsmen whistle, or while birdies sing.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Inventory 34–36:
For men, I've three mischievous boys . . . A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t'other.
Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 999:
The owner was a person of substance when he had ten [oxen] . . . in a plough, and, besides the ploughman, had a gadesman whistling by their side.
Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 390:
When the heavy wooden plough was drawn by four horses or oxen, the gaudman was a necessary official, his function being to lead the cattle, and urge them . . . with his gaud, a flexible stick pointed with iron.

2. The man who held the long stick or gaud (see Gaud, n.2, 4.) before the reaper with his scythe (Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie, App. 191, gaudsman).

[From Gaud, n.2, 3. and 4. O.Sc. has gadman, in sense 1., from c.1470.]

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"Gaudsman n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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