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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.

GLEED, n., v. Also gleid, glede, †gleede, †glead, †glied.

I. n. Formerly in use in Eng., but now only arch. or dial. Cf. Glude.

1. A live coal or peat, an ember (‡Ayr.4 1928; Sh., Ork., Cai., Slk., Rxb., Uls. 1954); “a flare of light” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., rare), a glow (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 166). Now gen. in pl. Also fig.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 113:
Her head was sair towsled, I wat, Her cheeks war red as the gleid.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
There's nae gleid, the fire is quite gone out.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 36:
Mony a cutty is made lunt owre the glead o' a bachrun.
Abd. 1845 W. Thom Rhymes 170:
Yon gleed o'er fast and fiercely glows, For licht o' livin' star.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 346:
The very poetry of thought was smothered up in a cold obstruction . . . like a live gleed in ashes.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 256:
I couldna see onything bit just da red gleed o' da brands whaur da fire wis.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 9:
If by any mischance the raking peats burned out and a “gleed”, or a half-burnt peat, had to be borrowed from a neighbour, it was considered unlucky if the borrower caught her neighbour in the act of churning, for no butter would be got.
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 182:
When jist forenent the clump o' whins oot flashed an awesome gleid.
Sc.(E) 1935 W. Soutar Poems 26:
. . . owreheid The heichest stern, like to a gleed Blawn up, hings waukrifelie and waif.

2. A spark, a glimmer, gen. of fire (Dmf. 1825 Jam.; Kcb.4 1900; Cai.9 1939; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Bwk., Slk. 1954); “a sparkle or splinter [struck] from a bar of heated iron” (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also fig. e.g. in phr. gleed o' sense (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1920 H. S. Morrison Mod. Ulster 37).Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
Not a gleed of fire, then, except the bit kindling peat, and maybe a spunk in Mysie's cutty-pipe.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 127:
For i' my throat the drouthie gleid Tak's sic a drounin'.
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 4:
Come in o'er near the fire, 'Tis but a wee bit gleid at best . . . And yet 'twill mak' ye dryer.
Uls. 1898 J. Barlow Irish Idylls v.:
A will-o'-the-wisp luring him over the bog with its goblin glede.
em.Sc. 1913 J. Black Gloamin' Glints 71:
Yet some gleids o' hope are blinkin' That we fan intae a flame.
Tyr. 1931 North. Whig (17 Dec.) 10:
She lit the lamp on the brace, for there was only a gleed of light.

3. A glowing fire, one that burns red but without flames (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam., 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xxxiii. 14, glied; Uls.2 1929; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Slk. 1954). Also fig.Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 4:
Bat I, like birky, stood the brunt, An' slocken'd out that gleed.
Ayr. ?1788 Burns Lady Onlie ii.:
And cheery blinks the ingle-gleede O' Lady Onlie, honest lucky!
Dmf. 1803 W. Wilson Poems I. 13:
And down they sat foregainst the gleed, Syne Jean did a' their fortunes read.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales, etc. (1837) II. 289:
That heavenly gleid, that living glow, Of endless happiness the token!
Bwk. 1862 J. G. Smith Poems 79:
And then she wad sing and nod her wee pow To the shimmerin' gleid or the flichterin' lowe.
w.Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 368:
Hame's aye hamely; what a seat . . . Is the arm-chair near the glede.

4. Transf. A drop (of water). Cf. Spark, n., 1. Wgt. 1956:
There's no a gleed frae it - of a tap which had run dry.

II. v. 1. “To burn with a strong bright flame” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 65), to burn slowly without flame, to smoulder (Dennison Gl.).Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 117:
His gleedan' claes noo swee'd his hide.

2. tr. To light up, illuminate.Sc. 1823 A. Laing Thistle of Scot. 13:
Frae the blak visart o' the lift, The flyre flaucht gleeds the skie.

[O.Sc. has glede, gleid, in sense 1. of the n., from a.1400, in sense 3., from c.1470; Mid.Eng. glede, burning coal, O.E. glēd, live coal; flame, fire.]

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"Gleed n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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