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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.

GRACE, n. Also †graise, †graze. Common in Scot. in the theological sense, for which see Westminster Confession vii. and Larger Catechism, Quests. 30–36. Cf. Gracie. Sc. usages in Phrs. and Comb.:

1. Grace and growin', used as an expression of goodwill for spiritual and physical well-being, esp. at the christening of a child.Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 251:
Wi' this ae fervent wish he ends, A' grace and growin' to his friends!
ne.Sc. 1881 Gregor Folk-Lore 12:
It would have been regarded as an utter want of respect, and unlucky, not to have partaken of the bread and cheese [at a christening], and not to have put the glass with the whisky to the lips. In doing so there were repeated the words — “Wissin the company's gueede health, an grace an growan to the bairn.”

2. Grace-drink, the drink taken at the end of a meal after grace has been said; also grace-drinking.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. i.:
When we have tane the Grace-drink at this Well, I'll whistle fine, and sing t' ye like my sell.
Sc. 1729 W. Macintosh Inclosing 230:
Ale is never good enough to drink the Grace-drinking.
Ayr. 1788 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 208:
Adieu, my Clarinda! I am just going to propose your health by way of grace-drink.
Lnk. c.1793 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. II. 122:
After dinner a large bowl of rum-punch is drunk; then tea; again another bowl; after that, supper; and what they call the “grace-drink.”
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 519:
It is said that it was the law of her [Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore] table, that none should drink after dinner who did not wait the giving of thanks, and hence the phrase through Scotland of the grace-drink.

3. To do any grace, = Eng. to do any good, to make progress (Sh.10 1955).Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 21:
I wid need ta be makkin' hametrow if A'm tinkin' ta du ony grace i' da cobblin' line da nicht.

4. To get (gie) the (haly) grace, to get (give) the nuptial blessing, to (be) join(ed) in holy wedlock.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd ii. iv.:
But stint your Wishes to this kind Embrace; And mint nae farther till we've got the Grace.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 46:
An' tak me wi' ye, till fit time an' place To seek a priest to gee's the haly grace.

5. To say grace, in children's games: to repeat a counting-out rhyme (Per. c.1930).

6. Sc. Law: Act of Grace, the Act of 1696, c.32, regarding the maintenance of indigent debtors in prison (see 1773 quot.); “the only cases in which it may possibly still be pleaded are those of debtors for rates” (Sc. 1903 Erskine Principles iv. iii. § 14).Sc. 1710 Morison Decisions 11803:
The act of grace having been made upon the application of the royal burghs, who were burdened with the entertainment of poor prisoners.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute iv. iii. § 28:
It was therefore provided by 1696, c.32, usually called the act of grace, that where any prisoner for a civil debt shall make oath before the magistrate of the jurisdiction that he has not wherewith to maintain himself, the magistrate may require the creditor upon whose diligence he is imprisoned to provide and give security for an alimony to him, at a rate not under threepence a-day.
Sc. 1815 Faculty Decis. (1815–19) 41:
An aliment was awarded to him, under the act of grace, of one shilling a-day.
Sc. 1890 Bell Dict. Law Scot. 13:
A debtor who has obtained the benefit of the Act of Grace, and who has been liberated in consequence of the creditor's failure to lodge aliment, may be afterwards reincarcerated under the same diligence.

7To gie one his grace, to take severely to task (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 99, graise, graze).

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"Grace n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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