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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GRAIN, n.1 Also graan (Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (7 Oct.)), grin (Uls.). Sc. forms and usages:

1. A Scots weight = 1/36 Drap, 1/576 oz. Scots or .825 Troy grains.Sc. 1779 Swinton Weights and Measures 38:
36 Scotch grains were reckoned to make a drop weight.

2. Used fig., as in Eng. = a small quantity or amount, a little bit, but in Sc. used with more commonly concrete nouns (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., grin.; I. and n.Sc., Ags., Per., m.Lth., Dmf., Slk., Uls. 1955). Freq. with the omission of o before the noun governed. Dim. grainie, a pinch (Abd.27 1955), grenock (Abd. 1908 in J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 292).Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 16:
Ev'ry grain, Baith waft an' warp.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 136:
An' still a fresh croud was advancin' That ne'er a grain room for the thrang They had for the fiddle an' dancin'.
Lnk. 1887 A. Wardrop Mid-Cauther Fair 273:
Women are jist as heid-strong every grain.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 255:
A' wis dark an' still except a peerie grain o' licht i' Eddie Maikimson's skylicht.
Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (5 Jan.) 3:
There was a grain snaw on the grund.
Ant. 1900 E.D.D.:
“A grain of hay,” a bundle, an armful. “A grain of sugar,” a good spoonful.
Bnff.2 1933:
Jeems's hoast's nae a grain better.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (7 Oct.):
Ye growl and grummel aboot blicht, fan it may hae been but a grainie o' fite frost.

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"Grain n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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